Shuffle sat back from his workbench and rubbed his eyes.
He had been leaning in to the same fiddly design for hours and the sheer effort of concentration was stitching a knot in the centre of his forehead.
He knew he couldn’t give up, it’s just no one had told him how hard this was going to be.
His father Chaos and his mother Lucky just did this sort of stuff at the breakfast table like it was nothing. A quick squint of the eyes, a wave of the hand and whoosh ! There it was. New matter.
Dad’s brother Entropy was the family genius though. He was the creating force behind some of the compounds that everyone just thinks have been here forever – things like water, salt and Kraft Singles.
Dad said Entropy had some sort of condition that meant he kept on growing all the time so he couldn’t do the detailed work any more, he said these days Entropy was working on whole systems of galaxies, building huge factories instead of just single atoms and molecules.
It sounded cool, but Shuffle thought it must be lonely up there weaving wormholes and juggling gravity. Kind of made you grateful for just hanging out with a friend, playing some tunes, maybe going to a party and playing at being a DJ.
“Right. This stupid matter isn’t going to invent itself”, thought Shuffle, so he cracked his knuckles, stretched his back and focused all the energy he had on the space just above the surface of the workbench.
The air grew brighter and energy spat and sizzled, trying to stop him from catching it and turning it into matter. The plasma was dripping now, little globs of white sticky stuff escaping the shape he intended for them.
“No fucking way” he thought and pushed the drops back into the shape that was so nearly forming in front of him and then all of a sudden the air popped and an object fell onto the worktop.
Shuffle looked at it in amazement. His very first creation. Right here, in his very own room.
The family business was safe. He could do it ! The sense of relief was overcome by the rush of celebration. He had to tell someone. Show someone.
“Mum ! Mum ! Come up here ! I’ve done it !”
Lucky walked into her son’s room and looked at the new thing.
“It’s lovely dear”, she said.
“What is it ?”
“It’s called an iPod Mum”
“Well whatever it is, it’s lovely dear. Well done” and she kissed him on the head.


She told all her followers I was enigmatic.
I think she means it as some sort of compliment, but she’s basically saying I’m incomprehensible.
Ineffable I could accept, if what she was saying was that I was too great to be expressed in words; but she isn’t. She’s just saying she doesn’t get me. Some compliment.

Enigma is an inherently fraudulent word.
You take a problem you have; that you do not understand someone, and you make it an attribute of theirs.
It’s like saying “You are beautiful” when what you really mean is “I am drunk.”

So, we can choose to do a few things now.
I could just carry on being common or garden, ordinary me.
She can carry on not knowing what the hell I’m talking about.
As long as she puts that down to ‘Enigmatism’, we’re alright for a while. We should however prepare ourselves for the inevitable truth that sooner or later she will get bored with not understanding me, and leave.

I could just carry on being common or garden, ordinary me.
She could work really hard to try and understand me.
This could go really well – she improves her mind, reads widely and begins to understand what the Farquhar I’m on about, and I see her new found comprehension, admire her for having worked so hard to acquire it and bond with the new, comprehending her.
That’s a pretty bloody long shot though.
Far more likely is that I will have already pigeonholed her in the ‘nice but never mind’ category, so whilst I may respect her as a person, I will never see her as an equal – and who’s to say when she’s decoded me that we will agree ? It may be that when she understands me, she hates me. Hmm. This is just not the way to go.

I could stop being me. It’s probably for the best. I can simplify what I’m saying and the thoughts that blaze through my (sorry I’ve distracted myself with the ludicrous hubris of ‘blaze’) tinder box brain. That way I will stop being quite so incomprehensible to her. That’s a lovely idea but a) No respect and (should have been a)) Bloody impossible.

She could run away. It’s a very bad idea loving someone you don’t understand. I could be anything: a conman, a serial killer, I could be keeping twelve former lovers in my basement. I’m not, but I could be (I’m not though, I don’t even have a basement.) Maybe the smart thing for her to do is to run a mile and forget she ever knew me ?

You know what ? No two beings can ever truly understand each other.
They end up having to say something like “I like the cut of your jib” and accepting the rest in the spirit of love.
She’s my priestess. I’m her common or garden, ordinary god.
She’s devoted the vast majority of her adult life to worshipping me, even though she doesn’t fully understand me. A better demonstration of enduring trust and love would be hard to find.
I like the cut of her jib.


If you’ve been here before you’ll know I write a lot of short pieces as part of writing challenges on Twitter. This week’s keyword was ‘Enigma’. My home town is Cheltenham, home of GCHQ. I couldn’t resist.


Inevitable Truth

“Truth” said Gerald “is like the inevitable fart at a funeral. If you don’t control when it escapes, it’ll come out at the worst time possible.”

Gerald was the head of London’s premiere PR Consultancy, Gerald, Gerrald and Cherrold.
“PR” said Gerald “is not about lying. It’s about knowing how to tell what proportion of which truth to whom and when.”

If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound completely honest, you’re right. Gerald’s whole approach to public relations is about making choices.

“It’s easy to catch out someone who’s lying. It’s a lot harder to call them dishonest when everything they’ve said is true.”
“A journalist is not a fact finding machine, he is generally a fact checking machine. Give him something to check and you’ll make him happy. Make that something true and you’ll make him think his job is done. Very few of them ever check what they haven’t been told.”

It was Gerald, Gerrald and Cherrold’s reputation for managing ‘little situations’ that made Charles Storrington ring their number.

“I’d like to speak to Gerald, Gerrald or Cherrold please”
“Gerald speaking.”
“I need your help.”
“Good help is bloody expensive.”
“Not a concern.”
“Come on in then. Don’t tell me your name on the phone. When you get here, ask for Primus at Reception. They’ll come and get me.”

Storrington began to explain himself to Gerald.
“It started as a matter of principle. I think I really believed that the public had a right to know if their elected officials were able to keep their most personal promises – their wedding vows. Then I got married and I got elected. When DC offered me the opportunity to write a private members bill I thought I would demonstrate my high moral principles, so I wrote a bill mandating a Register of Marital Fidelity. MPs were allowed to sleep with whoever they chose, but they had to enter their name in the register. I never really thought the MP’s would vote for it.
What I hadn’t accounted for was a high profile minister getting caught telling secrets to his Russian mistress just before the vote, and I didn’t think my girlfriend would get quite so publicly pissed off.”
“She doesn’t want her name in the Register ?”
“I am not her only indiscretion, and her husband puts her regular absence down to an obsession with her work, rather than an over-abundance of libido.
There aren’t a lot of women as senior as her in her line of work. He thinks she just over-compensates.”
“What line of business is she in ?”
“She’s a bishop.”
It didn’t take Gerald long before he knew what to do.
He picked up his phone and hit the speed dial button for the blogger journo with the fastest story turnover and largest readership. The papers and the telly would be too bothered about playing catch up to bother with the missing details.
“Jenny ? I’ve got a Conservative MP schtupping a bishop. You want to know the twist ? He’s straight.”