What this blog isn't

It's not a Leeds-based exploration of the joys and challenges of shaping the mortar between house-bricks so that the rain runs off without undue damage.
Nor is it about looking at, achieving, or maintaining erections of the male variety. That's what the rest of the internet is for.
It's also not about drawing peoples' attention to the beauty of the Aurora Borealis by indicating it with an extended forefinger
It probably isn't SFW[Safe For Work] either (especially if you work in a church) thanks to the liberal sprinkling of profanities, heresies and blasphemies.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Where've I been? I'll tell you where I've been. I've been to Hell and back. No, I didn't bring you anything. What would you want a souvenir of Hell for?"- The confinement (part 2 of 4)

A blurred and hazy image of an arched tunnel ceiling, all striplights and bared cables. Low thrum of generators and hiss of powered ventilation. Scent of perfume, sweat and cheese pasties. Those were my only impressions after blacking out in the van. When I awake I groggily came to the conclusion that they were brief snatches of consciousness from my arrival here. Wherever here was.

Here turned out to a a roomy cell with stone walls, a bunk and a sturdy looking metal door. I was alone. There was just the one bunk so it looked like I wouldn't have to fight off the affections of a cellmate. Also real prisons don't have roughly hewn stone walls. Or the Dolce & Gabbana mining helmet and overalls that hung on a peg. There was no time to investigate further as a clank of keys heralded a visitor.

"You're either the worst transvestite I've ever seen, or you've been crawling through makeup for hours." I told the man who came through the door.

"I've been crawling through makeup for hours." he replied curtly, handing me the uniform hanging by the door and propelling me out of it. "Welcome to the cosmetics mines. You are now a mole. Get used to it. There's worse things to be down here."

Indeed, before me lay complicated and sprawling underground mine workings. I saw legions of tired looking men toiling carts over  rickety Temple of Doom style scaffolding. There were stunning female overseers patrolling here and there, tasers at easy reach on their exquisitely tooled Italian belts. Finally, incongruously, there was a branch of Greggs.

My guide was Hakim, a taxi driver from Bude who had been snatched two months earlier, in much the same manner as I had been. He explained to me that all makeup was in fact mined from the bowels of Mother Earth herself - the three largest and oldest workings being under London, New York and Paris. These mines were staffed and ran by models (who were also useful in recruitment as I had already found) under the executive control of super-models; who only ever passed on their orders by telephone, being much too busy to toddle off down here for every little thing.

"And the Greggs?" I asked. I had to. It was there, after all.

Turns out man only requires baked goods to live, at least for the short time we hapless prisoners were meant to. The ubiquitous  bakers had also been determined (by model-scientists, or scientist-models, which they preferred) to be the only thing other than cockroaches to be capable of surviving a nuclear blast, so a simple cave-in should be a doddle to shrug off. Then Hakim told me why I was here.

We were truly moles, he and I. Our task? To dig out raw cosmetics from the rich deposits buried in Gaia's belly-folds and to transfer them to the carts for the 'donkeys' to raise up to the packaging plants.  Hakim was right, there were worse things to be. Rabbits, for instance. The reason why it proudly boasts 'not tested on animals' on makeup now. The first time I saw the unfortunate victim of an apricot facial scrub eye bath I decided that I wanted to stay a mole. Before he blindly ran over the edge of the shaft entrance into nothingness - plummeting fourteen floors to a wet, red noisy death with the tops of his femurs sticking up through his shoulders, he had screamed "I could have told them it would bloody hurt, but it's the law. It's the friggin' laaaaaaaw. SPLAT!" There were also Fruit Flies, of whom no-one would speak. Ever. Even in hushed tones.

The months passed slowly, and with little incident. Our overseers were not unkind, though they were highly resistant to all attempts at socializing. When I was told by one of them that they had ways of making me work harder, I grinned broadly and nudged her suggestively. When I recovered from the massive taser-induced electric shock, I agreed with her wholeheartedly and got right back to work. Hakim and I got to know each other better, swapping tales of our home lives an indeterminate distance above us. We were completely institutionalised and gave no thought to escape. Until one fateful night.

We had been summoned to the catwalk, from where all important announcements were made. In the flickering flashes and sound effect whirr of imitation pressmen the newest Size Zero sat dining at her table. She was very recent, this one. They changed like Number Two in The Prisoner, and she was already eyeing her waistline for tell-tale signs of expansion (though she had only taken two bites of tissue and a sip of imported Japanese sea mist) lest she be replaced by a thinner newcomer.

Hakim and I represented our team and were there to hear our orders for the coming week. I hoped it wasn't another uniform change. A fortnight in culottes is enough for any man keen to retain a grasp on his sanity. Is it a skirt with legs or some kind of broken shorts? Man wasn't meant to ask these questions on looking down at himself. Size Zero cleared her throat, thereby shedding nearly a third of her body mass.

"Our surveyors have uncovered a rich vein of shimmer eyeshadow no.4 beneath the mascara seam that your men are working on. We wish you to divert half of your resources to mining this valuable commodity. Immediately. That is all."

"But Size Zero, " Hakim blustered futilely. "That is an incredibly dangerous section of the mine. We had five collapses last month; and even those men who survived them had to be moisturised and exfoliated for a week before they could return to work!"

Malice sparkled in her beautiful eyes. "I think it is time for a species change for you two, and your insolence had decided your fate. Enjoy your rest tonight, gentlemen, for tomorrow you become Fruit Flies!" Accompanied by her mocking laughter we were led out by armed guards and left in a different cell, away from the digging and pasties. Hakim paced the room nervously, much more ill at ease than I. I should have known that it was only blissful ignorance preventing me from panic and horror. You see, he finally explained to me (in tones significantly lower than hushed) what Fruit Flies were, and what they were for.

That's when I knew we had to escape, and before the morning brought us our new and terrifying existence.

2 comments:

Pablo Von Stoat said...

"When I was told by one of them that they had ways of making me work harder, I grinned broadly and nudged her suggestively. When I recovered from the massive taser-induced electric shock, I agreed with her wholeheartedly and got right back to work."

That right there nearly killed me.

Just a bit of useless trivia for you. There is a town in Austria called Ellenbach, which I visited many years ago, so I have quite literally been to Ellenbach.

Cheers for the chuckle!

magnetite said...

I doff my hat to you, Pablo, and trust that you

a) actually brought souveniers from your trip to Ellenbach, or

b) at least mentioned it once a year to everyone you know.

Also please note the legal stuff that appears at the bottom of the blog. The license means that you can use, re-use, warp, alter, and make derivative works from anything in the blog as long as you don't make any money and mention where you got the idea from. Feel Creatively Commonsed Free to do so. [m]