Wednesday, February 2, 2011

CHOPPER JOHN ~ By Colin James ... Now playing the *FAB*FEB*FILM*FEST* ~ AT THE BIJOU

~ by the Brit wit of Colin James 
Dusk drew in as rain pattered off windows, bringing an end to yet another nondescript London day. The grey fug of Piccadilly hung about the rooftops - November cold nipping at crowds running for buses and home-cooked meals.
Bill fumbled with the door, turned the lock and ambled over to the microphone standing on his desk. He had done it a thousand times, used his loquacious larynx to lull the young and weary to sleep with once-upon–a-times and happily-ever-afters. He sat down, placed the headphones on his head and waited for his queue.
“And now over to London, to Uncle Bill Brewer and his goodnight story.”
“Queue Bill – Play music  – and intro.”
The light above the door switched from green to red; the show was on the air.
“Hello children everywhere. This is Uncle Bill. I am sure that before you climb the wooden hill to Bedfordshire and wait for the sandman’s magic dust to carry you off to dreamland you would love to hear a story. Would you like to hear my story?”
"HUSH, LISTEN WELL"  ~ pic ala midiman
All around the country children pinched pink from hot baths, pyjammered and nightgowned sat before radiograms in anticipation of tonight’s tale.  The ritual of rushed teeth cleanings and hurried suppers insured prime spots in front of crackling speakers.
“Tonight’s story is about Chopper John, a woodsman who lives and works in the ten-acre wood. His days are filled with the sounds of the forest and the little birds and animals that live beneath its spreading canopy. Are you ready?”
Screamed confirmation from a thousand small voices echoed throughout Radio Land.
Bill had been in radio since it was silent; what he didn’t know about broadcasting would fit on the back of a postage stamp. He had done it, seen it all and met everybody who was anybody. His career spanned thirty years and Broadcasting House was more a home than it was a place of work. Bill was loved by the children of Britain, both young and old.
“Every morning Chopper John would get out of bed, yawn loudly, put on his favorite red shirt and eat his breakfast in the kitchen. Toast and marmalade with two boiled eggs.”
Bill reached into the cupboard below the desk and pulled out the bottle. Medicinal of course – for celebration purposes only. He screwed off the cap and poured a finger or six into the white enameled cup in front of him.
“Then he would pick up his axe and head into the forest.”
Bill put the cup to his mouth and gulped its contents. He had often been asked the secret of his success, how he managed to cultivate the rich warm tobacco tones for which he was known and adored. This wasn’t his first whiskey today and he was beginning to feel the double-malt’s effect.
"whisper" pic ocean yamaha
“Chopper John walked into the wood, whistling as he went, passing all the friendly woodland creatures on his way. Rabbits and squirrels lined the path waiting for Chopper John just as they did each morning.  Because it was such a beautiful day Chopper John decided to ignore the whisperings of the creatures. Their acerbic, back-stabbing remarks, meant to hurt a man who had given his all for the corporation – laid down his life for Radio.”
Children sat in awe, the tale of Chopper John filling their sleepy little minds with images of fun, furry, critters scampering through bushes. Happy days and even happier dreams ahead.
The chipped cup hit the desk again and Uncle Bill fought the grimace on his face as the bight of alcohol stung his throat.
“The sun warmed his body and the breeze blew through his golden hair – the insidious comments made by the newly installed management team would not deter him. Vicious mean bastards trying to get rid of Uncle Bill and replace him with some snot-nosed wanker with no experience.”
Children turned to parents with bright wholesome smiles, the sound of leafy woodlands dancing in their ears. Parents put down newspapers and knitting needles and turned up the volume on the Radiogram.
“Chopper John was not a bitter man but if he was, he would shove their gold watch so far up their arse that they’d  have to open their mouths to check the time… as he wandered into the clearing.”
A bald headed man rushed into the control room and slashed a finger across his throat. Uncle Bill looked up briefly, ignored him, and refilled the cup.
“As he meandered through cool leafy glades, Chopper John decided that he should tell the truth, and let his young listeners know what bastards they really were. Money-grabbing scum-sucking boy lovers, who wouldn’t know the meaning of a hard day’s work if it jumped up and kicked them in the balls, and took his hunting rifle off his back.”
Children sat mesmerized half dozing, half dreaming as they lived the story floating through the speakers. Fathers removed pipes from mouths and mothers hastily bookmarked pages.
Now there were a crowd of people in dark suits inside the control room. Banging on the glass, gesticulating wildly and mouthing mute threats. Bill smiled, reached into his pocket, and brought out the revolver.
“Chopper John loved to hunt and a plump pheasant would make him a lovely supper. Pheasant in rich gravy with potatoes and carrots, and the bastards will rue the day they got rid of Uncle Bill. Arse licking sycophants with nothing in their empty heads but shit and sawdust.”
The pistol exploded and clattered to the floor. The smoke curled around Bill’s slumped body, as  security guards kicked their way through splintered wood.
“Unfortunately the story of Chopper John will have to wait for another time and we wish our listeners sweet dreams and happy thoughts. Goodnight from Chopper John and goodnight from Uncle Bill.”
Parents stared at each other. That hadn’t sounded like Uncle Bill?
 Very strange!
Radiograms around the country were turned off and sleepy children carried to bed.
Good bye Chopper John. Good bye Uncle Bill.

 (c)2010 by Author Colin James

Colin James?
Oh yes, he's been in and out of all the red velvet rows and up in the projectionist's booth and simply haunting our theatre AT THE BIJOU since this year turned to a brand new one. And a brand new fresh taunting voice is the lit wit of this Brit I'm so very bloody joyed to have come on stage. (Couldn't miss him, he practically took over the third row with all his writing paraphernalia - he's that dedicated to the craft). Our Mr James is an English writer living in the wild wild West, observing life in the fast lane. See for yourself though. He drove right into romance with a pretty bird named Robyn in the land of Arizona along I-10. Yep, that's the name of his dynamite write site  - I-10 BLOG, which really needs your pour and perusal, for shaking the psyche or rattling reflections. It just vibrates. You'll see. Tell ol'Colin ~ "Absolutely*Kate sent me. I caught your show AT THE BIJOU." He'll like that. He's one of us now.
And I rather like that.
My thanks Colin, for your debut, AT THE BIJOU. You can let Harry out of the janitor's closet now, and please return Miss Sugar's stashed supply of Milk Duds - I'm sure she'll share without the scare.
Colin asks right up front for responses on all he scribes: "SPILL YOUR VITRIOL, BOIL YOUR BILE, PURGE YOUR SOUL, SPIT YOUR VENOM, LETTER LUCID, SPEW YOUR GALL, RELEASE THE BEAST, LET ME HAVE IT BOTH BARRELS" (He's not a shy guy.) Did I mention Colin wrote his first novel? It's now in the edit and optimism process. He's brought another of my heroes somewhat more alive ~ Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson in . . . well, let him tell it ~
"The title LORD ALF is taken from Lord Alfred Tennyson, the second most quoted man in the English Language. A brilliant author and poet who laid down many pieces of work of still studied in schools today. One of his most famous pieces, The Charge of the Light Brigade used to be taught by rote in British schools; the whole class standing up from their wooden desks to recite from memory the harried lines that recalled the disastrous charge made by British Cavalry during the Crimean War.

By combining the story of Jake, our protagonist and 1980’s school boy, with that of Tennyson, a brilliant mind struggling with public adoration and a severe case of writers block, the book breathes fresh life into The Charge. Set against the backdrop of the Crimean war and Victorian Britain we also follow the fortunes of Harry, a trooper, who rides in the charge and experiences the horrors of short sighted empirical conquest."

There's no shame in good plugs.

~ Absolutely*Kate
and our splendid staff of renown


keeps on reely rollin' tomorrow 



Harry said...

Chopper John went out with a bang. Excellent debut Colin!

Anonymous said...

This tickled me and brought back some great memories. I liked how you paint the picture and how you delivered the action. Great memories of my Irish Grandfather's White enamel cup.
I laughed at where he stuck his watch, but I must protest--bring Bill back.

Paul D Brazill said...

Smashing tale!

seana graham said...

I could almost hear the symphonic background music for the forest scene as the show warmed up. I was afraid Chopper John was going to turn out to be an ax murderer, though.

Lord Alf sounds very intriguing. But poor Uncle Bill. I hope he's gone on to that giant woodland in the sky...

Anonymous said...

Firstly thank you for taking the time to read I know how pressured we all our by the press of paper on our book shelves.

Chopper John ws an idea that came to me after turning off NPR in a state of apoplexy after yet more biased reporting.

That's it I thought, as I twisted the dial like a Turkey neck, vowing never again to listen!!

Thats when Chopper John materialized; a man who wanted to tell the world how it really was with no bullshit.

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou, I am humbled.