Our short story La Coniche d'Or is out now, on the pages Temptation Magazine (yes, click), about the visit of friends from Sydney (true-true story)

Feb 26, 2013

Spelling reform (Sacha)

(We've posted on this before, but here's Mark Twain's version:)


For example, in Year 1 that useless letter c would be dropped to be replased either by k or s, and likewise x would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which c would be retained would be the ch formation, which will be dealt with later.
Year 2 might reform w spelling, so that which and one would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish y replasing it with i and Iear 4 might fiks the g/j anomali wonse and for all.
Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.
Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez c, y and x — bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez — tu riplais ch, sh, and th rispektivli.
Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.
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OK, and now what, where's the corresponding fragment from the Green Eyes? Well, not so easy, we play with spelling only twice, when Maurice's behind is spelled "arse" since he's a Brit. Significantly, both times a beach bear gets involved. The first time because John tries to purloin a towel from said bear to help Maurice cover up his private parts following a close encounter of a certain kind that left Maurice trunk-less (in the sense that he cannot find his discarded swimsuit): 

And so, before time, a shadow falls over my feet, a hand touches my shoulder, and a voice growls: "What are you doing here?" The voice belongs to a mature man, soft in the middle and elsewhere, and it's during the next split second that I commit the next error of the day because I'm not only arrogant, I'm also slow-witted under duress. I should have risen above the suspicious context and ask the bear directly: 'Could you lend me a towel,' perhaps followed by some explanation, perhaps even the true explanation, he would possibly laugh a deep, bearish laugh, his belly shaking, and everything would be fine, and I could walk away with a lent towel to save a British arse. But I don't. "I'm admiring your towels," I say, "trying to find out about the brand, so I could order the same."


"I don't believe you," the towel-owner replies. "I think you are trying to steal something, possibly the booze." "No," I say, no, never." As opposed to me, this round man isn't slow-witted, and he's developing dubious schemes behind his round forehead as we speak. "You were trying to get hold of our champagne," he continues, "a Pommery vintage, ten years old, a bottle that George and I brought to the beach to celebrate the first week of our friendship, the bottle worth 100 bucks."

In retrospect, I could have said so many things, like 'What's your friendship worth,' or 'Pommery is not my thing, I prefer Mumms.' Or I could have retracted, and confessed, and plead for a towel for a hapless Brit, promising the world in return. Instead, I said: "Believe me."

That was the last thing this beach bear intended to do. "You're in trouble," he says with a clear sense of my apprehensiveness, "I'll get the Beach Guard, they'll take care of you." A brief, mutual pause, as I consider my future as a convicted felon, while the bear mulls over his dirty thoughts (hindsight).

"OK, I'll show you the towels," he says, "get down." I sit. He does not sit with me, however, is instead rearranging the wind screen and the umbrella. When he's done, our little island has become a cozy, open-air cubicle, with more privacy than I could care for. "The towels," he says, "are from Nordstrom, of course, and they are very expensive, but also very useful, especially when you have to change out of your swimwear." He strips (more roundish shapes), picks up a towel, wraps it around his hips, posits himself above me, his legs apart, and says: "I'm ticklish." "Do I need to know?" I ask. "Tickle me," he says. It's clear what he means. 'Prison or sex,' I think a low-information thought, raise my arm, get under his beach towel, and tickle what comes my way.

The first "arse" fragment, hugging the transition from Chapter 2 to Chapter 3, in the very beginning of the novel. So, by symmetry, the second "arse," should be right at the end, and it is; the final final happy ending is in place, Alex has said "I love you" (again), tongues have traveled deep into gay territory, the entire gay beach has applauded our re-united sexual heros, they are standing at the water's edge, on the (gay) beach, and now this:

There is some funny, clappy noise. I turn around. Alex is kissing what he can with my face turned to the beach crowd, so he kisses my right cheek, and the flank of my nose, my ear, it's quite funny. There’s this guy standing there, a young, black queen, and he claps, and points at us, and asks his pals to rise. "Give them a hand," he yells at his beach friends, and they get up and start clapping. It's an ovation. Somebody sings "Love, love, love." Others join. The entire beach sings "Love, love, love." Alex pivots, we're both facing the crowd. Shall we bow? The queen yells "Author, author," but nobody comes forward. I'm not sure what to do. A rotund man approaches, a bear, hairy and tummy, he holds something in his hands, in both hands. Flutes, it transpires as he comes closer, champagne glasses, filled with bubbly, and it is, yes, it's the bear from the beach towel, the beach towel that was wrapped around his private parts before I grabbed it and ran away with it to save Maurice’s arse. The bear hands one glass to Alex, the other one to me. “Cheers,” Alex says. We sip. "Cheers," the bear says as a third glass mysteriously appears in his hands, then adds, "Where is my beach towel, please enlighten me." "It's possibly still where I left it," I answer, "I took your towel to save somebody's ass, but the ass was gone when I came back. Although it's not an ass. It’s a Britt." "Where is it, my beach towel?" the bear insists.


I take the bear to the dunes, holding on to my glass, Alex follows, holding on to his. This is where we met, him and me, Alex and I, right here, at this spot, which changed our life forever, seven days ago, we had no idea. We traipse across the accumbent ivy. The towel, didn't I just hang it over some unassuming branch of this pine tree? Remember this pine tree? Yes, I did, and there it pendles in the breeze in all its Nordstrom glory, blending perfectly well with the nature around it. I lift it gently off the branch and hand it to the bear. "My name is Albert," the bear says. "My name is John," I say. "My name is Alex," Alex says. The bear raises his glass. "I’m ticklish," he says.

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