The Start of Chapter 1 – Weightless

Litelli felt the tingles of his senses come to life as he emerged from sleep into consciousness. Before his eyes opened he could feel the material of his clothes against his body, feel the coldness of the air he breathed and he could feel the grip of something around his right foot. As his senses feedback to his brain what was going on he could also feel the the weight of his head and upper body. It was a strange sensation and one he couldn’t fathom. It just didn’t feel right.

As his senses levelled out he opened his eyes. A few inches away from his face, dashes of white and grey marble seemed to flicker with the afternoon sun against them. He could feel the cold winter air against him and his body. He realised his legs felt colder. His arms, too.

Aluminium strips about 3 inches in diameter ensconced the marble as it travelled the length of his current field of vision. He looked up as if to see how far the marble and metal would dominate his view.

It just went on and on, and then…….there were…….people. Little people?

The reality of the situation sunk in, a sick stirring of fear started to engulf Litelli’s body. He was upside down, and the marble a few inches from his face, was part of a building he was dangling off of, but what was holding him?

Instinctively but wrongly he started to kick with his feet and move his arms, bringing them towards his body. His arms moved OK, and his left leg, but the right leg still had resistance. In these tender seconds he realised the grip of something round his leg was the only thing stopping him from plummeting towards the cars and people beneath.

He stopped kicking. And now realising for the moment, up meant down and down meant up, he looked towards his feet, towards the feeling of weight against his leg.

‘Where is it Litelli?’ The voice raged. ‘Where the f**k is it?’

‘Where is what? I have no idea what you are talking about’ said Litelli with a chilling insight into what this could mean.
‘I know you have it. And I know what you did to get it. So don’t you dare play these games with me. Do you not remember me? Do you not know where you are? Do you forget what I am capable of?

Litelli’s predicament had frozen him in time for a few moments. He began to think of how he didn’t scream when he first opened his eyes, of how he didn’t know where he was, what city, what building he was hanging of off, let alone what country. All this really was quite superfluous he thought. It really didn’t and shouldn’t matter. Quite obviously his main focus should be answering this mans questions and being pulled up from the side of this building.

Litelli began to focus on the questions and the voice asking them. As he hung upside down he looked to where the voice was coming from. It wasn’t from where he was being held. The voice was from a couple of feet away. He was fairly sure. So he wasn’t alone? Whoever had him.

Litelli composed himself once more. ‘I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t know you. I haven’t lost my mind and I know this isn’t a dream. I remember my name and who I am. I don’t recognise your voice. Maybe if I saw your face. I would know who you are and what you are talking about?’

Litelli hoped this more heartfelt and more lengthy reply would give some credibility to his unspoken plea of being hauled up from where he was. Surely he was telling the truth?

As he became more aware of the gripped right foot that was the only thing suspending him, he now realised it wasn’t a hand but something mechanical holding him. Almost a vice like grip.

Ordinarily under normal circumstances this would have felt painful but now, the pain faded as if it wasn’t there, Litelli would be plummeting to earth.

‘You have one last chance’ said the voice.

Litelli heard the rattle of a chain. As the chain took up slack, he heard a grunt from where the voice was coming from, about 8 feet up from where he was hanging. His ankle cracked with the momentum of being wrenched in another direction, Litelli’s lean and toned 12 stone bulk having no option but to follow in pursuit. He expelled an earthy, defiant, angry sound as he felt the pain of the ankle crack, then his face and torso slamming into the cold marble. His arms seemed to flail behind and he had little reaction time or control over them. They too slammed into the marble, hands first, then elbows. He didn’t make a sound. Almost as though he was used to pain now.

He must be held by something mechanical. Maybe ‘the voice’ wasn’t with someone else. Maybe he was alone.

‘You got nothing for me? Nothing?’
‘I can’t tell you what I don’t know. Do you want me to lie?’
‘I actually thought you’d be keen to tell the truth under the circumstances.’
‘What’s your name and what is this thing that I am supposed to have? That might help’
‘Are you taking the p*ss now? You know who I am. And you know what I want’

Litelli thought of his options. Rather limited he reasoned. No escape plan. Except an answer. And would he live even if he did answer? Regardless of whether that was the truth? Would this person really drop him?

‘I can’t help you’ said Litelli.’
‘Well then’ said the voice. ‘You know me. Very well. I’m Greysun. Sometimes called Brazon Greyson, which incidentally I don’t like. Mine is the last voice you will ever hear and I’m a man of my word, as you already know. So let me help you.’

Greysun peered down further over the edge of the building. To see his foe. He let go of the chain. The chain slammed to the floor, seething and wriggling with speed like a hungry mechanical snake zooming in on its prey. As it got to the latch that the partially built window cleaning winch was attached to, it clunked and cracked loudly. The clamp released. Sprang up. That would be it…

Letilli heard the noise above, and for a split second, he tried to reason with himself that the noise had been something else. With no hesitation or favour towards gravity, he began to hurl towards the ground. His arms flailing, his legs kicking. It was a long way down but he knew it would be over with quickly. Soon he would be dead.

As he fell his back cracked and pain shot through his spine as his legs arched over himself. Almost as though his legs were in a race with the rest of his body to get to the ground first.

Insurmountable pain began to surge through his neck and head too. He was picking up speed fast, travelling at great velocity now towards the concrete below. He thought as if falling to his death wasn’t enough; it had to hurt on the way down too? His body was close to flipping over on itself. As he fell, thoughts flashed through his mind, as I guess they would for anyone at this time. Consigned and resigned to death, Letilli thought about his life, his loves, those he had hurt, and those he had lost. He guessed the fall would take no more than 20 seconds. He was a long way up. His eyes were shut, the force of wind too hard to keep them open. Why keep them open? He thought. He knew what was going to happen, why see it coming?

Unable to resist, he forced his eyes open. He saw something below, and not just the ground. Before that something red, squared, and bright. He didn’t know what it was, but he was hurtling towards it.

Greysun stepped back from the edge of the building, the impending death of another man at his hands flitted across his soul, just for a second. He knew the consequences of his actions, and so did Letilli. That’s how he reasoned it. He was almost consoling himself of his own actions.

Of course he had a choice, but so did Letilli. He should have told him what he wanted to know. Then he would have lived. Greysun shook his head as these words drifted through his head. He knows he would have still dropped him, he had to go, he knew too much, had gotten too close. There was no other option.

Now Greysun’s job would be harder, but he would still succeed. He would go to Letilli’s flat, break in, and find what he had hidden there, or look for clues about where he what or who had it, or who knew. Someone else must know.

Greysun held his left hand up to his face. Forced his palm under is stubble jaw, and pushed it hard up the side of his face, grasping his temple. His hands were rough. I guess he did dirty work. He wasn’t a man to wear gloves either. It affected grip and feel, and besides, gloves could still leave traces for forensics. The smell of the rusty metal still lingered on his hands, the metallic smell flaring his nostrils and reminding him of what had just happened, and what he had just done.

Pebbles crunched under his footing as he walked back to the staircase. He knew he didn’t have long to escape before the police arrived. He couldn’t chance taking one of the main lifts. He would walk down the majority of the stairs, which wouldn’t be a problem. Then he will take the tradesman lift straight to the basement car park. He would see how many Police were there, and if too many, would leave the car, and take the footbridge over the lower complex and down to the metropolis beneath. CCTV could be an issue but with the 100’s Sunday shopper sales foot fall, he should be OK.

The building itself shouldn’t be a problem. Still being built, not occupied on any floor. Just the odd security guard to contend with and no cameras live yet. There were a few tradesmen about but not many were working this day. He had done his research, ear wigging in the local pubs, hearing the chatter and natter.

Letilli hurtled towards the red squares beneath. As he got closer he could see what they really were. He thought about whether they would help, whether they really could save his life. In the vital seconds he had left he wandered whether they would make his death worse, even more imminent, they could slice him in two.

He covered his head with his hands, and tried to pull his knees in toward his head, bending his legs as he did so. He managed it.

At close to 90mph, Letilli ripped into the red squared safety netting. At this speed, it could have sliced him in half but not this type. It was of a plastic composite, not like the old rope style and had been there since the beginning of the build. Most of it around the building had been removed, as it was so near completion and this section had remained, due to be removed next week.

Mark Scotchford © 09/02/2015

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Charity Clarity

If you were asked who you most dislike out of the people alive in the world today who would you say?

I guess obvious choices would be heads of regimes and tyrants etc, but you’ll be surprised who I dislike intensely. Bob Geldof.

I think he’s a nasty, vicious, angry man. May I explain? Years ago I remember coming home from school and hearing him shout and swear on national television ‘give us your f***ing money’

Ummmmmmm, no Bob, I don’t think I will actually, and certainly not if you ask me like that. By all means ask me, and nicely, if you have given up all your worldly goods, and you don’t have millions in the bank and numerous houses etc, but don’t ask me when you haven’t, and don’t ask me in this manner because I really don’t like it. Ask my teachers, they will concur.

That was a number of years ago, and he hasn’t changed much. He still looks like he has nowhere to live even though he has, and he still has the aggression, and another worthwhile cause.

‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ was such a patronising song in so many ways. No reason to dwell on that now. I guess it got the job done….

Anyway, the point of this piece is to discuss charity and what it means to us etc. I do think there are some golden rules.

I learnt years ago that if you give someone £5 you don’t have the right to tell them how to spend it. Sounds simple? OK, fine. Do you like cigarettes? Think they are worthwhile for anyone? Give a starving person £5 and see them walk out of a shop with cigarettes instead of food. See what I mean? If the person you give the money too chooses to live for the moment that is there choice, not yours.

Ok, so just give to a charity? Well, uummmm yes, you could do that but most governments are corrupt so very little of the money you give gets to where it needs to and also did you know that charities in this country only need to spend 40% of their donations on their cause? The rest they can put down to marketing etc. Still, those aside charities in the UK are just basically brilliant and so are all the people who work for them.

What are the other options? Well I’m saying it’s probably not good to give someone on the street money, and definitely don’t give to Bob, and some, not all of your money will get lost overseas so, can charity begin at home?

Yes, but don’t give someone money, give them what they need.

It isn’t about what it is you give, it is about the value of it to the person you are giving it to. And this is relative and nothing to do with money.

For example a freezing glass of water is not too welcome on a freezing cold day but a hot drink would be lovely.

Just as in a pair of gloves in the summer is useless but in the cold of winter; they could be very handy indeed.

And also bear in mind, we are odd, so some people won’t actually think to ask for what they actually need. This could be the same for people you are giving presents too this year.

I know that Britain is hated in some parts of the world but I am pretty sure we give more to charity per head of population than pretty much any other western country. Yes, we may be construed as an arrogant bunch but we are generous.

If you talk about giving does it count?

Well, I think it still does yes. Giving is extremely satisfying, and liberating, in an odd kind of way. Helping others, I mean really helping someone, is actually quite a novel concept for me.

And my advice, don’t be detached. Don’t give £20 to a charity over the phone. You can do this too but I would suggest you try another approach. Give your hat or your pair of gloves, or your coffee, or your bacon sandwich to someone instead of walking past them as they shiver peering into a bin.

Talk to them, look them in the eye, and then try not to exude too much emotion as they offer to shake your hand and wish you a Merry Christmas. And if they say no, or ask for a different flavour sandwich, or a red hat not a black one, just be polite but firm back. Ask them do they want it or not? I bet they will say yes.

And always remember, you could be in their position a lot sooner and faster than you think.

Mark Scotchford © 24/12/2014

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Sowing The Seeds

We often hear about planting seeds and sowing ideas in our minds but I have one rather odd question to pose to you. What exactly are seeds?

Well, it is obvious isn’t it? They consist of an outer shell to protect embryonic plant seeds. And that is it, isn’t it?

I don’t think so. What must they be? If Darwin’s theory is correct, what must they be?

Studies have shown that plants actually react and adapt to their environment. Doesn’t this make them intelligent? After all isn’t how quickly someone or something adapts one of the greatest signs of intelligence?

A brilliant piece by PRI interviewing Michael Pollan (shame his surname isn’t pollen) states that when a certain plant was played the sound of a caterpillar munching on leaves the plant re-acted. For years if someone had said that plants are intelligent they would have been sneered at, and perhaps much worse, but now, scientific research is actually backing this up with facts. Michael mentions the book ‘secret life of plants’ from 1979 and it is rather fascinating.

Back then people were encouraged to talk to and play music to their plants and it all got very odd and weird and as he stated the sciences behind the book didn’t really stand up. As a result Michael says, scientist shied away from going into plant research because if they did they would be dismissed as a ‘wacko’.

As is usual I have a theory and I am not sure if it is best to say it or to try and prove it. Obviously the latter is better, and I’d like to know, has it been tried before?

The theory is fine; and just makes me seem odd which I am fine with, it is the trying to prove it could get a little gross and even odder.

Ok, brace yourself; this is the very odd idea. I would like to prove that seeds are in essence, or used to be, dried up brains. Not brains as we know them now to be but a primitive version, millions of years out of date. I think we must at some point wish to disprove or prove that our brains, and animal brains as we know them now can be nurtured. How interesting would that be?

Now, I know, this could all get a little gross. Initially we could start with a dead fish. Extract the brain and basically plant it. Just a pot with some compost and perhaps growth fertiliser. Nothing too extravagant and nothing that could compromise the integrity of the experiment. See what happens. Now if this doesn’t work, (wouldn’t be a surprise would it?) We could try it with a newly caught fish and try extracting the brain and planting it immediately after death. Obviously you would then be obliged to eat the fish and I would also ask that while the dissection is done, we, and by this I mean you, are gentle and treat it as though it was living even though it is in fact dead.

This is because I would like someone to tell me when does a brain actually die? Is it immediately at death? How are we sure? Just because as a whole how we see a living thing in its entirety has changed with death, does that mean all of the brain is dead?

I am guessing the fish would be easy to work on as it is most familiar to a non scientist and easy from an anatomical point of view too. No skull as such and no other heavy bones. If the fish is a no go, then to completely disprove the theory we would have to move onto something from the land.

Now from an evolutionary standpoint this could make sense. In terms of a ‘land brain’ being more adaptable and evolutionary connected with something from land could make the ‘take’ easier.

Again the gross part would be more gross because we would first have to extract a brain from a dead animal, and here I am thinking bird or squirrel and if that didn’t work then perhaps a newly dead bird or squirrel.

The idea of either of these sounds rather disgusting and disturbing to me. I wouldn’t fancy trying it at all and I would feel rather nauseous and crazy. So, who would try it? Will anyone ever?

Oh c’mon, yes, it sounds crackers but I bet some of you talk to your plants?
Imagine the concept – ‘Don’t bury your pet, plant them’

Imagine where this could lead? Surely not……

Mark Scotchford © 29/11/2014

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Mirror Mirror

Mirror mirror on the wall
Who will rise?
Who will fall?

Who will admire your symmetrical shape?
A super hero without a cape

Light reflects in all you are to be
Hold no grudges
The guilty and the free

We never look to the edges of the frame
The intricacy missed
Such a shame

We always seem so different
Is it a distorted view?
Just a mirage
Of metal and glue

Is it shiny and smooth one side?
Rough and dark the other?

Abandoned in dust
Who will discover?

Mark Scotchford © 21/11/2014

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Gang Stand

I’m a chameleon
Blend in
From background to foreground
Get under your skin

Don’t know what he did
Been told he has to be done
It’s an unnecessary battle
One never won

As he runs for his life
6 of us come around
As the first blow goes in
He falls to the ground

The blade snapped in two
The cold made it brittle
F**k this sh*t
I’ll swap a revel for a skittle

We’re too young
Don’t know what we are doing
That’s the thing round here
Always trouble brewing

Let’s change our fate
Pick this boy up and give him a hand
Or all sit down together
Or all stand

C’mon soldier
We’re all too young to die
And I know when you’re alone
You must cry

Put the knife down
We are akin
On our own it’s a struggle
Together we can win

Mark Scotchford © 06/11/2014

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It’s about feel, touch and what is real. It’s about a real world not a virtual one. It’s about not being fake with the choices we make. About interpretation of something, who decides that, how and why?

People get ‘forced’ to read a book because peer pressure dictates its good and they should.

They haven’t got ‘the time’ to try the unknown but would spend hours reading a book because ‘they heard’ it was good. They would read this book. But would they write one? Could they? They don’t think they have the imagination to write one but generally a film is never as good as the book. Why?

It is their imagination and interpretation that makes the book good. Everything is open to interpretation, even these words. Even what the artist paints is what the artist sees, and might not be what is there. This is dictated by their talent and their interpretation of what they see. That’s what makes an artist an artist. Their own individual interpretation.

It is what can make an artist become well known, or and famous but who or what determines this?

As an example a squiggle on a page by Damien Hurst is worth thousands but a squiggle by you or me isn’t. Is this right?

And symbolism is a curiosity too. The Black Square by Kazimir Malevich is apparently supposed to be ‘the face of the new art’. Declared this by the man himself. Here is a small part of an experts view on this work. The expert is Philip Shaw and it is used without permission.

‘as grand refusal, repudiating nature in favour of abstraction. As such, the painting may be read in terms of the Kantian theory of the sublime. Favouring flatness over depth, Black Square conveys, in the words of Kant’s ‘Analytic of the Sublime’ (1790), ‘the feeling of displeasure that arises from the imagination’s inadequacy’ in an estimation of ‘formlessness’ or ‘magnitude’.’

It is a black square. Yes? A black square. Shall I say it again? It’s a black square. Maybe in actual fact at the time, he was tired and bored and sad, and his hands were cold and that’s all he could manage. And then he thought, umm what shall I say about this one? If he had of painted it at the beginning of his career I wonder what would have happened to him.

Take our good friend Damien Hurst, he can do anything now and make thousands or millions but I do not consider him to be an artist. He is a businessman, a very clever man and a trend setter. Where he goes others follow and this is one of the points I am trying to make.

If I ever become ‘famous’ I will show, write and point out what I meant by each piece and why, and no one else should have the right to comment and neither should anyone listen.

It is the reader, or the viewer whose opinion is important, not an expert, or indeed neither the artist or author. It is what something means to you that is important, not what it is meant to anyone else or what you are ‘told’ it is meant to be or show for you. Am I right?

Mark Scotchford © 21/11/2014

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Penalty Charge….. Notice?

Are you happy?
Enjoy your line of work?
Fulfilled, contented?
Professional not a jerk

When you were at school
Is this what you had in mind?
Parked in the wrong place
Make sure they are fined

Tell yourself it’s the law
The ease of traffic flow
Bump up your score
As they tell you where to go

Just ‘doing your job’
We’ve all got to get by
Must know its rubbish
A convenient lie

Just a puppet
A council misguided missile
A waste of your time and mine
No guts and no guile

Bays not well painted
Read the deliberately illegible sign
Got to give a ticket
Parked over the faded line

110 pounds
How do you justify this cost?
Where does the money go?
Common sense is lost

Mark Scotchford © 18/10/2014

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