Vogelswood One

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I knew I was dreaming because I could hear a blackbird singing far away. Whenever I dream I can hear that bird’s song drifting in and out, usually from a distance. In my dream it was a summer evening. I knew this because the dark wood-panelled office I was in had a single small round window, through which I could see the abundant foliage of an oak tree dotted with small budding acorns. A warm breeze gifted the room with the scent of a forest and the sound of leaves rippling. The blackbird was using his four note summer call. There was also a 24 hour clock on the wall. It was 1900 hours exactly and below the time was the day’s date, June 21st. I did not know what the year was.

As well as a clock, a window and dark wood-panelling the office had a deep red carpet and a large desk behind which sat a strange creature. He (I guessed it was a he) wasn’t human but he wasn’t altogether animal either. He was roughly man-like in shape but he far exceeded the size of a man. He had rough, green skin, a large and powerful body and a small bald head. Thick brushes of red hair sprouted from his nostrils and ears. His eyes were deep set under the ridge of a heavy brow and he had a wide mouth that had four large, blunt teeth like worn piano keys jutting from a prodigious under-bite. They were the kind of teeth used for smashing and grinding and to be avoided at all costs.

The creature was wearing a dark grey pin-stripe suit, a clean white shirt and an orange paisley tie. A gold-nibbed fountain pen somehow emerged from his huge right fist. The fist looked more suited to beating sheet metal than writing, but at that moment it was doing the improbable: Writing a bold, flowing script in black ink on the top sheet of a pad of white foolscap. He was pressing the pen hard into the paper as he wrote. I could hear the nib scrape and see it bend with each downstroke. Next to the pad was an old looking telephone and in front of both was a brass name-plate with the following inscription:

CFO Gordon Henderson

I wasn’t sure what ‘CFO’ stood for but imagined that it was an acronym for some important sounding job title, like ‘Chief Fire Officer’ although he didn’t look like a firefighter. He did look important though. I couldn’t see what he was writing and so I wafted closer to get a better look. At no point did I think he was aware of my presence in the office. I have had countless dreams in which I’m an invisible spectator of events and I had no reason to think that it would be different in this dream. As I moved closer to see what he was writing he gave no indication of being aware of my being there and so I had no fear of disturbing him. I had to angle my head as I don’t read upside down too well. This is what I managed to read:

and I have worked too long and too hard to allow this matter to threaten the success of our enterprise. I believe I know who is behind it all, but I need proof before I can act.

The telephone rang. The creature stopped writing and picked up the receiver. It looked like a child’s toy in his massive hand and he had to hold it with only his index finger and thumb.

‘Henderson.’ he rumbled into the mouthpiece.

His voice was deep and those three syllables contained the sound of boulders being broken deep below ocean waves. I could just make out a scratchy and indistinct voice coming from the telephone receiver. I could not tell what the caller was saying.

‘They do not need to be exceptional,’ he rumbled ‘But they do need to be competent, and replaceable.’ he said, and paused to listened to the reply. ‘Good’ he said. ‘Send them to me at once’. With that he replaced the receiver and picked up his pen. He cocked his head on those massive shoulders, listening.

I could hear it too. The blackbird’s song with it’s four note refrain. It was louder and clearer than before, as if the blackbird was singing just outside the window. Then all at once the song grew louder again and I looked around expecting to see that the bird had entered the office, but it wasn’t to be seen. The song became so loud that the notes became distorted and I could hear words being spoken through them,

‘Come! Do wake up!’ said a shrill voice, close to my ear.

The office and the creature known as Henderson wavered for a few seconds and then broke, dissolving into a dark blue grey fog that filled my vision.

‘Come! You are called!’ said the voice, very close now. My ear hurt.

I woke up.

27 Percent

It was late and I found myself having to update my desktop computer after a long summer’s sleep. The computer was only 27% through it’s important work. In this kind of situation it’s best not to stare at the progress indicator. Instead, grab a pencil and draw something.

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I was pleased with the Land Rover County, the bear driving it and the toucan. When I looked back at my computer it was still at 27%, so I thought I’d give inking the drawing ago. Now, I really hate inking over pencil marks. The pen nib slides around, the ink flows badly and I rarely leave it enough time to dry before erasing the pencil with a rubber. So I’m often left with a smeared drawing due to bad technique and impatience. A few years ago I treated myself to a small light box but I’ve never really used it. I’ve got into the habit of drawing in ink without pencilling. Anyway, I decided to trace this pencil doodle and so I dug out the light box. Happily it worked, and I traced the pencils onto an overlaid piece of paper wit my fountain pen.

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I was pretty pleased with it. I over did it on the hatching as usual but I just can’t help myself. I looked back up at my monitor and of course, it’s still at 27%. But that’s ok, I’m quite enjoying this stolen time and so I get my colouring pencils and get to work. When it comes to colouring drawings, pencils are my best friends. They don’t care if I insist on non-waterproof ink. They live in a nice little tin.

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And that is that, really. Time well spent. Of course, the computer is still at 27% after about an hour of drawing. I need to go to bed and I don’t want to leave it running all night. So I switch it off and on again.

*And of course it’s fine.*