Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Dr. Oddzo's Shotgun Therapy

Maybe Jesus knows where Bill Oddie found a Remington pump action shotgun. It would be wrong of me to speculate. There was just something reassuring about the way the walnut stock kicked bruises into my hip. I was blasting away at some old oil cans I'd thrown out onto the lake sized pond. I'd been drinking Wild Turkey all afternoon, trying to convince myself that the genial man who hosts a tea-time talk show can really be one crazy son-of-a-bitch channelling the spirit of that other crazy son-of-a-bitch, Hunter S. Thompson. My descent into madness was terminal. It was just a matter of figuring out which way the wreckage would lie.

'You know Bill,' I said as I pumped a few more shells into the breach. 'This is so goddamn right after a long week of feeling sorry for myself. Those bastards at Channel 4 don't appreciate me. The craven heathen pigf****rs.'

'Fire away,' said Bill, 'I was told me that it would calm you down after your battle against your black dog.'

'It's been more like a charcoal grey dog,' I said, reaching for my now underweight bottle. 'But it had rabid bloodshot eyes and drool that could eat a hole through sheet metal.' My lips snatched more whisky before I realised what Bill had said. 'Who told you this would cheer me up?' I asked.

'Oh, this was all Stephen's idea,' said Bill.

'Stephen? Stephen?' I repeated, the whisky having dulled my senses as well as my self-pity.

'He rang me this morning from America where he's filming his documentaries. He told me where to find his old shotgun and he said that I'm to let you fire every last shell if it makes you feel better.'

'That beautiful yet crazy son-of-a-bitch,' I said as I turned the weapon on Judy's ornamental garden and took the head off my least favourite dwarf. 'Die you miserable pot bellied dwarf bastard,' I cried as the air filled with plaster dust.

Bill looked hurt.

'No, no, Bill,' I said, taking my bottle from the floor. 'No offence meant. I was talking to the other pot bellied dwarf.'

'None taken,' said Bill but I could see that my words had hurt him where he lives. His face had that same torn expression it had the time I'd accused him of destroying his reputation inside the BBC by selling his cheap plastic herons.

'The thing is, Bill,' I said, resting the shotgun on my hip as I prepared to oil my temper with more liquor. 'I want to do something wild. I want to prove that I'm more than the man tied to a desk or making small talk between five and six every weekday evening. I think we should take a trip.'

'A trip?' asked Bill. 'A trip where?'

'A road trip. A road trip to Blackpool.'

His eyes lit up. 'There's a fantastic RSPB sanctuary up there on the Fylde Coast. This time of year, we might be able to spot a few of the early migratory waders.'

'I'm not looking to go birdwatching,' I said and lowered the gun ready to menace one of the oil cans that had been foolish enough to resurface. 'I'm talking about us having ourselves a wild weekend of excess in the spirit of gonzo. What do you say, Bill? Are you up for “Fear and Loathing in Blackpool”?'

'Does that mean we'll have to take drugs?'

The gun kicked. The can sang its death note.

'Drugs? Sex? Alcohol? I prefer not to name the vices that work for me,' I said. 'But I do know that I don't need illegal drugs to be reckless and slightly insane. My brain chemistry is a rare mutation of genius.'

Bill sank to the floor and picked up a can of Red Bull. There's nothing more wretched than a caffeine addict swollen with that heinous delusion that they are all powerful. The Greeks worshipped Dionysus for a reason. They didn't have the god of the Genus Coffea in their Rolodex.

'We'll need a car,' he said eagerly.

Luckily, I had it covered. 'Terry Gilliam is a good friend. He still has the Caddy from the film. Convertible in bright red. He'll let us use that. We'll hang a flag from the back.'

'The RSPB crest?' suggested Bill.

'The Stars and Stripes,' I yelled. 'It's the only way to go. From this moment, you call me Richard Duke. You can be my faithful assistant, Dr. Oddzo. I won't be happy until we've got ourselves a hotel suite and smuggled a monkey and a midget into our room and pumped them full of Toilet Duck.'

Dr. Oddzo ran a hand through his beard, his eyes now fully dilated as the Red Bull kicked in.

'I'm with you,' he said and pushed himself to his feet. 'We'll tear Blackpool apart!'

I pushed another shell into the gun, preparing to fire it into the lake, but before I could get my finger around the trigger, Dr. Oddzo had snatched the gun from my hands. That crazy bastard. The spirit of his age: a worn down stump of high living on BBC expense accounts yet a beautiful last hymn to the Sixties.

'Head down, Corbett!' he scream as he fired shells into the neighbour's bedroom window. Glass shattered. The shreds of net curtains floated down like confetti.

'Gonzo!' cried Dr. Oddzo, that twisted version of the human prototype as he ran back up to the house.

'Too crazy to live, to rare to die,' I muttered as I followed after him.


Selena Dreamy said...

channelling the spirit of that other crazy son-of-a-bitch, Hunter S. Thompson...

...all Hunter ever did in the way of recklessness was to drink too much and, with varying degrees of acrimony, write some low-level journalism. The inadequacy of his fiction was his real problem, of course, rather than “the perils of writing” and, albeit done in an attempt to alleviate his “fear and loathing,” courting self-destruction is not the way to success! Nor were the writers Thompson most admired, such as Hemingway, Jack London and Henry Miller, part of any literary movement - essentially, they were their own ancestors - men who created a genre.

So, there we are, Richard, in a nutshell:

Don't loaf and invite inspiration.
Light out after it with a club.
(Jack London)

Richard Madeley said...

I don't know, Selena. 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' has a savage beauty to it and its humour is there on the page. I think he has a problem with narrative, perhaps even as an extension of his character. He wrote out of the strange beast he was. I enjoy him in small doses more than extended sessions. Locally, he can writes like an angel and he's one of the writers I enjoy picking up and hearing that voice chiming in my mind. I'm also probably one of the few people who find his writing to be quite moral. I get quite irate when he's portrayed as the model for every pot-head hunched over a typewriter.

As to courting self-destruction, I agree but I've been too damn self-destructive this week. I'm writing myself out of a bad place where I inspiration lay thin on the ground. This is my first step on a road to recovery. I might go quiet for a few days because of work but I'm feeling a little better after last night's session with the shotgun and Dr. Oddzo.

Lola said...

Yee hah! Ride 'em, cowboy! Go get 'em! You're back on form already - glad you won't be needing that poem, I wasn't really up to it today. My prose is far too lowbrow to compete with you and Selena. I still don't understand half of what she writes...

bertas said...

Ah its nice to see our old chum Richard back to his usual form :)
Hm and maybe I am wrong, but shouldnt a shotgun leave a bruise on your shoulder? Dont ask how I know :)

And Richard if you boys are planning an outing you know I'm out with my lot in Norfolk next week... try to stay out of trouble and dont make me come and bail you out... :)

AxmxZ said...

You're going to need to arm yourselves. To the teeth. And you'll need the cocaine.

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