A conversement

Dear Ted,

I have found one of God’s limbs. It is as slender as a whippet, but stronger than a bridge. I cannot work out whether it is a leg, or an arm; but I suppose that when you’re God, it doesn’t really matter.

I took it to the post office and asked if they had some kind of celestial delivery service that operated outside of our mortal realm. The woman coughed and then stared silently at me for several minutes while the queue grew agitated behind me. Eventually, as the shop floor pulsed and murmured, I took the packaged limb and left. She spluttered back into action as soon as my back was turned and nobody seemed to notice me leave.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been disappointed with the level of service at a Hull-based establishment. In 1994 I was turned away from a library for tearing pages from a book. It didn’t seem to matter to them that I had brought the book with me, or that I was tearing the pages very slowly and carefully and not “causing a scene”. I explained that I was removing elements of my life from my own diary in order to change the past itself, but the librarian told me that time does not work that way. I had to finish my task in the disconcertingly noisy high street, where at least I was paid no heed by passers-by.

I have started wondering whether there could be some other city outside of the historic walls of Hull; something on the other side of the Humber bridge other than decay and misery. I have heard tales of places where a young warlock like myself may find sympathy and encouragement. Places called “Basildon”, “Cirencester”… “Chelmsford”. Surely, with God’s Limb on my side, I could make a go of it in one of these settlements and find things that Hull can no longer offer?

But I can’t turn my back on these fair streets, no matter how hard I try. There are too many memories here – albums recorded in dingy basements, waking confused in cornfields, my first skateboard… and mother, of course. Kind, hideous mother.

Should you wish to reply to this, Ted, I can be reached at the usual address. I shan’t go anywhere just yet. Certainly not while God’s Limb still rests in my bed.

Kind regards,

Dear Toby

As always nice to hear from you. Should explain misconceptions about time but would only get you angry (the removal of diaried life only works with the construction of boats from the pages, set adrift upon a smooth and marbled lake, meat of your own or at least blood carried in their hollows, each one sank by the landing on it of a bird successfully cut from time, replaced though by god knows what, each one left untouched doubled in strength, crippling possibly your very brain and overwhelming all other memories, it is the risk you take, each one eaten from below by fish or eel? that i do not know for it has yet to occur, for me, or for mine) so ignore the bracketed words if you wish to retain your composure. Have story to tell you later concerning several new words I have discovered, one of which could possibly be used to describe your mother.

Kind Regards



I knew I had forgotten something. Once I had removed each page I was simply chewing it until the paper reached a thick paste-like texture in my mouth, and then squeezing this out between my teeth to form a small “pellet” of memories, which I then burned. In fact I am starting to think the librarian was actually well within his rights when he asked me to leave, especially now that you have explained exactly what I was doing wrong, as only you can.

Of course it’s possible that I was, in fact, doing everything correctly and you’re just jealous that I now possess more of God’s limbs than you, in which case I will thank you to take your leave of this conversation and go and hunt down your own immortal limb rather than bothering me with your pedantry. For the record, I found mine in a shed.

Yours furiously,

P.S. The following words have been agreed upon when describing mother:
Un- (or in-) –comprehen –sible (or –dible)

If you had been born to a mother – rather than forged in a pit of hatred – then you would understand.

Dear Toby,

I apologise for unneccesarily angering you, with my previous letter. The use of sank instead of sunk in my explanation of time’s destruction was an unforgivable oversight. It will not happen again.


PS Toby have you ever said your own name it is a surprisingly difficult thing for a man to do I tried to say mine the other day and it got stuck in my throat like so many clams turned the wrong way obstructing wind and food alike


Apology accepted. You may now use any word in your swollen vocabulary to describe my mother, without fear of my flaming vengeance being wrought upon you.

I opted to find a phonetically similar word-pair that I could utter when called upon to speak my name, since the action of speaking my own name causes me to panic and sweat. I can then go on to spell out the individual letters of the words if the listener is writing my name down onto a form or computing device.

The phrases I settled upon was “Toadie Fox”, after several months experimenting with “Zombie Clock” and finding that it rendered the listener immobile due to some forgotten curse or cantrip. For yourself, may I suggest “Did Bark” or “Dead Back”, depending on your accent (have I ever actually heard you speak?)? – ?

For the sake of mankind I can only hope that neither of us ever have to reveal our middle names, because they redefine the concept of “grotesque”.


P.S. I really must get rid of this limb somehow. It is giving me terrible moodswings, and every time I blink I see visions of the reigning messiah, Jesus IV.




It is perfect. Mother is delighted.

Toby there is more

It means to bring gloom to, or having done so, like illumined, but inverted, but not even fully inverted, for gloom is less than dark, and more evocative, like dust choking the soul and eyes of a child



Mother’s delight now seems painfully ironic; and yet this is still the emotion she conveys, even after I read the full definition to her.

She is nothing if not a whirling ball of contradictions.

Then my work must be abandoned before it is too late.

Te. V.

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