Robert Heaton

Software Engineer /
One-track lover / Down a two-way lane

Favorite bits from my insane, never-to-be-published novel

08 Sep 2015

I just re-found a 50,000 word, 80% finished novel that I wrote 10 years ago in high school. As a story with a coherent plot and nuanced characters it is a total disaster, but I still think that some of the individual sections are kind of funny. So before I decide that it’s a bad idea, here are 12 of them.

At the time I was very into bizarre, irreverent, fantastical writers like Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. This was my ham-fisted cargo-culting of their far more considered and deliberate weirdness. The plot centered around two Ordinary Guys, Terry and Gerrard, arbitrarily destined as The Only Ones Who Could Save The World from the evil designs of Moriarty, an incomparably villainous mole (literally a small furry mammal).

A chav

Unfortunately, much of the story also revolved around a group known as “The Meatheads”, my middle-class-teenager treatment of the cultural-cum-socio-economic group also briefly known as “Chavs” in sections of the British media during the 2000s. I chose to ignore the nuances surrounding the systematic ostracization of sections of the working class, in favor of the fact that said sections kept stealing me and my friends’ phones when we were going home on the bus. Let us gloss over those bits and instead start with a good old fashioned joke about poo.

The Meatheads are taking a shortcut through the sewers:

Pro-hunting lobbyists and axe murderers maintain that the principal enjoyment of their pastime is the thrill of the chase – the adrenaline pumping round their bodies in the knowledge that once it is over something will die. They claim that the pursuit is the focal point of the whole experience; without it the episode is empty.

Being hounded, as they are, by ten tonnes of rancid poo, our young friends would disagree to the point of violence with this assertion. It’s all fun and games when you’re the murderer or decomposing faeces, but when you’re the fox, victim or startled idiot, the chase ceases to possess quite the same allure it once did.

The government’s billion-dollar supercomputer, “The Mgsaksm”, is hacked:

“Who’d have though?” sighed Rover, “Who’d have thought that its Achilles heel would turn out to be axes? It could vanquish any worm, any Trojan, any virus thrown at it. But it in turn was conquered by the humble axe.”

“How philosophical,” mused Terry. He was beginning to like that word.

“But whilst the Mgsaksm is severely damaged, its most vital components remain intact. It is believed that one of the engineers who built it made a minor mix-up involving a variable resistor and a walrus. This made no difference to operational capabilities, but confused the hell out of our murderer!” He chuckled. “Just think of it, his stolen blueprints said a walrus, and he finds a variable resistor! How ridiculous!”

Ever the entrepreneur, Baz had taken the opportunity in Camden Market to sell his walkie-talkie to some rather enthusiastic and free-spirited businessmen. He told them that it “could talk 2 God and make pasta and stuff.”

“Pasta, you say? Far out, dude.”

“Congratulations!” Charlotte said, almost admiringly, as the Experience came to a halt by Terry’s tree, “Your plan has been accepted.”

“You receive a one hundred percent pay increase,” added Sir, “bringing your total salary to minus one pound and ninety eight pence. You now owe me double for that ice cream.”

“My plan?”

“You know,” said Charlotte, “The completely asinine and moronic one that could never ever work, even if one had an infinite amount of monkeys with an infinite number of plan-carrying-out-machines. Complicated quantum geography suggests that, whilst idiotic enough to destroy a small African nation, your stultifyingly ridiculous suggestion is so utterly and absolutely senseless that it might just work.”

Courting couples kissed and cooed, whilst in a rare role reversal, white doves sat at restaurant tables with nothing to talk about until the menu finally arrived.

The gentle brush of the wind in your hair; the breathtaking speeds. The unique, inimitable sensations; the sights, the sounds. Together with the inevitable excruciatingly painful collision between head and floor, these make up the six reasons to avoid falling down large holes in the ground.

As he plummeted towards the centre of the earth for the third time since breakfast, Steve reflected remorsefully on the large-hole-safety course he had taken not a year previous.

If only I had paid more attention, he lamented. If only I had remembered their four watchwords. Don’t. Be. A. Moron. But it’s too late for that now.

Remember, Moriarty is literally a mole:

Moriarty swivelled smoothly in his chair, for that was what it was designed to do.

“Gentlemen,” he said, calmly and collectedly, “Shall we begin?” A nod of non-committal deference arced round the grand oak table. “Very good. First order of business…bouncy castles. We need more of them. But make the next batch more resistant to claws.”

“Metal…bouncy…castles,” Fred noted, “Very good.”

“Next…can whoever is consistently finishing the coffee without making a fresh brew please stop? Or else I will be forced to take action in the usual way.” The Inner Circle exchanged uneasy glances and clutched protectively at their nether regions. “Good.”

“Hello there,” he said, as conversationally as possible, “Anything on your mind?” This was functionally equivalent to asking Oedipus whether he got on with his mother. As such, Terry did not dignify it with an answer.

“On page 23 of this week’s ‘Chaos Today,’” said Charlotte, “there is an in-depth and tastefully illustrated report on the University of Bognor’s findings. Essentially, due to random fluxes and bulges in the fabric of deep space, the very universe itself appears to hate you. It will often suspend some of its more helpful laws just to inconvenience and embarrass you. Um, sorry.”

“So that would explain why everyone is so mean and violent to me.” Enlightenment dawned on Terry.

“No, that’s just because you are so annoying.”

Terry wrung his hands in exasperation. “Why was I not informed of this?” he demanded, “If scientists discover that my life is quantumly predispositioned to blow, I think I should at least be told in passing.”

Hyde Park. Yuppies describe it as a nice place to have lunch and catch a breath of fresh air.

And, conversely, hobos describe it as a nice place to have a breath of fresh air and catch lunch.

I’m relatively sure stereotyping the Irish is OK. Probably?

When you realise that your house is being broken into, the Official Home Office Advice is to quietly lock yourself in your bathroom until the intruders go away. With your stuff. It’s the equivalent of driving a gargantuan tanker full of beer into the centre of Dublin and saying ‘Can you watch my beer for me? I’m going to Australia for a year.’ If a house-burglar knows that the most opposition he will face is a slightly slippery kitchen floor, it doesn’t take a villainous mastermind to work out which felony to commit next.

In extreme cases, the poor homeowner can end up losing more than just the contents of their house. When Mr. Victor Im of South Kensington fled to the safety of the toilet, the thief, a Prof. Jimmy The Elbow, took the novel step of actually taking over and living in his spacious flat. Mr. Im’s name was so short that no one really noticed his absence, so, after 5 years of squatting, the Professor claimed the deeds to the property. He graciously allowed Mr. Im to continue to lodge in the bathroom.

The moral of this tenuously relevant story is that stealing is profitable and enjoyable.

During his teens, Terry had been universally accepted in a not-outside-of-school kind of way, but he lacked the decisiveness to get himself invited to gatherings, outings or revelries. When, aged eighteen, he left school and his educational social arena abruptly disintegrated beneath him, he found himself completely alone. His parents loved him dearly, but had to pressure him out of the house so that he could make his own way in the world and they could rent out his room. Terry found a tiny flat in the outskirts of London and an arbitrary degree at UCL. He settled down and watched the rest of the planet go by.

Terry was his own man, answering to no one.

He dearly wished that he wasn’t.

“But they’re too stupid to remember their own shoe sizes,” pointed out Charlotte, “How are they going to remember how to get out?”

“Hur hur,” grunted Baz.

“What?” snapped Charlotte.

“We laid a trail.” She looked up.




“Bread.” The hope in Charlotte’s eyes vanished like a bull in a china shop with a gift for subtelty and camouflage.



“Doesn’t that strike you as a tiny bit moronic?”


“Yes it does, I’ll explain. We – meaning you, me, him and them – are in a park – big green thing. In this ‘park’ there are many animals – living creatures. These ‘animals’ like to eat – consume for energy – things, especially food – such as bread. Therefore, when we try to follow your ‘trail,’ it won’t be there anymore. There won’t be any bread to follow.”

“Why would u follow the trail of bread?”

Charlotte groaned. “To try and get out of this metamorphosising mystery maybe?”

“Nah. Usually we follow the trail of dead animals what ate the poisoned bread.”

“Oh. Why didn’t you say so?”

“Mind that buffalo.”

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