Jeff was a copywriter, a word he didn’t know the meaning of until he was informed he was one by The Company almost a year into working for them. The Company had decided to whip him up a set of business cards while they were making some for everyone. You can’t have someone working at The Company without their own card. There it read, in some crisp sans-serif font or other:



“This will sound daft, but…”


“What does a copywriter do?”

“Haha! What you do, of course.”

“…like, slogans and bits of promotional writing and stuff.”


“Saying things are good and the like.”

“Yes. But, well.”

“What makes me do it well?”

“Look at your card. You’re managing copywriter.”

“What does that mean?”

“Haha! Oh, Jeff. You’re a laugh.”

The Company had a new product. If you put an apple on the product, the apple would automatically be turned against a blade, peeling it. Jeff had to come up with some marketing materials for it. He had been given his own demo of the product to test out, which he did. As intended, it removed most of the apple skin, not unlike a pencil sharpener. He opened his laptop, then opened a new word processing document.

Picking out his letter carefully with just his index fingers, Jeff typed, “Yes!” It’s important to include affirmative language. Makes people feel good, implies confidence. That sort of thing.

Over the next three hours, Jeff smoked no fewer than fifteen cigarettes and had prepared five hot drinks. Two tea, two coffee, one green tea for variety. Three had gone cold without a sip. The peeled apple was now an amber brown.

“It even does potatoes!” Oh, now I’m cooking, thought Jeff. After a quick victory cigarette, he began worrying that maybe it didn’t even do potatoes. Pacing. Pacing. Sip. Pacing. A quick nip down to the cafeteria. Jen, who prepared the cafeteria meals, might have one.

“Jen, we have any spare potatoes?”

“Er, yeah, I reckon so. What kind you after?”

“One about the size of an apple would be good.”

“Just one?”

“Yes, please.”

“You want it… like, cooked, or anything?”

“No, thanks.” Jeff ran back upstairs with his potato.

Sadly, the product didn’t even do potatoes; not well, anyway. Jeff put his head in his hands, the crowded cups clinking against his ashtray. This was bad, he had nothing! He had a quick look through his notebook, where he’d put down turns of phrase he toyed with while in traffic jams and such.

“Can’t live without it.”

“Can’t spell hope without look up words that have hope in them

“You are the only person in your life that doesn’t have this.” (In retrospect, a bit grim. He struck a line through that one; must have been having a bad day at the time.)

“We care because you care.”

“You don’t need this, but then again, someday you might.”

Ah, now, there was a bit of truth in advertising! Jeff liked it. He was sure people would like it, too. He typed it up, chose a nice font, and uploaded it to the cloud drive. It was now 4:33pm – he’d have to tell Jo tomorrow that he’d worked a half hour of overtime. Well worth it though – he hated leaving things undone.

Needless to say, the product was an unparalleled success. Statistics showed that one in every three households had one in the country after just a year on the shelves. Jeff’s boss was very pleased. In turn, so was Jeff. Everything had worked out well!


Future Prospects

Dammit, this ice isn’t icy enough. I bought two of the biggest bags that the mart has, but the moment you shove your hands in them, even after the less demanding conjures from this module, they just evaporate. Cooldown’s gonna take at least 15 minutes, and I can’t exactly type up coursework while your hands are still hot enough to melt plastic. So I can’t use my phone, either.

It’s when I take breathers like this I let myself dwell too much on the many lectures dad gave me before I graduated high school.

‘You’re thinking about today, not the future. There’s just no money in the elementals anymore.’
‘What, you wanna end up doing landscaping for the government like your mom’s dad? Worked him to death, that did. Literally.’
‘Go on, then. As your father, I have the responsibility to support the decisions you take, but it don’t mean I have to be proud of them.’

These demoralising little soundbites loop with greater frequency as exam time looms closer. I beat myself up into submission via my dad until I knuckle down and do something. It’s the only way I can revise when blowing shit up loses its lustre. More than anything, though, I just never want to admit that, God forbid, maybe he kinda sorta has a point in a way?

I used to think it was a generational thing. Like, you get a job, have kids, get old and suddenly you forget how cool it is that whoah! Some people can make fire out of fucking nothing! But then college application time came around and even my closest and dumbest friends have been having these great life-affirming changes of heart about what discipline they’re going to take, no matter how unsuited to them it is. Take Toby last week:

‘Well, y’know, I’m probably gonna go into projection for my major.’

‘What the hell are you talking about, Toby? You’ve been straight fulgurkinetic since fourth grade.’

‘Projection’s all just mental imagery, how hard can it be, you just gotta study.’

‘Yeah, that’s just why we both do elementals. We suck at studying. Elementals are at least 80% practice and practicals.’

‘But what am I gonna do in ten years, huh? There’s too many electric users and too few jobs. Screw government hire, too. They’d only make me power backup or stick me in the military.’

‘This from the guy who fucks around with the power grid at parties so girls will talk to him. Get outta here.’

It’s not a totally unrealistic idea. The teachers in our elementary used to think that Toby had a knack for telekinesis, which draws on mental rather than spiritual energy (the latter being less tangible than the former; go figure). The only reason he went down the elemental path with me is because fire and electricity are literally the two coolest things ever when you’re young. We used to go around getting into fights with kids from other schools. The fact that fire can conduct electricity at high enough voltages and compound one another’s destructive force in great, arcing snakes of doom made us badasses… for a few years, anyway. We literally conjured flaming serpents that ‘breathed’ lightning – such are the priorities and aesthetics of 14-year-old boys – but I stand by them. It was cool.

I’d say that Toby himself has changed, and bitch about that instead, but the truth is he hasn’t; he just thinks the same way too many people now think about choosing their discipline. Like going to college is nothing more than a trampoline to greater employment. I may not be a great student, but for eight hours every day, the government loans me bed and board to learn how to make and control fire out of thin air better and hotter than I could the day before. If that isn’t life, then I really don’t know what is, or care for a future where it isn’t. Still, those smug-ass mental-users don’t spend, like, a quarter of their lives in cold baths, and they make more money later on. Bastards.

Dies Penniless

lots of phobias out there
emetophobia (fear of vomiting)
hylophobia (the trees are trying to kill you)
ombrophobia (rain. Some people are scared of rain. Can you believe it)

here’s mine
not that kind
the germs, the grime
it just doesn’t bear

paper money
don’t get me started
caked in cack
with literal faeces

‘keep the change’
‘are you sure? This is eight pounds ninety eight’
‘keep the change’

The Hack Cries

P: ‘Phobb!’
A: ‘Sorry?’
B: ‘Don’t worry, this happens from time to time.’
P: ‘Grig. Grigged. They grigged him.’
A: ‘What’s he saying?’
B: ‘Well, nothing, really. He just likes how some things sound.’
P: Flem. Fullem.
A: ‘Sounds serious.’
B: ‘Nah, he gives up after a few minutes. It’s still better than the other thing he does.’
P: ‘These days, I frequently fantasise about how I would make the cries for help I know I’ll never summon the bravery to muster.’
A: ‘What?’
B: ‘That. That’s the other thing.’

Irving; For Whom I Am Sorry

Son, are your kicks made of felt or some such disrespect?
Time was I could have you ejected from my property for such an insult
but times change, and not always for the better
Let it be known well and by all, though
that I think you’re a plum fool
and woe beget the assclown who wilfully considers themselves your associate

Footwear like that can scarcely be described as such
Maroon upper and everything – the signature of poor breeding

I know you probably think me harsh, but honestly
I lambast you in your best interests
and more importantly, those of society’s –
Bad shoes hinder good men
in a variety of insidious ways
(physically, emotionally, professionally, you name it-)

Moments like these force me to wonder what’s left for a species
Must have been a day when even the dodos must have thought,
‘it’s the 17th century and we still can’t fly;
we deserve our fate’

Such barefaced inbecility has an unsavory audacity to it
I’ve enjoyed our little exchange of ideals
but I’ll hear no more of it
I’m going to continue going about my life now –
a little happier for having given you a piece of my mind
but from time to time
I’ll remember your shoes
and it’ll ruin my day.


Squatting hunched in the middle of the room.
He looks after my post.
Re-rolling cigarettes found on the floor.
He knows where I live.

Failed Diamante

shaped a ship
sunk long time back
taking not a single person
built in the memory
to no-one’s benefit
meeting place