June 27, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Konrad Lembcke photo



Stephen Philip Druce




Plain Old Crazy



I knew I wasn’t crazy when I saw

the real crazy people in action.

I once saw a guy marching down

the road wearing trousers that were

ten inches too short, with a self-assured

swagger as if they were a good fit. Presumably

he’d chosen not to return to the clothes store

to exchange the trousers for a pair with a more

suitable size, but instead to parade the streets

with the adopted fashion persona of a circus clown.


“I’m going on a skiing holiday” I heard somebody

say. A novice skier that doesn’t walk with any

measure of grace and style, let alone fly off an ice

mountain at a high velocity on a pair of sticks,

surely has a high probability of inflicting self-injury

on the slopes. Yes there’s something a little foreboding

about the rock-solid jagged terrain that can really mess

with your no-broken-bones holiday policy. Olympic

standard skiers get injured don’t they?. So what makes

a rookie skier exempt from such severe risks when

they’re perhaps a manager of a launderette?.


Bungee jumpers are crazy too. Why not leap off a high

bridge tied to an elastic band and experience the irresistible

opportunity to suffer spinal damage and whiplash?. “Motorcycling

is the freest way to travel” they say. Yes free to travel over a roadside

fence and three fields in a high speed post-impact scenario. And what

about the crazy people who have no fear of flying in an aeroplane?.

“You have more chance of getting struck by lightning than crashing

in a plane” you hear them say. Well I’d rather be hit by lightning than

nosedive from thirty thousand feet into an ocean bed that is so deep

there are creatures living there with spaghetti-shaped teeth and one eye.


Then there’s the crazy people that undergo plastic surgery.

Why not put your blind faith in a bogus surgeon, who may

consequently render you with half a chin and no nostrils?.

“Why did I go through with it?” they say in the post-op catastrophe.

It’s because you were hasty, cheap and crazy. You entrusted a ‘surgeon’

with credentials that extended to that of pottery class teacher. They did

a botch job, scarpered with your cash and now you breathe through your ears.


The crazy people, you know the type: train spotters, astrologists, football

hooligans, picnic enthusiasts, owners of dangerous dogs – “It’s ok he won’t

bite, as long as you don’t breathe”. The ocean surfer who lost all his limbs

and torso from numerous Great White shark attacks, but will not be deterred

from going back into shark-infested waters to surf again. “I can still roll my

remaining head onto a surfboard” he says. Of course there is nothing more

aesthetically pleasing to a beach lady than watching a human coconut on

a giant pitta bread riding a wave.


How about the crazy participators of body tattooing?.

you know the best way to pamper your soft, elegant,

silky skin?. Deface it with ink. Ink! – a substance that

if spilt over your coffee table would spark a major

household crisis. But your precious velvety skin?. Screw

it!, you’re good to go and vandalise it all with tacky

meaningless ink stains. Plain old crazy.






A New Challenge



“I need to explore my inner-self, I need to feel a sense

of achievement, I need a new challenge”.


“Wash the dishes once a year then” said the wife.


“No dear, I need a sterner test, so I’ve decided I’m going

to climb Mount Everest”.


“Climb Everest?, ha! ha!, let’s see you climb out of the

bath without getting your fat ass stuck for once” she said.


“Well I won’t be climbing alone. I have summoned the help

of two fine mountaineers”.


“Really?, iconic names no doubt. Who are they then?” she said.


“Well naturally Ted Slop and Bob Splodge”.


“Who?, ha! ha!, and what are their credentials?” she said.


“Credentials?, please show me some due respect for these

courageous men. Ted Slop has climbed more ladders as a

window cleaner than you’ve had hot dinners, and Bob Splodge

is very accomplished with ropes: a runner-up in the boy scouts

tug-of-war team competition for Cornwall in 1979. Yes these

two talented men are all the support I’ll need to get me up the

mountain, except for maybe half a dozen Sherpas to help carry the

beer. No I definitely need something that will sort the men out

from the boys”.


“You mean like overgrown nasal hair?. I’m curious, what’s your

planned route approach to the summit, the south east route in

Nepal, or the northern route in Tibet?” she said.


“Neither actually. We’ll be climbing in a perfectly straight vertical

line. This will save time and ensure we’re back home in time for

the pre-arranged victory celebration party and buffet of sausage

rolls and cheese and pineapples on sticks”.


The night before the flight to Nepal my fellow climbers and I slept

over at my apartment, making final preparations. In the morning

I discovered I’d lost my apartment key. We had no option but to

climb down the drainpipe on the outside of the apartment building,

six floors up. As we slid down attached to ropes I suddenly lost my

grip and in desperation I swung my ice pick into the building wall,

which caused a large gaping hole in the brickwork and plaster.

I could see through the hole into Fat Mavis’s apartment as she took

a shower.


“This climbing lark is giving me altitude sickness, I’m hallucinating,

I’m getting horrible visions” said Ted.


“Me too” I said, “have you seen Fat Mavis naked?”.


Mavis feeling violated, reached out through the hole and tried to

push us all off the ropes. Consequently she fell out of the building

and fell on top of Bob. The four of us became entangled and squashed

together in a messy pile.


“Oxygen mask!” cried Bob.


“No need for oxygen Bob, we’re at a lower altitude now” I said.


“No it’s not that, Fat Mavis is sitting on my face” he said.


Finally we dropped down to the street exhausted. My wife was there

waiting for me. I told her “hey I lost my apartment key, we had to exit

through the window and climb down”.


“Yeah I know, I took the key from out of your trouser pocket”.


“What? are you nuts?, why did you do that?” I said.


“Well I just wanted to see how you’d do as a climber. Now I know

you can get your fat ass back into the apartment and wash the dishes”

she said.






Do Goldfish?



I wonder if goldfish drink

the same water they swim in?.


They can’t leave the tank so

they must do.


So they must pee

in the tank too.


They must drink

their own pee



I couldn’t drink

my own pee.


I don’t know if a goldfish

could drink my pee but

I couldn’t.


I couldn’t drink

goldfish pee either.


If I was a goldfish

I’d drink the

water before

I peed into it

so I wouldn’t have to

drink my own pee.


As long as

there wasn’t already

some pee in

the water from

the last pee

I had in there,

or if another

goldfish had peed

in there before

I got the chance to

drink any water.


If I lived in a

goldfish tank I’d keep

all my pee in

my bladder.


It would be better than

peeing all my pee

into the tank and then

having to drink it.


Mind you if I kept

drinking the water and

didn’t have a

pee, there wouldn’t be

any pee or

water left to

swim in – or drink.


All the pee would

be in my

bladder, and nothing

can swim

in a bladder.


In a empty

goldfish tank I’d

have to pee

a lot of pee into

it so I

could swim.


I wonder if goldfish

really do drink

the same water

they swim in, or

indeed if they pee

in the tank?.


The water never turns

yellow does it?.


The water would turn

yellow if I peed

into it.


Maybe goldfish pee is

the same colour as

water so you

don’t see it

going in.


You’d notice my

yellow pee going

into a

tank of water.


If goldfish pee is

the same colour as

water you wouldn’t

be able to

tell if the tank

was full of

pee or just

water, unless they

don’t pee.


But if they

drink water they

must do.






stephen philip druce

Stephen Philip Druce

Stephen Philip Druce is a poet from Shrewsbury in the U.K. He has previous publications with The Playerist, Cake, Muse Literary Journal, Ink Sweat And Tears, The Inconsequential, The Taj Mahal Review and Spokes.

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