Jerusalem Syndrome

“Yeah, uh, Steve? What are you doing, mate?”

“I’m building Jerusalem, ain’t I?”

Keith nodded, as if this was a sensible answer to a question asked in the middle of Suffolk. Indeed, the collection of boxes, fencing, tiles and bricks was an admirable effort for a middle-aged plumber. Steve had even gone to the trouble of using a cricket helmet on an Ikea box to recreate the Temple Mount.

While the tiny city made of litter had upset people, it wasn’t what finally caused the Neighbourhood Association of Little Felsham to act. Direct confrontation was frowned upon, whether it was about garden fences or recreating a foreign city on the village green. It was rather because Steve had taken to wearing nothing but a semi-transparent sheet as a toga. There was no option left after that. A meeting of concerned residents met at Cassandra’s house, and over tea and biscuits, it was decided Keith would be the one to investigate what was going on.

“It’s just, well, Steve,” Keith said, hands buried deep in his pockets. “There already is a Jerusalem, isn’t there? You’ve just been there?”

“Yep,” Steve said, bending over to pick up a brick. Keith averted his eyes. “Those Jews and Muslims arguing over who owns what. It’s a damn shame, Keith, that’s what it is. I knew then I had to go and help.”

Unable to find a link somehow between the litter city and securing peace in the Middle East, Keith resorted to nodding again. “Mmm.”

“It’s pretty simple when you think about it. Once I get this place finished, I can pop back over there and lead the Jews home, you know. Tell them there’s a completely free Jerusalem waiting for them over here. My mother always wanted me to be a prophet.”

“I think she wanted you to always be honest, Steve,” Keith said, feeling himself being sucked into the insanity like a spider toward a sink drain. “Hang on, why are you picking the Jews to come here?”

Steve paused at this question, running a hand through his unbrushed hair. “Look, I ain’t got a problem with those Muslims, but well, I figured bringing over the Jews might be less damaging on property prices, you know?”


“Anyway,” Steve continued, barrelling through Keith’s objection. “I really can’t talk. I’ve got to finish this place by Christmas. Give everybody time to settle in.”

Taking that as his cue to leave, Keith wandered back to his house. While he liked Steve and all, he wasn’t going to try and restore his sanity alone.


((I’ve been busy with Masters study. Proper blogging will try and resume later. Until then, I may post a few old piece of flash fiction.))

Status Update

So, back at the start of March I boldly declared:

So here’s my promise to myself (recorded on the internet so people can judge me if I fail):

I’m going to keep writing. 10,000 words a month of fiction (and if my Masters is getting really tough, I’ll include blogging as well. I’m only human). I’m going to concentrate on short stories. Things I can pick up and put down easily. Stories that I can finish quickly and feel a sense of completion.

How did I do for March? 10,045 words. Mission accomplished. Full disclosure, I did take my blogging into account for those 10,000 words. But I still got down about 7,000 words of writing and 3,000 words of blogging, which isn’t a bad split.

What have I been working on?

  • A story about a witch who works as a “wrecker”, luring ships onto the beach to shipwreck them and steal their cargo;
  • A “Mievillian fairytale” about a couple that runs away and ends up in a swamp; and
  • A faux-academic paper about “Why I Think Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer”

One of the above three is not something that lends itself to publication. I’m going to have to decide what I want to try and do with it. Needless to say, though, You Know Who is definitely the Zodiac Killer. I know J.G Ballard had “Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan” handed out at the Republican National Convention. Anyone heading that way who wants to do me a favour?

I’ve also made a decent start on my Law Thesis and History Dissertation so I feel like March ended up being a productive month for me. I hope to carry it into April. Writing-wise, while the fairytale is finished, I still have to complete the wrecker and Zodiac Killer stories. I also have 25% of a Wodehousian Sci-Fi story sitting in my “Works in Progress” folder. I hope to get back to that; it’s really rather corking, you know?

I’ll let you all know how it goes comes this time in May!