This is the story of Gregory Tweedle.
Gregory did not have a pocket watch. He did not have an alarm clock. Gregory did not even have angry taxi drivers that hooted down his road at six o’clock every morning. Despite this Gregory continued to wake up at exactly five past six every morning of his life.
Mr. Tweedle loved to drink tea. His morning breakfast consisted of toast and a spot of jam. His fridge contained about a dozen different jams. Breakfast ended off with Earl Grey tea, and a buttermilk rusk.
To a normal English person all the above would lead on to a morning activity, such as reading the newspaper, brushing teeth, shaving, or getting dressed. Gregory’s day began with the computer.
The reason Gregory awoke at five past six every morning, was due to his friend Johnson. Johnson Timothy had always told his mother that his mother than his name was the wrong way around. He’d also always been woken up by angry taxi drivers at six o’clock every morning. Following this Johnson had always crawled to his notebook, and Skyped his friend, Gregory.
Gregory did not have a pocket watch, but he had the internet, and for the moment that was good enough for him.
Gregory was a recluse. Every morning he began with the same activities, keeping the order of them intact. An outsider would look at the life of this Englishman and say it was rather predictable.
At this point Gregory would shrug and nonchalantly say,
“It works for me.”
He had lived behind the keyboard, every day. His mother considered him to be a cyber concert pianist. Gregory knew he was different. His friends were lawyers, teachers, doctors, businessmen and consultants.
Gregory was an undercover programmer. All his work happened at 23 Gooseberry Ave. behind his 22” Toshiba flat screen monitor. Usual Programmers were unkempt, noisy, and apathetically nerdy. Usual programmers had no girlfriends, and compensated with volumes of pornography and heavy metal.
Gregory resisted this category with little effort, and many cups of tea. His friend Johnson had steadily agreed with his colleagues that Mr. Tweedle was in fact a freak of nature. He was a missing evolutionary link.
Johnson was not a programmer. He was a good friend, and one of the only people Gregory could withstand seeing. Johnson was a friend and coincidentally neither a doctor, lawyer, consultant nor teacher. Johnson was an rather eccentric Scientist.
Johnson kept a Latin dictionary in his breast pocket. He also kept his hair groomed and a pair of thick-rimmed glasses that never left his face. He kept little else that lived outside of his laboratory. Once Gregory had realized this, he reached into his trousers pocket and noted this on his pocket pad, underneath other daily observations.
Today was a Tuesday. Gregory was working on a project for a Nature reserve. He was updating their website, and adding a photo gallery along with an extra widget onto the page’s menu bar. A widget (Gregory had explained to his previous girlfriend, Claudia) was an ‘interactive block’ on either the right or left side of the web page.
Widgets provided quick access to a feature that saved the effort of loading a new page. Gregory was coding a gallery widget that could allow you to browse thumbnails of the Nature reserve’s photo gallery before viewing larger versions of them.
Gregory grinned as he began loading the thumbnails. It was comforting to see work take form. He lived with a lot of structure in his life, although this part of the day was totally unplanned and unexpected.
The internet breathed life and new opportunities into him. For many the internet was used to make small talk in chat rooms and to study copulation and the female anatomy. He realized that of course there were business people doing business things, but ordinary people just wanted to sit down and watch everything done for them, including having sex.
He carried on doing various things others would have had done for them. Gregory also had a blog. A blog was an online diary. He could right about his day. Gregory mostly wrote reviews on the different jams he was trying. Occasionally he decided to post a scientific fact given by his eccentric friend. This would normally generate a good few comments, many of them disputing the claim. Every time he replied with the same five words, “I am not a Scientist.”
There was much irony in this statement. The first was that he had been converted, and bent in that direction by a certain someone. The second was apparently obvious. He was saying that human lungs could be blown up to match the pressure of a car tire. He posted these opinions, and denied the clear fascination with them.
Gregory was, however, please to see that he had a single fan who responded with much enthusiasm to his statements…Johnson.
Malaysian Mango Jam
Blog Posted: 12 February 2007
I tried my most expensive import today. It cost me about three times as much as the Canadian Blueberry, although I’d have to say it might just be worth it.
As jams go, this one is unique. This is simply a fruit salad ingredient morphed into a sweet contender. Most jams are made from the usual fruits, and for a very good reason. If you cross that line you’d better have a good back up.
For example my grandmother makes brandy balls. These are basically chocolate muffins with raisins inside, soaked in brandy, and coated with chocolate and sprinkles. My point is that if you ate this and didn’t enjoy and raisin/muffin combination, the brandy would convince you.
Jams are made from berries:
- Wild berry.
- Cranberry (seldom)
- Mixed berries (a combination.)
If this is not the case, then jams are made from fruit with an edible outer skin, such as plums and apricots. Sometimes neither of these is true and then you get a rare combination. All the above are generally sweet jams. If you start using other ingredients, a stronger flavor emerges. It might be a tang or slight twist or tingle.
Take marmalade as an example. You’d be daft if you dug into an orange skin once you’d finished with the inside segments, although people think it’s a perfect idea to throw it in a jar, along with some sugary extras. After all the dillydallying you spread the bitter skins on your piece of toast, and devour it.
Marmalade is the only jam that makes me nervous. I rather relish the taste and different approach, but eating the firm skin of a fruit, makes me feel guilty. Even melon jam is intimidating, because I think of this creature which protected it against the outside world by its skin. Then we go along and slaughter it. Of course, this time around there is no skin thrown in it. I still see the same thoughts haunting me.
Now onto our Mango with an Asian twist. I’ve tried this type of jam before, although never from so far away. It was very interesting. The syrup was measured correctly, and it spread like a soft hand across the toast.
This is often a warning to how your experience will turn out. The secret is in the spread. Squashing everything down to the same size shows you what you are about to eat. The viscosity tells you how rich the flavor will be, and how healthy it is. If there are chunks of the jam instead of ‘thick syrup’ it won’t be consistent although the taste will be stronger.
Think of your self as a soil scientist tunneling into the earth and extracting a tube of soil reflecting all the elements/ingredients in the earth. Most people though, are just thinking of their breakfast.
He clicked post, and sat back to read through his ranting.
Not too shabby, he thought.
There was one social activity Gregory did choose to take part in, this happened to be pool. If there was a game to play, he could throw in a comment to the meaty men, and flirting women. It was normally his college friends who accompanied him.
He friends complained somewhat, about his sleeveless jumper, and his checkered shirts. Gregory seemed to have no trouble shrugging this off. Their comments seemed more of an oddity than his appearance.
There were a two reasons why he chose to play pool. The people gathering around these events grew more intoxicated as the night continued, and people loosened off their weekly stress, so they enjoyed themselves and paid more attention to the game than Gregory.
He found this to be a gentleman’s game. Polishing the ball, chalking your stick, and the precision of each shot enthralled him. He tried to forget the drunkards hanging on the table, their beers swinging like pendulums.
Most of the time Gregory won his pool matches. He enjoyed this. One can say that Gregory Tweedle of 23 Gooseberry Avenue never played to win the prize. He had a chronic aversion to the stench of alcohol. This had seemed to work for him. The prize for winning pool at the bar was always alcohol. It seemed to range from a bar tab to free drinks for the hour to a large bar tab. Gregory with out fail passed these onto his friends, and then drove their corpses home.
Once a particular drunk gentleman, who had removed his shirt during the course of the evening, leaned over the table and hollered:
“C’mon Greg dude. You’re the Man!”
He blinked, and pushed his glasses up his nose.
“It’s Gregory,” he said.
The crowd burst out laughing, and he lowered his queue for the next shot.
Tonight sausages were being cooked, at 23 Gooseberry Avenue. They were pork sausages, which with the sound of radio distortion, emitting trails of smells that could make your stomach gnash its teeth.
In the pot beside it Gregory boiled potatoes, which he would later turn into what most people called ‘mash’. Bangers an’ Mash is what a low life cockney might spit out his throat. He found this term to be crude not to mention distasteful. The dish he mulled over he saw as Sausages and Potato Fluff.
Far more elegant…and British, he thought.
On Wednesday morning, it was eight o’clock. Gregory was already done with his immediate and menial duties (like washing and scrubbing himself). He sat of the sofa and stared at the television, with no entertaining idea inside himself. The reason was that Gregory was tired today.
He become a bit tired of the Skype message going bing in the morning. The jams could still suffice, due the variety and long-lasting addiction. One drunken colleague had once remarked (while losing a game of pool) that Gregory was more fascinated with jam than men were of a woman’s vagina. He huffed, having no possible answer why such a thought had sprung into his head this morning.
He turned his attention back to the television. Staring at the telly at eight in the morning, could only suggest one thing to him…he was due for a break from his dwelling. Gregory was tired of the routine. Although the work did on the computer offered some creative escape. He was tired of the half-grown adolescents talking noisily on the radio. He was tired of feeling like he was being watched when he was all by himself.
Gregory was tired of the Narrator.
Everyone has that voice inside their heads that tells them what they should be doing. It’s a comfort through the rough times, and doesn’t always agree with you. This was why Gregory had no problem living a solitary life. There was always someone to talk to and argue with. Despite going out once a week to play pool, that didn’t seem to make him any less sociable.
Sitting on the couch this Wednesday, it was now half past eight. It was then that Gregory did in fact feel a tremendous urge to leave his home. Generally when he heard the word leave he assumed it was time taken off work, since the alternative made him quite terrified. Today it ran through the head with ease.
Gregory pushed that aside for now. He got up, tightened his bath robe, and went to make a cup of tea. ‘It clears the head,’ he’d once said. Many had said the same to him about smoking, and he’d simply retorted that if death came he would want it to be a surprise. Once the water was in he beat up the teabag quite considerably. Gregory then performed the ritual of pinching the sugar (much like salt) and sprinkling it in. He reason was that your fingers never lie.
Now he felt at the content end of things. He could not feel guilty, for sitting arbitrarily on the sofa. The mug rested in his hands. The steam wafted off the mug. Gregory let the scent encompass his head before diving into it. Left now with time to mull over the idea he came to a conclusion.
He would leave the house for the day.