The Book of Zongs


Chapter 1

This is a story about Charlie, which will astonish even the most boring people on earth. A long time ago in 1974 there was a pond in Essex. It was not very big, but it had a very special quality. The pond was the most beautiful mirror in the county. Birds from all around would fly over it to talk to the reflection because it was more truthful than any other pond in the region. It was a bit muddy on the bottom, a bit cloudy in the middle, and clear as crystal on the surface. Whosoever looked into this pond would always be told the truth. Some people would see how angry the clouds stormed, other people would see the patient stream, and some people could see nothing at all. All around were sky larks, bull rushes and ducks a dabbling for worms and creepy crawlies.

It was on the bank of this pond, which stood not far from her semi-detached house that Charlie’s aunt would go and talk to the swallows and throw crumbs for any ducks that were hungry. The ancient proverb goes that it is vain to stare at your self in the reflection for beauty carries itself on the wind, in the wisps of willow trees, and on the sigh of falling leaves. In matters of discretion, it is always better to get a second opinion so that beauty can be heard in all things, whether they can be seen or not. Charlie’s aunt was called Lucy. She never took any notice of what anybody else said, and the reason that she spent so much time on the bank of the pond was because she felt like an ugly duckling. All the ducks on the pond were preened, glossy and how happy they all were! The very sight of these ducks would cheer Lucy up. Lucy was sad because she was always losing things. When she was younger, she had always lost the other shoe, or she could not find her glasses when they were on her nose. But this time, it was far worse because she had lost something which just could not be replaced, although she could not think what it was. She may have been Charlie’s aunt, but she was not his terrible aunt.

Chapter Two

Charlie’s aunt says she is alive and well.
She says she is a poor soul with nothing to sell.

It is wise not to listen to what Charlie’s aunt says.

She is not alive and well
She is alive and terribly ill
She has been unkind her whole life

Charlie’s aunt does not know
That I know that she is a
Liar, a thief, a beggar, a
beater, and a hater.
She has been mean and cruel
For absolutely yonks
For ages and for ever
absolutely non stop for
hours and days and days and
weeks and weeks of rubbish things on TV,
fortnights and years of nothing fun to do,
and for as much as
two and a half decades

Poor Charlie.

Charlie has had enough.
Charlie doesn’t like names
Doesn’t like houses
Doesn’t like friends
Doesn’t like jobs
Doesn’t like anything at all.

Charlie is boring and shy
Sulky and cross
Stupid and dull
Fat and spotty
Lazy and selfish
Bored and rude.

Nobody likes Charlie
Everybody likes Charlie’s aunt but it’s not fair.


Chapter 3
Far, far away at the other end of the country where people eat haggis and it rains all year, there was an enormous, gigantic, great big white house which stood in a magestic park a little bit smaller than Manchester. This is where Charlie’s other aunt lived. The good thing about not telling you what Charlie’s other aunt is called is because it is not fair on all the fairies and spell breakers who happen to have the same name as her. It is surprising that some people have names, when pigeons and swallows, worms and toadstools, cars and treetops often don’t. Well, they may have a name in Latin, or a brand name, but not all of those are particularly special. It would have been much more useful if Charlie’s aunt had been called a spare part for a Citroen ZX such as an exhaust pipe or even a steering wheel, although that would have been far too dangerous. She would have been more efficient as a BT extension lead, and more reliable as a rusty bicycle chain. On envelopes, she liked to be addressed as follows:


The MT Saucering Mrs. Caspar Jaspar
Twython-Mython-Swython-Log of Paradise Mansion
Heaven Knors
Carron Tweed

As you can see, it didn’t fit on very well and so had to go on two lines. She was twice as angry when people thought that the second line was all the name of her house, although she never let it show. The reason for the title ‘The MT Saucering’ was that Caspar Jaspar’s great uncle’s first twin cousin twice removed had written a book about the day her mother had driven off in what was thought to be an MT Saucer from Nether Space Ship Yard and had never returned. Nobody had believed it, but it was recognised as an astounding work of fiction. It was a best seller which made profits on average of around ten weather spells a minute. The problem about that book was that although the story was brilliant far better than this one, it was obvious to anybody that in those days, 200 years ago, there wouldn’t have BEEN a spaceship yard, never mind a Nether Spaceship Yard. Well I certainly didn’t see it in The History of Onions or When Ghengis Khan Tripped Over. Even in exams there is no mention in of it in The Rise and Demise of Marks for Pences. But it was hiding. I can assure you that even today, the North lands are jam packed full of aliens, the Middle lands are still popular as weekaday resorts, and the Southern seas are full of zongs, who are the more water-dream types of aliens. You see, the real point is that aliens don’t just fly. That would be far too risky, especially considering current levels of air streaks. But that is another story which we haven’t caught up with yet.

Chapter 4

Every time I think of Charlie’s aunt, it makes me burp. I am beginning to think that it would be more considerate to leave her out altogether. Charlie agrees. The only worry is that everybody must be forewarned in case they catch the disease of ever meeting her.

Her eyes on lies with spies are torn
The air she heaves is worse than bad egg droppings
She says ‘Hiya’ with dribbling orange tooth
And longs to taste what’s freshly dead and dark

I know it doesn’t rhyme, but she’s too gross to make sense of harmony. But the catch is that SOME WOULD NEVER KNOW because she seems like a lot of ordinary, kind people who are quite nice.

1) She says ‘As I was saying’, and ‘rully sad’ and ‘such a bore’
2) She still lives in a nice house in the beautiful countryside.
When she goes shopping, she smiles at people
She is bad at fishing

She practices showing her teeth in front of the mirror. For example, when she has just done something completely monstrous she will make her getaway by looking like she is very cold she thinks it is a smile and waving as she goes past, H E-LLO! and YIP-PEE. She might even try to wink at you, although watch out because that signals a worse crime.

What I am trying to tell you is that her favourite occupations are baby eating, child snatching, skin baking and man chopping. I am the bearer of unbelievable news. Human eyeballs are her favourite food. They are one thing she really enjoys. However, since I do not want you end up in her larder, I shall pretend to the publisher that this is just a story. Oh dear, this is no good. Where are the zongs?

Chapter 5

Zong HQ is located in the core of the earth. The oldest zongs live in rocks, and it is their job to hold the world together to stop it falling into space. All zongs are singing zongs. They are of the rainbow. They love salt in earth and solid stone. They shape the dew drop and ask the new born of sounds to sing to clasp to rock. Here is what a zong can look like

Most of them are temperamental and don’t like to be disturbed by things with angry brains since they prefer cordiality. They are even more intelligent than Members of Parliament, but they find pollution and Hoovers especially frightening.



The reason zongs are so intelligent is that zongs spend their zonghood taking in brain messages and kindness. Favourite foods depend on where they happen to be and who they live on, but when in Norfolk, they do like lettuce. In Kuala Lumpa it is tropical bananas. All zongs begin as strands of hair. You may think that your hair is no good, and that it is just dead stuff which needs washing, but actually it is where all thoughts are stored.

It does not matter how many zongs there are, because one zong is as powerful as a thousand zongs. Zongs keep an eye on everything in existence, and have been growing ever since God began time. There are various types of zongs as you can imagine. There are head zongs, cheek bone zongs, wrist zongs, nether region zongs, big toe zongs, dog ear zongs, spider leg zongs, cat paw zongs, pony tail zongs, ferret knee zongs, pigeon toe zongs, and even dinasaur eye lash zongs, mostly rock zongs. When the wind blows, there are zongs floating in the air, when the stream rushes, there are zongs in rock pools. There is a zong for every star in space, and that’s a fact.

Their journeys are so complex that it is silly for me to try and explain what happens to each and every zong as it changes. Long hair zongs have gained a bad reputation for blocking up sinks, and clogging up hoovers, for being in knots, getting in the way and not looking fashionable. It’s all unfair because they are actually wilder than glory.

Perhaps I can explain it like this: When a cat nose zong blows off, say as it crosses a busy main road, it may end up in a nearby gutter. It could stay on the kerb stone for a moment before being whisked up in a breeze, getting caught in a twig. On that twig, there may be a hungry earwig who might nibble at it. There are lots of dreams in a mouthful of zong. Some things grow zongs, and other things eat zongs, but you shouldn’t eat zongs if you grow them, or grow them if you eat them. If it doesn’t get eaten it might crumble into earth dust, in which case it could float south to the Sahara Desert. Ten thousand years later, it could be rock, it might then be quarried, and end up as a fire place from where it could guage fire thoughts.













Zong that is eaten by slugs or wibs Charlie’s aunt calls them bacteria, becomes an idea zong. An idea zong can fall into a line of ink, remind Einstein of a theory, or spark off a poem for Shakespeare one Wednesday afternoon. Whatever a Zong is, it tends to appear as a line. Michaelangelo Zongs are hung in museums because his turned into naked saints.

Chapter 6

The room with flies
Is full of eyes
The afternoon man sits.
He scratches
And with a sigh
Picks up the phone

For a post competition
Free inhibition
Clip ties on paper screen
Wall chart on overview
Temps to divert for more
Custard in Germany
Bill sheets
And work plates
Forty seven ink jets
Maelstroms of harbour steel
Four million minds for meal
People to promote
Stations to save
Five bores to pigeon
A conference with tables
Maeve’s birthday

And all before
Next Monday


The air changes colour
From gold to black and white
The liquid pen dries at the stem..

It is just
An aunt attack.



There has been some kind of dreadful interference from the thought of Charlie’s aunt. Apologise for the enormous PAGE BREAK that there now is in the second page of Chapter six. The excitement of this chapter has all been lost, the afternoon man has disappeared and nobody can remember what happened because nobody else was there. In fact, the entire future has been lost. This book has momentarily lost the plot. If you want to help, one thing to do is to turn back to the last page and draw.


The Missing Half has got to be somewhere.
The zongs know which means that you know.

Perhaps a password might help.


We cannot carry on until the afternoon man comes back.


This is ridiculous. All computers have floppy discs, disc drives, modems, ROMs, RAMs, screens, keys, buttons, arrows, blobs, letters, small, large and intermediate, or a PC to replace it.


In order to continue, go for a river walk to find some imagination.

Chapter 7

Is a favourite place which belongs to nobody everybody, including you.







The World








The only thing that the afternoon man left behind was the following note:

Where dead men lie there is a sky full of dreams, to stand is to see another. Gravity is the only place called home. Messengers know that words travel without guidance. Sound is a laughing rose. Tidy up the leaves for the worms in compost. The gardening twit sows rows of lettuces and slugs together. The tree is fly blown with caterpillars. Tomorrow’s illusion feeds yesterday. The lab is an aeroplane, the bomb is a bus stop. The oozing waste holds appetite for nothing. Creep away on slime before time. Carry more sobs for the library store. Explain the dew drop where it rains all day. Fix an earthquake where there is no rupture. A wombling path is a shadow of pasture. The concrete morning of subways. All that is remembered was a hopeful star. The nest is in grasses on water, always there.



Please skip the next page.

It is impossible to follow the afternoon man. He shall have to return of his own accord, that is if he knows where to go. Losing direction can be a relief until you realise that you have lost what is choice. The zongs are reluctant to remind a man who has lost joy because lost people feed off sapped emotion. To become alone is to realise that what you are is not there. In such cases, the zong can only reflect an opinion held by others. If other people know what you are then it is a gamble to believe them.






Chapter 9

Is a junk yard
For repair
Beyond the dump
For trampling relief

There is a paradise of warbles
Pile of marbles
And a jacket
Of mercy

Trust is good to touch.


This is a place which is ignored as senseless. There is no sense in deposition unless it can be retrieved. The pile above grows higher every day, the only escape is time. The rock will be good and strong in a million years. The packet fossil remembers a Wednesday lunch time. Tuna sweet corn mayo with iceberg lettuce still longs to be a BLT. It is an example of purpose remembered. It is freedom denied. Does anybody want to retrieve something with contents best before? Imagination is the receipe for depravity because this place is real. Imagination must not be a deferred vision of interiors and souls where all walk free. Imagination ignores the dump which is the store of creation because it is the dump and so cannot see purpose as viable.

Nobody is very sure what this page is about.
Is not a pink Chapter


The battle of snow is a monstrous blizzard in which Druff tactics operate. The fight is a constant snort. For example, two years ago some especially rare Zongs of infinite capacity were captured in a GRiM HARPOON which Charlie’s Aunt planted in the ladies room of a Gentleman’s club. Zong snapping is a druff method of recruitment insulting. This is how Charlie became the afternoon man.







The rest is a bit too tangled to explain.





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