What’s The Opposite Of A Nipple?

We descend into the gutter on this week’s episode of setisoppO, the podcast where we work out the opposite of things that don’t have a natural opposite. Thus, a nice chat about swans, turns into a chat about nipples, before moving on the the Wankel rotary engine.

(Download)

And here’s what you need to know about the Wankel rotary engine.

Pretty innit?

 

The Apple Problem

Harry didn’t like having ideas. Not anymore.

There was a time when all he wanted to do was have original thoughts, be creative, just let his mind wander free and easy.

That was before the apples.

About five years ago now, he was sitting at his desk, wondering what to write next, and he was struck by a sudden, albeit gentle, pain in the neck. It made thinking a little harder, so he headed for the kitchen, for a coffee, and maybe some natural sugar. Except, he knew he didn’t have any fruit in the house.

There though, sitting on the side, was a big red apple. It wasn’t waxed, and it still had the stalk and a crumbling leaf on it.

And when he bit into it, curious as to how it came to be there, he winced. It was hard, and bitter, and almost tasted like soap.

Disappointing.

Back to work, and his headache was easier to ignore with a steaming mug at his side. He wrote two articles that afternoon, and wandered back out to the kitchen for tea, only to find a dozen apples on his sideboard.

It got worse.

Slowly.

It didn’t take him long to realise that with every new idea he had, an apple would appear in the kitchen. None of them edible.

That wasn’t the worst bit though.

No. The worse bit was when the apples started squeezing themselves directly out of his head.

“Oh,” he would think. “I could write about …” and then he would feel a large fruity spheroid birthing itself through his skull, piercing his skin, and falling with a few bounces to the floor.

Having ideas stopped begin fun.

Having ideas became painful, and disgusting.

And it wasn’t like he could stop having them either. He tried hard not to think about things, not to conjure in his mind. It’s just the more he tried not to, the more ideas he had. And the more apples fell out of his head.

He made apple pies that were inedible. He made apple sauce that was unusable. He made cider that was undrinkable. He coated them in toffee and caramel and chocolate, which did nothing to hide the taste. His whole backyard was full of them, six feet high, slowly rotting, but even the rats wouldn’t go near them.

He started an Instagram account, posting photos of each new apple that ejaculated from his head. He had no followers.

Harry had no solution for the apple problem.

He had no idea.

The Sandi-wich Quiz

Before she was hosting the QI, and even before she was hosting The News Quiz, Sandi Toksvig had another quiz on the TV, in the form of The Sandwich Quiz.

How many of the contestants did you recognise?

No. 73 ran for 8 series on ITV, on Saturday mornings between 1982 and 1988. I don’t know how much of it I ever actually watched, but the theme tune has stuck with me ever since.

 

Cruel And Unusual

Living in a dystopian hell hole isn’t too bad.

For the most part.

That’s what I thought anyway. The horrible stuff only happened to other people, people who stepped out of line, people who didn’t follow the rules, people who challenged the wrong things.

It’s cognitive dissonance of course. I knew deep down that when someone I knew went missing, it wasn’t because they deserved it. But it kept me straight, kept me careful. And the more I deluded myself that my own actions were self-preservation, the more careful I became.

It didn’t work.

They came for me.

Seditious thought.

That was the charge.

And they could prove it.

In sealed documents, that I wasn’t allowed to see, and the court never actually asked for. They didn’t even let me present a defence. They just moved straight to sentencing. That’s when the real horror finally hit me.

I’ve been in this room for weeks now. There’s air conditioning, gourmet meals, luxurious furnishings.

It’s hell.

And it’s hell for one very simple reason.

What they’ve designed, my punishment, for literally doing nothing, is cruel, and entirely unusual.

I can’t stand it anymore.

Over the speakers, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, without pause, without mercy, starting from the beginning, they are reading all my tweets back to me.

Fifty years of them.

In a flat, monotone voice.

And the worst bit, the bit that makes me curl up in a ball in the corner and scream to drown out the noise, is when they describe the Gifs I used.

Cruel And Unusual

Staring Into The Distance

I first noticed the old woman about a year ago. She just sat there, staring at something in the distance, perched on a fallen tree, her back seemingly to the rest of the world.

I asked around, and it turns out she’s been there ever since anyone can remember. Day and night, people pass her, see her in the distance, shrug that she is there again, and move on. But adding it all up, it occurred to me that she never, ever, moves.

The world carries on around her, paying her notice every now and then, but mostly just leaving her to her own thing.

It amazes me that no-one has asked the question.

What’s she doing? Is she okay?

And the more I asked about her, the more people became annoyed at me. They felt like I was accusing them of ignoring an old lady. I guess I was inĀ  way, so I stopped asking, and watched her from a distance.

There we are. Her looking at something, and me looking at her.

I guess it’s creepy in a way, but it would be even creepier if I was a bloke I suppose.

Anyway, I’ve decided to do something more than watch. I need an answer. What’s she doing? Why doesn’t she ever move? I’ve been sucked into the mystery too deep. I spend too much of my day just watching her, and it has to stop.

So, here I go.

It’s a weird feeling, like a mix of nerves and excitement. The closer I get, the more intense it all becomes. She’s only a few feet from me now, and it’s like everything behind me no longer exists. I know there a road back there, and beyond that my house, it’s just, I can’t hear the traffic, or feel its presence. All that matters is what’s in front of me.

So close now I can hear her breathing. She sounds content. It’s not cold here, or damp. It’s the perfect temperature. I can see why she doesn’t want to move.

I’m settling down next to her. Her skin if pale, papery, wrinkled. She smells of lavender. Her eyes are fixed on the distance. She knows I’m here, but she doesn’t care.

“What are you doing?” I just asked, hearing a frog in my throat croaking through the words.

Her bony wrist slowly rises into the air, a thin, wizened finger extending and pointing.

“I’m watching him.”

I look, and see a man sitting on the ground further into the woods. His back is to us, and he is staring at something in the distance.

Together, we sit in silence, watching him.

There doesn’t seem to be much point in doing anything else ever again.

Staring Into The Distance