Still as Death

The mobile buzzes inside my trouser pocket. I check the message.

‘Where R U Bro?’

The light from the pub window throws my shadow onto the pavement. Best place for it.

I can hear the waves and imagine them bashing the quiet, black rocks. The pub will be only half full. She will stand there half smiling in the yellow, rude light of the public bar.

* * *

When I walk in she blushes like I’ve told a blue joke.

“I’m not staying,” I say. There are a few tired men in football shirts with their arms around each other; faces blurred, live’s in tatters; like mine, like hers.

I pinch one of her nipples, secretly, as she leans on the bar in front of me. She says she likes it when I pinch her nipples like that.

She gets me a rum and ginger wine. I watch her body as she prepares the drink.

I drink it quickly, touch the ends of her fingers with mine and leave.

It’s dark outside.

I stare into the lit windows of the estate agents. Cheap properties for sale and no one to buy them.

* * *

The train station is deserted.

I sit on the edge of the platform then heave myself onto the tracks. It starts to rain. I move along the line. Unlikely anything will be coming in either direction. I unscrew a fresh bottle of rum and keep walking; cobbles, wood, cobbles, wood. The rain carves up my face but the rum protects me from disintegrating.

And deep in the Firth, the herring jabber into the darkness while the fisherman’s faces stare, still as death, into the bitter brine.


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