‘Low Battery’

Hear a buzzing. It is the phone. On a table.

Everything buzzes. Or beeps.

And always disappoints, or stirs in the despair good and proper.

The phone convulses in a barely visible blur next to bills which is next to a pouch of tobacco next a mug or glass of something.

Whatever it is.

There is hardly enough table for it all.

*    *    *

I assume I answer it because I begin to hear a voice coming from the earpiece and so I answer the voice through the mouthpiece. I’m unsure what the voice is asking and equally unsure of what I’m saying by way of response.

Failing me.

Electrical signals supposed to form words squirm like drugged tapeworms through the sick fat in my head before deforming; becoming black, crackling spiders encased in marshmallow, dropping like dog shit into my voice box and spilling incomprehensible sound bilge from my gob.

Speech reduced to rubble.

The voice responding to all this feels frustrated but I couldn’t tell you why. Indeed, I realise that I have stopped ‘communicating’ altogether.

*   *   *

Fallout strokes the ghostly movement of air on the other side of the window pane. I feel my heart banging away on my ribcage. I hear a faint, crackled whirr coming from the phone, followed by a deep breath.

It doesn’t belong to me.

Then there is no sound except for the shouting outside. Car’s failing to start.

Planes overhead.

A repetitive thudding sound like bodies hitting and breaking upon the pavement over and over again.

*    *    *

I hold the phone in my hand and play with the sliding motion of the handset until the display displays: ‘Low Battery’.

I realise that both my hands and feet are painfully cold.

Pulling the blanket across my body is the last thing I do before the morning.


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