Ash Hill Radio Test Card

Rain like sheets and the handy windscreen wipers. One packet of crisps between my legs and fields of livestock, going nowhere but the slaughterhouse. And hitting the hill meant the phantom foot kicking in my teeth. The desire was to move on faster and faster. Just eating the road. One hundred miles an hour seemed like the normal speed. Crunching on a fatty, salty crisp and feeling the tug of passing cars. Head full of poetry and hatred. A slug of malice in the chest, hugging the heart. Cigarette flicked out of the window until it’s bright orange at the tip. Trying to imagine what it will be like to press the burning end into a forearm. On the radio there were the voices of the young, well-adjusted classical musicians. Their mouths sounded as though they were made from something different to mine. Delicate, velvet and marble and golden words. Not a puckered gash with compacted crisps jammed in cracked molars. These people were going somewhere without flattening the accelerator to the floor. I saw flashes. A car close to my back bumper. It swerved in a way that seemed deliberate. The voice on the radio was discussing its first year as a conductor for a successful orchestra. The flashing became irritating. What? I was just driving like everyone else.  The voice had had a daughter recently. And he was feeling so peaceful. The car behind began to overtake. And the voices daughter was already waving her hands around like a conductor. And she could repeat phrases sung by the voice. She clearly had an appreciation of music already, this newborn. The car was level with me now. Inside there were three or four youngsters. Two girls and a boy. But their faces were blurred. And, instead of eyes, there were beams of bright, white light. And I became aware of blood pouring from a gash in my cheek. They were cutting me open. I could hear the bass from their stereo. One of the creatures’ ears were flapping, they had no hair. They were in a state of continuous movement. My foot became detached and I lost speed. Their car maneuvered me off the road as the loss of acceleration and steep hill gradually slowed me down to a stop. The other car pulled up in front, shafts of light pouring from their windows. And it didn’t seem like any other drivers were noticing. I became dizzy. I had lost a lot of blood. I could hear another voice. It was coming from the radio. It was thanking someone for their company. Three figures stepped out of the car. They turned to face me. One held a smart phone in front of the group. They appeared to pose for a photo. A trophy. The voice on the radio wished the other voice all the best for the future and, who knew, perhaps there was another brilliant conductor in the daughter. From the smart phone came a massive, red laser; obliterating me, the crisps, the hatred and the nightmare of the slaughterhouse, the never-ending climb.


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