When the brittle soul man dreams, it dreams of empty service stations; endless isles of junk food, cigarettes, change for the arcades. As he snores, the rest of the world snores with him, perhaps even in harmony. Perhaps not. Tribes of alligator skinned nightmares queue up in a special, spongy part of his future. A lizard eyed, long-legged woman pries open his chest like a tin can; jagged flesh, a small, bulging heart coughing black ink shrinks at her grin. ‘He he,’ she prods, with her talon. Carves the word ‘smile’ upon his rib-cage which expands with the force of his still functioning lungs.
Betty, pray for me. The formica table top was strewn with dead cigarettes and many bottles. The air was alive with shagging insects. Betty opened the window. ‘Shoo!’ she went.
I flicked the dead butts at her peachy backside and watched her jump. ‘Oh!’ she cried, ‘Oh! They’re on me, they’re ON me!’
One corner bleached by the sun. A small face grins or smiles back out. There between the trees in the far distance are the winged witches. One of them has distended labia, which she uses to pick up the insects that scurry wherever there are new souls searching the Earth. There is something about a jam sandwich. It has been dropped upon the rough, gritty floor, where there are new empires being put together by folk with exoskeletons that care. Look at those tiny socks too. Why would you bother, what with all the mud? Maybe, a voice offers, he’s just wearing them for the photo? A quick slap in the twat puts a stop to that. Ah, a rainbow. What an empty-headed, refreshing, pretentious, heart-warming, gut-wrenching, luminous, protracted (oh yeah), gruesome, sublime (remember that one?), refined, clandestine, whatever…listen, do not fall asleep. If the sun, or sin, doesn’t rise tomorrow remember I told you nothing. What we do know is there are dinosaurs that walk the earth. They wear fish-nets and have distended labia’s. They squawk and shrink people with their laser beam smart phone app’s. Caesar, how did you manage to crow-bar that word into your work? Hey, leave it to the experts, eh Caesar?
The birds were busy pecking away the flesh from the skin of my brain.
That’s terrible. When are you going anyway?
What I heard today:
He said he had it good but he didn’t.
I haven’t had my coffee.
He was photographed with Toney.
No, that’s not right.
Ok mate. Bye.
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.
What does this mean?
I am in the ground in all but body.
Merry Christmas giblet lips.
Get a load of this. This is the right, perhaps wrong, way of remembering what it is that makes the heart pump, gulp, retch and fizzle through ages of wars and money and love and breakdowns. This right way is not simple, not straightforward and certainly not possible to put down on paper. You’ll never find this on a web-site, in the back of a magazine or stuck inside a phone box. The gong rings in the ears and you imagine yourself a different person. Awake, though not in the way you were before. Fields of vision expand and contract as the ideas whirr and the eyelids flop then, by some miracle, stay open again. This is high speed love. Trench warfare between you and what you thought was you. And the end result ought to combine the following: ripped clothing, marshmallows, a flower of some description, a piece of paper with the words ‘no hope, no fear’ written upon them and a pair of tan brogues. A pot of steaming hot tea is optional. You won’t find this written upon glossy, high colour pamphlets stuffed through your door as you sit on your couch and rock back and forth and ask why and all the while the TV is throwing out pointless nonsense designed to nullify your sense of reason. No, you won’t find it on TV either. I have nothing against TV. They make good fires. They don’t, however, make goodness. Books hold up one end of the bed, though the other is supported by a team of mice chanting high pitched slogans. Enjoy the riverside swell, the rubber ducks sent by Vishnu with a message ‘I love you.’ Enjoy the light show of colour bouncing off her perfect eyes. The lens capture of chemicals; memories fixed in perfume and laughter. Push away the sandpaper attitude, follow the heart, tip the messenger. If my car works tomorrow, it will be treated to a wash. My famous uncle says that I am going places. In the swimming pools of sacked nations, small monkeys frolic filled with fermented fruits.
The place to go is Reading. Failing that, steal a shuttle and set a course for Neptune, the music is marvelous there.
This person said that the outside was a madhouse with rules so flimsy that it was staggering that it didn’t fall into chaos. Another person felt differently; that it already way chaos, that the world we perceive is merely all we know and that, if thought about for long enough, we were all of engaged in billions of private wars. The conversation was being watched by a third person, but he could only see the mouths moving. He guessed that they had been friends a long time now and now the relationship had grown strained. It was as though they would throttle each other if either had the energy or nerve. He put on his glasses and pretended not to look at the beautiful legs of a woman sat waiting on a seat on the platform.
She saw him look at her. What she really liked was when they were coupled and she could bury her nails into his back.
He guessed that she was a timid creature and walked further along the platform.
Up on the roof of the station, one pigeon pecked at the dead eye of another.
Across the planet, bullets fizzed through the air at £1.25 a pop, slowing suddenly as it hits flesh and bone.
Another waited for the train to work. One shoe, it appeared, was letting in water.
And it was cold.
His mouth tries to carve the words into the air between us. Though mute, I still understand him. He pushes a peanut around. It looks like a tiny, shiny distorted skull. Salt crystals gather at the end of his fingers; some fall upon the wooden table top.
Behind his eyes, a process of decoding. Working out what has happened.
I take his hand and close my fingers around it. He looks up at me, startled; lost in space and just barely able to recognise my face.
Then, a smile.
Out on the bay, a few boats return from the channel with empty nets.
He covers his eyes with his free hand, and cries quietly and steadily.
The sun doesn’t know. The sea is indifferent.
Our friend is dead.