Barbershop Bubble Bonce Bounce

I watched small creatures, like smileys, blowing bubbles in a rainbow, or  conjoining rivers or ribbons of multi-coloured pop. I’d just opened my window. The wind slammed it onto my forehead. Bang. I was out for a second. Maybe. No one else was there so who knows. Maybe it was an entire day. And maybe I woke up at the same time, one minute later, the following day. Anyway, all these creatures; they all had something to say. Each, it seemed, had rehearsed a word. Bit like a barbershop quartet but with a healthy inhalation of helium. And each smiley had its own, little doppelganger which repeated this word but one octave higher. The little ditty they ‘sang’, if it can be called that, went: “HERE here COMES comes THE the CLUE cue FROM from YOUR your TWELVE twelve YEAR year OLD old SELF self…”
I woke up, broke open a carton of cards and dealt myself a hand. Bust. Another. Bust again.
Phone rang.
No, I’m not a dentists, I told the voice on the other end.


Paper Saver

Si was a rogue. Going from one relationship to another faster than a holiday. He drank his coffee and wondered whether the papers were ever going to be good for more than lining his canaries cage…”

And throw the pencil away if that’s all you’re going to do with it. Buy a packet of sweets and sit in the park with your boxing magazine. Watch the old men stare at you because you’re holding it upside down. Wait until the sun ducks under the horizon and see if there are any pages left. Greet the pigeons. Try to work out what that burning smell is and where it is coming from. Take your notebook and rip it into pieces. Feed it to the rats. Let it turn to manure. Stand up and face the cold. If your knees hurt, jog on the spot. There, better? Well, you should have bought gloves out with you. The lads want to spar with you because they see sport in drawing blood. And filming it on their phones. And putting it on faecbook. And as you hobble and stagger from one blow to the next, you probe your jacket pocket for a cigarette and a lighter. Robot boy getting his backside smashed in can only think of shortening his life even more with a tab. And when your head stops bouncing off fist, knee or pavement, you see stars.

And little, cartoon birds prance before your eyes.

“Say, this fellah looks like he could use a light,” one of them says. It turns around and produces a flame thrower from its bird behind, setting what is left of you aflame, clogging the already noxious air with smoke from your remains.

And he lived happily ever after the end thanks.

The Revenge of the Customer Service Attendants

The big woman yapped on at her colleague in the petrol station and reached out for my items. It was lunch. Then she burped and, under her breath, said sorry; not directly to me but to someone, or something else; perhaps as a force of habit. It was lunchtime. I had been hungry.
* * *
Have lunch in my car again. On the menu was reformed foam is the shape of crisps, sushi and apple juice. And it all tasted the same just looked different. And when it was eaten there was neither the feeling of contentment or satisfaction. Rather, that my body was part of a larger experiment. Maybe the experiment could be called, ‘What Can we Pass as Food?’
* * *
All the time we spend in queues at petrol stations is less time in nature, more in hell.
* * *
I’ve never seen anyone smile in these. Not, at least, the customers anyway.
In my mind the day has already arrived; we each of us have our heads clamped between to iron bars in long rows. We kneel on all fours and are grazed and our own shit stings, and infects, the gashes. And here they come; the customer services attendants, grinning, with slop buckets in hand. And they are burping and enormous, waddling towards us. They eat chocolate bars and dump a pinkish porridge on the floor in front of us.
And though we know the contents, we are hopelessly programmed to eat it anyway.
Our necks strain at the bars to finish every last morsel.


He has this funny way about him. I don’t know. And what is going on between them anyway? You always see them together. I mean, there must be something going on between them, you know? I don’t know.

He ‘d been having problems with the phone for  three weeks now. He knew all about the neighbours vaginal discharge, that the husband stayed out too late and always came home drunk, that the neighbour, that was me, had funny ways and must have been having an affair with this woman she kept seeing him, or me, with.

His tee-shirt had ridden over his belly and he pulled at one of the hairs there while he listened to the neighbours. Better the devil you know, he thought.

Fried  up some eggs and took his tablets and looked out at the street, the garage, road signs, men, women, dogs and thought ‘fuck this’. He was desperate for a piece but feared that it might fall off. Some people have irrational fears about tsunamis, his was about spontaneously detaching genitals. The thought horrified him enough not to pursue the urge.

*    *    *

“What do you do without a teevee?” Someone at work once asked him and he felt the need to scream. It was as though the world had really turned into the hell feared by some it might become. Somehow, he thought, the ad men have convinced us – by using sinister techniques – to buy things we don’t need, in order to convince us that the world had not died. We were all mourning, alcoholic widows clutching the ad men’s bottle of gin; popping pills and wearing strained, awful smiles.

He imagined these men as a little mournful themselves. But it was their job to lie and make-believe everything was fine. What was the alternative?

The war of despair…a return to street massacre for no other reason than boredom and frustration…anarchy on a level to turn the stomachs of the anarchists…lawlessness…disease…malice…

So, instead, we gaze a our dream-boxes and pray to a god with fake tan and tippex white teeth for a fresh trinket to distract the brain from setting the sky alight with madness, sheer ‘I know that one day I shall die’ madness…

*    *    *

He checked his watch; two hours later; he popped another pill, sighed and went back to bed.

One Shoe

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.

The Answer

The drinking was as good thing for him, a really good thing. He neither had to worry about his feels, nor those of others. It was as though the world really was just a dream. And without having to wake up into hell, he could just open his gullet and pour it down until numb enough to face the thing snarling up at him…a child; indistinguishable sex, black hair and long, thin teeth and no lips; lidless eyes filled with fear and hatred. But, with a drink in its hands, the thing became distracted; chomping at the bitter wine with phantom lips. He steadied his hand and forced more of the strong liquor down. He feels the questions come with the tears. That smile, Nanny; why do we grow up to forget it only to look back at what we’ve lost, and that which we’ll never regain? Why is one of my arms colder than the other? Why do my feet itch? Why is evil everywhere?

The answer is indigestible and yet, here is comes; served steaming upon chipped plates to be eaten with soiled cutlery.

The creature sits alert in the lap of the old woman and claps its hands, suddenly indifferent to the now sobbing man.

The old woman looks at the man, and with a free hand wipes away his tears. With a free mind she answers all his questions at once.

“Because, my love, the World is dying.”

That Man

They said he spent the afternoon at the beach. He was peeling his skin away, carefully, sitting there on the salty sand.
Then he rested for a while. Ate whelks in vinegar with black pepper form a polystyrene cup. He lanced one whelk after another with his cocktail stick, pulled them off with his teeth them whilst staring out to sea.
He was seen later on in the towns backstreets. He was talking into a Dictaphone. Someone overheard him saying something about ‘blinding, chatterring teeth atop bright pink, fat necks’.
He was last spotted entering the local house of whores; presumably to visit one of their women of questionable repute.
I have heard though, that the women have the ability heal a weary soul.
Certain oils mixed with roots are used to restore strength to tired limbs; special herbs and exotic fruits are pureed and given to ease troubled minds.
None of the stevedores go there anymore. They say that the women use a strange magic. That they are witches, and that they kill the men or turn them into husks.
Sailors, knowing nothing of the stories, will visit the house often without a bother.
Some, however, don’t return to their vessels. They simply disappear.
I wonder about that man. The one from the beach. I wonder when he’ll leave our town.
They always do.
By boat, by cover of night, by light of day.