Fresh brugmansia sang from the windowsill. Floral trumpets spicing the air with the endless possilities of the world.
* * *
He watches his cereal forming their novice symmetry in the gritty, pale pink milk. He spears one of the soggy hoops with the end of his biro, flattens out the pad and begins the letter. Milky, cheesy ink forms smeared words as quick as scissors. The countries leaders would take notice of him now. His voice would be heard. His ideas for the perfect state needed to be absorbed by the heads of government; who flailed, he thought, like a severed, angry cable setting light to the wilting, morally dehydrated population. His name would be remembered by the common folks. The men and women who toiled without adequate compensation, for decades, to provide for their children, before being lowered into their plots.
Our ‘protagonist’ saw himself as a radical, in a time where radicals were desperately needed. To others, he was avoided. His family and friends had long ago severed contact.
His only companion was an old mare. Her name was Daisy.
He wrote about her once, after waking from a bout with the night terrors.
“Strumming the air, gutterscotch; girl ghost. Not the fairies that flitter around the bedside, all tit’s an’ ass. Homely souls, these bar barrel, fuller, meaner women. Bellies full of eggs. Goose fat ass, butterblind.
Echoes from the death of love. Who is this new aparition? Mother, I failed. The horse, dragging herself towards the barrels of my gun. Scotch in your purse. I lifted it, lowered the barrel, channelled the cartridges, kissed her brain with shot and walked away, the stable ringing with silence.
Dribbling tears, snot and whiskey, the stable stands stock still in the dead of night. Huddled in the corner, I curried some eggs I’d fetched from the squeaky coop. The recipie from the cookbook of Lucifer himself, whose smile doesn’t comfort me, nor leave me self-assured in my slaughterhouse hour.”
He rubbed the paper, finally with fresh prawns. Sealed the envelope and addressed it, big.
* * *
On his way back from the post box, he saw a water spout form above the channel. A whirling, vaporous proboscis. Certainly, he thought, to suck the sea into outer space.
So tired that it seems like a good idea to injure myself just so I can go to bed. Dose myself up on painkillers and sleep. And it’ll take me between eight months to a year to catch up.
You can see the lines under my eyes. Face puffed up. Hair growing in places it never used to grow. And life not keeping still enough for me to gain on it.
And my body breaking down.
Pulled a muscle in my right shoulder three days ago. Shortly after that, while running, my left knee. I’m all twisted up with stupid injuries. And none of them justify taking time off.
Not that I can, anyway.
I have a meeting to discuss my attendance. They’re talking about how I’m ruining the chance of a ‘stable future’ and what a ‘great opportunity’ is on the table here.
Give me the mountains. The desert. Hammer down with crows.
Send lightening up my garden path.
I carry my passport everywhere I go.
They said there were rats everywhere. That they scratched upon the walls during a night shift. Did they want to get inside?
I’m stood in the dark, smoking. Something the size of a panther just brushed up against my leg. And it didn’t feel threatening. If anything, it seemed it wanted to say hello.
My new body shows none of the advertised characteristics shown on the all night shopping channel.
Sad though it may sound, I was tired of mine. And the attachments that went with it.
I didn’t know these people. My job was totally new to me. I had to force an aeroplane to ground because I’d mistaken one blob on the screen for another.
Now I’m nervous walking home at night.
And when I’m laying in bed, I listen to the engines roar overhead.
My doctor says that I should ‘keep an eye on it…see what develops.’
I sat in a bath of freezing cold water. Ice cubes became trapped in my armpits.
There was a scratching inside the walls. Weils disease.
Shut up brain.
Shut up and go to sleep.
It’ll be a lovely day tomorrow.
So I went to see this girl. She was feeling down, she said. Needed a cuddle. I bought us pizza and stroked her hair. “Men all think with their dicks.” she said.
I drove home from work and lay down on the bed. Then I got up and opened a window. So humid. Thought I heard a stomp of thunder. Or maybe it was the neighbours. I set my alarm for 7:30. And put a video on. Gennady Golovkin vs Grzegorz Proksa. What a puncher Golovkin is. Like a crack of lightening, heavy as a boulder. The commentators made oohs and ahhs as the shots hit Proksa, sending him into the ropes. It was as though two men were hitting him. I realised that Golovkin was younger than me. I felt old. And I felt like a child in comparison to him. Weak. Slow. Uncoordinated. Lazy.
A fly landed on my bare leg. It shuffled about. Bzzzt. I tried to swat it with a heavy paw. It flew away effortlessly. As though it hadn’t even seen that I was trying to kill it.
I decided it was just a stupid insect. It became trapped between the venetian blinds and the window. It kept tapping against the glass, unable to fathom why this transparent area was solid. Why it couldn’t fly right through. To other legs. To more vital parts. I wondered if it carried eggs. Whether it was looking for a good nest for them.
Half asleep, I crossed my fingers for rain. The air needed a good clean. And so did I.
Do you still see the echo of the bomb? Think, girl, think.
…three horses lay motionless in the street…no policemen…just bits…and the horses were intact…foam still clung to their mouths…the legs seemed like they would move, awkwardly at first, then find their hooves and pounce away, reborn…
Day three. I cut another notch into my arm. The first was still a bit bloody. The second, raw. This one, like scored chicken skin…my watch had stopped…flames still patted the sides of the neighbours houses…
A warm fridge. Heat blasted sofa. Misty glass TV…
…and no tweets…
No fathomless entity. Just plain old poison lust. The dust up my nose. Faeces in my cuts. Fumes in my lungs. A friend juggled a blancmange. Ended up sobbing, covered in pink slime. His cigarette soaked with cheaply sweetened, deformed mucus. I stared at him and kicked a stone at a little bird, who watched us from a verge.
He asked why, I left him there; shamed, pitiful. Ruined.
They call it love. It becomes death. Resurrects itself as bitterness and collapses from old age and undernourishment,
My old lady used to warn me not to wear my heart on my sleeve. I can see her now, fists clenched, biting at the air with every consonant.
Useless whore. Now disintegrated in my memory to a creature smaller than a dung beetle.
A simple, razor thin synaptic heave. A fart from the past issuing bile into the present.
And they call it love.
I know no one and yet I’m head over heels for you. And you know it too. Look at my eyes.
They have drunk you in so much they’ve become skewed. Perverted. Desperate.
When you leave, as you will, they will watch you walk away. And the pilot will warn the mouth not to echo the sentiments of the heart, worn snugly, gruesomely, upon the sleeve.
There is wonder in desperation. At the suggestion of some macroscopic slither of reality veering away from an assumed course, there can be found the magic once believed lost forever.
A man singing across the Thames. A three legged cat. Climbing fallen trees. The pretty women that sing our hearts lullaby.
Then the death of belief. Of hope. The freedom of the real, tangible oblivion. The womb of the universe; chaotic at first glance, yet ordered beyond fathom.
The brew was evil. And it left the breath smelling, no, tasting of ashtrays.
What had happened was that someone had stolen his ghost. Then another individual, presumably an accomplice, had taken his body to the grottiest club in town.
Who these creatures were is uncertain. They may have been downloaded from the congested ether. Whoever, or whatever, they were seems unimportant now.
He sits at his desk job and wonders if they have noticed the booze sweats, the way he staggers.
Vomiting in the sink, he becomes disoriented and faints.
The creatures steal his body and escort it back to the desk job. They get him sacked. He never knew how or why.
He awoke sat on a bar stool. An freshly emptied pint glass sits in front of him.
“Same again?” the barman asks.
And he says yes and wonders what it will be and what will happen next.
Poppy said her neck was hot. So I blew on it. She glared at me like I’d slapped her in the puss.
A man stood about fifty feet away. He was staring at the clouds. He was chanting too. Chanting that he wanted to make the clouds change shape. A rhino? A girl? A hypothalamus?
Poppy undid the top buttons of her blouse and laid down upon the picnic mat. I raised my eyebrows and blinked out towards the boats. They are going to rebuild the Titanic, I thought, in conversation with myself. I thought about telling Poppy. Decided it was best not.
The man was still there, his hands clapping together, silently somehow. An little, old woman was walking her tiny dog. The little, old woman stared at the cloud man. She stared and wore an intense frown on her little, wrinkled face. Rather like how a cat arches its back when it thinks its going to be attacked. She had nothing to worry about though, the man was light years away.
Just then I heard what sounded like a single, muffled note from a trumpet in a mouse orchestra. Poppy cleared her throat.
The little, old woman walked past and mouthed the words “Morning.” I ignored her. I felt like standing up and chanting, just to wind her up.
The man began shaking his head around. If he’s not careful he’ll go over the cliff, I remember thinking. No more clouds.
The tiny dog coiled out a turd into an otherwise pleasant afternoon. The little, old woman picked it up through an inside-out bag. Then she pulled the bag out the right way and tied it off. The tiny dog trotted ahead, not wanting to be downwind, presumably.
“What is that smell.” said Poppy. “Have you farted?” .