Monday, 5 December 2011

Mostly the Numbers

Gracie found love, Lizzie had a baby, Sally bought a house and Chloe found a fiver. The numbers were good and the streets were foam, all angles removed, all edge consigned to memory.

There were others, of course, students awaiting a moment and then another, padding along the cushioned tarmac, oblivious to what had gone before. “Are those questions no longer there?” thought Sef from the vantage point of a coffee shop, a skinny cappuccino vapouring before her. A final piece of pain au chocolat, light on pastry, awaited the end of patience. It was a week since she’d killed. Auditions were not yet open though the students outside milled in expectation of a queue.

Her morning was consumed by Gracie’s joy, not shared exactly, more displayed. Sef knew her place. That was fine. She feigned comprehension. The boy was perfect apparently. The details were sketchy but Sef suspected that her initial inference, that he was without cock, was incorrect.

 The coffee shop was itself foam, with transparent foam for windows and foam seats into which she sank to her waist. Momentarily she panicked but rescued her handbag from between foam cushions. She checked inside for the sidearm and found first a photograph of a generic baby staring up at the camera like a stoned dog. She’d have to ask Sally again what its name and gender were to avoid awkwardness when Lizzie next appeared unannounced.

Sally’s new house was admittedly rather nice; a large unused cellar that would have been ideal and a garden of plots, rockeries and flowerbeds which appeared to have been designed by a class of ‘problem’ children. Not that Sally would get the most out of it. Its best features would be given over to their two cats whilst she and Steve sat too close to a television wall.

She realised that she’d caught the attention of one particular student who was now hanging around outside the window, throwing glances in her direction. He leant nonchalantly against the pane but the foam had more give than expected and he was almost horizontal before he pulled himself up. He made to rescue the situation by lighting a roll up but his Zippo was out of fuel. Perhaps auditions wouldn’t be required. No time unfortunately, she had to meet Chloe soon for a bottle of wine, something light and soft, and a goss.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Approaching Entry Level.

"I checked my stats and found that I'd plateaued. Is there anything else to say? That's what my friend asked: Is there anything else to say? I'd synched my units, pain in the arse that is, but yeah, I'd plateaued. My other friend said: "Yes, of course there is. Dumbass."

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Penultimate Celebrated

"The important thing to remember is that none of this happened. It never did. Remember that.

I talk about Boris this and Jerome that and neighbourhood watches on village greens and cars smashing through pubs and a song, oh a song, of an alien in town and streets that shift at her very feet and shared spaces and artifacts out of place and young Sally and that man Whittaker, a piece of work, and Glen hiding, Whittaker and Glen, boy, and all those dinner plans we never completed because of, mainly, Jimmy the Speak. Yeah, Jimmy the Speak. I talk about Joanne and silence and missing years and century dates and gigs with friends and unvaried variables and people gone and people fake.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm sure I am. None of this happened, that's not the point. I wasn't there and yet and yet times and places weren't there to forget that none of this happened, and yet it happened for me, for us. To that I cling." Abigail Aitrum, 1667, London.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Charlie's Balloon

Well my prince you have your ghosts
I know they circle in the night
And they taunt you with their history
And that history is your right
Yes, they whisper their achievements
in your ear while you sleep
you're still dreaming of that greatness
pray the lord your rule decrees
But it doesn't seem he's listening
or at least they drown you out to you their
voices they are growing.
They grow ruthless as they howl.
But one day he's sure to grant you
What is rightfully yours and then you'll
Have your chance to show them all
their weaknesses and flaws.
But here the doubt it creeps in
those times they might have passed
You want a shot at greatness but
You might not get a chance.
You want a shot at greatness but
You might not get a chance.
You want a shot at greatness but
You might not get a chance.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Taken for Famous

"Each nostril a waterfall, each ear bubblewrapped
I sit in the square, a feature, a novelty, a fountain collapsed.
Well what was commissioned may not have been this.
They wanted a totem of a town in bliss.

The people they mutter, they point and stare,
An occasional photograph, I feign 'unaware'.
I wish that the artist would turn off the hose
And let me return to the steps for my clothes."

'Municipal Fountain' by Stuart Bat (1977)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dynamite. Mine.

The man left as dusk settled. It was the fifth evening of the juvenile Petro's vigil and he was satisfied that the time had come. He hopped over the railing and, hanging by one arm, edged the kitchen window open. Two days earlier the man had opened it to release some smoke from a burnt pie and Petro had taken the opportunity to lay a pencil along the base so that when it was closed again a gap remained.

Inside he stopped and listened though he knew the place to be desserted. In the distance he could make out the sound of traffic and somewhere in the house a fan struggled. The kitchen became a dining room and through french windows at the back he could see the silhouette of a treeline. The stairs made no sound to mark his ascent. At the top was a bathroom. He turned on the light and took a seat on the toilet. He pelleted into the bowl causing plops to bounce around the room and out into the darkness. By his side was a pile of computer magazines, the topmost being the very issue to that he'd picked up in the cornershop.

In a study he found a locked wardrobe which he forced open, the wordwork around the keyhole tearing apart. He recognised some of the uniforms on the rail, all military, all nineteenth and twentieth century and apparently without idological bias: fascists, stalinists, marxist revolutionaries, colonialists, neo-colonialists. All the prime movers from a narrative that confused Petro profoundly. He pulled on a balaclava, a red-starred beret and a brown shirt which sat surprisingly tight on his skinny frame. The figure staring back at him from the mirror suggested aggression. Of Petro only hands and anarchic eyes remained. He took on a karate stance, threw a few punches.

On the the writing desk was an illegible diary. The scrawls were like no letters he'd seen, all curves and angles in tight units. He took up a pen and fashioned his own after the slash at the end of a line. He swiped downwards into a little circle and then a horizontal dash. After a moment's thought he added a little dash at the end. Satisfied he swivelled on the chair and took in the rest of the room. There was only one picture: A black and white photograph showing soldiers picking through rubble. The scene was, silent, lost, dead, as was this house until the sound of breaking glass downstairs snatched him from his revery.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Was it gunpowder?

The man cast him a suspicious glance. No matter, he was used to that. It meant nothing, just that he wasn't welcome not with his hair in that state and eyes like his; the movement of each independent of the other. His mother had been told that the infant Petro could be fixed, and there followed two years of optical conditioning. But the only apparent outcome of the treatment was a resentment, grown seemingly of nothing, within the formerly kind hearted woman. Petro had tried, he really had, but he just couldn't progress. He pitied her even come the day when she lifted a rucksack onto his back and, in tears, pushed him onto a train. In his had: A ticket and a scribbled address.

He had followed the man from Bow to Knightsbridge and only been spotted when the man turned around suddenly after leaving his money in a cash machine. Petro had let himself get too close. He looked the man square on with his left eye, and down at the pavement with the right, as he walked past, then he ducked into a cornershop and pretended to browse computer magazines. Petro had never used a computer as far as he knew.

The address to which his mother had sent him all those years ago didn't exist. It had once, judging by the mismatched brickwork which echoed a doorway. The whole building had now been knocked through to form a sparse, desolate library within which slept an ancient librarian. Evidence of life came in the form of a sneeze and a billowing cloud of powder from her doughy cheeks. As his face emerged through the mist she looked from eye to eye and nodded in approval. Without a word she handed him a list and waved him away.

Through the window of the cornershop he watched the man pass. There was a tinge to his skin which suggested that in his hairier days he had been ginger. This made sense. Yes, this figured. He was quite tall though. Petro pocketed a magazine and set off once again. The man's back was slightly hunched and one arm swung free while the other locked a newspaper to his side. He mounted the steps of a palacious terrace and passed inside. Petro approached the door and put his ear to it. A radio was already on, bouncing the news off gleaming walls and high ceilings. Through a window to the side Petro could make out a large kitchen, the walls of which were lined with from which hung hardware of all shapes and sizes, a culinary armoury. Petro's tummy rumbled and he sat back against a railing. From his pocket he produced the computing magazine, which he cast aside, and the list, faded and fingered. He opened it up delicately so as not to tear it at the folds and raised the names to the sunlight which reflected off the sparkling kitchen wall behind him.