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Black Door, Part II: Rowan

Welcome to Part II of my short serial ‘Black Door’. If you want to read the first part of this story, it’s here:

I: Softly Does It

II: Rowan

***

R

owan has been following the luasgan for days, winding her way up through the southern hills, along the slanted shores of the great landmasses and ancient volcanic rock. This is where great plates butt and press into mountains. Mist drifts as horizontal falls. There is only mud and shale, the old stone ways, and the rustling scrape of gorse-thorns on waterproof, where she trails fingers over eroded spirals and the white bloom of lichen. She is the tiniest of tiny blue flames beneath the great vaulted grey skies of rain. Clouds grow up like vast cliffs of crushed snow, where castles of giants aught to sit, were not the weather bleeding the pendulous formations, pulling rain down to the level of the land, in one long downdraught of the elements.

Buckets. Sinks. Bail for your lives!

Mud cracks between her teeth. Her feet ache, her arms are numb; bones are bruised. These trainers will never be the same again. A wicked cut wanders her left cheek, like a crack split by a razor. And while there is pain in her eyes, brown as Autumn’s fingers, there is also determination. To find this trouble before it runs to ground with its last tatters of magic.

And then she hits the festival.

By the three!

The Festival – Edinburgh Festival – where the streets boil with tourists and performers, every eye looking to ingratiate at the latch, every hand a flyer proclaiming this show or that; and her pushing through the bodies that stop to watch the temporary stages, where men in dresses and women holding puppets vie with drummers and Oxbridge ya-ya-yas. Geisha, punks, Slavs, a man with his trousers round his ankles, a trio of nuns, false breasts bumping, bulges, wailing, singing, Lycra, lamenting, applauding, cat-calls and whistles – a bulbous honk-honk, ha, ha, ha, ha – balloons squick and squerk as they’re tied into inflated octopi, while rope is laid as impromptu stages on cobbles, and the stalls of jewellery and fine crafts are perused. A WWI infantryman with a face of pancake white wanders past, followed by his cardboard plane on little brown legs. Both are bog-soggy. Why they wear tutus is quite the mystery.

And through it all, dazed and dirty, the huntress wanders; wondering at the hopeless task of finding one unbody, unbound, in the hundreds of thousands, while Edinburgh is swollen like an overripe pumpkin of pithy players, and extravagant one-liners.

“Hey nonny, nonny,” says a bulbous fool, bowing in his motley. Mesmerised by his rubbery, red-tipped nose – a perverse eight inches long – she takes his flyer; but immediately – guilty and angry – dumps it one bin later, in the great snowdrift of similar flyers. Take it. Take it. Take it. Take a rude brush past, paper scraping at her edges.

Brows ratcheted low. Sighs. Too numb to be angry or involved, or anything. She keeps her hoody up, fingers pinched to the cap-brim beneath, squeezing moisture and the remnant prickle of a bracken spur.

Feels her heart speeding; stares down another flyer for a theatrical review, stapled stars fluttering, man gabbing about venues and discounts. Man face here, man face on flyer. He holds out the paper for the taking – see? She wonders, briefly, if she can state, ball-faced, she has no arms, despite the obvious swing of them. See what he’d say.

A silver Audi crumples along the cobbles, slowed to the speed of crowd awareness, and sinks down Coburn St.

A cycle rickshaw, held standing on chain and pedals.

“Be-yoot-iful lay-dee, issa wanna ride?” Along with the faux-talian, the Australian idiot is trying to keek under her black hood, and peer around her curtain of slung blond hair. An uneven antipodean smile, wet and dazzling; muscular legs and cycle shorts. Regretfully, she lets the pleasing movement of lips and teeth drop behind, swallowed in bodies.

People eating pizza, scattered with fistfuls of grassy rocket, with straw-clinking glasses of Mojito – gourmands and commentators sitting on aluminium chairs under a wide awning, rain a curtain, curling at the edges. Umbrellas ill-advised, block the view. Fuck’s sake!

Pushes through. Blue poncho’s, German, Italian, Spanish voices.

Suddenly exhausted.

She huddles in an arched ‘close’ beside a black iron gate, the bars as thick as three fingers. High on the wall, an iron plaque says something Scottish in raised gold paint.

Breathing.

There is stone and slabs and her own chest rising and falling; a split-splatter of water from the far end.

Breathing.

Revellers wander past like trash in a flood.

The ring in her lip burns cold.

Sighs. Slips some hard lines out of a plastic bag strapped up in elastic. Wipes water from the screen. Cursing the interminable digital wait, she composes a text. Her fingers are so cold they feel like meat impaled on metal. Her waterproof chaps at her wrists, flesh pressed into branching canals; white and pink.

Sniffs. Sniffs. Back of her hand wipes wet. Bloody weather!

The text reads:  FESTIVAL – WTF??! SCARRED BT OK. LK FNDG BOGGART IN A MALL. SPK SOON, ROW X.

Sniffs.

Waits.

Waits.

Waits.

Pling!

Flicks open the phone again: SEE ADAM. K?

Not bloody K! She stabs the red exclamation, killing the phone, and dumps the L of black plastic back in her pack. Hopefully it’ll drop amongst her soaked underwear and explode. As it is, there’s a dull clunk, tunk, and ‘ptung’ as it bounces the length of a crossbow.

She has to push on.

Grubby fingers and torn nails rustle on waterproof fabric. She pulls out an agate arrowhead – smoky grey, white bull’s-eyes – on two foot of chain, each loop a tiny silver ring scribed by the Toichean, and hangs it there in the shadows that smell of kebab and strawberry ice cream. She relaxes her mind, spinning the beebaw, faster, twisting slower, slow, then faster revolving back again, slow, stopped, slow, revolving; moving it round in a circle over the stained concrete, slippery and black with chip fat.

Her mind opens up, then, like a door.

The door has ‘no idea’ written on it.

Her eyes snap open; almost yanks the chain into the ceiling.

Great. Stuffs the apparatus back into her pocket, loop-after-loop, and zips up the last poisonous coil. As if it meant it. Anger bubbles. Useless piece of –

Gods! As usual, no preparation, no place to stay, no way to turn back.

You could phone Adam, says a thought that’s looking to get stabbed. Shut up, she reminds herself. Meanwhile, something of the descendant wheel wanders the streets of Edinburgh. But where?

A small insect-like huzzz.

A piece of paper tumbles. She watches, black ice; eyes suddenly sharp, forgetting the dark bruises that ring them.

“Bloody Mary!” She mutters. Another scrap whirls around and around through the bars, where instead it should drop limp and wet, running low with the rain of the day. But it doesn’t. It is propelled.

This is paper brought by performers, loud and long from far away – those pushing the cheap seats and converted town houses, where theatre grows up behind black curtains. Fringe for Free. Punters deciding. Or not. Fate grows charged and dangerous on decide, decide, decide.

Or rather, those things decided against…

Horror-struck, she realises a deep, heavy magic has been performed in this city, with no care for those other travellers of the word; those already breaking rules.

Her in-breath is cut short. Glossy paper smacks and folds over her mouth, the white photography of ‘Britain’s bitchiest comedienne’ now the reverse of a smile, holding in, rolling on like film played backward.

All the better to wipe out her anomalous path.

She scrabbles for the knife in her pack, as more paper oozes, slips and slides beneath the tromping feet – discards, muddy and mongrel, looking for a fight. Others, whiskery, sliding like rusty sheers in buckets and bins, dry and sharp, as jabs of cutting paper begin to slide into her.

Now swiping in a circle with the stone knife, hacking towards her own features, flint whirling, scared to stab herself in the eye or face, and yet the paper is on the march, pressing in like papier-mâché, moulding to her face and tracts, the soft slumping of mushed words squashing water to her lips, moving like slug or worm.

All the while, the threads of reality are twanging like loose power lines – the antibodies of causality are on the march.

Her overwhelmed, thrown onto the metal of a dumpster, head clangs. And then, and then…

Slices across her face with the knife, the tip rattling her teeth, a taste of blood, and breath whooshes in.

She drops a word like a lead brick.

Foom!

Tatters of paper, curling at the edges with an eye-blink of flame, others trailing smoke like downed tail rotors, other fluttering like black feathers, her stumbling out of the close, coughing, eyes red, watering.

Into the cheers of the crowd watching the backs of other cheering heads, while somewhere in-between are acrobats.

Soaked paper slides from her arms like wet flannel; some cracks and falls away like cooked egg-shell.

A woman – child in hand – snarks a face at the slup that’s ended on her boot-end, her eye-shadow crinkled to nail heads.

A man pretending to be a statue – dark bronze and verdigris from head to foot, tie wired, bowler hat steady – catches a fluttering ash that floats to his palm like a tall-masted rigger. He blows it away with a metal-lipped, theatrical stiffness; and then he catches the scent of charred hair and waterproof.

This – this is why the Fates let none play the warp and weft of the loom: Weave m’boy and the lands will end. Weave m’boy and the white seas shall have kith and kin of the word.

September 6, 2011   11 Comments

Glaistig

“D

anielle can you help with the coo?”

“I dunno.”

“Sure you can. It’s just a big beastie. ‘Sides, she’s had her calf.”

“A calf?” There’s that frown, but it’s massaged with a twitch of intrigue.

“Aye, teeny, and wee, and brown. An’ it can already lick oot its ane ear and stick a tongue up its ane nose.”

She laughs. “Really?” Then, “Suppose.”

The calf smells of new days, and her mother – Mrs Browne (with an ‘E’) – stumps through the moist, byre straw, with big plumes of nostril steam, and still wants to lick the head of the brown, living, glowing calf, whose eyes are as big as baubles, and as brown as peat water, and whose eyelashes are as thick and long as any girl could wish for. It stands at the top of a tottering A-frame of wonky legs, and bleats like a goat.

It’s true – it does have a long tongue.

It butts her leg.

It also has a cowlick like Elvis.

Cowvis? Moovis? Nah, shut up.   

This is the city-farm unplugged. Danielle could have been picking the tomatoes – loves that smell of garden centre and hot salad under glass – loves the fruity, acidic pop of them in a cheek, as the warm seeds flood into her mouth. Maybe, too, spending that last hour before school at the little farm shop, selling home-churned butter, or little duck mugs. But the calf’s okay.

Pushing and heaving the coo – the mam – out the byre is going to be tricky, though. That’s one pooey backside with a swaying windscreen wiper – that tail – flicking around.

OMG.

No clear haunch you’d want to put a shoulder to.

But Danielle gives a hefty pull on the bridle, the corded rope prickling her fingers. Tug, tug. “Cummon. Uch. Stupid muppet!”

Draaaaaag.

Cow’s got all four paws – no, that’s not right now is it? But whatever they are – braced. They’re all spread out. Silly, auld coo. Ha. Ha. It rolls the whites of it eyes and twists its head to the side, lowing once, so low and long it rattles Danielle’s boots, but out it comes – at last – bell clanking, and the little calf follows.

The stump, stump of hooves.

Mam’s got full udders, dripping milk, and that calf sticks his head under and bats around, until a long teat – like a finger of a rubber glove – is clamped in its wet mouth, and it’s tugging away. Slurping.

Yuck. Sounds like a drain bein’ suctioned oot.

Milk and saliva hangs in cords from the calf’s chin.

Danielle – wary of ‘flickage’ –  retreats back into the low-doored byre to confront the reason cows make really bad pets: poo, and lots of it. In the almost-words of that guy in that stupid shark film, which is still worthy of nightmares: “Houston, we’re gonna need a bigger wheelbarrow…”

Oh, ho, it’s the boss-man.

Calvin strides in, all proud in his bright, red wellies. They’ve even got flowers on.

Danielle’s eyes roll to the ceiling in despair. “You’ve still got them girly wellies?”

“Aye, well, at least I hav’ny got a wee…. whatever that is.”  (She’s got a Moshi Monster on her T). “An’ this barn’s no getting any cleaner. So…” He points at the long, pole-handled thing leaning on the wall.

“Wha’dya think that’s fur?”

“Err, raking?”

“It’s a fork.”

“Forking?”

“Good lass. I’ll be down the shop wi a cup of tea.”

Well, that sucks.

Danielle stares at the coo poo through slitted eyes, breathing through her mouth. Man, what a (cough) stinky – uch (retch) …

Calvin laughs his deep, booming laugh and stumps back outside, straw caked to his boot-sides. “Gid luck tae ya, missus”.

 

Let’s just say that clearin’ out some o’ that poo is like panhandling soup wi a fork.

 

When she’s done, face flushed, dusty cough, the fresh straw is spread out like a prickly ocean of gold. Little scratchy bits are still stuck in her sleeves. Calvin whuttocks on over. He’s been checking the bees (which are presumably still ‘bee-like’, ‘bee-shaped’, whatever). “Good lass. Ya can dump the barra oot back.”

“Cool.”

But they’re both kind of caught. It’s sunny, and Springy, and there’s new life wandering.

Calvin leans on the warm fork-handle. “Y’know, we may be a city farm, but we’ve still got a little bit of the auld-country here.”

They watch the calf suckling for a while.

“Is the milk in wee sections?” asks Danielle, “A bottle to every one o’ them teaty things?”

“Naw. Think it’s all joined up.”

“Ah.”

“Maybe.”

A fly buzzes past.

The calf’s nose punch-bagging again, until another teat presents itself.

“That things gan ta pop.”

“Aye,” says Danielle. “If it does it in the next twa minutes, let me know. Otherwise, I’m aff tae school.”

“Sure thing.”

Danielle sniffs. “It is totally cute. Innit?”

Calvin nods thoughtfully and abruptly straightens up. “But look, misses, come back tonight. See if yer mum’ll let you stay over in the vet’s barny.”

“How?”

“‘Cause we got more of the auld-country than” – he nods at the slathery thing – “Wee Eck.”

“Wee Eck?”

“Aye, name just came tae me.”

There is a pause.

“Dinnie look like that. ‘Eck’ is a perfectly gud name for a coo.”

 

***

 

It’s nine o’clock at night. Danielle’s watching Toy Story (thirty-second viewing and accelerating) on the battered, old telly the hands have stashed in the rail wagon. There’s a couple of bunks, and a Formica table, a couple of plastic chairs, and a microwave. This is where the hands (sometimes the vet) wait for cows, sheep, horses, maybe even the rabbits – who knows what – to go give birth and drop a slippery bag of new-born shluck, that kicks and struggles and looks generally beset. But later – after a good lick-blow-dry – it’s fluffy, and so cute it’s probably illegal.

Danielle’s seen the whole birth thing – the miracle – many times, right in the centre of town. Not bad for a lass from the schemes. It was horrible – ya widny believe it – and amazing, and definitely ick. Is that blood? Or just some purply-slimey-alieny thing? Like liver n’ bacon? Is it skin stuff? Yuch.

But mostly amazing.

Like seeing Lady Gaga at the castle: Was that meat? Plastic? Leather? Is she hermaphrodite? Well, whatever. You can just shut yer face – she’s awesome!

Twelve o’clock and it’s kind of spooky out there in the yard. Pitch black. Street-light sodium only reaches the edges of the farm. Downhill, somewhere, the buses rumble – past the duck pond and the little stretch of wild wood, and the nature garden, where the schools collect frog spawn and pick some of the wild plants. Between the farm-world and the real-world there is a ten foot, wire fence.

Calvin’s in the hut, and he smells faintly of chicken poo – a strange, sweaty-sock kind of smell. Danielle probably smells the same way, as they’ve been muckin’ out the chookery for hours. Feels like, anyway. “Well, if we’re hangin’ around,” Calvin had suggested, “may as well get useful.”

Anyway, now they’re eating Chinese noodles straight out of the foil cartons – mam hates that – and they’ve got ‘the forks of failure’, despite an enthusiastic (and literal) stab-in-the-dark with chopsticks, earlier.

One am-ish, Danielle awakes from a strange dream about zombies and a cow on a bike.

The cow was awesome at bunny-hops (cow hops?).

Don’t ask about the zombies.

Calvin’s shaking her shoulder. “Come on, sleepyhead. Out back. You’ll like this. Hat on.  Stop yawnin, you’ll catch a moth. Keep low and keep quiet.”

“It’s dark. Gawd.”

“Middle o’ the night, missus.”

“What are we lookin’ fur? Foxes?”

“Naw. Dinnie trip over everything will ya?”

Clunk! Clank! Kadunk!

“Blimey, it’s like the Tin Man oot o’ the Wizard of Oz, in a tin factory, collectin’ tin cans on – uh – tin can Tuesday. Shush! Watch oot fur that trough.”

And so on; in the dark. Until her eyes adjust a bit and she can see the broad outlines of the byres and sties, the paths about the place, and the wire fences with the animal names, facts, and faces, on laminated cards.

Calvin gives her waterproof a tug. “Naw, dinnie stand oot there, misses. Here. ‘Ahind that bin. Quiet.”

They’re near the cow byre, standing at the shed with the aquariums. A rabbit flops along in the run beside them: a stencil eating silhouette carrots and veg.

“Now, look over there. Tell me what you see.”

She looks. “Uh, shadows?”

“Anythin’ else?”

A bit more staring. Her eyes are playing funny buggers. “Still shadows?”

“Ach, it’s right in front of ya.” He points. “Just there. That.” Whispers, “See it?” And – just like one of those puzzles where you see a candlestick for ages and ages, and then, suddenly, two faces – she does see it: a tall figure, a woman, who walks strangely in a long green dress, with odd, jerking movements – all hip and sway – that none-the less, are elegant in a tumbling, pigeon sort of way. Her hair is long and so are those fingers, intent, as she is, on slipping the cord on the barn door where the cow and calf are secured for the night. That hair is probably a grey, coppery crayon, if you look at the other colours in the moonlight.

The dull ‘dump’ of the door closing can be heard across the paddock.

“Cummon, says Calvin.” His warm hand grips hers, rough as old sacking, and they make it – more or less intact – up to a barn window.

“I’ll give ya a boost. Now wha’dya see?”

Apart from spider webs outside – old, with husks of flies and daddy long legs dangling in them – and the wire lattice of the ‘school glass’ with its corroded wooden frame… nothing.

“Nothin’” is what she reports back, whispering all hoarse.

“Ach, look where the light comes in through the other window. Maybe o’er near the calf. An’ what’s this on yer wellies? You find all the shite o’ the day, or what?”

She giggles.

“And it looks up into that diamond of sodium, street-light yellow. A face of stone. A statue. Its skin blooms with that flowery stuff that grows on trees and boulders. Y’know, lickin. Lichen. Whatever. And eyes, as green as duck-pond water. This woman, has a wildcat look on her, lids narrowed, suspicious as hell, and that dress falls like a flood from that pale, grey, weathered stone of her, that none-the-less is achingly beautiful. Like that boy in sixth year, with the lips, or Danielle’s mother’s long, chestnut hair, when it’s really brushed, or the snow that time up at the big park, falling soft and silent, with the whole world wrapped away. It was wilderness, she thinks – something you could give yourself over to, though it’d like as eat you. This woman is wilderness. Her lips are slightly open, hinting at sharp canines, though nothing is seen; a wolfish prickle at the edges. Danielle has never caught sight of something wilder, more enchanting and more strange. Of course she kin see me, but she’s nae that bothered, is she? Or at least, there’s a pause as all things are considered.

She widney eat me…

Whid she?

“What can you see?” Says Calvin. “I’ve got cramp in ma fingers and shite runnin’ down ma sleeve. Can you –“

And there’s a thud of pinewood as the byre door clumps shut.

Lost it. 

The green dress flickers past the compost bins, and down the back of the greenhouses, then past the back wall, with the billowing ivy and the old door, until Danielle loses sight of the figure amongst the raspberry canes and apple trees.

“She’s quick.”

“Aye.”

Scraping down the wood boarding, Danielle splots back into the mud.

“Have we scared it off? Away, I mean?”

Calvin pushes out his bottom lip and shakes his head. “Naw. She’ll be back.”

“Where’s she live?”

“The auld oak, maybe? I planted a couple of new uns to make a wee grove. Could be the auld wall. So, whatdya’ think o’ that, eh missus?”

“Amazin’. I thought she was wearin’ a costume.”

“Aye, it’s what ah thought. A mask. Looks like a statue, dunn’it? Wearin’ a dress.” He shakes his head with a reminiscent look. “Lovely. Wild. Had to go ask ma ma, though, what it was; thought it was some ‘high-society’ lass breakin’ in the first night. But naw, she’s here for the coo.”

“What doin?”

“What they’ve always done. It’s a Glaistig.”

“A what?”

“Glaistig. Means, ah… one of them.” And he waves a hand in the direction of the trees. “Gaelic, probably. She should be oot in the wilds, but she’s come here tae keep the calf frae drinkin’.”

“That’s a bit…”

“Naughty? Naw. It gets plenty. But in the auld days, wi a herd an’ all, she’d make sure you got milk fur the big house. Stopped the calves gettin’ it all. And in return, you gie her some milk.”

“Really?”

“Aye.  So here.” And he hands Danielle a jam jar.

Even in the moonlight she can tell it’s full of milk.

“Pour it on that stane over there and we’ll call it a night.

“‘Kay.”

The lid comes off with a pop and tinny clatter, and she floods the top of the boulder. The sandstone’s slightly hollow so the offering forms a shallow, snow-white pool.

“Where’d you think she comes from?”

“Naw idea. Maybe like them city foxes in the bins: comin’ in closer to the city where they can, these days. An’ of course, we’ve got a coo (important) and Wee Eck.”

Calvin snorts at the returned look on her.

“It is so a brilliant name for a coo! Now back in that hut, or your maw will have strips off me, an’ you’ll be a grumpy wee shite in yer classes tomorrow.”

They stump back towards the beached wagon.

“Mornin’, though, I guarantee twa things: one, that milk’ll be done and gone wi, an’ it’ll naw be hedgehogs or cats. An’ twa, there’ll be goat prints everywhere.”

“Goat prints?”

Calvin laughed and batted the brim of her cap. “Christ, aye, wha’dya think a Glaistig walks on? Feet?”

July 18, 2011   9 Comments

“Wow. Ow. Bow. How. Ow. Ow.”

There’s some swearing in this one. Those of a tender disposition might want to look away.

***

I

can see the breakers rolling up the beach: white lines smearing out like wrinkles. A dog is barking. “Bow. Wow. Ow. Bow. How. Ow. Ow. Ow.” And it keeps barking. It’s so incorporeal, it could be lost in a building along the coast, could be dropped down a well, or it could be as close as the flat next door. That’d mean it belongs to the guy who’s renting us this holiday home.

I realize that dog has been barking its way around my subconscious for days now; a never ending, barking metronome that just won’t shut up.

Damn owner should be shouting at that damn dog.

But: “How. Bow. Ow. Ow.”

There it goes again.

A barbecue is blowing smoke in my face. We’ve got it pitched out on the veranda, and that salty sea air is rolling around in the smoke like it’s playing with it. And that dog is calling for its supper. Wanna bit of burger?

“Bow. Ow. Ow.”

Little snapper. Wanna plug its woof-hole with a half-pound of chuck-steak.

Though I guess that would be just what it wants.

We sit in bed discussing the psychology of pet ownership. I’ve never had a dog; never walked on the moon, neither, but figure I’m more of an expert than NASA.

Damn dog is ‘owing’ and ‘bowing’.

1 AM. Dear God. You furry little shit!

There was this other dog. I’m in the queue for the butcher. Dog’s outside. One of those rough, little dogs they keep up in the schemes, with a harness – practically a neck-scarf – and floppy jowls. It’s the colour of malt-brown caramel.

“Baby, Baby. Don’t you worry.” That’s what it’s owner says when that dog starts blowing out on the pavement. ‘Cept this dog is so loud it sounds like it’s in the shop with us.

Whining. Barking.

That dolly totters over to the door, trying to keep her place in the queue with an outstretched hand and backwards glances. “Baby, mummy’s just getting’ dinner. Don’t be like that, honey.”

Dog yowls, yawns, whines, one sharp bark. Looks worried around the door, but I know this little, brown torpedo is spoiled to high-hell. I never owned one, but I know this woman is apologising to that little rust-spot. Tick, tack, back in the shop, fake tan swinging on her arms, and I’m just wishing she’d snap the umbilical to that pooch-hound.

“Ow. Bow. Wow. How…”

Tick, tack. Tick, tack. “Bertie! You be a good boy. Mummy’s only going to be a minute. What a silly billy. Mummy’s here.

Dear, god. Dog’s got it’s eye set on a chop the size of its head. A long cord of drool drags around on the pavement, before pulling itself down as a frothy bolus of saliva. Dogs like that little sput have a bad rep round here. They’ve attacked kids.

“Bow. Ow. Ow. Ow.”

Tick, tack.

Christ. Push her out of the queue you lilly-livered sons-of-bitches.

Dog is sitting with its ass on the warm pavement, pale furry underside leading to pink flesh, like its stomach is receding; dog bits flopped around all doolally.

“Ow. Ow.”

Tick, tack. Tick, tack.

“Baby, don’t be like that.”

It goes on and on. And now I realise I can’t remember if I ever did get my pack of pork chitlins, or whether Bertie and the tick-tack woman ever made it out of the shop, or whether we all turned on them with pitchforks and torches; her and the damned Hellhound.

“Ow. Bow. How.”

But, I can’t concentrate to remembering, what with this multi-headed monster right next door. Barking out on the dog radio; barking back through time, like it’s that dog in the store talking to me, dissing me, sticking up the little dog ‘V’s.

3am. No sleep. “Ow. Bow. How. Ow.”

5am. No sleep. “Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. How. Bow. How.”

5:45am. Carving knife in hand.

July 8, 2011   12 Comments