Tutorial

Account

Forums

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Why Do I Keep Counting?

Category: Issue 11

Help me get down.  I do not know the answer.  I am not a soldier.


London’s not burning, not now at least.  The man in scarlet is watching me – a word scorched into his arm which he scratches at with a needle.  I need your eyes to see but typically you’re nowhere close, so I stumble through the snow blind, wait: screw the clichés, I turn around and clench my fists…I am not strong enough to be the one…


…on that last platform – such desolate hope.  An empty train roars past, assuring a passage into heaven or hell – dependent upon the taste of the bloody passenger.  In the shadows, a phone lies unanswered.  The catatonic night has swept right into the mainstream – awaking old ghosts locked in time or the masonry.  Building creak with mistrust to an electronic scream.  The land pulsates with energy, a mechanical boom explodes sweeping angels from their lofty perches:  replacing the sun with metal fragments, pixelated images of dead icons adorning balustrades of palaces or castles of declining wealth.

And then, with the force that only God himself could muster – I hit the water.

The bridge seems so distant now, so high above me in the sky.  Fuck, how did this happen?  How did the world become so out of reach?  Millions of hands make a grab for me, try to pull me back in.  I can hear the masked dogs amongst the pack, sniffing at the excrement.


A girl I once saw in the park (needle high) is kissing me and kissing me.  I take no notice, hypnotised instead by the drunk paddling his bench as if it were a boat. The taste of her tainted saliva pushes me deeper under the water.


Seventy Sixty Five is rung into the till and I’m amazed.  I’ve never paid that for three beers before.  This pub is old and a man calls himself Gary Oldman.  I don’t disbelieve him as he has the scars too to prove it.  I clap him on the back, I bled gun wounds too as a child, choking back the tears as I buried my twin sister.


My eyes open.


A skull is embedded in the concrete wall.  Fiery eyes - candles alight with the burning images of black prophets scorched into forearms or thighs.

The water swims in my lungs.  Strange though that I can still breath.  Such creatures of wonder are lost here amongst the rocks – the sight of my mother’s prison – how she loved those diamonds.

Was I ever here?  Let me remember his name. 
“Barman?  Another over here please.”  I am the Omega.  Come off it – Alpha I meant.  Absolem.  Ah – that’s right. 
Reverse back then – in the alley.  Gone the wrong way.  The blade of his knife glints in the night sky.  Penny for the guy.  “Give me your wallet, I won’t hurt you.”  From a window, hear a man droning on about dates for the millennium.  2000 was just a rehearsal for those with constant agitations.  William Blake promised God on every street corner, our own newscast from Divinity.  A constant report on a social structure they’ve tried to suppress. 

Stop then.  Please.  Something’s happened.

Here on the river’s edge.  A hook and a wish.  I’m being dredged.  My insides I know have split.  No, spilt.  Something is feeding on me.  Cod!?  Whoa, they shouldn’t be here should they?  Jellied eels maybe – but cod?  In these waters – fresh water.  Wait, I’m confusing myself.  Brain turning to jelly.

Lemon.  My favourite.

A conversation between a boy and a girl.  They are naked.  They are in a restaurant.
It goes something like this:
Girl – if you don’t want the cod.
Boy – well, it’s not that, I want the steak.  That’s what I really want.
Girl – what’s that supposed to mean?
Boy doesn’t say anything.  He watches the lobster in the tank.
The waiter enters.  He is an old man.  Played with aplomb by the ghost of Rex Harrison, and no.  He isn’t naked – as much though as he wanted to be.
Girl – waiter, he’ll take the steak.  Make sure it’s well down.  He can’t stand the sight of blood.
Waiter – Can’t say I’m surprised madam.
Boy is confused but then looks at the jagged wounds in his throat and stomach and that his genitals have been torn from him.  Shoals of fish swim where he once was.
And she understands why he doesn’t like cod.
Boy of course is more pissed off with the way she touched Rex’s hand.  But he supposed all that was part of the game.

Okay – so now this is getting weird.  The man who’s mumbling.  I’ve seen him before.  He takes the cracked paper from my hand and studies it intently.  Of course it’s not paper but vellum and it wasn’t from my hand, outstretched though my fingers are, no, it’s from my back – the mole that resided on the base of my spine punctuates the word frites.  The spinster at the back of the audience groans at my pretentiousness – but hey it’s my story and I’ll tell it the way I want.

So there must be a connection to France right?  Not necessarily.  I took a piss.  Stumbled across a movie set.  A horror film – was being directed by some kid.  Emile.  Four and a half and French.  Ah – okay, so is that part of what happened or something just made up?

No time to tell as the hammer hits my jaw.  I go down, the irony taste of blood in my mouth.  A boot to the head and I go sprawling.  Such death and sorrow here.  But where is here?  Take stock in between the beatings.  Gas.  Grass.  Mud.  Someone laughs amongst the carnage.  Blue light flashes in the dark sky.  Lovers stroll hand in hand through the battlefield, ignoring my death throes.

Jesus.  A friend of mine was once decapitated at Clapham Station.  His head ended up smeared all over the front of the train.  Well, they say that the eyes are the windows of the soul.

Now, the train speaks to me.  Why did you leave me alone in the starlight?  A conversation of deposed soldiers under a despot leader.  I never knew I could do this.  A siphon system keeps me alive.  Strapped to the wall, but constant nonetheless: fluids – black, blue, red – pumped into my being.  A constant thirst in my throat.  Unconditional love amongst the senses.


I could have sworn he was Swedish but no, she told me.  He was Norwegian.  “I’m Steffen.”  He smiled took my hand.  “Hello.”  I responded.
“This is my sister, Inge.”  He introduced the girl next to him at the table.  She smiled too, kissed my hand.  Sally sighed and left, she knew I was smitten.  I didn’t stare as she went, just drew up a chair and sat down at the table. 


Shit.  My cheek collapsed.  Like my chest, lost amongst the plankton.  Another corpse sails past, make good driftwood.

“But at least he’s not American.  I mean come on for god’s sake, they come over here, take our jobs – our women – is nothing sacred anymore from those damn Yankees?!”
The man is getting quite irate.

But who said those lines?
A boy – Steffen, ah, now it’s making sense: vomits into a basket.  The girl I took to be his wife or girlfriend tutts as she lights a cigarette.  She blows smoke rings into the air, they sail out of the window like passing ships in the night.

We take Steffen outside for some air.
Suddenly there’s a scream from Inge.  A man who could have been either Rex or Gary in a former life is holding a knife to her throat.  He motions to me.
“Give me your fucking wallet and that watch, I like the look of that.”  I want to do something but am still holding Steffen, who is mumbling something in Swedish, sorry Norwegian and sick is leaking from his mouth, staining my shirt. 
So what the hell can I do?

Inge makes a move and thinking that Rex / Gary is off-guard she tries to escape.  But he’s too strong and the movement of his wrist is so swift that I don’t actually realise what he’s done until her body actually goes limp in his arms.  I swear I see the soul actually leave her.  I start to panic as does Rex / Gary, he’s now covered in Inge’s blood, which is still pouring from the wound in her neck.

“Isn’t there always a fucking hero?!”  The man spits.  Dropping her corpse to the ground.  A comment like that disables any type of conversation I was hoping to have with him, any kind of reason.  Steffen comes too for a moment, his eyes stop rolling.  He looks over at his dead sister and I’m sure it doesn’t recognise for a second or two but when it does, I can feel the rage flow through his body.  He shakes me off and takes one step forward….

…and promptly falls over.  The rage is full of alcohol and the night air has exhausted him.  Rex / Gary doesn’t really know what to do but begins to laugh.  Steffen must be an epileptic or something because he starts fitting on the ground – like a fish out of water.  I want to help him but am stuck in this awful predicament.

“Come on then punk, make my day.”  Rex / Gary actually says which I’m sorry to admit brings a smile to my lips.  An apt time for a cliché then and I know this for sure when he throws the knife from hand to hand and wouldn’t look out of place in one of those bad movies with Tony Curtis.

As I stand still, he starts to dance around me.  Jumping in and out of some imaginary circle, all the time throwing that knife. 

My eyes follow him, waiting for that briefest of moments when I can make my attack.  Naturally I don’t have a weapon, so will have to rely on my wit and charm. 

Of course, I see now by the light of the moon, that was my fatal mistake.


“Isn’t there always a story?”  They drop me to the ground. I’ve disabled her conversation. There was never a great Poet from London. In, maybe but never from.

I’m born. He’s stabbing me. An animal’s already taken everything I own, now he wants more. A wolf at the door with Andromeda’s strain written all over her face.

I remember wrenching her back from limestone. She had been calling my name from amongst the ruins. A cobbled surface secreted secrets but she claimed to be intelligent. Here and now.


An alight curse ruptures across Stamford Bridge which makes me go red in the face, such a tragedy – torn something they wanted for so long.

She blows breeze – the first thing I noticed on her arms was the tattoo of the road, serpent.

Stopstopstop

A siren sings of my sweet demise. My life hidden in the lining of a perfect stomach. The rope lifts me and then lowers me back into the water, amongst the copulating fish. Down river my body goes awaiting a nation’s new discovery. Softly I sail, my eyes close. The moon enthusiastic and charming, burnt onto my retina.

I think I hear a voice calling me…I never thought I looked like Jesus.

Back to Voting

Old Comments

Add a comment
What makes a good comment?.

Name: (Already a member? Login)

Email:

Location:

URL:

Smileys

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:


Or Use Disqus Comments Below

comments powered by Disqus

<< Back to main