Thursday, November 23, 2006


He stood up and went to the door. She couldn’t throw him out now. The collection of ornamental cats on the dresser caught his eye, he paused, turned up his collar and stepped outside without bothering to say goodbye. It was over and they both knew it, she was stonewalling and he couldn’t take it any more. So much for that chapter of his life, time to move on.

The sun glistened on the water of Leith, a fine sheet of drizzle was falling but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Scotland. Hangovers always seem to throw a new light on things. He thought it strange that destroying all those braincells somehow reconfigures them. Reboot. A new energy was coursing through his veins and although disheartened, embittered, and downtrodden, he felt a genuine exhiliration. The number twenty-three bus pulled up with still a good two hundred metres to the bus stop. Fuck. His heart and his head pounded, but his feet pounded faster. Scarf flailing, old lady staring at the sheer pointless zeal, caution to the wind.

He spread butter and jam on the croissant which, unusually, he had bothered to buy. They'd probably chuck him out for the crumbs he left on the floor. But the croissant was totally artificial- no crumbs. On an average day, mornings were agony. No spirit, no desire to live, just amazement at the horror-mask in the mirror. Throughout the day, his features might reassemble themselves into something vaguely acceptable, and he would hit the bars to destroy them again. Again and again: the cash register of life. Cash, change, repeat.

But today didn't seem average, he was looking at the world through a fresh pair of eyes: easily dazzled. Builder steps out into the road, bus passes dangerously close and clips his jacket, he steps neatly back onto the pavement, unphased. Hard hat, reflective waistcoat, such sang froid. This was the kind of man who probably knew how to move on when things didn't work out. If the bus had hit him, he would have joked about it on his hospital bed. There was a woman sitting across from him with her little kid in silence. The peroxide hair, the knee-high boots, and the Irn Bru made a perfect costume. So many characters, he wanted to plumb their depths like some manic interviewer on class-As- get their story out of them. How do they get through the day working the nine to five? He would graduate soon, and then there’d be no more contact. What would they do if they were him? Had they ever been in love?

The bus was crawling through traffic. What's the point? Stupid as it felt in a motionless vehicle, he pressed the ‘stop’ button and went to the door. They couldn't throw him off now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As he skipped over the curb towards the Nicholson street Tesco he coughed. Deep and hard. Something was lodged in his throat and there was every possibilty it could be the remnants of something illegal. He was forced to prop himself up against the greasey vetrine of the supermarket which loomed assusingly down from an astonishing height. He stepped through the automatic doors which greeted him formally and impersonally. Just another cun, they thought. He broke into an agitated jog towards the medical aisle and stopped abrubtly at the lubricant. The reassuring and revitalising comfort of the impending wank riveted him. "Hey Greg!" The voice came from behind him. He looked around and then down. At three foot seven inches tall and a case of acne akin to the topping on a Dominoes meat feast, the appearnce of Eric the midget was startling. Greg tried to engage Eric and returned the greeting but the little fellow was unconvinced and asked, his jagged Leithian accent continuously attacking Greg's senses one after the other, "Argh yu gona maik ih too the chieck owt, son? Orr doo yu wanna ghand?" After a few breathes, not nearly enough for Greg to totally process what Eric had said but all time polite society would allow for a repsonse Greg explained that he was ok just a little dazed from the night before. He was merely picking up some Alka Selzer for the hang over that was mercilessly gripping him at the present. Eric uttered a few snorts which Greg discerned as the question of why he was then holding a 350g jar of vaseline if he had a hang over.

1:22 AM  

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