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Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Cross Vertigo


 (published 'Peace & Freedom' 1989)

It was cool on the front. The sluggish tides of the weed-choked sea slid greyly to and fro upon the litter strewn beach. The morning had dawned brightly enough but now, by mid-afternoon, threatening clouds had built up and the Big Wheel, turning slowly at the end of the f ore-shortened pier, was almost lost to the encroaching mist.

A few late departures of the deckchair brigade, their silly hats and striped canvas windbreaks, now looking decidedly lacklustre with fish and chip grease smarming their bodies like sun oil and kiss me quick sandcastle flags in their beehive hairstyles, clambered up the shingle to the promenade, with only a few words between them.

Suddenly, there was a loud ?Halloo!? from one of the beach huts. A shaven yob splattered out, limbs flailing like a wild pair of tenantless stocking suspenders. He slobbered at those who had just evacuated the beach, pointed out at the sea and shouted so loudly his half-kraken croaks seemed to comee in off the waves like a series of echoes.

He ranted on of an enemy fleet that even now was slipping through the mist, its looming dark hulks of landing craft creeping in...

Those on the big wheel could no doubt see them already, hence the screams. The yob ran off towards the town, where he would try to spread further panic and ....... but nobody would pay any attention, if he did not look sensible.

Altin was one of those on the big wheel. He did not know why he had decided to have a ride upon the baskets, for great heights to him were like great depths to Flat-Earthers. Every time someone got on or off at the bottom of the Wheel, it seemed that it was Altin who was left exposed, right at the top, to the soaking underdrag of the towering clouds.

And, then, during one of those inexplicably long stationary periods when he was thus aloft, he spotted the school of whales coming in, with jaws opening and shutting in rhythm to the waves. One was suddenly snorting as it beached itself on the shingle. Another beached itself upon the first one. The pier shook, as yet another lodged itself between the corroded pillars. Altin closed his eyes in disbelief.

Altin was one of those whales, by several reincarnations removed. Except they weren?t whales at all. They were the sea-bed come to life, chunks of it separating from Mother Earth as in some caricature of evolution.

The comedy came to a close, as the pier collapsed with all upon it. It was a happy ending, for the slobbering yobs and deckchair dickheads had at last been pre-empted by, although a much deeper entropy, a far finer evolution.

The whale-like creatures roamed the thinning, flattening, drying, big wheel discus of Earth Comestible... The version that was Altin smiled with jaws that were not meant to smile, for he was as low as junkies get high.

Posted by augusthog at 3:48 AM EDT
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