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Monday, 25 February 2008

Published 'Onyx' 1994


The wheels jammed.  The car seemed to possess a volition of its own or, rather, positively lacked such a volition – since no amount of throttle, pumping the clutch, squeezing-unsqueezing the foot-brake, tussling with the hand-lever, twirling the steering-wheel and, finally, thumping my head gently on the windscreen could budge the damn machine.  I cursed the traffic lights which had stopped us in the first place: the red-eyed God of our stopped civilisation.  You see, I was quite maddened with rage, and would have blamed, given half the chance.


I suddenly realised that the car was growing smaller.  Otherwise, I was enlarging, which did not seem at all likely.  I felt each hand with the other and the bone shapes were just as I recalled them.  How could bones grow?  A child suddenly skipped in front of the car, because, after all, the halt was  intended to cater for the need of pedestrians.  Not walking since beeing a child myself, I retained very little sympathy for this particular breed of humanity.  On top of that, the child made a face at me as it reached the opposite pavement.  And this face was not its own!


The light has been green for so long it readily resumes its red state, via the amber mode.  The car growled.  I turned off at the ignition, in the hope that restarting would cure the gremlins.  But the engine still turned over, with an even gruffer undertone.  I switched on the radio in order to outblast it, but I could only find cheap chat on some phone-in, where the participants whispered together, in view of the nature of the subject-matter.  I opened the car door, but couldn’t unclunk the safety-belt.  Safety belt! I managed to run the toes of my boot along the gutter, in some desperate attempt to join up with the earth in some life-giving short-cut circuit, whereby the car...


What did I believe? In any event, the child had returned.


"What you doing, mate?  The light's gone green ten times since you been here."  The diminutive figure indicated the line of traffic that had grown behind me.  They had been remarkably patient.  I had peeeds quizzically several times into my rearview mirror to discern the next in line - with large staring eyes and the closest possible resemblance to a woman I knew without really knowing her.


"I can't move the blighter - please fetch someone to help push."


"I'll push if you like."


By this time, the car had taken to rehearsing tiny jolts backwards.  My neck was gradually suffering a pain that felt remarkably as if I had undergone whiplash injuries, from a sudden jolting motorway shunt.  I could turn my head neither way - nor drag my leg back from its feeble clawing at the tarmac outside the car.  By now, the child was heaving itself against the front of the car.


"No! The other way!"


"I'm not blinking well going to get all that muck in my face." 



Yes, I had not been able to turn her head left or right, but I now found I could pivot it upwards as if my neck was hinged.  With my chin pointing towards the backseat (where I could see I now had passengers with ugly-looking scars) I established the child's meaning.  Black smoke belched into view at each articulated judder of the faltering engine.  However, what shocked me more than anything as the evident absence of my original passenger - my daughter in her safety harness whom in the process I was taking to school: the whole purpose of the current journey from A to B, in fact. I always hated wasted journeys.


Several ingredients of humanity should have fitted into the slowly evolving jigsaw of this particular experience.  It all could be explained, everything, that was, except my inability actually to solve the very puzzle which I knew was so very easily solvable.


"Hey, mate, I'm getting my dress  filthy doing this malarkey."



I scowled at the child, then growled.  The lights changed to a combination of red, green and amber I had never seen before.  And the onset of an incessant nagging hooter from behind sent me quite mad with irritation.  I put my hand down my throat as far as it would go without it ceasing to be consistent as a hand - and began to trawl around with webbed fingers.  At last – phew! – I got it started, having unapplied the liver-pads from the heart-stop and unclogged the lung filters for the red octanes to flow through some back-double arteries and rat-run intestines, pushing unwanted silt towards the exhaust, via the bilge sump and the ovaries. I unsteamed my two-faced windscreen and swept off, through the blood-fest of the child, who has done so little to assist.  On second thoughts, I hope it avoided me. Cars’ hearts, you see, are in the right place – they don’t really like leaving human droppings jammed on the tarmac, nor can they even abide cruelty to squashed hedgehogs.




Posted by augusthog at 10:56 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008 11:02 AM EST
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Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Private Patient

Published 'Fresh Blood' 1993


He entered her throat with his teeth.

His teeth were so long they easily by-passed her own teeth and, after gouging the inevitable divots in her tongue and via careless abrasions upon tonsils and the throat’s soft lining, their jagged tips soon found even softer, more blubbery obstacles, beyond which they could not possibly reach, despite the wide-yawning creak of both pairs of jaws. This was the only method for him to suck a body’s juices without doing permanent damage to it. Otherwise, the punctures would have been wall-to-wall.

This had been a particularly heavy feed, resulting from his own uncommon hunger together with the woman having recently been bloated by unnecessary blood transfusions from over-zealous doctors with too many donors on their hands. The vampire sat back on his haunches, formed a bubbly red smile, retracted his sharpened jawbone (along with the teeth) and licked his lips with the rough flannel of a tongue.

The woman returned the smile. Her body felt far less tight, her clothes hanging as if she wasn’t really inside them. The vampire was sliding on all fours towards the exit, casting desultory comments behind him about the weather, the general election, late night TV and so forth. She did not answer. Small talk was never her bag. In any event, she was too exhausted to speak, having, as it were, given birth to a large bouncing baby of blood.

The ever attentive doctors would no doubt return with their donors and hangers-on before the night was out, so her relief was only temporary. It was a pity you couldn’t get vampires on the National Health Service these days. She supposed it was because they themselves needed to pay exorbitant prices for cosmetic bone extensions, with the present Government in power. But if the fees were high, the fangs should be exquisitely long and stake-sharp...

Her smile became an empty sigh.

Posted by augusthog at 10:30 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008 10:33 AM EST
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Saturday, 5 January 2008
Strangling a Snowman

Strangling A Snowman

She had a jar by her bed – to catch the dreams, she said.

I was a neutral scanner. I was once her sinner, but now her sin-eater. I did not know her name, although I seemed to know everything else about her. Her scanty future. Her even scantier past. Her childhood. Her shadowy parents and those other shadowy figures and less shadowy figures that populated her life. Some were friends, some enemies. Many were neither. 


I never guessed that I was one of her dreams - a dream that the  jar could never catch, because the emptiness it held and used as bait to catch her dreams did not entice me as much as other dreams.


The others were caught by the jar.


And their punishment? To form the emptiness again … become no more.


Dreams were nightmares. Every dream, even nice ones, became nightmares in the end. The jar caught them and neutralised them. Except me. I was already neutral – that's why the emptiness could not entice me.

The figures were white – and she knew she was right.

The shadowy figures that populated her real life I – as her scanner - left her side to follow.


I took advantage of the time she was in deep dreamless slumber to leave off guarding her and followed shadowy figures that had populated her waking hours. These were her many exes. Those who had loved and left and broken her heart. These shadowy figures were white, a fact that was disguised by the shadows that covered them like religious veils.


The shadows themselves were white. Therefore I had to recognise them as real shadows from their aura.

When I was gone – she snored along.

Despite hating them all, there was one among the shadowy figures who really tried to dig deep beneath my veneer of ordinary hate to turn it into extraordinary hate. He was a cheat. A cad. A blackguard. Worse than I'd ever been. His wispy drapes were more like embedded china clay than shattered shadow.


He hid himself beneath a white frozen mould of misshapen humanity, a pipe stuck in his mouth as a disguise, and eyes that had once been spent as shillings. I followed him in earnest. I wanted to spend my misspent youth in stealing his age or experience (once filtered of its evil) to give myself back some semblance of life or of provenance. Then I could truly love her as she deserved to be loved, once woken into the snowlit world that surrounded the house she slept within. She would then refill the jar with emptiness and sleep again, a peaceful sleep of the innocent, with me inside her bed, instead of out. That was an innocent ambition with which even one like me beset by the diversion of extraordinary hate could foster.

She stirred – what she heard?

I had lost track of my prey amid the other shadowy figures that innocently acted as subterfuge or decoy for that dire cad's own re-tracking to the room where she slept, without me knowing. The forest of night was cliffed with sheer wastes of frosty smoothness. I drifted amid the wide white beacons of shadow, seeking the one I wished to strangle with my own bare and frozen hands to rescue my heroine.

The jar was not just empty, it was no jar at all but Cone Zero.

She had awoken out of it – herself  become her own special hero.


I crept away from him, not wishing to interfere with a bad love poem – especially with my extraordinary hate recognised as motiveless madness too late.


I had not even been a good scanner, judging by the forced half-rhyme with sinner. Not even an excuse for alexandrine or assonance. No-man, snowman.  Even I couldn’t strangle sense from nonsense.




Posted by augusthog at 9:18 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 5 January 2008 9:25 AM EST
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Wednesday, 2 January 2008
Of Horny Nabras

Of Horny Nabras

In a long forgotten mythology lived a nabra and a nabra wasn’t a snake or a bull. It rather resided between the two.

Dunsany was a descendant of a famous writer, one who spoke of charwomen and Spanish dons and things like gods and unicorns and dolls houses and model ships. He did not even need mythology to shelter such conceits of wonder and magic. He conjured forth hills, beyond which hills were further hills as far as the mind could stretch. Between these hills sat lesser hills … and mounds and inverse dimples: and on these flatter parts lived the folk who harvested reality from fantasy.

Sybil was one such.


Murton another.


They were in love. Stories need two people who are in love. But these were not storyfolk. They were as real as you and I. Sybil, of course, was beautiful to look at (with soft contours), beautiful to hear (with rounded vowels) and beautiful to know (with huggable smells). A heroine through and through.


Murton – on the other hand – was no hero, being sallow, surly and salacious. What could one expect from a herdsman of the pale yellow nabras? The se creatures carried similar tides of tumescence.

Dunsany -- fantasy writer in the shadow of the hills of his great ancestor -- failed to see the mismatch. He had simply taken his eye off the ball. Too much in the high-flown aether. Sybil and Murton were already in love; she for real, he for show. Dunsany had somehow lost his grip.

Murton bought Sybil a dolls house.

"You can give it to our daughter, when she arrives," said Murton, with a smile, knowing full well Sybil would play with it day and night, keeping her mind on small things, rather than the big issues from which all women, he thought, should be kept.

Sybil was blind to motive. She was as excited as a new Princess. She jabbed the figurines up and down the stairs and lifted up secret roofs to reveal the attic systems tilting into infinity.

"Thank you, sweet Murton? Where did you buy it?" Her voice was lilting like fairy lark.

"Dunsany made it for me to give to you." Murton's skin wrinkled like an ox, as if the words lifted fitful air pockets beneath it.

"Dunsany?" Sybil wondered where Dunsany had been all this time, indeed forgot that she hadn't seen him since she was a small girl. That was the extent of a god's inattention.


Murton was a good man, at heart. Anything told about him before was really written to deceive. Nothing is told right when the author’s inattention is part and parcel of the plot that the same author writes. So, having bestowed of his best, Murton scuttled away to tend nabras: herds with spiralling horns. Horns like snaky figureheads on the prows of boats. Or things that burst out of dolls house roofs.



Posted by augusthog at 9:41 AM EST
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Saturday, 22 December 2007
The Rocking-Horse

Published 'Auguries' 1993


Little boy Gordon called it Roken*Horz, a name from a large book he once read before he was fully able to grasp the meaning of the words in it.


Although he did not fully appreciate it (for this was the only one he’d seen), the version that seemed to move gently of its own volition (by the light of the flashing red advertisement sign outside the nursery window) was a gloriously old-fashioned rocking-horse with spit-polish saddle and whinnying lips drawn back from glinting, real-like teeth.


Gordon Picton would often lie awake (having been put to bed far too early for his age) and watch Dusk creep into the curtains, accentuating the rhythmically intermittent darkness with its groping fingers of Night. Roken*Horz, in the window bay, looked more alive than ever at those times.


During the day. Gordon would have rocked himself into reveries of the future (not having much past to call his own), with tiny legs wrapped round the glossy ivory-like midriff of the toy horse.


The lands they visited together were far beyond those depicted in the books that Gordon had available in the nursery, their frayed pastel spines ranged along the bookshelf above the hearth.


One day, he was put to bed even earlier than normal. Gordon had some oblique instinct that he had been naughty, but he could not comprehend the words shouted at him by someone who did not look like his mother.


So, not understanding, he did not even try to understand. He crept unquestioningly between the tight covers of his bed, with sunshine still shafting through the window upon the patchwork counterpane... for the curtains yawned in the evening breeze.


There was a deep ague in his calves, but he put it down to too much rocking during the day. When it increased, however, he put his head under the covers and crawled down to massage them. Whilst he was down there, he heard a snicker. A stifled bray. A call of matching pain.


He dared not come back up for air. Roken*Horz was moving about the room, as if it owned it. Gordon felt it snuftling at the lip of sheet. Frothing on the bolster. Grinding its teeth on the elongated curlicue of the bedpost. Long hot tongue curling down, down, down between the covers.


At last, the hooves clopped to the window bay. There was eventual silence, punctuated by the loudest heartbeat Gordon Picton had ever heard. Though, his pastern-joints felt better now. The air continued to pulse with blood-light.



Posted by augusthog at 1:33 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 22 December 2007 1:35 PM EST
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Wednesday, 5 December 2007
All I want for Christmas

Published 'Atsatrohn' 1993    


“You’re very naughty, messing about with my sewing basket," said the Nurse to the girl.

            It was the time of the year when evenings were drawing in, the roaring coal fire stood out in the penny-pinching gloom as if Hell were homely.

            "Sorry, I didn't mean to get it all mixed up."  The girl was too old to simper, but simper she did, nervously threading her fingers into her ringlets. 

            "It will be the devil's own job to disentangle the silk cottons, colour from colour. The knots seem to be created merely by the act of looking for them." Nurse tugged impatiently at the misshapen inspirals of black noodles which the coloured strands had become.  Out came a clatter of trawled thimbles, needles and tiny scissors.

            "I'll help you unravel...."

            "No point, I'm leaving here tomorrow. There'll be a newer nicer Nurse this time tomorrow evening."  Dark tealeaf tears gathered at the silver strainers of her eyes.

            But the girl smirked behind her hand, as she whispered:  "I'll help you pack, then, instead."


            The fitful wind gulped in the chimney. 

            Nurse had long since retired for her last night in the large rambling house. 

            The girl died, but was so hungry she needed to eat her own body, which had become easily digestible through the process of decomposition.  She hadn't died, of course.  She wasn't even dreaming.  She merely enjoyed exercising her vivid imagination which the lack of playfellows had engendered.

            She wasn’t scared of the dark.

             Nurse sat bolt upright in the truckle of her bed looking back and forth from the faintly glowing curtains of her top storey room to the dark mouth of its empty fireplace.  Only one more night to endure, then she'd be free of this insidious unnatural love, a love which she couldn't live without.  Being besotted with a younger girl was not very dignified, after all.

            She watched skeins of jet-black tubing erupt from the chimney into the grate, as if the corpse of Santa Claus had blurted out spools of its innards in one last foul spasm of many such spasms since Christmas, attempting to unbudge himself from the tight flue.

            Would morning never come?

            As dawn spread itself behind the house like a backdrop in a pantomime, smoke began to curl from the many chimney-stacks—thus a sign that the servants were up and about, if nobody else. 

            A small face had already been staring wistfully from the nursery window above the orchard garden for some hours.  She was praying that next Christmas she'd get the best present of all—a playmate.



Posted by augusthog at 11:03 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007 11:04 AM EST
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Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Mild Christmas

It was a mild Christmas.

I had decided to go outside for a breath of fresh air - fresher than my mother’s parlour, in any event. Of course, Mum had originally been delighted with the prospect of having us altogether with her for Christmas. My family of wife and children lived with me on the other side of the country, if countries can have sides, or even fronts and backs. I had thus conveniently maintained it was difficult to sort out the logistics for more regular visits. She accepted this, of course, but I couldn’t help thinking that she would have lifted up hills to let us through.

I sauntered down the garden path, where, as a small child, I had played at being Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. Watching the lugubrious clouds curdle across the near benighted sky, I abruptly noticed a sleigh rough-riding upon an inverted cone of condensation, drawn by a flight of scrawny reindeers with knotted antlers. The occupant of the sleigh was a Plug-Ugly with a scar laddering down his cheek, designer white stubble and a bag marked SWAG on his shoulder. His snow-laced tunic was a syrupy red and thus mightily peculiar in the context.

“Oi! Oi!” he yo-ho-hoed in a snarl, “nobody’s getting presents this year, except for moi!”

I made my way back to my mother’s house thoughtfully. I was indeed somewhat sad because both my children had been killed only a few months before Christmas in a particularly gruesome road accident. My boyhood sweetheart of a wife had since run off with my oldest bestest friend. I wondered if there was anything in the superstition that bad luck came in threes. I vowed to break something valuable when I returned inside the house.

Mum had already made it abundantly clear that she wanted me to stuff the huge turkey ready for tomorrow’s festivities. Pity there would only be place-settings for her and me at the family table. Sellotaped to the front door was the usual three-dimensional plastic image of a jolly old man in a red cape with billowing white beard. Somehow, I could not summon up the rightful Yuletide spirit. Yet, before entering, I planted a false smile upon my lips, so as not to let the side down.

Later, as we prepared for an early night, my mother announced: “I’m going to leave a nice glass of Sherry and a warm mince pie in the fireplace for Father Christmas.” I nodded absent-mindedly.

(published ‘Drift’ 1998)

Posted by augusthog at 8:09 AM EST
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Monday, 12 November 2007
Green Twist

First published 'Shorts From Surrey' 1993

Hector spent most of his waking hours doing jigsaw puzzles. It never crossed his mind that he might be wasting his life, for he found the whole activity relaxing, absorbing, generally civilised and, yes, cathartic.

He became so expert, he speedily progressed from the large chunky pieces designed for the short-witted, towards those that numbered their pieces in thousands. Then there were the ones with bits bearing malformed joints and appendages. He even had puzzles which eventually formed pictures in scales of life to life and larger...

As the carriage clock on the mantelpiece kept the silence in rigorous shape and, with the heavy-duty curtains half-pulled across the net-choked window, he propped the huge purpose-built board upon his spreading middle-aged beer-belly of a lap, emptied the contents of a wickedly difficult jigsaw into the cracked china chamber-pot beside him and proceeded to fit the whole affair together... without recourse to the picture on the box-lid and working from the middle outwards. Years of experience had made him a dab hand, as wily as a snake.

He purchased spanking new boxes from the Dickensian toy shop nearby with the big bay window. There were always stacks of them on the shelves - in fact, the place seemed to sell little else. The toothbrush-moustached shopkeeper knew Hector’s little foibles very well and chose the next puzzle for him, so that Hector need not look at the box-lid. The shopkeeper was indeed one of those rare breeds who believed the customer was always right…even when he was wrong. He knew that the time was approaching when Hector would be entirely dissatisfied with straightforward jigsaws. One had to be cruel to be kind, even if it meant tempting Hector beyond the edge.

Back home, Hector excitedly stripped off the cellophane with blunt fingernails, whilst keeping his eyes tightly averted, and poured the contents with a sensuous jiggling noise into the freshened chamber-pot.

One day, he was particularly pleased, because the shopkeeper had told him that the new puzzle had a picture that was really awe-inspiring. Something about Eve and the Tree of Knowledge. Always pleased with religious themes, Hector was bound to be satisfied with the end result. And the box contained more pieces than any other that the shopkeeper had ever seen in his experience. No two pieces the same shape. More than life size, he wouldn’t mind betting.

As the innards of the clock gave out an uncharacteristic whirring, jarring noise, Hector began to pick out bits one by one from the chamber-pot. His ultimate knack was to be lucky with the first few samples. Then he built up the picture, detail by minute detail, gradually obtaining an overview of the subject-matter, colours blending, form from form, shapes born, evolving, extruding...

Today was a dark day. The sky lugubrious. The street lamps lit earlier than usual. At first, he couldn’t believe the outline which was emerging upon the lap board. Snake scales. Mottled hide. Winding coils of microscopically diamond-quartered skin. Hooked teeth, whiter than he could ever credit a jigsaw reproducing. As he headed out towards the straight bits, he felt sickness constricting his throat. He couldn’t account for his feelings. But, then, horror-struck, he realised there were no straight bits... and the chamber-pot was nearly empty.

He desperately searched for the box-lid in the gloom, finally discovering it in the coal scuttle. He barely discerned a rather picturesque view of St Paul’s Cathedral, a majestic landlocked square-rigger set against the bluest sky that could only be seen in picture-books.

The contents had obviously been stashed in the wrong box.

Hector rushed over to the chamber-pot to be violently sick.

There was merely a pause for tension.

As he began to sense the pulsing spirals of slime slide up his bare leg, he remembered he had forgotten to switch on the light in his puzzle-solving haste. However, he could see that his skin was a mosaic of green scales, wet to the eye, but dry to the forked flicker of his own tongue.

He fled to the mirror... but his by now could only reflect its own darkness. He thought he must have become a monster that had only managed to escape because there were no straight bits forming the jigsaw’s margins to keep it in. He spun back across the parlour on this one-leg tail and instinctively planted his fangs into his own belly, grateful that he was sufficiently double-jointed to recycle the venom.


Posted by augusthog at 9:42 AM EST
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Sunday, 4 November 2007
Made Flesh

Dick Wiles' childhood Teddy was frayed at the ear-ends, threadbare in the belly, loose by the limb and more than a trifle doleful at the loose eyes. A sorry sight, but one he loved.

Some people said it might be valuable - such ancient toys were now part of the great revolution of memorabilia. In fact Dick had thought the whole thing was going too far, since nostalgia seemed to be catching up with the present day itself! He cringed at the idea of teddy bears, such as his, passing through the sparkle-nuggetted hands of antique dealers.

He stared at Teddy, its eyes brighter today. Tears made eyes brighter. Rotted the stitches.

Then, Dick had a girl friend called Val. A strange creature, if ever there was one. She pointed out that the jet liners skimming as close to the top of the blue as possible, with strung-out streamers of cloud, looked like Christian crosses - reminding those of us below that God was everywhere. Symbols of pantheism.

SHE was beyond charisma. She was evangelism incarnate, whose cause was merely self-evident. Her eyes literally beamed faith. Why she got hold of Dick Wiles was a mystery, but that did not matter: mystery was the bedrock she built herself upon

She wanted nothing from him, other than the sounding-board of his wide-eyed face. Dick shambled around, tending to her needs. He wanted nothing from her, only recognition and her acceptance. He'd never known what there was with girls, in any event. In the first blush of womanhood, Val was far more pretty than was good for her. She did not harness up her ripening breasts, merely expected everyone to ignore them, as they prodded the loose silk of her blouse. Her open leg stance was one more of innocence than flaunting. The short leather skirts were simply artefacts of convenience. She just had to wear SOMETHING, didn't she? The high heels were a trifle superfluous, but she preferred teetering to padding: made her feel more human and less like an animal. Also something to do with hair-shirts, not being able to balance properly, toes so compressed they became raging wicks of fire.

Hated Dick's Teddy, she did. Loathed the furry little bundle. Said it was worse than a false idol. If God had meant men to have comforters He would have made soft christs on crucifixes.

No doubt, Dick's Teddy hated HER.

Dick recalled the old days, far too recent for comfort. Val had eloped with Teddy. Her parting words were that it was the supremest hate-love-indifference relationship she could possibly hope to have. As the jumbo jets droned loneliness into the night, Dick Wiles tried to look down at his belly . . . with the stuffing coming out from below. His blunted hands couldn't even attempt to stuff it back in. Nor could his eyes look back up. Hanging by the thread. Nostalgia Disincarnate.

(published 'Hobgoblin' 1991)

Posted by augusthog at 8:54 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 23 October 2007
They Never Told Me About Mary





The past is often hidden amid the skirts of time, but I do recall that the room was broken.  Its ceiling was the only part that remained smooth, uncracked – although mottled with an archipelago of stains in the vicinity of the rose.  So you see, they never told me about Mary.  She could tempt anything, even fate.


            The ledge of the room’s mantelpiece was sundered, part of it thickly crumbled upon the lower hearth area whilst the other part – with jagged edge – was still proud to the chimney breast.  I merely described its bald state to Mary, as if to palm it off as customary.  She was barely out of her teens, in those days.


            “But,” she asked, “is the mantelpiece the only bit of the room that you quaintly call – what did you say? – broken?” 


I had not been led to expect anything of Mary other than cold objective logic.  Indeed, I cannot recall ever being warned about her at all. Despite her age, her maturity was unimpeachable.  I didn’t know she had been listening.


“No, Mary … as you can see,” (and I tentatively circled my arm like a compass pointer) “the floorboards have given way in several places … and the mirror leans at more than 45 degrees from its wall … and the window is twice as big and far more disjointed than it was when originally built - if gaps such as windows *can* be built.”


Mary laughed or, rather, gave a slight snicker. 


My shaky pointer made its way *through* the said window.  She evidently found my jokes rather crude, although, that day,  I felt myself nearly witty enough for her steadily growing maturity.


“There, Mary,” I persisted, “you will see even the washing-line is broken.”


“It’s not.  The washing  is still hanging on it and the rope is propped up by the wooden pole.”


            Her words, to my ears, were rather gawky if words can be gawky.  I shrugged off her response with my own:  “The washing-line is broken because something is missing from it.”


            “Do you mean there is a gap along it?” she piped, taking the wind from my conversational sails.


            I gave a brief nod.  There was certainly room enough for something small.


            Donkey years later, middle-aged Mary reminded me of this broken circuit: yet another pointer to something missing from the aging thread of memory.  Apparently, she had never been told about me, either.  I briefly nodded again.  And she slightly snickered.








Posted by augusthog at 2:15 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007 2:16 PM EDT
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