The International Writers Magazine: Life Moments
by Pierre Edgcumbe
My Carbonated head fizzes and spits, giving a nauseating effect. It has begun. The nausea itself is a selfish, malevolent entity which has tip-toed over mountains to keep me company tonight. Trapeze artist it may be, but forgiving it is not. Rather, the nausea is not in me, but I am in it. It lavishes itself around me. The hunger serves only to illicit the cramps which drown my stomach.
Tumbling, quasi-voluntary snowballs of confusion and anxiety culminate in an avalanche that is neither meaningful nor worthless. The snow reoccurs in my mind, a stubbornly sticky metaphor which has no place to hibernate. Not long now and the hunger shall be quenched.
I crumple the note in my hand, the queens face distorted but her eyes remain judging. I promise to pay the bearers on demand the sum of twenty pounds. I am not sure of the bearer’s name, nor he of mine, but twenty pounds it shall be. My feet lazily slap the stairs as I climb, I enjoy the sound but am relived to end my journey at the bearer’s door.
An eye appears from a small hole in the middle of the door, it glares at me. Just like the queen in my hand glares at me. The eye at the door is grey and laminated, it looks like a glass eye and I want to smash it. Light floods my face as the bearer opens the door, a heavenly delusion, yet as I adjust to the bathing I wonder if these really are the eyes of piety that look back at me.
Convulsing hands open and shut, again and again. The hunger clamps me, desperate for me not to abandon it. I pat my stomach, reassuring it that it will be back soon enough. A blue road reveals itself to me in the hinge of my elbow. A Jack Russell’s collar grips my bicep to keep the blue road flowing, it has nowhere to sink now.
Hyperbole suddenly becomes a small mouse surrounded by traps. No ecstasy is too far-fetched, no malady to removed. Harmonious equilibrium. This is the happiest I have ever been, I think. And for the next hour or so, nothing will arrest my attention, nothing shall deviate my thoughts, nothing shall remind me of my shortcomings. It is a return to the womb that spawned me. My soul glows warm and shiny in this hour. The disturbingly normal nexus that occurs between reality and dreams stutters, slips and falls hard on to paper.
It is over. My bearer has taken the eyes from my hand and is ushering me toward the door. The hunger has not yet had a chance to catch me and I don’t think it will until the sun rises, but I can’t be sure anymore. The foul, rank stench of death with all of its melodrama follows me like a homesick puppy yapping at my heels. Slabs of concrete attempt to block the sky as they stretch and stretch. The light becomes thinner and it is increasingly impossible to discern where to concrete ends and the sky begins.
A man shuffles past me. He looks forlorn, exacerbated and useless. He has a stain on his grey top which is either ketchup washed twice or blood washed three times. I resist the compulsion to ask the temperature of his washing machine. He drags his feet as I did an hour ago and he is heading for the bearer as well I think. Just as the man’s feet walk six inches below the ground, so mine walk aloft, elevated by such necessities as I will always pursue. I begin to feel empathy but wish to save my effort for a more cathartic purgative.
Nearly at my flat and my legs feel ravaged. A rat shuffles through the buildings rubbish as I walk past. I can see its tail, soft and pink and delicious. It pays no attention to me, why should it. Again I climb stairs and again my feet slap the steps. I collapse on my bed, giddy with contempt. The television comforts me with generalities as I initiate sleep. My dreams are light and inconclusive as dreams so often are. They revolve around the man’s stained shirt and the rat and the eyes of the bearer. The last dream is the most cohesive, the man realising that the rats tail is either an umbilical cord or a noose and attempts to replicate both scenarios. I laugh as the man swings by his neck.
I do not awake of my own accord, instead the hunger has woken me. It is dark outside which depresses me twofold. I should not be hungry yet, but I am. The hunger is now uncontrollable. The television buzzes at me incoherently. I gaze at it, and in doing so transfix myself directly from one source of artifice to another.
© Piere Edgecumb November 2009
Pierre has just got an agent. Be very jealous.