Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Source

You were a sunny child, into tree houses and throwing pinecomb bombs, part of the rough and tumble mix of neighbourhood life. Loud, scabby-kneed, natural. Then something happened which you now realize was a catalyst in changing your shape, your personality, towards something more inclined to sit always outside the circle; you became introverted. 

In 1976 when you were five you got Scarlet Fever. It must have been bad because as Dad took you ino the local doctors you left your body and saw him carrying you, small and slumped in your flame red dressing gown. You saw the shocked faces in the waiting room and how the receptionist rushed you straight into Dr Glassspole’s office. Your face! Suppurating red sores where only an hour before your freckled skin had been.

During the six week recovery you saw the EverReady Bunny come through your pink and orange floral wallpaper, quite a few times. You saw an angel that looked like Glenda from the Wizard of OZ.  Sores popped pus into your ears and you got an ear infection. Trolls gambolled beneath your bed; fever and shakes; you rode life-sized My Pretty Ponies, shakes and fever.

From then on your ears were vulnerable to tinnitus, a low whining that made you feel as though a mosquito was trapped in your head.  You also had a form of synaesthesia, that weird little crossing of neurological pathways and misfired synapses: words could have tastes so viscerally real it made you pull faces and salivate. Once someone said ‘due diligence’ in a meeting and you gagged on the taste of Coca Cola syrup, so strong and present it was as if you had sucked Cola laybacks from the post-mix gun behind a bar.

So now you have this aural sensitivity that makes sound, especially voices, a tangle of threads to be unpicked. Chatter spools all over the floor like old ladies crochet yarns. You understand conversations better from outside the circle. You hear better from the front of the room. It got you labelled Geek years ago, something you cultivated with talk of seeing angels, demons and ghosts.  .  But they weren’t. They were people. Doing things that looked real. It just took you til adulthood to figure it out.

The first time you helped the police you tried to do it anonymously, but you were so naive about the perfect accuracy of your ‘tip’ you became a suspect. Oh irony, it has a salty sweet taste but it will always smell like brackish water.

You had slept and you had followed a woman, through brush, who seemed to be following a grey metal lock-box held out in front of her. You saw the grey van with its bong-smokers parked on the gravel in-road. You saw its license plate number. You saw the signage on an old warehouse nearby.
You saw the slick sepia river, the tree stump at its edge. You saw a beautiful woman in heels being led by a lock-box that yearned towards the water.

Then,  a week later,  her face and shining hair were on the news.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Source dreams

A prologue

Come with me, walk carefully and quietly. Stay back! We follow a woman as she steps carefully in high heels through the mud and undergrowth.  She is in the wrong shoes for this job, but it’s her lunch break and the only time unaccounted for. 
The water smells brackish, shallow and mineral-rich.  Will it be deep enough beneath that surface that is slick with oily stains?   Watch your step; there is so much rubbish, detritus of trysts and parties: cans, glass and condoms. Follow her.  Watch her.  You may need to remember this moment.  Her hair is sable-brown and neatly rolled in a French pleat.

 A man is dead, and there is a box to remove from the world, a grey metal lock-box she holds out in front carefully, like a tray of canap├ęs being proffered. Stories trail behind her, little lost and secret stories. They cling to her pencil skirt and whine for attention.  No time for them.  Not now. Her heart beat is a bass-heavy thump but in her head is a crazed jazz treble: logistics, logins, passwords, email accounts. Another box, this time in a bank. Two PO boxes in two towns, and at the huge hospital on Broad street one body.  
One beloved, known, mapped by her fingers body.   A man is dead and the box must disappear.

Watch her. Follow her. You may need to remember this moment…

Monday, February 2, 2015

Little Boy Hansel

It is full dark and the trees whip and whisper.  Way up, up high, the orange street lights try to hold back the sky. There is no-one about--is there?  No squares of warmth and voice fall beyond the darkened window panes that sit behind long and low front yards. 
He is 107 centimetres tall and not yet six years old.

In his t-shirt pocket is a little plastic bag of coins.  He waves the blue arc of torch-beam like a light- saber through the cold night, the dark night, the excited night.  In response it asks: 'Little boy, little little-little boy, can you remember the rules?'
He toes the kerb, looks left and right, then bolts across the road, a river of risk, and leaps onto the safety of the kerb (embankment), punching the air with his beam, legs pumping along the path, one house, two house three house, four!

In his head his Mum's mantra: 'careful in the car-park, ask the staff for help, any treat you choose, my big boy...'

She stands in the shadows under a tree and lights a cigarette, able to see him nearly all of the way.  Prouder than she'll be when he starts school or performs a solo. Remembering, as she puffs her mum-blues out into the cold air, her own adventures in creeks (Rivers and Dams!) and tunnels (Secret Caves of Treasure), but remembering too that just short years older than him and the adult world had proved itself capable of a darkness worse than storm-drains.

Puff. Risk. Managed. Puff. But. Still.

The air stills, her neighbours pull away in their heavy-duty car and she imagines him suddenly mangled beneath it.

The beams trail away, replaced by a swinging solid line of blue. Here he comes, whistling on his lollypop, pleased and proud.  Whistle-Toot and in he tumbles, back to TV and bath-time and all the overblown baby-rituals of coddling.

So many risks ahead, most of them unmanageable. This his first.