by George Pringle
I am going to a party. The theme is “Movies”. I have false eyelashes on. I backcomb my hair.
Affixed: With kirby grips
Where do they go when they get lost? It must be like drowning. To suffocate the night long and emerge, gasping by dawn.
I’m Holly Golightly. Method acting, my whole life…dying to be Golightly. I drink Absinth (a Christmas gift). I then start with a seriousness, on gin. By the time we leave, I am hot in the belly. A fire powers my legs which lead me, blown, like a plane, failing to plant a runway.
Elephant & Castle: Broken Sci-Fi
A mammal that follows her guiding stars: Satellites
Brother and I sit in “Sonny’s” beneath the railway arch. This fast-food outlet is a long corridor. We sit, awaiting our verdict:
“To remain sober and outside of the chicken shop.”
Exposed, beneath strip lights.
“No! We won’t eat this. We’re sorry. We can’t eat this. This is the worst chicken in all of England!”
“You know there’s chicken and then there’s chicken.”
“In the Deep South, that’s all there is! Dallas…Perfect…The Cottage…The Palace…There’s chicken that’s pink…free-range and there’s chicken that’s grey, from a cage and there’s breadcrumb in every hue: Ochre, taupe, sand…this land is filled with all seasonings, all colourings…all textures. Dry and salty, spicy and crunchy, bland and soggy (when the chips are oily) and the sauce comes in little containers, just like contact lenses.”
“Whenever you feel lost, in the South, put yourself on a bus, downtown. Haply you will drift, illuminated by their signs.
Your Tiffany’s is Morly’s.
I instantly lose my brother. I wait in the UV WC, behind the girls in the queue.
I sway a bit and decide I’ll be sick if I stay here any longer.
I go to the cubicle and sit, heavily on the toilet seat. I listen to Sylvester thumping below and wish I could enjoy this. Eventually I heave to my feet. Soap lashes the side of the sink as my hands wave about, trying to intercept.
I walk out the club. At the roundabout, two gangs of kids shout at each other across the whirlpool of traffic. One gang have a dog who is barking.
His raw jaws and glistening eyes are the still point in my turning –
I lie in bed. The whole room tilts. I wrestle with my covers. This horrible room, full of laundry…
What a place to spend NYE! Alone in this dirty room. Sick as a dog, too. I run to the bathroom and watch myself be sick. What a shame to be so drunk, I think.
London, you are full of ghosts. I am outside my own soul tonight, bumping blindly into things on this silent, empty street, dark and with damp pavement where from a distance I can witness my own extensive folly.
I live in the middle of the city, by Big Ben. History steeped, everywhere – it screams at me. I live behind the Necropolis, where trains would bring dead away from the city.
“one stop from infinity”
I listen to the bongs and count. When it gets to twelve something very strange happens. I see a Victorian at the end of my bed. She stands in her wide, tweedy skirt with a bell. She moves it up and down like a woman that’s popped from a cuckoo clock. Stiff and mechanical.
Then a little boy with a newspaper shouts “Read all about it!”. He runs past my bed and into the wall where he disappears, forever. I lie, completely still in the dark, suddenly afraid of the space.
I woke in the morning and went to the bathroom. I looked around but found no evidence I had been sick.
I thought about the strange Victorians, of the out-of-body experience and of Big Ben chiming. I thought about what that was all about. Wasn’t it very strange, to spend New Year that way?
I sat in my dressing gown, smoking. The cigarette fizzed in my cold little fingers as it burnt itself down. I drank some black tea. My stomach growled…tannins slid across the surface, like sinister memories.
I stopped by the hall mirror. A lash had crawled like a caterpillar across my face to my brow.