Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Some Kind of Spirit

Some kind of spirit rose from the river and spoke to him. He didn’t understand it. They were both frustrated. The spirit was reluctant to go without having successfully conveyed its message, but it eventually had to give in. He felt bad, as if he had failed the spirit. He wondered what it had been trying to say. He knew it wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t understand, but that didn’t stop a cloudy feeling of guilt lurking behind him for the rest of his walk.

The weather kept changing abruptly. This didn’t help. It had been sunny in the morning, now cloudy. The sun kept coming and going as it pleased. If he went home it would come out, he was sure.

Later, he was still walking despite the sun having decided it really wasn’t in the mood for being out any more. He had got lost in a thought which had meandered into another and it had been a long time since he’d paid much attention to where he was and what he was doing. He was walking by the road now. His attention was hooked and dragged back into reality by a passing scooter. Another two passed soon after. Must be friends, he thought. A few more passed. Then more. Must be some sort of scooter society.

There weren’t any more for a couple of minutes, just cars, a few vans, a couple of buses. Then there was a another scooter. And another. A long unbroken line of scooters passed by. He wondered whether it would end. It didn’t seem like it. He got lost in another side-thought and when something wrestled his attention back to his surroundings, he discovered there were no more scooters.

How dull and ordinary they had looked under the grey sky. How much more glorious they would have looked if the sun had been shining.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


He sat cross legged on the patio. It was hot and he could feel the sun on his back through his shirt. He held a magnifying glass, which he was angling carefully, trapping ants within the heat of the magnified light, burning them and making their insides bubble. He was mesmerised.

He hadn’t done this since he was a child. He hadn’t even thought about it. There had been something about the light of this bright day, the way the garden had looked from his study window that stirred the memory from wherever it had been sleeping.

As a child he had purely been fascinated at the power of the sun and the way that he could borrow it. Now he felt guilt too. The ants weren’t causing him much trouble. Not enough to deserve being burnt alive. He still carried on, however. And the ants kept coming from between the sandy cracks in the pavement. They were unaware of the fate of their friends.

The sun soon took its toll upon his head. It felt as if someone had been holding a magnifying glass above him, as he had above the ants. He stood up too quickly, almost blacking out. He had to wait for the dizziness to pass. When he had recovered he went back indoors. Instead of returning to the study he went to the kitchen. There he placed the magnifying glass on the side and took a can of beer from the fridge. He took it into the living room, where he sat on the sofa. He opened the beer and gulped it down. He soon drifted off into a light doze, the sort he’d wake up from in half an hour or so with a bit of a headache and a dry mouth. Outside, the sun kept shining on the little dark specks that were once ants, their corpses dotted across the patio.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


I met the Beatles on the boat to Hades. They wanted sandwiches. They were sitting on a bench on the top deck, all squashed together. They looked pretty ill. Their skin was pale and yellowing. It hung saggy from their bones. The bags under their eyes had long forgotten sleep.

I greeted them.

“Have you got any sandwiches?” said Ringo.

I apologised and said that I didn’t.

“Not any cheese and pickle?”

I shook my head.

I asked them how they came to be on the boat to Hades.

“Got any sandwiches?” said John, raising his voice as if I were hard of hearing.

Again I said that I didn’t. The Beatles exchanged glances and rolled their eyes.

It was funny, I said, all four of them here at once.

Paul leaned forward and said slowly, “Do… you… have… any… sandwiches?”

I said that I hadn’t bothered packing any sandwiches.

I looked away and out over the grey sea. There was no sound at all. After a while I looked back at them.

“You don’t, by any chance, have any sandwiches, do you?” said George.

Instead of responding I walked further along the deck. When I was fifty or so paces away, I looked back. The Beatles sat there together staring out to sea, motionless.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


The first parcel arrived on a day in May. It was a medium sized cardboard box. About the size of a fat curled up cat. Very light. The writing on the top was neat. Curious, I opened the package. There was nothing in it. Just air.

Following this I would receive a parcel every week or so afterwards. They were always the same - same size, same weight. Same nothing inside them. Never a return address.

They were an oddity, but I got used to them. There were no messages, nothing horrible inside. Just nothing.

So I carried on as normal, quietly getting on with it. Going to my job, eating, sleeping and so on.