Day 278: Write an anonymous letter to a stranger detailing the things you’ve learned about life.

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Hello,

You don’t know me and you probably don’t want to. I’m nothing. I’m nobody. I’m a disappointment and a loser and waste of space. But I know things. Things that you should learn before you go down the same route.

Now, I know you’ve found this in your jacket pocket. You’ve opened it, bleary-eyed and thought ‘What’s this?’ It’s your salvation. You found this while you looked for your keys. Your phone light was blinking, and you struggled to find the keyhole, am I right? You’ve thrown the whole bundle from your pocket, this letter included, onto the worktop.

I’ve made mistakes. You don’t have to. A man told me once, a long time ago, that I had choices to make. Choices that would affect everything I’d ever stood for. I ignored him.

You shouldn’t. Listen to me now and save your future.

You’ve got to step away from the booze. That’s step one. You’ve let it take over your life and it will. ‘But it’s just a couple before I head home.’

‘It’s one for the road.’

What you don’t realise is that you say that after six. Seven. By number eight you’re slurring. It’s been four hours. People are waiting for you but you just have that one last drink.

Trust me on this one. You need to break away.

This is the first note. There will be more to come.

Yours, in hope,

A friend.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 218: What could have happened to you in high school that would have altered the course of your life?

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A taxi, driven by the strongly opinionated Mr Paul Reuben,  chooses to head right at the corner of Richmond and Cartwright as opposed to left.. At this time of night, the differences between the times that that it would take to get from here to Ingleton is negligible, so when he sees the hazard lights begin to flare, Reuben announces to his passenger that he isn’t going to be messing around with some nonsense like this and the he’ll just nip down Ellesmere Road. His passenger just sighs and continues his conversation, advising his wife that he was more than likely going to be late home, but that he has the present right there in the cab.

His wife, Alison Mackervoy, is cooking dinner as her husband ends the call. She has left the pasta to cook while she enjoys a glass of shiraz on the sofa. The television is hurling out sound over the noise of the builders working on the extension, making the shouting matches of her favourite soap opera all the more intense. She looks across at the pictures of her children on the dresser, one finger curling her long blonde hair as she dials in her best friends number. She stares at the picture of her youngest and smiles at his huge grin, complete with the gap after he’d taken a flying leap at a lamppost. She should probably go and call him in, but he’s no doubt having a lot of fun.

On the estates, William Mackervoy is playing football with his friends on his eleventh birthday. They have the customary piles of school jumpers set up to represent the goalposts at either end of a quiet street, the kind that nobody ever drives down. He smiles as he receives the ball with his right foot, spinning around past his friends and driving the ball home between the blue jumpers either side of Callum. As he smiles, he pushes his tongue out through where his missing tooth should be. His blue eyes flash as he yells for Callum to kick the ball back to him. Callum, having been placed in goal for being truly hideous at football, kicks the ball wildly. It goes flying over the assembled heads and bounces down towards the road. William just runs down the street after it, followed by a sheepish Callum. After all, nobody drives around here.

Paul Reuben is driving his cab and is hopelessly lost. He’s got another three hours until he clocks off and his daughter’s play starts in three and a half. If he can get enough done in those hours, perhaps he can get in early. Marissa, his girlfriend, has been badgering him for months about this recital and that he has to be there. He presses his foot against the accelerator in the hope of getting this guy on his phone out of the cab as soon as possible. The needle peeks up to forty miles per hour as his SatNav bleeps, telling him it is out of battery. He swears, checking the mirror for the disapproving look he already knows is in the eyes of the man in the back seat. He sees it and fumbles around for the cable he has let fall into the passenger foot well. It’s just out of reach beneath his questing fingers and Paul glances away.

The ball rolls into Ellesmere Road. Callum and William are in a friendly race by this point, trying to reach it to be the one to bring it back to the group. William stops at the side of the road and Callum charges past, oblivious to all danger, scooping up the ball triumphantly as he does so. He holds it high above his head as he does, shouting that he is the champion. William is shouting too, though not about the ball.

There is the squeal of brakes and a screech of tires.

The ball drops to the floor and begins its merry journey down Ellesmere road. The cab doors slam as Paul and his passenger dive from the car and run to the boy who lies on the floor. The other child stands motionless, watching the scene unfold in front of him. His life will never be the same after this day.

Argh! So, I started writing this last night and most of it was there but when I woke up this morning already late for the plans I had made, I found that I hadn’t pressed publish and had in fact fallen asleep on the space bar. I have no idea how long these blog posts are allowed to be. but I must have been pushing it with the spaces… 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 161: A conversation you regret never having

 

cold-snow-black-and-white-road.jpgI passed the man behind the counter two twenty pound notes and told him to keep the change. I wasn’t in the mood for any prolonged conversations, not today. He passed me the bottle of whiskey and the plastic glasses.

He gave me a pitying look. As if I needed his pity. Arsehole.

I slid the bottle into my satchel, along with two of the plastic cups. The rest, I abandoned in the nearest blue litter bin. The rain was starting, that fine drizzle where it didn’t matter if you were holding an umbrella, this rain was going to get you soaked. It didn’t matter to me anyway, I’d given up on umbrellas years ago. Far easier to just get wet.

The bus stop was waiting for me, sadly lacking a bus. I just wanted to get this over with, but the world seemed to be conspiring against me. This whole damn day was just… Ergh.

Oh no. It’s a charity gal. You know the ones, they’re in some kind of branded jacket holding out a clipboard. ‘Excuse me Sir, do you have a minute?’

What am I supposed to say, no? I’m clearly waiting for a bus with nothing better to do. My phone had stopped being able to play Candy Crush too, so I couldn’t even blatantly ignore her. ‘What?’ I asked gruffly. Hoping she’d get the hint.

She didn’t. ‘I’m from the local dogs home, I was just hoping that I could take a moment of your time?’

‘Well, you’ve got until my bus comes.’ Still not getting the hint. Come on girly, go badger somebody else.

‘So, sir, there are over 16000 dogs without homes in the UK. We’ve got at our centre more than 100 dogs that need a loving home. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of time, energy and food for the poor dogs. If you could give just £5 a month…’

The bus arrived, surreptitiously announcing its presence with a whoosh. I looked at the poor charity girl, shrugged my shoulders beneath my heavy coat, then wandered onto the bus. ‘Ticket for Abbey Street, please mate?’

The driver grunted, took my money and passed me my change. I’d always liked this kind of us driver, not one for chatting. I’d never liked conversation. My feelings are mine and nobody else needs to hear them.

I took my seat, just past the weirdo and the old biddy on her way to the shops. Watched the grey city go by under the grey sky. Boring, dull and grey. I hated this place. Especially when the weirdos come out. Like this guy on the bus, singing his head off, drunk at three in the afternoon. My stop couldn’t come fast enough.

I got steadily to my feet as the bus pulled up. The driver looked at me, threatening me with pain if I dared step across the line before the bus had stopped moving. Soundless, but very expressive. I just glared back at him. Sod him.

***

The sun was considering breaking through the grey sky as I wandered through the wrought iron gates. I knew exactly where I was going, even though I hadn’t been here for 363 days. First the fork to the right, then take the right at the crossroads. Grey marble waiting for me below the 12 foot skeleton of the tulip poplar.

‘Hello Sarah.’ I said, feeling my eyes moisten. I should have come here sooner. I knew it and so did she. Wherever she was.

I took a seat on the patch of green beneath the naked boughs, drawing the bottle from my satchel. I poured two glasses, sizeable ones. She’d never forgive me for ‘any of those sissy measures.’ I poured one on the ground, just in front of her headstone.

SARAH PHILLIPS
TAKEN FROM THIS WORLD TOO YOUNG BY FAR
“HAVE A DRINK ON ME”
12.08.1987 – 16.01.2015

I took it seriously. ‘There’s your drink, Sarah. Proper scotch, none of that cheap shit.’ I took a sip of my own, feeling the burn pass down my throat to my gullet.

‘I miss you Sarah. It’s only been a year and it’s just so grey. Everywhere. Even now, the only patch of colour is right here, next to your.. Next to you.’ Another sip, another burn. I’d always hated this stuff, but it was Sarah’s favourite. I pushed my hair out of my eyes as the sun finally broke through the heavy clouds. It was cold, winter sun, but sun nonetheless.

‘Sarah. I… I wanted to come before. I wanted to come to you before you died on that bloody road. I always wanted to tell you what you meant. About how sorry I was for that stupid fight.’ I took another thing out of the satchel. A small, velvet covered box.

‘Sarah, I was walking to your flat when your mum phoned. I had this bloody thing in my hand and had been rehearsing what I was going to say for hours. I know, I know. Just after a fight, best time to propose, right? But the fact that we fought told me what I needed to know.’ I sniffed. I’d been rehearsing this speech for months too, but nothing had ever worked. I knew that in the end I’d just have to do it off the cuff. My fingers brushed against my beard as I wiped away the tears. I’d always been clean-shaven before.

I poured us both another glass. ‘I was going to walk right in, tell you to stop being so bloody stupid and then ask you to marry me.’ I could feel the whisky around the edges of my mind now, definitely there but not causing any trouble yet. ‘I know, that would have been bloody stupid too, but at least then we’d be stupid together. That’s what I wanted.’ I sighed, popping the box open so that I could look at the band of white gold inside. A single diamond peeked back at me, staring into me like Neitzsche’s abyss.

‘Your mum was in bits. It took me ten minutes just to understand what she was saying.’ The tears were flowing freely now, I’d lost all motivation to stop them. The words were also coming easy. I didn’t need to rehearse this. This was raw. These words hurt.

‘I could tell. Your mum’s bloody unflappable, yet here she was. Calling me, for starters. She hated me. Yeah, I could tell.’ I sniffed at the thought of the burnt roast potatoes that always got ladled onto my plate. Little things, but proof enough for me. ‘Good thing I didn’t want to marry her. I wanted you.’

‘Sarah, I wanted you to make me the happiest man alive.’ I knocked the bottle over as a sob burst from my chest, heaving its way from my stomach. ‘I wanted you to stay with me.’ I collapsed against the headstone and let my tears hit the marble.

There would be no stopping them now.

***

I’d waited there for a while, scaring away the mourners who came to ask if I was alright. I quite clearly wasn’t alright, but there was nothing they could do about it. Not unless they were the Second Coming of Christ. The evening started coming in, reds and golds edging across the horizon. ‘You always loved winter. I remember the zombie snowmen. You said you’d seen it in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon and you just had to do it yourself.’ I smiled at the memory. Even now, Sarah could make me feel better.

Eventually, I had to leave. The caretakers had come round making sure that everyone was out of the cemetery and had, politely, shooed me away. I gathered up the bits and got unsteadily to my feet. I should have come here months ago. But I actually felt lighter. Some of the weight had gone from my shoulders and it felt like spring was coming. For the first time in a year, I was seeing colour in the world.

***

Three Days Later

‘Hello Sir, welcome to the Dog’s Trust. I understand you’re here to see Max?’

I nodded and Charity Girl brought out a bundle of golden fluff. She set him on the floor and he raced towards me, sniffing and snorting as his head bounded from side to side. His deep brown eye stared into mine and I knew it right then.

I wasn’t leaving here empty handed. It was time to try and live again.

So, that’s today’s episode. Another longer one, but I hope you all enjoy it. Personally, I see this as either an opening, some backstory, or possibly a flashback. Either way, I feel like there’s more to this story. 

Besides, who doesn’t want to write about an adorable bundle of fluff with one eye called Max? 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 156: Describe Heaven

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A bright light surrounds you. Everything is soft and fluffy, full of clouds and forgiveness.

It’s a lie.

You want to know what Heaven’s really like? Is that what you want? I should warn you, it’s probably not what you want to hear. I should leave you to your preconceptions, everything you heard about heaven being glorious. About standing at the right hand of the Lord… It’s all wrong.

The truth about heaven is a much darker affair. I’ve been there. But I was lucky.

I came back.

You’re still here? Okay, then I guess I’ll tell you. The road and the tale are both long and arduous, with no convenient stops on the way.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

***

It started the way most stories about heaven do. With my death. I was hit by a car going at seventy miles an hour in a thirty mile an hour zone. I found out later that the driver was a seventeen year old girl, passed her test two weeks before. She never even stopped.

I died in thirteen minutes and four seconds. That’s how long it took for my body to give up after the impact. That’s how long it took for my soul to flee my shattered bones and broken skin.

The shapeless shape of my soul began to rise. A promising sign, when you’re dead. After all, haven’t we always been told that Heaven is above us, with Hell waiting like a beast below, hungry for the sinners.

In the bible, it states that there are three heavens. There is the firmament, covering the Earth that holds the birds and the clouds. Travelling through that alone took what felt like days. But as a disembodied spirit, time takes on a different meaning. Seconds last for days, but weeks pass by in a moment. It stretches and compresses like putty in the hands of a child.

The second heaven, with the stars and the moon and the planets, everything from here to the edge of the universe takes a long time to pass through, even with the warping. An eternity, in which you think all the things that you can think, feel everything it is possible to feel. Every single experience flows through whatever passes for you. I was still interested when I got to Pluto, but past the Kuiper Belt, in the empty blackness, that’s when I got to losing my mind or at least whatever was remaining of it.

Finally, after that infinity, I passed through to the final heaven. The realm of the Lord and all those waiting at his right hand. All of them waiting for me.

***

The first thing that struck me was the colour. Everybody knows that Heaven is full of light and splendour.

It’s not supposed to be red. Deep red, blooming like blood through the streets of a town. I felt cobblestones beneath my fingers, roughly cut, harsh against my hands. My hands… I was no longer disembodied, no, I was firmly re-embodied.

It hurt. It hurt a lot.

I rolled onto my back and gasped for air, fighting for control of my aged mind, fraught from those countless years ascending through space. Above me, I saw no stars, no moon, no sky at all. Just an emptiness, above a clear shell. The clearest view of absence.

‘Hey. New arrival?’ A voice, gruff and low, came from about six inches next to my ear. I heaved myself onto my side and looked into the single ugliest face I’d ever seen. A twisted mouth below a bulbous nose, with patchy fur covering the lower half of the face. The eyes were the most worrying part, one deep blue, almost black, and staring straight at me, through me, beyond me. The other, milky but roaming in the socket as if it were looking for an escape.

‘Where?’ That was as far as I got before I heaved, stomach clenching and attempting to escape.

‘Where are ya? Look at the signs, kid. You’re in Heaven. Population you.’ He grinned, all tooth and gaps. ‘Have fun! Look out for the Seraphs.’

The creature moved away. As I’ve been writing this tale, I’ve been trying to describe how he moved. The only thing I’ve got, however, is multiple dislocations. It was as if he removed each joint from the socket, placed the limb where he wanted to go, then plugged it back in.

It did nothing to help my already churning stomach.

After some time retching on the ground, feeling incredibly sorry for myself, I had to explore. I found my feet, unsteadily, then made my way through the oddly familiar streets.

***

Cobbles gave way to tarmac, and small stone houses turned to skyscrapers, shining beacons of metal and glass. I’d have described them as reaching for the heavens if I wasn’t already there.

You’ve seen pictures of Times Square, thousands of adverts on every surface? It was recreated perfectly, but with my face everywhere. It’s quite disconcerting having your own eyes staring down at you. A face you know so well, having seen it every day of your stupidly short life.

A rumble set the glass panes shaking in their settings, reflections dancing on the red streets. I turned, slowly, to face the source.

It was a monstrosity. A mechanical creature, humanoid in shape, but a hundred times the size of a man. Ticking and whirring and stomping through the roads, clicking through jerky movements.

A voice, a thousand voices, emanated from the armoured creature. They called my name, a harsh siren song calling me towards the creature, clicks and whirrs as each layer of voice joined the chorus. It called me to it, a great armoured glove reaching down from the heights to pull me into its grasp.

I ran. I’m not ashamed to say it, but I ran. Through all of those familiar streets, until I came to somewhere I knew. The creature stomped after me, but was falling behind. I saw an open door in a small cottage and dived through.

***

I knew this place. This was my childhood home. This was the place where my father had beaten my mother until she bled, locked me away in a cupboard until I stopped crying. This was a place with no happy memories.

I’d come through to the old sitting room, a horrific, floral print sofa sits in the corner facing an old CRT television set. Match of the day was playing, just as it always had been, Des Lynam and his cronies chatting about something I’d never understand. He’d have been drinking since noon, cans of Tennent’s and Special Brew casually discarded all over the floor. I’d hear him calling from the sofa, he’d just shout…

‘Boy!’

I whirled around. It had been his voice, the voice that had haunted my nightmares since I was eight years old. There he was, sat on that awful print sofa, can in hand. A thin line of drool running down his mouth that he hadn’t bothered to wipe away. ‘Boy! Get me a goddamn beer!’

I looked down to see shiny shoes on my size four feet, just as they had been back then. Mum had polished them, every night, just to make sure that I wouldn’t cause any embarrassment at school. There were creases in my trousers that you could shave with. I felt the fear rise, muscles tensing as I prepared to fight… Or run away.

The can flew at me, crashing into my temple. A lance of pain flowed through me, shooting down my spine and rooting me in place. Fight or flight was no longer an option. The only option was to take the beating as it came, as it always would. The sound of leather against leather, the small tick as the buckle came undone. His face drew into a grimace as his hand went high, the lampshade swinging as the belt caught it, setting the shadows dancing around the room.

Then everything stopped. Everything was still. The shadows ceased to dance and my father froze in his anger, the brown leather of the belt defying gravity in his grasping hand.

I fell to my knees, retching once again. This is not how I’d ever imagined Heaven.

***

‘What were you expecting?’

I’d been lying on the Axminster carpet for a long time when the voice came to me. It was my father’s voice, but softer. The father I’d imagined instead of the father that I’d had.

‘I… I expected the Heaven we’ve been told of. The lights, the chorus of angels, peace and goodwill?’

‘This is a path to peace. I created this place for you. Your truest fears will prevent you from finding peace in any guise. Your fear of your father has followed you throughout your years, preventing you from peace. Here, I provide you the chance to find it. This is Heaven.’ My father’s body released it’s grip on the belt, leaving it hanging in the sickly yellow light. ‘Nobody said that it was easy.’

He reached a hand down to me, kind wrinkles around his eyes as opposed to the anger lines I was so used to seeing. He pulled me to my feet, staring deep into my eyes. ‘But…’

‘No, there has always been misconception. Heaven is a trial, an ordeal. And then you can rest at last.’ He sighed. ‘So few of you understand.’

I heard the Seraph bellow outside. It was coming back for me.

‘I can let you out. I can send you on your way.’ He said, holding my hand tightly.

‘I want to go home.’ I told him.

‘I might be able to do that.’ He smiled, sadly, before continuing. ‘Most people just want to rest. Are you sure this is what you want?’

I looked into my father’s eyes, those same eyes that were once so terrifying. He had been right. This was a path to peace. But I wasn’t at my destination yet. ‘Yes. I have to go back.’

The Seraph’s hand burst through the wall, fingers circling my body. I heard the gears clicking within, as the grip tightened. My father’s hand was still in mine, my own grip matching the Seraph’s. A final bellow from the multitude voice, then the fingers fully closed.

***

I woke in incredible pain. I had been officially dead for six minutes. I’d been I had fractures in more than half the bones in my body and I’d lost three pints of blood. The doctor’s told me that I shouldn’t have made it out alive.

My father was sat by my bed. Eyes of anger softened by pain. For the first time, I saw him as he was.

An old and pitiful man. Hurt and lonely, where he’d put himself. I reached out from my bed and took his hand in mine.

‘I forgive you.’

Blimey, that was a long one today. Could probably do with some editing, but here it is. What would your trial be? 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 101: There are two kinds of people. Drunks and survivors of drunks. Which are you?

‘Evening Phil. I’m on scotch tonight.’ He takes his usual position at the bar and the whisky appears in front of him. He’s been drinking all day, Phil can smell it on his breath. But, he’s still functioning so Phil places the tumbler down in front if him.

‘Rough day, Joe?’ Phil asks, fulfilling the barman’s eternal role as a poor man’s psychiatrist. He just gets a grunt in reply as the ginger head slams back the scotch.

‘Another.’

Phil moves away to get another glass. Joe reached up to the scar beneath his left eye. He’d had three separate fractures in the orbit after that night. Along with a broken tibia, fibia and femur. He has another scar that runs the length of his spine from where that bastard had hurled him into the window.

The glass appears in front of him, full of his poison of choice for the day. ‘You wanna talk?’

‘You don’t wanna listen.’ Joe says, sipping his whiskey this time. ‘It’s a rough story.’

Phil gestures to the empty bar. ‘I gotta do something, pal. Otherwise I’ll be cleaning this glass all day.’ He runs the tea towel around the glass he’s holding. ‘Besides, I’ve got some psychology credits from university. So, what’s eating you?’

Joe sighed. ‘My stepfather beat me half to death and my mother stabbed him in front of me. He ripped the baseball bat I found in the wardrobe I’d been hiding in.’

Phil said nothing. This was the most Joe had ever said to him, even though he’d been coming in every day  for the last four months. Usually it was just ‘Beer.’ ‘Scotch.’ Occasionally he’d buy a packet of peanuts.

‘It’s the anniversary. 15th June, 1994. I was twelve years old. I can still hear him calling her a bitch. I was watching through a crack in the door…’

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 99: Another drunken episode.

‘Bitch!’ He roars at her, the words turning to slurry in his mouth, pouring out and filling my ears. ‘I should fucking kill you!’ The sound of a slap echoes, rebounding and surrounding me. My knees are starting to hurt from crouching in the wardrobe, when another slap worms its way through the cracks in the door.

‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ She’s crying, she’s screaming. I can see her, a glimpse through a crack in the door, clutching to his leg as he stomps around. I can see the wreckage of his tantrum strewn around him, the broken glass on the floor where he’d smashed the tumbler. ‘I won’t do it again, I’m sorry I’m sorry.’

He kicked her off into the glass. ‘Shut up! And get this shit cleaned up. I need this room for poker night.’ The shards crunched beneath his tan work boots. ‘Get a fucking move on. I’m getting a drink.’

His footsteps fell quiet as he moved towards the fridge. Her eyes meet mine through the crack and I open the wardrobe door ever so slightly, just to see her shake her head, red curls grazing the ground as she stares into the chaos on the floorboards.

‘Jenna! Where’s your fucking kid? We’re out of ice.’ He shouts, slamming the stainless steel door of the fridge. He clutches a can in his massive fist, a child’s toy in that monstrosity. He strode amongst the stars on the floor, crouching down to look at her face. He grabs her chin with his left hand, taking a long drink from the can. ‘I said, where’s your damn brat?’ The signet ring flashed in the evening sun as it connected with her face.

I couldn’t take it any more. I knew what was in the wardrobe. I picked it from the ground, felt the heft of it. ‘You in that wardrobe, boy?’ He yelled. I felt the wood beneath my fingers. I was ready.

He put his eye to the crack in the door. I could smell the booze on his breath from there. ‘I need some ice, boy. Or do I have to hit your mum again to get my point across?’

I felt my eyes narrow to slits. My fingers tightened.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 98: Your last cry

I thought we had more time. I held you in my arms and you were just so beautiful. But then you went away and left me.

I was nothing before you came into my life. A worthless  piece of crap, but you lifted me up.

I held you in my arms. I loved you with all my heart. And you were so still. I thought you were sleeping but you weren’t.

I’ll remember that sound for the rest of my life. They brought you back at one point, and you went blue. You hollered like your lungs would explode.

That was it for you. I waited for a long time, waiting for something to touch me.

A bittersweet symphony it was too. Your voice rolling through the clinical, stifled sound around me. And I began to cry.

I cried at your last cry.

Come back soon. Stay safe, my beautiful one.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 23: Come up with every possible way to describe something as “red” without using the word itself.

Urmmmm… So, this one started as just a list. Then I found out where I was going with it and it tumbled and continued. Then it became what it is.

Scarlet. Crimson. Ruby. The colour of the sky at night which would cause a Shepherd to hurl himself around in exultation. The colour of the sky in the morning that would cause a shepherd to howl with misery, running through the streets crying ‘Bewareeeee, bewareeee!’ The colour of an Englishman on holiday. The colour of blood as it spills from the body, fully oxygenated. A blush, rising through the cheeks of the embarrassed. The third primary colour, after blue and yellow.

The colour of the ribbon in her hair as you take her by the hand and lead her up to your favourite place. The colour of the blush in her cheeks as you go down onto one knee. The colour of the single, small ruby in the ring you present her with. It is the colour of the sky on that timeless evening.

It is, strangely, the colour of the hands on the clock that you watch anxiously. It is the colour of your best friends tie as he stands behind you at the altar. It is the edging on the priest’s robes, the colour of your mother-in-law to be’s hat, your sister’s lipstick. A burnt, almost brown version is the colour of the church doors, as the open to reveal her in all of her finery.

It is the colour of a statement wall in your first apartment, a hideous neon colour. It is the colour of the apples in the fridge. It is the colour of your anger as you have your fights. It is the colour of the wine you buy after you have stormed out of the flat.

It is the colour of her dress that she wears as she follows you out into the street.

It is the colour of the traffic light as she begins to cross the road you just did.

It is the colour of the Ford Focus that ploughs through at 60 miles an hour in a 30 zone.

It is the colour of her blood as she lies, broken and dying on the street.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 18: A never-ending breakup.

Ooooh, one I can vaguely use some of my own experiences for. 

‘LA LA LA LA LA.’

‘Carmen, please, calm down. You’re making a scene.’ I said.

‘I’m making a scene? You’re the one trying to break up with me, just so you can go and sleep with everyone else? You’ve already cheated on me.’

‘Carmen, you know I haven’t. Can we just go and talk about this? Quietly, like adults?’

‘Ohhh.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘Now I’m a child, am I?’ She flicked her red hair over her shoulder. ‘Well, doesn’t that make you the best known paedo in town, doesn’t it? Just loved fucking children?’ Whispers began at that point. A small crowd had drawn around us. I’ve never felt more like I wanted that crappy, blue, school-style carpet to swallow me up whole.

‘Carmen, stop it right now. People are staring.’

She glared at me, fire in her eyes. ‘Let them. Means you won’t hit me. You know, like last time?’ That’s when the whispers caught alight, swirling around us. I could feel rage rising like bile within me. I’ve never hit her. She knows it. But she’s five foot two and I tower over her. So in a world of her word against mine, mine gets lined up against the wall, given a last cigarette and asked if it has any last words. She leaned forward, gently bit my earlobe, then whispered. ‘Good luck leaving now, asshole. My friends will beg me to leave you, but I’ll show them that I’ve given you a second chance. I’ll forgive you. And I will be in charge. I’ll see you at home.’

She turned tail, leaving me in the crowd. I was shaking with rage. I had to get out of there. Away from the whispers and the pointing and the stares.

So I ran. I ran as far and as fast as I could.

And then I ran back to her.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 17: Tell the world’s saddest joke.

A difficult one. While I am inherently funny (not to toot my own horn. But I’m tooting anyway.), I’m really bad at jokes. 

‘Knock knock. 1.’

‘Knock knock. 2.’

‘Knock knock. 3.’

‘Knock knock. 4.’

‘Knock knock. 5.’

… … …

‘Knock knock. 89.’

Knock knock.’

 

Who’s there?

‘A man with OCD. Now..,’ He says with a sob. ‘Now I have to start again.’

‘Knock knock. 1.’…

The Idiot In Tin Foil