Reality can’t seem to make up its mind tonight.
As I reach out for the wall to keep my balance the world tilts on its side while alternately my head sways in the other direction; a Raft rocking in the Ocean, helpless.
My hand forms the shadow of a Spider on the wall as my fingers dig deep into the grooves around the bricks, crawling along. My other hand cups my stomach - I feel sick.
Lifting myself up-right I look around and all I see is the crooked silhouettes of chimneys and the shadows growing from the corners of the empty street. I have only the dim orange glow of a nearby lamp to keep me from the dark that lurks . . .
The world splits in two and everything moves and shakes like God himself is poking the Earth with his little finger and rocking it off of its axis; just for his own amusement just for my torment.
My shoulder draws blood as I rag the corpse along the wall. I don’t feel pain as such. It’s different – distant - far away; yet somehow right here with me. The cold and the Cocktail running through the blood have left me almost numb. I can hardly feel my feet my hands - the Heart.
How long have I been out here, Six minutes or six hours?
They watch me. Observing closely like the eyes on a painting that follow you around a room, yet - completely still. Eyes peering over the clouds and staring down ominously in the night sky, watching, following.
I pause for breath until the world is calm and clear no double vision no confusion just shapes and hard edges. I look back up into the night and it’s just the Moon, the good old solitary Moon, looking back; guiding dusk to darkness.
I’m at the door now - the bell “Pings” as I step inside.
The artificial light burns the eyes and cracks the skin as I squint my way down the aisle towards the freezers.
I stop for a moment allowing my vision to adjust. My eye lids flicker; like the wings of a Butterfly opening and closing, trying to absorb the sting. The harshness recedes and familiar shapes take form: cleaning products, toiletries, food and drink and - whatever else gradually emerges through the yellow blotches bleaching my vision; like the after effects of staring at the Sun for too long.
The shopkeeper gives me a warm, but suspicious nod of the head. I reciprocate, returning the gesture and then smile a mouthful of rotten nuts and bolts for extra charm.
As I slide the fridge door I catch a glimpse of something behind me, something inhuman and grotesque, a pale grey sunken eyed skeleton.
They say the eyes are the window to the soul. I stare into those dark sunken marbles and I see nothing.
I pick out the cheapest brand of Cola and slide the door back. A short fat Asian man appears behind me wearing a Jumper that could only have been given to him at Christmas – for a joke.
“You alright, mate?” He utters with a nervous twitch in his voice.
“Fine” I say, with a stone tone. He gets the point and finding another corner to spy from he proceeds to re-label the same pack of Biscuits over and over again. The labeller makes a pinching sound like a stapler.
Retracing my steps down the aisle the pinching sound stops replaced by the sound feet scurrying across the shop floor and he appears at the till, pricing my purchase.
“Err – just the can is it, mate?” He says, plastering on a fake smile.
Then suddenly that pre-meditated curve across his face flatlines as straight as a ruler as I casually pass right by him. Like a robotic mechanism designed to go off at such an un-expected event his mouth creeks open and his head follows me like some ventriloquist’s doll, turning slowly on a stick.
Before the door closes behind me, I down the Cola in one - bad idea.
The Shop door opens and the Shopkeeper stumbles out, protesting at my henious crime.The Shop door closes, spanking his backside and nudging him toward me. “Oh . . . err! You’ve not paid for -”
I drop the Can in question.
“Pay up.” He demands; squaring up to me, hesitantly.
That “bad idea” I mentioned comes to fruition and I vomit all over that wonderful Jumper of his. He looks down at his chest, speechless. Admiring how the new colours blend? Maybe not, but I think it’s a vast improvement.
“Soz!” I make no attempt at sincerity.
We both share a special moment together as we watch the inevitable down slip of the contents of my stomach slowly run down that fashionable Jumper of his; a swamp of opaque dribbling down turning the patterned Snow flakes and Mistletoe a murky brown and now I’m totally convinced that I have actually done him a favour. But still I receive no gratitude. Being a low-life piece of shit is a thankless job, but somebodies got to live it.
Dripping from the chest he holds out his hands in indignation waiting for a further response. I have no warm words to consolidate him on this traumatic occasion and so he retreats back inside.
Turning away now I catch a glimpse of that marble eyed creature through the glass and then I blend.