Entries tagged as weekend
“We should be under G.” Sable leant over the stand
The doorman remained unmoved “I’m sorry, I don’t see it.”
“It must be a mix-up. Let me just ring the office.”
“If you could step out of the queue?”
Other groups filed past, security checking them off the list. Sable turned a shade of red, her phone ringing out.
Ben’s tone was gentle “It’s alright, I didn’t really want to go anyway.”
Sable turned away “I am so sorry for wasting your time.”
He patted her on the shoulder, eyes drawn to the people filing through. One caught his eye, a lanky business man with long, greasy hair. Recognition kicked in “Xac?”
“Alright, Safeway? You waited for me.” Xac stepped up to the door, flashing a card from his wallet “These pozzers are with me, Jack.”
The doorman frowned, forgetting he had a name tag on “Of course Mr...”
Xac leaned over the clipboard running his finger down the list “Ah! There we are.”
“The Matlock Agency?”
Xac winked “That’s us. Alright if I tip you, Jack? You’re looking bang up.”
“That’s alright Mr Musonius,” said Jack, waving them through.
Continue reading "Golden Apples"
The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd. --André Breton
Space was important. there’d never been space in Vienna. Space provided room for ideas to grow.
Charlie unlocked the door, slipping the key back into his pocket. It was the ornate one Sable had given him the morning they’d met.
”You look like someone who needs space.”
He’d followed her, the little tramp and his darling. He’d sketched her across the street, up the stairs into the empty room above the pottery store. They’d talked about the war, about Manchuria, about her cafe. They’d gotten closer and closer. And then she’d left.
“Don’t worry, just drop the key back when you’re done.”
Continue reading "Manchurian Tramp 2"
Charlie stared at the ceiling. He turned away again to sip cold coffee. He ordered his brushes, fixed his tie. Anything to avoid the blank canvas in front of him. It was 3pm. At 3.15 Frau Riefenstahl would arrive, probably with soldiers. She would demand to see his progress and he would show her the blank canvas. Charlie reached into his sketches, pulling up crosses and pentacles, all useless. He doodled a perfect circle in the margins of one, then crumpled it and threw it away. He put his hands over his eyes and recoiled as his fingers came away with greasepaint. He’d dressed up this morning and Nguyen had laughed.
Continue reading "The Manchurian Tramp"
You may find what you're looking for down the alley of dangerous angles.
Down by the dumpster
the beggar man sips pumpkin spice latte.
He's counting pi, counting down.
It can reach zero in the alley of dangerous angles.
There's a takeaway run by Takers,
a street sign walking through walls
of a Georgian house drowned in moral decanters
Physics don't always add up in the alley of dangerous angles.
Inside the house
where they talk to themselves, to the TV
about the wages of sin, of sex, debauchery.
There's nothing complex about the alley of dangerous angles.
Sometimes there's a dog
lurking under dead trees
watching smoke pour out to sea.
He's digging up the root of the alley of dangerous angles.
Oh you may find what you're looking for down the alley of dangerous angles
but mind the edges.
“Alright. Let’s do this.” Morgan cracked his knuckles, his default when trying to look tough.
“It’s up this way,” said Ben.
They walked with the morning commuters down an avenue that ended in a sharp wooden door. For something so abrupt and mysterious it was something of a disappointment. On the other side was just an open yard anyone could have entered from the street.
“Come on,” Ben led Morgan along, past the coffee shop queue, around the bustling offices.
“9 to 5:30,” said Morgan disparagingly.
“The banks close at 4:30.”
There was a laneway back here, modern cobbles with a grille showing the car park. Two smokers lingered, enjoying a quick one before work. Morgan eyed them with suspicion. He waited till he was past before replying.
“Imagine if the guards only worked daylight hours.”
Ben’s eyes drifted up the side of the building “Would they catch more crooks that way?”
But they had reached the end of the lane.
Behind the offices, behind the shops, behind the whole city the alleyway lurked. Morgan could see right down to the end of the road and yet, somehow, he knew if he’d tried entering it that way, he’d never find it. He read the street sign, a bright blue nailed to one of the old georgian houses.
Walk through Walls
“The hell is this?” he growled.
“Just a joke. Sable knows the artist.”
Morgan sneered and plodded down the avenue. there wasn’t much beyond the old houses. An old man sat against a clean dumpster, nodding his head. It was early morning but there was a bottle in his hand. Ben sighed, approaching him. The old man didn’t respond, even when Ben bent out and tentatively checked his pulse. “Have you talked to her?”
They knew who 'her' was.
“Don’t want to.” Morgan tried to burn down the houses with his gaze.
Ben stood up “I get the feeling if Felicity was a guy you would have just punched her and gotten over it by now.”
“Yeah well, I don’t hit girls.”
“She didn’t break any laws.”
“She broke my fucking heart!”
It was loud enough to wake the old man. Bright blue eyes darted about his grimy face as he scrabbled on the pavement. From behind the dumpster a scruffy dog poked its head out.
“Sorry,” said Ben “How are you this morning?”
From his perspective there were two young men. One looked ready to give up, his shoulders slumped beneath an oversized mac. The other one was an irate rhino with fists.
“I weren’t doing nothing.”
“It’s alright,” said Ben, reaching into a pocket. He produced a euro and offered it to the man who accepted it begrudgingly “Is Barking Wilde still in number 14?”
The dog nosed around them, lapping up a few crumbs.
“No, no no, you don’t want to go in there.” said the man, his hand trembling.
“What’s wrong?” asked Ben.
“You’re the O’Carroll boy right? It’s all gone downhill. Nothing but bad eggs and burnt bacon.”
Morgan’s glare was an inferno “Were they smoking?”
The old man tried to drill a hole in the dumpster with his back. Ben had to interject “Alright, you take it easy now.”
He pulled himself up, a fearful eye always on Morgan. Then he tottered down the avenue with a euro in his pocket.
At the door Ben hesitated “You ok?”
Morgan’s chest deflated, had he been holding his breath all this time?
“I just don’t wanna talk about it. It’s not like she’s the first girl to cheat on me.”
Ben studied the door intently “Plenty more fish in the sea, right?”
“Right,” growled Morgan “Just tell me who to rough up.”
“Whoah,” said Ben “We’re not doing a drug raid. These people are just squatters. Even if they’re not, we can’t just beat them till they confess.”
“Actions in pursuit of a criminal are not criminal. So long as the injustice is great enough any means are justified.”
Ben looked pained “You really believe that?”
Morgan hammered on the door “Open up!”
“It’s me,” added Ben limply.
It seemed as if the door would never open. They stood there, Ben looking at the ground while Morgan appraised the dog. The city lived outside. A crack appeared between door and way.
“The fuck do you want, Ben?”
“Larry? I’m here to see Wilde,” tried Ben.
The door slammed. Right off Morgan’s hand in fact. He didn't so much as grimace, shoving inward. Larry wasn’t much of a fight, grimly hanging onto the knob and heaving as Morgan took a step.
“You first,” he said, leaning against the door so Ben could enter. Morgan held it open until even the dog had wandered in.
“This is a fucking invasion!” moaned Larry.
“Call the guards,” said Morgan. He stepped inside, the door locking them inside. They were in a dingy hall lined with newspapers.
“What’s going on Larry? Where’s Stevens and Martina?”
“I am in so much fucking trouble. You gotta get out of here, Ben.”
Morgan forgot their babbling, focusing on the air. It smelt wrong. The walls, flaking paint, were plastered with gum and webs. At his feet the worn old dog snuffled amidst the newspapers then pissed on them.
“Look just whatever you fucking do don’t go up there, Ben.”
Morgan immediately made for the stairs. They stuck to his boots. Resin or something coated each step in ugly dollops. It stretched when he lifted a foot, unwilling to let go. Morgan stomped harder. Ben edged after him, avoiding the worst of it. Someone had wallpapered the landing. Then someone else had torn it all down. Sheaves of molding paper still hung off the walls. It smelt like a fridge with a power failure. The doors were coated in graffiti, crude stars done in whatever material had come to hand. Morgan swept a hand over it.
“This is a Georgian house, covered by preservation orders. Vandalism is an offense.”
Ben pushed past “Let’s just get Wilde. He should be in here.”
He knocked on one of the doors “Barking Wilde? It’s me, Benjamin Murphy-Mannis.”
Morgan kicked a bucket, sending flying the accumulated bilgewater of the leaking ceiling. The rotten damp sank into the filthy carpet and dripped down the stairs. The dog following them licked it up.
The door heaved open. It banged against the wall, swinging back in his face and hanging ajar.
There was a glimpse of a dark eyed man “What do you zombies want? Can’t I get a doorman?”
Morgan pushed the door forward. This room was no better than the rest of the house. In fact it was worse. The fireplace was stuffed with old newspapers. Gum and resin filled the corners of the room, slick as if just spat up. In a circle of half-eaten sandwiches sat the Wilde, crosslegged. His eyes were black wells. Ben's voice softened
“How are you doing?”
“Doing? I’m doing nothing. I’m blocked.”
Ben crossed the threshold “Want to talk about it?”
"The reason we can't write is because we're afraid. Once we condemn words to the page they cannot be taken back. Rub them, scrub them, they are forever in your memory."
Morgan sighed. This was looking like a big waste of time.
“What about the others Wilde? Remember they were going to help you?” Ben stopped a few feet away.
“Mindless. They had to go. Eyes for the dark one.”
“You killed them?” Morgan always had a fist on hand.
“What? Oh no. No. What are you crazy?”
“Ben says you know people. People who disappear.”
“People who disappear end up here.”
Morgan and Ben exchanged looks.
“We’re looking for someone. A guy named Gerry Holdam.”
Wilde shook his head “Had to go. They all talked too much. Saw through the mask.”
“Do you know him or not?”
“They are lean and athirst!" he shrieked “Ask him by the canal! He saw them taken!”
What Morgan did not have was patience. He shoved Ben aside and grabbed Wilde by a scruffy turtleneck “You got three seconds.”
Something like fear penetrated those shadowy eyesockets “Alright! Alright Just don’t break my circle!”
Almost as an afterthought Morgan squashed one of the rotten sandwiches. Mustard oozed around his boot.
“The canal!” Wilde cried “I was down by the canal with the poet. You know the one! Your guy was there with a girl!”
“How’d you know it was him?” Morgan held Wilde so close he could smell the fearful sweat.
“She said his name! She said he owed him!”
“Who was the girl?”
“I dunno. I don’t have good eyes. Ask Patrick.”
“Morgan,” said Ben quietly “Put him down.”
Morgan dropped him. Wilde fell back on his rear.
“Thanks Wilde. If you need help, you know where I am,”and Ben was out the door. Morgan followed him down the stairs. When they were gone, Wilde ventured to close the door. It hung open, forming a narrow angle with the wall. All of a sudden, the dog sauntered into view. Wilde regarded it's lean form with abject horror. It crossed the threshold.
The roar of engines matched the cheers of the crowd. It was a wild day up at the Royal Dublin Society. The car show had drawn thousands from across the country, all revelling in a love of the automobile. The summer sun didn’t hurt either. Shorts and skirts wandered the race course, soaking up the heat with hot dogs and beer. Few paid attention to the small side hall. It was to some administrator’s amusement that the two shows were on the same day. The three women passed through the entrance to be attacked by an angry owl.
“Oh my god!” said Felicity, ducking. Her fashionable dress creased around her.
The owl jerked its wings back and forth, hooting angrily. Its eyes were strangely glassy and it couldn’t seem to leave the perch over the door. Sable brazenly approached. Pulling back the sleeve of an oversized jumper she waved a hand in front of it. The creature continued hooting mechanically “It looks so real.”
The owner slipped out from behind a desk “Do you like our owl?”
The desk was littered with animals. Some were fur coats on clockwork bones, others were even less formed than that. A skeletal cat with a key lodged in its spine clicked and ticked.
Aine gave them the once over “Good taxidermy.”
“Why thank you, my husband’s work.”
Felicity stood up, patting down her dress “Fur is murder.”
“I’m sure it died in its sleep.” said Aine. She’d dressed for work only to remember today was a Saturday.
Continue reading "The Weekend Convention"
And then the music started. A saxophone incanted through the premises. Thick beats growled through the paper walls.
“What have you got me into?” growled Morgan.
“Relax, man. It’s legal.”
Xac sat back on a cushion. He’d led Morgan, by ways and means, to a little cafe off the back of Mount Street. They’d stepped through a battered old red door into another world. There were no chairs, and the tables sat low to the ground. Sitting on the floor was a problem for Morgan. He was built like a rugby forward. Every time he shifted his leg knocked the table. What really offended him though, was the hookah.
“I am not breathing that shite,”
He slapped it for emphasis. Xac pulled back his greasy hair and took a puff. Xac looked like a drug-addled deadbeat. Moonlight flesh and tattered jeans, an old lady had already told him to get help once today.
“It’s apple and cinnamon. Like your maw used to make.”
“She only made them when you were around. These things are probably full of weed,” Morgan raised his voice “Guards should shut this place down.”
“Sam’s gonna be here and you’re carrying on.”
“Bad enough I’m here. You want to hook up with…”
Xac sniggered; it was funny seeing his lunk of a friend hesitate.
“You said you wanted something to help you forget Felicity and you didn’t care what. Well Sam’s your man.”
“I thought maybe a strip club,” Morgan rumbled, looking at his hands.
“This is just the beginning. We’re just setting the stage,” Xac took another hit.
“With a piking drug hole.”
“Can I help you gentlemen?”
They both jumped. The girl appeared out of nowhere, she had a vaguely Asian look, with a faded, floral pattern blouse
“No, we’re good, good looking.” Xac’s smile was incorrigible.
The girl was gone before he could try a pick-up line. He fell back on a cartoonish leer.
“Since when were you into girls?” Morgan asked.
“She heard you man. Lay off the morality.”
“It’s not about religion. It’s about the Law!”
The saxophone ground to a halt. Someone applauded. In the lull they heard the door. Peering out from the snug, Xac spied the third of their pack for this evening. Sam drifted up the aisle as if it was a dream. Perhaps it was. Much like Sam themself. Spiky hair fringed with blue, dressed like a punk rocker they defied definition with a diffident smile. The attendant led Sam to their table, the two in deep conversation. Morgan caught only the tail end.
“-and if I had a dream you’d be in it.”
Smiling and nodding the girl made for the kitchen. Two sleepy eyes regarded the pair.
“Morgan, so sorry about your loss.”
“No you’re not,” he muttered.
Xac shifted up, making room for Sam to float to the floor. Then they sat there. It made Morgan uncomfortable. No one had ignored him since the day he’d beaten a bully with a toilet seat.
Sam was still staring at nothing. The two exchanged looks. Finally the girl returned with a coffee. It was placed in front of Sam, who broke from a reverie to say thanks and smiled and waited for the attendant to leave. Then and only then did they pick up the mouthpiece of the hookah and sip a little smoke.
Morgan’s patience finally gave out “So what’s the big event?”
Somewhere, the saxophone began to purr. Sam smiled.
“We’re going to summon a demon.”
“Why howl at the moon?”
“Why not?” replied Sable, circumventing the street rubbish.
“I don’t get it,” said Ben.
His voice carried through the crowd despite its gloomy timbre. And what a crowd. Mount Street thronged with people. Sable, in a summer skirt and winter boots, had to step onto the road. She jogged past a pack of tourists and hopped back onto the footpath, waiting for Ben to catch up. Ben moped right through them, muttering apologies. The wind caught his coat, whipping it into a grey frenzy. Sable fancied it was trying to escape. She let him pass then fell in behind. He was her battering ram.
Sable gestured across the street. Night clubs always looked forlorn and abandoned during the day. Blacked out windows and locked doors gave the impression of a building people would rather forget, along with how much they’d drank in it.
“It’s a night club,” said Ben.
“I know. Look at the doors.”
Ben peered closer.
She swatted the back of his head lightly “The senses! The eyes, the nose. It’s what I’ve been talking about. What we perceive, that’s what matters.”
He considered it for a while. “We took a twenty minute detour to see a door.”
Sable started back the way they came “It’s the experience that counts.”
They walked up near the quays, passing the theatre.
“Seen Morgan lately?” asked Ben.
Sable’s eyes were on the posters. Ben tapped her shoulder.
“Sorry. When was the last time you saw a stage show?”
“Oh, well Smock Alley put on Waiting for Godot last year.”
A business man with earphones slammed into Sable. He murmured something like sorry before taking off again. She brushed down her jacket looking sour. “Why are the banksters always such jerks?”
“He was probably in his own world. Most people are.”
“Being knocked down is something you should only try once.”
Sable finished dealing with imaginary dirt and Ben fell into line behind her. His original question came back as she dodged oncoming pedestrians.
“I saw Morgan last Friday. Frankly I’m glad he broke up with Felicity.”
Sable paused at the entrance to the Maldron Hotel. She hadn’t been in it since it was done up. Its great glass maw opened to admit an elderly couple. Ben was looking at her.
“I really don’t see the point,” he said helplessly. She stepped inside.
The glass ran right down the side, the architect having thought a view of the car park worth showing. Massive plant pots dominated the hallway, otherwise taken up with the front desk. A grand wooden staircase led the way up to some sort of lounge. Sable floated up those stairs, drinking in the texture. Carpet ran to the walls, edges just beginning to fray. The tables were pine, sleek modern chique that clashed with the antique lamps. Behind the bar a bored tender examined a glass. The only other occupants were two business men, laughing at a joke. Sable stood there, long enough to draw notice
Ben appeared behind her. “Oh, they put in a bar.”
Sable turned to him wagging a finger “She’s a complete social climber you know. she just wanted an invite to the Gala.”
Ben stared at the ceiling “I enjoy wasting my life on these meaningless detours.”
She blinked, then frowned at him, then cursed “The library, right. We’ll go there immediately.”
Ben had his doubts.
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