View Full Version : Untitled: By Declan Harte
12-10-2009, 06:07 PM
You know you’re weak when even a hug hurts…
NURSE Tina’s bosom’s no boon or solace now, her name-tag cold to his left temple. Carl Sheenan, widowed seven minutes, slows free from the sad embrace and looks again to the slab. His Bitty dead, her skin now merely veiling bone. She’s not yet draped, but the stout door is giving way to Father Garvey. The nurse springs lithe to cover the corpse from toe to thinned neck.
“She’s gone to God now, Carl. That’s a good woman’s guarantee.”
The beads in a tangle n’ dangle from his fingers. Close enough to the body he weaves his rosary free and shoves the bundle into his pocket.
Garvey lays his right palm on Bitty’s blue forehead, his left on Carl’s nape, as if to channel spirits.
“We’ll look after her the best she could want. And you too, boy.”
“That’s good. Thank you, Father.”
Tina seems rapt at this merest hint of male bonding. She breaks a smile and should the men see it they wouldn’t bristle. A mortuary craves its beats of joys – needs those beats to whip defiant heart-sparks off the silver and stone and the pallor of its dead guests. The living must bear this room, too.
Sheenan has an urge to pace and circle Bitty. To smoke again after three years clean of nicotine. To swear. To cry? No. That would best be a private flood, let loose alone. Alone.
A few tough moments pass before the men shoulder and urge each other towards the door. Carl passes Tina and bows a grateful bow. Lithe again, she moves closer and takes his hand in a squeeze, eyes on eyes for a warm and true time, then lets it go. Beautiful girl.
Up from the bowels the men soon see windows. Grey day. It should rain before dark, maybe before supper.
“What about her family? She didn’t go all that quick, God love her. They must have known..?”
“We kept in touch. They knew she was sick, but they couldn’t make it over. I don’t know if they’ll show for the funeral.”
“…And the wake?”
Carl turns near-balletic on one heel, the other smart to follow.
“There’ll be no wake, Father. She didn’t want one… and I’m not pissin’ on her wishes just to serve brandy and sandwiches while she’s decked out in the living room. I can’t see her again."
Garvey looks caught in mid-mastication, like stray silver paper just piqued a filling.
“Sorry, Father. I just thought you knew there was nothing like that planned.”
The priest chews on his nothing and gulps it down.
“Carl, I didn’t know. Nobody tells me f*ck all around here. They think a man of God has His ears aswell.”
As close to laughter all these past weeks, Carl grins, cools his affront and shakes Garvey’s hand.
“Bye for now, Father. I need to head on out for a while, just for some air, you know?”
“Oh, sure. Take your time. Pray a little. Or failing that, drop the odd F-Bomb. It helps me more than a Hail Mary sometimes. I don’t quite have the Lord’s tongue either.”
His back to Potty Mouth, Carl heads into the nightmare of corridors, gruelling to the exit.
Leaving his jeep in the lot, he walks anywhere and nowhere for a time. He moves in a stoop, as though his sorrows turned solid and crept upon his back. Married to a taller woman gave him pride’s reason to stand upright, even cheating with sly piggies if need be.
Now he could slouch again...
12-10-2009, 06:12 PM
SERPENTINE behind his petty fence, Kavanagh watches the avenue. He knows his neighbour is no boozer, no host, hence no teary, salted pints in The Abandon Inn after the burial. No funeral lasts this long.
Sure enough, the Cherokee appears, booming up to Sheenan’s gate and turning in. Carl gets out, standard black sorrow suit, leaving his cheap Zazzi on the passenger’s seat. Where the Roma wife once sat. He has barely time to slam the door when Kavanagh leans like a drooping cobra. Time for rotten treacle. Time for fun. Time to strike!
“Sorry for your troubles there, Carly. She was some woman.” Pr!ck.
“Cheers, Dan.” Pr!ck.
The wind catches the widow’s vent as he disappears through his front door. His is now a lonely stead. Dan’s head cocks at this thought. And then the grip of envy. He’d like to clay a wife, too. No need for a black suit, either. He’d wear Bermudas while christening the lowering casket with his piss.
Why is this man such a poison? He was not bred bad. Father had his troubles, his self-inflicted bites. A decent man, though. Mother was a quietly remarkable woman, but had she the ways of divining tea-leaves, reading Tarots, had she the soothsayers privy to see her son ripen to pestilence, she’d have smothered little Daniel cold, leaving him a blue, dead baby in a convenient skip.
Wendy, the living dead, hears him rumble back indoors. She looks into the brimming sink - and sees a rippling, broken beauty.
“Imagine: they’d bury a stinky gypsy in the same ground as my folks. It’s like taking a dump in a rose garden.”
This is a goad, of course. He knows she and Bitina were true friends…
She looks towards him – not at him but towards him. She opens her mouth. Nothing.
“Speak! By all means, weigh in. Couples talk. So talk.”
“…What harm did she ever…”
“And what would my little c*nt wifey know about harm? Hmmm? You’re not suggested I ever hurt you beyond what does you good? Keep talking if you feel liking losin’ a tooth or two.”
Her hands damp, she slinks away across the kitchen. And those hands never shook anymore. Her face no longer mottles red or terrors ashen. These little digs are nothing because this is Friday. The night of penance will soon be upon her. He’ll soon be upon her. This day and its accordant night means one thing: humpy.
Her pinned to a rank mattress, ribs burdened, him on top – always on top – she’ll suffer it by training her eyes on that odd crack in the ceiling’s orbit while plucking hairs from his furry back. She never came, and would keep it in with bitten tongue to spite him if ever could be that good a lover. Lover? Rapist! She cannot honestly remember the last time they kissed. Merely knowing they ever did brings her to a quease.
The beast watches his captive disappear down the hall. He watches the firm of her ankles and thinks of Gwen. Her ass? Gwen. The tour of her back? Gwen.
Ahh, the new secretary. Miss Tate is young, happy, hot totty, unsullied. A rose garden ripe for a dumping. She has not yet whiffed of Kavanagh’s odour, not yet caught those animus eyes regarding her.
He has little knack of storing erotic imago, but for her he can picture the strap dug sore into her back, her top too tight conceal it. Hmmm. Those bra’s that give a girl’s tits the edge over gravity…
Now he wants coffee in his kitchen. Shouting down the hall, he wants coffee now. Wendy would best rush back up and brew.
No reply, no hurried, eager shuffle back up the hall to sate her darling’s thirst. Brazen. Don’t say he has to follow her down there and do her some good? She’ll need dragging by the throat. Failing that, the hair will suffice. Sugar be damned – that’s all the sweetener he needs.
12-10-2009, 06:15 PM
THE earthquake’s aftershock, Sheenan watches ER, knowing another of his loves is fading out...
Maura Tierney walks from the drama tonight. Abby Lockhart had been a mutual pleasure for both he and Bitty, for the same reasons and those different for a man. He’ll never see that show again.
What he hadn’t eaten for two days littered the coffee table. Stretching from the laze, he leaves the couch and leaves the TV humming.
Upstairs. Into the bedroom. Lights on.
He opens the closet. Her cardigan, pretty pink, is closest to his touch. Wild for a moment, he rips it free, the hanger clanging. He puts it to his mouth and to his nose for her scent. Not perfume. She never used it. Her scent. Something tickled. A hair. A sundered strand. Her hair! He dumps the cardy and frees the black lock from his nose. Thumbs and pinkies licked, he holds it tight and stretched before him. Up to the bulb he brings it. Its raven hue shines alive in the light. This must be kept.
He runs it across his tongue and places it wet and safe under the jewelry box. No jewelry within, though. She never wore any. Just the wedding band - and she’s wearing that now.
He looks back to the open closet. The blazing, ferocious Kimono. To see her wear it made him both horny and wary at once. A cherub donned out by Hell’s best tailor. She was a tad too tall for it to cover her legs, her long scar, knee to near shinbone on the left. Though healed for years, he did like to kiss it as though it still might give her any pain.
He takes this fervent robe out, but with tender care not spared on the pretty-pink. It…rattles..? The hidden pocket. She had one sewn in. Practical Bitty. He takes out the container. Temazepam. He shakes the tub and rubs a longing finger over the name. BITINA SHEENAN.
Back to the dresser and beside the empty box, he unscrews the lid and lets the sleepers flow, his left hand in a half-cup lest any rogues roll to the floor. He counts. Thinks he counted wrong, so counts again. Fifty-seven from sixty. She hadn’t taken these in many weeks – not since the morphine took hold.
He wonders. What if…
Pop just one o’ me…?
F*ck it! He picks one white tab and runs to the bathroom. Into his mouth, he slurps like a dry hound from the tap. Up with the head and down with a gulp. For a time he waits for the sleeper to take stealth in his blood.
He’s a medicinal virgin, knows nothing of their subtlety – or their insidious thrall.
He goes back to the bedroom, rips back the duvet and places the Kimono so delicate where she would be. Where she should be. Stripped down to boxers, he takes his own place on the mattress but doesn’t lower his head yet. He likes the lights on. She never did. He regards his room, the modest lair of a modest man. He switches on the radio and fiddles the knob. George Harrison. Tell me what is my life without your love?
Nobody knows exactly when the fall asleep. But with the sleeper he went out quicker than before, the deep ache of a newly lonely soul now gone, in its sad place the slow bliss and peace of Temazepam. His dreams will gift a route and a purpose from this night on. Though he’ll remember little but fragments, they give hints of their passion this first night in the morning, when he wakes with the silken fury of her robe gripped yet tender in his hands, his gold band warm to the red rage. He’ll wake to Oona Noone in his ear, singing low and sore of nothing but deadened hearts.
12-10-2009, 06:21 PM
SUFFER through this cloaking fog and Seersgad will meet you, greet you with an easy, open bay. Sure enough, the map keeps its integrity, and the boat finds land.
This weathered Mariner is not young yet far more trusty than the old family craft, her tender sail often ripped clean off in the howl, leaving the sailors rock-bound with a naked mast.
Cutting into the damp sand, the ship tilts port with a groan, but steadies. Farou goes down-deck, kicking straw clear of his dampened grips and using his torch to find the living cargo.
The old crate had slid in the dip, but there is no howling, no distress. He stoops and nears and eager ear. It is calm.
Five from the boat, one woman guiding from behind, they hold the cargo with copper, ad-hoc handles, two screwed to either side. Gloveless hands will welt badly from the weight, so Lania, the lady, the only kin to visit her sister in her married land, is thus the only one who can guide the prize to the very door where it needs to go and no further, no accidental detours.
Beating the sand, they climb the beach-head. Beneath them is a four-mile stretch of township, a soothing bed of houselights.
Curving terrain has the torch-beams all a dance, all beams dance but one. Lania trains hers on the crate, through the slits a giddy silhouette.
Reaching firm road, she has no need to strain her recall. As a bat’s bandwidth is primed for the moves of slight vermin, hers runs on the knowledge of paths beaten before. Each step has an echo, and the straining men before her just need to keep her minted scent within whiff to avoid getting lost.
The further in they go the darker it gets, as many householders are switching off lights and turning in.
A beat not missed, Lania brings the men to Wilshire, its avenue the final burden. Crate tipped back for the rise, she sees the brilliant white bristle of a tail through a slit. It barely needs her torch to dazzle. A child would stroke it and smile.
Only one house remains lit on the left. Kavanagh’s. It’s illuminated because he’s out – down at the depot, cooking books. And for these hours without his odour it’s not quite a prison for Wendy, and she won’t waste her brief time of safety on sleep. She can eat what she craves; watch whatever cheers her on TV, even talk with friends in a far away parts. On a secret cellular, of course. To use a landline is tantamount to admission. He checks the bill at the end of each month, keen pinky combing down the list, hoping to find a number he didn’t call.
Next door is point of deposit. Lania doesn’t brighten the house with a tour of her beam and orders the men to dim theirs. The crate is left down with a silent grace and she, for the first time, moves in front of it, gently hooshing her men aside.
Disaster! Carl’s tall gates are padlocked. Heavy bolt, its chain wrapped several times. She panics and turns, hoping for someone to magic up a boltcutter. What f*cking boltcutter! They don’t even have such a thing back on the boat. The men look equally stricken. Their gift can’t be heaved over such a height and safely left down on the other side. Nobody’s want risking a hernia. As if to squeeze inspiration from her gypsy head, Lania puts her palms tight to her temples.
An iron shriek behind her. The bolt has popped. In enough time she turns to aim her torch at the silver links o’ chain give like a dead snake and rattle off the rails to the ground. Not until now has her torch-hand quivered, but now it sends terror darts of light in a spasm just past her feet.
As old as she is to lore and tales and legends told around the hearthstone, there is no chill greater than to have their magic meet you in the here and now, in the world we fear is too meek a host to hold them…
No lock, no bolt, no inconvenience shall keep the beast from its place.
She looks to the crate. She keeps her beam clear of it, but stares at where she feels the creature to be. The men seem as scolded boys, heads down, eyes like metronomes. Side to side.
Lania steadies herself and runs her free hand under Farou’s stubbled chin, raising his head. She gives him a good nod. He turns and quietly rallies the others. Gently, the Sheenan gates are pushed back enough for the gift to be carried the final yards to his door.
The men walk back free of the property as Lania kneels in the dark. No more torch. She places her forehead to where she can she feel and savour the clean, hot breaths than flow in beats from the crate. Even eyes shut tight for the dark can water.
Business done, fate put rolling in motion, gates closed, chain back, bolt no longer bested by destiny, the lady and her men head back the same route to shore, tired, sucking welted palms, but now enchanted, proud for believing.
12-10-2009, 06:29 PM
AT seventeen she was that most doomed of talents: too good, too great to forever sate the fickle ears of millions who succumb to fads. Many have little time for what’s timeless. Were she to sing today, her erstwhile ‘fans’ may nary give her a listen. She just ain’t cool no more, ya dig? Dude?
Alas, Oona Noone, The Brooklyn Bassey, fool to hope for eternal applause, now lives near-top floor in The Witcheries Plaza, New York City, locked in opulent ruin, shuttered in from her high sky, boiling her royalties on a spoon.
It’s her oldie ‘You Know My Door’ that wakes Sheenan from his first night of mild sedation. Subdued, but not groggy. Midday and his eyes are tender, lids a-flutter. No memory of where his dream had him, it takes a tad for him to know his own bed. It’s still a double.
His lights on all night, they now look nothing to daylight. He didn’t pull the curtains last night. Why bother? Laddered peepers don’t seek to wank at widowed men. Besides, why can’t he share his grief with the sky and its fleeting winged watchers? The robe in his stiffened, creaking hands. He dreamed of her, didn’t he?
Boxers and a crumpled sweater are enough to cover a slummer downstairs. He looks to the screen, the frame of his dear gone Abby Lockhart, and couldn’t give a doctor’s oath what’s within it now.
Coffee? Balls! His brew still sucks, though he’s had weeks to tweak and season it. In the kitchen he lets up the blind and sees his jeep. A reflection in its right side. He squints, leans over the counter, tries to look at an impossible angle. His neck threatens a crick at this contort. He’d best open his door half-decent.
A surprise to be sure, a huge crate is now keeping the draft off his bare legs. It’s old wood, but strong enough to go another century before any rot should trouble it. Look closer…
Two binds of shipper’s rope keep the opening from opening, tied as much like bows as can be done with such tough material. He looks to his gate. Secure. He looks past Kavanagh’s fence. Hmmmm. An "@sshole, oh yes, but not a prankster. Not a giver. Besides, he wouldn’t dare desecrate his precious divide by forcing this over it.
A blast of warm air tickles his hair caps and Sheenan stumbles back. Scraping the wood from within, it wants out!
Why do we need question this? Bar it fell from a plane the box could not have made it to Carl’s door – yet here it is. With four old handles.
On impulse he rushes inside to grab knife. Wait? Why savage a bow? It may not be tied with the most dexterous hands, but the least it deserves is to be undone by the fingers.
Kneeling now, he dares look within. Grand, shining eyes are his mirror. It’s eager to get free, but not scared of its new master’s denial. Master..?
Carl brings both hands in tandem to the ropes. Dry and chaffed, he pulls at both. The left one is an awkward bastard, but with enough pressure it gives as easy as the right.
He stands well clear of what’s coming when the hatch hits ground a good foot from his awed and shivered piggies.
Also Sprach Zarathustra! Deodato’s version. That’s what soars its funky rush through Sheenan’s boggled mind as beast meets earth, meets Seersgad’s air, meets its most recently bereaved…
A knowing creature, it walks out low and straight, lest its imperious, fine horns grate the wood on either side. Once clear, he – it’s a buck – returns to full height, hip-high to Sheenan, Sheenan hip-high to the giant big baby within him right now.
Never has he seen a more radiant coat. White beyond all nature. It looks to have been recently shorn. The lustrous, breezy meg is left long, though. Short, stumpy legs finished with scrubbed and dandy hooves. A face and countenance of peace. The eyes are beyond catching. Fathomless! And what’s just above them, not quite between them, is the coup. A florid red patch, a near-perfect oval, too dark to pass as a farmer’s dye or chink in the genes. Majestic! The animal is utterly majestic.
Friends in a beat of both hearts, the widow is enchanted. No questions, no suspicions, no catering to common sense.
“Hello, Boy! You’re a boy, aren’t you? No, you’re a man!”
Carl brings joyous hands to smooth the horns like a child first grips a Christmas bike.
Outside this arena of pure good, Kavanagh takes his day’s first piss, marking his territory, sprinkling the seat. Shaking the last droplets he turns to the window and flicks the shutters for a peak.
He can’t believe what lies beyond. Without register, his cock is still out. This is plutonium! Ample fuel for which to stoke and spew his acid little insinuations and stiffen that bitter free dick of his...
It’s a goat! A f*cking goat! Wow! Didn’t take him long to find himself a new ride…
12-10-2009, 06:32 PM
More to come. Weigh in. Good? Sh!t? Oh, do tell!
12-11-2009, 04:49 AM
ENTER Gifty’s and you’ve just walked into a schizoid shop. Rugged sacks of potatoes and skill-stacked pyramids of unscrubbed turnips cry for selling next to floss and toothpaste. But little Joe Calder’s prize lies just past the tampons.
Right Guard. Lynx. Ooh, Gillette! Any brand with a few good kicks of Butane. Were smut books on offer in here, they’d be beyond this boy’s reach, yet his nostrils and not his weener are the flared and brazen routes to his release.
He picks an Arctic Ice and heads to the cashier…
“Sports Day! Heavy training, eh..?”
She points to the canister. Joe needs to summon all his guile and cunning for this…
“Well, no, Ma’am. It’s my sister. She has…problems with her body. Odours and stuff.”
Gifty’s face flushes red. A lady blushing for her fellow lady.
“Oh, God love her! And aren’t you just the little gent for caring. You know we sell Impulse too, son?”
He’s not shoving that poison up his honker! And he ain’t holding it that long while spraying the perfume out. Putrid! Disgusting!
“No, this is fine.”
He pays and leaves.
Outside, sister Agnes, a year the elder, the newly defamed, stands watching for those who could rumble her sojourn from afternoon biology. They meet at the Gumball machine. Mission go!
“What you get?”
He shows her the gleaming can.
“What did she say?”
“She said we should save our money and go on smack instead.”
“Smart Gifty. So, where we heading?”
“Back of the bowling alley..?”
She shakes her head and snorts.
“No way! We’re not junkies just yet! I’ll end up getting raped over there! Or you will.”
He gives a grimace. Time for alternative accommodation. An old fallback comes to mind…
“Well then I guess it’s back behind Wilshire again.”
She’s not keen on that location either.
“That’s just trees and nettles and sh!t.”
“Good! Consider it camouflage. We’re commandoes in the aerosol army.”
She gives a giggle. You wouldn’t guess that she was the older of the two. You’d also doubt that she turned him onto the act of illicit sniffage, but she was. Mommy’s deodorant grabbed her early; those saggy, stubbled pits let loose the allure of early temptation.
To the sinful greens behind Wilshire. Clandestine there, they’ll surely be…
12-11-2009, 04:55 AM
TWO plush and well-worn Garfield’s, crossed over, tucked in, snug ‘neath a yoga pose. Gwendolyn Tate does not meditate, yet simply likes the position. Low down on the floor. No need for the sofa. Her hands are busy bowling and spooning Corn Flakes. Breakfast come noon.
As much as she loved the name she always thought it too queeny for the street. Thus, from youth she’d insist on hacking it in half on the tongue. She’s purely, simply Gwen.
Her hair, autumnal blonde but betrayed black at the roots, is damp and well combed. Her caramel skin and large dark eyes will never hint at fatigue, but fatigued she is. A full night at Mr. Kavanagh’s depot, the boss there yet distant, waiting for sight of her, scheming from a far office. Between his odious plots, he’d doctor as best he could the accounts in his favour. Dollars and boobies. Screw the fund. Screw her.
To Secretary Tate he’s polite, even skirting a callow charm. But nothing from her end. She doesn’t hate him, doesn’t like him. Nothing about the boss-man stirs her. Yet…
The landline ting-a-lings from the kitchen. She must untangle herself, dribbling milk down her luckily white robe.
“Hi, Gwen. This is Dan.”
This is Dan. She tippy-tongues a sodden flake round the roof of her mouth, a stoke for inspiration...
Kavanagh bristles on the other end, but keeps it in.
Dan. Mr. Dan Kavanagh. The one with his name on a placard on his desk, you myopic little tease!
The flake is gulped.
“Oh sure, sorry, Sir.”
“Don’t call me Sir, okay? You work with me, not for me.” Smoothie…
“That’s nice, Mr. Kavanagh. So, is there a problem? Do you need me again tonight?”
“No, no, but I do need you to drop over to the house some night this week.”
Silence from both ends follows…
She knows he’s married, and has no reason to suspect him a house devil, but still...
Kavanagh senses her suspicion. He must keep the dirt road juggernaut on course.
“It’s just that my wife and I have noticing some, well, irregularities in the office books.”
“Sir, on my life, I know nothing about that. I would never –
“I know you’re not involved and that’s why I can only trust you to look these over. But not at work. Whoever’s on the skim can’t know we’re on to them.”
“Ummm. Of course. Yes. I can drop over.”
“Thank you. You’re an angel.” Smoothie-smooth…
“Where do you live?
“Wilshire Avenue. On the left." My name is on the postbox. That’s my surname. You do remember that, don’t ya, Dummy?
“Thursday evening is fine. In fact, take the next couple of days off, just for yourself. Full pay, no question.” I’m once, twice, three times the smoothie…
“Thank you, Sir, Mr. Dan!”
“No problem. Bye for now.”
He hangs up ecstatic before she can even give her farewells.
And so, the plan rolls. As cunning as he can manage. As subtle as a gale-force fart. These ‘irregularities’ are of his doing, but a ruse only need hold firm until the trap snaps. He’ll have bogus papers for her to look over, of course. But after dinner…
Yes, the feast is the main course for him. Wendy will cook. Wendy will serve and tend and watch the charade as he plays wounded pup, wronged hubby, maybe even hinting at a cuckolded man. Gwendolyn Tate will surely lap it up…
Obsolete must meet upgrade.
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