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28A South St. Russell Smith

5 Dec

As long as he can get his stuff, he’s ok. But unfortunately he’s not working at the moment. So he can really only afford to have the stuff three days a week. It’s not enough. When he thinks about his week he sees those three days wrapped in Royal Blue. Banners flying. The other four are greyed out, barely there at all really.

 

Russell hasn’t worked for four years.

 

He doesn’t talk about it. But if he did, he’d say something like this: “Something happened to me. I don’t know what it was. I don’t even know when it happened exactly. But something happened. About four years ago. And now here I am”

 

He gets it from Jeffrey Fong, in North Rd. Jeffrey lives in the old Fish n’ Shop by the Service Station. The Fish shop closed years ago, but the Servo still staggers along somehow.

 

Jeffrey’s never called Jeff. It’s always Jeffrey.

 

If it’s one of his morning’s where he’s got enough money to buy stuff, so that would be Friday, Saturday or Sunday mornings, Russell usually gets up early and is at Jeffrey’s place by nine. He goes round the back, along a rutted alleyway with lined with corroded machine parts and boxes of disintegrating magazines and bundles of old newspapers. He pushes open the wooden gate and usually finds Jeffrey sitting on his back steps with some stuff in a jam jar beside him. It’s a red liquid. It looks clear until you hold the jar up to the light, and then you realise that it isn’t clear at all.

 

Russell’s always relieved to see Jeffrey sitting on the steps, because then he knows that everything’s going to go the way it’s supposed to. If Jeffrey isn’t there for some reason, then things are going to go wrong. There was a particularly bad argument the morning Russell arrived to find Jeffrey stacking Rusty red cans in the otherwise disused outside toilet. A clear, viscous liquid was leaking out of some of them. It wasn’t red, so it wasn’t the stuff, but maybe it had something to do with the stuff.

 

Russell can’t remember why the argument started or what was said exactly, but the incident formed a dark little glade out on the edge of his thinking. It’s cold under the shade of those black trees, and he doesn’t like to go there.

 

He’s frightened that one day he’ll and arrive and Jeffrey won’t be there. He’ll have to knock on the back door, which he’s never done. Only there won’t be an answer. So he’ll have to go in through that door, into the back part of the shop to find Jeffrey. The last time he was in the fish n’ chip shop was years and years ago, when it was still a fish n’ chip shop. It seemed much bigger then, somehow. Of course he’d never been into the back part.

 

But today Jeffrey’s sitting there just the way he’s supposed to be and the stuff’s there too. So that’s alright, then.

 

Russell hands over the money. Jeffrey smiles and hands over the jar. And then he says: “What do you get out of this stuff, anyway? Exactly?”

 

Russell puts the jar away carefully in the pocket of his anorak before answering.

 

“Come on. You know what’s in it.”

 

He tries to smile, but the smile won’t work properly.

 

“Same as what your other customers get, I ‘spose.”

 

“You’re my only customer.”

 

Jeffrey’s smile is working fine. Like always.

 

 

the place

31 Oct

it’s out on the edge. i have a sense of it there. past the railway station and then the second turning on the left.

or is it the seventh?

It’s a place thats always in the process of turning into something else. Perhaps that’s why you tend to find yourself there at dusk. Or dawn.

watching the clouds being woven together over the abandoned tennis court behind the brickworks

it’s a place that’s forgotten what it’s there for

which wouldn’t matter so much

but it’s a place that still dreams

and that matters quite a lot.

mid-winter

31 Oct

mid-winter

The Second Day

29 Oct

I said I would write something every day. When did I say that?

Last week sometime. But I was in another country.

Does that matter?      But I was in another country.

– all that really matters is that you do what you said really matters is that you keep your word about matters that are matters that really –

There is another country. Over there, beyond the last suburb you know, out there on the edge where the sound of the motorway is a low hum that runs constantly beneath your thoughts.

There is another country out there. Most people look and see nothing. They pass it by oblivious. They miss the turn off. But it’s there, alright.

So, I’ll write about that.

 

early morning, Sunday

28 Oct

everything white

everything waiting

all the way to where the motorway begins

nothings moves at all

trees stand absolutely    still