From a comfortable viewing distance, I watch as two extraordinary people wait at a grimy San Francisco tram stop. I notice their eyes level with each other several times. During the passing seconds of this connected gazing, their engaged brains collect and process the combined equivalent of a 1969 moon-landing sized, four kilobytes worth of RAM. Information, some of which is relevant to this story, some much less so.
“Hi there! Okay, this maybe a bit of an odd thing to say, but, well, you know, I love your naturally blue hair. Are you English. by-any-chance?”
“I am. I am also curious as to how you guessed that. From your accent, I would say that you’re English too? But, I wouldn’t have known just by looking. I mean, clowns they just look like other clowns, right?”
“Well…” Clown is deflated. “There is some variety. Look… we’ve got twenty minutes to kill before the next tram arrives, if it’s on time. There’s a café over there.” His tone of voice and frowning expression suggests something between an appeal and a demand.
Stood outside my front door, basking in the late afternoon sunshine, I deployed a swift reflexive manoeuvre, relieving an itch on the side of my nostril. As it turned out, an awkward itch, the sort that splits into two under the pressure of a finger.
Mid-relief, I spotted my elderly and infirm neighbour crouched outside the door of her stone-built cottage, observing me. With a sudden roar, a brewery wagon laden with metal beer kegs drove past, splitting the peace apart and briefly obstructing our view of each other.
“My powers now are very weak.” She shouted across, as the raw sound of the diesel engine faded. “You know I am not long for this world.”
“I’m sorry, what was that Mary?” I could barely make eye-contact with her, so far was she bent over. “Are you okay there?”
“You are a kind man.” She said. Her arm reached out for support against a freshly painted door frame. Twisting her neck around, she squinted an eye. “Your life, since I have known you over the last fifteen years has suffered a fair number of bumps in the road, hasn’t it?” She lifted up her head another notch, waiting for my reply.
“Well…” A pleasantry or a reflective answer required? I wasn’t sure and the passing seconds in this conversational hiatus, demanded action.
“You know Mary,” I settled upon a mid-deep reply, “there have been a fair few setbacks, you’re right. Life’s not turned out how I’d imagined. If I could do it all again, avoiding the same mistakes, I would for sure.”
“Indeed.” Mary said, with the squinted eye fully closed. “Let’s see what we can do about that.”
“Adam, I’m glad you came in following our conversation on the fone. Won’t you sit down, no? Okay, let’s cut to the chase shall we? Now, let me get this absolutely right, you want me to give consideration towards allowing you to work from home. Is that right?”
Metanoia Paranoia You know those days when you feel hyper sensitive and everything that goes consecutively wrong feels like a super negative when your angel turns to say, having taken on the interrogative “Believe me, no-one’s looking at you for any more seconds than their attention can handle; life is all just relative.”
“Karl, have you noticed lately, how The Author has become actually involved in his own stories?” Veronique’s finger-grip tightened, creating what-would-become a permanent crease in the tightly woven and durable synthetic fibre of Karl’s jacket. “Well my darling, I can’t say I have been concentrating of late on no writer.” Karl trudged a hesitant foot forward, re-balancing himself to take into account the minute transfer of his lover’s weight spread out across the backs of his body and thighs. “The truth is,” he continued, “my first and foremost priority is to see us out of this immediate and perilous Borgesian landscape that we find ourselves caught up in.” As if his statement had pulled the trigger of a large handheld megaphone, a chorus of creature noises volumed-up, perhaps startled and warning of an imminent, potential danger. Karl stood stock-still, while utilising his top two front teeth to bite down with moderate pressure onto his lower lip. Working independently, the two figures scanned the swaying canopy of branches, leaves and twigs, swooshing several metres above their heads.
The Pact “Darling…” “Yes?” I’ve overworked my upper body, neck and limbs.” “And now you look all out of proportion?” “Yes, well it’s my legs…” “Your chicken legs?” “Chicken legs?” “Your scrawny, white chicken legs.” “I wish I’d never started with this body building fitness malarkey.” “You could work on your legs.” “I can barely walk without feeling dizzy and seeing little yellow stars flicker in front of my eyes.” “You mean, it’s too late? Like, way too late?” “Yup, I think so.” “What do you want to do?” “Well…” “Please, don’t say what I think you’re about to say, Will.” “Daphne…?” “Will?” “Daphne??” “Will!”
Ydych Chi’n Credu Mewn Hanes? Rydych chi’n gweld, dydw i ddim yn siŵr am hanes. Pwy sydd i ddweud beth yw un gair yn erbyn un arall? Pwy sydd i ddweud bod y person hwnnw hyd yn oed yn bodoli? Ni allai fod. Gallai arbed llawer o drafferth!
“In case its passed anyone by,” Professor of Psychology Daniel Moccasin said, as he tapped the knuckles of his left hand against the wall-mounted presentation screen-still displayed in front of the small class, “things have changed. And by this, I mean things have changed again. We now face a new, new normal. One that no one could have predicted, not even if they’d had a crystal ball could they have done so, no…” He paused and looked around at the clueless expressions tied to the front of each student’s face. A hand went up, emerging confidently from the back row of the classroom. “Yes, Butterley, isn’t it? Stand up, what have you got to say for yourself?”
“Alright, Oliver I am totally fed-up with this conversation.” Charlotte said, her smouldering eyes staring out one thousand yards across the vast void that was their marbled dining hall. Beyond the red Jarrah hardwood dinner table and chairs, the mirror-panelled wall reflected back her expression into Oliver’s view. He felt a twinge of sorrow for her, which he kept to himself. “Great! I’m relieved, its felt like an intensive interrogation for over the last twenty minutes.”