I’m sorry, I don’t normally talk like that;
I might think it sometimes in a moment of wild rage but the feeling passes
quickly. I’ve had time to calm down, I’ve had a coffee so my system is alive
and I had a shower. Not in that order if I’m precise, but if you want precise
you should read a dictionary.
In the shower I used the green citrus and ginger
body scrub – I’ve no idea who left that there, maybe Sarah – and boy does that
wake you up. A dab in the genital area and I feel more excitement than I have
for a long time, ever since Marty died. We’ll get to that in time. Right now
I’m on the train heading for the coast and I have one hour to fill you in.
I live in the city, have done so all my
life but my dream has me being able to see the sea from my front step. I don’t
have the sea in the city, I don’t even have a front step. My flat is on the
third floor and the step belongs to Maude the old woman who lives on the ground
floor. She’s not the owner of course; she never owned anything in her life
except the piano in the front room. She can’t paly it mind, and she certainly
can’t sing but last night – the same as every Saturday night – she comes in
drunk and starts singing like there is no tomorrow. Which is what it feels like
if you are trying to sleep.
The Irish lads in the middle flat call it raucous
and roll and it just about sums it up. They don’t care anyhow, they drink
themselves into a stupor every night and sleep ‘till the foreman bangs on the
door to take them to the building site.
And that leaves me the top floor.
I can see the park from my window, if I
stand on the bannisters and use a mirror; I guess an estate agent would
describe it as ‘overlooking an environmental oasis’. I don’t know about that
but I saw a hedgehog in there once, and someone was trying to feed it dog food.
It probably ended up murdered too.....
Sunday morning, seven a.m. Joe doesn’t work
on any of the other mornings of the week- he’s a musician for Christ’s sake –
but Sunday? Bloody Sunday? It’s not like he has to be at a garden centre or
anything is it? And he hates D.I.Y.
So why in the fuck why has he even got his
phone turned on, let alone have the alarm set for this unholy hour? And why the
shit why has he left it on the table in the corridor?
It’s not ANY bed – it’s a special bed, it’s
outside, it’s inside and open to the day that looks special.
It’s a late-September-Indian-summer-gently
There is a breeze – I can feel it on my
ankles, hear it in the trees, feel it on my face and skin. This breeze could be
coming from the sea, it’s that soft.
I can smell coffee, yet there is none
nearby nor anyone around to make any.
It’s in my imagination too – an imagination
that sees me leaving the bed, going to the house, making coffee and coming
In this thought there is fresh bread and
apricot jam too, maybe butter on the bread.
Butter on the bread.
I have an open book next to me on the bed;
I have reached the start of chapter 11. I have read over half of this book in
the last month and a bit, it’s a good book and I have read two or three
I cannot say ‘morning’ as I have no idea of
I have breakfasted, I have read, I have
written, I have slept; I have woken and read again.
No one is going to ask me to leave this
bed; no one is going to need me to. No one knows I am here, probably no one
cares and maybe only one person even suspects that it is true.
No one coming to look for me would find me
as the only ones who know where to look are not coming today, that was decided
some time ago.
The only slight change to this pattern is a
note left under my door yesterday evening informing me that at 5 this afternoon
the village has an ‘event’ that includes testing sweet cakes and playing or
listening to music.
Difficult to describe.
The village, or a part of it, never see me
and have kindly included me in their plan that will neither need me, miss me or
be greatly improved or impaired if I am there.
But I am so alone I may feel lonely if I go- whereas not knowing I had an option allowed
me to enjoy being alone without feeling lonely.
I don’t want to feel lonely.
Alone I can handle.
Still, I need your help.
I can lean over at look at the time – the
time I don’t need to know. I can leave this bed and go and make a coffee and
come back. I can stay here all day.
Or I can leave this bed, make or not the
coffee, and remain there, elsewhere – maybe I would do some stretches, go for a
cycle or a run.
They first saw the Elephant when they were
running to school on Friday morning.
It was raining, the pavements were slippery
and they were late.
Jack saw it first but was too surprised to
say anything. He just stopped and watched it go past.
It was grey, like the clouds.
He caught up with the others at the school
gates; “Did you see that?”
“What?” Will was the uncontested leader of
“An elephant,” replied Jack.
Will and Jenny looked down the street; it
“Come on dreamer, time for maths”, Jenny
could be very pragmatic.
She could also be a rebel; it was her idea
The second time they saw the elephant was
on the way home after the hour detention that had kept them behind when
everyone else had gone home for the weekend.
In the dusk, it looked almost real.
It was set on a trailer in front of the
supermarket, sandwiched between the parked cars.
“The circus is in town”. Will was not the
brightest, just the leader.
“Let’s nick it”, said Jenny, looking at
him. “Tonight?” She added.
“It will have to be tonight,” replied Will,
trying to make her sound stupid and the idea his own.
Jack said nothing.
And that’s how when he woke up earlier than
usual on Saturday morning, Jack discovered the elephant and the trailer
colourfully advertising Johnson’s Circus standing on his front lawn.
“How the fuck did they do that?” he
exclaimed. ”What the fuck am I going to do now?” He added.
Jack lived in a close and at the end of the
close were the woods. This was where he and his mates hung out most days when
they didn’t have school, or on days they chose not to go.
He phoned Jenny.
“Stop giggling, you gotta come and help,
and bring Will.”
Johnny came too.
If there were any sort of trouble Johnny
would be part of it.
Johnny was Jenny’s ‘boyfriend’.
He too was very practical.
“We need to hide it.” He explained.
“Why didn’t you think of that when you put
it in my garden?” Jack was disappointed that Johnny existed, let alone that he
was there. He fancied Jenny but had never been able to tell her, now it seemed
that he never would.
They dragged it into the woods, for an
elephant it was extremely light.
“What do you think it’s made off? Asked
He had asked that last night when they had
left the pub, but he had drunk so much he couldn’t remember.
“Polystyrene”, replied Johnny, who couldn’t
remember either. “Let’s burn it, it’ll look brilliant,” he added as if it had
just come to him.
“You said that last night,” Jenny reminded
“We can’t,” said Jack; he sounded so authoritative
that they all looked at him. “It’s unlucky to burn an elephant.”
The others stared.
“I read it in a book about Hindu
superstition.”, he continued. “It’s a god.”
“Since when have you read a book about
Hindu superstition?” asked Will.
“Since when have you read a book?” Added
“No, Jack’s right,” Jenny’s voice was
calming and also reasoned. “But we have to hide it better than this, the Circus
will be after I, so unless we want to give it back…..” She didn’t finish; she
wanted to say ‘it’s free now’ but didn’t want to sound silly. They already
kidded her enough for being vegetarian.
“How do you hide a four meter African
Elephant in a suburban wood?” Asked Jack, who was beginning to wish he was
“How do you know it’s African?” Will was
beginning to feel out of depth, at a time when he needed to assert his role as
leader of this group.
Then it came to him.
“Look, you wait here and make sure no one
sees it, Jenny you stand guard on the path. Shout out if someone comes. Jack
come with me, we need some stuff from the garage.”
Will’s family ran a repair garage on the
edge of town and since they hadn’t noticed that he had borrowed the tow truck
yesterday evening he figured he could borrow a few tools this morning.
He was right; no one was awake yet.
“We need stuff to cut trees and bushes,”
Will explained, “here, carry these.”
“We could put it back in the carpark,”
“Too late now.” Will was right.
Half an hour later the four of them were
hard at work in the woods, cutting, chopping and dragging. One hour later they
stepped back to look at their work.
“It’s good”, proclaimed Will. “It will do
for today. Tomorrow we can take it up to the old air base, no one ever goes
They went back to their separate homes,
Jack ate a huge breakfast, Jenny went off to her Saturday job at the
hairdressers and Johnny and Will went to the shopping centre to see what was
Two men from the circus were standing where
the trailer had been.
“I tell you, right here,” one of them was
“Elephants don’t disappear like that”,
replied the other.
The police were called, a search was
organised; nothing was found. No one knew anything. Those who did said nothing.
The publicity of the missing elephant was
good business for the circus and almost all the town and the nearby villages
went to see the show.
Jenny, Will, Johnny and Jack used the
distraction to move the elephant up to the old airbase. Will took some tools so
they could remove the elephant from the trailer and the trailer was replaced in
front of the supermarket without anyone noticing.
As a final touch, Jenny glued a tiny blue
elephant she had found in a kinder-egg to the trailer.
The circus folk decide that the publicity
they received was better than anything they had hoped for so they let the
matter drop and moved on across the country.
A couple of weeks later the same thing
happened in Ashington.