To Be Continued (1-20)

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In the Air

The Communications Manager of GenTechnica is sitting in seat 2A and he wants another drink. Chris Wycombe is a big man and he gets his own way. The cabin crew exchange tight smiles as they bring him his gin. He drinks and no he won't move his bag from the seat beside him and also he won't close his laptop because you think a $700 computer’s going to bring down a plane? I don't think so. It's an internal flight but as they cross the mountains a woman shows her daughter the snows and they could be anywhere. They hit an air pocket and a few rows back a passenger pulls his rucksack from the overhead locker. Chris wants and gets another drink. The gin in his blood makes him feel confident and quarrelsome. The girl makes up a song about mountains and Chris asks the mother to control her daughter. There's wi-if on the plane and he sends emails into the office: the Borqtech proposal is shit; take June off the Tokyo project; he’ll decide about Carter on Monday and not before. Will they stop that endless bing-bonging every damn minute? He tears open a foil packet of pretzels.  If I want to buy anything from the in-flight catalogue you can assume I’ll tell you okay? And who is making that fucking noise? A sheet of magnesium brightness lights up the forward crew station and the sound is terrible to hear. Who that scream. The heat and cold and wind Plane shears apart cleanly and Chris Wycombe lifts from chair and sucked out of ruined plane I'm falling I'm falling I'm flying The earth and the snows The beautiful air I can clutch it I tumble in it It holds me I taste it ahhhhh White air breath cloud lines kiss trails god hand love roar vent care blow slow flow fall fly fall fly

3.12.15

 

Anxiolytic

The Communications Manager of GenTechnica is sitting in seat 2A reading the in-flight magazine. Chris Wycombe is a big man but he tucks himself in and looks small. The cabin crew exchange sympathetic smiles as they watch him tackle a foil packet of pretzels. He places his bag under the seat in front of him and puts his $500 laptop on flight-safe mode. It's an internal flight but as they cross the mountains a woman shows her daughter the snows and they could be anywhere. They hit an air pocket and Chris belches awkwardly and apologises to no one in particular. A few rows back a passenger pulls his rucksack from the overhead locker. Chris’s eyes flutter down. The Xanax in his blood makes him feel confident and serene. The girl makes up a song about mountains and Chris joins in with his eyes closed. There's wi-fi on the plane and Chris puts on Spotify: Willie Nelson & June Carter ‘Monday and Not Before’. Bing bong bing bong bing bong. Ha ha. Chris feels blindly for another foil packet of pretzels. He thinks of an aeroplane key ring he saw in the in-flight magazine. Between his lips he makes a noise. Pchhhhhhhhhhhaaawwwwww. A sheet of magnesium brightness lights up the underside of his eyelids. Can he hear that? Scream who heat cold wind. The plane shears apart and Chris Wycombe lifts from his chair and tumbles out of the ruined plane. I'm flying. The earth and the snows. The beautiful air. I slide through it. It holds me. I taste it ahhhhh. White air breath cloud lines trails god hand roar vent care blow slow flow fall fly fall fly.

4.12.15

Altitude Sickness

The HR director for GenTechnica is sitting in seat 2A reading My Vertical World. Chris Wycombe is a slight woman but she makes herself looks tall. The cabin crew exchange looks as she gets on the plane, she’ll be trouble but she won’t. She places her bag on the seat beside her and opens up her $800 laptop. It's an internal flight but as they cross the mountains a man shows his son the snows and they could be anywhere. They hit an air pocket and the plane lurches in the air; alone of the passengers, Chris makes no reaction in particular. A few rows back a passenger pulls her rucksack from the overhead locker. There's wi-fi on the plane and Chris knows because those waves buzz in her ears.  Chris’s eyes flutter upwards. She reaches up to the passenger service unit and turns on and off and on the overhead light. The opiates in her blood makes her feel serene and elsewhere. The boy makes up a song about mountains and Chris climbs. She sings at the top of the mountain. The song is ‘Monday and Not Before’ by Willie Nelson and June Carter Cash. Bing bong bing bong bing bong. I’m on top of the world ma. Chris stretches out her arms to feel the fresh mountain air. She takes her keys from her pocket and, in a gesture of release, throws them from the summit and they fall so far that she doesn’t hear them fall. Madam can I ask you to sit down, please? A sunflash lights up the back of her head. Booooooooooooommmm. What she hearding? Hot in the cold wind. The plane shears apart and Chris Wycombe lifts from her seat from the summit. I'm flying. The great snows. The beautiful air. I slide through it. It holds me. I taste it ahhhhh. White air ski breath frost lines track trails hand roar whoooosh crack cheeks blow slow flow fall fly fall fly.

5.12.15

Solitaire

The Southern Africa sales rep for GenTechnica is sitting in seat 2A wearing ear plugs and studying the safety card. Chris Chidawu is a small man but his deep voice soothes and seduces. The cabin crew exchange smiles as he gets on the plane, he’s a first-timer but he isn’t. He places his bag in the overhead locker and put his $100 laptop on flight-safe mode. It's an internal flight but as they cross the mountains a man shows his son the snows and they could be anywhere. They hit an air pocket and Chris rises from his seat. . We are passing through a passage of turbulence we do ask passengers at this time to remain in their seats with their seat belts securely fastened. Chris sees others are sleeping. He looks at the passenger service unit, adjusts the air-conditioning vent and sits down. The adrenalin in his blood makes him feel skittish and restless. A few rows back a passenger pulls her rucksack from the overhead locker. There's wi-fi on the plane but Chris doesn’t know this. He plays Solitaire on his laptop. His eyes glitter as he left-clicks and drags-and-drops. The boy makes up a song about mountains but Chris doesn’t hear him. He reaches the top of a column and turns over the King of Diamonds. He moves another column onto it which liberates the Four of Spades and bing bong bing bong bing bong tada. I’m on top of the world he thinks. Ha ha. Chris closes his laptop and stretches out his arms. He feels his coat pocket for his keys but where he expects to feel the hard metal nub through the thick fabric, he feels nothing. He tries the other pocket. He looks about him by his feet. The plane banks and a sunflash lights up the floor beneath him. Booooooooooooommmm. What ear sound? Hotcold. The plane breaks apart and Chris Wycombe pulls away from his seat holding his throat. I'm flying not breathing. The snows. The air my air the air. I slide through it, hold me air. I taste it ahhhhh. White air breathe sharp frost graze air roar sssuck crack cheeks blow slow flow fall fly fall fly.

6.12.15

Mile High

He is sitting in seat 2A, listening to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins read by Clare Corbett, India Fisher and Louise Brealey. Chris Gonzalez is a thug and a seducer. The cabin crew exchange looks as he gets on the plane. He places a bag in the overhead locker and smiles briefly at the woman in the seat beside him. It's an internal flight but as they cross the mountains a man shows his son the snows and they could be anywhere. They hit an air pocket and Natalie clutches Chris instinctively and apologises. Don’t you worry, not at all. Chris’s balls ache. We are experiencing turbulence so we do ask passengers at this time to remain in their seats with their seat belts securely fastened. Chris wants to sleep with Natalie. His arousal makes him feel skittish and restless. A few rows back a passenger pulls her rucksack from the overhead locker. There's wi-fi on the plane but the porn sites are blocked. Natalie and Chris drink wine. Have you been to Chicago before? His eyes glitteringly hold her gaze. The boy makes up a song about mountains. Bing bong bing bong bing bong tada and Natalie laughs. I’m on top of the world, thinks Chris. She is a consultant for the Mayor’s office working on their space needs. You’ll tell me if I’m in yours. He reaches out his hand and touches her ring finger. She doesn’t move away. He feels that surge. The plane banks and a sunflash bursts through her dark, dark hair. Boom. How heart wild? Bla-blam bla-blam. The plane falls apart and Chris Gonzalez pulls away from Natalie. I'm walking on air. The air my air her hair the air. I slide into it, hold me, taste me, ahhhhh. White air dark hair breathe sharp catch air roar hair sssuck crack cum blow slow flow fall fly fall fly.

7.12.15

Bang

He is sitting in seat 2A, look, listening to his headphones. He’s a thug and a seducer. I saw how they looked at him as he got on the plane. He put his bag in the overhead locker and shot a smile at the girl in the seat beside him. It's an internal flight but as we cross the mountains a man shows his son the snows and we could be anywhere. We hit an air pocket and they hold each other and exchange words. I can’t hear what they say. He keeps shifting position. Why? I don’t trust him. We are experiencing turbulence so we do ask passengers at this time to remain in their seats with their seat belts securely fastened. He wants to fuck her. It’s all over his face. I stand and pulls my rucksack from the overhead locker. There's wi-fi on the plane so I send an email, confirming. Ready to rumble. They’re drinking wine, the dumb fucks. He’s looking at her and saying Chicago. The boy is singing a song about mountains. Not long now. She laughs. I’m on top of the world. She’s bla-ing about work. I hear the words consultant and Mayor and space. Out into space. He reaches out his hand and touches her cheek. She doesn’t move away. Those fucking eyes. Plunge and the sun burns through me. I sound am. Boo m. Bla-bl am heart bla-blam. Plan e fall s ap art lik e my ey es. Im up  th e air a ir ai r a I r @1r  .Sli de in to, me ho ld, t@ste m€, ahh444  da rk a1r d@r kha111r b reet he s har p ca tch a ir ro ar h air kra kb lo   s   w fl  f     f     f         f 

8.12.15

Metal    

He’s inside me, listening to his headphones. They are inside me, looking at each other. He is inside me, putting his bag in the overhead locker inside my metal. She is inside me, in the seat inside me, beside him. I’m an internal flight but as I cross the mountains a man inside me shows his son inside me the snows outside me and I could be anywhere. I hit an air pocket and inside me, although they are safe, they hold each other and exchange words; I hear them; they are inside me. I am experiencing turbulence so they ask passengers inside me to remain in their seats inside me with their seat belts inside me securely fastened. Inside me one person stands and pulls a rucksack from the overhead locker inside me. There's wi-fi inside me and he sends an email outside me. It whisperbrushes me as it goes outside me. ‘Ready to rumble’. Goodbye. They’re drinking wine inside me. He’s saying Chicago inside me. The boy is singing a song inside me about the mountains outside me. She laughs inside me. Between inside me and outside me, I’m on top of the world. In my metal, she says the words consultant and Mayor and space. The space outside me. Inside me, he reaches out his hand and touches her cheek, inside me inside me. She is inside me inside me inside me. Those eyes inside me. His touch inside me. Boom inside me outside me. The sun burns through me, insoutsideme. I out am me. Boom me. Bla-blam inside me bla-blam outside me. Sountisideme. All me I am all me pieces me dropping me pieces all me in me out me. Plume. Plume. Plume. Plume. Plume. Plume. Plume.

9.12.15

Bank    

They are inside me. They talk to each other sometimes and sometimes they just look at each other. He is inside me talking, putting his stuff in the overhead locker of my brain. She is inside me, talking, in the seat of my heart. I’m on an internal flight and they are my pilots. I cross the mountains of the city and I could be anywhere. The air pockets around me. Buffeting, buffeting. Warren Buffeting. I push the glass door. Inside me, they hold each other and exchange words; I hear them; they are inside me. I am experiencing turbulence but I remain calm. I am always securely fastened. I queue but inside me he stands and pulls a rucksack from the overhead locker of my brain. The bank teller, Warren Buffet type, he shoots me a look. Shoots me. There’s wifi in the air, which is how these people know. There's wi-fi inside me and inside you and inside everyone. It whisperbrushes through usI am ready to rumble. I want to have a drink. I want to say goodbye. He’s singing a song from Chicago. She is singing a bomb song. She laughs inside me. Hahaha. I’m on top of the world. I’m a consultant. I am Mayor of this city. I make and unmake this space. This space in and out of me. They touch me. They touch my cheek. They tell me it's okay, it’s all good. I reach inside and I toggle the switch. Eyes look. Fizz. Inside me outside me. The sun burns through me, I am out me. Shout me. Room me. Boom me. Bla-blam. All me I am all me pieces me flying me pieces all me in me out me. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.

10.12.15

Love letter    

They are inside, talking. He talks to her sometimes and sometimes she just looks at him. I can see him, putting his stuff in the overhead locker of her brain. She’s sitting, she’s here in my heart, she’s on autopilot and it’s an internal flight. He’s not a pilot. She crosses mountains in her head and she could be anywhere. The air buffets the glass as I push the glass door. Inside, they hold hands and exchange words; I hear them; they are so close to me. I am experiencing turbulence but I remain calm. I am always securely fastened. I queue for coffee but then he stands and pulls a rucksack from under his chair. The barista, real cheerleader type, shoots me a look. Excuse me one minute. There’s free wifi in here but you have to sign up which is a drag. I turn it off and hit send. My SMS whisperbrushes through the air. I am ready to rumble. I want to have a drink. I want to say goodbye. He’s talking about Chicago. She picks up her phone. She reads the message on it. She looks up and round. Hahaha. I’m on top of the world. I approach the table. I am the King, Do you know this guy? I am the Mayor. I am the Sultan. He’s just a kid from my work, he’s in the post room I think. I make worlds. I make things happen. I touch her. I touch her cheek. He tells me what the hell are you doing she says it’s okay, Jed, I can handle this. I reach inside me for the words. And I tell her my words. Eyes look. Fizz. Inside me outside me. The sun burns through me. Boom. I say everything and I am everything. I out-me me. Shout me. Roar me but just talk. Boom – everything said. Boom – everything known. Boom - everything clear now. She’s looking confused but that’s just the suddenness. All me I am all me pieces me filling this room filling her heart. He smirks but he doesn’t know she’s mine. Words I wrote, words I learned. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom.

11.12.15

Critique of Judgment

She’s in the room again. She talks to her sometimes and sometimes she just looks at her but she doesn’t look back. See her, pulling all her stuff from the overhead locker of her heart. She’s sitting with a cigarette and a drink, gesticulating as if to speak but she doesn’t speak. Look of disgust. She has so much to say why doesn’t she say it? But she can cross mountains in her head so now she could be anywhere. She’s lost her. Outside the air batters at the glass but in here we are fully climate controlled. They could hold hands and exchange words but not here; they are so close, not close at all. She is experiencing turbulence but she remains calm. And she is always securely fastened, security tagged. She puts her rucksack beside her on a chair and sits. The gallery attendant, real prison guard type, shoots her a look. She fires up the free wifi but you have to sign up so she turns it off. She feels her presence whisperbrushing through the air at her. She is ready for her. She wants to have a drink with her. She just wants to say hello, just hello. She could show her Chicago; she’d like Chicago. She picks up her phone. She reads the message on it. Come to me. She looks up. She catches her breath. She’s on top of the world. She approaches the painting. You are my Queen. Pas approcher les peintures , madame. You are my guide. You are my Goddess.I Recul , madame! She touches her. She touches her cheek. Ne touchez pas! She says it’s okay, I can handle this. She reaches into the painting for her heart. He pulls at her arm; she maces him. Her fingers find her heart. Shouting: besoin d’aide! urgence! Paint under her nails. She tell her of her love. Scratching at the paint. Into it into it into it. The Taser burns through her. tszzsszszttzsszstzz she clawing clawing tzzzststzzzzzszzsttzttzzzszz. Shout she, roar she, face at the brushwork. Boom – lips on hers. Boom – tongue on hers. Boom – teeth clatter on hers. She’s looking distressed and bare and empty but that’s just the sudden tszzzsszzszttzttzssszszz and the blackness darks on her and she’s head full of painting head on stone floor. Thunk thunk thnkthnkthnkthnkthnk.

12.12.15

therapist.com

Snap. And she’s back in the room. Is that it, voice in her head sort of thing? What, he pulled all her stuff from the overhead locker of her heart, yada yada? She wants a cigarette, and maybe a drink but she doesn’t say so because she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings. She has the cravings. She has an odd feeling of disgust. He should talk to her now but he’s at his computer, back to her. She must have crossed mountains in her head but now she could be anywhere. She’s lost. Out somewhere high and cold, the air battering at her. Did they hold hands? Did they exchange words? She feels close to him, not close at all. She is experiencing turbulence but she remains calm. She is always securely fastened, securely buckled in. She picks up her rucksack from the chair beside her and hugs it on her lap. The therapist, real steely type, takes a furtive look at her. She blushes and looks away. She feels his gaze whisperbrushing through her mind. She really wants a drink. She wants to say goodbye, just goodbye and go home. She picks up her phone. She reads his message to Her. Come to me 2.15pm. She looks up. She catches her breath. She sinks to the bottom of the world. She remembers. You are my woman. I am your man. He touched her. He touched her cheek. Don’t touch me. He said, it’s okay. He reached for her and broke her heart. He held her arm. Why did he have to hold her arm? Her fingers found her. She was shouting. Help me! Help me! Dirt under his nails. He told her he loved her. She scratching at him. Into her into her into her. The memory burns through tszzsszszttzsszstzz she clawing tzzzststzzzzzszzsttzttzzzszz he hand stop her shouting shout she, roar she, his face at hers. Boom – lips on hers. Boom – tongue on hers. Boom – teeth clatter on hers. She looks at him, feels bare and empty for now because of the sudden. Sees scratch on his neck and blackness darks on her and she’s at him. Over he goes, swivel chair topple and head on stone floor. Thunk thunk Oh God thnkthnkthnkthnkthnk.

13.12.15

 

Negative

Not this again. The same old same old. Isn’t he going to put all his stuff in the overhead locker of her heart? She doesn’t want a drink and she says so because she wants to hurt his feelings. No need for it. He doesn’t even disgust her. Why is he even talking to her? Why is he looking at her? She would have crossed mountains for him but how he’s nowhere. Not lost exactly but out somewhere high and cold, the air still. Couldn’t they hold hands? Couldn’t they exchange some words? She feels far from him and he’s just over there. She’s not experiencing turbulence but she feels sick. She is never securely fastened like this, never buckled in. She takes her handbag and slings it over her shoulder. Her husband, sort of wet, ignores this. So she ignores him and goes. She feels his gaze whisperbrushing across her departing back and she goes though she doesn’t want to say goodbye, just goodbye and go home. Her phone dances and she reads his message: come back. She takes a deep breath. She walks to the bottom of the street. She tries to forget him and his: You’re my wife; I’m your husband. He didn’t touch her, though. He didn’t touch her cheek. Touch me. He said, what? No. He didn’t reached for her and it broke her heart. He didn’t hold her hand. Why couldn’t he hold her hand? His fingers never found her. What, was she supposed to shout: Help me! Help me! His clean fingernails. He told her he didn’t love her. It scratched at her. Into her into her into her. But the memory fades, each step. MMMMMMmmmmmm m m m. Fades out. NNNNNnnnnnnn n n n. Fades away. WWWWWwwwwwww w w w. Until she even forgets his hand and she doesn’t want to shout or roar or have his lips on hers and tongue on hers and teeth clattering on hers she doesn’t even remember him his face makes this noise          that nothing noise there            a boomless memoryless nothing now
walks walks walks
and she feels warm and complete and graceful
until she feels
steps behind her
and over she goes
swivel and topple and
head on the stone floor
thunk thunk
Oh God
thnkthnkthnkthnkthnk.

14.12.15

Bar Tender

Him again. Birdguy. The same old routine. I’d say he’s not stowing too much in the overhead locker you know what I mean? Oh, he doesn’t want another drink: so what do you want buddy? Well, what do you know? He wants to pour out his feelings. I ain’t got no need for feelings buddy. He’s disgusting. Don’t talk to me. Don’t even look at me. See those mountains? Get over them. You heard me: get lost, get some air. No I don’t want to hold hands, what’s wrong with you? I don’t need words, get far away from me, you understand? Jeez, look at him, standing there, swaying like he’s experiencing turbulence. You sick in the head, bud? Shape up or ship out, you know what I mean? I pull his bag from the counter and I sling it at him. This guy, sorta faggy, ignores it. This girl, this bar angel, she goes to him. Here we go. And the way he looks, it kinda whisperbrushes across our eyes, if you follow me. Like he’s saying goodbye and not saying goodbye. Go home. And then it’s like this phoney is dancing, jerking, and he’s not getting the message. Out, I said. We don’t want your bird crap in here. But I take a deep breath. Right from the bottom of me. Don’t touch him. What? Don’t touch him, I said. But the bar angel, she touches him. She touches his cheek. And the look he gives her, well I swear it breaks her heart, right there. She holds his hand but she can’t hold his hand. She can’t find his fingers. You can see she wants to shout: help me, help me. But his, they’re not fingernails, they scratch at her. Into her into her. That’s how he loves. Heeeeeelp. Scratch. Ch-heeeelppp. She can’t get away. Cheeeeeeeep. He scratches at her. Into her into her into her. And her eyes fade, each claw, until she forgets who she is, and she’s not shouting, she’s roaring, and it’s all blood, lips, tongue and teeth. And over she goes
swivel and topple and
head on the stone floor
Then this silence. Like this             then again                yeah
Cawwwww
I say nothing. Best not to.
His wings now, bird not man and it turns
Walks walks
Warm and complete and graceful
Steps over her
Like a God.

15.12.15

 

Saved

Time again. He knows the routine. Clothes and possessions bagged up and stored ready for release. Patrick’s not got too much going on up top, that’s what the guards say. He arrives and they set him up in a cell and it’s lunch time. Plastic tray and a carton of orange juice. They know him by name and they expect his usual joke: a pint of London Pride and a packet of crisps please. But today he doesn’t say that. He doesn’t usually say much, does Patrick. Most of his friends aren’t even sure he feels much. Today, just today he wants to pour out his feelings. I don’t care what you’re feeling, mate, says one. Don’t talk to me. Don’t even look at me, says another. I’ve climbed a mountain, he says. The mountain is God and I climbed it. Get back there, Julie Andrews, says a robbery, and a stabbing laughs. I was lost, but now I’m on the mountaintop breathing air. How nice for your ladyship now fuck off. Patrick pushes his scarred wrists towards the robbery. I don’t want to hold your fucking hands, what’s wrong with you? he says. Patrick sits there blinking and swaying like he’s experiencing turbulence. You sick in the head, blud? says an interfering-with-a-witness. Fix up or you gonna die in here. He shoves the tray, hard, and the carton tips, spilling orange juice onto Patrick’s lap. He ignores it. You batty? This guy, this Rooster, he comes over. And the way he looks at him, sort of whisperbrushes right through him like he’s there but not there. Follow me, he says. Patrick stands and instinct tells him to say goodbye and another instinct tells him not to. You boys, says the Rooster, away. Patrick jerks as he feels the Rooster push him forward. Keep going. Where are we going? Out. Out? Out. They go out. Still bright air. We don’t do no God crap in here. It’s not crap. He touched me. He can touch you too. Don’t touch me. But -. Don’t fucking touch me not ever. The look he gives Patrick, well, I swear it breaks Patrick’s heart. But he finds his fingers and he reaches out. He can touch you, even if I can’t. And the Rooster has had enough. He keeps a razor blade sewn into his shirt for things like this. So easy to make a man go down. Patrick holds his hand. Wha...? Holds his hand like a rock. He wants to shout help me, help me but Patrick has him. This is Jesus, not me, Jesus. This is how he loves. The Rooster feels Patrick’s eyes scratch into him. Heeeeeelp. A whisper. Heeeeelp. Voiceless. Heeeeeelp. Knees down. Eyes into him, into the Rooster, into him, into him, until he forgets who he is and he’s not shouting, he’s swivel and topple and head to the dirt floor and blood and lips and tongue and teeth and silence. It’s Jesus. Patrick straightens and turns. Warm and complete and graceful. And steps over the Rooster like a God.

16.12.15

 

 

 Photo by Mihajlo Maricic/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Mihajlo Maricic/iStock / Getty Images

Window

Time, routine, clothes. Patrick feels like he is a prison. He’s not got much going on say the other drivers. He arrives and sits in the common room and has his lunch. Plastic sandwich and a carton of orange juice. He doesn’t usually say much; most of his colleagues aren’t even sure he feels much. Today is no different. He sits in the corner. Don’t talk to me, says his body language. They make the usual joke: fancy a couple of pints before the train? But he doesn’t laugh. No, he says. I’ve climbed a mountain, he says. The mountain is sobriety and I climbed it. I was lost, but now I’m on the mountaintop breathing air. Smell you, Nancy Drew, says gay Cliff, and Patrick goes back to his book. What you reading? Patrick says nothing. Good is it? He stands up and the carton tips, spilling orange juice onto the table. The guards whisper as he brushes past them, like he’s not even there, but he ignores them. He doesn’t say goodbye, though instinct tells him to do so. Where am I going? He thinks. Out, just out. He’s on the far end of the platform. Still bright air. He opens the door to the driver’s compartment. I’ve climbed a mountain, he thinks. Don’t touch me.  He runs through his safety checks and enters his details in the log. There are birds wheeling on the horizon and they break Patrick’s heart. He presses his fingers to the window. I touch you. Sees the signal and he gets things going. His father was a train driver but he doesn’t think this is really driving. It’s all electric buttons, he once said. Laughing face. In the distance there’s a man standing by a Volvo with a flat battery, waving down passing motorists for help, but no one stops and Patrick doesn’t see him. I’m a prison, he thinks, those guys; they’ve never climbed a mountain. Heeeeeelp. His sandwich repeats on him, cheese and onion. Heeeeelp. Who’s Nancy Drew anyway? Heeeeeelp. As the train picks up speed Patrick forgets who he is and relaxes into the machine. Swivel and toggle and press and head to the next station. Sleek like metal, like warm metal.

18.12.15

 

She’s Climbing a Mountain

Clothing check, equipment check, rations check. She’s climbing a mountain, feels like she’s climbing a mountain. She’s not got much energy left, but she’s going on. The others sit at base camp with their plastic sandwiches. She doesn’t say much; most of her colleagues say she doesn’t feel much. Today no different, why different? Don’t talk to me, says her body language. They make the usual jokes but she doesn’t laugh. No, she thinks. I’m climbing a mountain, feel like I’m climbing a mountain. I’m on a mountainside breathing air. What are you breathing? I’m breathing air. The winds and snows whisper past her, brush at her face. She didn’t say goodbye, she just left. Where are you going? He said. Out just out. She is she feels she is on the far end of the North-East Ridge, joining the Norton Couloir. Still bright air. The door to her heart is closed, feels closed. I’m climbing a mountain, she thinks. Don’t touch me.  She runs through the safety checks in her head as she climbs. There are no birds up here, which breaks her heart. She looks up at the empty. She presses her fingers to the sky. I touch you. A plane breaks apart in the blue above her. She sees this and keeps going. Her father is on that plane and he’s falling. He never took her seriously. Girls don’t climb mountains, he once said, laughing. Her father tumbles through the air, flailing and calling uselessly for help. She doesn’t look at him. She keeps climbing. Heeeeeelp. My father’s never climbed a mountain. Heeeeelp. She contemplates an energy bar, maybe half. Heeeeeelp. She picks up a little speed and relaxes into a rhythm. Her father thumps dully into the mountainside but he’s dead already. She’s climbing a mountain, feels like she’s climbing a mountain. Pitons and wedges and bolts, push and press on and on and on. She is like metal. She feels like warm metal.

19.12.15

 

Executive Lift

Keys check, breathing check, mantra check. She’s climbing a mountain, feels like she’s climbing a mountain. You can do this, come on. She walks past her colleagues with their plastic sandwiches. Don’t talk to me, says her body language. They wave but no, she thinks. I’m climbing a mountain, feel like I’m climbing a mountain. What are you breathing, Jessica? I’m breathing air. The winds and snows whisper past her, brush at her face. She doesn’t say anything, she just walks on by. Where is she going? That’s the executive lift. She is, she feels she is, on the far end of the North-East Ridge, joining the Norton Couloir. Still bright air. The door to lift closes behind her. She presses the button. I’m climbing a mountain, she thinks. She runs through the speech in her head as she climbs, 13th, 14th, 15th, up above the birds. She presses her fingers to the lift walls. I want to touch you. The doors break apart on the 20th. Dimmed lighting, deep magenta carpet, a reception desk as long as an aeroplane. You can do this, come on. I’m here to see Clare Burnyard. Is she expecting you? Yes. Take a seat. Girls don’t climb mountains, her father once said, laughing. She sees herself, falling, flailing and calling uselessly for help. Heeeeeelp. She turns her head from that. You can go in. Thank you. Heeeeelp. She runs through her speech again. Heeeeeelp. She lifts her head, clears her throat, forgets about her father and opens the door. Her heart thumps dully in the mountain air. Jessica? Ms Burnyard. Can I help you? Thank you for seeing me. I need something from you. It’s rather important. You can do this. She reaches into her jacket. She feels metal, she feels warm metal.

20.12.15

 

Executive Suite

Keys check, breathing check, mantra check. She’s climbing a mountain, feels like she’s climbing a mountain. You can do this, come on. She walks past her colleagues with their plastic sandwiches. Don’t talk to me, says her body language. They wave but no, she thinks. I’m climbing a mountain, feel like I’m climbing a mountain. What are you breathing, Jessica? I’m breathing air. The winds and snows whisper past her, brush at her face. She doesn’t say anything, she just walks on by. Where is she going? That’s the executive lift. She is, she feels she is, on the far end of the North-East Ridge, joining the Norton Couloir. Still bright air. The door to lift closes behind her. She presses the button. I’m climbing a mountain, she thinks. She runs through the speech in her head as she climbs, 13th, 14th, 15th, up above the birds. She presses her fingers to the lift walls. I want to touch you. The doors break apart on the 20th. Dimmed lighting, deep magenta carpet, a reception desk as long as an aeroplane. You can do this, come on. I’m here to see Clare Burnyard. Is she expecting you? Yes. Take a seat. Girls don’t climb mountains, her father once said, laughing. She sees herself, falling, flailing and calling uselessly for help. Heeeeeelp. She turns her head from that. You can go in. Thank you. Heeeeelp. She runs through her speech again. Heeeeeelp. She lifts her head, clears her throat, forgets about her father and opens the door. Her heart thumps dully in the mountain air. Jessica? Ms Burnyard. Can I help you? Thank you for seeing me. I need you. I need to be with you. I love you, Ms Burnyard. I am weak and you have unfrozen my heart. You make me feel like metal, like warm metal.

21.12.15

 

Executive Toy

Keys check, breathing check, mantra check. She’s climbing down a mountain, feels like she’s climbing down a mountain. You can do this, come on. She walks past Jennifer with her plastic hair. Don’t talk to me, says her body language. I’m climbing down a mountain, feel like I’m climbing down a mountain. What are you breathing, Jessica? I’m breathing air. The winds and snows whisper past her, brush at her face. She doesn’t say anything, she just walks on by. Where is she going? I’m going out. She is, she feels she is, on Norton Couloir, joining the North-East Ridge. Still bright air. The door to the lift closes behind her. She presses the button. I’m climbing down a mountain, she thinks. She runs everything through in her head as she drops, 15th, 14th, 13th, down among the birds. She presses her fingers to the lift walls. I want to touch you. The doors break apart on the lower ground floor. Dim lighting, concrete floor, a car park as long as an airport. You can do this, come on. She walks hollowly past the Fiestas and Focuses and Corsas and Astras to Clare Burnyard’s car. It’s a Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid in Carmine Red. Girls don’t drive sports cars, she thinks. She takes out her key and makes the first scratch. The car calls uselessly for help. Wowwowwowwoww. She walks the length of the car, creating a long jagged scar. Wowwowwowwoww. She moves to the front and scores the word love into the bonnet. Wowwowwowwoww. She tries to scratch the windscreen but fails so she uses the key to trace out a large jagged heart on the door. Her own heart thumps dully in the concrete. Ms Burnyard. Can I help you? Thank you for seeing me. I need you. I need to be with you. I don’t understand. I love you, Ms Burnyard. I am weak and you have unfrozen my heart. <click> Jennifer, can you come in here, quickly please? You make me feel like metal, like warm metal.

22.12.15

 

Toy

Presents check, beard check, ho ho ho check. He’s climbing down a chimney, feels like he’s climbing down a chimney. You can do this, come on. He walks past the elves with their green hats with bells on. Don’t talk to me, says his body language. They wave but he’s focused. I’m climbing down a chimey, feel like I’m climbing down a chimney. What are you doing, Santa? I’m delivering presents. The winds and snows whisper past him, brush at his face. He doesn’t say anything, just slips into the chimney. Where are you going? I’m going to the Hemmings at No. 91. He is, he feels he is, on the longest marathon of his life. Time is still, it’s bright and sticky. The night sky disappears above him. I’m climbing down a chimney, he thinks. He runs the routine through in his head as he drops, place the presents, drink the whiskey, take the pie for the elves and the carrot for Rudolph. He presses his fingers to the chimney walls. I want a home. His feet crunch in the grate, old embers. Dim lighting, carpet, a tree. You can do this, come on. He tiptoes past the stockings, the cards, the decorations. He places a LEGO City Deep Sea Exploration Vessel Playset wrapped in Carmine Red paper under the tree. A girl or a boy, he thinks; you never know with LEGO. There’s whisky on a tray and he drinks it down. Wmmmwwmwmwmmwm. Woah that’s good. Wwwmmwmwmmwmmwm. Speyside for sure. Notes of orange, but it’s been matured in sherry wood. Wwmmmmmmwmmmwwwm. Best house on the street. But then: tiny footsteps, coming down the stairs. His heart thumps dully under his red coat. Santa? Quietquietstill. Thank you for coming, Santa. I don’t understand: I did the spell, how can she see me? I love you, Santa. Quietquietstill. They told me not to believe in you but I believe in you. Elves, can you come down here? Santa, I love you. Quickly please. I am the last, Santa. Have you seen any others? I am the last girl in the world.

24.12.15

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