Trip of a Lifetime
He could hear her at the door and as usual, he shut his eyes, not to feign sleep but to exclude, to not witness. He let himself drift. The yellow lights of the tram in smog, the scratch-mark down his cheek on his first day at school. Twenty years later he’d marry her and ten years after that she’d leave him. His daughter would never recover and he would bury her at the bottom of her heroin descent. Thereafter his own life would snake down the board, through weekend binges, job loss and social isolation to house-bound decrepitude.
Time to engage. He opened his eyes. She was there, the bastard daughter of his bastard of a son. She would have had time to sneak a fiver from his wallet.
‘A wee trip down Memory Lane, Grandad?’
‘Trip of a lifetime,’ he said. Platitudes were so convenient sometimes.
A truck-rumble, mind-music-juxtaposed, jumps out loud behind the window, for a few seconds roars, then ebbs steadily away. The office we’re in is third floor, creative, progressive, there’s beer on Fridays and a ping-pong table upstairs – a PING-PONG TABLE for god’s sake. Sometimes reception gets goody deliveries. Chocolate in April, wine in December, doughnuts when a new place opens and we’re hip enough to be on their exclusive ‘Want You’ list. Tweet Us the sugarpowder screams, Retweet Us, Doubletweet Us, TrickRTweet Us. Delicious.
We make creative things to sell you dreams.
We are made of lens flares, scintillation, fish-scale seduction.
We never bore, never tire, never run dry.
Our world is willy wonka, wizardry, wonderland.
You can’t come in but we’ll give you little pieces, piece by piece, outside the window, and we hope (clutching secret clipboards, projections, targets) that you like them – really like them. Love them. Love us.
Sarah Jane Robinson
The eye of the beholder
I have a secret. I am a secret. I feel the clasp of my bra bite into my back and pinch my skin; instead of irritating me it feels like a softly whispered secret - “I know you”.
Beauty is pain after all.
The dull girl on the customer service counter calls my name - “Paul Roche” - and I stand up while the same voice that whispered softly now indignantly screams “Paula” in my head.
The inner Paula strides confidently forward in high heels, the docile Paul shuffles in loafers.