My Little Can Thief/ Chivalry

Can theif


The clouds were stretch-marks on the sky, birthing a sliver haired moon. And the gates of the house didn’t sway, didn’t creak, didn’t bash off the pebble-dashed wall. They didn’t do a fucking thing. Beside me was an older version of me before I came here, and I was telling that version of myself not to come here. I was saying, ‘Why are we here man, I don’t know any of these bodies?’ Just then, one of the bodies from an oil slick rainbow of the other bodies slipped over to me, and grabbed the can in my hand. It chugged my can, and didn’t say a thing. They didn’t say a fucking thing, just looked at me as it drank it. And it placed the empty beor in my claw and said right that’s, it, I’m off for another, and off it went, for another.

I watched the shape, realizing its outline to be a woman’s, and followed a soft trail behind them, navigating easily in the slip stream of their afterglow. She cutting through the bodies like a knife through wet toilet paper, and all the cadavers inside held up by invisible hooks swayed to let her pass and I passed with her. She stopped in the hallway and turned to hold on to the banister while I willed her not to walk through the front door and out under the moon, to turn in to a creature and gallop away from this, all this. A slightly turned head hidden in hair tossed a nose out slightly through the gap and I knew the face. I knew the nose at least. Enjoy my can did ya? I coughed the last syllable, and she nose pointed between the wooden rail stayed, eyes fixed on the carpet. A body, another body, decked out in white wearing a giant ring blasted through the plasticine wall to my right and hooked around the head, the two bodies now a single shape held familiar together and a giant head turned to rate my stance. Was I after the cans, or her, was I standing straight enough for the large hand to worry, or could he turn and not give a fuck that I was there. ‘bolox to this’ I pulled back into the kitchen and looked for some more to sate the appetite.

Two shapes of men we kicking each other to death in the garden so I went inside and looked for a place to rest my forehead. Something cold would be nice. The bathroom was my ‘Doctor Who’ telephone box and as I pulled it out I didn’t feel embarrassed at all. Oh the relief was fluid, and the fluid was clear. A good sign that I’d drank enough to feel safe. There was a family tree with cut out passport photos on the branches staring at me as I went. The older, yellow photos of the more than likely dead at the top leaves, and the younger, fresher faces, printed on better paper dangled like fruit from the bottom. Who are these people? Who’s fresh face sits here on Sunday afternoons reading the paper, reading about tragedies as distant to them as I was from their tree? The thought of someone else’s comforted afternoon stopped my swaying and allowed me to appreciate the cleanliness of their bathroom.

Have you ever heard a fox scream? Like scream in pain? When the country was older and the ESB wasn’t around, and the pub walk home was dark they used hear banshees howling, but it was just foxes, screaming . Its almost a human scream. Well, that scream came from the front of the house as I was enjoying the Lavender soap. Donning a coat of buzzy armor I lepped out the bathroom and saw the ringed hand and giant head was pulling the hair of my little can thief. All of the others were out in the garden waiting to be entertained (are you not entertained?!) in the garden’s colosseum, to busy jeering for a just murder, as is the case when two men fight. There was only the three of us. He turned and saw and flexed the muscles around his long spine and stood upright in a display, her hair still in his hand like a trophy scalp with the body still attached. I puffed my chest and pointed a finger, certain of noble death at this lads hands. The movie camera mode of my brain began to flicker onto the silver screen in my head, and I was wearing a white brimmed hat, and he all in black and both of us at O.K corral were a western movie. I drew first stepping into firing range, knowing the gun was empty. He landed two good shots, one across my left eyebrow and another at the targer of my naval. To my credit I stood and held the pointed finger steady, while my body  doubled over and some foam left my lips. He let loose her hair and used the free hand on the base of my skull bringing it down like a hammer. I ate floor and both me and the girl dropped, like heavy bags of shopping.

I can’t remember much, just the metallic dull sting of a boot to the nose. When the haze faded it was me and her on the floor. She was sobbing and I was beaming, full of false masculine satisfaction. The same misplaced sense of achievement that men get from thinking they had ticked a box. Defend  the damsel, or get fucking destroyed doing it. I was leaning against the rails, she shaken and crumpled beside me. There was only static air between our shoulders and she fell a fraction of an inch to weigh her distraught body on mine. To her, I was a box, or a blanket, an object which supported weight. To me she a queen. It’s a fucked up thing the way were made. The way we think. The things we think.

Watch my reading of it here.

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