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We had in our collective imagination a navigator who was convinced that the reggae bar was straight ahead

of us and close enough to reach on foot without having to think about the fact we where walking . Nigel and I took it in turns to support Erik. An arm around his shoulder or around his waist to aid his forward lumber . He was so spastic with drink that he stamped at the ground like a new born foul. I can remember admiring our surrounds , and admiring myself for being in them. In the moonlight you could make out the difference between the track and the tall spiny grass . You could also see the gigantic palms to our left against a sky so illuminated by heavenly spheres it was pale grey. The ocean glittered all around us. We met him on the ferry. He started making smalltalk with my girlfriend at the bar below deck. The three of us drank beer in the sun and watched members of the rich German group surcome to sea sickness. Up from below they emerged, all pasty and distressed to collect themselves. A sliver haired German in his fifties stood behind his wife rubbing her back as she, with all the elegance she could afford, wretched her disharmony over the railing. Tickertapes of her bile greeted the warm blue waters as we neared the Island. He was American . His jeans where half unbuttoned and hung around his arse. His back was hairy and sweaty. He was swaying to the music watching the girls dance on stage. He had an arm like a hindquarter of beef wrapped around a girl by his side. Her bones seemed to part to accomidate his embrace , the way cats drip to either side of your hand when you pick them up by the middle. It is this moment in the Pussy - A - Go - Go that stays in my mind . When I think back on our week in the Capitol it is always her face I immediately recollect. The hotel breakfasts, the visits to the temples, the gem salesman who put a cold Pepsi in my hand we wandered around the cool showroom not immediately knowing why the taxi driver had brought us there . These images jingle about like loose change and these are the stories I tell when asked about my time there . But it is her face I see first , she pulls her hair from between his skin and her own and looks up at him . He is glazed and grinning , beer drips from his beard on to her arm . His attention is focused on the dancing girls like a monster child viewing a carnival procession. The wrinkles around his eyes sharpen every now and then when a girl does something he likes and he mouthes something to himself about craving all that sweet pussy. The girl looks up at his face . He throws his head back and howls like a coyete. Her face pleads for mercy. My girlfriend was crying. Her sobs reverberated around the small bathroom in our hotelroom. I was looking out the window onto the street below. We where ten stories up.

The lights below where muted by the sticky cloud of pollution that clung to the city day and night. From the plane the city appeared through this blanket like rivulets of pale gold pulsing from an electric spiders nest . Alien strands of light trickling over the hills. The trainstation sat next to a stinking black river. We walked close to it's heavy stillness lugging our backpacks. Faces watched us from shops. Faces sat in lumps by the river as we passed by. A group of faces sat around a tree barechested smoking cigarettes. One of these boys had his foot against the trunk and was dipping the tips of the weeping branches into the water. Overcome by the moist heat and the breath of a million cars we took refuge in a cinema. Sometime during Kevin Costners transformation into an American Indian a dog wondered in and fell asleep below the screen. I bought a bag of honeyed grasshoppers and a couple of beers. Small green lizards sat frozen on the face of the clock at the trainstation like huntsmen on the bedroom wall back home. My girlfriend was studying the map when I found my way back. North or South ? Eighteen hours up or twelve hours down . We crunched into a couple of grasshoppers, chewed a little. North is jungle and drugs. Death sentance if your caught of course. I thought that was only if you where caught trafficing? Could be, anyway I'd rather go South , the beaches ! what do you want to do ? I'm Easy . O.K , south it is then , is that o.k with you ? Yup. Excellent ! We can always go up North afterwards if we've got time. Yeah,that sounds great . We where sitting outside this bar owned by an old guy from Manchester. It was called Winston's, after his grandfather apparently, and was decorated like some sort of Dickensian World Cup nightmare. Man. United and Union Jacks hung from fake brick stapled to the walls. Diana shyly looked into your eyes as Charles held her hand forward ,helping her with the weight of her engagment ring ,from a poster behind the bar. The cobblestones where locally fashioned but the streetlights where the genuine article, he bought 'em off a fella in the building game in London, cost him a quid as well he wouldnt mind

tellin' yer! The Dukebox had Mrs. Brown you've got a Lovely Daughter. You Really got me. The Streets of London .I've gotta leave ol' Durham Town. You'll never walk alone. nights in white satin .nut rocker. Apache. Downtown. Anyone who had a heart. Twist and shout . Paint it Black . house of ther rising sun. ferry cross the mersey. He was a thin ruddy man. A fitter and turner by trade through the Royal Airforce. He had a brother , Tom , killed by the I.R.A . A letter bomb sent to his barracks adressed to the sargeant Major . Mistook the handwriting for that of his wife whom he was in the process of divorcing and thuoght as he opened the package ; Ahh good ol ' Shirl , she knew I loved that jumper . He was married to a local girl he met for the first time in the international lounge at Manchester airport. The last time he'd been here was seeing his aunt Susan off to France when he was six years old . His mother and her sister hugged and cried alot and he was scared at suddenly being ignored in such a strange big place by the two people that normally gave him their full attention . He looked at the strange giants gathered too close around him and went to be hugged by his mum but found even her to be one of them. He pulled at her trouser leg , the nylon weave held is his hand pulling against the soothing mass of her leg but she did'nt reach down to stop him as she normally would , she continued to cry with her sister and ignore him. Two gaints that picked him up in their arms and whizzed him through the air and gurgled kisses under his pygama top on his tummy that drove him mad with tickled delight now forgot he existed and what's more turned into scary red faced monsters. He ran away from them and found himself outside by the planes. He pulled down his little cotton trousers to do a wee and saw an aircraft for the first time. A Singapore Airlines 747 taxi'd past him , it's size and noise where not finished impressing him when his mother ran out on to the tarmac and scooped him up into her arms , kissing his hair and smacking his bum at the same time. The second time he stood in this airport he was waiting for her . Flight two fourteen , direct from the capitol , two hour stop off in Hong Kong , another one in Athens , and Landing on runway five at one twenty . He was forty seven years old . He fidgeted with his collar and wiped his hair and rubbed his hands. They had been in correspondence for over a year . She sent him a photograph with her second letter . A small photograph that slipped easily into his wallet . He would occassionally take out the picture and suck on it like a sharp cornered lollipop, in the aftermath of humiliation at his local or in moments of lonliness he would gently put her in his mouth and then wipe the photo with his hankie and feel that life had some purpose afterall. Her young smile was also quarry to his hand at night . He imagined himself in the tragic senerio's she painted rushing in and pulling her from danger and unhappiness and then resting after their escape, in a bamboo hut lit by a fire far away from prying eyes. She would thank him for saving her and they would sit apart looking at eachother. His hand would speed toward orgasm as she came to him revealing a body composed of various fantasies ,usually Gina Lollabridgetta , Bridgette Bardot , Frank's eldest, Elsie , and this bellydancer he saw in a magazine ten years ago ,all topped by her face, and as he came this morphing superwoman would melt away, and he would open his eyes to the ceiling of his room and the rain spattering against the window and the half drunk cup of tea resting on the chair arm next to him and the big gobs of semen running down his belly towards his pubic hair would be

cold and messy when he mopped them up with his socks. He imagined her as she described herself. Shy, fond of beading blankets , shy, fond of reading poetry, shy , fond of milking the two cows in the morning and in the evening , shy , fond of preparing meals for the family. She was the shy daughter of a drunk but kind pigfarmer having trouble coming to terms with his wife's demise . He moaped about and it was up to her to look after him and her two brothers,who where younger than she. Her mother had been killed, though it could never be proven , by a lustful neibour. She went to bury his letters on the strip of land behind the pig sheds that separated the farms and he was waiting for her . They spoke sharply in the shadow of night and secrets between the lights of their homes and he strangled her . His dead invisable seed still smeared on her theigh . How did she know ? Because she heard the whole thing. She followed her mother with her mysterious bundle out toward the sheds curious at her strange state. She did not witness the murder but recognised the voices and registered the gargle in silence stooped close to the ground and frozen , terrified the man would sense her substance in the still blackness. She heard him fuck her mother once again and then crunch back towards the light of his house. Her father collected the body the next morning . The light from his house still burning in the pearly gums of early light across the muddy clearing now dotted with sleepy cattle . He picked her up and carried her back to the house . He put her on the floor and lit incense and drank whiskey and re read the letters . He'd known her hiding place for some time, under the wood basket. Her killer had nice handwriting , he told her that he was weak and not even a very good farmer . The sheds where wrongly irrigated , the pigs looked underfed , the children seemed listless . He knew he satisfied her more than he did . He'd been a guest many times , he brought bottles of whiskey and touched the childrens cheeks , not seeming to notice the snot and sores , or feel confronted by the idiot grins and hugs they poured on him as he entered . He embraced his arm and thanked him for the pleasure of being in his home once again . At some point between this morning and the next he took her body out and set fire to it . She arrived into the space between night and day again with her brothers cautiously in tow to see her father staring into the flames , the fuel more than less exhausted and the flames darting upward like hungry baby birds from the nest of her mothers charred remains. He wrote to her about his work at the plant , how the weather was that day , a funny thing he saw in the high street. The bus was late , bacon and eggs was his favorite brekkie, did she follow soccer at all ? He explained Stonehenge and the Pyramids , he described his room and the living room and the television shows he liked , his favorite colour , the film he'd seen that saturday at the Odeon . The phenomena of Autumn leaves , the wonders of the telephone . He put off sending her a photo as long as he could but put his best suit on one saturday morning and headed down the high street for a haircut and a photobooth and enclosed in his letter a passport sized image of a startled criminal . The photograph he had been sucking and the face he had been fucking for the past year was that of a fourteen year old girl . The woman who he greeted at gate nineteen with a stiff embrace was ten years older . She smiled up at him and he found himself feeling for a moment like a stranger in Safeways comforting a lost child , to the point of looking around the echoing space around them as her hands gripped into his ribs for some familiar landmark . His head swam in the roar of Rolls Royce

engines and the clatter of excited feet before he realised that they where both strangers here. They caught a taxi to his mothers house. The three of them sat in her front room, a big pot of tea and biscuits on the table. The way he was acting around this..,well,.. this doll! For God sakes she was tiny . You should have seen her hands , I wondered if she had the strenght to pick up a bloody teacup. And then she speaks! I love your son very much !!! This little girl telling me about love ! Has she even touched a biscuit , has she asked to look around the house . Has she asked to see his room ! Nothing . just sits there like a bloody china doll . big bloody grin just laughing at me like I nowt. An 'e sits theere 'appy as Larry ! slouched all over the settee next to 'er like some bloody teddy boy. Then 'e says ay mam whats her names not interested in all that . now what the bloody 'ell 'am I s'possed tu' make o' that . eh! Anyowt ' takin lady tu' Wii yu , not bloodi likely ! O,kee he saays swanin owt door wi bloodi china girl runni ' after 'im ,weer off tu 'av rite nees opp! good bloody luck I says as ' our kid slams door. He looked around the familiar insides of the Walkers arms and and for the first time became aware of them. When he ushered her through the door the smell of her skin , warm jasmine and tropical clouds ripe with blood warm rain ended with his life . He stood amounst the dead smoke and oldmen's faces , his fingertips tingling when he touched the small of her back , as alive as a newly sharpened blade through the material of her dress. He ordered a pint of best bitter and a sherry , figuring she was a lady and that's what lady's liked. While he was waiting for the drinks he looked back at her , an avulance of emotion overcame him as he watched her cowering into the velvet booth .A spiralling muddy curtain of memories spinning in his mind.Hot globs of retribution and missed opportunities and frustrated cramps and indecisive tunnels and hard angry faces and sharp painful words flying in all directions,they landed on the membrane of his present thoughts with an undiminished,fierce clarity as painful as a cinder in the corner of his eye. Walkers arms , wanna coome ma ?

Fourth bloody chance he thought . Tracy , Mary , Samantha , our mams favorite that bloody scrag Jane ! All smiles and may I 'ave more tea one minute and bloody 'ands off the next . He saw her eyes upon him , hesitant headlights shining on his scrawny body , he saw mercy at the centre of her gaze . Ay then our lad . Fat Terry pushed the drinks towards his hands and pointed at her with a nod. fancied a bit o ' take away then. He winked and coughed and the blew the end of his cigarette off , it fizzed into the pint . Fuckin ell i ate that , he muttered pouring another . Ay our lad . It was Davis , the rims of his eyes gummy and pale pink like the gills of a sick fish. Yer not wantin that pint then . Bugger this , he decided then and there . England's done nowt for me . We awoke to jungle. Thick green steamy jungle rushing past the train , a waiting crowd of elephant eared trees lining the tracks on either side and retreating back into the mist . I'd fallen asleep on my walkman ,the batteries where dead . We ate a breakfast of eggs and ham in syrup and gathered our belongings , rolling up socks and shirts and dogeared books and stuffing them into our backpacks . Trees like leather whips clung to the old city walls. Deep green tear shaped leaves hanging in the heat above a tangled mass of roots falling into the waterway carved around stone so weathered the bricks had mixed together to resemble a fort built by termites. The streets where wide and dusty . The sky was the chalky blue sort that made your head reel when you looked up . People went about their business at a slow , quiet pace. A woman shelling peas by the side of the road smiled at us. At the guest house I ate a bowl of chicken in a spicy broth and refilled my glass with local whiskey and coke and watched the children by the water . The swarm of their playful feet billowing in a gold cloud of dust in the tired sun . The sound of their laughter sharp and light in the still early evening.

Later that night we where sitting outside a bar talking to a couple of New Zealanders we met when a small boy came up to us and offered to sell us a bunch of flowers . He held them up at each person in turn , jabbing the red and yellow petals towards our amused and refusing faces. A Man sat on a scooter not far away. He laughed when we laughed.The little boy tried me again and I leant down and held his little shoulders and said that I didnt want any flowers.When I sat up he jumped into my lap and bounced to the music, the Clash's "The Call up" was on the dukebox inside.The man got off the scooter,the motor still running,and came over.He spoke close to my ear.I could have anything,he said. Two oldmen where sitting on a bench,one was smoking and the other was watching him closly while leaning on a cane.Either side of them like bookends where trees covered in what looked like black warts that bend toward eachother offering in the entwined bare branches a broken but comfortable shade.Their wrinkled faces sat in this in soft mystery.The sand burned white behind them.Seabirds flapped behind their shoulders squarking and pecking at the air.The pier behind them is wood worn pale grey and smooth,the salt huddles where it can in thick shaded armpits. By the time the ferry was rubbing against it, it was decided.We would stay at Nigel's guesthouse.He did'nt own it of course,he was just staying there.Had been for three years as I found out later.We had no real plans when we boarded the ferry anyway,go to the Island,look around,get pissed,our Itinerary for the whole time we where in the country really.Even if we had'nt met him we probably would have ended up there,who knows. The Village converged around a square that in turn grew from the end of the pier.Simple white stone buildings,all seemingly bereft of doors and stacked with colourful shirts and woodwork and weary goodcheer.Jeeps buzzed to and fro dropping people off and picking them up waiting in line and curving across the square before vanishing into the narrow streets and tearing along some favoured path towards the heart of the Island. At its heart was a mammoth piece of rock that may or may not have been a mountain.Above the flat rooves you could see the frozen tidalwave of canopied land that clung to it's sides. As I remember that girls face from the capitol but choose to talk of other things,so it is that I choose,for now at least,to talk about the trees. They where so fucking big. As awe inspiring,but in a different way, as whales must be when the bubbles from your aqualung shower up like glass beads towards the roof of it's belly and dissappear there as small as the last echo of a branch thrown into a canyon. As our Jeep followed Nigel's along the track further inland these huge trees jutted from earth rapidly heading skywards at such an impossible angle it was hard not to wonder what peverse laws held them in place,had they intimidated gravity to the point of exclusion? Our driver was a taut copperskinned kid wearing Rayband Aviator's.I chipped my tooth on a beerbottle as he negated a path that seemed to change it's mind every few seconds.He found his favorite Guns'N'Roses tape in the pile spilling out the glovebox when he banged it open while lighting a cigarette and ,with one finger at one point,keeping the jeep on a track as jumpy as a wino before the bottleshop opens."Welcome to the Jungle" hacked into life and he yelled over the tinny bassy drench trying to sell us some grass. The distance between the two jeeps never altered,Nigel looked back every now and then and grinned and gave the big thumbs up.

You know who else I like, Both jeeps fly through a double bend around the stumps of these incredible trees with the ease of a thread of cotton being pulled through a needle. Ozzy Osbourne. He pulls at the gear stick and follows the jeep in front of him up an incline that has us shunting for a moment at an angle that I would'nt have been suprised if spiderman had plopped himself on the bonnett to offer assistance for , and then we tip over and I watch Nigel's Good one! backward glance and the back of his jeep freefall onto a trail carved by an epileptic snake. dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-PAR-A-NOID! We plummet towards our destination,I've got an arm over our backpacks and my girlfriend is holding the other. I struggle free and grip his arm,I can feel his muscles slide between my fingers as the tips touch the bone. Hey.Hey! He turns around and watches the road at the same time. You like that too eh. dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh-dudh.... No! I mean yeah,that's cool,I would'nt mind though If you ... You want some grass? Yeah. O.k. Nigel's wave dissolved around the next turn as our jeep slowed and the kid brought it to rest by the side of the track.The tyres nudging into the bedlife with the crackle of a man stepping on toes arriving late at a porno cinema. He turned the engine off and turned around. What do you think of these glasses ! He stretched over the side of the car in the attitude of a reclining god and pouted his lips. His chin pointed towards the sun,the light screamed on the lenses and murmered through them in weak stretched diamonds over his torso ,tattooe'd as all the youngmen in this country seemed to be ,with prolific blurred blue characters around his shoulders . An American man left them in the car when I dropped him off.He left them on the dashboard here.I called out after him,Mister! Mister!but he did'nt hear me. He shook his head and laughed. They're very nice.

I look like a movie man eh. Yes,you look like,ummm,Tom Cruise. He shook his head and laughed. Is he a movie man? Yes,he's very famous. He shook his head and laughed again. We had a few more beers and he banged the steeringwheel in time to the tape and sang along. I gave him twenty dollars and he dug his hand into his fly and produced what looked like a fat dolmade.An egg of grass wrapped in leaves.He slapped it in my hand and made comments to the effect that it was better for having been in his pant's. The tape finished and we sat there silently for a moment in the jeep surrounded by the buzz of insects and the giant palms like ants on a rabbitdropping in a field of wheat.The trunks around us like whiskers in shaving ads. when they go for the old microscopic view to demonstrate the enemies hidden daunting strength. We where heading to the coast on the other side of the Island,and it was this terrain that I was so awestruck by now,this land of the giant's still stampede,that filtered those from the multitudes who came to the Island away from the growing resort metropolis of happybuggy's that puttered from the pool to the Hotel and had "Welome Good Friend" embossed on chocolates in your suite to,as Nigel told us on the ferry,another world within another world. He kicked at the puddle of tapes at his feet and saw something he wanted to hear and swooped upon it holding the long black strands of hair from sticking to his face. As he slammed a tape into the cars stereo he read my mind. One of these trees hung over us,each leaf was the weight of a man and it was festooned with a small concert audiance suspended on a tapering trunk that at the base near us was the size of a small house , the crowd above our heads ,the underskirts of withered black debree hanging in half melted ropes from the chandilear. Look at these trees. Slayer spewed forth,he yelled over them If they decided to fall they're would'nt be a thing left alive. Soon the beach stretched below us,a bright white python hugging the grassland.The road became less frantic as we headed down, leaving room to feel the exhileration that gently tickles inside your stomach when your eyes are suddenly flown over the ocean. Black flecks of life gathered in small clusters along it's length.Tiny boats sat by matchsticks jabbed into it's side. This place was an agreeable purchased image of paradise.

I emerged from our cabin,rested and showered,to a pink purple sky streaked with sugarcotton clouds .A massive statue of Bhudda sat crosslegged on the edge of the beach.In silloute now,it's passive stone eyes still stroked the big trees,distant and invisable now high above us on the land that had already surrendered to the fall of night,like a sleeping childs hair. A small dog was splashing about in the water. We joined Nigel and the other guests in the dining area.A spacious patch of packed sand between the lines of cabins on either side with long bamboo tables and odd chairs and petrol and cooking oil drums scattered about for seating.A roof of woven leaves tied to coconut trees sheltered us in the upcoming weeks from the rain that the elements of this place would mysteriously and reliably produce. From a morning sky as blue and clear as a sheet of warm glass a deluge of heavy raindrops unemcumbered by any sort of wind would thunder on the tin rooves of the cabins and beat on the mesh like a manic fit armed with muted drums every day between ten and twelve.You could feel when it was coming,the air would get quiet and sticky. We joined them at the single table they occupied up near the bar.The same table that we all ended up at ,at some point,together,every day. There was Nigel of course,and Trish,a fellow Londoner and her friend Veronica who was from leeds. Trish was a Chef in the last year of her apprenticeship in a resteraunt in Soho and Veronica was a secratary for an Insurance company,also in London.Within minutes of sitting down I learned that the Chef where Trish worked once took a Entrecoute chateau out the backdoor and threw in in a puddle and pissed on it and then cooked it for someone with whom he had unspecified grievences,and that Veronica was smitten with one of the cleaners in her office and deliberately stayed behind to see him and had,finally,three days before she left on holidays,roused the courage to introduce herself to the degree of fetching booze from the general managers office and being fucked doggie style at her desk,overwhelmed of course,but amused at the same time that she took efforts to not let her elbows knock the unstabled draft of that months report off the table as it shuddered closer towards the edge.We where implored not to take this episode as any real evidence of her character. Erik and his Girlfriend Heidi from Norway. Studying Architecture and Medicine respectively. would often talk at the same time to compensate for eachothers thourough grasp of the english language heard self conciously in the familiar bows and arcs of thier diction to create a chorus of immaculate toothed, nodding, friendly, perfectly ruffled angels. Summer Job's included being first mate on a tugboat,a week cleaning bricks,drawing houses for the real estate section of a newspaper,washing dishes,medical experiments. This Guy Phil o.k.He took the photo's I drew for the paper yeah.He comes into the place this morning and sits down and his looks terrible.I say Phil what's wrong and his laughs and tells me he's been out taking photo's of this beautiful house yeah.Clicking away ,clicking away,no problem.The owners are away and he's got a key yeah cause he's got to take a photo of the inside so I can draw it yeah,he's clicking away and needs to go to the toilet yeah,his does his business but it won't flush yeah,the water's cut off cause the owners are away yeah.So his panics thinking there goin to see it yeah,so his trys to catchit with his sock !chasing it around like a goldfish yeah!His get's it into his sock but his Nikon has fallen in instead yeah!His got the lens off and it's at the bottom ruined yeah.

The two Isreali girls,and us. Trish and Veronica where off to Japan. Erik and Heidi where on there way to attending a friends wedding in the Phillipines. The Isreali girls,who where more mysterious than the rain,muttered of America.In particular Louisianna.They'd both mumble the word at the same time in a collective tone a whisker above a whisper and then look at eachother and giggle noiselessly into their hands as their black eyes pulsed in unison with a private lighthouse somewhere. As for us,well,a ferry back to the mainland and then a train back to the capitol and then a plane back home.Stopping at Singapore to wander the mall in the dead of night seeing our relfection in the big windows and grabbing bottles of Fahrenheiht and Paloma Piccasso and carton's of cigarettes and the big bottles of Contreau and Johnny walker black that you can't get or afford in local bottleshops. Back to the baggage and schizophrenic weather, back to the recovery ward at the Queen Elizabeth. back to Marion Westfield selling Cameras. A friend of mine's getting married. This is Nigel talking. In Sydney.I think I'll head over and suprise him. Smiles,head nodding. Christ,he'll shit himself. Hearty laughter. Last time I saw him , he had his cock in a sauspan of toffee! Explosion of laughter. Ouch! Wanted to crystalise it apparently. Oww! Ha! The preserve the moment ,as it where. Fuckin'hell,christ! Ended up in hospital of course, Ohhh.

Stupid bugger! Ahh!ha! ha! Anyway, huh. It's good to see he's got something left. yeah,whoa. \ Imagine the scar tissue would be fairly frightful though. Hoot! Nice girl from what I've heard. huh,and oh yeah. Mirian or Miriam or something. Nigel sit's back and sucks on his cigar. She must be... He takes a slug of whiskey, very understanding. We erupt again,smashing the table with our fist's,throwing our heads back.Screaming into the night. I awoke fully clothed on the floor next to the bed.My left hand was sticky with rust coloured blood.At some point I must have cut my hand,probably trying to open a beerbottle au natural but I could'nt remember it.Upon waking I experienced for a moment the surge of numb wonder that can be the bedfellow of a heavy nights drinking while your memory and reason grapple with torn information in an effort to assertain where the fuck you are and how the fuck you got there. I was alone in the cabin.It was pounding with rain outside. I went into the bathroom and washed my hand.In the mirror I could see a perfect impression of the woven floor covering decorating the left side of my face.

I ran through the rain to the dining area. My god.The Elephant man! I wish! I feel like shit. D'yu want a beer hon?

Fuck off. My girlfriend was at the table talking to one of the Isreali girls.Heidi was there also,yawning and drifting in and out of the conversation around her and the book in her hand's,a copy of "Son's and Lover's" in Japanese.Her Japanese was pretty rusty she sighed,she was finding it pretty hard going. From Trish and Veronica's cabin came a squeal of "don't you dare!"and then the sound of fabric tearing and the hollow flange of a curtain rod hitting hard surfaces.The door opened and then slammed shut again followed by a splattering of giggles and shrieks and a Smith's tape . Our time at the guest house was like the beginning of an Agetha Christie novel before people start dying. I picked at the food in front of me and swallowed a few mouthfuls of cold coffee. The rain stopped with the suprise it began and an instant tropical paradise was presented on platters of warm breeze and a sunkissed bag of sky,water and dry rustles. Veronica sauntered out of her cabin in her robe towards us.A mass of tangled red hair tied back and a smirk stitched to her mouth.Up close you could see the sunburnt scales and freckles the climate had painted on her skin.She bent down to pick up a coconut and flashed her tit's.I'm going out on a bit of a limb here but I have to describe them as melancholy. Small white breasts with wide pale nipples thrust forward and looking like hungry puppies within her vixen machinations.When observed unawares gazing out at the ocean or just sitting back her eyes also where touched with this character. The coconut smashed a couple of plates and rolled off the table coated in peanut sauce and rice and landed on the floor and rolled away from the trickle of coffee and wine that followed in it's wake. Fuck it I wanna beer! Wheres magicman! Heeeey! Erik was waving with one arm and thrashing up the water in a circle on a hydraski with the other.We yelled hello back and he yelled something to Heidi in Norwegian and then put both hands on the handle's and zipped across the bay towards the Bhudda . Magicman was our bartender and provider of sustenance. A lanky Islander in his Fourties,Magicman had a face possessed by a need to be caught in anyone's snapshot at any moment .His big tight skinned grin must be beaming all over the world now,the thumbs up and hand around shoulders with people and friends they don't know anymore rediscovered in flattened packets in boxes and bottom drawers when rummaging for an old group certificate or moving house. His energy to entertain was relentless.A clown connected to some strange generator. He sang and told jokes and preened himself in the reflection of the bottles he took away from the table.

He called himself the Magicman,and would produce a fork from your ear and make a snowpea dissapear up his nose and scrunch up a serviette and open it to reveal a samosa or an egg or a shot glass with the ease and frequency it takes other people to breathe. He appeared fresh crisp and pressed even though he'd been up as late as us. He had to stay in attendance until we decided to call it a night.In the upcoming time this would sometimes not be until the next morning when a few or a couple of us,invariably Trish and I, would swoon on our chairs into the newday glasseyed and gibberish surrounded by broken glass and plates of half eaten food garnished with cigarette butts. Nigel was never at the table before twelve. We all went on a picnic once. We chartered a boat to a smaller Island just over the bhuddas right shoulder. Heidi stayed on her towel under the umbrella with her book. The rest of us swam in the clear warm water between the rocks. Erik screamed as he dropped towards the sea below from a crag high above our heads. Sand found it's way into the champagne and gathered in a milky cloud above the stem of the glasses,the last swallow gritty and spat out and refilled and there it settled again. Trish found a crab and as Veronica admired it's shiny blue shell was nipped on the finger.She shook it off and held it from scuttling away with her foot, sucking her injury as it's legs turned frantically in the sand. Fucking little Prick. It was boiled in champagne and thrown red dead and broken back into the sea. The Isreali girls glistened in the water. They pushed lazily against the tide,their forearms fanning under the surface.Their crow coloured hair and honeyed skin streaked with salty residue.Strong backs and burnt sugar nipples bobbing in the rolling sheets of water and my imagination. A bread roll hit me in the back of the head. It was Nigel. What did I think of this then? His hand was held up for inspection and I looked at the ring on his little finger.I had to be guided towards it as every finger was collared by a ring.It was a small gold affair. It's a kid's ring,see He held his hand up like an Indian saying How so that I could see that the band had been cut. Got it off a bloke in Las Vagas who was'nt too good at blackjack.

Really. Yeah.I was at the bar in Aladdin's Cave,that's one of the casino's on the strip there,not a really flash one though like the Sands or Ceasars Palace , anyway I'm sitting there,not having a big one or anything,just sitting there minding my own business,I was actually there on business for this company I used to work for and my flight had been delayed so I just popped in to pass the time and this fella perches himself next to me.So I say hello ,you know,as you do,how's it going ,that sort of thing and he starts rabbiting on about King Solomons bloody mines.If I'd had a good gander at him before he sat down I would'nt have said anything cause he was a bit of a nutter,he had a nice suit on but it was all sort of crumpled AND HE'D PISSED HIMSELF,you could see it,right there,a big dark ring where he'd fucking pissed himself.Anyway he's going on and on,King Solomons mines,king solomons mines,treasure that would fill a thousand houses,all this sort of shit.I thinking fucking great!thanks alot,you know,then he grabs me by the shoulder!I'm just about to say Fuck off you fucking Idiot and he leans in my face ,fuckin stinking like a drunk and say's,quite seriously,I'm King Middas.He's king fucking Middas now! His fucking hand was hurting me and I'm ready to flatten the cunt by this stage and he's going on about what a great opportunity I've been chosen to be part of and all this sort of crap,just talking compleat bollocks like fucking Moses or someone so I say well you want a lend then?You stupid cunt,and he goes Give me ten dollars,give me ten dollars and then all this shite about fucking peacocks and swimmingpools of perfumed milk so I get out my wallet and ,I'm not joking,he was fucking dribbling when he saw it,hold up the tenner and say hang on cowboy,before you take off and win palaces or whatever how about a little insurance.I could'nt give a shit about the cash,ten fucking dollars,but I wanted to see the cunt squirm. Anyway he goes ballistic!Don't you trust me!I offer you a kingdom and you throw shit in my face!Your a leper!that sort of thing.He takes off in a rage,snatching the tenner mind you,and comes back ten minutes later and slams his hand in front of me and says here's my daughter's ring you motherfucker!You'll have more fuckin' women than you know what to do with and you won't even thank me and stormed off again.Well I did'nt know what to do,I had to be at the airport and I could'nt see him so I kept it. That's bullshit I said. Well,Nigel smiled considering his glittering fist,I assume it was his daughter. Usually though we would coagulate around the table in and then either retreat back to our cabins just before the rain started to try and repair the damage from the night before or take off in smaller groups after breakfast. Trish and Veronica off to a temple on the other side of the Island.The Isreali girls waving as their jeep passed by on it's way to god knows where.Apart from the picnic and a night out all together coming up I don't think Nigel ever left the Guesthouse while we where there,except for that night of course.I could be wrong but he was either in his cabin or sitting at the table whenever I saw him,sitting back with his legs crossed sipping a whiskey or a gin and tonic with no mention of plans for the day or interest in joining any of ours. The most frequent escapees where the Norwegians.Often returning two,three,four times a day to grab a forgotten camera or a map and a bite to eat before taking off again. My girlfriend and I accompanied them on quite a few of their forrages. Poking about here and there, in the shops by the pier,asking what was this made out of,or,what was the significance of this. Erik pulled the jeep to a halt beside the track back to the guest house and we headed into the

jungle slapping our hands against the slim smaller relatives of the giant palms sniffing the white sticky sap stuck to our hands.the stiff carpet of fallen leaves springy to walk upon. We pointing out to eachother examples of flora and fauna we found remarkable, The sticklike peach coloured fungus that gathered around the base of the trees like an extended family of powdered javelins. The lizzard that darted over Heidi's foot and sat on a rotting log just beside us, as still as a minature statue poised on tiny black claws .It's head held back,It looked like a small green and red airbrushed bearded dragon,with a bubble of still eyed bravery puffing up it's throat,before Erik lunged towards it and it dissappeared with the sound of a match being struck into the safety of it's secret world. The shrieks and whistles of invisable birds penetrating the otherwise heavy moist silence. Erik arranged a boat to one of the other islands.We sat out in the sun drinking beer as another smile of white sand with jungle hanging above it puttered into view. With our quide well ahead of us we trekked up the steep narrow pathway cursing every cigarette we ever smoked. He wore his hair long,as was the fashion amougnst the guides, tied back in a rough ponytail,in a country where most other men,young and old,had monastic crops. The guides and the knifeboys in the Capitol had long hair. The Capitol had two main drags of stripjoints and bars that had grown out of the hangover of the Vietnam war when the city was a major R'n'R focal point for American Troops.The Pussy-a-GoGo,the Black cat bar,Jemima's,The George Washington,a bar painted like the American flag and called Serve and Destroy.Kilometres of melting music and flickering neon and signs rimmed with active and dead light bulbs looking like a grin of broken teeth.Business had evolved to accomidate the tastes of the more sophisticated Gentleperson abroad and these establishments lined the smaller darker streets connecting the main thoroughfares. Outside these clubs ,with black glass doorways and discreet evidence of light inside, in relief to the maindrags screaming postcard of a perpetual fourty year old mostache bachelor party,hung groups of boy's,three,four ,or five of them,over motorbikes and leaning against walls smoking and sensing even a whiff of interest. You are called over and offered a cigarette or asked for one and the door,smoky coffeetable glass,breathes open.You climb the stairs with your new friends and see a woman on a small stage with a duck whistle in her vagina playing the birdy song or shooting pink pong balls into a bucket.You are given a drink and a smile,a slap on the back. Or else you may have a curtain opened by an exquisite man who wears makeup better than your wife and be shown to a booth while teenage boy's dance around polls in red G-strings with plastic disks clipped to them displaying a number. The creature from the silk lagoon is soon at your side in a figure hugging short black dress combing at her long black hair with a scotch and soda swinging in the other hand .A cigarette is asked for ,given,and thanked for,in an unspoken exchange akin to a tired farmer directing a sheepdog .She holds the cigarette to her pouting lips between her man's fingers as you fumble about for your lighter,long red nails hover for a moment close to her face like little reflective moons above the still surface. A nightscape of copper mist held close to the cheekbones by a gravity of survival fatigue and numb oceans of boredom.A smooth fragrant skin torn in places out

of view,her shapely arse is covered with a devil's autumn of bruises,each buttock bearing the mottled evidence of rough handling like damaged fruit going cheap at the market.A flaky bunch of scabs hidden on the nape of her neck that she picks at constantly as she sweeps her hair back. A conversation is attempted in fits and starts above the thumping music,she leans close and a fingernail glides across your cheek.She looks into your eyes and gives you an approving once over up and down then leans back to stretch,accompanied by a theatrical yawn that leaves her hand on your lap when it has finished covering her mouth and a resume of a firm young sexy body begging for your hands and mouth and dick to be all over it and in it.These actions repeat themselves over the course of the next few hours,but getting sloppier as you both get drunk.Your hand massages her shoulder and you slur close to her lip's.You can smell her hair and feel her breathe,her hand remains on your leg,the little finger playfully padding on the head of your erect penis through your trousers,then squeezing the member and pressing her hand against your balls as you get off on telling her your version of why you got fired.Each swear word is spat out like a spear,you where a noble warrior speaking his mind,you screamed the truth to an outraged but flustered management and waltzed outside giving them the finger and jumped into your Commadore and said see'ya to Charlie at the gate and cruised away from the dickheads onto the main road. You sat at the lights and felt bloody good! Whacked the old AC/DC on. Young fella pulls up next to me, see yu' in the surf mate! Soon as the light turned green I put my bloody foot down and left him for dust!I was up past the bloody brewery before he even got off Port road. You kiss her . Your arm wrapped around her head and your tongue thrashing into her mouth like an eel suddenly aware that it was electric.You feel in her mouth a thickness and thrust unlike the soft pink oyster licks of girls you'd payed for before. You break the embrace and stagger up to the bar for a final shot of abandon and are unexpectedly involved in a serious lapse of communication with your new friends.They neglected to mention the enterence fee payable now that you wanted to leave.It's an exorbitant figure.You guess that they're joking,gathered around you now,but no one seems to be laughing,or even smiling anymore.You look past their sharp faces to the bed leopard for aid,but she has dissappeared. Even this pause is too long.You are pushed into a dark corner and relieved of the enterence fee,plus whatever money you have on you with a curved blade,roughly the length of your lost erection,against your throat. Twin Dragons stared at eachother fire eyed as we crawled between them up the steps towards the temple. Monks,four of them,greeted us at the top,and guided our exhaustion by the wrist into their domain. We stood on the edge of this massive silent place for a short time before collapsing in a redfaced

cursing lump. The Monks,bald,old with youthful smiles and orange robes,bowed and retreated across the square towards the temple. The stone they crossed and we lay heaving upon was as immaculate as a man made lake on a still summer afternoon.An interlace of smooth volcanic teeth stretched over several country football oval's.It fell away behind the Temple in a raised crushed lip held together by the roots of suicidal trees into a deep chasm that had split the hilltop with a yawn of the earth god knows how many lifetimes ago. The Temple itself comprised of ten levels with what I would reckon was about a hundred doors a level.Between each of these ornately carved layers ran an ornately carved balcony on which two parties of twenty could comfortably cross paths. The ediface cast the spell only known to the gigantically magnificent.It fingered me with a feeling I would expect if I came back from the deli and saw as I turned into my street the bow of the QE2 ploughed into the rosebushes. Our quide reappeared with two oldwomen.He stood back and glanced at his watch as the oldwomen purred and smiled and put down a plastic warrick filled with Ice and beer and a bowl of chickpeas in lemongrass chilli and mustardseeds. We wandered the internal corridors.Scraping against the walls occassionally but walking,carefully and deliberately with our hands behind our backs, in quiet contemplation of it all. For about ten minutes.Erik had,in a Houdiniesque feat of secrecy, managed to inpregnate his imagination with a reality stomping amount of t.h.c at some point while we lay around on the square surrounding the temple like a party of ladies and gentleman reclining after luncheon,loostening our spats and undoing daycoats and chatting amaibly ,unaware ,in his seemingly similar demeanor,of the handcuffs he'd somehow managed to open with a key concealed in the cuff of his pants or up his bottom and releasing to the bewilderment of all an up and coming new Norwegian comic,"You guys,I wanna big hand for this guy..." In an explosion of high pitched voice and churning arms he went mad . A primarily physical comedian,attempting to fellate one of the monks toes,screaming Boogie fe-vr and pretending to shag a lump of something in the second corridor that leads to the chamber of ultimate peace.He also displayed a surrealist angle to his act,at one point turning to me and saying you are a bulldozer,which I thought was pretty rich. The monks tapped with little sticks against the walls to guide our drunk and foriegn eyes towards a particular chamber.Patient weathermen telling tales in calm quiet voices to a gaggle of kids in the back of a stationwagon . The tour disintegrated when we emerged into the light. The monks dissappeared and our guide appeared agitated.He rolled a cigarette and jerked his lithe bony limbs from standing up to sitting down in an uncomfortable parade of relaxation. He had to meet his brother. It was five'o'clock and he was supposed to meet his brother at four thirty.The tour had run overtime and his brother was waiting for him.He drove a taxi,the brother, and this mucking about was taking food out of his children's mouths.

We bade him farewell on condition that he come back and pick us up in an hour. Fine! Whatever,look around,drink more beer!uhh dont pat the monks on the head though,they hate that,anyway seeya! We heard his brothers tyres fight with the fine sand far below before screeching purchase with the bitumen. The sun set. As the guide and his friend exchanged a small bag of Heroin with another man for the contents of some dick's wallet before the monkey enclosure at the nearby zoo,I was exploring the upper balcony. I came across the shrunken body of an old monk that had been dipped in gold. He was curled into a cats ball of ribs and femurs topped by a tight lipped skull. The gold had weathered on the bone and dandruff flakes of it glittered in specks around the body on the wall and on the floor in a private dry shower . I leaned forward and touched his head and rubbed the powder between my fingers.I touched my finger to my tongue,it tasted like nothing. We visited the zoo ourselves a few days later.Heidi sketched a parrot.A talented girl was our Heidi.She did a drawing of all of us I think,including magicman at some stage as we lazed around the table and they where all very good.Even the ones of the Isreali girls which she did mostly by memory as they busied themselves clearing glasses and plates or running up to the bar together to get a single Vodka twist or becoming overcome by a desire to run splashing into the sea as soon as they realised they where being studied like springing Gazelles escaping the interested eyes of a Lion.The rest of us loved the attention,after the socially necessary feeble protest we would act naturally while keeping animation to a minimum and making sure our heads where held still in thoughtful repose for long periods of time. A few people have drawn my face and both they and I always ended up agreeing that the finished effort was fairly horrendous.They always overemphisised my already overemphisised nose and I ended up looking on paper like a sort of mad camel or a puzzling human Toucan hybrid with a tight idiotic grin and unsavoury thoughts behind beady black marbles,but Heidi got me spot on,lazy eye and everything. Nigel loved the drawing of himself,he set it up perfectly,coconut tree to his right,he made magicman stand beside him with a tray of martini's.Heidi must have read his mind because she included a pith helmet,turned magicman into a raggedy native,turned the drinks tray into a twelvebore and had Nigel's foot resting on a buffalo, the pencil digging into her sketchbook to indicate the bullethole and trickle of blood between the eyes. A Monkey,I dont know which species, some sort of Asian rainforest monkey,dangled before us from a long skinny arm holding a baby monkey to it's breast pressed between her body and the bars.It's little head was a fuzz of ginger fluff and big saucer eyes staring at us.It reached out with a chickens wing with a hand on the end and groped at the air. One cage was inhabited entirely by budgies,hundreds of them.The scientific name and a map painted on a metal plate welded to the rail.It was odd to see these blue and green feathered mice in a large cage latticed with sawn off gumtrees with room to fly and land and chirp and take off again,they excited eachother into a turny head hey let's have a pick under your wings, no, fuck off routine that repeated itself along the perches like a sinewave as clusters of them took off in

swooping patented joyrides and others landed at the same time off the same patrol and assumed the position I was familiar with. Sullen creatures huddled together on a piece of dowling in a tiny white plastic coated cage with a cuttlefish skeleton jammed in one end and a drip of water sitting in the bright blue plastic beak of the bird waterer in the other embarresed at its concave solitude and a little round mirror hanging in front of them with a bell attached to it. In a flat by the kitchen window,the news of the hour read by a man with a serious voice,a cold piece of toast on the breakfast bar,a cup of instant coffee as refreshing as a mountian spring as it flows into your throat a reason why to carry on,because if you don't catch the eight fifteen that means waiting for the eight fourty five and that means being fifteen minutes late which means being chastised by your boss as a milingerer which is and isnt the case and you clamp down to the task of makin' bread in the fart factory ,or millin' steel or throwin'your sorry ass behind the wheels of Ol' Dilliaha again ,clankin' along the streets wakin' the dogs and upsettin' folks dreams of Tinkerbell landin'on their bedhead's with a finger stuck up her arse. Erik and I where sitting under a tree by the owl enclosure.We waved to the girl who came to feed them,Erik wanted to offer her a joint , I suggested it was not in her best interests to enter the Tiger's cage later on in her feeding round stoned off her tit's,but he offered anyway. Erik was lovely.An alert intelligent teddybear.When he was'nt smiling he was smirking ,and he giggled alot.He giggled the way some people do in place of a full stop,or punctuate their conversation with rapid fire fucks.It was irritating at first until you realised he was'nt doing it nervously,he'd do it infront of his mum or the Queen of Norway,he was just happy all the fucking time. When he arranged the boats he leaned across the agents desk unaware of his big tanned hands pushing maps onto the floor and dealt with the mundane details of departure like a six foot blonde mopped schoolkid asking a science teacher how to ignite a bunsen burner,nodding excitedly at each dull thread of imformation gleaned.So this boat leaves in ten minutes does it?!A nod from the agent,his lips slightly pursed,his eyes shooting down at the folded wreckage around his feet in minute stabs of protest.Ten Minutes!O.k,excellent!thank you!! As fond as I was of Erik ,true bonding never occured because of his preoccupation with bicycles and ping ponk.These Siamese twins had lodged themselves in his passions and did'nt leave a lot of room for much else in the shambled shamen hour of pure truth hugging that occurs somewhere between tiddly and wipeout.At these vunerable times Erik would,in response to my cold teared recounts of friendships now bewilderding ashes and the mourning of childhood over,slap my half melted back hard between the shoulderblades and spew a methodical river of weights,paddle size,guages,alloys,brand of ball,design,texture,gearing systems,helmets,champions in,best tables,best event that would not be distracted by the rocks of emotional rhetoric jarred into the spaces left when he took a drink or sucked on a joint. The thing is of course that nylon is better,sure the metal ones last longer,but they dont have that speed,you know,that, thcthcthcthcthc,he became for this demonstration a combined wind up monkey and expresso machine. If I did'nt pass Matric I was going to kill myself.Seriously,I was going to fucking kill myself,I had it all worked out,mum had these sleeping pills in the draw on her side of the bed,she did'nt know I knew about them but I did.I always fiddled about in my parents drawers when they where at work,dad's side was usually more interesting than mum's side,because he was in the police so there'd always be bullets.My brother and I took one and where going to throw it against the stormdrain that ran into the creek beside our house but I chickened out at the last minute,also our dog chased the James's chihauhwa up the same pipe and it never came out,relationships

between the families where strained for some time. Smooth?Suure,I'll play you no problem,love it,as long as we're both playing smooth,but you come along with wafered,and say nothing,and play me,I'LL KILL YOU! Precious words hung dizzy in the air like twisted ropes around the rafters of Trondheim icerink in nineteen sixty four high above Lars Andersoon's disgust when he threw his paddle down in protest to the current number one,Henrik Vllads display of nakedness,or jumped into the bracken beside the road as he zoomed by on his custom made super light weight considering the relative impacts on civilisation of the bike and the horse. We lay on the grass watching the girl feeding the owls.She held up a dead fluffy chicklet to one of her charges. You know,Nigel has been where he is for a long time,Erik said softly.Watching the Barnowl take the chicklet into it's talon,gribbing it like a soggy ziros. Is that a fact,I said,handing the joint back to him and leaning back,looking at the branches above us.Everything was so still and quiet.The belches and hawes of the animals seemed to come not from around us but from above and below .I heard Heidi and my girlfriend laughing,they where only around the corner,my girlfriend had this thing about gibbon's bums,she thought they where just the funniest things on earth,and the sound of their laughter was a gentle and beautiful echo in a dream,the breeze seemed to stick to my skin in an invisable vibrating syrup. It is!Erik said in his way,his child showing you a jar of tadpoles he had just caught sort of way.It is a fact,it-is-infact...three years. He giggled as the owl pecked at the chicklet's head,fluff stuck to it's beak and red as if dipped in ink. Three years! three years. but.. I know,he tells everyone something different. Why? I don't know, Fucking prick. Why? Well,it's,I dont know,it's,weird. Why? I dont know,it just is. Mabye he just likes telling stories.

Yeah,but,hmmuhmmgh. What? What! Why does it bother you so much? I don't know but it does. Right. How'd you find out anyway? Magicman told me. Really? Yeah. What,did you ask him or something? No,I was just sitting there one morning,before you arrived, or Patricia and Veronica. Heidi has gone into the village and the Isreali where'nt around so it was just him and I ,I had a coffee and Nigel went to the toilet and while he was gone magicman was clearing the table and said I've been wiping that cocksuckers arse for three years. Wow. He nodded towards the toilet. The owl had it's head buried into the nearly empty chicklet.It hung over it's sharp black hand like an unfilled yelow fluffy beanbag. What did you say? I did'nt say anything,he walked away as soon as he said it. Three years! You know what the funny thing is? What? Heidi and I met him on the ferry just like you. The owl raised it's head pulling at the intestine.It sucked up the single snotty thread squeezing out a dribble of watery green baby chicken shit. Nigel,Nigel,Nigel,I'm ticking him over in my mind now,wondering where to begin.A friendly fellow,a nice chap,that's as good a beginning as any I suppose.Picture a caucasian Anglo-Saxon male,mid twenties,with sandy blonde hair neatly cut and skinny tanned legs.Infact picture any male involved in the lower to mid range of management of any financial institution you choose on

holidays and you've got him.Pleasant smile,firm handshake,inflexed greeting.I do not wish to suggest derision here,merely to enplant a familiar on to which other shades are to be added.The rings for example,the rings and the stories behind them.The traffic inspector's ring ,that was a silver ring on his pointer finger with a horseshoe on it studded with fake rubies.There was also the girl in the shoeshop ring,silver again,and encrusted with tiny Marquisite teeth around a diamond shaped black onyx, it reminded me of the mouth of a sting ray. The trouble is of course,Nigel paused to slurp his gin and tonic,finding a chap you can rely on to supply you with the proper bait.Now we had a fellow in Stoke who was absolutely top class,bloody nice fella' too,bloodworms all year round,when his garden ran out he'd grow the buggers in cow poop in hessian bags.We'd have a cup of tea with him and his wife and he'd pull his wellies on and trudge out to his shed and come back with a bag full of the writhing little buggers,It's the only thing they'll eat you see,that time of the year,lures are'nt any good,tried 'em a few years before,nothing,not a bloody bite!Bloodworms,handpicked,grown in cow manure is the only things the little blighters will even sniff at that time of year. The rain was falling. Erik had lost interest before fish even came up and was studying his maps.The Isreali girls picked at the food in front of them silently,Trish and Veronica were'nt around.Heidi was sketching a still life of the debree on the table and my girlfriend was in our cabin rummaging through her backpack for a tampax. Magicman brought a tray of drinks to the table.I slapped his bum and he did his Au Pair girl shit,Monsieur! he exclaimed and hurried tutting away back to the bar.I could see the Bhudda's knee when I looked towards our cabin.Fallen coconut's lay in the sand between the cabins like the aftermath of an Altzhiemers Bowling camp,the matting plastered to the shells under the splattering raindrops like the whisps of hair on Oldmen heads gathered in clusters where they rolled showered by the heavens and preying for mercy. This friend of yours Nigel. Sorry old man? Understandable,it was ten thirty in the morning but I probably already slu rring. This friend of yours in Sydney. This friend of mine's in Sydney? spoken back ,slowly,like checking a phone number with the operator, You know! Irritated by his lapse in memory,agitated by the condescending responce, The fuckinrrurrhuu... Ah yes. a lazy chuckle drowned half way by a gulp of G and T. My oh my,

the glass is placed on the table. a dry cough is ushered into a closed hand,the show is about to begin, and then he leans back and his arms fall away from the body and dangle towards the sand like tentacles. When we where at school he had these dreadful warts all over the backs of his hand's. His foot began bouncing on the end of his slim crossed leg,picking up the easy,luxurious rythumn. I mean what kid did'nt have warts eh? Well,I did'nt,but you know what I mean.Anyway poor old toad fingers really was quite seriously afflicted,In home economics we had to knead dough,we where making scones you see,Good God!,Mrs.Livingstone!,what a frightful woman,Scottish,quite insane,anyway there we are mucking about with the flour and water and whatever else and old Toady had freezer bags tied around his hands because he had this pright purple wart poison all over them,it stained his skin,you could see it seeped into the little lines ,and the warts themselves ,not a pleasant sight at the best of times with this stuff on looked worst!Little red cabbage alien brussel sprout thingys all over the place.I mean I was his friend,but even I found the sound of them scrunching into the bowl and the sight of them against the plastic a little bit much. Come recess and we've put on a morning tea for the other students,canapes,pinwheel sambo's,crepes,that sort of thing,and of course a Devonshire tea.Toady ironed the tablecloth and spread it out on a little table,layed out pots of cream and jam ,a big pot of tea,milk,sugar,that sort of thing,I think he took his bags off to iron the tablecoth and held the corners with a tissue and then put them back on again,or got fresh ones or whatever to set it up,anyway word must have got out that old toady had a hand in things ,so to speak,because the pile of scones reappeared on the platter as quickly as they where taken,either untouched or with a bit missing.You can imagine the horror of the poor bugger's that had scoffed the lot! So when's the wedding? Shaking his head as he has a drink, Don't know if I'm bothered anymore. The clunk of the glass on the table,a faint hiss of ice. Besides,Erik was telling me about a chap the other day in New Guinea who I would'nt mind chewing the fat with. Erik looked up from his map,startled,like a man hearing his name annunciated by a white wigged official in a courtroom drama on a t.v in the background. Sorry? That fellow you where telling me about, So when's the wedding? Who? The Engineering fellow! So when's the wedding?

Engineering fellow? That fellow you told me about the other day. What's his name? What? you mean Trent? That's it!Trent. When is the wedding and what is his name? Trent is an aerobics instructor. When is the wedding and what is his name? That's right,and he's in New Guinea. No,he lives in Portugal. Aha!He's the gay one. O.k,what is his name and when is the wedding. No,he's been marries to Helena six years now,Phillomena is walking now. JESUS CHRIST IS IT SUCH A HARD FUCKING QUESTION!?I JUST WANT TO HEAR HIS FUCKING NAME AND A FUCKING DATE! My head was swimming,anchored in a forward slump to the tight hot wasp larvea burning under the skin beneath my eyes.Erik resumed his study of the map,glad his eyes had somewhere to go.Nigel dug back into his chair and crossed his arms. His eyes where fixed upon me,his face giving no hint of the emotion that was now bubbling uncomfortably all over mine in big ugly blotches.We remained in this attitude for what felt like a ridiculously long time,like two strangers playing twister and freezing in the private domains of eachothers faces.Then,as slowly and suddenly as clouds change shape,a smile came into view.A smile beyond the jurisdiction of his eyes and hovering before me as perplexing a thing in nature as fire or blood. The screen door on our cabin slammed shut.My girlfriend was running through the rain towards us.Remaining at the other end of the tunnel between us he called out with affectionate theatricality. Ah!The queen of the damned emerges! She was looking for a med.Nigel. The anticipation of battle had melted,in a thick mist near the base of a waterfall of liquid understanding,where you tumble like drops of oil on water and thrash together and pound into the deep water of the rest of your life below and float to the surface in egg shaped islands,an already unprepared munittion,and out croaked this oblique bathetic missile.

oh. Shortly after this episode I fell unconsious on the bed and had a vivid dream in which my girlfriend and I where on a beach with a black guide and saw a giant sea turtle flopping it's way towards us on the dunes.I remember thinking in the dream that it looked more like a car,sleek and black,eyes and shell fitting next to each other with a glossy clear perfect hardness.We where to it's right and walked closer to it ,crossing it's machine head,and saw that it's left hand front flipper had been practically ripped off,I remember in the dream of suspecting a shark of inflicting this horrible injury.The lower shell was crushed and an envelope of fatty meat blossomed from the crack .As happens in dreams we where sundenly in the gibberland around Woomera and the Turtle turned into an Elephant and knelt before us ,it raised it's legs into the air,stretched up huge now with dusk and gumtrees behind it,and teetered as I screamed to the guide ,who was already running back to the four wheel drive ,get the gun!get the gun!The damn thing was trying to break it's own neck.The hind legs swayed forward slightly,the Elephant snorted and readjusted it's balance on it's front legs and trunk and pulled it's back legs up again.It snorted again, flicked it's trunk in a tired fan over the red sand and clumps of dry grass.I heard the cardoor slam behind us with too small a sound,I could hear the guide sprinting ,each press of his barefeet into the sand towards us sounding like sifted sugar too far away,The gun!Where's the fucking gun! Bang.Bang.Bang. Bang.Bang.Bang. Yeah,o.k,hang on a sec. BANG.BANG BANG. O.K!Fuckin'hell, A tall thin man in black board shorts looked at me through the screen. HI! hi. Is Peter here? No, Do you know where he is? I don't know who he is. ahh,well,I've missed him. It does appear that way. Mmmm,I'm a friend of his. It's good to have friends. Yeah,umm,he's left something here for me.

In the cabin? Yeah. I have'nt seen anything,what? a package or something? Yeah,do you mind if I come in? Wolfgang looked around,his hair was wet, The water's beautiful here,hey!this is a nice place. He walked over to the picture above the bed and pressed it,a bag of reefers plopped onto the pillow. Thanks man,seeya. I followed him out onto the patio, there was no sign of life at the table,an excursion had obviously been arranged during my unconciouness. D'yu want a beer mate? No,no,no,thanks anyway,the jeep jerked into gear,bye! My hands held the bamboo railing until they forgot to.I went back into the cabin and walked around a bit and then walked out on to the patio again.The sky was perfect,I considered masturbating but wandered instead down to the table. Magicman gave me a plate of Larb and a bottle of beer,I ate a few forkfulls and pushed it aside and asked magicman for another beer.He pretended to pull it out of the back of his head,squinting as though removing a painful splinter.Heidi's book lay butterflied on the table,she was up two page two hundred and thirty four.I went over to Trish and Veronica's cabin and put a tape on ,The little travel clock by Veronica's bed told me it was three in the afternoon.I went over to our cabin,picking up a coconut on the way and throwing it at another one to hear it crack open but missed.I decided to masturbate afterall and lay on the bed and tugged away,my heart was'nt really in it,but I'd started so I finished.I took a copy of Rolling Stone back to the table and flicked through it,reading bit's I had'nt read before,looking at the photo's again.Magicman brought me another beer and a pack of American softpack Malboro's,which he pretended to lay like a chicken.I had a cigarette and another beer and wandered what to do next.I put another tape on and looked around Trish and Veronica's cabin,backpacks in the corner leaning against the wall,clothes spewing onto the floor.It smelt nice,a clean brisk mix of saltwater and bodylotion.I glanced through a letter Trish had written to her sister but had'nt torn off the pad on her bedside table.I looked for my name but did'nt see it and lost intererest,it was a stock standard invantory letter,names of Temples,you would have loved it,weather's amazing,water's beautiful,food's great,took the train from such and such to somewhere else, saw this guy actually eating monkey's brains,bought this fantastic shirt,Veronica's mad,how's Danny getting on?Is he back at work yet?Give him a big kiss for me ,lot's of love,Trish. I picked up a piece of underwear and put it on my head,jumped around a bit pretending I was in New Order.I changed the tape again and walked over to Heidi and Erik's cabin.Much the same set up,but the backpacks where done up and clothing was folded and stacked neatly beside them,his and her's lasagna's of jeans and t-shirts. It smelt of Erik's aftershave,the bed was made and a laundry hamper had been improvised out of a wooden box from behind the kitchen .I cursed my own carelessness and threw my cigarette outside,making a mental note to bury it in the sand when I left.Heidi's serious reading glasses denoted her side of the bed,pointing with a

crooked arm towards the Medical Works of Hippocrates,A tale of two cities, The Illiad,The Brother's Kasamov,and,The Unbearable Lightness of Being,in Spanish.On Erik's side lay a compass,a bag of grass,a folded map weighed down by a smooth grey pebble with igneous veins,a glossy semi-hard cover copy of Architecture Today,and,incredibly,a best of the Dobbie Brother's c.d with a mini stack of red foil condom wrappers springing out of Micheal McDonalds face on the cover like a chinese lantern,there was'nt a c.d player for miles. If the three cabins I explored where elves in a childrens book,I did'nt even bother with Nigels,because I knew it would be locked,you'd have Messy,Tidy,and in the case of the Isreili girls,Weirdo.Each item by itself would cause a ripple of wonder,encountered together however, filling every space in the small room like an overenthusiastically put together museam exhibition,the effect was startling.Confederate flags,fake rattlesnakes, fan shaped clumps of,in light of everything else,Bald Eagle feathers I assumed,hanging from the light and around the walls at various heights,Uncle Sam stared down at me from a poster dominating the room declaring that he wanted me.He was surrounded by a tacked up assemblage of familiar faces that engulfed the walls and ceiling,Clint Eastwood,Steve McQueen,Rosanne,Abraham Lincoln,J.F.K,Marilyn,Clarke Cable,Iggy Pop,Henry Kissanger,Ivana Trump,Charles Manson,Ted Bundy,Jim Morrison,Gloria Marshall,Edgar Allan Poe, Bob Dylan,Malcolm X, Madonna,hundreds of them it seemed,I was in a cave painted with famous Americans.An American flag covered the floor,they must of carried the beds and other furniture out,layed it down,and then brought everything in again.They'd joined the bedside tables together against the wall opposite the beds and turned them into a sort of alter.Six empty Jack Daniels bottles with red candles dripping around the necks sat around a Bowerbirds hoard of the Stars and Stripes.The centrepiece was a signed photograph of David Letterman held aloft by a Ken and Barbie dating set held in position with their legs fixed in what looked like a cake of normal paper mache,but upon closer inspection it became apparent that the tiered structure was constructed of photocopied American Express reciept's mashed together with glue and what smelt like Maple Sryup.An Anus of American Airlines embossed swizzle sticks jutted out around the first rim like a closing carniverious plant,dangling from each yellow plastic olive spear was a Basketball swap card,the next level down,partly concealed by the overhanging smiles,was a stockpile of postcards,GREETINGS FROM! Niagra falls,Mt.Rushmore,The Manhatten skyline,Burbeon street,Boston,The Grand canyon,The White House.This laminated flower bloomed over a bed of brick-a-brack,picked up precious bones,little Star War's figures,Pizza hut Pencil's,Mcdonalds promotional E.T's, screwed up Malboro packet's, Kool's,Lucky Strikes,Camel's,a spilled smarties herd of bottlecaps,Budwiezer,Coor's,Miller,corraled into a rough design by a collar of Corona Gold tops.Several president's where present on this serrated beach,smooth Black and white campaign badges proclaiming the next head Honcho in heaven dotted amoungst the bent,sharp edged mass. I stood there and took it all in,I was amazed,I was impressed,I also wanted to get the hell out of there.As I left I grabbed an E.T and put it in my pocket with the absence you pick up your carkey's as you head off for work,and a cumpulsion I can't explain,because I did'nt understand it myself. I been back at the at the table a while when Trish and Veronica reappeared.That Elephant was still inside me,bothering me . They looked hot and tired,Veronica shooing the hair off her face with the hands version of shut up as they sat down.Magicman brought out a couple of beers and felt Veronica's pulse like a concerned nurse,she told him,with affection,to piss off,and put her arms on the table and her head in to them. Bloody Hell ay!?said Trish,pulling her hair into a ponytail. Yer not wrong!murmered Veronica,picking herself up and sitting back with the suprised glaze of the just woken.

What have you guy's been doing? The girl's smiled and laughed in solidarity. WALKING!,Trish spat,laughing,WALKING AND WALKING AND FUCKIN' WALKING! IT'S YOUR FAULT YER BASTARD!laughed Veronica. YEAH!!Trish screamed at me with urgent recall. Remember that track you told us about,Veronica began,normal voice regained,That one you guy's saw when you where pissing about with Heidi looking for crabs or whatever the fuck it was. Down near the ferry,Trish offered, Yeah,My god that goes right up to the,umm,the top of the Island thingy,the really high bit. No dear,Trish said patting my hand,It goes around it. My god,you did'nt! When did we start Trish? Six? Yeah,I reckon that's about right. So what are you teling me here?That you've,you've walked around this fucker,you've actually walked around it? Yup. You betcha. Fuckin'Hell! So I reckon next one's on you ay. You,walked, around the Island,that's fucking incredible! Yeah,Trish considered,the lip of the bottle resting on her's. Is it pretty around the other side? Yeah,Veronica nodded,more touristy of couse,but,you know,she pointed around with her eyes,nice. Trish put a tape on and we ordered some food,my appetite was sporatic and it was good to catch it ravenous in the company of others,I had another larp and licked the plate. Where's your girlfriend? Dunno,off with Erik and Heidi I guess.

I like them,they seem nice. They are,They're lovely. Yeah,they seem it. Erik's hilarious,he freaks me out. Really! Fuck Yeah!Remember when he lost it in the...? Ohh,you guy's were'nt there where you? Anyway yeah he's fuckin' funny. A card. Sorry? A card,he's a bit of a card. Yeah,YEAH,definitely, Like you know who ay Ron,Trish teased. Fuck off why don't yer!Veronica returned, Ooohhhh,RonnyRonnyRonny,hit a bit of live one did I?Trish gloated. Yer fuckin' slag,yer promised me yer would'nt go on about it! For fuck's sake just give 'Ima ring,there's a phone by the fuckin' kitchen,magicman will even dial the number,wont you Pettle? Trish grabbed his belt as he was walking away,he was hanging around so I ordered a bottle of champaign. Fuckin' 'ell Trish you can be a right fuckin' bag sometimes, C'mon Ronny,give 'ima ring, NO,ALRIGHT,NO,NO,NO,FUCKIN' NO,LET 'IM FUCKIN' GO AND FUCKIN' DROP IT PLEASE. Magicman was released,Veronica fumed. Ron? Trish's voice a mother's gentle hand dabbing Dettol on a skun knee,why don't you ring him ay? 'cause 'es a basterd. Pressing harder now,scrubbing the scab, Ron!? IF YOU LIKE HIM SO MUCH WHY DON'T YOU FUCKIN' RING!HE'S A FUCKIN' BASTERD

CUNT BASTERD AND HE'S A FUCKED UP WASTE OF TIME AND I HATE 'IM,OHH HE'D LOVE THAT!YOU RINGIN'UP,HE'D BE ON THE OTHER FUCKIN' END CRYING, MAKING YOU FEEL SORRY FOR HIM, AND JERKING OFF AS SOON AS HE GOT OFF THE FUCKIN' PHONE,HE'S ALWAYS WANTED TO FUCK YOU!TRISH HAS GOT SUCH A NICE BODY,TRISH HAS GOT GREAT LEGS,TRISH HAS GOT GREAT TIT'S,TRISH IS SO MUCH FUN,MEANWHILE I'M PAYING FOR HIS DRINKS AND DOING HIS TAX AND BEING BORED SHITLESS BY HIS FUCKIN' SHITHEAD MOTHER AND GOING TO WORK WITH FUCKIN' TEARS ON MY FACE BECAUSE HE'S SPENT MOST OF THE FUCKIN' NIGHT TELLING ME THAT I'M FUCKIN' WORTHLESS ,AND DON'T UNDERSTAND, THEN HE CRAWLS INTO BED STINKING AND WAKES ME UP A COUPLE OF HOURS BEFORE I HAVE TO GET UP, FUCKS ME PATHETICALLY WHEN HE CAN GET IT TOGETHER ENOUGH TO BEGIN AND THEN BLAMES ME FOR NOT BIENG SEXY ENOUGH.I'M THE BAG FROM HELL APPARENTLY,AND YOU MEET HIM A FEW TIMES OFF FUCKIN' YOUR FACE AND THINK HE'S THE BEE'S FUCKIN' KNEES,I THINK YOU SHOULD RING HIM TRISH,I REALLY FUCKIN' DO! IF YOUR THAT FUCKIN' STUPID YOU FUCKIN' DESERVE EACHOTHER!!! Fueled by this diatribe Veronica rocketed back to the cabin and slammed the door,the tape was'nt turned off but the volume dropped considerably.Magicman placed a bottle of Verve Coquote and two glasses on the table. Sooo,do you have a boyfriend? I asked,filling Trish's glass. She rolled her eyes,and smiled,and frowned,all at the same time. Well,she started,taking a sip,I was seeing this Lad before We left,Stewart,we used to work together ,got on really well and that,but he got the sack for being late all the time,anyway we kept in contact,he got a job in this fancy Italian place round the corner so we'd meet up between splits and after work in this little pub we both liked,The Dover Castle.We'd have a go on the pool table,we're both shit at it,but we'd have a laugh anyway playing doubles with these really serious old blokes who where mad for it,you know the ones,have their own cues in a little black case tucked under the arm.They'd always end up getting furious 'cause we where just pissing about,you know,just doin' it for a laugh like I said.This one old bugger tried to kill Stew once!He spilt a pint on the table,fair enough actually cause you not even supposed to have drinks near the table,but bloody Stew just wabbled up for his shot with it still in his hand and spilt it straight on reaching for the cue from this guy,forgot it was even in his bloody hand!Stew's apologising like mad and this bloke's chasing him around the table trying to grab his head.

He's a dead mad Talking heads fan,I don't mind them but Stew bloody loves them.You know that one of their's where the singer's in glasses all wobbly in front of that big T.V screen? Anyway,what ever it is it was on the dukebox and he'd play it all the time,sometimes two or three times in a row,now that really pissed people off,especially other lads who where waiting to put in a few songs.I amazed he was'nt giving a hiding sometimes,it's almost as if he wanted one the way he'd carry on. Anyway we where mates for ages and then it just sort of happened,he was dead keen on this waitress for awhile, and I was sort of seeing this other lad,nothing serious,but we ended up snogging one night and it just,sort of,carried on from there. It's a bugger actually because Ron and I had already decided we where off and I really liked him,it's always the way isn't it?I've had loads of people tell me that .They've saved up and bought their ticket,you know,off to see the world,fuck off work,have adventure and romance and all that,and then meet someone just before they leave who they want to be with.You know like when you've been waiting for a bus for ages

and light your last fag right when it comes around the bloody corner, It's fucked hey?! We sat and stared at the sea. Hey look at this,Trish pulled something out her pocket but it fell between the cracks in the table. What was it? Ah,does'nt matter,she said looking for it in the shadows,fuck it,I'll get it later. That night we all went to the Reggue bar.Like a lot of things in this place bent out of shape,as it was neither a bar or had anything to do with Reggue.It was a ritzy place with quaint touches of the jungle.Bamboo torches and Shiny black idol's on the walls,coconut fibre furniture and carved stone frogs amidst the cool expensive space of an international hotel foyer,or a large country club,which the reggue bar was during the day. We traipsed in,barefoot,drunk,and where shown to our table by a semi-naked native who picked Trish up when she slid in Veronica's splatter of vomit with the dittachment he emptied an ashtray.The place was full of Lunatics.Travellers from all over the civilised world skidding over euphoric ice,Arms and beers and hair all whirling in rythum to the music blasting towards the beach. The dancefloor jutted out over the sand.You could walk from the bar to the end of it and fall happy and bewildered into the black glossy water below.No one did though,which is just as well,because the surface lapping around the poles like innocent calftongues belied a hungry undercurrent,and your quickly realised screames for survival would not be heard above the music.They would ring in your ears in the tropical night,before the first big gulp of saltwater shocked you into silence. The glasses where cool,they where shaped like monkey's head's.I went to the effort of stealing one only to drop it on the way out when we left.We moved from table to dancefloor in sweaty panting waves.Except the Isreali girls,who had found an American early on and shadowed his one man Howareya! tour from bar to table to table like dark angels wings,and Nigel.I saw him head towards the dancefloor,I saw him come back,but I never saw him on it.He'd be next to me as we headed up,chatting away,the light's tracing the floor,the smoke sweet in the mouth,and then turn your head,he was gone. Also he did'nt sweat,it was like a fucking furnace in that place,the rest of us where dripping,but Nigel was as dry a lizzard on a log. Iv'e got a photo of us somewhere,there's Veronica lighting the wrong end of a cigarette,my girlfriend sitting next to her biting Heidi's cheek.Heidi's eyes screwed up laughing behind her glasses,Trish sitting next to her,her face beaded with sweat and grinning slyly at the camera,that's my favorite photo of Trish.Erik,as always,his big face beaming right in the middle of it,and then in the corner there's me collapsed in Nigel's lap,his hand sort of touching my head .I was wearing a light green shirt but it looks purple with sweat,I look like Iv'e just fallen fully clothed out of the shower,and there's Nigel,smiling his Nigel smile.His dry firm handshake or punch in the gut smile.His tea and crumpet or Tequila and dopecake smile.His meeting Mrs.Hodges from the canteen or meeting Satan smile.His hello to the cleaning ladies as he leaves the office or greeting police at the scene of a murder smile. The next day we and the Norwegians,and a Canadian couple Heidi had found wandering about,ferried to the next big Island for a week long Trek.The heat,height,humidity,and nicotine habits make a lot of the journey a battle against the blood pounding in our heads.We where rewarded with merciful valleys and kind flat stretches.Upwards the jungle was sharp and

spiteful,a landscape authored by an oxygen mean stranger who dug pencils all around us to rub it in,downwards it was a tapestry of gentle beauty.

I bathed one morning next to a buffalo in a stream.It sucked at the water and poured a bucket of piss into it.It looked at me for awhile and then wandered off. We ate fish the guide caught outside a hut,dangling our wrinkled white feet in the setting sun,watching the farmer's walk home behind their bullocks. A villager grinned good morning to me as he and his wife cooked big black beetles on the coals of our campfire. He was squashing the heads with his thumb and tossing them on,they hummed and popped and a thick white liquid,like glue,fizzed out the broken head and bum.His wife was handing them to him,two,three at a time,from a sauspan between her legs.I could hear them crawling over eachother,a dry scratchy russle.One of the bugs fell free during the exchange and trashed it's legs into the soft sand towards me,for all it's labour it's progress was slow and the woman watched it for a moment and then looked at me,I smiled,she smiled back and went on with her business.I sipped my coffee and watched the bug,it bobbed over the sand with the fury of a rescue team paddling out to save someone drowning.It looked like a slatter,but bigger and fatter.It was now within kicking distance,it's energies where directed west of my foot.I was taken by it's willpower.It was heading away from death with every nerve in it's beetle body.My coffee was o.k,it was hot enough but a bit too sweet.It looked prehistoric,probably was,like crocodiles.It had stumpy little feeler things on it's face that shot around smelling the air.I wondered what it planned to do next,had it survived,when this madness was safely behind it and it was nibbling hungrily on a blade of grass somewhere .Start a new life,grow a little beetle beard and find new friend's,rediscover love and have new children scampering over it's shell,wake up sweating. If you've ever kicked an Australian Rules football from an onground position you'll appreciate the importance of dipping the toe as you contact the ball to achieve maximum tragectory,digging into it,like a crowbar. The force administered will dictate how far and high the ball will travel.With practice you can kiss the damn thing in a graceful arc that plants it right where you envisioned it landing.With enough sand between us to appropriate the wieght I landed it right in the centre of the coals. The mosquito's in this region where a subject of grave concern.They carried in their invisable buzzing zig zag's the legacy of death by a single bite.Nonesence of course,because every one got bitten not once but numerous times and all parties are,are far as I know,still very much alive.Gavin,the Canadian guy,touched at the red lump in the middle of his forehead one morning,like a painfully emerging third eye and said God,I did'nt know,like,there was even blood there. Only one thing would deter the would be murderer's.Not the citrus scented super strength sticky shit we waxed up with religiously morning and night ,it was grape water to these vampires.It was a cheap local whiskey.Mixed with lot's of Ice and coke it was quite palatable,the locals drank it neat,I assume they where immune to it's after effects.A feeling for the first half of the next day that you where moving in slow motion,and that the world was a film you'd stumbled into.I brought a bottle back to Australia and it was impounded by custom's as not fit for human consumption.It contained anti freeze apparently,and a host of other solutions more usually associated with the

paint and textile industry than a beverage.Anyway the mozzies hated the smell of it in your skin,a balm encouraged and endorsed by our guide,and we remained,after two itchy days,feeling for the rest of the time somewhat odd,but unbitten. Our guide was a short muscly guy who's name I can't remember.He was in his early twenties with the long hair of his trade tied back in a pony tail,the pimples of adolescence had'nt quite left him yet and he laughed and smiled with the easy humour of a free young man.He regailed us with unashamed brags about women on previous treks touched by this very quality.He was seriously in Love with Samantha from Texas,but he was also seriously in love with Agetha from sweden,what was he to do though? because his heart belonged to Francis from,yes,Australia!Perhaps we would meet her when we went back home?Here's a photo of us in the capitol,her father is a doctor,oh wait,this is the wrong photo,this is Jenny,that's o.k. He was originally from the North but came down to the Island's to distance himself from the narcotic fog through which he and his fellow guides trekked day after day in the major opuim poppy producing place on earth.Everyday a new face wanting a taste of a life they could sit back from unscathed back home in the low candle safe debauchee atmosphere of after dinner drinks and impress guests with what hellsdoor character's they where.Meanwhile the boy's returned to their villages and made soup for their Opium smoking Grandfather's,grinning skeleton's who would'nt give a fuck if you lopped off one of their arms,and ran around finding the five cattle he had left, bells clanking in tall grass beside the tracks or on neibours land, hide hanging off bone,milk or meat an appirition now,chicken's picking at their own feaces on the table.With the cows fed and watered, and a blanket layed over the oldman's dreams,the boy's would settle beside them infront of the fire and shoot up. He and his friend where on a three day trek with a group of Spanish Student's.They where going to the capitol together afterwards for a holiday from holiday's,get a room together in a guesthouse,shoot heroin,get prostitutes,drink whiskey,go to the Texas Steak bar and sing along to Hotel California with the cover band,do it all again and then have have a final hit before registering at the hospital the name of which was as familiar and mysterious to them as Santa Claus. They broke up camp on the second day,it was an easy gig,had to be, as several of the Spaniards where asmatic.A bit of a climb on the first day until they got to the falls and then flat to the base of the mountain and downhill all the way back,by themselves they could do the whole thing in a day,so it was like walking a little dog.The Spaniards headed towards the mist in two lines on either side of the track while our quide and his friend pulled up the rear,the countryside was magnificent and the Spaniards drank everything in with the slow measured gait of feet creaking on the floor of an art gallery.Up ahead the track forked off,a dirt coloured T cut into the jungle.Left took you round the base and swung back in sharp descent,following the contours of a landslide.Right went up, and up ,and up.The Spaniards could,nt see it yet but our guide and his friend knew it was,at their rate,roughly half an hour away.It would be neccassary to take the lead when they turned left as the ground got prickly on the shoulder and someone inexperienced could slip quite easily through what looked like solid track and break their legs on the rocks below the flimsy sheets of dried mud and vegatable matter washed down by the rains.His friend told him he had to take a shit,you take them around the turn and I'll catch up. The Spaniards sat around the campfire that night,Seventeen year old's with black crystal eyes,singing and dancing and playing guitar,clapping and whooping,drunk on bottles of stolen wine pulled from backpacks with the amazement and delight of watching cow's being born.Feet kicking sand into the fire,cigarettes in a pincushion of dark young faces. Our guide left them at breakfast,his friend must have got lost,he found him slumped behind a tree with his backpack still on,the relief they where going to share hanging empty from his arm.

We mopped up his delicious juices with bread he baked in the fire.He gathered his kitchen and took it down to the river and propped it against some rocks to be washed by the sand and running water during the night.He returned and sat with us and winked and smiled.We where sprawled around a fire in the middle of a hut,flavour and alcohol pinning us to the floor in a tableau of Roman satiation.The roof was open over the fireplace and you could see stars winking through the smoke.An oldwoman sitting in the corner got up and teetered over to the guide and whispered something in his ear,brushing his hair where her spliff made it smoulder as she leaned over,and then returned to her own little fire and carefully positioned herself on her pillow and stirred the pot of beetles and coconut milk infront of her.The guide looked over his shoulder and said something to her and she rocked forward hissing a laugh through missing teeth like a sprinkler on a school oval. He'll be with us shortly,the guide said. We where in another village.Trek for the day,stop for lunch,and then see the tobacco leaved rooves as night fell with dry mouth's .In we'd go,waving to the oldwomen in the fields,welcome guest's of the village elder. There where no children in these villages,no one under what looked like about a thousand years old.The fences and hut's quickly became silloutes in the fading light,black crayon scrawls on a sheet of ember red paper.Big black pig's where chained to the posts supporting some of the huts,lying on their sides breathing heavily into the fine grey dust.The only things that moved where the animals.Dog's and chickens scratching around,the pigs sides rising and falling,looking in shadow like tethered lungs.There was the occassional goat,it would look up at you for a few second's,those wierd broken looking pupils all over the place,and then return to nibbling at something only it could see in the dirt.The cattle would always freeze when they saw us,it became a game to take a sudden step forward whistling and clapping to watch the clumsy coriography of their retreat. The oldmen and women,sitting outside,it was as though an anti cerfew was in place,these people never seemed to venture into their homes unless it was to sleep,sipped tea from from small white ceramic cup's,and pulled on joint's that would have killed Bob Marley.They payed no attention to our arrival,groups like ours where as dependable an occurence as church bell's waking you up on a sunday morning,but Erik would bellow HELLO! in the native tongue and wave his big hands at them,they would nod and smile and wave back,and occassionally cackle. The fire farted and a cinder landed on heidi's leg.Oww!she said,rubbing her calf.Erik rubbed it too,and then touched her cheek and kissed the tip of her nose. The Village Elder would generally join us around now,just after dinner.The mouth would still be burning pleasantly and a very oldman would totter from behind a curtain,having finished his own meal,prepared by the oldwoman.We would stand and bow,and he would bow back and then he would join us,sitting next to the guide.He would be a skeleton draped with fillo pastry skin,protected from the brisk breeze of our curious eyes by an orange garb privacy position and religion dictated.Talking through the guide he would welcome us and then mumble off into something about time being like a river,it was either like a river or like the sun,it was on one occassion apparently like the moon relfected in a glass of whiskey,this particular Elder did'nt stick around too long. After the story we where invited to ask of him for spears of wisdom.By this stage we where usually too drunk and or stoned to want to know anything,Erik asked one if the bicycle was the most perfect thing on earth?but that was about it. Infact we'd want to tell him a few things.He would sit there smiling as we chattered and laughed around him,smoking pot and drinking like

there was no tomorrow,I seem to recall offering one a cigarette at one stage.He would sit there surrounded by stories of people he would never meet in voices he did'nt understand and situation's as close,in our memories,as he was to falling asleep again in his little room behind the curtain.They usually dissappeared before we'd even noticed. The oldwoman crawled over to the guide,cackling hysterically,she whispered in his ear again and then returned to her cushion,rubbing ash on her feet. He will be here shortly,the guide reported,the last drag on his Malboro stinging his eyes. My companions faces where tired and happy in the firelight.We smoked and talked and drank,all the Hill Tribes had western spirit's set aside for western traveller's,it was an unspoken part of the package.We prefered the local brew,you can drink Canadian club anywhere.The oldwoman watched us from the corner,grinning as if relieved after a false alarm,and then rollercoasting into some private hilarity,beating the floor with her hands and bouncing on her leg's with the fervour of an animal on the dawn of an earthquake.Erik motioned for her to join us several times ,she mimicked his loping gestures and hissed with amusement,a snake throated toddler at the zoo excited by a suddenly hyperactive babboon. The Canadian's met at uni. in Vancouver.Gavin was studying theatre design,Adrienne,photography.Gavin's mother was chinese,he had spiky black hair and an athletic physique.Adrienne's small boyish head seemed amiss atop her longlimbed big breasted body until you got used to it. They'd been living together for what?I guess it would be two years now.It's a little place,I guess you'd call it kinda dumpy.Yeah!Like when's clean demon going to fix the fuckin'heating,that's what we call our landlord,his names Klint Dennon,can you believe it!? He's an asshole.It's O.K I guess,it's close to school and everything,and there's a room Ade can play with her stuff.Yeah that's good,hey remember that first dump we moved in to,Prince Charles Avenue?How bad was that place!It was like,a fuckin' matchbox.I had all my gear in our bedroom and Gav would be trying to sleep,I mean the guy was bushed,workin'his butt off in this Burger place at night and going to school during the day,and I'm like,floodlighting the room,takin photo's of a bowl of banana's! I got this friend Alison o.k,and she's like,crazy.I love her an'all,but she just does stupid stuff,like,all the time.There's a friend of ours,Kathrine,and these guy's hang together.Ali,Kath,Tom,Jen,Tony,the hairbroker,Sam,I don't see 'em so much anymore cause of work and stuff but there like,you know,a close gang,all went to school together and stuff.Anyway they're at a party and it's late and they're all sitting around this table all fucked up and Tom,Kathrine's boyfriend,asks her if it's cool for Ali to go down on him!This is Ali right,she get's herself into this sorta shit without fail.You gotta know her though,I mean she's lovely,you'd love her!but she's got this intense sorta needing to prove something kinda thing about her,and when she drinks it just fuckin' explodes.We where lined up outside a club once and it was real cold,Ali marched up to the doorguy and started yellin'at him that he was motherfucker and stuff and punched him,shit like that.Anyway conversation had turned to prostitution and Ali said she'd suck any guy's dick for fifty bucks.Of course Tom,being Tom,also with a point to fuckin'prove,pulls out a fifty and say's O.k,let's go.The whole thing's like a fuckin'debate,and of course Ali won't back down.They're both askin Kath if it's o.k,you know,like she's they're mom and they wanna buy candy.Kath's cool with the whole thing,see's the logic or whatever pissed out of her brain,and say's sure.So Ali and Tom go into the bathroom and she actually sucked him off!They could hear 'em right next to them in the fuckin'bathroom,Tony said it was horrible,went on for ages,and when Ali gagged it was like, the ugliest sound on earth.They come out and everyone's real quiet and Kath goes like,mental at both of them.Screaming at Tom that he's a slimebag,which he is,I mean he really fuckin' is,Iv'e never liked him,he's so SLIMY!I can't believe Ali could actually do it for a

bet let alone Kath do it volantarilly.He's horrible,I mean he's not ugly to look at and he's got an o.k body and all but his personality is revolting,he's so full of himself,think's he's Noel Coward and believe me,he's not.Ali get's the I thought we where friends blast and things are'nt so fun around the table anymore.The hairbroker put's on another c.d and the night continues uncomfortably for awhile,people don't know where to look or what to say,downin'wine big time and talkin shit like it never happened.After awhile everyone's all relaxed again,Tom's strokin' Kath's hair and stuff and she's laughin',thank god Sam was there,he does'nt give a shit about anything.He's a great guy an'all but nothing bother's him.I mean you could be at his place with a dead feotus in your hands and he'd hug you and throw it in the trash and hang you a bong over his shoulder lookin' for his pantera c.d.Ali's talkin' to Jen about her new job with a video production company,her first big job and how she think's she fucked it up.It was a corperate video for a mining company or something,they'd got Trevor Bower's for the voice over.I know you guy's don't know who the fuck I'm talkin' about but back home he's like,a minor television god.He reads the evening news,does telethons and ads. and shit.His fuckin' mostache follows you everywhere on the back of buses,he's in the weekend paper's looking up at you in bed,smilin' an huggin' his wife like he just won her in a popularity lottery.When they had a kid it was hoisted around like a fuckin' Emmy wrapped in diaper's. So they're on set and Trevor tell's Alison that he'd like a cup of coffee if she's heading that way.She's bashing at the machine,the light's on and everything but nothing's coming out.She figures it's empty and there's a container on the sink,so she figures it's distilled water or special fuckin' coffee machine water or whatever and pours it in.She runs back and hand's Trevor his coffee and it's like, o.k boy's and girls,on the count, three, two ,one,and Trev's face minces up and he's yellin'to cut. Ali had poured Metho.into the goddam coffeemachine!The editor had it out to clean the fuckin'tape heads.Ol'Trev is like, seriously pissed off.He's yellin' at Jason,the director ,that he was trying to poison him!Calling 'em a pack of amateurs,imbesiles,that sorta stuff.It was sorta the straw that broke the camel's back 'cause Jase and Trevor kinda hated eachother anyway.A coupla years before Jase was drunk at their Christmas do and did an impersonation of Trevor that was kinda unflattering .They've got this dog,Trevor and his wife,a big German shepard called Jake.Trevor like seriously loves this fuckin' dog!between the sports and the weather Trevor and the other guy,fuckin',Stoan ,what's his name?Troussard.Yeah,Stoan Troussard!they have this little chatty bit,you know,to kinda remind you that they where fuckin' human after all the bad shit they'd read,and Trevor's alway's talking about his fuckin' dog,they're both fuckin' sitting back,fuckin' slurpin'coffee out of the big fuckin' white mug's with the fuckin' C.N.N rainbow,and Trevor's fuckin' goin' on about how Jake licked him when he came home,how Jake's sheen is effected by the change of the fuckin' seasons,all sortsa shit,when they had the fuckin' kid it became ,like,a double act.I took Jake and Tabitha to the Beach. Tabitha's got the measles right now,but hey,I'm sure ol'Jakes lookin'after her.If you watched it not knowing Jake was a fuckin'dog I swear you'd figure he was talking about an older brother or something,helping her out with homework and shit.Anyway Jase kinda' suggested,well,barked really, on this video,these guy's shoot their own show's all the time,that Trevor's Wife kinda preferred Jake's attention's to his own.It's kinda' funny,you know,in a kooky sorta way,Kinda Monty Python or whatever,everyone's got a copy of it.Trouble is so has Ol' Trevor .Fuck it would have pissed him off!I mean like imagine him like, sitting there,you know,like,pattin Ol' Jake,kissin' him and shit and then Jase is in his face out of the fuckin' blue,humping Jake like a Demon. So He's yellin' and callin' everyone idiot's an'all,Jase kinda looses his cool and tell's him to grow up.Wooh! Trevor slams down his headphones and walks off set,and we're talkin',like, three hundred dollar's an hour here.Jase is,like,furious,he calmed down though,Trevor I mean,and they finished the thing.but boy how peeved was Jase with Ali.She finishes it by yellin'hey!Lucky I was fuckin'the guy,she's got the fifty in her fuckin' hand mind you,rollin' it between her finger's and shit and it all kinda set Kath off again. and this time she's really goin' for it,I mean,like,even Sam was

lookin'worried!She's cryin' an shit,so is Ali,Tom aswell, like,even Tom,I mean that slimebag never cries,oh man,I'm glad I was'nt there! We laughed and sighed, and groaned and stretched. Where's the fuckin' oldman then!?I quizzed with,what I thought,was humourous gruffness.You should not be so impatient,Erik whispered,kissing the arse of his jellyfish cloud of dope,remember we are guests here and the elder's are precious gifts.I would not enter your home and demand your Grandfather appear before me for my entertainment when it suited me,I would appreciate his company if he wanted to share it, certainly,but I would'nt be so rude as to demand his presence ,We are not belching barbarian's are we?No,so,let the oldman take his time,we are lucky that he even graces us with his treasures,infact we are Vampires,we are sucking at a life that does'nt belong to us.Adrienne,with a tired hand,threw an empty beerbottle into the fire.Erik your fulla shit,I know,Erik nodded enthusiastically,but I like the feeling of the words,they feel nice in my mouth,they feel good,you know,a nice wieght. The oldwoman crawled over again and whispered in the guides ear.The guide nodded and brushed the ash off his jean's and quickly came to life,he motioned for us all to stand ,beside the fire and activated he looked about thirteen years old,an innocent dew softening his eyes as the oldman padded like a mummy from behind the curtain.The Norwegian's made it,the standing up bit I'm talking about,Gav gave it a go,wobbling on ascent but finally balanced,Adrienne and us did'nt even bother, we knew ,by the tingles around our knees, that our trajectory was fucked. He nodded anyway,sitting or standing,it did'nt really matter. He smelt nice,that much I remember,a woodchippy sort of smell,a clean citrusy sort of smell,but it was more a perfume than engrained,it was light and fruity ,it wafted rather than reeked.He looked and smelled as if your breath would make him dissappear,like Dandellion hair.He started that life is three river's meeting shit and we got tired of the whole thing.He's crapping on,naked beauty on this one,black horrible shit on the other,wierd half man goat bullshit inbetween,the local shit had run out,Ade's and Gav and the Norwegians and my girlfriend where snoring in our pile of sleepingbag's. I was on Mar's as far as I was concerned.The guide speak's to the Oldwoman and hugs me,the oldman is collapsed on top of himself,a crumpled bag of bones,the oldwoman staggers on her knee's up to us with a bottle of thick black shit that is like drinking lava, each burning swig punching holes in the roof of my sanity.I wake up in the oldman's cubbyhole,thrashing off dreams of wooden masks,vomit all over everything,sweaty and ready for the day. Trish and Veronica where around the table when we got back.Veronica was reading a Q,number 73,with R.E.M on the cover,Trish was painting her toenails.My girlfriend and I joined them for some lunch,the Norwegian's pleaded fatique and went for a siesta.How was it then?Veronica enquired.Yeah,really good,I said,ordered ,in my exact words to magicman,a fucking huge plate of larp,some steamed rice,lot's o'rice,a bowl of Tom Yum,umm,a bottle of champagne,no,a beer,naa,fuck it,both.No,yeah it was was really interesting,I continued.We where nearly fuckin' killed by a herd of elephant's,have you ever heard one of those thing's trumpet in close proximity?It's loud enough to kill a fucking dog. I have neglected to report this rather harrowing adventure beforehand.We where on a bamboo raft our guide had lashed together and travelling shallow semi rapids between two villages,the semi rapids rapidly became rapid rapids when we entered a normally padestrian waterway due to unusually high rainfall for that time of year.Our guide neverless negosiated the freaky chocolate brown rush with strained but calm precision.We reached a speed that clenched smiles on all our faces.The traffic was heavy,torn pieces of earth,chunks of trees,like dead bodies,racing along beside us,and then we saw them.

Iv'e only ever faced the very real possibility of death twice.The unexpected,I can't believe this is happening,surreal,but very clear,urgent telephone call to the heavens.The connection with God's answering machine and the garbled message of what the fuck is going on here!I think you've got me confused with someone else.And they've both involved water,Once when I was washed off the breaker's at Granite island on a scout camp,and now,speeding towards a convoy of slowmoving,fourlegged semi-trailer's.The elaphant's where wading in single file,seemingly oblivious to the urgency of time and distance,heavy sacks of steel skin as ignorant to the impending disaster as we where consumed by it.At our rate hitting a bar of soap would prove fatal,I'm suprised I had room for imagination,the readying for impact should have been enough,but at light speed I considered impact,what else can you equate it to but a really hard punch in the face,when you came off your bicycle that time,when your brother accidently smashed you in the face with a cricket bat,when you licked marmalade off a live wire,when you sniffed the Ammonia concentrate you where told not to.And I married it to being squashed,cat's I'd seen beside the road with blue gut's hanging out,bug's I'd crushed,wiping the sticky mess off my boot,snail's mashed,catipillar's pummeled,mice crushed in half,grapes squeezed until a tear of juice trickled over the thumb from a split skin. The guide broke up the raft within the shadow of their bellies .He employed every muscle in his body to dig the pole at right angles to his shoulder's Olyimpian efforts, and the raft swirled around,the lazy knots dissolving in a whirlpool of Quik,only now did the Elaphant's hurry on,a little,a tail caught the back of my head as I swam to shore. The Girls 'ave scarp'ed ay!Trish reported. The Isreali's? Yeah,left yesterday, Fuck! did you ever look in their cabin? No,Veronica said with distancing flatness. Why would we want to go snooping about in their cabin?Trish Questioned,after an abrupt and uncomfortable lull. Like goin' through someone's knicker drawer ay Ron? That's right,neither of them where looking at me,they conversed between themselves attending to magazine reading and toenail painting. Remember Sarah Bradfield? Yeah, Er' Brother done that. Wha'? Went fro' some girl's knicker drawer,at a party,er' boyfriend caught Im'. Dirty littl' bugger. Yeah,had the shit knocked out of 'Im 'nuall.

Serves 'Im right,little perver'. That's whu' I reckon. So whu' was it like then 'ay?the timbre of Trishs' voice altering a fraction to direct the question to me without looking up,a Principle telling you to sit down without looking up from his paper's, Was I' al', sexy ay? A definite hiss on the s,Al' sexy an'wet an' naked? Ave' a bit o'a sniff aroun'didya?Veronica had joined in.I was in an Episode of the Bill,a right geezer nicked and being interregated. No!Fucking hell,listen,they had a,oh yeah this was going to sound really convincing,a,sort of temple,no,the whole,room,the whole place was decked out!The whole room was like a fucking shrine!A Voodoo Shrine dedicated to America!My god! It was incredible! It was as though I was'nt there,Trish ,Veronica and my girlfriend maintained the attitude of waiting for a bus,my company was tolerated,a can collecting stranger sitting next to them in a public place.I thought about showing them the E.T I had stolen,it was back in our cabin somewhere,probably in the pocket on my backpack,but my self confidence was lashed to pieces by the silent accusation.A voyeur AND a thief.A single item of evidence is not a case.Trish or Veronica missplace a toothbrush,or god forbid,a bra or their Med's and up I'll crop,a deformed,twisted,blackened head of corn bearing my name.You can become a single act in other people's memory,a ghost loop in their mind's on constant repeat.I shared a house once with this guy and we used to put our rent money together on the table in the hallway every friday.This particular Friday I was short,so only his money was on the table,I was going camping with some friends that weekend and running late,the car was tooting outside and I was still traipsing around in a towel drying my hair.I rushed out putting my shirt on and fourty dollars blew in the wake off the table and fell behind it.It was one of those Op shop phone tables,a sixties number with solid wood against the wall,so the two twenty dollar's slept there unseen.I had a great time and came home feeling really good,eagar to spread goodwill.My housemate was cordial enough,but with an underlying suggestion that I was cancer on legs,It upset me,but I put to it down to Exam anxiety,or Girlfriend problem's,or Boyfriend problem's,he did'nt give a shit so neither did I.The next thursday we're both watching T.V and the air is ridiculously tense,each peal of laughter making us hate eachother more,I'm drinking cask red and mentally preparing for murder.My housemate is drinking aswell,he stands up infront of the television,his elbow against his hip,a sprayfire point waving in the air. You know last week when you ran off?Did you borrow some of the rent? No. Well,I put ninety on the table,and after you left there was only fifty left. What could I say?The Lochness monster was in the Bermuda triangle. He stood there for awhile,wavering,intense,and then collapsed back on the couch. It does'nt matter,he sighed. I was billious.We sat there watching the Intro. to The Golden girl's and I just had to leave.I was burning on the short walk to the Colanist,firm but Jellylike ,I'd been dropped off by a U.F.O,after a good probing,to carry on my way.

I got a pint and put haircut one hundred on the jukebox.Bad hair and arses swaggled around the pooltable.And then,an ephinany.I stumbled into our hallway and ripped the table aside.My housemate was asleep.I put the light on in his room,he blinked, skinny underpant shoulder's,seashell doona clutched to his breast.I rolled the money into a ball and threw it at his head. I was experiencing a similar feeling now. Look!Come and Look for yourselves!I said standing up,hoping the hum of my own blood in my ear's did'nt reveal itself,and marched toward's the cabin.I thought I'd sold it pretty well, and that they would follow,but the distance between us became a chasm and I trod up the steps alone.And it was fucking empty. The door was open and it was as bare as our's when we arrived.Their was'nt even a trace of bluetak on the walls. The emptiness was scarier than what I'd seen before,made it seem even stranger in such careful absence.I wondered if they had taken it all with them,like a travelling circus,or if was all mashed together somewhere nearby,covered with a thin layer of sand,or shoved up a hollow treetrunk. I sat on the step's and lit a cigarette.I could see the girl's up at the table.I wished I had a walkieTalkie so I could get Magicman to bring me down a beer.I sat there wondering what to do next when I looked across at Nigel's cabin.The door was open.A wide black ribbon of shadow lay between the door and the wall in the late afternoon sun. He was'nt around,I knew that,but he alway's locked his cabin,Always.It was like being a kid again,as I approached I grew rabbit ear's.Stocktaking the sound around me,to siefer anomalies within the safe.I judged distance,speed,routes of escape, and above all, alibi.I decided that if caught I was looking for a disposable razor.I rehearsed in the theatre of Liar's.It had a grain of truth,I was planning on shaving soon anyway,and in liar lore this is golden .A drop of mother's milk that can fuel an army of babies. The smell was sweet,his aftershave smell.The bed was made with hospital corner's.Apart from these touches the cabin remained untouched.No toothpaste,soap,shampoo,nothing.Not even a bottle of the fucking aftershave.No clothes,backpack,anything. There was one thing,on the bed.A fat packet of photographs.I flicked through them using the bottom of my T-shirt like cotton gloves.It was an encyclopedia of sunny smiles.The motherfucker had a snap of everyone that had stayed here. Face after face,hundred's of them.It occured to me that they might be in historical order and sure enough,going to the back of the pile there was Trish,I remember when it was taken,well,I recall the moment,but not Nigel taking a snapshot.I did'nt even know he had a camera.It was just before The Norwegian's and us took off,the afternoon of the day before we left.She's wearing that white shirt that she's wearing in my favorite photo of her and her sunglasses are pushed down her nose and she's looking over them,beestinging her lip's,pretending she's a movie star.I can remember the actual moment,the picture suspended here.We where talking about the Who and I said that Anne Margerat,who played the mum in the film of Tommy,was on Donahue and came across as being one severely fucked up individual.A desciple of the Elizabeth Taylor banevolent lipgloss reminisce foundation,old and wise,but hey! don't forget it,still a sassy broud and a sexy mamma.A good frown as old Donny probes,if your comfortable talking about this,your time at the Betty Ford Clinic.Anne measured her cooing drawl into breathy cluster's of what it's like to be a falling Angel.She did'nt fuck men either,or have human friends.She married God's and went to dinner parties studded with young brilliant soon to be God's.

I went on with a tirade against Hollywood,in midst of which Trish assumed the position.I remember it because her jesting pout at that moment,in innocent support of my cause,caught my eye in midflight ,darting from face to face spitting drunken Venom,and resonated in my groin when the storm was over.Erik was going on about his Town,the tree's,the shop's,the sidewalks,best storm drainage system in the world apparently,and,as sure as the sun rises every morning,bikes.They manifested on this occassion as being the most effective way of travelling from Heidi's parent's place to the post office.He'd timed it,eight minutes thirty five second's in the B.M.W.Heidi's mum drove the circuit with Erik considering the stopwatch for three day's,morning traffic,afternoon traffic,early evening traffic.He did the same trip by bike,again with his stopwatch,collated the data and came up with a mean avarage.Allowing for the fluxuating traffic it worked at roughly five minutes fourty seven seconds. We listened noddingly.Trish was in a good mood,she bounced on her hand's and threw her head back and laughed,her arm's whipped out and her hand's rolling on the end's of suddenly elegant limb's,her finger's long and straight,swirling in the smoke like acrobat's.The ache of desire radiated,the hot tight throb in my balls had suffused into my whole body. After her was Veronica,a big cheesy grin for the camera,Cheers!with a Japanese slipper,a big hunk of pineapple on the side.Heidi,smirking behind a book.Erik,wide eyed,wide toothed,giving a chisseled thumb's up.The Isreali girl's,one holding a chicken,the other one patting it.My girlfriend,her face shining in the sun,her eye's closed,her skin puckered with laughter. I heard the floor creak behind me,fuck it!I put the pile on the bed,It was pointless putting them back into the envelope,I'd been done,no need to cover tracks now.Nigel stood a step into his cabin with his arm's folded over his chest.I was back in the Principles office for the second time within the space of an hour.He stood there looking at me,I sat on his bed looking at him. It was during the second world war,he began,as if we where around the table.As if he was'nt standing there catching me tresspassing on his bed.Her Grandmother saw it in a jeweller's window.She was a teacher but the school was destroyed early on,it was three street's away from a railway yard,which was what they where after.Three hundred and ten fatalities.Two hundred and seventy five pupils,eight to eighteen,and thirty five teacher's .Two hundred and seventy actually pulled from the rubble,the remaining fourty dying in or on their way to hospital.She found employ with a shirtmaker through a friend of a friend.She attached the collar's and cuff's,double stitching them and cutting off the excess thread,for twelve hour's a day six day's a week.On her day off she allowed herself the luxury of a hot bath,and a hot cup of coffee and a slice of apple Strudel in a Coffeeshop.She noticed it for the first time after a month of walking past it.She continued to have her bath and order her coffee,but resisted the comfort of a steaming slice of strudel.Then she gave up the coffee's,and her monthly cinema excursion.She woke and collapsed into bed in darkness,every day.Paying for a sandwich only when her body screamed it's threats to send her insane if she did'nt. Her day's off now consisted of a piece of bread and a bowl of hot water with a dash of chicory essence she found in a bin misstakenly discarded as empty,and her , bath .After a year of living like this she entered the jeweller's shop.The man behind the counter assumed her drunk,or attacked,or both.She was fine and tall,of good stock,no doubt about that.Matching crocodile shoe's and handbag,a bit scuffed but no matter,the lipstick suggested it had been applied by an unsteady hand,and the hair in a same manner.She approached the counter.I would like to purchase a ring in your front window.The man behind the counter slid it on to her finger.He had to steady her trembles.She turned to the window to consider it,stretching her finger's,turning it in the light. He did'nt know what to do when she started crying. I had'nt moved,neither had he,save absently rubbing the band of the ring,like worry bead's,as he spoke.

There's a shoe shop in London,a quissicle thread entered his voice,have you ever been to London? Umm,when I was a kid,Eight or Nine,Six or Seven,I don't know.I remember standing at the gates of Buckingham Palace,but that's about it. Ahh,Tourist's,family on holiday where they? Not really,We lived there for a year or so,In England,I mean,Not London.With my grandmother,in Stoke. Nigel nodded,that smile on his face again.In the open air it was discomforting,within the confines of his cabin,blocking the door,it hit my insides like a drop of milk in lemonjuice. Leonard's,in Earl's Court.I was snooping about,half considering a pair of Broughe's that caught my eye,brown Leather,hand stitched,that sort of thing,when I saw it.She asked me If I wanted any help and I tried on four pair's just to get a better look.Well,I'd made up my mind.I bought the lot and asked her out to dinner.After sufficent wine and chit chat I held her hand's near the candle light to further consider my whim and found no evidence to waylay the enterprise.She moved in to my place the next Wednsday.We used my bed,she was on the pill,but I know a chap who's well into chemistry,he gave me this business,like milkpowder really,to put in her coffee.We'd been living together for about six month's when she tested herself.Sure enough one morning she come's screaming back onto the bed holding this strip of cardboard with a blue dot on it.I pretended to be as bewildered as she was,you know,but how!?,that sort of thing,explain's the naseau,blah blah blah.She was beside herself of course,poor thing,barely knew herself beside's giving birth to someone else.I held her and whispered comfort in her ear,she was heaving as if the world had collapsed.I knew abortion was out of the question.She had paraded enough Catholic guilt in her tipsy monologue's to ensure this fact like tank's positioned around a Monestary.I gave it some farmboy love.You know,whe're together forever now,that sort of business,and she fell asleep,eventually. She turned around,basic salesmanship,well,hell of a package really,so it more a less sold itself.She'd cried her way through her parent's divorce when she was ten,so I knew the prospect of a new family was a fairly safe bet. She phoned her mother,alot,unfortunately,because she'd want to speak to me afterwards.I pretended to be excited,pretended to be deeply in love,pretended to find swollen bellie's and distended niples endearing.It made me laugh though,because in the back of the drawer the whole time I had a sealed testtube of this shit,from my chemist friend,looked like rasberry cordial.We had a calender in our Kitchen,just beside the door,a tyre manufacture's that came in the mail.I put a biro dot on the date it was to be administered.It was pretty hairy,as in there was'nt alot of room for error and it was all pretty theoretical dateswise at this stage.It was a Wednsday as I recall.The colour was a bugger,I ended up putting it on icecream and slopping topping all over it. As promised it was stillborn. I quickly set about manufacturing myself into a mess.I cried alot in public.Did'nt shave,did'nt wash,hung around our haunt's in a dishevelled state,that sort of caper.It took longer than I expected for her to come back,and thank bloody god when she finally rocked up.The beard snooker crying bit was becoming very tedious.We sat at the bar,she could'nt stay long mind you,someone was waiting for her in a car.I had to cut to the chase.I squeezed my eye's shut until they where wet and then lurched into the torture. I did a pretty good job.Two year's practice so I'm not suprised.I lay enough guilt on her to sink a battleship and she ate every sobbing word,forgot about her lift and sat next to me for hour's.I

think the shaky hand bit was fairly effective,I sort of reached over to hold her hand every now and then .You know,a you've destroyed me but I still love you sort of pathetic gesture.Well,with so much suffering in the air,and I mean you could have cut off a chunk and carved a fucking bust out of it,it must of seemed like the only natural thing to do.She slipped it off and put it in my hand,kissed me on the cheek and left.I don't know about you but I get this really nasty rash under my chin when I shave sometimes,Dior do a balm that's not bad,but I think a handful of coldwater's as good as anything,closes the pores. My god. What? Have you got something better? Magicman was staggering towards the beach with toilet paper wrapped around his head pretending he was a mummy.The moon mistook the Bhudda for Atlas and sat on his head like a big platinum balloon.The air was spicy and infinite,if visable,the grains of sand would have been smiling.The table groaned with the yolk of a false Newyear's eve. Erik co-ordinated and compared a beautiful foot contest.Heidi's won,not unfairly,with Veronica's and my girlfriend's battling for second,Trish's a dissapointing third.Nigel's fourth,Erik's fifth,and I got a special mention in the oddities section.I dropped my lighter and it fell between the slat's.On my hand's and knee's in the sand under the table I found it,and what I was looking for aswell. I suggested it.If I heard that fucking tape again I might as well be in the fucking band.The girl's were'nt that keen,Nigel was on my side,Erik was up for it. Swimming on our feet in the moonlight we saw electric light ahead.We were'nt where we thought we where,a single globe weezing over a wooden porch.Her voice raised in welcome as we approached.We rambled into the light,dizzy Moth's creaking up the stair's and stumbling over the bendy wood in an Idiot clog dance.Erik managed to enquire if she knew how far away the Reggue bar was.She laughed and pointed in the other direction. I remember the smell of shrimp paste. The oldman was tucked between a Fridge and television in the corner,We introduced ourselves.He smiled and focused his attention back to the wheel spinning on the screen.We sat around the table.The radio was turned on,Hotel California,she closed a curtain between us and the oldman and chanteuse'd over,a bottle of the local Whiskey clunked in the centre of the table.She was seventeen,she advertised this before we where even sitting down.The evidence of domesticity cutting through her effort's to convince us that this was a very happening place,We where sitting in her kitchen in the dead of night but it was actually a very happening bar.She sat next to Erik and pulled on a cigarette. A game of card's happened,BlackJack?I knew how to play it then so maybe.She rubbed her leg against mine, stroked Erik's face,kissed Nigel's fingers,leant back,leant forward,the shadow's playing about her taut shoulder's and neck in lava lamp glimpses of muscle.A wading pool of shadows that begged the bottom to be touched. She laughed and smiled at everything we did and said.Nigel's cigarette fell from his slack lip's and burn't his hand,hilarious!Erik stumbling outside to throw up,magnificent!I said that she had a very pretty face,a triumphant masterpiece!We gambled with matchstick's,Nigel wanted to do it for real money but even through the soup of chemical's saturating my reality I resisted.A little mother's voice calling somewhere in the echoes,mabye hearing House of the Rising Sun too many times on the old reel to reel in the wood panelled lounge room.Nigel called me a pussy,Erik did'nt seem

bothered either way,he took another sip of Whiskey with the careful machination's of a scientist on the verge of a great discovery. She reminded me of a girl I used to go to school with,don't know why really because she looked nothing like her.Mabye it was the way her head lay on her hand,Donna used to do that in Chemistry,the same far away eyes,a clear bright brown glaze that flashed a decoy of attention when her dreams where interupted. She did'nt play,but she hung off our shoulder's in a suitable fashion.As the fashion was turning into a Saloon bar in a Kenny Roger's fantasy.We where frontier men,sweaty smokin' stranger's,drinkin' and cussin',playin' card's in a hotbox three horses from nowhere,actually the night outside was lovely, warm sheet's of Mar's breathing over land and skin. SuperTramp,R.I.O SpeedWagon,Foriegner,Toto,Chicago,Nelson,Air Supply. Nigel was pissing out the window, This cunt gave me a ticket,belch,I was what?Two fuckin'minutes in an' out o' fuckin' 'Arrod's and this lit'l cunt's by the Merc. I 'ad a friend with me 'ow wante'soort'it owtt,littl' cunt start's cryin' don't he.Fuckin floppin all over the place! E's 'nokkin 'is 'ead against the fuckin gutter like a fuckin' ead' banger!'E's bleedin' an'thaat so we ge''Im in the car an' try an' sort it out.Fuckin' cunt's mad,in'E!Fuckin'babblin an'spittin' on the leather.E' calm's down,after fuckin'ages,an'goes fuckin'on'an'on like a fuckin' record. William Travester,Willy he prefered,had a sister called Sally.She was four years younger than him,his only sibling,and retarded from birth,the result of the umbilical cord strangling her during her delivery.The doctor's told them that when she reached the age of six,that would be about it,mentally,for the rest of her life. Willy loved his little sister with the depth that affection and protection dive,smiling and holding her hand while she giggled at the shop's,his eyes alway's,so often it became unconscious,darting from turret to turret to keep at bay the curiosity of stranger's while she jumped up and down next to him and clapped with delight when they approached the lolly counter. She would see a pretty piece of broken glass in the gutter and charge toward's it's shine.He was behind her,aware of traffic,lazering away onlooker's,thankful for the gift she presented him,taking it quickly but gently from her excited grasp,checking her chubby white palm's for lascaration's while she planted a slobbery kiss on his cheek.His pocket's where full of gift's.Screwed up bit's of foil,meteorites of gravel embedded in crumb's of bitumen,cigarette butt's,bottle cap's,exhausted tubes of condensed milk,pens,cup handle's,dead moth's,rotting plug's,spent napkin's,withered flower's. He crunched his hand's into her discoveries as they headed home,feeling through the grim treasure for the comfort of his leg's rubbing against his hand's through his jacket.It was getting nippy,Sally was ahead of him,running plat's through the tree's that lined the path through the park back home. He surveyed the scene,a couple up ahead with a labrador off it's lead.He walked slower,Sally had stopped to stare at a pigeon.The dog had bolted in a curve up toward's Bishop's that left it's bark a comfortable distance away.He bathed in the stillness,nodded hello to the couple as they passed,the steam of their breath hanging behind the brief exchange in the icey air of a cold late afternoon.The grass and leaves and treetrunks in perfect focus in the slat's of light beaming over the park between the buildings. Sally was excited.She had a dead leaf in her hand she was waving at the pigeon as food.Each

tick of it's cautious and bewildered head delighting her more and increasing her effort's.The dog reappeared,a white streak charging out of nowhere toward's her.The pigeon huffed up and dissapeared just before the point of impact.The dog skidded to a standstill.Yellow alert on three faces,Sally stared at the panting creature.It was a magic trick,blink and there's another suprise.She pouted,all that work with the leaf.Doggy does'nt eat leaves,hug doggy. She laughed at the tickle of sniffing about her nether region's.She pushed it away,silly Doggy,the wet nose jabbing her all over for a better picture.She grabbed it around the neck,silly Doggy,nice doggy,it hung it's weight in her embrace.Brown eyes and panting tougue.She slobbered a kiss on the slack black inner lip,the squid like wet leather barrier between a Labrador's teeth and it's jaw,only exposed when it's very relaxed.He and the couple smiled at eachother,a collective smile of relief that their charges where o.k.The man whistled,c'mon Bessie,he called,c'mon girl.Sally was laughing,it's tongue was tickling her neck,Doggee,she squeiled,patting it roughly between the shoulderblades.C'mon Bessie,Bessie!The woman joined in,sort of singing,Bessiee,Bessiee.They smiled back at eachother,it was cute but they where keen to get on,they away from this,and him away from them.Away from their watching his twenty two year old sister sit on the cold grass in a thin spotted dress,she insisted on wearing it,alway's,it was a summer dress that she'd found in Mrs. Higgin's laundry basket,she grabbed it out and rubbed it on her face.Thier mother and Mrs. Higgin's where chatting at the laundromat,Sally refused to give it back.She pouted and hid it behind her back.Mrs. Higgin's smiled one of those smiles,one of those smiles that his mother and Father and him saw every day,that they anticipated,that they wanted to see to relieve the tension of waiting for it.It was engrained into their faces,a hardness around the eyes,looking,waiting,seeking.It's just an old thing,let 'er 'ave it,look,it makes 'er so 'appy.Now Fran!,noo Jacqui,I where thinkin' o' givin' tu' Salvo's anyway.So Sally got her dress,As they left,Sally skipping outside with the dress scrunched up in her hand's under her chin,Mrs. Higgin's touched their mother's hand.Come 'round for a cup'o'tea luv,Frank's not about during the day,so,you know,if you ever feel like a bit'o'a chat,you know where I am luv. Willy approached his sister,she was sitting knee's up,her panties as clear as day,the rustle of pubis beneath the cotton just as clear.Sal,Sal..Sally.She looked up at him,her jaw on the dog's mad lick's as if preparing to play it's head like a violin.I'm taking the doggee home!She rejoiced.Yu'can't love,it's gotta home,it belong's to those nice people overthere.She looked at him as if he'd told her she could'nt wear the dress anymore.In confusion she stared at the couple,they where both bouncing on their knees,flapping their jacket's against the cold and trying not to stare back.She returned her attention to their pet,it was lapping at her neck with a steady mania,her face dissolved back into joy,Noo,getting the trick now,Doggee want's to live with me,I love him,I love him.He lifted her up,gently,taking one hand and then the other and lifting her up.Bessie!The man pierced,the dog ran up the path to catch up with them.He was holding her up by the wrist's,stretching her arm's into the air.He hated this,the hurt in her eyes,the tremble before her painful tear's,it was something his gut never got used to,hugging her while she sobbed knowing that she thought he was trying to hurt her.She hugged into him,understanding only his warmth,while he hugged her with a riot shield and baton,and the alien sound,a groan of distressed timber,a reversed scream of tortured rivet's croaked from his lip's. One moment would come to haunt him in later year's,an image that would appear with no warning and leave his heart bleeding.They where sitting at the table after lunch,He was reading the paper,he liked to do that after lunch,read the paper and have a fag and a cup of tea.As he turned the page he noticed Sally looking at him,a gentle dreamy dribbly smile,her head was rolling on her shoulder's,as if she was enjoying a hot shower.She pointed at the curls of smoke swirling off his cigarette,she was pretending that she was the smoke.He smiled at her and winked,she laughed quietly,a soft spitty sound of trust and warmth,and covered her mouth with her hand's.

It first struck him in Rio.The ship was docked for two day's and the crew went out on the town.A table of them fell out into the night toward's another Cantina,Willy tagged behind,staggering back inside to grab his duffle bag.He could hear them up ahead,Tommo was singing that bloody song again!He took his time,enjoying the tingling lightness,the warm air,the feeling of being a stranger trudging in paradise,when she came back.Fuzzy ambition's for intercourse and tattoo's where swept away,he was back at the table.Her smile and laugh playing over and over. It must have been the letter.Dear Willy,crayon on butcher's paper,an airy package left on his bunk,a letter as big as a parcel.He picked it up before looking at the handwriting,his immediate idea was that for some reason his mother had sent him a silk shirt.I hope you are good My friend Max has big feet He think's Zebra's are good but I told him you like Frog's and he cried so I pretended that I like Zebra's Max is a silly My bestest friend is called Willy she's got a stick body and her head is a funny potato I like fishfinger's the best we have them on Tuesday On thursday we have Sausages I don't like them but Max does The ladies are nice and I call the kitty Sunshine He sit's by the window He's pretty He's got a big black tail and long whisker's and I pat him Tonite weer having having trifle I like that the best but I like Sunshine I give him sum and he licks his lips. There was a big waxy fullstop at the end,her tounge lolling about her lip's as she compleated the circle that had in transit been pressed against the last page sticking them together like a dropped icecream roman seal.He carefully separated the sheets,a tear here and there was inevitable.He resorted to dipping his penknife in hot water and sawing through the blob.Able seaman Taylor clamoured above him looking for the nudy playing card's.Ay'Wille,yuve nout goawt tha'titti pach 'ave yu?No Sam I don't,Fo'Fooks seake!Ow gottem ay!The layer's where separated,he lay them together next to him,'ave yer tried Huntsman's boonk?Ay ye'rite ye'knoe!Cheer's. It reminded him of the scrawl's he'd seen behind doctor's in otherwise drab surrouding's.Offspring's mentallic balooned abstrasct's of the mundane,the thing is with this type of infection Mr.Travester one can never be too carefull..and behind him,tacked onto the wall,askew and creased,the house a green rocket ship,his own head a little smily face with a sunray beard of blue spikes. It was a drawing of Sally patting Sunshine.The cat took up most of the page,the blunt strokes of multicoloured crayon to illustrate it's softness assembling into an image that was more apparent as a a spiny topped ant eater than the creature of her affection's.Herself she portrayed in the corner,a stick figure icon he was fluent in.Stick body,little spotted dress.Two triangle's touching at the tip,over the stick body,with crayon hammered into the page.There was'nt an item of paper in the house that did'nt bear the dimples.When he first wrote off to the company he steadied the application on the phone book he could feel the biro dip in and out of the potholes of her effort's as he wrote his name and birthdate. It was not the size nor strangness of the cat portrayed that struck him,but the image of herself.The stick arm's,the stick leg's,the inverted diamond dress,the corkscrew way she portrayed the slight wave in her hair,all was in order save the little target's she'd drawn on the top triangle and the scribble of black between her leg's. He ended up getting a seahorse needled into his bicep,a blue ink seahorse sitting atop two billowing flag's.The Cross of St. James and a regular union jack.In the unspoken union between sailor's and tattoo artist's a scroll was included underneath.Name?...Name?.His vision was skimming the wall's like a ferris wheel,his shipmate's faces tumbling around him again,the need for speed and accuracy a living dream away. Sally,

Sally? Sally. He played along with their friendly brutality.Yes,she was a tart,yes,she had great tit's,'ere,where'nt that that bird'ho'swollad''alf of Islington?Not sure Gilby,better check with Steve.'Ere,what where she like really,ay,I mean serious like,Is she like,vibrating lip's,wafer putt's out of a Mini Moke,or more like,you know,a congealed interpretation of smooth German engineered Purr . He had'nt seen or heard from her in years.It was with some guilt that he realised that he had'nt really thought about her that much either.His old life had seemed to melt in the hot exotic adventure of his new life.It was if the incumbence that they shared,all of them,his mother,his father,him,Sally without knowing it,so vital and precious,and for him and his parent's so straining,once broken flew like tight rubberbands in opposite directions.He across the oceans,and they deeper into the front room.In the families long and draining war against unwanted pity,innacurate advice,and intrucive curiosity,He was the one most often at the front line.He used to recieve long and insightful letter's from his mother,they grew shorter and less trusting.Now it was a card at Christmas. Sally was wild when he left.For the first time ever she touched him with violence,beating his back with her fist's as he walked toward's the front door,a taxi waiting for him outside to take him to dock.She was strong and the pain turned him around and he grabbed her arms and also for the first time ever,shouted at her.Jesus why don't you just grow up!A hot hook wretched his mind and body.He squeezed her to him,tears blurring his vision.My god,he whispered,I'm sorry Sally,I'm so sorry,I did'nt mean that darling,please,please.The taxi tooted,two little touches like a loud bird in the dawn light.His Mother took her from his arms. The Banshee did not leave when he did.Plates smashed against the wall,the radio was jammed into the toilet,she pulled her mother's hair once with such vigour that a chunk of it came out in her hand. Mr.Travester's sister was an energetic woman with three adult children of her own,Nancy,Tom,and Shirley,they where all married and had families of there own now.Wallace had passed away going on two years.She offered to have Sally come and stay with her abit,she did'nt like the house being empty and she adored Sally,alway's had.Her brother thanked her over the phone,but Jess luv,I got tu' warn yu',she's a real....handfull at the moment.I wont here it Reggie,Jessica replied,she's a Travester and I don't know any trouble with that!O.K,O.K,thank's Jess,Jaqui will appreciate that,I mean it.It's not like we don't luv' er or whatever you understand.We just need a break like,you know.I know luv'!I know!look,let me 'ave 'er over abit,I'd 'luv to 'ave 'er.I would'nt bloomin' ask if I did'nt want it 'ey.We just need a rest like,her brother continued,you know,a spot o'piece an' quiet.I know luv'!I know.Just a...rest like, Reggie. You know,a bit o' quiet for a change, Reggie. All that screamin' an.. Reggie! Whu..,he sounded slightly dazed but snapped back.Yeah Luv,Grand!Thanks a bunch ay.

Oh stop it Reg yu' silly bugger! O.k O.k,thanks Jess. Alright then,get her on the train on tuesday and I'll meet 'er at the station,Iv'e already checked the timetable,If she catches the eight fifteen I'll pick er' up my end.Is that convenient?If not luv' just give me a ring in the mornin' and let me know what train yer'puttin' er' on and i'll work it out from my timetable.O.k? One of us will 'ave to come up with 'er Jess. Oh forgot about that,is that going to be inconvient? Well I'm workin from seven,so's Jaqui. No matter,actually,even better,put 'er in a cab.That way she can get straight to the house and we don't 'ave to bugger about with timetables. A cab? Don't worry Reg I'll pay. No it's not tha' Just pack a little bag o' Knicker's and this an'that and send 'er up! Ohh Jess,her brother's voice a deflated battle weary sigh. What. She don't wear knicker's no more,refuses to.Bloody flashes it about an'all. Well my goodness! You should 'ere what the lad's about are sayin' Reggie! What can we bloody do!She jus' tosses 'em off like it where nothin'. Well...no matter,just pack,.. whatever and send 'er up,Reggie? He was crying on the other end,muffling into his shirt. Reggie? Sorry luv'. Good,look whenever you and Jaqui want give me a ring and let me know roughly when she's coming,just put 'er in a taxi.Don't worry about money luv',I'm not a bloody pauper yer know!Ay Reg come on luv',stop cryin',I know it's bin 'ard,I'd luv' to 'ave 'er 'ere ,I really would,just to 'ave some life around me for a change.You and Jacqui bloody swan off to Blackpool!

Mr.Travister was coaxed into a giggle. Jus' like yu' 'oneymoon ay!'cept now you know what yu' doing! Bloody 'ell Jess yu' make me laff!Remember at Albert's funereal. Oh that where nasty where'nt it! Funny thuogh,O.k,Thank's again,I'll talk to Jaqui and.. Jessica interupted,and discuss your holiday plans! Right yu' are then Luv' O.k O.k I'll talk to yer soon then. You will,o.k then. goodnight luv' Goodnight. Take care. You too. With the urgency of picking up a hot poker the reciever was jerked off the cutoff button as a thought flashed. For Christ's sake don't mention Willy. Sally hugged her Aunty at the frontdoor.A vicelike grip that sent a sharp pain shooting through the bones in her neck.Aunty Jessie Aunty Jessie Aunty Jessie!She didn't appear to have any interest in letting go.Jessica smiled at the impassive taxi driver,she stumbled back into the hallway to fetch her purse with Sally still attached. Here luv' go an' give this to the nice man. As Sally skipped towards the taxi her Aunty clicked her vertibre back into place,bending her head back and moving it side to side and pushing with her finger's. Jessica could see no "change" in her neice.Why was Reggie so ashen about everything?She was the same happy and excited Sally she'd alway's known,alway's ended up playing with on Christmas and at wedding's when conversation turned gloomy amoung friend's and family her own age when the booze shifted into second gear.She'd always reminded her of her eldest,Nancy.There was the physical resembelance of coure,the Travister face,but she entertained a subtler correlation .To be with her now,a grown woman who's every move and sound was like a scene from Nancy's childhood pricked at her heart when she thought of Nancy now.Out on the estate,the brittle sound of her voice over the telephone,reciting a shopping list of injustices ,Bob,riveted to his chair in the front room ,the bag's under his eye's and his moustache cast in grey light from the tele,drooping with self pity as he slurred neutered barb's at anything that came to mind.

There was no sign of fury within the cinnamon and lavender scented rooms of Jessica's house.Sally carefully tore picture's she liked out of Jessica's Woman's Weekly's and glued them to big sheet's of plain white wrapping paper Jessica picked up at the newsagent.They played pata- cake until the council of Jessica's burgeoning arthritis declared adjourn.Do yu' still like mushy peas luv'?Sally clapped and bounced on her seat.Mushy Peas Mushy peas mushy peas she sang. Willy and Tom the bastard where meandering along Wilson Avenue in Galveston on a hot dusty afternoon.Tom the bastard recieved his moniker for no other reason than his grandmother being Italian.They where due back on board at six.Fat Bill had recommended a brothel to them he'd visited the previous evening,but there was no rush.They'd had a steak and a few beer's at Itchy Eddy's and where just gravitating in it's general direction,seeing and smelling the new along the way.They wandered into a market.Tom the Bastard bought a couple of pieces of watermelon which they ate drifting past the various stalls.They both had more money in their backpocket's than they'd ever had in their lives.Tom the bastard aquired,at various station's, a pair of snakeskin cowboy boot's,a stetson,a string tie with a silver bullskull woggle,a pair of Levi's,a plaid cotton shirt,a leather waistcoat,a guitar,and a stuffed armadillo,which he donned at each point of purchase. Tom the bastard's new spur's chinked like sleigh bell's as they crossed the street,the armadillo tucked under his arm,the six string hung over his shoulder. Ay Tom,du' yu' play the guitar? Noo. And what the fook ar' yu' goin' tu' do wi' tha' bloody thing!?pointing at the armadillo. Doon't noo yet,chuk i' in bin moost like. Yer look like a rite toss bag 'ay. Eye,spoos I do.'Ere! Tom the bastard spruiked to the passing Texan's on the sidewalk,One o' you lot wann this lot? Thursday Night.Bingo night. Sally was pouting,exhaling muted trumpet blast's of irritation as Jessica fussed.Her hair was still wet from the bath,she was wrapped in a dressing gown with her feet in Jessica's lap while she painted her toenail's.They'd had egg's and beans on toast for tea,the man on the tele had a funny face. She held Jessica's hand as they walked down the street.At the busstop she dove for a lolly wrapper under the bench,just as her finger's touched the shiny blue red russle it flew away,Jessica pulling her back,Ay luv'yu'dont play wi'rubbish. Leg's eleven.Two fat ladies eighty eight. The man across from her had a shiny head.Willy never did that,he never stopped her playing. Lucky for some twenty nine,piece o' fish number three. The lady next to the man with the shiny head had a boggie in her nose.

Yoong agaiin eighteen,an'ows'at't'follu' ladies and gentleman sweet sixteen. Jessica was buttering toast in the kitchen.They'd caught the last bus home,she assumed Sally was tired,she'd been very quiet for some time.She knew she was tired,a bit of toast and a cup of tea for them both and then she was going to tuck Sally in.Hopefully she was too tired for a story.She had to confess to herself trepidation at taking Sally along but what else could she do,she had'nt missing bingo night a single time in five years.She talked to her friend Jean on the telephone the night before,she could'nt see any problem,as she pointed out there would'nt be any,children around to "set her off",besides she had to come,because she reckoned that Arthur fancied her.Really!Whatever pu'tha'in yu'head?Oh Jess he stares at yu'the whole time,doont tell me yu' 'aven't noticed. Arthur was the man with the shiny head.Jean was the woman with the boogie in her nose.Sally sat at the table with them,Jessica handed her a card and a pencil.Sally did'nt understand what she was supposed to do and did'nt want to play anyway,she bid her time blackening all the squares.She noticed Arthur looking at her Aunty,and Jean looking at him looking at her.Whenever his eyes flicked up from his card to look at Jessica it was impossible not to notice her pretty young neice next to her,staring at him,he'd smile and she'd smile back.Likewise Jean's sideward glances could not circumnaviate aknowledging Sally's eye's.From the first number called the entire game passed without a single word ,at a table normally frought with spicy banter. Strawberry Jam or Marmalade?She about to call out for a preference but could hear that Sally was already behind her. The muscles in her lower back tightened,pulling her up to attention,the butterknife clanked on the breadboard.She felt behind and her finger's brushed the handles,in shock she recalled a scene from a cowboy movie she half watched while knitting one Sunday night,a trooper yanking an arrow out his body.Her hand gingerly gripped the scissor's and removed them. Tom the Bastard was having little luck hawking his ware's.Fu'Fouke's saake ya'Bastad'Im' givin' it tu'yu fu' free.Coont's ay'!?The guitar was eventually taken,with fear and thank's,by a redheaded teenager.Tom the Bastard called after him as his walk got faster,'Ope yu' use it lad!Fookin' Jimmy 'Endrix!The Armadillo was proving a harder sell,but Tom the Bastard was determined now.He ran after a woman who had the missfortune of glancing at it twice.A man was selling jewelery from an open suitcase on the pavement,Willy wandered over. Sally adored all living thing's.Cat's,dog's,bird's,fish,hampster's,sheep,cow's.A trip to the zoo with her was both wonderful and exhausting.For some reason horses where at the top of the Panthion,and just as mythical as she'd only seen pictures.Whenever espied,on the cover of a stock journal in a newsagent's,a painting in a junk shop window,on the television,she'd scream HOORSEE and run up and stroke the paper or glass engrained image.A chess set was amounst the paraphinalia that crowded the mirrored back wall of the Tabocconist's,he was sorting through some change for a packet of Woodbine's when the shriek reverberated.She bounced over to show him the black knight,the chess set sat unplayed in the front room for over a year,their father ended up drilling a thin hole through the plastic pieces so Sally could make a necklace.She wore it for ten minute's and then threw it in the fireplace. He'd been seeing Louise for about two month's.The closest they'd come to sex so far was a heated rut behind the Old Wood'sman.She'd come straight from work and his finger's fumbled with the slippery texture of her blouse .He kissed her breast's,her nipple's big goosepimple's in the cold alleyway.Her hand had snaked into his pant's and held his throb,soon,she whispered,I promise. A soft wrap on the door.Wil?Wil luv'?knock knock knock again,Willy?

Willy opened his eyes.Whu'is'iz'i'mam? Sorry luv'.Louise 'as stopped by. O.k,I'll be up in a sec. I'll maeke yu'a'cuppa tea luv'. Thank's mam. It was Sunday.He'd promised Sally that they'd go to the park with the lake,go and look at the little boat's.As he got dressed he could hear her in the kitchen,the day's agenda laughed out.He did'nt have a mirror in his room but knew that his hair was all over the place.And what the fuck was she doing here anyway?He'd told her that the weekend's were'nt good. Look at yu'!Louise joked,Yu' luk like a mad scientist. He was'nt ready for her to be sitting there.He rubbed his eye's,a chorus of tiny hammer's playing every nerve. He thought he managed a reasonable impression of a smile. Ay Lou,this is a suprise. He sat down infront of his cup of tea,glad to have it there to twirl on the laminex.He wished the radio was on. I know luv',I know you said you where busy,but I just thought I'd stop by on the offchance like.Guess what.I got it! Got whu'luv?He tried to sound casual but curious,putting a fag in his mouth at the same time,as he secured it with his lip's it shivered for a second until his finger's released. Louise replied with a look of minor astonishment. The Car Willy.I got the car.It's parked out front now! No,he was not ready for this at all.His world's had collided instead of merging,timing in this case the unforseeable culprit.The hurricane ripping at the foundation's of his complicated but beautiful scheme.Even as it's architecture crashed to the linolium,the bell's singing angrily as they fell from the tower's, he could not deny that he was falling in love with her,which is why he felt sick.Not now,not here, not yet.She had wandered backstage and seen the magician stuffing the rabbit back into the hat. So yu' not workin'then today luv'? He'd told her that he washed window's on the weekend. Uuh noo,Me mate's sick az a dog ay',I where goona giv yu'a bell like lata t'day. Grand!Let's teake 'u furra spin aye. He smiled,did'nt nod though,and took a deep drag on his cigarette.He avoided his sister's face

with the caution one employ's when walking barefoot over a surface strewn with broken glass.In this case the fragment's of his ambition. Sally's arm's where crossed,he could see them out of the corner of his vision,a big W,crossing her breast.No matter,dive deeper into Louise's clear blue sky's.He tried to pretend for second's at a time that Sally was'nt even there. Everyone jumped.Sally was frowning,her hand's flat on the table where they landed,toast derailed from plates,puddles of tea trickling South.Her eyes burned,he closed his and they stung with tears immediately. He heard her voice in the prickly blackness,overrun with swarms of electric amorphia. I'm sorry,I should 'ave rang,I've,umm,cum at a bad time,I'll umm,talk to yu' later.Doon't worry I'll see myself out if that's o.k,like I said I'll talk to yu'later.I'm,I'm,sorry Willy. Still in darkness he heard the front door close and then an agonising adjunct until the the motor started,was put in gear,and ebbed away.Lou,he said to himself under his breath,after a graveyard chuckle bubbled in his throat,I'd like you to meet my sister. Sally was impervious to the cold.She summersaulted over the wet grass,a stripe of it clinging the spotty dress to her back,and her panties to the line of her bottom.Willy sat on a bench by the kiosk and lit a cigarette.Pigeon's scwabbled over spilt chip's near his foot.The sky was bruised steam and industrial strenght cigarette smoke.He pulled the collar of his coat up and scanned for prying eye's.Husband's where the worst,he caught them every time,looking at her with chip packet and icecream laden arm's.Looking at her again and again as if trying to read a badly lit street sign.He'd watch them return to their brood,the neck would crane in her direction in every now and again,a casual perusal to top up thier imaginations.Football's where kicked in her direction that had to be fetched,offspring would start the chase and be overtaken.There where occassion's when he had to intervene, out of view but noted they would sometime's wander back from the toilet's and ask the name of whatever pet she was playing with.Drunk's wanted to look at the scab on her knee.The wives,while not proving an immediate threat,where still noted for their hostility.Unsaddled and splayed out on fluffy blanket's,their eye's narrowed as they watched her. He was lost in a daydream when she pulled at his hand.They walked along the path to the water's edge.A group of boy's and their father's navigated model boat's from remote control's next to them on the corcrete lip of the lake.The crisp paper sails and colourful minature flag's,like the ones in the cheese shop on the high street,and the purr of the little propeller's had an almost hypnotic effect upon her.She sat crosslegged on the cement and stared at them,her head nodding forward slightly when her eyes had to blink.Willy wondered how much they cost,and planned to look into it and see if he could afford to get one by Christmas.For her last birthday,an event of which she was not even aware,he got her a big book full of drawing's and photograph's of horses.It was not uncommon for her to spend an entire day leafing through it,cover to cover,over and over again.He'd also decided to go down to the dock's on his next day off and begin asking for directions on how to join the merchant navy. He met Louise in the Chemist .He'd been to the dentist for a filling the day before and was advised to invest in an antiseptic mouthwash.It was his lunchbreak,he gazed at the wall of choices,she asked him if he required any assistance. Eye,Doc sez mu' gob's fallin' apart an' I need one o'this lot tu'fix it like. When they got home Sally rushed towards the trifle their mother was sprinkling with choc bit's.Staring at the soft snowscape of cream littered with candied pineneedles as though watching

goldfish swoon on the bottom of a pond.Willy took his coat off and hung it in the hall and went into his room and sat on his bed.He sat there for a long time. Each cicata couplet on the other end upped the ante of his anxiety.It was picked up,Hello,she was'nt one of these people who sound different on the telephone,he recognised her voice instantly.Thank god it was her and not her Mother or Father,it was mean't to be. He put his coat back on. Ay Mam I'poppin'owt'for th'night. Right yu'are luv','ave fon. He reached for the doorhandle. Wiilly!! He considered pretending he had'nt heard,that he'd already left. Wiilly!! Fuck! the word hissed through his clenched teeth as he turned around and stomped into the front room.Sally's beam dropped when she saw he was wearing his coat.He'd been doing this for too long now to not know how to handle it,he was a professional.He touched the open page,his finger pressed on the nose of a Chessnut gelding. E's loovely in'e.Ohh soo's this wun,there al'loovely aye. As sally nodded excitedly and turned the page he took his hand off her arm and tapped her nose. Yu'find th' best one an' sho' me laater o.k. His sudden flurry confused her,she looked up at him and nodded. O.k luv',he stopped in the doorway,hanging off it with one hand,gravity postponed for a moment,Yu'shoow me laater,O.k? As soon as he saw her smile he was gone. He was fourty minutes late.He watched the bus he'd planned on catching glow amounst the traffic heading toward's the highstreet.She was sitting by herself at the bar nursing a white wine,a pint of guinness dozed infront of his stool,marked as such by her coat and handbag. Sorri'I'laate luv'missed the bloody bus. I coulda picked yu'up luv'. Aye?Oh yess!congradulations,he leant over and kissed her cheek,his hand squeezed her shoulder,her hand squeezed his leg,Yu'couldof'anall'coundnt'yu!He and raised his pint,Louise chinked against him,bemused.He adopted the manner of a happy uncle at a wedding,Ere's to th'moost beau'ifull girrl in this fair laand to 'ave recentle' purchased a moow'u vee'ikull.She smiled and laughed and they chinked again. The christening at least applied a soluable band-aid to the issue.It had been the central topic in

their dialogue since they'd met.Her wanting a car,her saving for a car,her finding a car,and then the countdown.He offered tip's along the way,rebutting candidates,enthusiastically campagning for others,offering insight's into the mysteries of the combustion engine,cautionary tale's about spare part's,breaking down the relationship between the gear box and actual speed like a fag smoking professor. They held hand's in Malley's yard and giggled behind his back at his desperate pitch,yelling back from the office as the rain spattered the hand drawn sign stickytaped to the windshield.They celebrated her deposit in the Chainsaw arms,that was the day they got close to sex.Now,in the smoky half light of the Good Farmer saloon bar it was as though he'd just remembered the whole thing,Buster Keaton slapping his face,Charlie Chaplin double taking in a wedding scene to realise the bride had been forgotten.Behind the laugh lines she was dissappointed,and so was he.The baby lay at his feet and he'd wandered off. And then everything poured out,years of it.Words emerged to search for their companion's,to relink into the bundled ball of chain being released.It uncoiled and floated around them breaking up and relinking at random,swirling about her shoulder's,around their tightly held hands,it dissolved and solidified around them like points of light flashing over a bombed city.At the end they where both light and giddy,they laughed when they realised they both had tissues and where going to blow their noses at the same time.They felt the hot wetness of eachother's cheek's with tender thumbstrokes and smiled at eachother with glossy eyes. As he entered her on the backseat they both trembled,the window's where dripping with condensation,bottles clanked somewhere and two men laughed,they where both made of electricity,she said Ohh Christ in a crying whisper and bit his neck. Sally was on the backseat,banging the redleather around her like kettledrum's and singing along to the radio.The soft green hill's rolled by,a glimpse of ocean here and there between the folds. Willy squeezed Louise's leg,she briefly took her eyes off the road to smile at him.He had his foot up on the dashboard,he flicked his cigarette out the window and leant over and kissed her neck.She laughed at the tickle and took her hand off the gearstick to hold his hand while telling him to stop it. Yeah stop it!Sally barked,grabbing his head and twisting it back between the seat's.Lovely lady does'nt like that it makes her sick yu'noo! It's O.K luv'Louise cooed,I doont mind 'Im kissen me like,I juss' wanna keep me eye onn th' rooad thas'all,Soo why doon't yu'be a littl'angel an'let 'im gooh'aye. I want wee wee. I knoo luv'I knoo,weaar neearle' there 'aye. The afternoon sun sprinkled shadows of oakleaves over their arms.He ordered a plate of chip's with lot's of tomato sauce and Sally stuck two in her ear's and one up each nostril and chased the duck's,waving her arm's and whooping at their distress.They smiled at eachother and kissed with wooden lip's,hand's happy to reach for cigarette's and a sip of champagne or Guinness. Freddie and the Dreamseeker's roared into action,a few snare rolls and 'Ozzat?before filling the cut grass scented air with boggie.They nodded and tapped their feet,doubletiming the silent tap's on the spongy ground under the table through the turnaround's.Freddie's harmonica melted into the heady throb like sheet's of iced honey lightning.They held hand's and closed their eyes from time to time in a rythum of sleepy blinks,entering Eden in the darkness. A scream stopped the band.He had to outrun Freddie himself to the park across the road.Sally was jumping and pointing back at them,Freddie,now with the drummer and saxophonist in tow,

charged past the object of her excitment,excited themselves at the prospect of bloody justice. It was the first horse she'd seen in real life.A big sleepy dray wearing blinker's parked against the white wall of the pub,beer barrel's clunking on to the cobblestones off the wagon behind it's leg's.She nuzzled into the velvet space between the nostril's,banging on it's neck like furniture,it snorted and pulled it's head away,she retrieved it's stillness and sucked on the lower lip.The driver watched with astonishment,leaning forward and pulling his cap back for a better view.Freddie and his minion's where similarly aghast,now puffing next to him,as where the handful of other patron's gathered beside the road,a respectable distance away from a car accident,or someone being given mouth to mouth on the sidewalk.Louise was amoungst all this,her arm's folded and a dark cloud about her normally sunny features. Sal,Sal!,his voice was cracked,thick with dehydrated spit.Louise wandered back into the beergarden triggering the rest of the flock to follow.The driver coughed into his hand and started rolling a cigarette.Sally was on her knee's,hugging the horse's shoulder's with her head pressed into it's chest,a sleepy smile resting on her profile.Willy knelt next to her,resting his hand next to her on the horses chest and stroked her cheek.He said her name again,she opened her eyes,suprised by it's proximity.They where not a child's eyes,they bore the stencil of her quarter of a century. He watched tele with Lou and her parent's.They liked him well enough,Her mother had misheard his name as Wilfred and it so it remained whenever he was there.His earlier inquiries into joining the merchant navy had resulted in a couple of form's of application arriving at the Post office box he'd given,but dreams of the sea had lost potency in the musk of Louise's milky body.Sally did'nt seem to mind his absence,she immersed herself in the application of maccoroni to the cut out backs of cerial packet's and then daubing them with red green and blue watercolour paint. His hand glided over the goosebumps on her leg as he tackled his shoelaces.Tuesday night.Bingo night.They would'nt be back for hour's.The sound of their panting filled her silent room.She pushed pillow's and fluffy toy's out the way.Tuesday night, Tuesday,Fuck!He'd forgotten to pick up some tubes of paint in his lunch break.She arched up and removed her panties,his eyes drank in the delta of silky kiss curl's and the achingly beautiful surrounding landscape.She was so looking forward to them,she kept on at me about it this morning.His zipper jammed,he gave it two quick chances and then destroyed it.I promised,it was the last thing I said,U'll Bring soome 'ome tonite luv' I promise.He flicked his underpant's off his ankle and positioned himself.Um sorri'Sal,Um sorri'luv. Louise grabbed his hip's and pushed him out,she retreated on her elbow's and the ball's of her feet like a supersonic crab over the bedspread into the corner. Wha'di'yoo'jus'sae? Whu,Whu's roong Luv'! What did yoou jus' bloody sae! I didn'saay nothin'!Was' gooin' on? Was'gooin on?,WAS GOOIN'ON!YER 'WU JUS' BLOODY STICKIN'YERSELF IN MI'AN'CAALIN' MI' YER NUTCAASE SISTER!!THAS'ALL WHERE BLOODY GOIN'ON! Soo when yu' off then? Friday.

'Ave yer toold yer mam yet? Noo. Peter glanced at his watch,gulped his pint and sucked on his mostache. Ohh well,see yu' maate,gotta get hoome like,Deirdes waitin',yu'knoo. Aye,with some effort Willy navigated his pint back to the bar. Good luk'aye an'all tha' Yea'cheers mate. Willy lit a cigarette. Fook yu',fook thu' lot u'yu. It felt strange to handle pound notes again,in the back of the taxi back under leaden sky,to rub his thumb over the grotty limp and overwhelmingly familiar currency,a faded Elizabeth that was once a source of such exitement now melancholy in his strong brown hand.To travel far you must travel light an old Indian had advised him in a bar in Chairo.Both ear's where pierced,in the Spanish manner,and his beard and hair where at shoulder lenght.Under his Peruvian jacket a good deal of his torso was testament to the artistry of skin Illustrator's in Singapore,Africa,and Mexico. The doorbell sounded exactly as he remembered it,not tired nor changed.A delay and then a clump inside,movement down the corridor and open it creaked.His mother's face poked out into the morning ,her expression bid him in,after extinquishing call's to the police and News of the World. His father looked up from the television .A bolt lifted him to his feet to shake hand's.They all sat down,Livingsley scored a point against Essex. 'Ow 'du'yu'ave yer tea then luv? Ta mam,blacc', noo suga'. It reminded him of a garden he'd seen in New Zealand,not so much the topography but the smell and the sky where the same.The taxi crunched over the gravel in reverse and horseshoe'd away,He tapped his sandal against the step to dislodge the quartz tooth digging into his toe. It smelt like lavander in the reception area,Turner copies hanging on chessnut and Thistle leaf wallpaper. Can I help you sir? Eye,I'm the brother o' one o' patient's,ehh,Sally Travester.I'd like tu'see 'er'like. I'm sorry sir,Miss.Travester is no longer a resident here. Roger,Roger the Dodger,that's what they called him at school,whooa!Slippin' an' slidin'thaa's

mee'liike!Kissed me first pair'o'nocker's when I where five year old an'Iv'neve'luked'baack.I saay tu' 'um in the pub like,ay'luv' 'ave yu'rapped um'jus'fu'me'or is i'everyoones birthda! Yer cannt do nowt'wirrou'a quid right?So I'm doin' soom gardenin'like,at the nu'plaace,mowin'the lawn and shite when,when!,I see this bird what staays there like,you knoo',a patient like swannin' off wi'one o'the doctor's in 'is blody caar.Clear as daay.They jus' took off.Caan't saay I blaame 'im thoo,she where a right good looker,you knoo,fu'a'nutta. Willy got out the taxi on the high street.The new neon fang's reminded him of Singapore,the grey rainy pavement stretched on either side like runway's of cold snot. What's yer pleasure then son? Ehh,'ave yu' got any Tu'Pai? Sorry son? Tu'Pai!It's a...,doosn't matta,uhmm,jus'givvus a pint'a'thaat o.k. Right yer arr' son. The doctor in question,a mr.Jonathon Godfrey Reynolds,was no longer in the country.He and Sally,whom he'd renamed Celia,after his mother,had arrived in San Paolo on a sticky sunny morning three month's earlier.Willy was never to know this,nor would he ever here from her again.Her ring however,the little silver horseshoe and fake rubies,accompanied him on his drift to London.People seemed to notice the holes in his ear's more than the earring's once he removed them. He bought an old Grate coat in an Army disposal's in Manchester,a big blue grey blanket with arm's to wrap around himself and dissappear in,and wander toward's the trainstation invisible amoungst the steel and cement and rain.He bought drink's and told stories and played dart's.Wine breathed desire's where whispered in his ear,dream's where brushed off,like old accordian's fetched down from the attic,and played for awhile until the chord's became too difficult.Either forgotten or proving too sweet a sound to bear. Freshly barbered,a neat salt and pepper beard and matching hair,Willy entered the central office of the greater metropolitan traffic controller's service.He held the door open for the person behind him,within the nod of thank's exchanged he tallied that he had'nt driven a car for ten year's.As he closed the door an arrow poked through his shirt,just above the cuff,the ink faded now and bearing on it's blue triangular back the tough bleached hair's on the top of his wrist,sprouting out of the arrow like curly quill's on a porcupine. He took a small flat he found in the paper,ironed his shirt's,kept beer and milk and egg's in the fridge,read the funny's and Western's and Hemingway,helped old Mrs. Bartonstock up the stair's with her shopping, and went to the pictures.Whenever he ventured outside,be it out of necceccity or for recreation,the ring was alway's about his person,infact it was on him all the time,on a chain around his neck. You never know...He'd told himself so often he was no longer aware of it,You never know... His heart jumped a million times.London was awash with women with dark hair.She'd be fourty three now,he studied the face's of the bagwomen on his round's.He imagined taking her

hand,taking her home and running the bath and putting the kettle on.His ear's pricked at the sound of female laughter.Anywhere.Walking past a pub,behind him in the supermarket,jumping into a Taxi across the street. A stalagmight of loneliness began to make it's presence felt,it grew,drip by drip,pushing his thought's further away,he began to snap out of jumbled daydream's and have to think for a moment what he was doing,what street he was on,what had happened in the last twenty pages.At the Christmas party he stared at the mirrorball with an unlit cigarette hanging in his mouth until Freddy nudged him and offered a light,it could have been a minute or a year.He was in the bath one morning watching the steam collect on the tap and burst into tear's,an ugly ripping sound ringing off the tiles and crushing his face. He gasped awake and looked at the alarm,He'd beaten it by three hour's.It was still pitch black,he felt over for his fag's and the half full can of lager nearby.Once secured he stumbled with them toward's the toilet,kicking through the bone's of the night before and cursing when his toe collided with the sharp ashtray he'd nicked from the Indian Takeaway.He sat naked and shivering on the throne,feeling tired and old for the first time.All joy seemed to have been kicked beyond his reach,instead of wrapping warm arm's around him his memories laughed at him,a sneering parade slowing down in front and then zipping off with a smile and a pop of champagne.The smell and taste of Lou's vagina,the Orange blossom's in California,the light's above Alaska.Three day's in the jungle eating frog's?Yeah it happened but bugga' me if it meen ani'thun'noo,It wer'a yooga' man see,I'doon'feel lak'mee,jus'a'yung coont'li'. He bought a packet of Woodbine's,tik tak's,and an instant coffee,"Two spoon's luv'"and a fried egg sandwich.His leg's ached,his kidney's groaned,his liver was sensitive and his eye's stung.He read the funny's,laughing out loud at the Herman strip,two cow's where sitting in a field,one yawn's and say's Moo.The other cow think's in a balloon,damn!I was going to say that. He started at nine thirty.He'd been doing this for seven year's now,the blister's had collapsed on themselves and become numb,as had insult's from enraged member's of the public,they'd compare them on break's. Yeah,the other day I was told my mother sucked hedgehog's arse's,which is'nt bad,considerin'shee'bin'ded'fu'four fuckin'yeah's! He wobbled out and spotted the Merc.in a tow away zone,Yu' Fookin' beau'ee! Nigel staggered back to the table,propping against it as he sat down to prevent himself from falling. Fel'a bit sorry fu'the cun'really. He took the cigarette from the girl's mouth,had a drag,and put it back in her mouth. Stil'E'where makin' a right tossa'o'Imself.Me mate still wunnad'a'crown 'Im.I said look mate you've fuckin' bled all over me mota.Yu'should 'ave 'erd Im!Like a big fuckin' kid couh'shopliftin',I'm sorry,I'm sorry,I'm sorry,It was embarrassin',there I am in broa'daylight with a fuckin'nutter traffi'nazi blubberin' on the fuckin' bac'seet.It's ul'ri'I said,don't sweat it like,jus' done'do I'again know wha'I mean.Anyway the cun' reaches into 'Is pocke',like,sudden like,Me mate grabbed 'Im an 'eadlock,I mean 'E coulda' be goin'ferr anyfing couln'E?Fuckin',stab me wif a pen o'whatever,Yu' cant be too careful wif Nutta's yu'know,'E where goin' fu'this whirrn E. Nigel indicated the ring in question with a press of the thumb against the band.

Nice innit',soughta'Midni'Cowboy soughta'fing.I didn't take i','E gave I'tu'me,fuckin' insisted I take i'.Me mate wuzz gettin'Ungry and I wuzz findin' the 'ole episode a bit borrin'so me mate boo'ed 'im ow'and we wen'tu'the McDonald's.I could see 'Im in the mirror 'aye,'E didn'ge'up,jus'stayed layin' there like a big baby,stupi'cun'. I can't remember who won,Erik was passed out,I remember that much,and that we had to lend eachother money to continue.It was like Manopoly money,small brightly coloured bill's,we swapped them back and forth like matchstick's.I remember Do ya think I'm Sexy being cranked up and the girl squirming in front of us in a black G-string.I remember the burn of drinking whiskey through my nose.I remember going out for a wee. I was pissing against the house,around the side where you could see.A single light in a battered tin shade was tipped in that direction at an angle that was as irritating to one's vision as trickling shower's are frustrating.I could see her approach in sillouette,she knelt on her knee's before me,knelt in the pissy mud,knelt in the pissy mud under the wieght of my hand on her shoulder. The sun was rising when I got back to the guest house.Touching the sky with pale orange eyelashes and casting the beach and cabin's in a quiet blue,the Buddha's features where emerging from the oil of night.The wooden and rope gate opened with a crisp fibrous whisper.I held it open to allow my new companion's entry.They'd rustled beside me,invisible in the tall dry grass beside the track,for most of the journey back.One by one finding the courage to pad onto the track a safe distance behind.I had no idea how many there where,I did'nt look back.The rustling eventually stopped altoghether,replaced by a rough cushioned trot behind me,a jangling wagontrain of panting tongues and nails scraping stone. When the last flea infested and hungry tail passed by I closed the gate and sat on the stair's of our cabin.They sat in a semi-circle around me, back's to the ocean.It seemed some sort of council was in order.I reached into my pocket for a cigarette but I'd run out.I did find Trish's ring however,rediscovered is more accurate as I'd forgotten I had it.It fitted.The sun had risen a few notches .In the first burst of white light I admired the new addition to my glittering fist.The detail was perfect.