The Boy in the Blue Jumper
Part 1 of the Sea Stories
The twins were a two step thing which took their mother much music to learn. But for all this, they hated her, and for a time this was enough because she loved around them and in all their broken fingernails and hair left in garden dirt. But like a tap tap tapping on their mother’s head, as space filled up around them she heard less and less and less of their feet and hands, and only moved like a tapping always on her eyelids pulling open the corners of her mouth until one day she looked down to her rich thighs and bit deep into them and this is the long beginning of the Fahy twins as was well known then and will be better known now.
A boy in a blue jumper cycled past their house every morning to move somewhere, the road led to the sea, so they said, well that’s what he is. The houses all bowed back to the ground spilling their shadows on the ground beneath and for this, to the world it looked like the boy moved everyday through a tunnel, in the dark anonymous, but just a little sound in his bike. The houses wove so tight that the light was only known in narrow screams that hit the road and did not share themselves. But he still moved, and it was incredible thing, incredible.
The boy was the only really new thing in the city. They barely knew him, just the click of his bike, and that he was anonymous. This was all that could be needed from him at this point.
And the twins knew him too even from horror horror horrible noises of the bicycle that woke them up in the night when the boy cycled back. In total blue anger Molly pulled open the window and spat at him. It happened every night until they hated him.
“He’s a rascal!” Their mam said.
“Yeah sure the next time just call me I’ll go out.”
“What will you do?” The twins asked
“Ah I don’t know, I’ll just ask him to keep it down sure he’s only singing,” and their da laughed but it’s worse than that! They said. Ah it’s so much worse than that!
And the next day and the next day and next day it all kept happening and the twins sat in the front room to wait for their da’s going out but he did nothing, sometimes just stood in the middle of the room with both hands loose and heavy at his side looking down and moving to a different part of the house and stand there with the same heaviness until ma rubbed her head against his neck and ah what a family I have said some voice of history.
I don’t know why I waste my time they heard their ma say at the window on all you rascals when they drew on the walls. Little flowers and flower houses. And the view of the street and the curling houses, curling in towards the heat of the earth. All boiling and coughing and clapping with heat they thought. That’s scary! No it’s ok we have good carpet said Da. They learnt numbers and they learnt the ground, where they put carrots and strawberries sometimes, and tomatoes when their hair went yellow with sun. Other kids from the city came and ma watched from window but there is nothing that should not be here. The love they didn’t know watched and watched but all they heard was the lava in the earth and bicycle’s filthy noises.
They were 6 years old when the girl Elaine from their road had her baby at last everyone said, the poor thing’s been in bed all month that’s what I was like when I had my two, I knew it’d be a boy they always show more especially from the back. The baby had hair. He was the size of their mother’s forearm. He had green eyes. He never moved. He stayed waiting for movement to come. Movement might happen to him eventually. He was the lightest baby they had every held, and she looked like a mountain didn’t she? It’s gas the way these things happen isn’t it, I mean you go to all the doctors and you need them and all but I tell ye there’s things you just can’t predict like.
“Do the twins want to see him Jane?”
Ma stood over the baby and said no no they’re grand. She kissed the baby on the head. It was a horrible thing to do. She touched her bottom lip and sucked her finger and said goodbye to everyone. She walked home. It was only down the road it was no problem the houses narrowed and narrowed all the way up the hilllll, the hill the the hill. And what if she tapped her foot on the earth like this. A little harder, like this. A little crack. Harder. She lets down her hair, the crack unrolls it sharp cold noises. She taps again and the hill shatters.
The houses fanned out their fingers, and knotted together until she couldn’t see the sky. I’ve no need to see the sky. The air is warm. I know these things. She opened the door to the house. She smelt the heat before she walked into the sitting room, and there were the twins sitting. Their hand and knees were bloody from where they had torn up the carpet. The ground was hot. Underneath the earth skipped hot and loud, like they said. They ran their hands along the floor and drew small nonsense colours and spoke about some things, soft things. Ma went upstairs to her room and closed the door very gently. Her husband was asleep. The air was warm. She pulled up her dress to the top of her thigh and she began.
Part 6 of the Sea Stories
June turned at the top of the hill and looked back to Julia running running running. She stopped to squint in the sun and see June stopped, wiped her mouth, and turned. Julia called her name she screamed until she ran out of breath. But June ran faster through the grass and ripped her dress on sharp boney bushes and kept running and ran even when she twisted her feet in rabbit holes. And Julia tripped to the top of the hill and watched June run and run and run and run and run and run and run and run to the beach and run to the bubbly shiny water and run knee, and waist, and neck deep into the bubbly shiny water until she was just a ripple that faded out to sea like a song.
Julia held the tall grass and tried to dig her feet down the hill. The grass snapped like she knew it would and she fell. She fell and fell like she knew she would and slowly stopped in a heap on top of the sandy dune. -fuck her. Blood and sand dribbled in little lights down her chin. She pushed her hair away from her face and sat on her hands to keep them warm and watched outwards for a body in the water flickering in the water, anything that would amaze her. Because June could do incredible things. So she waited. June could walk to the very edge of the cliff, and dive off straight into the water, missing the rocks that wore all the bones of sheep like necklaces and sang an awful devil song that made children curious. She spun in the air, and when she hit the water she barely made a sound, not even a splash. And it was a sad thing for Julia who wanted the same. Because June said that under the water was a whole different world, with funny people who had faces as clear as mirrors, and nobody ever spoke because there were no words. And there was, in this one place, all the colours that could ever exist.
She pulled her jumper over her legs and pulled her hood over her eyes and sat like a fortress there on the dune. She tightened the hood around her face until she was just a pair of eyes to look out at the beach. The only things Julia needed, she thought when she sat like that there on the dune, were her eyes, and she had the best sight of anyone in the city. Sitting on the dune she could see the smoke from the chimneys in other countries. She could see that the sand was not yellow, it was violet, and blue, and green, and violu, and grreeenk, and blelelelow. And there was one there, right there on the left that was not sand but a touch of pure gold, and it was so small, like the heat from a single candle, or like closing your eyes, and sitting alone in the middle of an empty room and sitting there for hours and sitting there silently until you softly touch your lip with the tip of your finger and then you stand up, and you walk out of the room, and you close the door. She looked up and she saw the moon on its way to the sky, she saw the sky breathing the moisture from her skin and her hair to make a cloud.
-I won’t wait more than twenty minutes, and knew that June could hear her and know her too. Once when she was in her kitchen, staring at a fox that had torn into a garden 2 miles above and her sending all violence his way she suddenly noticed a figure with clear skin walk towards it quickly and break its neck. And she watched as June took its red cold body in her arms and buried it there.
Go back home nothing will happen today and the city is warm. The city is warm the city is busy with children who scream all love and hate to each other and play on the side of the road with long sharp hair. The streets are narrow and loose and hiccups of houses. And beyond them are the shops with all their own broken sounds, and beyond their sounds the houses, and houses, and houses, and field and wall and field and wall and field and wall stacked on top of each other and all to make a mountain layered with people and old shoes. And then the water. The water, water all around.
In the morning the boy came down to the water edge. He filled the baths with stones. The Fahy twins helped him. They blocked off the road to the sea and scattered boulders across the street. Maybe no people will crash into them and maybe some people will. June said not to worry. Now the baths were a burial mound. They stacked five men high. She saw at first one person walking, barely walking, out of their gates in the city like to a noise, and then another just as strange and listening. At first it made her laugh and she covered her mouth with her bloody sleeve. But then three, seven, fifteen, forty one, a hundred and fifty more all listening and muttering and walking towards the sea. And as she walked with them she felt again like she had before and before that and since the beginning that this was a place was just a thing that kept happening to her. And when they reached the dunes they saw them by the shore. The twins ran straight into the sea and laid with their belly flat against the water laughing like it tickled. They hopped through and under the waves and screamed all hate and joy back onto the people on the sand. They shouted abuses and dived backwards into the surf and Julia pulled her legs in to stop all the people muttering and marching back to the rest of the beach from tripping over her.
She hated the Fahys the most. And as she watched they stared back to her because of course, they were the only others who could see for miles, the Fahy twins who fell off the cliff and were in a coma for 4 years so their hair went silver and to their knees. They had by the sea every day of the summer doing cartwheels and backflips until they tripped at the edge, and when they woke up they said they had been trapped on a long stone pier watching their own beating hearts sat in front of them. Their nails were long and gray and they scratched their brother’s face until it bled when he told them they had just dreamt it and they filled her so full of hate and blood that her bones sharpened and snapped at each other. -They were right eejits to be on the cliff, she told everyone.
But here you are now in this moment waiting on the bridge of the dune. She wanted to see June’s skin just after she had climbed out of the water. She waited and waited, but of course, there she was. She moved under until the water took shape of a body, and slowly slowly fell apart and off her to become June, and walk towards her.
You should have come in! but I couldn’t see you, Julia said why couldn’t I see you? I was much further away, I was much deeper. Julia ran sand through her fingers. Will you stop running in like that when I’m way behind, I can’t breathe when I’m in the water. June stepped out of the dress that was torn and wet and lay down naked on the dune and Julia saw how clear and bright her skin was and felt emptier.
-Why can’t you? She piled sand on top of her legs and feet and toes.
-Because this body is just a thing that keeps happening to me and everything, it just won’t.
June stared at her until Julia couldn’t look anymore to see the pores in her face and the blood through her skin and the heart under a mess of bones and water. June sat upright kicking all the sand from her and What if I told you I made you she said. I would suffocate. No, That I made you and that I made you so you would breathe underwater, June said. But I can’t swim June. That I made it that you could.
Julia pulled the jumper over her body again and laid herself down into it and saw for a second her own heart sitting in front of her beating on and on and on.
-It’d be a bad thing, to love you like that June.
-You have to love me. If you’ve started it you have to finish it. You have to love me now.
They say that Julia went into the water, and then some of them say that she is buried under the mound where the baths used to be. It is not an important thing- everyone disappeared.
(rosi leopard looks cooler but family will slag)
Kerry Guinan, consistently mother of god
Every twenty-eight days, when the Moon had turned her face to the stars to nap after a long month of watching over us, we would throw a party in town. We would light a big bonfire in the square and dance and keep each other up all night, then sneak into bed before the sun could see who had made such a mess. But there was one Dark Night when a young man who, having no interest in women or wine, started to walk along the red road to the sea.
Along the way, the young man ran into a beggar. We were told never to give money to beggars in case they were angels in disguise who could never make the flight back to Heaven with heavy coins in their pockets. Even so, it was getting close to the time of year when frost paints icy spider webs on pumpkins in the moonlight and makes the cornstalks too brittle to stand tall, and the man was moved by the beggar’s purple hands and shivering. He pressed a few coins into the beggar’s palm and continued walking.
It took the young man a while to reach the sea, and by the time the road had gone from clay to sand, he was sick with guilt over his potential wickedness. He was glad that the Moon was too tired to see what he had done, but felt the need to confess. He found a clam sleeping under a blanket of foam that the sea had left on the shore and ran his thumb along the ridges of the clam’s chipped white shell until it awoke.
The clam was slow to respond because he was dying. Earlier that day, a moon snail had drilled a hole in the shell that the clam had built of himself, for himself, by himself—and began to eat him. Before the moon snail could finish the job, though, a seagull came and plucked her off the clam and ate her, leaving the clam alone on the beach to die. The clam was very tired and in a lot of pain, but the warmth of the young man’s thumb made him smile within his shell and look out of the hole that the moon snail had left.
“Clam, I am sorry to wake you, but need someone to talk to. I have a terrible secret.”
“There is not much of me left in here, so if you whisper your secret into the hole the moon snail made, I will keep it in here for you. In return, I ask only that you bury me in the clay. I have never liked it here, never been able to make pearls out of the sand that slips past my lips. I think I should like to go to the clay, and someday be a jug of moonshine or the brick of a chimney. Something useful.”
The young man agreed and whispered his secret into the hole the moon snail made. The clam, however, had underestimated the greatness of the sorrow that the young man had attached to his secret. The clam’s shell was too small to hold the secret or the sorrow and burst in the young man’s hand, and the clam died. The young man took the matches out of the matchbox in his pocket and turned it into a coffin for the clam. A one-man funeral train, he cried all the way back to town.
The young man went into his backyard and buried the clam deep in the clay, staining his hands and clothes red. We were all asleep when he walked past the dying fire in the town square, when he picked up a chunk of pine that was still burning and scarred his hands red forever. Joseph Hollow says he heard the young man scream, but everybody knows he was silent as he walked back to the sea with his red hands and swam to the mainland.
When the Moon awoke, the stars told her what had happened. They searched for the young man to tell him that it was okay, that he had nothing to be sorry for, but they could not find him anywhere. A month later, a red clay tree had grown from where the young man had buried the clam. It has no fruit or leaves, just a trunk and many twisted branches. But every new moon, silver coins grow from it and people can read their own secrets on the coins by the light of the bonfire. And no one ever tries to take the coins and no one is ever ashamed.
The sky is milk white and when I was younger
My mother fed it to me in baby bottles.
Now I sit at my desk in the classroom, seem quite ordinarily,
Uniformly like everyone else
Who sits listening with one ear for the bell,
The views from the windows are purple hills and
A clouded sky, quite ordinary, as if painted
On a wall,
The white light lands on the surface of the
Desks as always at this time of day,
Students have white pages open
Reflecting the light from the windows,
I am the picture of ordinary, donning
Uniform with my elbow in the classic position-
My hand holding up my head,
We are all inside of ourselves in different clothes
Most of us stare in windows at dreams,
We have been sanded down as thin as paper by society
And filed away.
We’re put in huge sectioned buildings like this one,
That fits as tightly as the corporate suits we are to wear,
And tells us that shopping is the answer.
No one learns anything.
I sit at my desk in the classroom
Observing and judging human nature
Until I become on old hag with lead in her school bag.
Within two weeks of entering the circle, I was given a role in a ritual surrounding you. I began to call myself ‘Our Lady of The Worms’.
I would kneel beside your tiny body, your head hidden by a mound of earth and twigs. In preparation for you being in this position, I had another, more minor role. An afterthought role: to cover all around your eyes in kohl. Stroking your delicate lids with the sponge, up to your eyebrows, down to the climaxes of your cheekbones, across the bridge of your nose. A painted bandit mask. When we put your little head underneath the earth with the holes for your eyes, our leader remarked on the wonder:
”They are absolutely cartoon! So white, and cartoon black pupils. They pop out of the darkness.”
He was right. We trust him. He’s a genius.
We watched your eyes darting, in such a panic, or maybe you were playing with us. Either way it was delicious and filled us with glee. Beside your crotch were my knees. As I watched your eyes intently, I desired so to lift one of my knees over to the other side of your hips and mount you. Try to unravell your reaction from only your eyes and perhaps, eventually scrape away the soil when the curiosity maddened me. But, it wasn’t that kind of ritual.
Our leader produced a small styrofoam box and opened it to reveal worms in soil. This is where my role really kicked in.
As discussed and planned, I picked worms from the box held by our orchestrator and placed them on the soil over your face. You didn’t flinch. When you saw them coming your eyes widened and relaxed into compliance.
As our leader prepared to document this, I placed worms close to your eyes and the other bumps of your lost facial features. I’d collect drool on my finger and flick them at the worms causing them to squirm. We wanted them close to your eyes but not to actually desecrate our darling subject’s glorious cartoon eyes. But when a curious and naughty worm should strike, I would play the role of saviour, flitting between endangering you and being your saviour, yes. That was me: worm-puppeteer, worm-teaser, in our worm theatre.
We got something very beautiful and this is my pride: one photograph at the precise moment of glory. Worm dipping into the hole, towards one of the holiest of the holies. At the best time possible, after the photograph (so my hand would not obscure the shot), and milliseconds before the violation of your eyeballs, I swooped in. Passionately, without thought. It was impossible to beat or recreate. So, we stopped soon after that: our peak.
Your face emerged from the earth. I, ready with dampened cloth, protected your eyes from falling soil and placed my fingers on your eyelids when they were safe from filth and after that, while your eyes opened and looking with gratitude, on your now clean lips. You muttered
”You saved my retinas, my little angel.” The kiss which followed still tasted quite like earth.
Everywhere I Turn
My sister falls out of a tree
and cracks her skulls open
and the ravens swoop down and mix
omelettes out of her spilled brains
and cast their dark shadows over her split face.
My brothers form an orderly
queue to take turns putting their heads in the fire.
They take off their aprons
and their shoes and they jump in
leaving me standing here
warming my hands by the grate.
Everywhere I turn everywhere I turn.
I turn and my parent’s guts are
eaten by cancer and their flesh is loose
and without control and I am without
My cousins hang from every streetlamp
like Christmas decorations and my aunts
and my uncles are riddled with wounds
that burst open like red lilies in bloom.
I sweep up the spare parts
we don’t use anymore into a dustpan
and throw them into the bin.
Later I rifle through the waste
My grandparents knew it would happen.
They saw it on the horizon approaching.
Charles Baudelaire’s Spaceship
I was in the kitchen whipping cream to put on some strawberries so I could entice my girlfriend away from the X-Box when I heard the doorbell ring. I wiped my hands on my apron and went out to the hall, still holding the bowl of cream, and opened the door. Charles Baudelaire was standing there: clean-shaven and dapper, sporting a cravat, a well-cut suit and cradling a luscious bouquet of flowers in his arms.
‘Charles Baudelaire!’ I cried out in surprise.
‘It is I,’ he said.*
‘I love your shit,’ I said excitedly.
‘I love your shit,’ he said.
I cried a few grateful tears into the bowl of cream I was holding.
‘I brought these for you,’ he said timidly presenting me the bouquet he was carrying.
‘Janey Mac, thanks,’ I said, shoving the bowl of cream into his arms and taking the bouquet from him.
‘These are wonderful,’ I said appreciatively, my eyes glimmering in wonder like a child’s.
‘Let me put them in the kitchen,’ I said, walking back into the kitchen.
I tossed the bouquet into the sink and went into the sitting room and told my girlfriend Charles Baudelaire was at the door.
‘Cool,’ she said, her eyes still glued to the screen.
I went back out to the hall where Baudelaire was still standing, holding the bowl of cream.
‘So Charles,’ I said, rubbing my hands together. ‘Is there anything I can do for you?’
‘I was wondering if you’d like to come for a drive with me?’
‘I’d love to,’ I answered happily. ‘Where are we going?’
‘Deep into time and space,’ he answered. ‘I’m looking for the edge of the universe.’
‘Have you a spaceship?’
‘Yeah, it’s out the back, he said pointing towards the car park.
‘Ok,’ I said, stroking my chin. ‘That sounds pretty cool. I’ll come along.’
‘What will I do with this,’ he asked, nodding his head towards the bowl of cream.
‘Here, give it to me,’ I said.
I took the bowl from him and placed it on the floor and then I untied my soiled apron and threw it on the coat-rack.
‘Let me get my coat,’ I said to him.
He nodded and shuffled awkwardly around, not really knowing what to do while he waited.
‘It’s in the sitting room,’ I explained, as I walked away again.
In the sitting room, I buttoned up my coat and explained to my girlfriend that I was going out with Charles Baudelaire for the night in his spaceship to find the edge of the universe and that I’d be back later on.
‘Cool,’ she said, turning up the volume on the television.
I said goodbye and turned to leave, when she called me back.
‘Yes?’ I said.
‘Make sure you were a seatbelt,’ she said, leaning over to kiss me on the cheek.
I laughed and gave her a hug and then left.
Charles Baudelaire led me out to the car park where his spaceship was docked.
‘Nice spaceship,’ I said.
‘It’s a pretty standard model,’ he shrugged.
We boarded the ship and when we were safely seated he pressed a big red button the size of my head and we took off in a jet of white fire and soared out of the stratosphere.
‘How do you get inspiration for your poetry?’ I asked as we flew past the moon; in such close proximity that I could make out the small American flag in a massive crater.
‘I read a lot,’ he said, taking a Zippo from his breast pocket and lighting a cigarette, ‘and then I go to a small, quiet room and talk to a prostitute for a while and write down what she says and then I put her words in rhyming form and put it into some acceptable poetic structure.’
‘Cool,’ I nodded thoughtfully.
‘It’s hard work,’ he said, taking a drag off his cigarette. ‘You know Le voyage?’
‘Do I?’ I laughed. ‘It’s a serious beast of a poem.’
‘Yeah well I wrote that after spending five days in an opium den with a syphilitic whore called Maud. She was a lot of fun. She got very sad though sometimes.’
‘I get sad too sometimes,’ I said quietly.
Baudelaire threw his cigarette on the floor and stubbed it out with his shoes and then put both hands on the steering wheel.
‘We’ve left the solar system,’ he said.
I looked at Pluto suspiciously and then asked if Baudelaire had a pen and paper on board. He pointed with his thumb to a drawer. I found a notepad and sat in the cockpit and wrote a poem for several hours that went like this:
‘That’s pretty good,’ Baudelaire commented when he finally saw it, not really looking at the page.
‘What’s it about?’
‘Death and sadness,’ I answered, still looking at the page.
‘Good solid topics,’ Baudelaire nodded. ‘Would you like a cigarette?’
‘No, I’m fine. Thanks.’
By now we were so deep into the universe that everything was dark and all the molecules were spaced out pretty widely and there wasn’t really much going on because there wasn’t much matter or many particles floating about. Baudelaire dipped the headlights.
‘We haven’t passed any abysses,’ Baudelaire said, wonderingly. ‘And we haven’t started contracted or expanding yet.’
‘I’m pretty hungry,’ I said, thinking of the strawberries I had foolishly left uncovered in the kitchen.
Baudelaire looked at me curiously. Then he shifted the gear stick and reversed and took a right.
‘I think we took a wrong turn,’ he explained.
‘Do you think there’s any possibility of us going back in time if we cross the final frontier of space?’ I asked.
‘Nah,’ Baudelaire said dismissively.
I looked out the porthole and saw a black hole eating time and space and matter.
‘I’m actually pretty hungry too,’ Baudelaire said, stroking his belly.
‘Take another right,’ I said warningly and Baudelaire swung to the right and we avoided getting pulled into an infinite vacuum.
I looked out the porthole and started thinking of strawberries in cream when Baudelaire shouted out:
I looked out the front window and saw a kaleidoscopic range of colours turning everything, including myself, blue then yellow then green then red.
A purple Baudelaire parked the pink spaceship and then orange everything went very green and then black and we stared into, and became, infinite nothingness.
‘What’s out there?’ my voice said from nowhere.
The nothingness that used to be Baudelaire shrugged and said:
‘White noise, death, lost Bob Dylan bootleg tapes, dead babies, God, I don’t know. Victor Hugo maybe: that cunt.’
‘This is all very disappointing,’ I didn’t say, because I was nothing. ‘I could be covering my naked girlfriend in strawberries and eating them off her belly.’
‘Sorry,’ said Baudelaire’s energy as he put the spaceship into reverse.
‘What do they mean when they say the abyss stares back, Charles?’ I asked as I turned into a single electron, flinging myself around what was left of the universe at a similar speed to light.
‘I don’t really know. It never happened before and now I don’t really know what to make of it all,’ the French man who used to be French and who used to be a man said as he became pure magnetised mercury.
‘If we’re nothingness, why do we keep changing form and keep speaking?’ I you he she it we you (pl.) they nothing everything asked.
‘Probably just to pass the time,’ ’ I you he she it Baudelaire Hitler Jesus Homer EvERYOnE elephant pills quark quark we were you (pl.) they nothing were nothing we were nothing were everything replied.
‘*&^£$(%”)!)$),” we laughed.
‘●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●▼♀’ he added.
‘Life and death have no meaning here. They are not applicable terms,’ I scolded.
‘0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001’ he said angrily.
‘Whatever,’ I said, shaking my head. ‘I’ll take that cigarette now if you’re offering.’
‘We’re out of petrol,’ nobody said, checking the ignition.
‘Are you serious?’ I sighed in an echo that rebounded for all eternity.
‘Just kidding,’ a cat answered as it became pure energy shaped like the number 8.
And then one trillionth of a millisecond before infinite had completed itself we managed to reverse the ship into the universe and I could see a molecule floating seven thousand light years away.
‘We’re home!’ I shouted and gave Baudelaire a big hug. He pushed me off violently, disgruntled.
‘You said some pretty nasty things back there to me in nothingness,’ he spat.
‘It doesn’t actually count,’ I said defensively, ‘because there was no I or you and no division between us because we were both the same thing which was nothing and therefore I can’t have insulted whatever it is that the thing is that you claim you are now.’
And then I added quickly:
‘And you’ve been dead for at least a century in earth time.’
‘Ok,’ Baudelaire said angrily, lighting his first cigarette since almost forever, ‘but I still think your poem is shit.’
‘Uncalled for,’ I said huffily as I looked out the window in a sulk. ‘That is really uncalled for.’
We made our way back to the solar system in silence and I felt a little sad and disappointed, even a little empty maybe, and then I started to cry.
‘You’re not getting any comfort here,’ Baudelaire said. ‘Those tactics don’t work with me. You won’t make me feel guilty.’
‘Shut up, Charles!’ I shouted. ‘I always get cranky when I’m hungry. It has nothing to do with you.’
Baudelaire stared at the steering wheel and said coldly:
‘I can’t believe you said I was dead. Do you know how offensive that is?’
‘Oh come on!’ I said, raising my arms in disbelief. ‘You are dead!’
‘Well, so are you,’ he shouted.
I sighed at his immaturity and looked out the window. We were entering the solar system, though by now it had changed co-ordinates by some hundred billion trillion kilometres since we were last in it.
‘This has been a very disappointing journey,’ I said.
‘If you think this is bad, wait until you see how it ends.’
‘How does it end?’ I asked.
‘You die,’ Baudelaire said. ‘Most voyages end like that.’
‘Only one voyage ends like that,’ I replied smugly.
‘And what voyage would that be?’ he asked as we landed in the car park outside my house.
‘I don’t know, cause I’m not dead yet,’ I laughingly gloated in his face.
‘Distasteful,’ Baudelaire said.
‘But still breathing,’ I added as I hopped out of the spaceship.
‘What time do you want me to pick you up tomorrow?’ Baudelaire asked as he closed the automatic hatch behind me.
‘I’m making quiche tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll have time.’
‘Is it the girlfriend?’ Baudelaire asked, lifting an eyebrow.
I shrugged as he waved at me and the hatch closed firmly.
Then I went home.
* Throughout the following text I have translated my conversations with Baudelaire from the original French into the English; trying to stay true to Thomas De Quincey’s maxim that one must catch the ‘spirite and soule’ of the speaker in question. French is a language that both I and Baudelaire speak fluently, albeit that French girls are continually more enticed to flirt with me than Baudelaire when we they see us in public conversing, probably due to the fact that I speak with a rugged Irish accent whereas Baudelaire speaks with a very slight lisp and a pronounced Parisian accent. He is also not as forthcoming in the presence of young ladies. If the reader is interested in a more exact version of the events portrayed and the conversations related in this short work, a cheap paperback edition is available in the original French from HYPERLINK “http://www.editions.flammarion.com” www.editions.flammarion.com under the title Charles Baudelaire et l’irlandais, within which this piece can be found on page 94 in the 2012 edition.
Martha Daly transcends the line between art wanker and pest. Does a tumble im-marthadaly.tumblr.com