What if your inclination is wrong?
|I read and read this, not sure it should stay the same, but not sure why?
He wasn’t dead and had no intention of being so, crawling along the whitewashed hallway, leaving a crimson stream in his wake. Just enough of his face was visible to see a smirk that cut into me. I started to think he would get to the elevator, return to his wife and make love to her. I had more bullets but didn’t want to keep shooting this bastard, despite what I’d agreed. The rationale had gone, replaced by something I hadn’t felt for a long time. I stood back, watching him crawl, pondering, not sure what to consider.
There was no inspiration coming from the bullshit walls surrounding me. They all had the same impression, photographs of forgotten moments and signs telling you which way to run in the event of a fire. No one cared much for them and they certainly weren’t giving anything back. Meanwhile, he was getting further and further away, like a wounded beast fleeing the hunt. I was going to leave him to take the elevator. I would use the stairs.
I kept thinking. Ashford, 1986 I think. I was in the bathroom, a tatty cream affair that you wanted to get out of quickly. I had been ordered to bathe, warned about the perils of uncleanliness. There was a spider in the bottom of the bathtub, content in the quiet I disturbed. I told my Mama but she insisted, take a bath. So I ran the taps. The way I saw it, it could die with the water, its body flushed down the plughole out of sight, forgotten forever. Or I could set it free, save it from drowning. It sat there not knowing, not perturbed as to its potential fate. So why was I?
Once on the ground, I shifted quickly to get out of the building. Just as I was through the door somebody was saying something, asking if someone was okay, maybe my guy, who knows. I did stop to think about it, but carried on, sure. It was still boiling hot and everyone was outside, walking or sitting. A kindly woman with fractious hair pushed a leaflet into my hand which I looked at, her face beaming a smile at mine.
“God, right?” I asked her, looking up from the leaflet.
“That’s right, the answer to everything” she told me.
“Everything” she insisted, gritting her teeth. I gave her a meek smile, touching my chest where my heart was meant to be.
“I’ll think about it,” I told her, putting the leaflet away, walking on, passed windows of cafes full of people shouting and pointing at each other.
Some of the shops were sedate enough to help you sleep, some teemed with life. I went on through crowds where no one had a face and everyone a bottle of something. The pavement was littered with what they didn’t want and made me thirsty and hungry at the same time. I knew a place that didn’t smell and served cheapish liquor. I could ruminate there.
And it had a phone. I needed a phone. I would call my Aunt and see what she was doing, ask about her kids, if her partner was still working, shit like that. Maybe it would be nice to know. Because of his lungs, they stay in for meatloaf and play cards, as far as I could remember. I might even tell what I was doing, or what I was going to do. From now on, nothing was decided yet.