“The Rug”

Even now, I can’t bring myself to tell my mother about the rug.

At some stage, every little boy has a fire phase. A fascination with the flame, if you will. It calls out to each of us at some point. And it sang its song, luring me on to the rocks, or on to the hearth, when I was about twelve years of age.

Circumstances aligned each weeknight beautifully while that fascination lasted.

My mother, my very house-proud mother, worked nights, in the bar of a theatre in the city centre. And to make it there on time, she would have to leave and head off into town in her blue Mini City at ten to seven.

Now, my father didn’t arrive home from the factory he worked in as a welder until a quarter past seven, typically. So that gave me roughly twenty, twenty-five minutes to work.

To experiment. To play. With fire.

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“The Hole”

I don’t like dogs.

But that’s not enough to do what I want to do, what I would like to do.

Maybe if it was a cat. I can’t fucking stand cats. It’s their… let’s call it insincerity, their dishonesty, their slyness. Sneaking into your freshly dug flowerbed to have a dump in the clay when they think you’re not looking. But at least cats have a purpose in mind, even if it’s just to take a shit.

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“The Descent”

“You know, pressing the button again and again like that won’t make it get here any faster.”

“What difference does it make to you?” The man didn’t even look back at George. He just kept his eyes glued to the numbered display above the elevator doors, mashing the button like he was playing an arcade game. The car was still ten floors above them, stationary. It was not descending, as George had pointed out, any faster, despite the man’s impatience.

“It makes the difference between me losing my temper. And not losing my temper.”

“Is that right?” said the man, turning around at last. “Well, let’s see.” He put his hand behind his back, reaching for the button, and looked George in the eye. He resumed pressing the button, faster and faster, fast enough that a sheen of sweat formed on his lip.

George took a deep breath.

The man smiled, registering the rise and fall of his shoulders. “Maybe you should try counting to ten.”

“That’d be pointless. I lose it well before I reach five,” said George, stepping forward and grabbing a handful of the man’s hair, looping it around his fist until he had fashioned himself a good, strong handle. He had only begun smashing the man’s head into the same button he had been pressing when the elevator did arrive.

“What do you know?” muttered George, as he let go of the man’s hair and let his bloody head follow his crumpled body to the floor. “Maybe you were on to something after all.”

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash

We’ll sleep when we’re dead

We’re all so very, very tired. Seems like there are very few people you’ll chat to who tell you they’re wide awake, full of beans and rearing to go. Young, old, and everywhere in between, we yawn, or try to hide our yawns. We rub our eyes, throw eye drops into them like they will somehow be reset with a little salt water solution.

“I just need a good night’s sleep,” says someone. “It doesn’t matter how early I go to sleep or for how long, I’m still tired,” says someone else.

We exercise, we change how and what we eat, we suck up health and wellbeing vlogs like they’re a magical elixir. But none of it can turn the fatigue Titanic around. And somewhere up ahead, out there in the darkness, is the iceberg that will end it for us all.

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