Fingering A Princess

I smell everything these days and I cannot help where they take me.  I am hostage to fragrances – wet rain on dry tarmac, trees in full pollen explosions, earth and soil, moss and dust.  I walk into a hotel room and I smell purple liquids and suddenly I’m gone…

…here…

…gladrags and bad scent, the cold air catching the damp splash of cheap aftershave without the shave.  In the best disco finest, walking in small footsteps taking care to avoid the breakneck speed of the idealists on their motor-cycles.  Stick out a hand and give high fives to the overgrown shrubs and bushes.  Feel the crunch of loose gravel beneath your best winkle-pickers.  Pause for a moment and remember.  He stops and looks over his shoulder, then to the glowing orb before him.  Flies dance around, as the flies have always done so.  It looks upon him with knowledge.  He can still hear the whirring of sprockets, the whoops of delight, the fear and the laughter.  Never nervous when dangerous, now petrified when adventuring.

Underneath neon lights, he observes dead eyes staring out from darkened windows.  Trying to decide what is asleep and what is actually dead.  He can smell anticipation, his skin tingles with pre-sweat, his ears dim to the momentum, his eyes shield from the glare, his mouth prepares for the tastes.  Cold tonsils, butterflies and contracted arseholes.

Three gentlemen appear, with intent and considerations against your mothers and daughters, your sisters and friends.  We must observe these characters with all the detachment that is demanded of these significant figures….

The first one is Mountbarn.  He strides with the clumsiness of a pretentious military man, displaying his cadet stripes like a felt-tip tattoo, with false stories of anal intercourse and an anecdote involving a Harrier Jump-Jet.  Wisdom is his currency and he is a bankrupt man, reduced to tributes of dying footballers.  He asks for mild and drinks mild, unaware that he has already given up.  Not above proceedings, he is far below, in slumber, nonchalently putting out a cigarette on his wooden lid but conscious that his best years are gone.

Jackson wears a suit and carries a deck of cards in the inside pocket of his blazer.  He will approach women asking them to pick a card.  Across the Queen Of Hearts is his phone number, scrawled in cheap biro.  His lips have never tasted anothers.  Before entering the club, his hat will be confiscated and the bouncers will put a pound in a jar and see who is the first to pound on him.  The money will go unmolested by fat fingers – Jackson is too offensively inoffensive to cause a tremor.  Even as he dances, his footsteps make no sound.  He has to wait five years for his first human contact – a fleshy palm clenched fist on his shoulder from a divorced security guard who mistakes his card trick for the illicit sale of cigarettes.

One has known an Evensong before.  One has perhaps been an Evensong, adopting an imaginary Gauloises and fretting about the dreadful liquids clinging to the soles of his trainers.  He cannot piss in the gentleman’s toilets – girls are in there, reapplying paint and laughing at the pathetic rowed display of spitting peckers in a line like an anatomic beauty contest for the damned and other men.  He goes outside and stands in the cold and dark ruin of a boarded up public convenience, hidden since 1967.  The pipes are unconnected so he relieves onto his toes.  In the bushes nearby there is the crackle of his first crush being split nearly in half by a grotesque paramore.  He only wants to brush the loose twigs and rotten leaves from her shining blonde hair.  As he passes he notices that she doesn’t look to anything alive, only the dark silouette of a school building where all dreams were extinguished by the folly of misguided acquaintance.

The three gentlemen gather together, wet shoes cards and disinterest, appearing only momentarily under a strobe.  I finish my drink and stare at the spot where I met a princess.  She’d put on her finest and had danced all night with an awkward young man she’d known since they were babies in adjacent hospital cots.  Now nineteen, she’d experienced boys, guitars, woes and poetry.  He’d suffered from the prejudices and knockbacks of autism.  On his first night out, she’d taken his hand and they’d danced.  He’d tasted soft drinks from a bottle and pretended he was Paul Newman.  Back home before midnight, as per the Cinderella rules, she’d seen him safely to his relieved parents and returned with fire in her eyes.  The crowds parted.  I don’t know why I was picked.  I can’t think of a decent or indecent reason for it.  But we held each other close, breath on napes, tight enough to feel blood in veins.  The last song ended with a deep, swallowing, consuming kiss, as her jaw snapped apart and her skin stretched to envelope my head and I closed my eyes to the warmth around me.  I never saw her again.

So now I sit, observing.  Weary pints of mild, pick a card, looking down at pissy shoes and wishing she wasn’t being fucked outside.  Nameless and faceless in dresses and t-shirts like a bad catalogue commercial.  On the stage is a man in a vest imagining this is his party.  No one pays him any attention.  And at the back a young woman who dances without hearing the music.

She just dances, and dances, and moves, and doesn’t pay attention to the tune.  She arrives alone, dances, and leaves alone.  We are all invisible to her.  We are all invisible to each other.  But only she knows.  Ten years later, I know too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s