I feel so invincible, she said as the sun pelted her face with radiation. I feel like I could climb to the top of a church spire and fuck it into a pile of crumbs and then pull up my knickers and walk away. Then she laughed and skipped into the oncoming traffic.
I wander around a derelict block of garages, grinning like the broken teeth of a broken down prizefighter. I finger the scar above my eyebrow; a gift from the mutant I took on under the shiny neon glare of the carnival lights, reflected pathetically back from the ground on a damp autumn night. He’d sat forlorn on a bale of straw flecked and splattered with red and he looked intently into a dog bowl of water at his feet. When he saw me limbering up, egged on by my fellow citizens, I saw his face click over like a photographic slide from ruthless aggression and back to pity again. All the voices behind me hooting and yelling weren’t my friends, but on this side of the wire fence, standing in his cage with sweaty cracked gloves, I suddenly realised that in his eyes I was one of the outside. I’d never been part of a collective before and now, by proxy, I stood up as just another example of indignation. He pitied me for the damage he was about to do. I don’t doubt that he tried to be gentle, but as my petrified eyes looked into his off-white marbles, he only glared through my bony shoulders to the hyenas slavering behind. Thanks to his empathy I lasted minutes rather than seconds, and as I lay down on the wet floor waiting for the feeling to return in my left leg, my dank head became crowned by the dull reflected lights of the carnival. The ringmaster threw fake money over my face that stuck to my wet cheeks and pronounced me King Of The Turds. The crowd laughed. The crowd left. I went home that night and vomited three of my teeth out.
Back in the garage block, I crouch down as best my knees will allow these days and eat some dust. I lean further and press my ear against the concrete trying to hear the echoes that we’d left behind in the flower of youth before cynicism retired us. When I crunch the grit and mortar until my gums bleed, when I exhale deeply the scents of rust and grass, when I strain to hear each individual chirp of the birds, I’m hunting for purity by osmosis. I want to absorb echoes, memory, time and to reset to a former state. A trickle of blood runs from the corner of my mouth and fights through three days of stubble. My tongue is on fire and my throat is dissolving, choked. That night, I break into one of the garages with minimal effort and sleep on a pile of old newspapers. When I wake up, the ink has stained my arms and legs. I’m tinged with a faintly sepia tone and I smell of rot. I go back every night, until I am eventually camoflaged in this mouldy pile of pointless, out of date, words.
These days it seems the simpliest of pleasures are the most pleasurable for simples. Walking home from work with an icy wind on one side and the heat of the sun on the other, causing a merry dance of war in the jumbled molecules that fight for the two sides of me. The simple pleasures of walking along a beach, eating an ice cream and watching the white horses rumble and stampede into the sand. A taste of past innocence for a man who has become utterly sinful.
I watched as you held your arms aloft in the manner of a conductor and summoned the screech of the brakes and the blaring horns of the brass section. People were swearing but you looked so utterly alien that no one dared touch you, including me. In that moment, you were liquid mercury; beautiful, unobtainable and poisonous. You wandered out of the road as the traffic resumed with a throaty grumble and you watched every driver as they passed you. I could see you through the gaps, through the windows, past the little tinned lives. When everything had passed you were gone and I could only sit forlorn, twenty feet from your moment of insane dereliction. I raise my arms above my head so my fingertips form a point and I concentrate hard on turning myself into a church, so I can be destroyed in such a glorious manner.