unreal boys

one of them was made of gingerbread and the other one was made of wood and both of them were weighed down with that biggest of existential questions: why? just because they weren’t made of the more traditonal materials people abused them no end and they were sick of it. but how to change? unlike in the fictionalised accounts of their lives there was no happy ending – no transformative experience which saw them liberated from their strange predicaments. pinnochio had furnished himself with a lumberyard in the telling of that story – blue fairy indeed. and here they sat, sharing a pint – hanging out with all the freaks that imagination had cast into the role of scapegoat, feeling sorry for themselves and drowning their sorrows. it was a common problem out here – that feeling that no one understood you because everyone, listening to the accepted wisdom, thought they knew you. suicide was rife, drug use was astronomical, divorce rates were through the roof. peter pan had been thrown in the slammer after a domestic with tinkerbell got out of hand; huck finn was on the run; mickey mouse was running the local crimeworld. how had things gone so far south? pinnochio had turned to honesty – the novelty of having a lie detector growing out of his face had grown tiresome a long time ago. the gingerbread man kept trying to tell people that he wasn’t like a bloody lizard and, yes he might be able to regenerate whatever they ate from him, but that didn’t make it right. they were hungry and they didn’t care. ‘do you see this ever changing?’ he asked pinnochio. ‘sure,’ he said, slipping up perhaps because of the drink. his nose said he didn’t believe.

winged things

snow angels, paper angels – he was obsessed with them. he remembered kaleidoscopic visions in the butterfly garden where peacocks, and red admirals and cabbage whites swirled around him and his buddleia halo of purple.
but the snow angels melted away. yellow snow of dog’s piss baptised disappointment and footsteps at the edge of the white-hemmed path which had been dug clear.
the paper angels were screwed into a ball in the trash can, sprinkled with glitter from the disposed of xmas cards his mother didn’t want. he had tired of paper aeroplanes but there was something magic in paper angels – the way the emerged from a few cuts; but no one in his household shared the fascination.
the butterfly garden was gone as well – all the plants which drew those brightly coloured insects in uprooted and replaced with easy to maintain gravel.
watching these things he was given to wonder whether for something to be beautiful it must also have built into it a fleetingness. it saddened him. he poured the cream into his coffee and watched the spiral become a cloud that bubbled through and changed the liquid. how long did the change take to occur? this glass cup held now plain as brown coffee, but for a second it the beautiful poetry of fluid dynamics. he smiled – he decided he didn’t mind if it did not exist for long as long as it existed.


it was a pitiful sight – ragged wings stripped to geometric suggestion of function. its skin was almost translucent and you could see the pathetically slow and tortured beating of its heart knocking out a rhythm on a ribcage with little meat surrounding it. if it were what it seemed to be then it was in a state far away from ideal – there was no way that this sorry specimen was in any way a symbol of the glory of god. it mewled like a newborn cat, sputtering out some kind of language that sounded like shapeless florid vowels that rolled into each other. glossolalia? he couldn’t credit it. if it were what he hoped it was not then his chaining up of it like a stray or criminal would be a terrible act. he would look over at it and a pressure centred in the front of his head would begin to spread. he would shake the understanding from his skull; drape himself once more in the ignorance he needed to survive this ordeal. how long had he had this thing captured? how much longer would he have to suffer because of its presence? if it had been obviously a dumb animal, looking at its pain, he would have put it out of its misery, but it wasn’t, and so, the questions about killing it were many. he hefted the crowbar in his hands, swallowed nothingness, stood, walked over to it – stood there watching. it whimpered – the noise corkscrewed through him, pained his heart, bathed his stomach in nervous acid. like the first crack of thunder in a storm, something loosened as the metal in his hands transmitted the dull thud of a busted head into him. and he understood that the falling of those in the bible was preceded always by a choice – that they invited their own destruction, their own banishment. it was as if having started he could not stop though. each blow told him something about the creature he was murdering; each blow told him something about himself. stumbling away from the building he set alight to cremate his guilt he knew that he had not survived the act; knew he had just as surely killed himself as if it were his own skull he had crushed.