Saturday, August 31, 2013


It felt like roots. Light tendrils gripping his veins. In a panic, he tried to remember something happy. A firm stalk to grasp as his feet slipped against the mud. For some reason, the word “fig” slipped with ease into his head.

He remembered the stench of the fig of his childhood. The way the fruit smelt as it lay rotting next to the pool, and the way that smell dragged the fruit bats clapping their wings out of the dark like admirers of a cult leader. Clap, clap, in the dusk.

They’d gorge themselves on the ripe fruit, and then shit down the walls of the house in purple streaks.

It looked like blood in the slow autumn sunset.

He didn’t mind too much about the massacre happening on his parent’s wall, but, instead, went to the garage, where the chemicals were kept. The HTH for the pool, the Jeye’s fluid for the drains. His neighbour had shown him how to let the Jeyes dribble into the HTH in a jar and then bubble as the chemicals refused to get along… Explode…

A while later, his friend lay in the hospital bed, crying without sound as the fluid seeped through the thin tube into his veins. Living, not happy.

The burns doctors laughed as they shared pots of coffee in the cafeteria. The hats of the coffee urns dipping as they boiled. A sandwich sat under the lights, waiting for a surgeon to point at it wearily. The surgeon’s wife lay at home, crying as a character from a soapie fell out of love. Again.

He knew the dirty smell of his friend- the way blonde hair smelled as it fizzed into flames. And he knew that the time of childhood was past… The time of making fires for no reason and living without consequences. No fires without burns.

On the radio, an advertisement for detergent was playing.