by GJ Hart

 

They’re shot-gunning moo moos – again, in an abandoned shipping crate – again, as their dog barks at a flaming helicopter piloted by a septuagenarian with webbed feet who, due to his addiction, is forced to sell spell candles packed with drugs to angry tourists convinced – after two days at sea – the staff are impostors.

The captain’s no fool; the captain’s gone. He’s enjoying a complimentary drink on an international flight as a woman with a patent pending weeps into her sick bag and the man in the next seat sweats and wonders if the condoms will hold.

A hot October day – like a stray sheep. She carries apples and wine through fields flattened by men with torches and YouTube accounts, to the farm her brother stole the day the blades malfunctioned.

A long face, she says, looks thin – and offers apples, and drains the wine and points to a spot across the Downs. Too close, he says, so they climb the path carved from floods she remembers like undeveloped photographs.

This is where it all began, she whispers, hammering the new lock, hanging from the church door with the bottle until her hand opens like condolences. They’ll never get an ambulance up here, she says.

In Greenwich, he wears a dressing gown and sits on a leather sofa opposite the French doors leading to the terrace of his top floor duplex. He spends his hours sinking deeper into softer clothes and reading her text. Her commas are breath control, the full stops – a syringe, a stiletto and a bright, orange sun. In the kitchen, his cleaner discovers a condom and, picking it up, finds it difficult.

Toulouse Gang 9 weaves through traffic in small, fast cars. The traffic is heavy. The tracker on the dash panics. They slow down just north of the river. Then continue across London Bridge just as he arrives for work and his boss clips his ear. He has a wife and three kids he hasn’t seen for four years and isn’t even late. As he watches his boss flirt, he squeezes the briefcase beneath his desk and counts the minutes till lunch.

 

 

GJ Hart currently lives and works in Brixton, London and has had stories published in The Jersey Devil Press, The Harpoon Review, 99 Pine Street, The Jellyfish Review, Foliate Oak, The Eunoia Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.

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