A wish for rugged boots

The sweat beaded down their brows as their bare feet scraped against the pavement, their bindles over their shoulders and a glazed look in their eyes.
“If it isn’t Drew & Drake!” A guy named Billy beamed with a grin, “Fancy seein’, you two here!” Billy looked them up and down and noted their bare dirty feet, “Living on hard times are we?”
Drew wiped at his brow with the back of his hand, “Nah!” Drew scratched his belly under his vest, “We done a good deed, ain’t we, Drake?” he said, nudging his pal.
“We got clothes on our backs,” Drake started, “So we thought we’d give up some of our less necessary items.” Drake grinned, a few teeth missing in his mouth.
Billy laughed, “And shoes ain’t necessary, are they?”
“Look at them apes, them er, chimps. They don’t wear shoes!” Drew said with a smug smile.
“Thee don’t wear pants or vest neither.”
Drew’s brows drew together, his eyes glazed over more so than earlier, “Oh yea!” He exclaimed, “Thanks, man!” Drew slapped Billy on the back in that brotherly fashion men do.
“The point is,” Drake began, “We did a good deed which brings us good karma in the future, you know what I mean?”
Billy shook his head with a chuckle, “You two do make me laugh!”
“It’s good to make people laugh,” Drew nodded his head.
Drake rolled his eyes, “Drew, he aint laughing with us, he’s laughing at us like they always do!”
Drew’s face reddened and screwed into anger, “You what? You laughin’ at us? What you laugin’ at us fer! Yer quite laughable yerself! Dick’ead!”
“I’m not the one walking along the street in the 21st century with bindles strewn across me shoulder, in bare feet cuz I donated the only shoes I had to bloody charity shop! Ha!” “Hey, mate, what good you ever done in your life? Eh? You can laugh, but we’re the guys who have little yet still try to ‘elp where we can. We ‘ave bare feet, and so what about it? It feels quite good actually! Really grounds ya!” Drake said, doing a little tap dance and then lunging forward to show how free his movement was without shoes on, “We got the right t’ bare feet jus’ like them, Americans got their rights to bare arms!” Drake said, humour deep in his a little less glazed over eyes than Drew’s, “And look at you, bet you got them human feet instead of these beasty boys!” Drake karate kicked the air.
“Drake, you’ve got human feet too. He can see you know!”
Drake stopped in his tracks and slapped his pal across the head, “It’s a fucking play on words, dumbo! I got bear feet, ya get it?”
“We both have bare feet!”
“Yes we do, Drew! We have BEAR feet. And we could kick Mr Billy boy here into yesterday with ’em.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t need to kick, the smell’ll do it!” Billy said sarcastically.
“I think wearing shoes makes our feet smell bad, it’s all that sweating around in closed spaces. Bet my feet smell less than…”
“Drake,” Drew pawed at his friend’s elbow trying to pull him to the side.
“WHAT?” Drake roared, “What now.”
“Ah…Ah…I think I left mah soul in mah shoes.”
Billy’s head rolled along with his eyes, “Ya what? Ha! Aren’t shoes meant to have soles!”
“No, ya idiot!” Drake flicked Billy on his forehead, “He’s left his soul in his shoes!” Drake turned to Drew, “What ya leave ya soul there fer! Ya bleeding nutjob!”
“Aye, aye!” A voice hollered from across the road, “What you three lads up to? Hope you’re not causing trouble,” he beamed as he crossed the road.
“Alex,” Drew said dully.
“Alright, Drew! So what you all up to?”
“We’re off to get Drews Soul back from the charity shop. Ha!” Billy told him.
“Oh no,” Alex shook his head, “You’ve not sold your soul to charity ‘ave ya?”
“I didn’t mean to! But I left it in mah shoes!” Drew whined.
“What shoe did ya leave it in?” Alex asked jutting his chin.
“Me right shoe.”
Alex scratched at his stubble, “Ah. Can’t ‘ave been yours then!”
“What can’t ‘ave been?” Drake asked curiosity piqued.
“I just saw a shoe walking down that ginnel near the chippy, ya know where ah mean?”
“Oh aye,” Drake stroked his beard.
“What colour was it?” Drew asked.
“Brown. Come to think of it, it wouldn’t be your shoe mate. It was one of them oxford shoes. Ya know, all rich and posh like. Wingtips an’ all.”
“I seen a homeless man wearing wingtip oxfords. At least ah think he were homeless. He had odd socks on!” Billy added.
“Nah. He ain’t homeless! I know who ya mean, but he ain’t homeless. But he ain’t rich neither.” Turning to Drew, “What colour were ya shoes?”
“Black.”
Alex’s jaw dropped, “Oh no! See if I were to leave my soul in a shoe, I’d make sure it was brown or a trainer or somethin’ ya know? But never a black one! I’d never leave my soul in a black shoe!”
“What does the…” Billy shook his head not believing he was about to entertain the question, “What does the colour of the shoe have to do with leaving ya fuckin’ soul in it?”
“Billy,” Alex held up the palms of his hands as if in surrender, “Billy, mate. Calm down! I’m just sayin’ if I left me soul in a shoe I’d want to leave it in a brown one. Hell, I wouldn’t mind leaving it in a wing tipped oxford shoe, as long as it’s brown.”
“You lot are out of your minds!”
“I do like brown shoes,” Drew said aloud absentmindedly.
“I saw a pair of boots walking down the cobbled street at the back of the bakers, the owner must’ve had a split soul or somethin’ to have two souls in both boots.”
“I wish I’d left my soul in a pair of rugged boots.” Drew intoned sadly, “But instead I left my soul in me right shoe and it was black an all!”
“I’d get to that charity shop quick sharpish,” Alex clapped his hands together to emphasise his point. Turning to Billy with a grin, “What kinda shoe would you leave your soul in?”
“Souls don’t exist chickenshit.”
“Course they do! How else did those shoes I’ve seen walking about come to life?”
“Cause you’re fucking high or mental or both!” Billy scoffed.
“Maybe they’re just trying to find their socks,” Drew thought aloud.
Drake and Alex looked at Drew as if he’s just said the most genius thing they’d ever heard, “Ya might be onto something!”
“Ya know what,” Alex started excitedly, “Ya might have left ya soul in your sock but thought ya left it in ya shoe.”
“Well why don’t you go back up t’ the charity shop and follow the shoe to the sock! Ha!” Billy roared with laughter.
“That’s a good idea!” Drake replied.
“So those walking shoes didn’t have souls in them? They were just animated to look for socks?” Alex said with disappointment. “I was hoping that I could leave me soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“If ya can leave your soul in a sock, ya can surely leave ya soul in a shoe too?” Drake patted Alex on the back, “Come on mate! Cheer up! Ya can still leave ya soul in a brown oxford shoe!”
“Ya know I think I might have left me soul in that black sock I lost!”
“Will ya stop leaving ya soul in black!” Drake muttered.

That night as Drew and Drake muttered their nonsense inside of sleep, and Alex lay on the floor snoring a black sock snaked across the road and a black shoe went chasing after it, and that black shoe gobbled up the sock ferociously, and the only witness to the shoes savage ways was Billy.

Metamorphosis: A clown devours itself

“First, the caterpillar digests itself”

 

I ate the butterbyes
That turned into goodbyes
And hydrated me
As such water began to flow
From my tear ducks
Rolling down my nemesis
The face in which the clown I have become
For such folly, I have done
Trying to fold myself
Into a butterfly
Using butter and knife
With no wings to fly

 

 

*Ducks is not a typo

Long and short of it.

Lankie leant against a wall down a cobbled path behind peoples houses and a pub. A cigarette between his fingers and his right leg bent with his foot on the wall. Down the left mouth of the ginnel, a penguin waddled towards him. Lankie shook his head and did a double take, “What the fuck?” He huffed through a haze of smoke.
The penguin approached closer and closer till Lankie could make out the man’s eyes.
“What the fuck is this?” He gestured with his cigarette hand with palm wide open.
“It’s a penguin costume,” Shortie replied matter of factly.
Lankie rubbed at his temples with both hands, ash falling from his cigarette. “You going for a Batman theme and took the penguin bit too literally?” He grinned.
Shortie looked up at his Lankie friend, “What?”
Lankie shook his head, “nevermind.”
Not long after Shortie appeared behind him his entourage appeared, three waddling penguins.
Lankie pulled his lips back with a sarcastic look on his face, “We’re meant to look inconspicuous.”
Shortie ignored him and turned to his boys, “Right,” he barked as if it was an order.
All the men began unzipping their penguin costumes and stepped out dressed up as women.
“Shit,” Lankie shook his head, “You’re all like some really freaky fucking Russian dolls!” He averted his eyes from the colourful makeup on their faces and the attempts at hiding their stubble rather than shaving. “Yea put the penguin suits back on, you were oddly much less noticeable.” Lankie shot Shortie a glance, “why didn’t you wear a penguin costume anyway?”
“Didn’t want our wives seeing us dressed like this!” Shortie gestured at his wig and dress, “they’d wonder what we were up to.” He said in explanation.

In his garish floral dress and brunette wig with curling strands of hair down his ears Shortie led the other three men who were also dressed garishly, one of the men had short denim jeans on with that torn effect at the rims. Lankie towered over them and followed with a scowl behind the tights on his head. They snuck across the road to the hairdressers. To any onlookers it would have been a sight, five men stalked across a zebra crossing. One tall, Lankie man in a long coat creating a further illusion of height and four men in front wearing wigs, looking not so glamorous. It would have made a good copy of the famous Beatles photo, but with one extra band member if it was taken at night. Shortie crept along the window of the shop and peered into the darkened room.
“Right,” He gestured with his arm for Johnny in his denim shorts,
Johnny looked over his shoulder, his wig flailing with the momentum before bending down to the lock on the door and picking it carefully with his lock picking tools. When the click came, he looked over at Shortie and grinned in the dark. Stepping back from the door he let Shortie have the privilege of opening the door.
“Right come on boys!” He waved a hand to gesture at the other two short fuckers and one Lankie streak of piss.
Shortie, Lankie and the two other short fuckers skulked around the shop trashing to pieces, pouring shampoo on the floor, spraying foam everywhere.
While Johnny went into the back room and picked the lock of the safe.
“You got it yet?” Shortie shouted into the back room as he took a piss in a corner of the shop.
Johnny came out in a flash with a wad of cash in his hands!
“We need Nicholas to know it was us to send him a message!” Lankie reminded Shortie.
Shortie shook a spray can of hair curl spray foam and wrote the words, ‘This is the long and short of the story,” on a mirror.
Lankie shook his head, “What does that even mean?”
Shortie shrugged, “It means this is the end.”
Lankie shrugged and led them out of the shop.

 

 

Time flew over the cuckoos nest

I stretched my legs till I could reach the sky
It still wasn’t enough
So I shrunk myself till I was invisible to the naked eye
I still wasn’t satisfied
So I stretched my arms till I could reach the clouds
But kept my legs short so I could still touch the ground
But my voice wasn’t loud
I sounded too much like a mouse
So I enlarged my head and my throat box
And I screamed and screamed
Till I smashed all the clocks
And time flew over the cuckoos nest
Now I forget the rest.

Therapy. Version 2. Or Crack.

“I see you’ve cracked.” The therapist says, tilting her body on the big computer chair.
“Haven’t we all?” I ask
“No. Do I look like I’ve cracked?” She asks, tilting herself forward and spinning in the chair to show me her entire body.
“The night is young. I can crack you if you want.”
“And how would you do that?” She asks.
“Headbutt you.”
“Then you’d crack more and we’d both just be a gooey mess.”
We both draw smirks on our shells.
“You are being inappropriate perhaps, Miss Therapist.” I etch a grin on my shell. “Do you remember when we all had cracks, out of the virtue of being human?”
She draws another smirk on her face, “Are you using a euphemism?”
I draw raised eye brows on my face, “Well the euphemism sure was implied. But I also mean metaphorically.”
She tilts her body forwards and looks at me curiously, “Explain.”
“Do you remember your first heartbreak, Miss?”
She nods her body to gesture yes.
“So do I. That was a crack on our psyche. But then we moved on, perhaps we were even stronger afterwards. You know when all was said and done.”
“I guess.”
“We used to crack inside and sometimes we had wounds to show for it outside. But we stitched ourselves back up.”
“We did.” She agrees.
“But the generation just after me, hell probably even my own age to some extent, crack and never get up again.”
“hmm.”
“We’re more fragile than we ever were. While trying to be stronger than we ever were.” I knock on my shell, and another crack appears, “See what I mean?”
“You are so cynical, Sam.”
“What you call cynicism is just the truth, Miss.” I lean my body forwards, “It’s also just evolution.”
“I’m supposed to help you.” She leans forwards and replaces her current default expression with a sympathetic look. “But honestly, I don’t think you can be helped.” She etches a sad face on her shell.
“I know.” I agree. “Our shells are just too fragile.”
“But they’re so full of calcium.” She says with the scripted optimism therapists are given.
“Which is certainly good for the birds.”
She looks at me puzzled.
“We can feed ourselves to the birds.”
“Very morbid.”
“Perhaps it’s time for the dinosaurs to rise again.”

For more like this:
Therapy

All in the head

Muted

Therapy

“So, Sam how are you feeling today?”
We both glow brightly in the dark room, I want to touch my face,  but I’m afraid I’ll accidently press a button. “I’m feeling an emptiness that is full.”
My therapist changes position slightly in her chair; she’s trying to tilt her head in that human way therapists used to do. “Uh huh. Tell me more.”
That’s in the therapist’s script or dictionary or whatever. “What can I say. It’s everything, and it’s nothing. But there is no connection.”
“Connection to whom?” My therapist asks curiously; I imagine she’d be raising a brow if we were still human.
“To the world, to life, to humans. We think we’re connected, but then we come away empty, don’t we? Just a screen full of emojis.”
“What emoji represents how you feel right now?”
“None can adequately portray anything.”
The therapist nods her body. “Yes, Yes. But you’d probably say the same about words, right?”
“Yes. No words, no emoji’s, hell even no action can quite express what I so often feel. That’s why, no disrespect, therapy is bullshit.”
Her cartoon like legs dangle off the chair, “I think the problem we have is many people have been comfortable putting their brains into their phones, but you’re not quite there yet.”
“Nobodies quite there yet.”
“Isn’t that a massive assumption?”
“No. The evidence is right here. Have you been to Tumblr?”
The therapist looks sad. “Yes. I’ve seen it.”
“They’ve put their brains in electronic devices, miss. And then they’re looking for a reason and well let’s be frank, there is none. So they’re fighting for causes some of them have a grain of truth, but they’ve mutated the grain.”
My therapist nods her body again. She is also reluctant to touch her face, just in case she too accidently touches a button.
“We’re dotting our I’s, Miss.”
She shows me a confused emoji, then says, “Like,” and shows a cross-eyed emoji.
“We’re dotting our I’s because we can’t quite capitalise on individuality, though we’re trying harder than we ever have before.”
The therapist’s screen shows moving dots as she considers this. “I can’t say I understand the way in which you express yourself.”
“That is nothing new, Miss.”
“Sam. You’ll never be happy living like this.”
I glow my full body towards her, my cartoon like legs dangling also. “Happy wasn’t ever a constant or ever will be. There is no such thing as a happy life.”
“That sounds very cynical.” She shows an emoji with a flat expression.
“Perhaps what you call cynism is just the truth.”
She ponders a moment, her legs kicking out underneath her like a child’s on a stool that is too tall for her, “How can we end this therapy session?”
I bend my body, so I glow towards the floor, the light reflecting from the ground back to me, making it too bright to exist. “We can’t.”