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Blue Vanishing Monday

By: Sergio Burns

Preview and purchase Sergio's excellent short story collection Dark Ghosts Rising. Thank you for supporting the authors of WordShack Publishing.

Author's Introduction 1. The Journey

Blue Vanishing Monday began life on a kitchen table in Glasgow, Scotland. We were babysitting Pete and Gerda's children, and after the boys had settled we moved to the kitchen to make coffee. I felt inspired and wrote part of the intial draft of the story. Gerda was so taken by the work she immediately renamed this piece of kitchen furniture "The Karma Table". She believed it had good karma and this is where the idea for the nightclub "The Friday Karma" was born. The story travelled with me the following week when we went by train from Glasgow to London, details being worked out and sections written on the long journey. I continued to wrok on the copy at Samantha's flat in Middlesex. From London we travelled south to Portsmouth and more work was carried out at the home of my girlfriend Christine's brother Terry and his wife Maureen. I even wrote a couple of paragraphs and some detail into a notebook while having an evening meal at the Farmhouse pub just off Eastern Road in Portsmouth. On my return to Scotland I completed the work while drinking coffee at a cafe in Glasgow. With regard to the construction of the story I felt it essential to secure a clubby/student feel and hence have used a number of "slang" terms and it has been necessary to use some bad language. Throughout the development of the work I have kept notes, observations and pieces of research which have proved particularly useful when compiling the glossary below.

2. The Work

To be honest, it seems to me, that Blue Vanishing Monday is one of those stories that feels as if it has travelled a great deal, been dragged through countless railway stations and "lived" in various residences of friends and family. It has a brooding alienated "texture" to it, a dark story which I have tried to line with slivers of humour (albeit black) and irony. The themes revolve around "the meaning of life or existence", or put another way, how people endeavour to give meaning to what are mostly, quite mundane, lives. I am trying to ask how do things happen which, in turn, lead us to a certain point in our lives at amy particular time, what is the sequence? I am also trying understand why we always seem to be searching for something which is always "tantalisingly" just beyond our reach. There is to, for me, a spiritual element to this story in the way the eponymous anti-hero (or is he) kicks against the conforming notions of his friend. It is, in this sense, introspective. I have also recognised, with the help of Lynda the US Editor, that there are some references which not all readers will be familair with. For this reason I have compiled a glossary below. The author welcomes dialogue on any aspect of his work. Comments may be sent through the review form on the top of this page. Most of all enjoy!


Amyl Nitrate
(also known as Englsih Poppers). A stimulant which comes in a bottle, usually in the form of a clear liquid. Sniffed or breathed in is is often used to heighten sexual pleasure, though the rush is short lived.
Beckham, David
Manchester and England superstar soccer player. Caused a panic when he recently broke a bone in his foot, putting in doubt his appearance in this year's Football World Cup, appears to winning his race to be fit.
China Zones, Castle Trancelot
Goa Trance club track from 1996. I had little doubt about using this as part of "setting the scene". Apart from actually liking the cut, it has a very "clubby" feel to it and the "trance" in the track's title was appropriate I thought.
Depeche Mode
Essex based British gloomy popsters from the 80's, still going strong I believe.
E, Eccies
Slang terms for Ecstacy, also known as Doves, Dollars, Party Time or Pete Tong. extremely popular club drug with the full chemical name of 3,4 Methylene-dioxy-N-Methyl-amphetamine.
I Should Be So Lucky
1988 number one hit for multitalented Australian songstress Kylie Minogue. Use ironically in the story.
Muscle relaxant and sleeping pill. Popular in Scotland when coming down after taking Ecstacy. Related to Valium. Normally swallowed, can be very dangerous if melted and injected.
- Speech Mark
A European replacement for quotation marks.

Blue Vanishing Monday

We are in a club in the city. The Friday Karma. It is always the Friday Karma. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, makes no difference. China Zones is blasting out over the speakers. We are totally tranced you know. Totally booma darooma mabaya. Me, Sparks and Dizzy. Strobe lights oscillating on jerky heads in the claustrophobic pleasuredome. Green, blue, red, yellow and back to green, faces and bodies gyrating, shifting ground, wriggling. Anorexic puppets with glazed eyes on E, Eccies, in the Tamazepam Holy Land.

Dizzy is small and cute for a guy, he has some amyl nitrate and Sasha King. The gorgeous Sasha with the silly shrill voice all sweetness and completely out of order violence. And he knows she likes pain. They gravitate toward each other. Dizzy and the weird bitch. Jerk, jerk jerk. Heads bobbing. Green, blue, red, yellow and back to green. Chemical bonding. Valency from bobbing heads. He knows, she knows, no preliminaries.

They, Dizzy and Sasha, have gone by four. They have gone to a secret back court behind the high-rise on the west side of the city, known locally as the wedding bed

At half past four Sparks has had enough and we are off up the long and winding road. But Sparks is different tonight. He keeps saying things in Italian!
- I love this fucking city.
He tells me, and it is tonight for Dizzy.
- Pero il clima del settentrione.
- What!
- No, but listen.
Sparks starts up again.
- I mean what do you do when you get to fifty and you can't see any future for yourself?
He says to the sky. I'm speechless, probably because I don't know what he's on about.
- This?
He goes on.
- What is all this anyway? Life? Why should it be so fucking miserable? whose idea was that?
I look about myself still unable to comprehend.
- Una camera con vista sulla citta. I want better than this Cal. I don't want to just graduate, go to work, get paid, get laid, and pop E's at the Friday Karma every weekend. I deserve better. No, we deserve better!

I do know what he means. I mean he's right, in a way. I mean, it is so senseless. Weekend after weekend, no progress. But when you get down to it and think about it long and hard - I mean really long and really hard - it would drive you totally out of the box. Sometimes I just lie awake in the dark and think about things. It's then I know what Sparks said was right and then again it's so chuffing philosophically intangible why bother? Why not just get on with things. Get down on the tarmac and let life kick the shit out of you.

- What about Madeliene?
I ask naively but he just shrugs.
- We are told this and we are told fucking that. Why? Why do they keep us down. Who keeps us down? One rule for them, one for us. Why can't we just live and be happy? Too fucking simple that's why!
- Ah ha!
I announce, thinking that I am beginning to catch his drift.
- This is beginning to sound like a full blown conspiracy theory Sparksy baby. I say self-congratulatory. He stops and turns and faces me. The cool early morning breeze ruffles his thick black hair.
- I'm talking about freedom Cal, and there sure as Christ ain't no freedom here for us.
- Freedom?
- Money, Lira, filthy lucre. How the fuck are the likes of us strange bastards ever goin' to make any real dosh? You tell me that.
- Dosh? Jees man there's more to life than dosh.
- Oh you poor sad fucker. There's no fuckin' freedom without your trousers jingling with cash sucker. That's the only security there is.

Bewildered I trail after the big prat as he makes his way to the all night petrol station and buys a Mars bar. How appropriate, don't you think, considering that I am now convinced Sparks is wired to the dark side of David Beckham's crutch protector.

And then I am thinking about Dizzy at that very moment. Lucky Dizzy, spaced popping out, banging away at Sasha King in the wedding bed. Trousers at his ankles, her naked legs wrapped around his thighs, the both of them thrusting like rabbits in the shadowy back court of the high rise building. Have you seen the architecture of the wedding bed? Deep angles and upright shadows, black and grey and heavy iron. Very…Gothic.

I didn't know it, but that would be the last time I would see Barry "Sparks" Drysdale for seven years. We, me and Dizzy, like most people, grew up. I got married at twenty-two, just graduated, to a girl I met one night in a bar in the East End.

I should be so lucky. Seven bottles of Miller Genuine Draft and Kylie Minogue thumping out across the grubby killing floor of a pub called The Crimson Light, were the precursors to our meeting. I was with Dizzy and Woody. She, Marsha, was with three of her friends, Angie, Freya and Elaine. Eventually, Dizzy, Woody, Angie, Freya, Elaine, Marsha and me are all standing by the bar grinding out rhythm with Kylie Minogue. We even had the barman put the record on over and over again till we got it right. All of us together at the bar doing backing vocals to I Should Be So Lucky.

And that was how I met the future Mrs Calvin Milne, standing singing, blitzed, at the bar of The Crimson Light, not as I had always imagined it would be, hitching up to some weird bitch from the Friday Karma, bobbing heads to Castle Trancelot and China Zones, forever.

Dizzy married too, not to Sasha King who ran off with a mad axe-weilding taxi driver and later returned to set up home with an accountant, but to a girl who was hooked on Valium. Throughout their married life, five years exactly, Dizzy's wife, Carole-Anne, was in and out of the local mental hospital. She was, in fact, the living incarnation of totally spaced trance.

Hung up on clinical depression, she eventually flung herself from a bridge and into the path of a speeding train. Zzzzplaaaatttttttttt! She had been visiting her sister and just went off the moonbeam. Crash! Doof! Leaving poor Dizzy to pick up the pieces and look after their three year old daughter.

Of course, my ill-fated attempt at monogamy didn't last either. I bought a suit on hire purchase (36 monthly payments) until I'd paid it off at incredibly high interest, while I put myself about in the city as some kind of high-flyer. We bought a flat near the new roundabout and a parade of shops where the baseball caps and tracksuit females hung out to smoke Wackybaccy, sniff glue and acid their souls out into the creature comfortland of oblivion.

I hated it in that cramped pokey little sophisticated cave that was costing us an arm, a leg and a buttock. And the car was always breaking down. I told Marsha I had personalised number plates : C for Calvin, 116 ESJ!
- You are one sad fucker.
She told me while I was screwing her and she was always wanting sex. It got boring indoors after a while so we made love in the shadows of the back court we had once known as the wedding bed. Then on the beach as the tide rolled in around us at midnight. And once in a wheat field under a full moon in the early hours of the morning. But things became apparent. Transparent.

It got claustrophobic in the flat. She went out to aerobics. I played five-a-side soccer. She went out to her friends. I looked up sad old Dizzy. She had evening classes on Wednesdays. I played snooker with Woody on a Thursday night. She went uptown on a Saturday. I went to the pub and then the football and back to the pub.

One Saturday in March I went with Dizzy and Woody to the soccer. Afterwards we waited in a long queue for a pizza at Fabrizio's. We then walked, chomping down the pizzas, to The Tumbling Star, a pub near the city centre.

While Dizzy sat and brooded, Woody and me chatted to two girls, Rose and Carla. By nine, small and cute and morose Dizzy had set off to look for a taxi to take him home. Home where his widowed mother babysat his daughter and waited hopefully for his return.

By one of those mysterious freaks, me and Woody were left with the girls. Two on two, cosy. Made courageous by the bottled liquid, chemicals mixing with body fluids, I agreed to walk Carla, delicious, dark-eyed, inebriated Carla, home.

And we walked, leaving Woody and Rose playing games with their eyes over bottles of Budweiser and Becks. She impressed me with her culture. A veritable A to Z of art. Botticelli, Fouquet, Goya, Masaccio, Pissaro, Velasquez.
- Velasquez? Didn't he play for Spain in the last World Cup?
I heard myself laugh.
- No, he was an artist. Though you are correct he was Spanish, born Seville 1599, died Madrid 1660.
My joke in the face of this torrent of intellect seemed flat.
- Oh?
Sounding really ignorant was all I could say. It was her turn to laugh now. A little chuckle came from her calm demeanour. Then she stopped and drew near to me, pressed her lips upon mine, her tongue forcing its way into my mouth. She pushed me back gently against a wall and we continued to kiss. Then I felt her hand over my crotch, undoing my fly, fumbling for my penis.
- Wait! I said.
- I know a place.

It had rained hard that night, though it was dry now, and the back court was muddy and slippy. I led her through the shadows past the grey and black and heavy iron to the far side of the building to the place we had known as teenagers as the wedding bed.

She was already removing her knickers as I was looking about to make sure nobody was watching. I felt nervous for some reason, but she was pulling up her skirt to expose a black forest of hair.

She sat, and from a sitting position on the damp concrete reached up and touched me on the crotch. Her skirt was now up at the level of her bust and I had a massively aching erection. As she lay there, rolling her tongue seductively around her lips, I unbuckled my trousers and allowed them to glide gracefully, almost serenely, to my ankles.
- You disappoint me, she whispered.
I frowned.
-You're wearing underpants and I can't get a good look at your dick.

Removing my y-fronts I climbed on top of her and started banging away, surprised at how muddy and litterewn the ground was. It was strange because I felt no remorse, no guilt.

Covered in mud I eventually walked half way across the city, west curving south, to where Carla lived. She invited me in for coffee but I declined. It was two in the morning and I wondered about Marsha. It took me an hour to walk, at a powerful pace, back to the flat. It had started to rain heavily. So, by the time I arrived home I was not only knackered, but soaked as well.

I just wanted to crawl into bed and fall fast asleep, but Marsha had other ideas. Her wide, sensual mouth went into overdrive, and she started to rant and rave the moment I walked through the door. Then she was throwing things.
- Not that for Christsakes, that was a present from your…
I ducked and the china teapot whistled past my ear to crash against the wall.
- Mum.

And it's over. It's all over. What do I care? Three and a half years of marriage flushed silently down the toilet pan.

I left that night and walked half way across the city, sweeping north to east, to poor, sad, morose Dizzy. He protests at my arrival, it is almost five in the morning, but lends me his sofa to sleep on.

Like an idiot, I'd forgotten to take a note of Carla's phone number. So, next evening, regardless, I make my way to The Tumbling Star hoping to bump into her. And I do. I find her by the bar with a big bloke in workmen's overalls. I assume it is her neighbour Mikey. The helpful one she had told me about the night before. The big guy, it seems, has been doing her a favour, decorating her flat. While she excuses herself and takes off to the toilet, I casually inform the big guy about her sexual prowess.
- She's a wonderful shag by the way.
I tell him only to discover that the gorilla isn't her helpful neighbour Mikey, or some casual painter and decorator, but her estranged husband Gordon. When he tells me this, with that screwed up manic look on his face, I just stand there totally nonplussed. Totally stunned.
- So…
I begin nonchalantly.
- Are you hoping for a reconcilliation?
I shrug, a few seconds before the big man explodes. Then I am legging it. Down toward the city centre. The big boy, his beergut jerking from side to side, is running after me and I'm wondering how a big fat lad like this can run so fast.

I make my getaway, and spend the rest of the evening with Dizzy as he picks away at his sanity.
- Carole-Anne was, you know, beautiful man.
He says sullenly.
- She was a good mother you know.
Personally I doubt if Carole-Anne knew she had a daughter she was so spaced out all the time. Then Dizzy is looking toward the ceiling and pouring pills down his throat.

After two days of this miserable existence, I decide that I have to save myself from going mad. I pack my meagre belongings and head back to the flat to swallow my pride, beg Marsha to forgive me and promise her fidelity. All the way back across the city I am practising my lines. I'm still engrossed in rehearsals as I reach the front door and unlock it. As I enter I am aware of a hollow echoing sound as I chant my pledge like a mantra : "I will be forever faithful"
- Marsha…
I am whispering to myself as I walk along the hall.
- I promise you darling, I will never, but never…
I have opened the door to the living room and stand aghast. The room is totally bollock naked. Empty! Only my clothes, not even the carpet, lie in disarray around the room. I move to collect them only to discover that Marsha has shredded them. My wonderful suit! I had just finished paying for it and now it was worthless!

It's enough to make a man weep and I did. Lay down and wept like a baby, curled up like a ball, cuddling what was left of my clothes. I fell asleep like this. So tired, so…

Golden slumbers.
It had somehow, and I've often thought about this, gotten away from me. And where had it gone? The world had turned, Saturday into Sunday. Stability into instability. And somehow I…I could feel the wind on my face…
My hair blown back.
The wind
of change

Reaching out
for a hand to help
you get back up to where
you were, and you can just feel
the flesh, when all at once you've let
go and you find yourself falling backwards towards darkness.

It's dark when I awake. Light, splintered, casts queer solitary shadows on the unsmiling walls of the flat. I think about my childhood and the sunshine coruscating from the glass of cars. My father walking, striding home from work. My mother sending me to meet him. Deep unsettling poignancy forces me to banish such joy from my memory.

I stand and stretch and make my way stiffly, and slowly to the door. I go out without looking back. Down the cold concrete steps and out into the street night. I have nowhere to go and don't know where I am going.

Three years later I am scraping by. I have controlled my drinking and now live in a bedsit in the seediest part of the East End. Working in a bookstore by the railway station. There is a train due in from Manchester, I consider. My boredom forcing me to observe such mundane facts.

Carla was thrown out of the bar on the station concourse the other day. Exposing herself to the punters again. Blitzed, completely stoned right out of her mind. I kept my head down, re-arranged books as she staggered past calling back toward the pub as she went.

- Fush you bashtars!
She paused momentarily, and held me in her glazed gaze, faint recognition in her swaying eyes. She cursed, at length, to no one in particular and sloped off zig-zagging toward the taxi ramp.

The Manchester train pulled in to the platform. I hovered by the bookshop doorway, sorting out my Thomas Hardy from my Charles Dickens, Kathy Lette from my Douglas Coupland. I looked up and saw him step down off the train. My heart missed a hundred beats, I immediately knew that unforgettable form. He saw me the instant he had set down on the platform and waved. I wanted to hide. To runaway and hide but he beat a hurried path straight to me.

- You want to buy a book? Sparks?
I asked straightfaced.
- I'll have the fuckin' lot Calvin you crazy diamond!.

I touched the material his suit was made from, like a peasant might once have touched the hem of his Lord's robe.

- Wow, Sparksy baby, where did you get the money to buy a fucking Armani?
- Not to mention the Ralph Lauren tie.
He beamed, before embracing me.

We are in the Angel's Overdrive, the most expensive place in the city. The restaurant in the sky. He has bought me my evening meal, and is now watching me eat. Barry has rented a flat in the west end and has asked me to come over the next day. He might have something for me.

- So you're down on your luck?
He observes.
- No…not really, I just wanted some freedom.
- Freedom! Christ Cal, what you've got is chains. You do what everybody else tells you to do. Be there, go here. Chains man. Now, what I got is freedom because…
- Because?
I interrupted, begging him to tell me the secret.
- Because I've got dosh.
- How?
-How? How? I'll tell you how. The only way strange fuckers like us can ever have freedom.

I frowned and he promised to explain everything to me the next day. He lifted the brandy glass in mock toast and his wrist dripped gold.

Strange fuckers and he included himself in that and then again, perhaps, we are all strange.

That night I sat in my bedsit in the dark, the television buzzing away in the background, and sipped a bottle of Sol. Outside cars whooshed past, and I wondered where they were all headed and who was driving them. Strange fuckers, perhaps.

The next morning I met Sparks at Fabrizio's cafe and he bought me a coffee and a bacon roll.

- Christ man, you're in some fuckin' state. You sleep in those clothes?
- Well I thought I was coming here to meet an old chuffing friend, not to take part in a fashion show.
I replied indignantly. Sparks laughed, took a drink of his coffee and grimaced.
- Jees! Fabrizio's coffee hasn't changed!
It was my turn to laugh.

He, strange fucker, took me to his car, a brand new Audi, and asked me if I wanted to assist him.
- Assist you do what?
- You'll see.

I nodded and we both climbed into his car and set off for the outskirts of the city. We drove to a faraway hill, the one that overlooks this great metropolis, and parked at the viewpoint parking area near the top. Barry told me to carry a metal box he had taken out of his boot, and follow him.

- What's in the box?
I asked him casually.
- I'm paying you to carry it, not to ask questions.

He winked. Paying me? The thought hadn't entered my head. My eyes light up. I am desperate for cash. I am two weeks behind on my rent and I can't afford to lose the roof over my head. I wonder how much he intends to pay me, but don't like to ask. We climb to, almost, the highest vantage point on the hill before Sparks stops and says simply:
- This'll do.

The metal box is getting heavy and my legs are hurting from the climb. I slump down on the grass panting for breath and coughing. Sparks stands above me, looking back down the way we had just come. He had a pair of binoculars in his hand and every now and then he lifted them to his eyes and looked through them.

- What are you looking for?
I asked but received no answer, he just continued to search the lower reaches of the hill. At length he dropped down beside me and smiled.
- Well, we'll just have to wait.
- For what?

Again, he didn't answer and we did wait. For well over an hour we sat on the grass in the sunshine and talked about the old days. A small wind got up and I had to return to the car for my sweater. I had just reached the car when out of the corner of my eye I saw Sparks suddenly leap to his feet. In no time he had the binoculars to his eyes before turning to the metal box, opening it, and scrabbling about in it for something.

So, I'm pullling on my sweater, pretending nothing is happening, and calling over to him:
- You remember Dizzy man, totally tranced he is now.
And when I turn he has assembled a semi-automatic weapon from the metal box.
- Get in the car!
Sparks calls out as he raises the rifle to to his shoulder. I walk round to the passenger's side.
- The driver's side you prick! And have the engine running ready to blow out of here man!
Barry hisses from the corner of his mouth.

I run round to the driver's side and am just ready to climb in when I hear the gun go off, twice. Kapokrak! Kapokrak! I look down the hill. people away in the distance are looking about themselves in panic. Children are running screaming to their mothers and a man sitting on a rug, having a picnic presumably, has just fallen over dead. The woman, his wife or lover, is screaming, her dress spattered in blood.

Sparks has run round to the passenger's side and is telling me through gritted teeth:
- Get in the fuckin' car and drive!
I obey. No choice. I need the money and I don't want blood spurting from a bullet hole in the side of my head, like the picnic man. Nevertheless I find it difficult to comprehend what I have just witnessed.

I brood. Barry picks up on my silence, he sighs.
- Look Cal the guy was at the centre of a network of one of the world's most powerful drug dealing cartels and terrorist rings. The authorities wanted rid of him, like permanent, I got the work, that's all you need to know.
- The authorities? You mean the government?
Barry glances over at me and I drive, I put my foot down determined to put as much distance between us and the scene of the crime, but Sparks commands I slow down.
- Take it easy.
He tells me.
- We don't want it to look like we're escaping from the scene of a crime now do we?

I tell him that what he has just done is immoral.
- Immoral? What the fuck you know about immoral? A quick shag in the wedding bed with someone elses missus and your life goes down the toilet? Life is immoral you dick. The guy I just shot…he's a drug dealer and suspected terrorist, he has links to any number of different extreme groups all over Europe, it was essential he was taken out.
- Taken out?
I frown.
- You make it sound like a game Sparks.
-Cal I'm doing you a favour here, remember that?
- That was a man's life you just took, Sparks. That's immoral.
I remonstrated.
- Listen Cal you self-righteous little prick, the whole world's fuckin' immoral man, I mean who gives a shit anyway? Nobody that's who. Bad guy, good guy, dark hat, white hat, it's not that simple Cal.

he's right.
Who knows?
But what is it that he's saying?
On the railtrack of existence, heaven and hell
are adjacent platforms in the same station.

We went back to Sparks' flat. Psychedelic luxury in Yuppiedom. He plays me his favourite Depeche Mode, Never Let Me Down Again, and I watch him pack. I watched him take blown-up monochrome photographs of the man he had killed. I watch him tear them up into tiny pieces and deposit them in a wastebasket.
he says.
- I have to get back to Manchester. I'll relax for a few days with my girlfriend Gillian, she's a lawyer, then I've got some work to do in Europe.

He gives me his address, and makes me promise to look him up anytime I'm in his adopted city. I nod. A reluctant, hollow promise. I'll never have the money to visit. I'm trapped in this city. But I can never admit this to Barry.

Then he hands me twenty thousand pounds for assisting him. I flap out. Eyes wide, thanking him, talking like a machine gun going off.
- You don't know how many lives we saved today.
He says simply. Later, I calm down and we talk into the early hours, before I walk home across the city to my bedsit, the whole day feeling like a surreal dream, it's like one of the characters in a cartoon like The Simpsons, just beyond reality. The night of this city making me resemble a speck of minute dust in some higher power's living room.

The next day I go uptown shopping. I buy myself new gear and then call in at The Tumbling Star pub for a few beers. But I sit alone and watch people come and go, my new found happiness coinciding with my new found wealth descends into dire loneliness and brooding depression. What a mess my life has become. When someone plays Kylie Minogue's I Should Be So LuckyI think "Fuck this" and leave to walk home.

I watch some television, or at least I have it buzzing away in the background as I stare obliquely at the screen. Go to bed just after midnight and tumble into restless dreams.

I am awakened by a persistent rapping at my door. It is just after seven. I rise groggy and cold, and stagger, yawning, to the front door wearing nothing but my Buffy The Vampire Slayer boxer shorts. I open the door and two bull-neck gorillas have grabbed me by the shoulders, and are pulling me back inside the flat before I have time to formally invite them in. They demand three weeks rent plus interest, as they pin me to the floor and slap my face. They call me names.
- Lazy bastard.
- Idle, good for nothing wanker.
I protest, and reply that I have a degree from the city's top university, and the bigger of the two men punches me hard on the side of the head. So hard I see stars, stars and stars.
- Three weeks rent prick!
They demand and I am about to pay them out of the twenty thousand Sparks had given me for assisting him, when, for some inexplicable reason, I threaten them.
- I'll give you three seconds to let me up or…
I warn them. They laugh. As I lie there pinned to the floor, the smaller of the two men takes what's left of the milk from my fridge and pours it all over my head. They tell me I have seven days to come up with the money, or…

I shower, shave and dress quickly, suddenly taking an interest again in my grooming, and walk to Fabrizio's, where I breakfast - such luxury. Sparks is right, the coffee in here is dreadful. Funny how I never noticed how bad it was before.

I decide I need work, but not just any job, not just any occupation any strange fucker can handle. Not just any employment that allows me to be shackled to the yoke of a mortgage and the chains of work, going round and round and round until the Earth stops spinning on its axis and stands perfectly still, and you feel as if you are circling your own existence. And then maybe Sparks does need an assistant.

I return to the bedsit and write the landlord a note: SCREW YOU! I catch a taxi to the station and board a train heading south not knowing what I might find there, but now willing to find out. As the train pulls out of the station a guy selling the Evening Gazette is screaming "Terrorist assassinated at local beauty spot!" At the same time I look at the piece of paper in my hand and check Sparks' address. Some anonymous house, in an anonymous street, in an anonymous city.

Freedom. Such a very simple, uncomplicated thing.
Why him and not me? I find myself asking…Why has he got dosh, and freedom, and not
me? Only now, though, I want it and I want it badly.
And then, in my head, I can hear
China Zones and I can see Dizzy, jerk, jerk, jerk, with
with the weird
till all is
all is

And monday
is vanishing
into blueness.

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