The Hairless Meanderings of Edward Lock (14)



I put my fingers in my ears and shout Cora, Cora, Cora and I don’t expect her to hear but the words are like wards against the damning hallucinations. Sprawled on the grass is a naked brown-yellow body with no feet, hands or face only the slug-like contortions of breasts and a gaping yellow belly button out of which that bearded, faceless man with the white coat clambers, his thin hands clawing the air, blue pills spilling between his fingers.

I shake my head. I’m alone on a bench in a park that is emptying as the park warden in his shining van rings the bell calling out ‘shut’, ‘shut’ and ‘shut’. My hands rattle against the wooden bench. The screams of children from a park behind the hedges die out. The air smells like a freezer box. Yes, Cora has agreed to meet me again. Now I can’t go home. My phone has rung three times. Three times Kit has called me. She’s left voicemails but I can’t bring myself to listen to them.

I have no idea what I’m doing or why I feel like this. It’s. It’s some kind of. Sexual delirium. The temptation of Cora has built up and up until I am so far from the base of the mountain that I can’t remember why I began. My boots are chafing, my picks are shattered and the air is thin up here. I can’t think straight. For the project, I tell myself, but a week ago Kit was my only project. There was nothing else I needed. Life has new demands now. To live again. Fulfilment of desires outweighs everything else; the touch of a young hand, our fingers encircled, pulling me down into sleep.

A woman buttoned up in a blue coat holding the hand of a boy of six or seven years passes. The last stragglers. There could be a boy on my lap but that vision is broken like the hallucination, scratched out and wispy like smoke you can feel and taste but cannot see. I follow them out of the park. To them I’m in a jacket too large and trousers too wide. It might be my imagination but the woman hurries the boy along.

On the street outside the park I do not exist. I don’t want to be alone. There is a sudden urge to return home. Out here there is nothing else for me. I want Kit. I want Cora. I want Kit. I need. I need. I need. Smile. You’re the happiest you’ve ever been.


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