Saturday, 30 June 2012

Two good shots

They didn't believe me, even though I'd said nothing. I gambled that they were greasy cops, out of town, on hard pay. They'd not have the appetite for a proper fight. I took up a point at the back of the car and fired two shots. One hit the prowler and the back end puffed up and exploded in an orange and blue ball. The force surprised me and I was knocked backwards, it surprised them more and they ran back to the manager's office, the most substantial building in the area. The second shot took a ricochet from the prowler's front end and hit a gas tank over by the pound. This time the blast was too big, I was carried away my chest thumping and starved of air. Three or four policemen just fell flat, two others rolled like rag dolls. That was the end of their fighting.

A cloud of dust and noise was everywhere, this was confusion. A few people were shouting or crying, a radio splattered tones and words from some vehicle. I headed that way. There it was, an empty prowler, keyed up and alight. In seconds I was moving, through the debris and dust, one stray shot cracking a mirror, another bouncing from the front grill. It was too late now, I was gone. Headed somewhere.

Monday, 25 June 2012

We don't believe

"Christ, this awkward," said Banner, "there wasn't a body here when we closed up." The policeman's corpse had been there behind the door for sometime, it had desiccated in the dry heat, the air was pungent with a heavy scent of death that was almost pleasant, but both of us shivered as we breathed it in. Banner clambered across the wreckage inside the room, there had obviously been a scuffle before the fatal fight, desks were turned over, papers and files strewn across the floor, cracked electronics, wires and splinters. Banner picked up a communicator and handed it to me, "Police issue."

I switched it on, immediately I realised my mistake, it glowed red and gave out a sharp beep. "It's homing!" shouted Banner, "this is a set up!" We both ran back to the vehicle, somewhere in the distance I heard an air-skimmer's engine start up. "They're very close!"

There were two orange flashes in front of us, in the hundred yards we'd travelled they'd caught us. I felt the shock and vibration, my chest heavy with the pressure of the blast, I looked across and Banner was slumped across the controls, eyes empty and we were still and suddenly sideways in a ditch. "Agents!" I cried out through the com mike, "It's Rick, City-Pass 231-678A!"

"Stand by the vehicle for processing. We don't believe you!" Screamed the metallic reply.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Some sequences shortened

I was walking away from the noise, walking from the steam, from the steady drumming of the rain, processing the day my head. The neon flickered like some passing affair, the traffic had thinned and I had lost track of time. A bar doorway opened up on my right and I wheeled in without a thought, automatic transmission. I ordered a bottle and sat in a deep pool of artificial light. I drank for some time, there seemed to be no effect, nothing to reach until I arrived at tired level of numb self parody and unawareness. I felt safe here but my fingers were rubbing on the but of the gun it was an unconscious action, it was a part of who I had become.

I watched the other customers, all quietly unfamiliar and bland, all in hiding, all in plain sight. I took in the faces one by one, at least the features I could make out. An older man sat across the bar, he reading something from a dull screen, his lips were moving, forming unspoken words. His mouth curled at the corner as if every other word carried some amusing message. I looked at his eyes, they were on me already. I touched my nose, he nodded, picked up his drink and his screen and walked over to join me.

“I'm Banner. There are many things in this life I find difficult to understand, I've lived sixty five years, been loved and spurned, been hunted, found and set free. Now I'm here, sitting across from you, a fugitive and a conundrum. You know that they'll put a bounty on your head, you know that they wont let you go. You know all this?” I just grinned and took a sharp slug of the whisky. The old man continued, “I think we can help each other out, I think we both have something the other needs, I think we can make an arrangement...the police are about ten minutes from barging through that door, they have a new charge sheet, new evidence, same old story. They're dealing with some minority activity in Teasel, then they'll come over...for you.” I was again aware of the gun butt and safety against my finger, the cold metal was warm.

There are moments when time stands still, you wish something would happen, a lightning strike to clear the air, a line to cross, rivets popping in the steel core of your brain. I was tense and counting and it was now nine minutes, he was looking at me. “We need to go very soon.” We both stood up, he nodded to the barman, my eyes were on the door and the traffic flashes. “I do have transport,” he said. He clicked the fob and the gull wing opened, I lowered myself in, he was surprisingly nimble and behind the wheel in seconds. I turned and saw the blue and red of police lights. We were gone as they pulled up. We were gone.

I thought how small a part of my life this moment was, riding in this car, stilted conversation, headed out into some other part of the night. Escaping from shadows and flashing lights, while all the other events, the deaths, lives, warnings and crimes all orbited around in my head in a scattered and disorderly jumble. The car sped on, the rain lashed and daylight and sunshine seemed foreign concepts now impossible to believe in. That was where she lived, in some warm sunny place where colour was natural and the edges of reality were clear beyond any traffic buzz and blur. That was where she was. In harbour, I was still at sea.

An hour's driving without conversation took us past the city limits and into the Quarry Area. I may have slept. We moved between great chunks of rock, broken landscapes and scattered boulder fields. Raw materials had been gathered from here when the first cities were put together, the concrete and plastic mix that now stood in a rain lashed pattern, stolen rocks that were clad with the shards of millions of years of geological action and modern shame. The time of development had been relatively brief, now we were running down the clock and large parts of this landscape were desolate and in places returning to some wilder past. He turned up a dirt road and pulled up at a battered prefabricated site office building. As grey as the rock, weather beaten and forlorn. Signs warned and vehicles rusted, materials stood unsold, uncollected in piles. I imagined the scattered papers, worn clothing, dusty dirty cups and plates and other skeletons that must be inside.

Banner fumbled with a key and key-code and the door moved but there was a resistance, he pushed on it with his shoulder, I imagined a body stooped behind. My eyes were playing and scanning everywhere, dry blood was pumping, the wide open spaces were hemming me in, I was uneasy. The door gave way and opened. Inside wasn't as bad as I'd expected, someone had been here recently and it was clearer and a bit more clean than I'd expected, well clean apart from a fine layer of dust that seemed to cover everything. “We're safe here, you're safe here,” that was all he said.

In life it can take quite an effort to make a thing happen. You have to start, you have to move yourself, you have to break through that stubborn barrier that says “I'm staying here, I'm not moving.” Of course that can happen quite quickly and with little warning but it's when you stop, lose the momentum gained in the chase, it's hard to make up that speed again, hard to restart and get running. Now here I was, melting away into the conspiracy and game set against me and hiding, doing what they'd expect. I knew deep down none of this was going to work and I had to know what it was Banner wanted from me. There were still overdue and outstanding conversations.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

No custodial sentence

I was almost happy, this time, unexpectedly I'd avoided a custodial sentence. The judge had summed up, he'd summed me up, he got to the point and held back, he was that sharp. They handed my gun back to me at the check out, I hadn't expected that either. "We'll see you again soon enough Deckard", said the bulldog faced cop on the door as he chewed a cigar and spat as he spoke. I didn't even bother answering, I just looked out into the gloom to see if any taxi lights were approaching. The traffic was thin, no yellow glow so I just took up the rhythm of the rain and walked along the running, splashing gutter. Somehow that seemed appropriate. Today might be Tuesday or Thursday, it might even be my birthday if ever I'd had such a thing, whatever day it was there were grounds for celebration, all I had to do was find a warm bar.

Friday, 15 June 2012

98 years ago

This what Europe used to look like, tough, angry, intolerant, industrious, divided and made of cast iron. Over the years a few things have changed but the overall shape and the glowering, ugly faces remain and Britain is very much an island.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Get down from that cross, we could use the wood

My head was spinning slowly and there was the dim beginning of physical pain, just about everywhere. I decided to go out for a walk about, fill the time creatively with something, maybe take photographs and avoid the weather. Soon I was wandering on a stony, muddy beach but the dimmed pain was getting stronger and I felt panicky, coming up like a tropical storm on the horizon. Quivering as if in anti-gravity boots I stumbled, there was a warm flush, physical pain gives way to physical weakness. I have been in a car crash, it happened a few days ago but it was real, only now, much later am I beginning to feel the shock. Is that me? So desensitised, so uncoupled from feeling that I take a punch like a dinosaur. The punch is landed, the blow presses the flesh and triggers the nerves but the scream and electricity and pain travels so slowly from the source on the long and winding distance to the centre a huge portion of time elapses before anything registers. How can that be? I conclude that I'm wired up in a way that lends it's self towards the dysfunctional, perhaps it's a gift. It may have been drugs or witnessed family trauma, years of religion and cod philosophy, or being nurtured in the best working class hopelessly emotionally stunted traditions, maybe read too few or the wrong books, now I'm lost inside myself.  

Naturally I contemplated some kind of inner suicide, a easy way to run away that, in the plan, always has some pleasurable activity factored in there as a prelude to the final awful ending. A pleasant golden frame into which the unspeakable act is conveniently placed. These are generally complex, warm and foreign activities, like a holiday but with an end that's the end. They've been rolled around and developed over years, thumbed like some business contingency plan written when there was a staff surplus and a big box had to be ticked. They follow the “Star is Born” model (the black and white version) and promise the dreamer a suitable and almost dignified conclusion, “shaking off futility or just punishing somebody”, so that's about it for that. The experience is like visiting a parking lot but not being able to find your car so you have to shuffle to the exit and rely on public transport or make a quick phone call to be rescued by a family member. It's an embarrassing audition and rehearsal sequence that will not lead to a performance but the script remains familiar and well thumbed over before it's finally filed away.

Once I'd stopped trembling from the most likely age related stumble I felt better, strangely the sun came out and I started taking badly composed flimsy photographs and fiddling with the phone. It was a useful distraction but I still felt that illicit urge to run, like I was walking around with a target across my chest. I responded as per normal, turned my back on sunny highways and ideal quiet airports and went home. I self harmed with a packet of plain crisps in the kitchen, they seemed extra oily and greasy. This helped my inner loathing just a bit. Then I flopped, the couch conveniently caught me.

I don't know where stuff comes from. Perhaps I should make honest lists or fill notebooks. Here I am and I've no idea where I'm going. Life's directions has become caught up in flotsam and jetsam theories and methodology. Like yellow bath ducks or ping pong balls thrown onto the tides and now circulating around the globe, probably in the Pacific Ocean by now.