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She grunts

This present man’s been talking at the far divider for whatever length of time I recollect. Sat with his back to me. Just me and him in the room. I’m lying face up on my bed. I give a half spin to confront my dad’s side of this bed. Beside my father’s side of the bed, is a morning timer, some people insist on calling an ‘alarm clock’. It’s a cautionary device and phone consolidated into a single item that rouses him each morning. This other man’s around forty years of age and sat half off the edge of the bed, alongside the telephone. I know nothing else about him. He keeps his ear closest to me free. He’s following the red numbers on the screen of the alerter with his correct pointer, holding the beneficiary to his ear with his left. His finger moves and eyes look as you would when fidgeting with a snaked telephone rope, similar to the one he’s deciding not to, or your hair like young ladies do. Coiled springs of plastic and cable. He’s simply talking, not purposefully to anybody and isn’t aware of his finger. He’s not conversing with the telephone or himself. He’s simply talking out to thin air, with no idea of, or enthusiasm for what his words are. He’s been persuaded, harassed himself into considering, they’ll dissipate into quiet before reaching the stopping point of the wall. Not to mention achieve landing on any other individual. I’m watching at the tip of his finger brush along the red lines and see it tap a couple of times before each hop to one of the red specks. In doing as such, I’m compelled to pursue what his companions are stating, that he should figure no one but he can hear. In the event that he supposes anything. I can tell he doesn’t realize I’m tuning in based on what he’s expression. You can pursue his considerations as he’s talking. There’s no protection from his discourse, no behavior or bothered cold affirmations, similar to when an outsider’s tuning in. He’s talking excessively smooth even to see the general population he should know well, are on the telephone with him. It’s suspicious how unadulterated of thought he is. I move my head a little to check whether this present beneficiary’s extremely a shoe or something different of my folks. His companions are talking among themselves as much as they are to him, you could tell just from softly catching. He’s not by any means a man, this man on the bed. He’s progressively similar to a doll. There’s a moving mechanical picture nearby everybody’s talking. One picture encompasses each line of discourse from the two closures of the telephone call. It’s the inner parts of a straightforward Victorian flying machine endeavoring to make steam and lift itself off the ground. I can’t hear the voices, and I’m seeing them at a phase sooner than my eye’s would, however they’re not from creative energy. I’m not producing these pictures. They’re outside and free however just piece of my condition. I hear everything like precious stone being said from the two sides. It’s not simply I’m mindful of what they’re stating without hearing them. The voices are capable of being heard outwardly. You can see more from the machines steam and levitation than can he heard, from hearing alone, yet on the off chance that you could in the event that you were hearing also. In case you’re to get anything from watching the machine, nothing else can be permitted to interfere. It’s a discussion from before. He’s conversing with a young lady, around twelve years of age who spins her fingers as she talks and looks away at a similar divider he does. An elderly person’s voice says her words for me, as I state them back to the multi year old’s free ear. Presently increasingly twelve-year-old young ladies are on the whole conversing with one another and this picture of a Victorian flying machine gets more grounded and more grounded, the more I see all these extra pieces of the discussion participate. There’s more than one individual on the opposite end of the multi year old’s telephone call, however he’s never sufficiently diverted for his finger to quit following the red lines. The machine pounds more diligently, similar to a reason to attempt and pulverize itself each time I see another individual talking. It reacts just to what I’m encountering despite the fact that it was here, and participating, before I arrived. It resembles a canine who’s discovered another proprietor. It’s the gathering of the multi year old young ladies companions holding his consideration, the man on the edge of the bed, each time his finger hops to tap on a red spot. Each time his finger hops, another young lady’s simply said something. It’s nothing I’ve seen with a relative, or a work partner, and I’m persuaded it can’t be begun in adulthood. I would have begun this discussion when I was a child, and would have been with an outsider or somebody I didn’t know well. I more likely than not been here, on and off, while never being aware of being here at the time. In the event that I knew about this bouncing around in time, I wouldn’t be here at this point. The multi year elderly person inclines towards me once in a while, and investigates see what I’m doing. I believe he’s a cousin, or a nephew or something. I stroll down to the kitchen, where there’s a greater amount of my more distant family setting up a dinner. It’s late spring. The kitchen garden entryways have been left open to let in the cool air. It’s excessively packed, so I stroll pull out the kitchen entryway and pursue the hallway till it augments sufficiently out to be too enormous to be my home any longer. Retreat the kitchen entryway in the long run turns into the main floor of a pinnacle square. It’s such a spread.You can’t get a gauge of what number of individuals are near. At any rate two lifts come up here. It’s tan darker rugs, and wide perspectives like only you’re between gallery rooms. As our kitchen goes straight out to the main floor, I didn’t have to pass security or gathering ground floor. Security have ok’d me coming through, and I strolled past them all early today when it was as yet dim. There’s no feeling of it being an airplane terminal till you get upstairs, which you need to do by means of the lift. You can just observe the elevators coming up once you’re as of now on the principal floor, and the general population on them are genuine specialists here, senior enough to be lifted on the lifts by receptionists when they arrive. They’re dolls, these senior specialists, and are in any event in their forties. This would have occurred before I was lying on my folks bed this evening around noon. The applications I procedure are kept on 12 inch vinyl records, and are for courses in nursing. Police are here in little numbers, taping off zones they need to seek later. A record’s tumbled down the back of my file organizer. I process applications for the pinnacle squares courses. The halls are more extensive than when I worked here. It’s increasingly similar to Shanghai airplane terminal, progressively open arrangement and everything more extensive, with glass windows all over the place. It may even have had those level lifts on this floor. This structure should likewise be a piece of an airplane terminal. There aren’t any dividers that aren’t glass. Through the outside dividers are runways joining the rugs to the solid outside. You can’t perceive how it goes through the windows, yet they’re not open. Police are all near, searching for this missing application structure. That they’re searching for something I know the whereabouts of, is sufficient to make me feel sufficiently remorseful not to need to support them. I delicately tell my manager, an inch from her ear, that I think I know where the application structure is. She snorts. She wouldn’t like to help them any longer than I do. The police need the full lockdown seek so much, they would prefer even not to discover it yet. This lady called to state her better half hadn’t landed at work. Gathering hadn’t seen him. I touched base at gathering toward the beginning of today and saw they hadn’t got his call today. This current man’s abnormal in that he in every case unnecessarily telephones gathering in front of arriving. He’s one of only a handful couple of individuals left, or was, with a vehicle telephone. He calls to say he’s regarding thirty seconds from the vehicle leave, legitimately outside gathering. As though doing as such would hold him a space. He’s a frantic talker, killed on his approach to work at the beginning of today. You’d think miserable individuals getting killed would be less lamentable. His better half realized gathering hadn’t got notification from him, so called the police direct. There was no contact among gathering and the lady. The lady hadn’t executed her significant other, and didn’t know about his murdering. She just realized gathering hadn’t got notification from him, without hearing this from anybody. So’s the reason she called the police. This lady has experienced what I’ve experienced, lying on my folks bed. The scene, we played back together on one of the clear records, me and the killed keeps an eye on spouse. I saw him get killed, and the spouse just realized her better half had been executed through me seeing it with her. It’s an alleviation for her to not feel terrible for him any longer. On the off chance that I hadn’t have been there, she wouldn’t have seen a thing. So now I’m back in the workplace, where I was with my supervisor, and I realize what the police are searching for. The spouse and I composed it on a clear plate just by watching it, so we’ll likely get indicted. The one down the back of my file organizer isn’t even a similar one. My manager, for reasons unknown, and I are shielding the police from discovering it. Presently me and the spouse both know, it doesn’t appear to make a difference any longer what the police do. So I was in the workplace. My manager needs me to lay down with her, presently I’ve been with the killed keeps an eye on spouse. I knew the killed man, as I’ve seen him get killed, in any event as it was played back the first run through round. His body was discovered striped in a lodging before the police arrived. The missing application structure continues returning in the kitchen with my more distant family. Being around my more distant family, and furthermore becoming acquainted with this multi year old young lady and her companions, I thought possibly I could reconnect with my old companions too. Be that as it may, they have children now and are excessively occupied.

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Feeding time on the Alps Express

It’s sad. You wouldn’t even think he’s trying to hide. The company chairman’s looking straight into our carriage from the other end of the platform. I can even see when he blinks. His binoculars flicker white momentarily. His blink rate will drop to less than once per minute. His breathing’s a worry. Even from where I’m sitting, you see the lapels of his coat going up and down. When he sees evidence of us being in the right state of mind though, he’ll make his move. By this, I mean joining us in the carriage to do the feeding. The feeding’s the climax to this whole operation of his. It’s an annual event he added to the company calendar thirty years ago. He arrives with his bucket of fish, but none of this happens if he thinks our lips aren’t swollen shiny rosey red and the floor isn’t already half covered in saliva. He likes to feel his wellingtons are necessary. He’d rather it be a proper abattoir, or one of those goose farms. This is what he’s looking for in his binoculars. Evidence of shiny lips and shiny chins. Swinging heads and whites of eyes bouncing in the background. He won’t move until he’s seen, what he calls, rabies. He’ll be feeding us fish from the bucket he’s holding down by his knees for now. Binoculars in his left hand, bucket in his right. Seeing each others mascara running’s making us laugh. It’s funny because he’s the animal feeder, and we’re all his seals. He’ll be here soon. The train leaves in fifteen minutes. The feeding needs to be over by then. The carriage is near full, with its twenty chosen men, writhing their shoulders and necks independently, going “Ahhurrreww-UuuHhurruhhh. AourruhHhur-oOurAaRrruH” from deep within and to the sides of their throats. Just like seals do. The chairman can’t hear us from where he is, but through his binoculars, he can tell. He can tell when we’re ready. He knows when it’s time. The team have been re-enacting this scenario at every team holiday for the last thirty years. This is my first, and last year. I’m not sure why I’m here, because unlike the others, I don’t work for the company. But the chairman, he won’t move while we’re just pretending to be seals. That’s what his waiting and watching’s about. He’s waits for total immersion. Usually about twenty minutes from first assuming our seating position. It’s no fun for either him, nor us, for this to be just your regular team building role play exercise. With people pretending to be something they’re not. You have to be the seal. Role play is for company away days. This is more. It’s a company skiing trip. Our waddling’s waddling the carriage. The other passengers aren’t happy. In fifteen minutes, our train leaves. By which time, the chairman will be onboard, and we’ll all be satisfied. He’s looking at everyone but me. There’s twenty of us in this carriage. Behind the chairman, with bigger binoculars, is a library desk. It’s taking notes, and its binoculars are pointing in the same direction as the chairman’s. Nineteen of us, here in this carriage, are the chairman’s staff. I’m the only one who isn’t. It’s them and me. I’m just on my way to the library, but somehow got caught up in it. You wouldn’t know, as I’m in team uniform. Just like the others. The chairman knows when we’re ready. He’s hardly blinked since the second mechanic accidentally wiggled off the edge of his seat, before quickly clambering back on. When it’s not just a bunch of lame car mechanics getting into character. When he can see the belief in ourselves as his seals, he’ll drop his binoculars, and start making his way over here. You have to be the seal, or it’s no fun. It takes a while, but the chairman knows when we’re ready. He watches through binoculars from afar. Peering through the carriage windows from the other end of the platform. We’re on the noon train from London to Paris. The chairman reserved a carriage for us. Us being me and his team of mechanics. It leaves in fifteen minutes. Our carriage holds twenty and is already full. Me, and nineteen Formula One mechanics. The mechanics all work for the same team. The team chairman reserved the carriage for their end of season ski trip to the French Alps. He’s watching us through his binoculars with his feeding bucket in the other hand. After Paris, the train goes on to the Alps, then on to Russia. Everyone’s perched on the edge of their red plastic seats, awaiting the chairman and his bucket. He can see when our lower jaws stick out enough, and our hips get that authentic rhythm in their waddles. To the point where a couple of mechanics may slip off, onto the floor.
All twenty of us are in team shoes. Hands on both knees, straight back, if anything, arched inwards slightly, not slouching, ankles together. Once we’ve assumed the starting position, we can start the wiggling and seal noises. You have to shove your chin forward, so your mouth has enough of an underbite to get that raucous throat sound. It’s a kind of ArUhhh-ArUhh-ArUh. It’s not just that we’re all in black shoes, but we’re all wearing the exact same design and brand, bought in bulk, together, from the same shop. I’m also different from the others in that I’m English, travelling alone, and they’re mostly Swiss and are all travelling together. The handful that aren’t Swiss, are Dutch, Belgian, and from Luxembourg. They’re all mechanics at a Formula One team, looking forward to setting off on their end of season skiing holiday, but not before woofing down a bucket load of raw herring and flounder. There’s twenty of us. All looking round at each other, smiling at the thought of our pleasant and extravagant holiday. Laughing even, when you consider he’s the chairman and we’re the seals. Compared to theirs, my holiday’s only relatively extravagant. I’m getting off at the first stop, to go to the library on my own. The seal re-enactment’s a team building exercise, organised by the chairman. He likes to slap us around the face a little with each fish before dropping them, often several at a time, into our slithery gullets. I’m sat on a train. We haven’t moved yet. We’re waiting at the first stop, London. This route only has vague station names. There’s four. London, Paris, The Alps and Russia. The London stop’s in Muswell Hill. There’s twenty of us already in the carriage. Unlikely to be any more before we leave. Everyone, including me, is dressed in identical uniform. To repeat, we’re about to travel, first, from London, where we are now, non-stop to Paris. From Paris, it goes off and up into the snowy mountains of Eastern France. After the Alps, I’m guessing they’re the ones in France, it skips over to deepest Russia. I won’t be on the train beyond Paris. I’m getting off there to go to the library. Everyone else is staying on and going up the Alps. They’re all off on a skiing holiday. All of them together, in one group are going on holiday. Them, and their overgrown blond wavy haircuts with rich kid steps at the back. It doesn’t look more difficult or costly to cut than a normal haircut. But these are all adults, and that a lot of them still have a kids haircut gives the impression they’ve had a pretty easy life. Unlike everyone else, I’m getting off at Paris. We’re all between twenty and sixty. There’s no one else in our carriage, other than me and this ski group. Most people can’t afford to go on this train. It’s the only international train in the world. We’re sat here, perched on the edge of our red plastic seats in our uniform red ski jackets, uniform jeans, uniform grey socks and uniform black shoes. The inside of the train’s all boot scrubbed and polished. Everything to brilliant sterile white, apart from the red seats. The seats too are scrubbed, plastic and dry. The view of the Alps is a backdrop to the main event of the window. Everything other than the windows is plastic, including the red seats. We’re in ultramarine tight blue jeans. Beltless, darker and more saturated than regular Levi’s. The Eurotunnel doesn’t exist. It’s just this one, where instead of having an underground tube, you have an overhead monorail beam. It goes over the water like a ski lift, about the height of an average house above sea level. It’s not like a typical train. Looking back, I’d say “I took some high tech transport, it’s like a train, on one of those frictionless overhead conductor rails.” Our shoes are black and shiny, like a plastic puppet’s. We travel over the channel to the doorstep of this library, where only I get off. Goodbye my fellow seals. I wave them off. They’re still smiling in the silence we’ve been in since the chairman finally accepted he’d run out of fish. Apart from some giggling over memories of the fish slaps. No one, including me, questioned why I was there, knows how I came to be amongst them, how I got hold of their uniform, or why the team chairman paid for my trip in his tattooed face. I’ll never see any of those men again. It’s more like a fast ski lift, but where you have the white fibreglass shell of a train, it might have been fibreglass, not plastic, meaning, unlike a ski lift, you’re always inside, but there’s a foot long ventilation gap between the tops of the walls and the ceiling, taking full advantage of the fresh channel sea breeze. As it picks up speed, in the wind blusters, and you start envying those wavy haired rich boys. It must be a lovely head massage for them. You get the opposite problem in Paris. Paris smells like cack. The seats are suspended mid air like the electronic connectors in the rail above the roof. Static forces and momentum keep everything a couple of centimetres away from anything else, except for you and your seat. No organic matter conducts electricity. The library’s in central Paris. It’s the first French stop. I’ve come to look up an artist. Specifically to this library because in Paris, there’s no time and no one knows you. Everyone in London knows me, and they always have urgent stories to tell. I can’t remember the artist’s name right now, but once inside, I’ll see others like him and it’ll come. The interior, and everyone in it, rolls out before me, like a greeting carpet. The outside stands permanently, as you’d expect. Such an odd thing happens in regular flow and no one acknowledges it. The staircases are a lighter piney wood, lighter, I mean, than the Victorian dull mahogany of the bare floors and bookshelves, and have pinstripe suited men walking up to more in depth books. Everyone in this building’s highly educated. At the front, in front of the reception desk, is a small bookshelf just below where the table top juts out, with 20 or 30 books on it.
“Do you see how my top juts out, like your lower chins?” asks the desk.
The desk shows me.
“AhhUhhR-AuuuRrrHhh-UhhhUh-Oruhhh Uhhhrrow-uhhhrawWww-ourrrrUhhh”
It’s veneered chipboard, still with all its casters, but only standing because it’s leant back on reception’s panels. It would cost the same to make the veneer look nicer. Like a pine design, or other solid colour that wouldn’t get as dirty looking, like black or burnt umber. But like with their haircuts, the poorer things are depressed and resigned to themselves. The library building’s a single room, but I didn’t realise, entirely dedicated to art. I knew this till I walked in. The unraveling must have grabbed some of my forefront thoughts. I just go through the books at the front of reception, but can’t find the artist I’m looking for. They’re just some kids story books. I leave the library, and from the return train back to Muswell Hill, am taken back to a bare concrete hotel. Off the return train as normal, but from there, once back in London, by a thin African man clutching my elbow the whole way. He grabs it as I step off, and leads me along as if he’s a got a revolver. At some point, between waving goodbye to the ski holiday group, and walking up to the library, my clothes changed back to what I normally wear. When the skiers disappeared, my clothes changed back. We, the gentle kidnapper and me, arrive at a concrete three floor prison complex, like a grey maze. The ground floor must be wider than the ones above. You can look over your walls from inside your room, and over the roof of the building you’re in. It’s an L-shape layout like the flats on Lordship Lane. You’re made to feel you’re always outside. My room doesn’t have a roof you can see from inside, or ceiling, unlike the roof you can see on the other leg of the L. From outside, you can see the entire complex has a roof. Inside, there’s no furniture anywhere. You can see well into every room from the corridor. The only part of each room you can’t see’s the toilet, as the rooms themselves are also L shape. Other than concrete, there’s some decorational metal bars around, or metal gates. It’s grim, and shutdown. I mean, you’re constantly bullied by the interior atmosphere of the building. The architect’s built it in. You can’t see and smash them, like cameras. Then he shows me my room, never saying a word. I see his ear and a grade 3ish cut afro over the back of it. It’s night time. There’s fluorescent mosquito lights and background talking from young sounding people. My room has a concrete single bed, white pillow, two white sheets you can’t tuck in anywhere, and a blue blanket. Bare concrete walls, a light bulb, a concrete toilet, concrete sink. Nothing’s painted. Flat metal plates screwed in with electronic sensors for taps. I don’t know where the water comes out, but it does. There’s no doors on any rooms. There’s no furniture, or much in the way of personal belongings. No rooms are vacant. I’m the only resident who isn’t a student. I’m twice the age of anyone else here. Even the man showing me round can’t be thirty. There’s nothing to steal. Just this constant background murmur of students being drunk, sick, gangs of them plotting against each other. They’ve got no respect for me being new here. They don’t make an effort. No one approaches me. I’m desperately starting to like my chaperone. I sleep there tonight. As far as I remember, nothing much happened. I get back on this high tech transport and go back to the library. This time as I walk in, I remember the second, larger section where there’s more art books. There’s only the one ceiling at the top of the building. Seeing the whole building from the ground floor, you appreciate how many stairs and different types of ladder you need to start a library. The building’s round, the same proportions as a kitchen roll’s inner tube. Only wide because it’s massively tall. A man from television walks past looking like he works here. He’s on some television programme where they recreate things from the Arts and Crafts movement. He’s in a blue all in one outfit, but not like a car mechanic. I remember him from television, but now I see him in person, I realise I knew him from before as well. He must have been someone from one of the pubs round Windsor. As he’s from television, I make our conversation last longer than’s usual by pretending to forget the name of the artist I’m looking for. I needn’t have, as I can’t remember it anyway. But in pretending to, I push the name completely out my head. I’m confident he won’t get it, and I’ll remember soon by myself. Then I’ll get the big applause, and he’ll like and remember me.
“He’s a household name. You know him.” I say.
But the name’s still escaping me, and I think well, I must have been looking at him on the internet. I get my phone out to check the internet history. I type the wrong number for the passcode, and accidentally dial this masseuse I used to visit. The phone shows the screen saver, then back to the normal phone. There’s something wrong with my phone. It’s ringing, and the person it’s ringing is answering. The name’s displayed as STORM. I hang up, but not in time for her not to answer. I just catch her voice. I close the phone app thinking that might properly get rid of her and open up the internet, just to make sure she’s gone. While I’m here, I might as well do what I set out to. So I start looking up famous artists names.
“He’s a Russian.” I keep saying.
“He’s a Russian. You know him. He’s a household name. He’s in Berkshire.”
Lots of wrong double barrel names come to mind, so I think the name I’m trying to remember is probably double barrel. The staff are trying hard. I start looking at the spines of the books. I now realise, I’ve totally forgotten. I go back to my concrete room, but when I get back, it’s overloaded with stuff from my youth. Furniture, loose clothes, old rugby shirts and sports things from my school days. GIRL, and a friend of hers I’ve never met, are there. GIRL must have brought her along. GIRL is an old friend from years ago. We were friends for a couple of years when I was in my late twenties, and she, in her mid twenties. STORM texts me. It reads:
“later?… see me in 3 hours… I’m just hanging out yeah.”
I have to whisper to GIRL because my family are nearby. I leave GIRL standing there a minute while her friend and me climb over a load of bicycles, to get to my art studio. As the friend’s distracted looking round, I go back to GIRL and whisper in her ear. The room that was all concrete, is now my old home. I guess that’s what all the furniture and stuff was. I’m now back at home, and my parents are in earshot. I grab GIRL’s hair, she’s so beautiful. I have to go back to GIRL’s reaction when she first saw me today. When she turned up with her friend. Her friend I’ve never seen before. GIRL said, as soon as she saw me
“It’s so nice to see you.” and pulls me into her fat shoulder, rocking back and forth. Her hand’s on the back of my head. It’s comfort like I’ve never felt. More like relief. I say
“I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”
She shoves my chest away, pushing my face out in the cold.
“What are you talking about?”
It throws me for a couple of seconds, by which time she’s laid solid on the bed like a wooden doll on its back, gazing up where there’s no ceiling anymore. The ceiling had returned when the room became full of my old clothes.
I repeat “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings”
Saying it twice doesn’t help. From realising I’d been living a lie, these last twenty odd years,I’m now back to where I started in an instant. I don’t know what to say, so I just say it a third time
“I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”
I know she at least liked me, back when I was in my twenties, but I never, being useless with women, did anything about it. I’ve done enough damage, so look for her friend to talk to. I didn’t resolve it. What GIRL and I remember and felt about each other’s gone now. Thanks to her turning up and STORM’s text.

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