Excuse errors etc – I don’t tend to bother with that stuff ’til I’m over the draft stage 🙂
Dogs at Play
We stole some knives from a Martin’s house and walked down Rue Street puncturing all the tires facing the kerb. The rubber was surprisingly tough, but after a few cars we got used to it and picked up pace. The curtains in the houses flickered with the light of TV screens and, dodging the late evening drunks and party goers, we managed to get all the cars in the street done by three in the morning. We made our way back to the avenue and gave the black cat that had been watching us from one of the windows one last stare before climbing the windows of the hotel and climbing back into the room. We opened the curtains and looked out over the leaning cars, then crawled into bed and quickly fell asleep.
I woke up to the sound of the shower and thought I was at home. I lay looking up at the patterns of white on the ceiling, trying to work out whether we had the same pattern at home or if I was at home until I looked down and met my own eyes in the wardrobe mirror. I’d forgotten about the mirror. I’d forgotten about the hotel and the cars. I raised myself onto my feet and made myself a cup of tea.
____‘Tea?’ I shouted.
____‘Yeah,’ she said from the shower.
____I sat by the side of the bed, opened the curtains and nursed my tea. The window was thick with condensation so I gave it a wipe and looked out at the frost. I heard the bathroom door open.
____‘The curtains are open,’ I said, not turning.
____I heard the towel drop behind me.
____‘Ever the exhibitionist.’
____‘I don’t care,’ she said, I felt her warm hands pass close to my back. ‘I don’t enjoy it.’
____‘Pfffft,’ I retorted, ‘tea’s on the table.’ I felt the bed spring back as she left for the dresser.
____‘You put milk in it?!’
____I watched her run her hand through her hair and leave it at her neck. She tilted her head sideways and met my eyes in the mirror.
____‘You fucker,’ she repeated.
____‘You should drink it,’ I said, sipping at my own and stifling a laugh.
____‘Fuck you,’ she flicked the kettle on, sat down behind me and slipped her hands under my boxers.
____‘What are you doing?’
____‘I should cut it off,’ she whispered in my ear, ‘and feed it to the pigeons.’
____‘Do pigeons eat meat?’ I raised my cup to my mouth and she gripped me hard. I spluttered and coughed my tea across my legs. ‘Fuck.’
____The kettle clicked and she rose to make milk-less tea.
____‘Man, my legs,’ I said, brushing the tea into my skin.
____‘Anyone out yet?’ she asked. I looked out of the window and watched an odd number of doors open, a few people were already in their cars.
____‘Cool,’ she hurried back to the bed and sat beside me naked. We held the tea to our chests and stared out over Rue Street. ‘Pompous shits’ she said, sipping, I nodded. Posh pricks all dolled up in suit jacket and tie; they’d roll into town in their sweet rides and grab some crisp coffee from some smart establishment – the kind that give you brown crinkle cut cardboard things around the cup – and they’d walk into the office with their jackets over their shoulders like they were George-fucking-Clooney. They all lived on Rue Street; anyone that was someone lived on this street, but today it was our street. I could smell her tea over mine.
____‘That smells so dry, how can you drink that?’
____‘It’s not dry.’
____‘But it must be filmy, right?’
____‘What do you mean?’
____An engine began to purr from one of the motors outside. Fumes rose from the black of a BMW at the end of the road and we could make out the shoulder of a pink-shirted gentleman pulling his seatbelt on. I looked over at Sam and watched a smile spill across her face. Wild excitement, hysterical, the shape of the hopelessly mad. I smiled and laughed. ‘Here we go,’ I said.
____The BMW pulled out slowly and made its way across the cobbled street towards us. The air in the tires had completely gone and we watched the huffy, un-awake face of the guy driving shift into uncertainty and then unease. The edge of the wheels rubbed against the cobbles and the car tumbled uneasily from trough to trough. He slowed to a stop and got out to inspect the wheels. A silver Mercedes a few metres ahead pulled out and the driver (in dark blue) accelerated quickly over a speed bump and caught the wheel on a stubborn cobble. The car stopped. The driver got out and inspected his tyres.
____Sam sniffled, laughed under her breath then sniffled some more. My cheeks felt sore and red from smiling. I walked over to the kettle and flicked it on for more tea.
____‘You’ll miss it,’ she said.
____‘Describe it to me.’
____‘The guy with the really short dark hair, with the pink shirt has got some pump out from the backseat.’
____‘Has he moved the car?’
____‘Nah, it’s in the middle of the road still.’
____‘Oh,’ I said, pouring some milk.
____‘He’s trying to pump up the tire!’ She snorted, ‘now someone else is trying to pull out behind him.’ A sharp car horn sounded, ‘ha! Hahaha!’
____‘Pink guy just turned around, gave the beeping fella’ a finger.’
____‘Serious? That’s not very neighbourly…’
____I sat back down and watched as the white-suited brown-haired middle-aged guy in a grey something waved his fist at pink shirt. He still had the pump in hand and was yelling and gesturing at his tyres. Pink shirt got out and walked over to him, grabbed the pump from him and began pumping away. Meanwhile, cars began pulling out further back. The dark blue shirted man was on his phone and fingered the rim of his wheel, his eyebrows narrowed with concern.
____‘Jesus,’ she said, shaking her head, ‘they’re just so pathetic.’ I nodded. Blue shirt looked over to Pink shirt and they nodded in acknowledgement, but said nothing. ‘The middle age guy hasn’t noticed, has he?’
____‘The white shirted guy?’ I asked.
____‘Yeah, he hasn’t noticed his car.’ A horn from a car bleated beyond the trapped drivers and they all turned. White shirt realised his enthusiastic pumping was doing nothing and indicated that the guy should just pull his car over to the side and let everyone else out. Pink shirt shrugged, got in his car and pulled over on the other side of the road. White shirt got back in his yellow supercar and sped into the street. His flat wheels spun on the wet stones and pulled him to the left. He counter steered but pulled too hard and caught the door of a black BM with dark windows. The door of the car opened, and out stepped a bald, bulky, black shirted man. He looked unimpressed.
____‘Oh shit,’ I said, leaning forward on my seat, ‘oh shit that man is not happy.’
____We watched him walk slowly up to the yellow supercar. White shirt shivered in his seat.
© Hayden Westfield-Bell