Some distance away a hedgehog was reading pornography under a hedgerow, Lloyd was unaware of this. And so he awoke, the vapour of the night’s cheap Chardonnay rung dully in his head and clung like a polite whore. He gathered himself and swung his legs out from beneath the Red Army Faction duvet cover, straightening his Irish National Liberation Army jim-jams as he did so. And so our Zero sat replete on the edge of his bed at the edge of his bedsit, a single small room, kitchen, living room and bedchamber, the bathroom was on the lower 2nd floor and was shared by all four tenants of the building. Lloyd got to his feet and walked to the one window, it was just a window overlooking the overgrown communal garden and brick red alley, I won’t describe the bespattered birdshit upon it, it, it was just a window. Lloyd stared and stared, stared at a dog.

Ragged ridiculous pantomime dog. Salacious Mongrel. Distant, vague, prowling alley of terraced red brick. A languid blur, scratching, mauling detritus in the near light of morning. Salacious with enervated movements ambles to a foreground, its peeling epidermal of papier-mâché becomes apparent, a collaged skinscape of diseased and dissolving copy, scabrous jaw slackly hanging, saliva stringing to ground, viscous beads… drip. Movement within mouth. Mandible set with articulated forms. Writhing maggot teeth. Squirming larvae embedded in pulpy soft gumflesh, turn in unison to scorn the one carious enamel dolmen, CGI operators lazy realist simulacrum. Rustling. Head hunched. Salacious slavering at mouth of upturned wheelie bin, slack paper clad jaw mouthing grey plastic edges, autonomous larval dentates testing, pressing, searching attrited scared plastic. Charlie’s Angels wrap, warp upon filthy edge, silhouette, sign raped in ocular juices. Tentatively Salacious enters, crossing gaping mouth of bin, waddles forward, jaw slack and agape. Breathing rasps. Expulsion rhythmic. Putrid vapour beading upon dirt encrusted inner surface. The Mongrel turns, and outside, seen through a squared smear of light, a figure stoops, slips in shit.

Lloyd walking. He do it often. Walking. Walking clothed in self-loathing, jeans and a dark blue track suit top, zip bust, hunched up, hands in diagonal slits of top, hunched up, a kind of foetal walking. He do it often. Eyes hook on a visual glitch, something scraping in upturned bin. Stoops, not far now, to look, and at that same moment slips upon dog faeces. What he had stooped to see thrown from mind, displaced, scraped from sole, smeared, spread like peanut butter on tarmac. Stench. Nostril flare. Nose corrugating, ruckles , creases, dissolves on relaxing face, fluvial flesh flowing back to eddy gently about the bone.

Lloyd walking. A receding scrape. Heading for the park, not knowing where to put eyes, almost crying as singular figures approach, working out the glances, when to put eyes down or up. Easier in crowds more distractions, more voices, too many to sift through, have to go blank, go auto and ignore the focus of one to one. He walked up Mastacon Rd towards Murrain Street and the park. A long road lined with cars, always lined with cars at all times of the day due to the generosity of parents and their poverty stricken students who attend the nearby Naipette University. Lloyd headed onwards up the road, checking himself in the reflections of car windows, the flat, square near vertical windows of Volvo estates being the best for a clean hyper-real surface, a snapshot of confidence.


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