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The Window Clock
1,050 words
René Adams

Having had no exercise that day I
was exhausted, so, it was time to strike
the stars above the moors, and then, dressed
for night, I walked the six hours to the city;
all of the clubs were closed by then so I danced
in the morning, keeping tight to the road
and the sun, which becomes our dance, our
awkward smooth attire of suit and dress
shaves us another dream, through life.

The next day wasn’t a good one, Jacques decided. It would be far better to just let it lay down, in its grey steaming Britain, through the blinds, and just let it do its own thing. Then night came again. And never talk to a man from both the county and the city. They’re a funny folk, they are. They’ll tell you both are neither. And that both are the meeting place of dichotomies on fire, and such… Which is why the sound of post flapping through the door is so disturbing. Letters, post, parcels, a knock, leaflets: when you’re sleeping off a long hike, all are annoying. And in dream soaked beer hands, your feet get up, more naked than 6am swearing owls and pigeons, lonely car hymns from the street.

And there was no reason to get up or down, but Jacques went down stairs ready for his coffee in the middle. He slapped the post on the table, so sick of another company-charity trying to make another one out of him. A screaming child on the front. A screaming phone on the front. A mixed colour weave of clever dumb copywriting – which was his job – all bawling on a flat envelope. And it would be good to be forty years younger again, Jacques thought, opening the only poem on the breakfast table that would mean anything. It would be from Emilia. It would be from the rain, of both the hills and the city. Making splashes in the bird bath outside of his home, as they both smacked each other’s cheeks with smiles. Jacques looked out the Kitchen window. And lit his cigarette with a burning envelope, while the kettle boiled, and began to feel the day.

The flames singed his moustache, which made him smile. It was good to have a single flat in East London. Not too far away from the green. That calling that people from the country will always have, if they have danced in its wilderness, been bred from that wilderness, and carry that in their hearts, where ever they go. City, abandoned boat, island. This letter was from Emilia. After time had spat into the face of impossibility, and choked it with all of its perfumed claws.

As Jacques chucked it onto the counter, with another two or three letters, the fate at the far left corner of his eye, caught the hand-written lettering of the letter. Which made him drop everything, and start slamming it with his hand to put it out. “Shit, shit, shit!” And the owls sweared even harder, hooting and howling outside.

Ripping the thing open, Jacques pulled out the singed letter. His heart first moved up into his mind, and then rode back down, below his stomach, where he nearly lost it on the kitchen tiles. Of course it wasn’t a reply from Emilia, decades, centuries, and infinite nights after they had embraced, but, it was a letter from the A.D.E. (Arts Department of England).

They had began it all in 2021. The world had long since pissed out its last repeats or reminisces of art, so now, England falling behind in the world, they were forced to offer people invitations. It had taken the country to revolt against the crap available, and even more so, the world, before the tickets came.

But now, in some corner of her great majestic grave, the tickets were being sent to people like Jacques, after the show-birds, after the shadows, after the fleas of shadows, and after the last drained opiates of originality had been brunched upon, so far south, that even the copies had death in their teeth and tails.

Jacques smiled. And sipped at his black coffee without sugar, lighting the letter again at the corner, and chucking it. It burnt on top of the latest offers for apartments on the moon, for the shuttles that could take you up beyond the Earth’s office, and let your eyes treasure on the architecture of another planet ruined by populace.

Then the migraines came again. Stigmata birthed many times inside his skull. His watch bleeped in sporadic colours changing the illumination in his kitchen from low orange to bright pink. So linked to his work, so augmented, and staring from inside his mind with the fact he was behind on his daily deadlines.

The letter, the ticket, the invitation from the government’s Arts and Cultures office, had no reply, it just wept in low black embers. It was the same for every freelancer or taciturn who had made it thus far. Jacques couldn’t prove it, but he knew that they implanted it sometime when you were getting a check-up. An ear examination. A blood-test. But then again, as he remembered, as a poet… He was pretty damn crazy… And Jacques would often waltz around and pirouette in his living room in the darkness screaming “Ha haa you nearly got me! You nearly got meeee!” No place in a world full of madness for the sanest kind.

And then when the final darkness would come, she would visit his day. Jacques bled from the nose most days, into the sink, as he brushed and shaved, knowing that, the migraines were time. They were time letting him know not to waste it, and, their dementia was a sense of warmth, not a sense of pain. For another ten years he trawled out the work like a diligent citizen. Dreaming, living, and breathing for a letter to come, which said “Here you go old carpenter, now, lets dance again… Back with the universe, our bodies, so full of light.”

There were four birds sitting on the fence outside of his window. Each one a different breed of bird. And this is enough reason for the day to begin, Jacques agreed, nodding and smiling. And there is enough scream in the next door train to shatter a world. Enough city in the fields above the moors to make the cars honk, and, enough functionality in the heart of one, to make the day glow litmus colours, once again.

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