Fall Out ~ Melissa Mann

July 21, 2008

Disgust an’ fear crash through’t toilet door, me right behind ‘em.  I fumble wi’t lock, breath I’ve been ‘oldin’ since I climbed over ‘im ready to burst out o’me top.  There’s barely room to swing a cat in ‘ere.  On’t floor, a pool o’piss laps at me flip-flops. I steady meself against sink.  There’s a bar o’soap turnin’ to scum by’t tap.  I pick it up – it’s all slimy in me fingers – then I sink me teeth in an’ bite a birr’off, lerr’in it lie there on me tongue a bit.  Then I close me eyes an’ start to chew.  Me lips’re tryin’ to peel the’selves off me face.  It tastes like dead roses an’ mecks me gag.  I scrape a fingernail down me tongue, along’t inside o’me cheek then start scrubbin’ at me teeth an’ gums ‘til me finger goes all numb.  I spit into’t sink, wipin’ me mouth wi’t back o’me arm.  Bloodied spew slithers down’t plughole like a jellyfish.

Coach brakes an’ swings left, throwin’ me against door; we must be leavin’t motorway. Eventually it stops, ‘ydraulics gaspin’, engine rumblin’, door ‘andle thrummin’ in me fist.  I unlock toilet door an’ peer out. Ron’s ‘eadin’ up the aisle toward me. Next thing am pushin’t  emergency door open, theme tune to’t ‘Great Escape’ playin’ in me ‘ead. Am Steve fuckin’ McQueen, me!  Or mebbe it’s theme to ‘Reach for’t Sky’ in which case am Douglas Bader an’ well, am fucked then, aren’t I.  Ron reaches out, ‘and like pork sausages, all blotched an’ knuckleless.  But am ‘avin’ none of it, me.  I jump off’t coach, door alarm screamin’ as I fall out into’t path of an on-comin’ Volvo.

* * * *

Two hour or so back

I look down an’ see me smilin’ back at meself, smilin’ like am about to breck me teeth.  Emlyn’s in’t middle, one arm round me, t’other round our Paula.  They’re lookin’ at each other instead o’t camera.  I fold’t photo in two so am pressed against Emlyn’s chest.  We’re that close I can feel ‘is ribs pressin’ into me cheek.  I squeeze the folded edge between me finger an’ thumb, firm like, up an’ down… then I tear us apart.

They’re screwed up in’t ashtray now, pair of ‘em.  Ow, fuck! I’ve a paper cut now, look.  I suck me finger.  It’s a sign that cut; someone up there tryin’ to tell me sommat.  I slot what’s left o’me into’t seat pocket, wipin’ under’t eyes I can see starin’ back at me through’t nettin’.  Just me now. Am on me own an’ am never goin’ back.  Am free though, s’all that matters.  Me great escape, this is.

We’ve just pulled into Leeds coach station.  There’s a few people waitin’ to gerr’on but not many: this Asian lass wi’ bootleg jeans under ‘er sari, an Arthur Scargill look-a-like an’ some bloke wi’ no neck in a Leeds Rhinos’ shirt.  Seat next to me’s gorr’all me stuff on it – bag, Now magazine, can o’Red Bull an’ some cheese sarnies I got from’t kiosk at Bradford Interchange.  Tons o’seats further back though so it mecks no odds.

Yeah, me great escape, this is.  Knew’t minute I set eyes on Emlyn ‘e’d be me ticket out o’Wakefield an’ ‘avin’ to work in mam an’ dad’s fish shop.  Never thought it’d turn out like this though.  ‘e’d come to work for’is aunt in ‘uddersfield ‘ad Emlyn.  Dead exotic ‘e were what wi’is slick-back ‘air an’ Welsh accent. Yeah, it were lust at first sight wi’Emlyn – fo’ me any road.  Same fo’ Paula as well, though she reckons it were love.  Love?!  What does she know about love?  Never even done it, she an’t.  I bare me teeth at winder an’ scrub at a red lipstick mark.  Below me’t driver throws in’t last bit o’baggage an’ slams the flaps shut.

Well that’s just bloody great tharr’is.  Arthur fuckin’ Scargill wants to sit ‘ere, dun’t ‘e, next to me. All those seats at back but no, ‘e wants this one. Christ, would yer look at state of ’im.  Bet yer’any money ‘e gets travel sick.  Nervy sort, yer can tell.  Look at ‘im, slammin’ ‘is trainer on’t footrest like it’s the brake or sommat. See, it were a sign that paper cut. A five-hour coach trip to London sat next to some middle-aged Bradford City supporter, weaned on Tetley’s an’ liable to puke any minute. Yeah, somebody up there’s defo gorr’it in fo’ me.  Oh an’ did I mention the attractive comb-over?

“Can yer believe this driver, eh?  Useless in’t ‘e, the pillock.  Y’all right?  Not squashin’ yer am I, love?”

“Well, I could do wi’out ‘avin’ yer lunch box in me lap, thanks very much.”  A Star Wars bloody lunch box too, if yer can believe that.  I mean, fuck me to Wakefield an’ back!

“Oh yeah, sorry love.  Don’t want yer nickin’ me egg butties when I nod off now, do I.”

Oh just take the bloody thing, will yer.  I turn me back on ‘im an’ look out winder. Kid goes past in’t back o’this Merc.  Stickin’ its tongue out one minute then ‘idin’ under’t seat the next.  Up an’ down like a yo-yo ‘e is, little brat.  I look down, watchin’t M1 slide away under’t wheels.  It were seein’ Emlyn an’ our Paula in’t back o’is car what started it off. That’s when I knew I ‘ad to do sommat. ‘oldin’ ‘er face ‘e was, lookin’ right in ‘er eyes – ‘er speccy-four-eyes, ha!  I pull on me lashes; mascara’s all clogged up.  Yeah, drastic action were called fo’ cos suddenly me way out were lookin’ more like a dead end.

God, I could murder a fag – fuckin’ hours ‘til we get to Milton Keynes.  Could sneak a puff in’toilet I s’pose.  Yeah! Since when did National Express get s’bloody PC any road?  Smokin’ pro’ibited but anti-social comb-overs welcomed wi’ open arms, is tharr’it?

“Me name’s Ron.”

Christ, do we ‘ave to bloody do this?  I don’t want to talk to yer, ar’right.  I force a smile, feelin’ me foundation crack then I turn an’ look out winder again.  Travellin’ by coach allus does this t’me, mecks me ‘ate the world an’ every fucker in it.

“‘Ave yer not gorra name then?”

“Err…sorry, yeah. Alice.”

“Oh, like that lass what went to Wonderland.  Very nice.”

Fuckin’ ‘ell!  Nod an’ smile Alice, nod an’ smile.  I look at ‘is lunch box an’ get this, ‘e’s only gone an’ gorr’ a nametag on it.  A bloody nametag, I ask yer.  Well congratulations Ron Butterfield.  ‘alf an ‘our in your scintillatin’ company an’ am already on page ten o’me self-‘arm manual. I look at me watch.  Great.  Another four an’ an ‘alf hours meckin’ small talk wi’ some fat twat who probably ‘as ‘is name sewn in ‘is underkecks.

I pick me bag up offat floor an’ pull out a mirror.  God, I look a right fuckin’ sight; make-up’s all over’t place.  Not like it were’t other night.   Immaculate it were, then. ‘ad me war paint on, din’t I; Emlyn didn’t stand a chance, poor bugger.  I pick at what’s left o’t nail polish on me thumbnail.  Feel a bit bad about it all now, if am honest. ‘ad to be done though.  Needed to see, din’t ‘e.  Needed to see before it were too late.

Ron’s fidgetin’ about in ‘is seat again; warm-up to openin’ his gob again, I bet. An’ while we’re at it Ron, ‘ow much bloody room d’yer need, eh?  Is yer tackle really that big yer need to sit wi’ yer legs so wide apart?  It’s a coach seat not some big girthed mare yer tryin’ to straddle.  Euch, I can’t look.  ‘e’s got that white gob-shite stuff in’t corners of ’is mouth.  Stringin’ between ‘is lips, it is when ‘e talks. 

“Am a salesman, me.  Sell zips an’ Velcro an’ what ‘ave yer.  Get to travel all over’t country.”

A nod an’ a smile wi’ a bit o’raised eyebrow called fo’ this time, Alice.  There yer go, a 6.0 fo’artistic expression from’t Barnsley judge fo’ that one.  Oh, eh yup, Ron’s usin’ ‘is passenger brakin’ system again.  What we stoppin’ fo’?  Fuck’s sake!  Another sign this is in’t it; somebody up there layin’ it on wi’ a trowel.  Well I gerr’it, ar’right.  Yeah, so I shagged Emlyn when ‘e’s supposed to be gerrin’ wed to our Paula but I never… it… well it just ‘appened, din’t it.  I just ‘ad it in mind to seduce ‘im a bit, that’s all, gerr’im to see sense.  Meck ‘im see ‘e’d chosen’t wrong one, like.

I lean me ‘ead back an’ think on about other night.  ‘e were a bit worse fo’ wear after ‘is stag do, wer’Emlyn.  Dead shaky an’ all cos ‘is best man Timmo’d organised an ‘hit’ for’im.  Timmo’s uncle runs this business, right; Party Assassins it’s called.  They do practical jokes an’ that.  Yer know, strippergrams an’ spikin’t groom’s drink then leavin’ him stark-bollock-naked on Emley Moor, that kinda thing.  Timmo’s uncle were part o’t Bradford Mafia, if yer believe’t talk.  This were a few year back now.  Party Assassins was ‘is way o’going “straight”, like, or so folk said.  Bradford Mafia?!  Yeah, what-ever.

Anyway, there we was, me lust an’ me, sat on mam an’ dad’s couch when Emlyn walks in, covered ‘ead to toe in Alphabetti Spaghetti an’ Cheerios.  Like a female ‘unger striker’s wet dream, ‘e were – ha!  Next thing I’d fallen out me clothes, am on top o’im an’ ‘e’s printin’ mucky jokes all over me tits in pasta an’ ‘holegrain ‘oops. Din’t know what’d hit him, poor bugger. An’ I wan’t takin’ no for’an answer, me – full works or me money back!

So, ‘ere’s me now, stuck in a five-mile tailback wi’ Arthur fuckin’ Scargill’s clone sat next to me.  Yeah, somebody up there’s defo meckin’ me pay fo’ it, big time.  I never set out to ‘urt our Paula though, ‘onest t’God.  It’s just, I were bored, fed up, yer know ‘ow it is?  An’ Emlyn needed to see what ‘e were missin’ before ‘e settled on little Miss Innocent wi’ ‘er specs an’ ‘er M&S dresses.  Why ‘er, eh an’ not me?  I don’t gerr’it.  Must ‘ave ‘idden depths that one.  An’ she in’t all sweetness an’ light neither.  Gorra right temper on ‘er, that one, ‘specially when she’s on ‘er period; she can be a right cow.  Well anyway, mecks no odds now cos I’ve gone, am’t I; left ‘em to it, all that gerrin’ wed an’ ‘appy ever after bollocks.  I snap the ‘air elastics round me wrist an’ peer through’t raindrops spermin’ across winder.  London 87 miles.  Come on, gerr’a fuckin’ move on bus will yer.

Oi, Ron, gob-shite, stop leanin’ on me – Christ!  What’s ‘e gorr’in that ‘an Solo flask, then, voddy? An’ what the fuckin’ ‘ell’s ‘e grinnin’ fo’, eh?  God ‘is breath’s rank.  Smells like fags an’ ale an’ denture glue.

“Did yer know there’s 824 cones in yer average contraflow system?”

Nice one Ron, yer’ve only gone an’ used up me entire stock o’polite conversation.  I slump in me seat an’ look at me watch.  Reckon I’ve still gorr’another four hours o’this, traffic way it is.  Four fuckin’ hours sat next to some saddo ‘ho knows’t reference code fo’every zip an’ strip o’Velcro ‘e’s ever sold.  Christ, if this in’t the coach journey from ‘ell, I don’t know wharr’is.  Please, somebody shoot me!  Oi, now what’s ‘e doin’?  I’m warnin’ yer, gob-shite, lean any closer an’ I’ll stab you in’t gonads wi’ that Bradford City badge o’yours.

“’Ave gorra little present fo’ yer,” ‘e ses.

What-the-fuck….. let go o’me face yer nutter. ‘e’s gorr’is lips suckered to me mouth!  Get-the-fuck-OFF-me!  That’s norr‘is tongue in me gob that’s norr‘is tongue in me gob… think am gonna puke.  Oh thank bloody God.  I press an ‘and to me mouth.  Can’t feel me lips now, can I; they’ve gone all numb.  Christ, that’s norr’is gob-shite snailin’ down me chin, is it?  Fuckin’ is, an’ all! 

“What the fuckin’ ‘ell d’yer do that fo’, eh?”  ‘e’s got this big grin all over’is face, an’t ‘e. 

“S’like I said, a little present fo’ yer, courtesy o’t Party Assassins from your Paula.   It’s fo’ shaggin’ ‘er fiancy.”  ‘e scratches ‘is balls. “An’ I can’t tell yer ‘ow much am lookin’ forward t’next bit o’ this ‘hit,’ Alice,” ‘e ses, lickin’ ‘is lips, “cos it won’t be just me tongue I’ll ‘ave inside yer.”

Baby Dicks ~ Melissa Mann

January 15, 2008

Caitlin grips her fountain pen and watches the young woman wiping her husband’s face on the other side of the conservatory.  ‘More meat in your package is what you need!’ she writes in her notebook, pressing a finger between her eyebrows; she is conscious of frown lines.  Out the corner of her eye, she sees the woman put the picture back on the piano and start to clean the one of her children taken outside the family’s second home in Provence.  Caitlin can’t remember the last time she was required to clean anything; eleven years ago probably when she had her own flat, when she worked as a PA at the law firm where Lewis is still the Senior Partner.  They have always had a cleaner, Lewis insisted upon it when they got married, just as he’d insisted upon the housekeeper, gardener and live-in nanny before the children were sent away to boarding school.  Caitlin was effectively made redundant from her life the moment the wedding vows left her mouth. 

‘Your pitiful dick would be a shortcoming for any man,’ she writes, nib punching a green full-stop through the page.  Her hand is shaking.  She puts the pen down and spreads her fingers.  It is an expensive hand manicured twice a week at an exclusive salon off Sloane Square and adorned with a diamond engagement ring and gold wedding band.  It is the hand Lewis took in marriage and made his own.  Caitlin carves the words ‘your warrior of love is too miniscule to win this war!’ across the page of her notebook.

The cleaner has left the house now. Caitlin can’t remember the woman’s name, they’ve had so many; Lewis is rarely satisfied with the way they clean the place.  Caitlin can hear the woman’s scooter puttering just below the bedroom window.  She peers through the curtain, eyes waiting to see the back of her as she heads down the drive.  Caitlin watches as the electric gates swoon closed then turns and strides across the bedroom carpet.  The shag-pile flexes like a knitted muscle beneath her stocking feet.  In the dressing room, a wave of white shirts and made-to-measure suits surges along the wall.  She runs her hand along the length of them; they are barely there beneath her fingertips.  “Chicks hate getting laid by baby dicks like yours,” Caitlin says and smiles to herself.  The wooden hangers knock into each other like a xylophone. 

She is on her side of the dressing room now, confronting the pointed stare of row upon row of shoes and boots.  Lewis is constantly buying them for her.  Blood money she thinks every time she accepts a new pair, for is she not complicit in this killing of herself?  They all have heels, none less than three inches high.  When he’d bought her the first pair all those years ago, she’d thought perhaps he fantasised about seeing her in slutty stilettos, so one evening she’d greeted him home from work, naked but for a red patent pair with a spiked silver heel.  The swell of her breasts and belly glistened with baby oil in the porch light, her blonde hair set free from its clip, wild.  “I want you to fuck me,” she said, pulling out his tie and taking it in her mouth.  But Lewis had called her a dirty whore, told her to put some clothes on then pushed past her to the study. 

Caitlin learned early on in her marriage that Lewis has no time for sexual games.  He buys her heels simply because he wants her to be taller than she is, would like her to be more than she is generally in fact.  Caitlin had considered herself a catch when she first met him, Lewis being so much older than her, but after eleven years married to a man whose compliments are always on the tip of his tongue, she now understands that she will always be a disappointment to him. Caitlin holds a black court shoe in her hands, curved heel gripped in her fist.

“Elongate your short sword to fit her scabbard better,” she says then laughs.  With the shoe back on its box, she kneels down and pushes aside a row of flabby leather handbags.  The carpet peels back like the page of an ancient tome.  From beneath the floorboards, Caitlin retrieves her laptop and, clutching it to her chest, walks over to the bed.  She strokes the lid, a finger describing the engraved logo then opens it and turns it on.  The screen blinks and goes through its routine of waking up.  Caitlin bought it six months ago with the money Lewis gave her for the Prada coat he said she could have.  Within a month she’d earned enough money of her own to buy the coat before her husband could suspect a thing.

Caitlin leans back against the padded headboard, notebook open beside her and begins to type. ‘Guys with tiny pen!ses like yours truly lack manhood.’  On the bedside table, Lewis’ half-moon spectacles eye her from the book he’s reading on hedge funds.  Caitlin chews the inside of her cheek, fingers tripping over the keys in their haste to type the words that have popped in her head – ‘Shame on you!  Don’t you know your wife longs for a big schlong!!!’   A noise on the landing.  Caitlin stops, swallows, breath holding itself at the back of her throat.  Her husband’s black Labrador lumbers through the bedroom door and seeing nothing of interest to him, bumbles back out the way he came.

Reassured it wasn’t Lewis home early again, Caitlin flexes her fingers above the keys to stop them quaking.  The blank email waits patiently for her to gather herself.  From the drop-down list, she selects a name.  Today, Caitlin decides, she will be Sherman A. Santos.  In the subject heading and body of the email, she pastes some text, selects the largest email group from her address book then presses send…
FROM: Sherman A. Santos
SUBJECT: Extend your mini fuckstick & keep your wife coming!
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new svg!!!

September 19, 2007

Welcome to our new issue of SVG! Featuring Melissa Mann and James Quinton!!! Enjoy!!!

 

COCK-EYED ~ Melissa Mann

September 19, 2007

Annie leans forward on her stick, watching the tiny tumbleweeds of afro hair cart-wheel past the bus stop from OJ’s, the barbers on Wandsworth Road.  She pushes the thick bifocals up her nose with the bunched fist of her hand then leans in closer, eyes squinting. 

“Well I never did,” she says, looking round for someone to tell in the empty bus shelter.  “Like seeing someone’s life passing before your eyes.”  She prods the hair balls with the rubber bung end of her stick.  “Not that I can trust my eyes as far as I can throw ‘em these days,” she says, taking off her specs.  “Nothing wrong with my ears though.  Got ears inside my eyes.”  She breathes a frozen pond on each lens.  “I hear things I’d rather not, private things, like the fella next door with his lady friends.”

She rests her head back against the route map.  “Lovely fella, black.   Not married of course; don’t seem to go in for it much these days.”  She looks up at the speechless grey sky pressing down on the parade of shops opposite.  “Fifty-two years me and Jack were married.  He said to me once, ‘Annie,’ he said, ‘we’ve been happily married haven’t we.’  I answered him of course, squeezed his hand and fed him the rest of his porridge.”

A 77 pulls up at the stop, engine grumbling.  She smiles at the driver and waves him on with her stick, her thin red mouth like jam bleeding out of a cheap Victoria sponge.

“Fifty-two years…,” she says, looking at the watch lashed to her wrist.  For the past four years it has forgotten what comes after three o’clock.  It was Jack’s watch before they archived him in Lambeth cemetery. 

“Yes, ears inside my eyes I’ve got.  He’s at it for hours sometimes, black fella with his lady friends,” she says, gripping her stick.  “Quite acceptable these days of course, putting yourself about a bit.  I wouldn’t’ve minded a change from Jack, I’ll be honest with you.  Wouldn’t’ve minded a black man come to that… you know, just to see.  Just to see how I’d get on…”

She plucks the hair stuck to the end of her stick.  “So dark and wiry,” she says, rubbing it between her fingers.  “Not like mine.  Mine’s all thin and fly-away now.  Used to have a good head of hair once.  Yes, a real looker I was; turned many a young man’s head in my day.”  She fluffs a cloud of pale hair.  “Face like a fairy-tale ending, Jack used to say.”  She presses a hand to her cheek.  “Not now though, not after the stroke.  Face is like someone’s pulled a tablecloth out from under it.”

“Yer say som’ink?”

Annie jumps, turning to see a girl sitting next to her.  The girl pulls out her earphones.  “Can’t ‘ear a fuckin’ thing wi’ these in, yeah.”  She pops a full stop with her gum.  “What yer say?”

“Oh, don’t mind me lovey,” says Annie, taking in the girl’s bare thighs and tight t-shirt.  “I was miles away, talking to myself.  You wanting the 77 cos it’s just gone, and the 87.”

“Shit!” says the girl in a voice burned black at the edges.  She looks down Wandsworth Road.  “Fuck!”

The girl pulls out her mobile phone and starts barking into it.  ‘How confident she is,’ thinks Annie, fiddling with the hem of her cardigan.  She looks at the swallow tattooed on the girl’s mid-riff and feels suddenly nostalgic, nostalgic for the girl she never was.  ‘Lovely to be able to grow up in your own skin like that, not caring who’s looking, who’s listening, what they might think of you.’ 

“Boyfriend’s gunna come pick me up, yeah,” says the girl, snapping her phone shut.  “Poxy buses, innit.  Never one when you need one.”

“Yes, bit like policemen,” says Annie, nodding her head at the road opposite.  “Though I did see a pair of ‘em over there by the Tennessee Fried Chicken place when I was sat here yesterday.  Looked like they were holding hands.  Yes, you see all sorts sat here…  Pretty,” she says, pointing her stick at the girl’s tattoo.  A hair ball drops off her stick and floats away.  “Did it hurt?”

“Bit,” says the girl, turning to look across the road again.  “Two coppers?  Holding hands, yeah? Fuckin’ weird is that!”

“Oh don’t mind me lovey.  Mind forgets what it thinks sometimes,” says Annie, taking off her specs and rubbing her eye with her fist.  “I envy you, you know. I do.  I envy you young girls today.  It’s like… it’s like your living my share of a freedom I wasn’t allowed.” 

A blue Golf with a suck-me spoiler pulls up at the bus shelter.  The girl climbs in the front seat, takes hold of the man’s face and kisses him violently.  “That’s it, you live your life lovey,” Annie shouts over the sound of the engine revving.  “No-one ever died of being young!”  The car speeds away towards Vauxhall, baseline pulsing out the back window like an ECG.

Annie swallows, feeling words catch in her throat, whole sentences of them buttoned up to her neck.  A gust of wind rattles the shelter.  She cocks her head – footsteps, heavy boots loping along the pavement.  Annie leans forward and looks up the road towards the Beaufoy Bar.  A man is walking towards the bus stop, a black man, skin shiny as patent leather, a woollen hat, red, gold and green nodding to the beat of his steps.  Annie struggles to her feet, squinting right at him.  Her stomach has turned to sand and is falling towards her ankles like an egg-timer.  Eventually a grin like an open wound appears in the powdered folds of her face.

“Well I never did,” she says wiping her mouth.  He is standing in front of her now, smiling down at her from his six feet of tall; smiling down at the frail old lady who is laughing so much she has to sit down. 

“Oh lovey, I nearly fell out my pants!” she says, hand pressed to her chest.  “Thought all my Christmases and birthdays had come at once.” She points at his dreadlocks, which are so long you can see them hanging between his legs.  “I thought it was your cock!”