Nothing to See

There was not a man in a black suit driving a white van away from a crime scene.

This man did not speed through a red light without stopping. There was no man to do so.

There was not a man in a grey track suit driving a silver Mercedes away from a crime scene.

There was not a woman dressed head to toe in black.

There was not an elderly lady dressed in florals.

Was there a crime scene? What was the crime?

I was told a young woman was attacked by an ex. Ex-boyfriend, husband, platonic friend? I don’t know. An ex.

She’s in hospital now, alive, just about. That’s what I heard anyway.

The man escaped. He was not wearing a black suit. He was not wearing anything. He was wearing something, but no one can remember what. If he was actually wearing nothing it would not have been forgotten.

I saw it all happen. Not it all, not the cause, not their relationship, whatever it may have been, before the attack.

I know what could have happened or should have happened.

The man is wearing a black suit, no tie, a white shirt with navy buttons. He has a generic short back and sides haircut, a number two I’d say. His shoes are black and dull, in need of a polish. He has no visible scars, tattoos, or piercings, which is not to say he doesn’t have any at all just that they’re not visible. The eyes are blue, almost grey, milky but not quite. Dark circles lie below both of them. The nose is distinct, strong, powerful, foreboding, worrying. The mouth turns downwards. The weight of all this causes the chin to sag.

The man calls the woman’s name. ‘Milly!’ he says in a voice that is not normally his. It all sounds quite absurd, the frilliness of ‘Milly’ and this artificially gruff voice. It’s all phony, fake, fraudulent.

She turns, her face is obscured. It is frightened. He approaches. His mouth moves. He says something I can’t hear in the absurd voice. They are half a foot away from one another. The back of the man tenses, the head lurches forward, collides with the other head, a body falls, legs flail, there are cries, the man his nose, head and legs all evacuate.

I did not see this. It did happen just like this.

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A Wasted Day

Bryan woke up at 11:48am. It was Sunday and after a long week of work he deserved a lie-in. The house was silent as he walked to the shower. He showered for a long time, exactly how long I don’t know, didn’t think to check; I don’t time his showers, the room filled with steam, the mirrors fogged up. Byran got dressed; it was the first warm day of the year so he decided he could go without a coat. He didn’t really have anywhere to go but it would a shame to waste such a nice day. Even by going out he was wasting it, truth be told.

It was quiet out, windless; there was a distant sound of cars and other sounds that were not cars: the two great categories of sound in any city – transport and other. Quiet, too quiet, Bryan thought jokingly. It wasn’t too quiet; rather, all the sound was being made elsewhere, out of sight, and too far away for the direction to be pinpointed. He kept on walking and made it to the main road. Whitstable Road, I think, it was, I guess it was. The road was empty. I mean there were no cars. It wasn’t literally empty; the signs were still there and houses still lined the street. It was probably just road works or something like that. You never go straight to the worst option, like say there was a nuclear holocaust and our Bryan was the last man on earth (couldn’t imagine anyone worse), and if you do you don’t let yourself believe it completely. Anyway, there had not been a nuclear holocaust yet. At the end of the road walking towards the city centre was the usual crowd of people. There were men, women, and children; some were young, some old, some had brown hair, some had none at all; some walked on two legs, some did not; some people were there and some were absent. Just like a normal day.

“I’ll go look in the book shop then go get some lunch”, Bryan might have thought to himself.  He walked into the small bookshop with the small wonky door, ducking as he always did. A noise that resembled ‘hi’ but was not quite right left his mouth and fell limply on the floor near the elderly lady working the till. She did not notice him and carried on doing nothing. He walked to the back of the shop and scoured the same shelves that had some slightly different books as he always did. He had not developed an efficient process for searching the shelves and tended to look arbitrarily until he found a name he recognised. Today, he grabbed a copy of B.S Johnson’s ‘Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry’, a book he had read and adored, and read the first few lines before putting it back. ‘Christie Malry was a simple person’ begins Johnson’s book, not as simple as Bryan, of course, who does not even have a surname. He looked at these books for a good ten minutes. He picked up Bolano’s ‘The Savage Detectives’, put it down again, picked it up again, this was the moment of truth: for if he put it down again he could not pick it up again, one just does not do that three times. £1.99 was too good a deal to pass up for a book that might be or should be great, he’d never read any Bolano but he was sure he was good because smarter people than he had said so. He paid, said ‘cheers’ in an assertive tone that did not fit the situation at all, and left the shop, not before banging his head on the door frame.

Where he went for lunch, if he even did, is something of a mystery. I lost track of him. You see, there was this dog… I tried to find him again and failed so I went back to his house and waited there. He came back at 3:37pm and excitedly placed the Bolano on his shelf with his other unread books. That was Sunday. He spent the rest of the day looking at his laptop.