by Jai Clare
John didn't care about hitting him. The man was there, that was enough. I said if he went near him Iíd go but John was adamant. The guy was there, stiff hair, frayed jacket and nose like a funnel on an ocean liner.
I tried to pull him away but you know what heís like when heís got something going, some ridiculous refrain in his head, crazing his head like a Kylie songĖthe guyís thereĖheís standing there, in his patch, in his space, where he goes everyday, where people know heíll be, where they expect to find him, by the railing, where the breeze off the river blows just for him in his personal space and where the leaves in autumn lift and circle him like a spiralling halo. Heíd been standing there for years.
Heís got to be a saft bugger, just standing there. Doesnít he know, he said, itís my space. Thatís my tarmac, my bench, my effing railings, my white lines on the ground. My fucking air. I pulled him away again. I said, you hit him, I ain't coming back.
My space, he said, my space, you canít expect me, you know, let him stand in my space? Everyone knows itís mine. Mine. The fuckerís mad. He dropped his fag stub on the ground. Heís got to be mad.
I said it again but John moved forward towards the guy, the saft head, the crazy fucker, standing there his nose funnelling the river breeze, gripping the railing as if kneading bread. Does anyone knead bread anymore, I thought, backing away, trying not to watch John step forward, his legs with big strides, mountainous strides, strides across continents. Arms out, he grabbed the guyís jacket, frayed cuff, frayed collar, he yanked it, the guy toppled forward almost into Johnís arms just as John reached out up and across with the other hand, like a dance, a patterned shape between them, each responding to each otherís motion. Theyíre dancing together, leaning forward, moving backward in a parody of a tango. I turned away as fist chimed with chin, the sound of ringing bells in bone.
John turned towards me but I was gone. Heís a fucking safthead, I heard him yell. A fucking looney!
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2013 by its authors.
Jai Clare lives in southwest England and has been published in The London Magazine, Agni, The Barcelona Review, Bonfire, Nemonymous, Pedestal Magazine, and Night Train, amongst others. She's pursuing a PhD. at The University of Gloucestershire and maintains a website at www.jaiclare.co.uk and a litblog at www.thecuspofsomething.blogspot.com.
Read the interview.
|Issue Nine (June 15, 2005): Irvin Hammers a Cat House by Mike Young «» In the Dust by Joseph Young «» Pet Snail by Sam Vaknin «» Living in Sin by Stephen Ausherman «» China by Michelle Garren Flye «» In Too Deep by Kay Sexton «» How We Can Be Saved by Max Ruback «» Eros by Henry Stanton «» Saft by Jai Clare «» The Woman Who Sold Her Flute to Buy a Cabbage by Maggie Shearon «» Bird Tree by Lesley C. Weston «» Pornography by Steve Almond «» Brisket by Stuart Dybek «» A Deep Desire for Blue by Alexandra Fox «» The Names of Things by Cami Park «» Interviews: Mike Young «» Joseph Young «» Sam Vaknin «» Stephen Ausherman «» Michelle Garren Flye «» Kay Sexton «» Max Ruback «» Henry Stanton «» Jai Clare «» Maggie Shearon «» Lesley C. Weston «» Steve Almond «» Stuart Dybek «» Alexandra Fox «» Cami Park «» Cover Art "Groom Left Waiting at the Altar" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor|