June 25th 2015 –Catalyst Arts, Belfast
The year we were married Peter and I rented a second floor apartment on the East Side. To the left of us lived a woman with lizards, to the right, two schoolteachers who only made noise at weekends. Directly above us was a young Mexican man in training for the regional heats of Mr. Universe. He wore shorts at all times, even in winter and spent his evenings lifting weights in the privacy of his own kitchen. We could picture the cut of him: legs spread, arms wide, heaving half his own body weight while the television mounted over the breakfast bar played Baywatch re-runs. The sound of his weights leaving the ground was inaudible. Their returns registered in the bedroom below like earthquakes and other signs of the end times.
June 26th 2015 –East Belfast
Last night he went out drinking with the ones from work and now there is a scratch on his sunglasses and the scratch is roughly the shape and size of a one pound coin. The scratch on his sunglasses is not like other scratches he has experienced in the past. It does not impede his vision but rather, enhances it. Looking directly through the scratch in his sunglasses he can his own past trailing behind him. It is amazing how many important things from his past he has already forgotten: his now dead grandmother, the pulled tooth, the time they drove to Hungary in a transit van. The scratch is the best thing he has seen since the original Jurassic Park. He cannot stop looking into it. He begins to wear his sunglasses indoors and does not even care when the ones in work take the piss mercilessly.
June 27th 2015 – Outer Ring, Belfast
Nathaniel Joseph McAuley
Saturday afternoon in the Tescos near Forestside and a woman behind you on the escalator is saying, “guess what I dreamt about last night?”
You are intrigued, as you always are, by dreams.
“Dunno,” replies the man, possibly her husband, who is shopping with her today.
You cup your ears into their conversation. It is a long, slow-moving escalator and you have at least three minutes with the dream couple.
“I dreamt I was ill,” says the woman.
“What was wrong with you?” asks the man.
“I can’t remember,” she replies.
It is a long, slow-moving escalator and you are wedged between a shopping trolley and a woman who is not even interesting in her dreams.
June 28th 2015 – East Belfast
Until this afternoon in the library she had not known that the word pen was a derivation from the Latin word, penna, which was not, after all, a form of pasta but rather a means to say quill or feather. This mad solid sense to her in the library, with the book open on her lap like a table, spread. The pen should be linked to the feather of course for it was nothing if not an instrument of flight.
June 29th 2015 – Ulster Hall, Belfast
Things to do with the cardboard box encasing an industrial-sized fridge:
- Form an independent republic in the middle of the staff room.
- Start an extremely short-lived bonfire.
- Sail down the Lagan and far out to sea/sail down the Lagan and get no further than the Big Fish before your boat succumbs to damp and the fickle whims of gravity.
- Recycle. Recycle.
- Back a shit load of school text books in preparation for September.
- Experiment with solitary confinement.
- Open Belfast’s latest bijoux hotel experience. Charge an arm and an artificial leg for occupancy of its only room.
- Cut into small, square inch fragments, bury in the back garden, beneath soil. Anticipate a forest.
- Leave it where you found it. Hope it will eventually go away, as is the practice, locally.
June 30th 2015 – Ulster Hall, Belfast
At the next table over there is a heavily pregnant woman with a mug. She is all over thin except for the bump of her belly which she keeps tucked beneath her shirt like a honeydew melon.
“Ah,” she says, between sips of her iced coffee, “the baby’s going clean mental tonight. Here, feel.”
All three of her tablemates, (mother, sister, husband?) stretch their hands across the dead space to lay them on the place where the baby is kicking. For a moment there are all together connected and listening, (though an unborn child shifting in the womb makes no discernible sound). In other rooms or other times, this would be presumed a séance. They have no idea how they must look from a distance.
July 1st 2015 – QFT, Belfast
Andrew had been single for as long as he could remember. The West was just as wild and lonesome as the movies suggested and he had yet to settle in. By day he roped cattle and trapped animals for eating, by night he whittled. (He was not much of a one for frequenting saloons). After his first year on the homestead Andrew could no longer stand the loneliness. He could not afford a wife by honest means so he made wanted posters of his own likeness and tacked them all over town, offering a fifty dollar reward for anyone prepared to pursue him. Since the words about the Wild West had gone global now, fifty dollars was no longer considered much of a reward and no one ever came after Andrew. Yet it made him feel like hot whiskey had pooled inside him every time he saw his own face and the word, wanted, printed like a sign of things to come, just above his head.