Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ardbeg- the fourth of the Billy stories


Here’s a story, true of course.

I was walking down Wentworth Street when I saw Billy.

It was one of those overcast days, when you just wander about expecting it to rain. I’d been to the train station and there hadn’t been a queue so I was just trying to fill time before going back to the little office to check the emails.

I wore my light buff raincoat and felt like a detective that day.

Anyway, my shoelace had become untied so I bent down to tie it and as I was bending down I saw him, blue t shirt and jeans, that pink English face skin so pink it always seemed weird to me (I am quite sallow, you see). He was standing outside the grocer talking to some fellow, I saw is face in profile, the sharp nose and too small mouth.

From my crouching tie position I yelled “Billy” loudly, and then the pink face that was Billy turned. I wondered if he saw me, he turned and started to run, so I went after him.

I caught him at the corner, grabbed his arm. He turned but it wasn’t Billy. It was some other guy. He didn’t really look like Billy at all, except for that English pinkness. “Fuck off,” he said.

*

Those days I’d avoid going home. My place had been taken over by goblins. They’d sit on my bed and mock me, or messed with my stuff, taking the CDs out of their cases and putting them in the wrong ones so I couldn’t find the stuff I wanted to listen to. They had black skin and screeching voices and wore almost nothing and their hair was crazily unkempt. They stank of coal and urine and I didn’t like it much and was always looking for someone to hang out with or else working late in the little office near the harbour trying to figure out a way to make some money. I reckoned that if I didn’t show up they’d just move on to bug someone else eventually. It had been two months and I was getting fed up with them.

I got to the office and stood there looking out at the forlorn sky and how the boats weren’t moving and everything was too overcast even for someone who likes overcast days. Even the gulls flew slowly. I had some Whiskey on the table, a good bottle still half full with the solemn words ARDBEG proud on the front and I poured a good slug into my dirty cup and it softened it all.

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