The Hallucinatory Cafe


I’m doing voluntary work in a charity shop. We are moving premises. My old boss, Steve is there, and Tom, an old housemate. Most things are set up, but we trying to figure out how to move some heavy computer monitors. Instead we hang red white and blue tinsel, in celebration of the Queens Jubilee.

We always have too much tinsel.

I push myself round the shop in a wheelchair to make sure it’s accessible. I need to know where things are. I noticed all the books are out of order so I start sorting them alphabetically.

Looking up I see myself and Tom are outside sorting books and pictures onto large outdoor wooden shelves. I explain we can’t leave them outside overnight, a manager says it’s just an exercise. It feels like we’re just doing something to keep our time occupied.

I head home from work, on Lovell Street I find an injured animal in the street, a chicken or a small dinosaur. It looks thirsty and I carry it home to give it some water.

Before I get home I find a wandering goat in the street, people just walk past. I can’t manage both animals, so I put the chicken down, it isn’t going anywhere, and take the goat home first. He doesn’t mind being carried, but when we get the garden he starts to fight back he doesn’t want to go into the garden.

I steer him in. Inside the house, my housemate apologises for not cooking. He injured a chicken and it ran off. I tell him it’s just on the road, and he should go and get it. Instead he changes the subject. It seems like an excuse not to cook. A large friendly white cat sits on me, happy, but complaining about the Four Sausage brand cat food I feed her. The taste isn’t varied enough. She hates it.

My other housemate comes home. She’s smart and professional, in her 40s. We chat for a while. I’m hungry, so I make an excuse to go outside, I want fish and chips.

The chicken is gone.

I’m carrying my broken iPhone in a huge cardboard box. I meet some friends at a bus stop. Nearby, children have dug a hole, now filled with ornamental gourds.

I’m annoyed at my broken phone. The camera is dodgy, so I lost photos of the chicken and the goat. Inside the box I see something else. It’s a toy light sabre. I pull it out and turn it on. The end is missing, broken off. “It’s been circumcised“, I say.

My friends laugh, and my female housemate walks by. She’s hungry too, and bored of waiting. She suggests we eat at a vegetarian restaurant, the Hallucinatory Café. I agree and we head to the underpass to get there, it’s near a pub called The Shakespeare. That seems familiar.

I’m still playing with the broken light sabre, making it into two tubes of uneven length, and playing them as a double-barrelled didgeridoo as we walk.

Some people are collecting for Gaza I stopped playing as we pass. The underpass is full of wet carpets, we can’t believe they are still there.

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