The Drowned House

I’m in a chapel above a police station. People below are being interrogated. I’m here to offer evidence. Light rain falls through holes in the roof. A tv plays with the sound off. I’m not watching it. I gather my things together. Layers of waterproofs for the journey, bags within bags. I pick up a multipack of penguins from a fold out table, that my friend Fred left for me. I put them in a rucksack.

I’m outside a house in Eastern Europe. A colleague talks about moving house, but this means relinquishing some control to his neighbour. We enter the building. A film producer is leading us. We are his team.

From an observation building, we look across a flooded pit, the roofs of submerged buildings are visible, and a floating pathway extends alongside them. The producer asks us to recall our initial reactions. We’ve all been here before. As he questions and films us, the water is drained. The houses and pathway sink into a very deep hole, both were floating.

We progress down into to hole. I know that the real prize is so much farther down, accessed by an unmarked concrete manhole.

We are inside. Many small crawl spaces of to each side. One main hallway. In the floor, empty dry shells, of what look like primitive prawns. I spot something else. A piece of paper with writing and drawings on, and tiny, carefully positioned silver figures. I left them here. Drew them a story to live a safe life in, my cartoon eyes ๐Ÿ‘€ always watching over them, an omnipresent paper god, ensuring the safety of his creation.

We assemble and the producer talks. I take out my packet of penguins. I offer them around. They are dry and brittle when opened, but edible.

We are looking after children in an old building. J is on the phone. While she’s distracted, an old Russian woman comes in to collect her family’s belongings. It was not deserted. I’m worried about violence. I follow the woman outside, but she’s gone. Instead, E is walking toward me. She’s forgotten lots of equipment. I look through her colouring books for kids. On each page, a different monster for them to identify, and colour in as therapy.

I’m walking through Wolverhampton. A gang of young men abuse me and ask my age. I tell them 49. They aren’t very bright, and their insults are unimaginative and harmless, revealing more about their own root fears than mine. I jog away up the road, and lose myself in the crowd.



A Sense of Place

I’m on a train into the countryside. We stop at a small station. I’m stood on the roof. A blond woman with a child, asks me if it’s worth joining the railway society, and collecting things. I tell her it is. She smiles at me through the transparent roof of the carriage. 
I’m in my shared room. I’ve been away. T and C have been using my double bed while I have been away. I will not be relegated to a single bed. I see sticky notes on the desk. Missed calls. Not sure who they’re for. 
I’m at Clovelly train station. Yellow submarine trains sit silent on overgrown tracks. It’s in the USA. I wander. Cars drive on the wrong side of the road. Small children from large families get under my feet. I didn’t grow up here. My personal mythology is different. To the people I pass, each view, each building, holds memories and associations. I have no memories here. No sense of place. 
I pass renovated buildings. Oasthouses. Across the road, truncated stretched globe buildings, roughly the shape of human heads, but tower blocks of apartments. I photograph one, taking it’s portrait. 
I wander through a dental fair, wondering about molar extraction, and if my health insurance covers it. 

Gleichgewicht Macht Frei

I’m stuck in a loop. 
Each time it begins, I am running along the Victorian path between Exeter Central and Northernhay Gardens, towards a gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau. There’s someone I have to find, a Canadian called T that I went to school with in the 80s. He was born at the gates of Auschwitz, and if I can return him there, it will close the loop. 
I ask for him at the gates of the camp. A German guard calls for him, and a one legged figure, missing an arm, using a crutch, swings his way toward me through the morning mist. 
We talk. His shaved head and striped uniform distract me. Yes, he was born here. He shows me the exact spot, beneath the gates proclaiming “Work Will Set You Free”, and he vanishes, shrinking to a pinpoint of light, before the loop begins again. 
Only this time it is different. The camp is unmanned, empty. Instead, groups of people follow behind me on the path. I call T’s name, and up he runs, long legs and hair, smartly dressed, no limbs missing. This is the loop I’d like to close, where he is whole, and the death camp of work has no more victims. We enter the gates. Nothing happens. T says he knows the answer. He must adjust the gas flow, to fix the loop. A section of ground rises up. T busies himself with adjusting a huge gas pipe installation. I hear a clicking, and he is engulfed in flames. He kneels as the flames writhe around him. No screaming. Submission to this fate. I shout for someone to help him. I try to call a fire engine, but my touchscreen phone will not respond. 
He falls to the side, dead, a pinpoint of light. 
The loop begins again. I’m in a Victorian furnished office at work. I kneel on the carpet, T sits in the window, and my boss is looking unsure where to start his explanation. He lets me explain what’s happening in the loop to T. And T agrees that he’d prefer a loop with himself, and work, both intact. 
The loop restarts. 
We try again. 
To find the answer. 
That brings work, life and death together. 
A way that won’t disable, won’t hurt, won’t kill. 
A balancing loop. 
My new life’s work. 
โ˜ ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธโœ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ’ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŒ ๐Ÿ”ฎโ™ป๏ธ๐Ÿ”โš–๏ธ

The Train to Volgogradย 

I’m in a factory where N is beat munging on an Atari ST. I’ve run a bath, my second of the day. He tells me the gays will come in, to complain about the lack of hot water. 
I have some books on a shelf. One is a remix of an old book of three stories about a train journey to Volgograd. I’m disappointed that it has already been written. I was planning to start work on it today. 
I’m stretched too far. I have meetings to attend, books to write, a bath to take. Musicians come in and ask me about book cover design. I have to meet with a social psychologist. I don’t know who he is, or what he looks like. 
Outside. Rain. A train station in Eastern Europe somewhere. I’m at the start of the Book. Sunlight shines through a brick archway. A man stands by a sign. He’s the author. He has glasses, and a see through mac, under which, newspapers and books line his pockets. 
The sign is in three parts. The top part says “Volgograd” and there’s an arrow below, pointing the way to the train. The second part reads “All is Love” and the final part has faded from my memory. I realise these are the titles of the three parts of the original book. I can still rewrite my own version of the story. 
I head to the platform, looking for the train to Volgograd, and the first chapter of my new journey. 
๐Ÿ›€ ๐Ÿ’ป ๐Ÿ“š โ˜”๏ธ ๐Ÿš‚