Pigeon Variations - Ch 1 - Control
By Mark Burrow
Sun, 22 Nov 2020
There was this itching sensation swarming over Pyser. He knew something was wrong with him. It went under the skin. Into his blood stream. Deep inside. Turning into a bird. That’s what it was. Flying through the air. Flappity flap. Sitting on lamp posts because that’s what birds do.
“No, they perch.”
“You what? What d’you say?”
Pyser punched the Ben Sherman cunt in the face. Knocked straight down in one. KO. Kicking him. Not listening to the please stop it, stop it, please and the crying. Boo-hoo. People coming out the pub.
“Enough, mate. That’s enough.”
“I'm not your fucking mate – now who’s fucking perching?”
They edged backwards when he walked up to the crowd, eyeballing them. And then he walked off slow and deliberate, pumped up, as Jenny shouted at him, “You’re a fucking animal. Why’d you do that? Why’d you hit him, Pyser?”
Lighting fags. Through the gates for the tube. Heading back to her flat in Colliers Wood. Watching the Friday nighters. Everyone pissed-up. Laughing or falling asleep. Pyser wasn’t tired. He was ticking. If he was a bird, it was a bird of prey. A hunter. Staring at this confident cocky prick in a suit opposite him. He felt Jenny’s disappointment and disgust. He had a sudden urge to hold her hand, to make her realise he was a lovable, big softie at heart. He reached across and Jenny pushed his hand away like his gran did in St Thomas’s hospital when she was dying. That was bad. Fucking unbelievable gran did that to him. Now Jenny too.
Back in the flat, it all kicked off. “What did you hit him for?” screamed Jenny. “Why’d you do that? What’s wrong with you?” And they fought and she started smashing pictures in the flat of them together. The one in Paris on the grass by the Eiffel Tower. Paris was a shit hole. Haussmann could fuck-off. A tenner for a pint of Stella. Jog on. Jenny was wankered and all this shit was coming out of her mouth. “I fucking hate you. I fucking can’t stand the sight of you.” And then she went into the kitchen and started throwing saucepans, plates, a frying pan. He tried to stop her. Grabbed her and dragged her down and pinned her to the floor, a knee pressed into her chest. Ever since the abortion, she was flipping out when pissed. “Shut the fuck up, just shut your fucking mouth.” He grabbed her arm hard, squeezing it and then he punched the same spot over and over. “Promise to stop?” he yelled. It was a question and a threat. “Fucking promise to stop?”
She had to stop. Not him. Never crossed his mind. That was the sickness. Screaming. Screaming. And that thought entering his head: this is how murders happen. He got up and poured himself a glass of shit white wine. They’d bought more booze from the 24-hour offie after getting off the tube. Both a couple of massive piss heads. Enough was never enough. She went to the bedroom. He drank the wine. Refilled the glass. Drank the wine. Refilled. Glug, glug fucking glug. Repeat. Repeat. Talking to himself, “I’m a bird. A fucking animal. I’m not right. Never have been.”
Light a cigarette. Snort a line. Drink. Get it down ‘ya gullet.
The flat smashed up. Memories pissed on. In pieces. Little bits. On some level, he realised terrible things had happened during their Friday night out. Their bit of fun after a week of crap, meaningless jobs. Irreversible things.
Jenny wasn’t in the bedroom. She had sneaked into the living room to find her phone and call the old bill. He sounded off. You fucking this. You fucking that. Going for her again. Pushing her against a wall, holding her throat. She gobbed in his face. He let go. It was madness. Utter madness. Took his phone. Wallet. Laced up his Fila classics. Got his coat and chucked his keys at her. Fuck it. Walking along the street at four in the morning, sports bag over his shoulder. He saw a fox on the other side of the street, strolling along the pavement, illuminated by the light of a lamppost, not giving two fucks. Acting like it owned the night.
A police van raced down the road towards him. Flashing lights turning the night blue. His heart beat faster. He tensed up.
The meat wagon drove straight by.