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A Dismemberment of Corpses - Short Story by Richard Barr

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.

Luke 8:17

There’d been an incident in work and now an investigation were underway. From the investigation would come a decision, and this decision determined whether or not I’d return to my job in the radiator factory.

‘Will I still get paid?’ I asked my line manager, Gemini.

‘Not until you come back. If you come back,’ he replied. Under his annoying nasally voice I could hear the distant rotations of the production line, efficiently at work in my absence.

I stayed indoors for a week, staring at the wall, thinking about things and counting out what measly coinage I had left myself with. Then, when I ventured out, I found it were a hard thing to do reacquainting myself with civic deportment, for example choosing a side of the street/aisle/walkway to go along, and letting the person coming choose theirs. 3 times I put myself nose to nose with some bod, stuck in a this-way that-way shimmy run through with sorries. Anyway, I made it to the cheapo shop up on North Street: stocked up on shite-wipe and coffee; the essentials.

After that I walked further on up to Eason’s and spent my remaining £1.50 on a scratch card. I got 3 raspberries, equalling a 40 squid prize, and so indulging an old childhood fancy for ice-skating, I resolved to take myself over to Dundonald Ice Bowl for a spot of recreationals.

* * *

It were something I hadn’t done in a long time, skating. Gliding around there; figures of 8. Around and around. Wheels within wheels. Not a care in the world. My troubles, with my shoes, left back in the locker room.

When I were done I sat in the grimy cafeteria overlooking the ice rink. After a while I noticed this young scamp, 16-21, sail by, his nose in the air—very imperial and apart looking. I sipped slowly on my soda waiting till he were finished and when he were I went over to him in the dugout by the rink.

‘Way you glide along on that ice you’re like a falcon in flight,’ I said, right in his ear.

In the mirror’s reflection I could see his cute, tight smile stretch and part, revealing by scintillating degrees a row of small, beamy white teeth lined up in that fresh, sexy mouth of his like so many infants’ headstones.

‘That’s novel,’ he said. ‘If I’m your falcon what does that make you... my prey?’

‘Could take you for a drink and find out?’

‘Lead the way,’ he said.

Due to it being a dreary, grey skied late-afternoon Sunday, there were no bars open and all the offies were shut, this being down to the diktats of the current rabble of Holy Joe powerbrokers on the hill who decreed there’d be no imbibing on the Sabbath Day, and who took every measure they deemed necessary to make this so.

We crawled along Bedford Street, hung a right on Franklin then, me wondering if any of the hoors who took up a perch around there would’ve turned out early.

The young skater, Shaznie as he told me he preferred being called, put his hand on my leg and said, ‘Funny this hole on a Sunday afternoon, ain’t it, Danny? Every shopfront with their shutters down and not a sinner on the street save for Japanese tourists who’re wandering about with their mouths hanging open, wondering to themselves if there’s a nuclear winter about to set in.’

‘Dunno about a nuclear winter,’ I replied, ‘But a nuclear war’s what this place needs. Level the joint and everyone in it and start again.’

‘On no, but something like that’ll happen one day... but the world won’t come to an end, like tidal waves and beasts rising from the sea, no... it’ll be bad first, yeah, but then it’ll be free love and getting all the sustenance you need off the heat of the sun, all those good things, dude. And when it happens... all so beautiful.’

‘Dunno, babe. Never even that confident about what lies ahead 24 hours from now, never mind some speculated upon date in the far off future.’

‘Ah, but no. It’s written. It’s going to be. We’re due a galactic alignment. This earth. Mother Gaia!’

‘Anyway,’ I said, frustrated, ‘you know where we’d be able to score some gear? Some speed? Whippersnapper like you’s bound to.’

‘What you’d really like’s a drink though, am I right?’

‘You’re right,’ I said.

‘Take the next left and drive on up onto Donegall Pass. There’s a wee club up there sells booze on a Sunday. Only one I know of in this place.’

‘A club on Donegall Pass?’ I said, thinking about it and coming up empty.

‘Very exclusive wee place... so exclusive they never even bothered naming it,’ Shaznie said with a nearly-evil little wink. ‘But actually, though, I want you to take me up to Belvoir Park Forest first, before it gets dark. This is shrooms season and that there place’s the best place to harvest ‘em. Wanna get there before it’s picked clean, know what I mean?’

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