Posts Tagged ‘Underground Flash’

He Said, Sideways, Twice


Buttermilk strangers alone in a world of Autumn

caressing the pavement with uneasy stares,

facing the day sideways and aware

of the death within us all.

It’s colour (I’m British) is burgundy

and it laps gently against our tongues

as we try not to speak in rhythms

of anything but passion.

We fail sometimes but fucking hell, we try

and alone I master it: see them fail and pounce,

this world is a background only, I am the magician.

I weave and disappear at will

un-caged and un- harnessed

I am the North side!

you are not alone.


© Paul Tristram 2011






We were having another argument and it was a right fucking beauty!

The last one was so bad that I had taken the house phone out into the back

garden and thrown it into the top pond, then I had grabbed my mobile phone,

taken it out onto the road at the front of the house and thrown it, watching it first

bounce and then shatter into smithereens, whilst thinking to myself

‘That’s £300 I’ve just trashed in less than a minute!’

Then walking back inside the house I proceeded to cut off the plugs to the

computer cables, rendering her vicious emails useless.

But this time (with new phone to my ear!) I was giving it some wellie,

screaming down the phone at her, verbally slicing and tearing back.

This was now my 3rd house phone that I was on and I was not intending to be

buying a fourth one.                                                                 

The arguing intensified to a crescendo where I was now a screaming lunatic,



“Fuck you Bitch, you Cunt, you Dirty, Stinking, Filthy Fucking Piece of Whore Shit!”


Boom, 3 light bulbs popped above my head, followed by 4 in the kitchen

ping, ping, ping, ping and then the trip switch went for the entire house.


Just after I had put the trip switch back on and I am looking for spare bulbs (which

I didn’t have!) she calls me back, only this time the ‘Cunt’ word has made her flip

she is now a neurotic banshee straight outta Hell and she goes for my jugular.

I retaliate, snapping straight into temper, where I thrust and parry with the force

of an amphetamine-crazed wrecking ball (hey, that’s how I roll!)

Whilst walking through my kitchen I see through the glass oven door of the cooker

a blue flashing light and hear a bang! Jesus, that’s my oven ruined now.

I actually find out a few days later that my washing machine has gone too, blown.

I proceed to then drink myself into unconsciousness, after unplugging the phone

and I awake on the settee  at dawn by the dog whining to go out, I let her out in the

back garden and see 8 of my koi fish floating on top of the water.

‘Fuck it!’ I think to myself I’ll deal with them later.

The last time I split up with a girl I blew a water pipe in the bedroom behind my

wardrobe and soaked all my fucking clothes and gear but it had never effected shit

in the garden before.

I opened a can of beer and the curtains at the front of the house and watched an

ambulance pulling out from the old peoples bungalows opposite, this sometimes

happens but this morning by the time I’d drank 5 cans 2 ambulances have been

and gone.

Not too long later she calls me and says


“Baby, I love you, please let’s not fight!”


I tell her about the fish and the old people and she says


“OMG, that’s terrible, I’ll come around later with some new bulbs and look at the

cooker for you, It sounds like the element, I can fix that if we buy a replacement

part, don’t worry.

But baby, we’ve got to stop fighting, you’re fucking killing fish and old people

now, I bet they had pace-makers fitted, Jesus, I’m glad you don’t use an electric


I’ll be over soon, don’t touch the kettle, keep drinking beer until I get there baby!”


© Paul Tristram 2013

   The Idabel City Line



Arthur Kirby had something really cool to show me.

“Sumpin’ you gotta see, Jimmy. Sumpin’ most boys don’t learn until they’re older,” but he wouldn’t tell me anymore until I followed him past the Idabel city line all the way into his daddy’s broken down barn.

I thought he might have a brand new BB gun, or an arrowhead from back when our part of Oklahoma was Indian Territory, or maybe one of the hundred cats in his barn had birthed a two-headed kitten.

He wouldn’t say anymore until we got where it was safe. “Where nobody can find out who ain’t supposed to know.” Because this was one of those special things that grown-ups couldn’t know about like Cherry Bombs and stolen packs of cigarettes.

“Come on Jimmy.”He ran through an old stand of Christmas Trees that were too big and too full of bagworms to sell.

I couldn’t see the Idabel city line, but I felt it the second I stepped across. Things were heavier on the far side. Air was thicker—harder to breath. Shadows were thicker too.

Arthur Kirby was twelve. I was eight. I wasn’t supposed to play with him because he was too old for me and nobody in his family was any good. But there we were on the other side of the city line where every bad thing in the world was sure to happen.

That’s what my mother told me.

“Ain’t no rules on Kirby land,” she said earlier that morning. Said it loud enough for Arthur to hear as if she knew he was right outside our kitchen window. There’d be trouble if she found out I went on Kirby land, and everybody in Idabel knew what kind of trouble Mom could cause.

I watched Arthur dance through the broken down door of the broken down barn where horses used to live before his mother ran off and his daddy started drinking. It was kind of dark inside and I should have gone back home but not until I saw what Arthur had to show me.

“Sumpin’ grown-up-deluxe-special,”Arthur said. “Learned all about it from Jessup Tubby down behind the Wal-Mart.

Cats ran every which way when he pushed into the barn. They hid behind haystacks and broken tools and piles of rotten things that had been lying there since before the farm grew up in weeds.

I almost ran off too when Arthur told me, “I named my peter Oscar.”

Telling wasn’t good enough. He fiddled with his zipper and showed me the first uncircumcised one I ever saw.

“Wow!” Oscar was a lot bigger than I expected.

The door behind me was still open and I figured I could be through it in a second if it came to that. Arthur wouldn’t follow me until he got Oscar put away. That might take some doing.

“We’re gonna have a Peter fight,” He said. “Come on Jimmy time’s a wasting.”

“Peter fight?” I’d never heard of anything like that but Arthur waved Oscar around enough so I had a pretty good idea how it would go.

“Oscar’s the McCurtain County Champion.” Arthur told how Oscar whipped Jessup Tubby’s Peter in twenty seconds flat. “Pinned him against the asphalt of the Wal-Mart employee’s parking lot.”

“Jessup calls his Peter Little J,” Arthur told me. “Pretty big, but Oscar’s bigger.”

While my eyes were stuck on Oscar, Arthur put himself between me and the door.

The cats came out of hiding but they clustered in the far side of the barn where they could disappear into the shadows again if Arthur lost interest in me.

I didn’t have a watch but I looked at my wrist where I’d wear one if I did.

“Guess I ought to go,” I said. “Guess I ought to go right now before Mom figures out where I am. Guess I better go before she calls the police or something.”

I said, “Police,”a second time. Said the first part of the word louder than the second so it came out PO-lice. The way Arthur’s daddy said it when he complained about the government.

Arthur wasn’t listening. He moved in so close I could count his heartbeats in the big blue vein across Oscar’s back. I counted up to ten out loud because I couldn’t think of anything else to do.

“Come on, Jimmy,”Arthur said. He repeated those words in a high voice, barely moving his lips so maybe I’d think it was Oscar talking.

“Peter fight! Peter fight!” He squeaked as if he just took a deep breath out of a helium balloon.

“Come on out and fight. I dare you!” Like an angry Mickey Mouse.

“What’s your Peter’s name, Jimmy.” Arthur went back to his regular voice. “He’s gotta have a name if he’s gonna fight the champion.”

“Well . . .” I had to think about it for a second or two. Not much longer than that because Oscar and Arthur weren’t in a waiting mood.

“Charlene,” I told him. “My Peter’s name is Charlene.”

Now Arthur and Oscar didn’t look so anxious to fight. “Heck Jimmy, how come you had to say that?”

The barn cats ran for cover as I stepped outside and headed for the safe side of the Idabel city line.