Washing-up liquid and isolation

The trilobite climbs from the kitchen sink and sits on the draining board. Spring ahead of its appointment opens crocuses and daffodil towers of yellow. A wood fire circulates heat into the radiators, hot coffee circulates heat into me. Sunlight falls into the sink for the first time this year and rainbows catch the eye of every bubble, bright to the corners of the room. I wash bottles and teats in the smell of isolation and lemons. The trilobite makes noises like a cat watching sparrows pick crumbs from the patio. Its carapace is mottled burgundy. As I pull the plug he tells me he evolved in my wife’s forgotten lunchbox. Water drains, reluctant as a teenager from bed. I cocoon you in blankets and we take the trilobite down to the river so it can be free.

– Benjamin F Jones
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Trilobite

Trilobite

Trilobite detail – Benjamin F Jones

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Spring at last

Spring

Spring at last

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The answer exists

There are three stages to the day and I’m at the first. The sun hasn’t woken but I eat full breakfast and coffee. Advertising agents gather up punters and rub nettles on their genitals. There’s frost on the beer pumps and ice in a bucket but that is for later. The old farts lean against the bar and eat peanuts soaked in oil until their hearts give out. A woman enters, dressed in a one piece outfit, even her face is covered in electric blue. She swallows a table and the old farts curse, ‘How dare you come to this country and steal our jobs.’ She doesn’t answer but daytime television is calling them.

This is the second stage. It is called Job and it lasts for ten days. Customers’ eyes must be cleaned with turpentine and the cash in the till is made from frozen metal. We’ve stolen the weather from the Mediterranean and the people who need it are dying out. We put off-cuts into bags and sell them to gorillas. Two of my colleagues die of boredom, three get pregnant and the store manager has his throat slit. At the end of the shift I have a broken pencil and scraps of paper covered in broken noses.

‘There are terrorists amongst us,’ says the barman, ‘men with million dollar raincoats and guns made of carbon.’ This is the third stage. The pints spill from the taps and we swim into lunacy. The peanuts have gone. At the bottom of one pint too many is a symbol that represents the goals and failures of man. It keeps a head on the drink and allows thoughts to swim free. There are lights behind the bar and a woman dances on the table. I have the desire to fall into the bottom of this drink, then a pitcher of something pink and a shot filled with volcanic aniseed. We’re all a dying people and the answer exists, not at the bottom of this glass but at the bottom of the next one – or maybe the one after that.

– Benjamin F Jones
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Three stages to the day

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