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Stories & Scripts

Source: Adults

Author: John Michaelson

Title: In furnace.

547 miles to Barrow-in-Furness, and it was almost done. Peter had, eventually, stopped at a Travelodge in Blackpool. His eyes were gone. He paid for a single. Good sleep, fry up, and he was away by ten.

Barrow-in-Furness was covered in cloud, which hung across the town’s outlying hills like a raft of cotton wool. Grey and fit to burst. It spat rain on the bonnet and windscreen as Peter pulled up. He met his friend, and briefly his friend’s mother as he put his bags into the guestroom. A rucksack with the money, and a grip with clothes and toiletries.

Darryl, the friend, was the approximate size and shape of a polar bear. He was thoroughly loved by his mother. So thoroughly, in fact, that his friends always took the piss when he was out of earshot. Said he was tied to her apron strings. Some went even further, and made inferences about him shagging her. There was little truth in it.

Darryl and Peter took lunch in the local Wetherspoons. Steak, egg, and chips. Peter gave Darryl the money he owed and it was all hunky dory. They went from bar to bar, there were pints of lager, there were shorts. At some point, Darryl hooked up with a girl he had been obsessing about all evening. Peter watched them melt into a corner. The girl was nothing over seventeen and her legs were smooth like finely sanded timber.

Peter ordered another pint and another short. He could see his reflection in the glass doors of the bar fridge. Someone was trying to get his attention. A man to his right, red t-shirt, with a goatee beard so neat, it was like it was drawn on in permanent marker. Peter was led to a table near the fire exit, and left the exchange minutes later with an ecstatic pill rolled up in a cigarette paper.

There was nothing too ecstatic about the ecstatic pill. Peter sat in the toilet cubicle for half an hour, having temporarily lost his vision. There was foamy sick in his mouth, which he doggedly swallowed down so as not to lose the pill’s payload. When the nausea finally left him, and his eyesight came back, he looked for Darryl in the growing crowd. Darryl was nowhere to be found.

But there was a girl, with thick red hair up in braids. It shone in the disco lights and looked like welded copper. She drew Peter in on her beam of coppery light. Her name was Kerry and, in her own words, she was buzzing her tits off. It got a little mad then. Shooters started going fast and there was a rodeo bull in a paddling pool of what looked like orange jelly. Kerry beamed and took Peter’s hand, manoeuvring it onto her crotch. They had another shooter each and took a taxi.

Peter and Kerry would marry in the spring and have children with eyes like disco balls. They would be deep children, conversant in the unknown ways of Tao. It would be fabulous. The taxi dropped them off at Kerry’s parent’s house. The driver had been fabulous and very chatty. The house was fabulous too. Feeling it was all very fabulous, they went to bed, had fabulous sex, and fell into a fabulous sleep.

For Peter, there were flashbacks to the night club. Kerry rolled over and her back was like chicken under thick white sauce. Not at all like a saddle, which was a little odd, and definitely out of keeping with that copper mane and bridle. He rode her hard and well, and their disco ball eyed children watched from the sidelines with an air of quiet awe. Damn steer really tried to roll him off, and Peter had to push down hard to calm her fury. And finally she stopped, and the night was slow and dark. The following day, Peter helped the police with their enquiries.

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