CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
I was walking along Branbrook Street, thinking about meeting Paul later that evening. Paul was my imaginary friend. Paul was all I had in life, at that moment. I decided to wear my blue check shirt. I ironed it specially yesterday evening. Yes, I would wear that shirt; it was my favourite. I decided that Paul would phone me at ten-thirty to arrange to meet me. It was then three-thirty in the afternoon; I still had plenty of time to get ready. Anyway, there I was, walking along Branbrook Street, thinking about Paul, my only friend, when a young boy approached me. I say he was young; he must have been fourteen or fifteen—something like that; I really can’t tell people’s ages these days, and people of that age seem to me like a different species; anyone below the age of about twenty-two seems like one of those aliens who inhabit this world along with the rest of us. For I am one of “you”, I would imagine—if you are one of “us”. But if you are one of those “young” alien species, then you are not one of “us”, but you will not know this yet; you will find it out at some later stage of your life.
So, this young boy approached me, handed me a black cardboard box, looked me in the eye and told me, “Don’t, whatever you do, look in there, mister,” and he walked on, leaving me standing there holding his box. The box did not seem heavy; in fact it felt light, almost as though it were empty. I looked over my shoulder and the boy was now out of sight. I resisted shaking the box, for I had this ridiculous notion that if I did, it might explode. Instead, I broke out into a sweat. Can you imagine it?—I started sweating, a grown man; well, grown as much as I ever would; in fact, for many years now, I’ve suspected I was actually shrinking.
There was a garden wall beside me. It occurred to me some people might simply put the box on the garden wall and walk on. And some people might simply think, “What a cheek, what a waste of my energy, clutching this box and carrying it around; I’m damned if I’ll do this,” and drop it to the pavement and walk on. Yes, we are all different. What a daft expression that is, because, of course, we are not all different. I have often thought just how similar to one another most of us are. Here I go again with this “us”. There was “us” and “them”, the “them” being that other, alien species who go around, wearing obscenely glowing skin and handing black boxes to people and telling them not to look inside. Anyway, I am not like that. Once the box was placed in my hand, I automatically assumed it was now my duty to look after it.

Back in the living room, Sally Softly still lay on the sofa beneath Roland Wise. Roland toiled away and she was thinking they still had another two positions to get through and wondered what was taking him so long, when the front doorbell rang.
Roland sighed, then quickly got up off her.
As Sally heard his sigh, it sounded to her like a sigh of relief. She looked up at Roland’s face to confirm this, and there it was—relief!
She got to her feet (Right—so he finds me so ugly, he can’t wait to get off me, does he?). She again imagined Roland and herself going through those three different positions in several rooms, but this time they did each position in two minutes, then moved on to the next. And in each room, there was a large stopwatch with two huge bells, and her one hand hovered over the watch, eager to re‑start it for the next position, while her other hand slapped Roland’s buttocks as a jockey’s whip tickles a horse’s behind—Faster, faster—and Roland was quivering as if about to collapse (—He wants to have a laugh on the golf course about me, does he?—well, let’s see him laugh about that).
With her smirk having triumphantly returned, she looked down, pulled her tracksuit this way and that, could not get it right, shrugged, left it as it was and went to answer the front door.
Roland stood beside the sofa, tugging at his chief‑constable’s uniform in a panic, attempting to push his shirt‑tails back into his trousers, zip up his flies, button his shirt and straighten his tie—all at the same time.
He noticed his uniform’s hat lying on the floor beside the sofa and realized Sally must have put her foot on it as she stood up, crushing its rim—almost as if in disrespect of the constabulary. He gasped in amazement, picked up the hat, and was about to straighten the rim when it popped back up of its own accord—as if the hat were inherently blind to any possible criticism of Roland’s superb constabulary.


Fiction and nonfiction by Fletcher Kovich and also classic writers.


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