Tom rarely talks on the way to school.
Primarily because talking in such a way as to resemble a conversation requires more than one person (unless, like Tall Paul, a boy the year above Tom, you have a mental condition that enables you to have a number of conversations all at once all by yourself).
The glaring absence of anyone else walking beside him put paid to that.
The School gate opens on to Boudicca Road, the main road into town.
Every morning a load of scruffy nylon pupils, crap satchels and back packs, swarm and stumble towards the gate: ones and twos, gangs, small clusters colliding, breaking off, merging with the odd lone glob coming in from the side.
Tom thinks the gathering of students look like the mercury globs in his science lesson that he watched all sliding across the dish into one big mercury blob.
Tom is officially one of the lone globs.
Tom’s friend John rarely walks. He cycles to school, so he comes through a side entrance by the bike park.
Tom sees Kathy up ahead with her friends.
He watches her legs moving backwards and forwards. Amazing. For Kathy walking looked effortless.
Tom’s legs don’t feel like that. He is not very good at athletics or sports of any kind really: except running, but that tends to be more a matter of survival than a burgeoning sports interest.
Tom likes the way her hair does the pony-tail swingy thing as she walks.
It reminds him of being on holiday in Wiltshire and seeing a horse swishing away horse flies off its back which Tom thought was pretty cool. Not that Kathy swats flies with her hair.
The teachers at Tom’s school are funny but not in a funny-ha-ha way: except Mr. Moore who is actually quite nice most of the time and talks to Tom about stuff.
The others are from the Dark Ages with huge Land That Time Forgot hands, smell old or have dodgy hair or are young and trying to be down with the kids.
When Tom sees the men teachers and the sixth form boys it makes him think of the documentary he saw about Silverback Gorillas.
The pupils at his school are just like any other really: scruffy, weird tie shapes or worn super short with a fat knot (knot size decreasing dependent on the size of the person and the hand that yanks it downwards) trainers, or black shoes – short skirts, leggings: half uniform, half street wear.
Tom doesn’t know why they bother with uniforms. It’s not like anyone really wears one.
But then again if he had to turn up every day looking like a bloke with only three sweatshirts, one jumper, one hoodie, three t shirts (without rubbish graphics on them) and trousers that frankly should be arrested for being a bit shit, he’d struggle a bit.
And anyway, he doesn’t resemble any known singer or actor in the living world so it’s not like he’s lining up a signature look.
The girls tend to try and look like the girls in the music videos like the one Tom found his dad watching on the music channel.
Tom knows that everyone is trying to make everyone else want to snog them but it just doesn’t really happen in his world.
It’s a mobile thing.
Smartphone and Tom are two words that don’t really occur in the same hemisphere – or universe for that matter – though the Smart thing confuses him – it seems the smarter the phone the more of a div the owner is – not that he’s going to tell anyone that though.
You did two things when you had a phone as far as Tom could see it – you used it and opened yourself up to other kids being really cruel to you and ending up feeling not very good; or you had it nicked off you by West and his mates; which made you feel not very good.
But that was probably just because he didn’t have one.
As for the girl thing – if Tom has to have some weird line shaved into his hair and pretend to have a pencil goatee beard to be attractive to girls he’d rather not do the girl thing.
The boys are mostly gobby and generally not very nice and some of the girls are worse. When they’re not TXTing cruelty, the boys talk about girls, football, PS3, girls, fighting, snogging and loads of feeling up boasts that are just made up as far as Tom can tell.
Tom’s dad reckons that they all need a sound beating. That in his day one bit of lip and it was the cane or the strap. It had taken a while for Tom to realize that he wasn’t referring to a type of furniture or luggage accessory.
The girls are like his sister, just younger or older. Tom does not really like any of them and they certainly do not like him (not that they tell him to his face – they write it in the TXTosphere or in scratchy biro on the speckly blue toilet walls.)
As he doesn’t have a mobile he remains curiously untouched by ugly TXT world – but the biro scratchings are different. They require Tom to then spend three or four break-times trying to write over or rub it off which makes him seem even weirder).
Tom sits in the classroom. He takes a deep breath, sighs and looks out of the window.
The view isn’t bad.
He does regret the deep breath though. Taking a deep breath at school, though good for general disaffected youth posturing can be a dangerous pastime.
The danger lies in what comes with it. A deep breath in Tom’s school arrives packed with a thousand smells and a million particles: old floor wax, chalk dust, a thousand shoes, fear, pheromones, glue on a stick, metal shavings, Bunsen burners, gymnasium ropes, angst, sweat, cabbage, pack lunches (cheesables, cheese string, monster munch), fresh paint, old paint, cheap perfume, multi-coloured felt tips, the fur and lint corners of metal lockers, hormones: sherbet, homework book paper and the flat nasal hum of crayons and pencil wood.
And Kathy: that’s the good bit. Tom can smell Kathy’s soapy self at a thousand yards.
He sometimes feels like a dog he saw on the telly once when he smells her – in a powerful sense of smell way that is.
It was a programme about the country with old blokes with shotguns and flasks of stuff who speak English like it’s a foreign language.
The dog is called a pointer which kind of makes sense because when it smells a bird in the bush it freezes and points in the direction of the bird. Tom feels like that when he smells Kathy. She sprays on a funny perfume to act grown up but the main thing you can smell is the Imperial leather soap.
Tom knows Imperial leather soap because it is posh soap that Tom’s mum bought once but his dad told her it was overpriced rubbish; that she was being all fancy.
“It isn’t going to make any difference you know, whatever the advert says”.
He wasn’t sure but he reckons his Dad was not being very nice when he said that to his mum.
The smell reminds him of the time he looked into Kathy’s eyes and got stuck. Heavily, breathlessly and hopelessly stuck.
Having little else to do but be stuck he thought maybe her eyes could do with a little more exploration. Kathy’s eyes were blue-ish.
Then he noticed that they had a greeny ring around the blue bit. He was that close that the eye thing and the Imperial Leather thing got fused in a white hot flash like Sand Man and sand.
The ‘swimmy can’t move my limbs’ thing went on for a while: right up until she barked the word ‘What?’ That unstuck him.
That’s how Kathy smelt. Of Imperial leather, swimmy things: and the future.
Sometimes Tom stares out of the window and tries to imagine what that future is but he doesn’t get very far.
Tom looks up to see a raggedy line of birds flying. They are all over the place. Some of them are bumping into each other. Weird. One flies off to the right and then seems to stop and wheel back left again. They seem confused, as if they are unsure where they are going.
He also notices that the vapour trails from the planes are a bit all over the place too.
Tom normally watches them when the school teacher drone kicks in. Wondering where the big metal cylinder is going makes the afternoon hop along nicely:
America? Timbuktu? Or Gran Canarias like Tall Paul’s parents?
Given the state of the trails, which are at best wiggley and in some instances, a bit deranged, the passengers are probably asking themselves exactly the same question.
Suddenly Tom’s head feels funny. It’s his forehead. At exactly the same moment somewhere in the distance, he hears a huge slap noise.
He realises that there will now be a succession of events that he can’t do much about.
He falls off his chair backwards. The metallic scrape of the back legs of the chair tends to be a warning: a warning that in a split second or so the back of your head will probably hit the front of the desk behind you.
He puts one hand down with little effect. The seat jabs into his back.
He is now lying in a heap on the floor.
His hand goes numb from the wrist, the numbness working its way up to his elbow. One of his legs feels chilly around the shin.
He feels the grit on his cheek from the dirt on the floor. He can really smell the old wax on the floor now. Its quite nice in a way.
Tom thinks about staying down on the floor for a while.
The Stunt Man comes to mind and Tom wonders whether his chair fall would look out of place on the credits for some action movie.
His mind turns to the burning sensation rising up in his forehead.
He cannot see the hand-print but he knows it is there. Mike probably. He is the best ‘spammer’ in Tom’s class.
He’s spammed more people than anyone else in the school, both boys and girls – something one of Tom’s teachers referred to as very egalitarian (an enormous word that Tom looked up afterwards though he pretended to know what it meant at the time).
To Spam someone is to hit them loudly and publicly on the forehead with an open palm while shouting Spam’ead – preferably with one or more bystanders filming it on their stupidly smart phones. The victim is usually required to be quite clueless, vulnerable, easily embarrassed or at best, all of the above. The Spam rating improves by degrees according to both the effects of the aftershock (with falling off a chair backwards rating quite highly) and the ‘funny’ rating the film gets on youtube.
The laughter in the classroom is a huge jumble of high and low pitched voices. One or two of the voices are breaking which makes them sound like aliens. The only person he is really listening for is Kathy. Is she laughing?
And if she is, how is she laughing? Is she laughing in a ‘Yeah, good! ‘cos he’s a moron’ way: or is she laughing in a ‘divo – but I really like him really’ kind of way? Or is she laughing in a ‘thought I fancied him big time but I’ve changed my mind now because he’s a ‘spammed-14-times-in-three weeks-loser’’ kind of way.
Tom realises that his shin is chilly. His leg is sticking in the air and gravity has rolled his trouser leg down. This is not good. Tom always thought his legs looked a bit like cheese string hanging out the bottom of his shorts. Long trousers were a savior – unless of course they roll up.
In this instance he is victim to a double whammy? The trouser leg heading south with the rest of him is fine but for the fact that his leg is heading north. This reveals Tom’s lower leg. More importantly it reveals that Tom did not shower after football.
He has crusty mud on his shins and knees and he still wears his mud encrusted football socks. He’s not sure what’s worse: a reminder that he is a bit crap at games or thinking he is really a gypsy who lives in a caravan and never washes.
A large hand (Silver Back probably) grabs most of the back of his shirt, school jumper and (he hopes this is unknowingly otherwise it would constitute premeditated cruelty) some shoulder skin.
The Hand pulls upwards. Tom’s mind takes a while to think about the level of the pain. At a certain point it decides that the pain is enormous and just as Tom gets level with the desktops, he lets out a shriek.
This isn’t great either. The shriek is very high pitched. He cannot believe the noise came out of his mouth.
Tom listens for Kathy’s laughter. As he is helped (dragged) upwards by the owner of the big Silver Back hand, Mr. Arlington, his CSI senses register that the teacher’s breath smells of instant coffee, cigarettes and meat pies.
For Tom, though humiliating, this constitutes his 15 minutes of fame for the day. For one of those rare moments he actually exists. Not for the greatest reason but hey.
As he is marched to the door of the classroom he senses rather than sees one person at the back of the classroom, their body locked in the satanic silhouette -the silhouette made by someone standing with their mobile held out in front of them. By 3.30pm that’ll be collecting votes online. Nice.
He is posted through the door. It slams behind him. Tom can’t believe his luck. He brushes the specks of dust off his cheek. He rubs the area through his trousers where the crusty mud is. The mud falls down the inside of his trouser legs onto the floor.
Tom looks down at the dry mud. It makes him think of that film his dad loves where they had bags of earth from the tunnel up each trouser leg with pegs and strings which they would release as they walked around the exercise yard letting the tunnel earth fall out of the bottom of their trousers.
He’s in that weird no mans land time. No teachers stalk the corridors. And Arlington will forget that he is there. An opportunity to chip off and out presents itself. Just got to get past the Caretaker’s Office.
Tom reckons that he can get to the beach before it gets too late. He needs to see The Tie. See what has happened to it.
The laughter inside the classroom has stopped. Tom looks at the corridor and the doors at the end of it the light spilling through them and up the polished corridor like paint glowing burning halo white,.
He walks towards the doors. What difference is half an hour going make to the history of the world and his school report anyway?
Michael had begun to meter his day by the clock of the Davis boy and his peculiarities. The boy’s physical idiosyncracy and general catastrophe of purpose announces his arrival and departure around the school like a klaxon call. The shadow of his oddness draws in and out of Michael’s conscious world like a rhythmic breath.
Michael looked in some wonder at this boy wandering through his life like some gangling puppet: hanging in a shambles, the strings of his oddness jerking him along, for all intents and purposes mostly acting against the physical laws of the world around him.
From what Michael could gather, far beyond the oddity, the spaces inside the boy’s head constituted something beyond the otherworldly-ness of his body: they constituted another planet entirely: a whole universe perhaps.
The boy had a habit of chatting to himself at length, patently discussing with great vigour the many topics jumbling around in his head. The only external physical evidence was a slight jigger of the head, his lips muttering in some silent catechism punctuated by small gestures from one or both arms, each seemingly slightly overstrung between the elbow and the jiggling hand at the end of it.
This made him the source of much mockery, though he was mostly too immersed in the internal debate to notice.
There was the distinctive scuffing on the outside left and inside right of his black school shoes. These were due to his particular habit of leaving Maths class through the same left hand door: one push, one step and then a right turn.
He would walk along the side of the canteen on the tarmac side of the kerb, one foot in front of the other, both scuffing hard against the curb in a precarious tightrope as he burbles on to himself inside his head. The more he watched him, the more Michael began to find a rhythmic peace in the boy’s chaotic routine of self and lack of recognisable purpose. Perhaps there was some redemption for Michael in the dreaming boy who walked the beach.
Dreamers. A voice in the back of Michael’s head chimes in. Flakes and losers: one and the same. If you lack focus, if your head is in the clouds, you can’t apply yourself. Dreamers don’t tow the line. Dreamers are the dissenters.
And that was the problem really. Michael had always disliked Dissenters: all of them, especially the ones that didn’t deserve to be here in the first place. If you didn’t grow up in England; in Michael’s England, perhaps you wouldn’t know that.
You can’t just swing in to a country from the middle of nowhere with your head full of rubbish and expect the world to give you everything.
Michael realizes that his left hand is stirring the tea with too much vigour.
Michael’s right hand drops to his outside coat pocket. He touches the broad, rutted leather spine of a small perfect-bound book.
The cool leather feeling passes up through his arm to meet the voice of the bully that is rising up behind his throat and his eyes. His fingers run themselves along the outside of the book connecting to every small crease, pit and scar on its surface.
His breathing slows. His mind wanders back to the Davis boy.
As always the ‘Thugees’ pursuing the Davis boy will have fallen in behind him without his noticing, somewhere near the main school doors.
They will have begun the provocation immediately: small jabs, an ear flick: clipping his trailing heel right or left to trip him. Seemingly harmless enough. But very pointed: and very effective.
Michael watches the motes of dust in the middle air as he stirs the tea. He breathes deeply and, to his ears at least, loudly.
Provocation was something Michael knew much about. So he tended to keep an eye on the Thugees as they shadowed boys like Davis: though Michael’s Law of Intervention was strictly applied.
He stepped in only if he felt the moment had arrived: the point at which the cord gets cut.
He was all too aware of how quickly the fear-fuelled jibes of the bully can become something much worse. Michael knows the point at which the cord attaching a person to kindness gets cut.
It was something Michael had learnt on his journey to a place a long way away from himself: a place deep inside his own skin: a place where he huddled; a place from which he had repeatedly observed his every fear and failing pour out of his mouth in vile anger at any dreamer and sponger that thought they could just arrive in Michael’s country and strike an attitude.
Michael could also recognize the subtle nuances of body language: the physical shift: the moment where the words might harden into fists and worse.
Michael recognized these subtleties for two reasons: firstly he had been trained to know and recognize them; in himself and in others: and secondly that he had subsequently exercised that knowledge in places far enough away from his own conscience and those he loved and whose judgement mattered to allow Michael to undertake actions that would eventually destroy the joy that once resided in the beautiful young man with the boyish hair swept across a high forehead, strung tightly upright in the uniform that meant so much to him.
He had personal experience of what it meant to pass through the physical shift from brutalising to brutalised.
Michael watches as the small wave of tea surges up behind the slowing spoon to sweep around it and dissipate to nothing.
He taps the spoon twice on the right hand side of the mug and places the spoon on the kitchen towel, folded three times length ways and placed to the left of the kettle.
To the right of the mug, a vaguely translucent saucer plays host to three used teabags, its edge peppered with rectangles of chipped orange glaze.
Each bag has been particularly, precisely and economically compressed, one half folding over the other like a collapsing sack.
Michael allows the silence to swell up around him as the kettle element completes its last cooling creak. He listens. The white noise is unbroken by running feet, raised voices, small cries or pleadings. Good.
The radio handset swings merrily from its stretched plastic cord, minding its own business – amusing itself.
As the boat yaws it clatters from one side to the other, see-sawing across the face of the steel-paneled bridge. Its canary yellow paint is pitted and chipped from decades of swinging from port to starboard.
The mouth-piece hums with the sweet fug of a million breaths. The paint around the Talk button is worn through to the white undercoat.It emanates the odd crackle but otherwise holds its tongue: this is a well-disciplined ship.
Doug is curious. He rarely feels hysterical, or scared or spooked.
He’s been criss crossing the North Sea for enough years now. He’s seen it all. He’s been out here a good hour and is expecting another hour to go past before he sights land yawing across the fat rolls of the grey-black sea.
His Trawler, Canny Lass, lopes through the swell, rolling her hips in time to the lunar rhythms of the night sea surges. Doug’s face already has the salt freeze on it and he’s only stepped out onto the deck once.
The spray creeps through his oilskins, whatever he does. He raises his hand to his face and rubs away the powdering spray.
The foreshortened middle and ring fingers on his hand drop into the lined cracks in his cheeks, the increased sensitivity of the skin on the stumped fingers marking every line and rent of his face in detail.
He draws his thumb over the curious surface of the stumps to erase the buzz.
Strange. If he didn’t know better he could swear that was land ahead – just faintly, darkly, thinly, distantly. But land nonetheless. His thumb presses on his middle finger.
No. That would be insane. That would require the Scottish coast (and Scotland for that matter) to have moved almost 30 miles due North.
He’s only been out three days.
Doug cranes his head backwards and looks up. Bugger. The stars are tucked up behind the night-time cloud cover.
He looks again at the ghost land ahead.
The strangest thing is, as far as he can tell, not only is he moving through the swell towards it; but also, if he is not mistaken, it seems to be doing exactly the same thing towards him.
Doug peers down at the ships Navigation system. It seems to be as confused as he: it is registering echoes of the land where there is none and nothing where the land seems to be.
The wipers wipe, sweeping the spray left and right, the thup thup rhythm to his thoughts.
Doug momentarily switches off the Bridge lights. His eyes scour the horizon: A girl once told Doug that he had ocean’s for eyes.
Doug switches the lights back on and muses the options.
Either he’s lost it, destined to end his days in an asylum OR the Great British Landmass was up to something (and the Islands weren’t invited – he noticed on his plotting Sonar that they seemed to be falling away left and right into the void – peeling off like a sortie of disengaging aircraft).
Doug turns, walks the three steps across to the back of the Bridge and reaches for the swinging hand set of the radio.
The line bursts open with a click crack snap. The white noise of the open channel is almost deafening.
Doug speaks into the handset. In the background The Shipping Forecast rolls out on to the bridge from Doug’s trusty old radio.
Doug looks at the mesh over the single speaker and smiles. It is as if she speaks to him every day through it.
In the same way some people put their ear to a shell and believe they can hear the sea, Doug believes that, if he puts his ear close enough to the plastic shell of that old radio, he can hear her breathing as she sleeps.
The ship’s radio crackles.
The swell of the tea rolled across his tongue. Funny thing, growing up – in that it does exactly what it says on the tin.
As if triggered by the ringing of an invisible, relentless and cruel clock, every fibre of every young body suddenly wills itself with almost superhuman effort to stretch into a longer larger greater curved and ripped self: a self capable of grown up things in a grown up world.
Such a terrible crime growing up thought Michael – and dreadfully over-rated.
He turned the thought over in his head, palming it across from one hand to the other.
Growing up. There in the word structure of the phrase lay the problem – the very truth of its terrible theft.
The problem with growing up was that it expected you to do exactly that: grow upwards away from the earth and all its wonders.
And in doing so every magical musty beautiful thing our young senses had hoovered up while our nose was to the the carpet, floorboards, long grass, bushes, fields, pavements, parks: under bushes, trees, flowerbeds, lawns, fence posts, kerbs, tarmac, mud, puddles and roots – all those kaleidoscopic things were suddenly expected to be set aside in favour of something so, so inferior.
Growing up and away from the ground diminished everything. Every immaculate detail of being and existing in childhood was made suddenly small; insufficient; seemingly incomplete and naïve.
Michael watched child after child after child rise up out of their beautiful, low-altitude thinking, feeling selves into a confused and disconnected gambolling adult – a condition from which as far as he could tell, none of them ever recovered, the lie of their adulthood their dirtiest little secret; the terror of their being found out the engine of the most audacious teenage confidence.
Adulthood as far as Michael could tell was a form of vertigo. A precipitous dread of falling and failing carried in the breast of every grown up who thinks they have their act together.
To Michael most gown-ups were just children on stilts: their unformed and fragile selves tottering precariously through the everyday: armed with all the emotional intelligence and maturity of a small child in a nativity play sporting a stick-on beard and a strangely gruff voice.
The spiritual blindness was only part of it. The physical ramifications seemed lost on pretty much everyone. The tremor, the vibration; every growing pain like an early on-set Parkinsons of the soul, signaling every time their out of tune selves teetered towards the precipice of the adult.
Growing up was theft as far as Michael could tell.
The greatest riches a child could ever imagine lay in the area between the damp earth and some 12 inches above it: and in the space between a child’s eyes and something less than a palm width away.
Growing up stole the opportunity for a closeness of being that fuelled the senses of every child who’s ever thrown themselves on the floor and suddenly just liked being there, turning their cheek to press on the surface on which they lay.
Adults seemed to forget very quickly that a million warps and wefts of sight, sound and smell float in the seeming void of everything between the ground and yay high – a teeming brilliance that most adults would barely remember let alone recognize as being of any importance whatsoever.
They forget simple facts: like the fact that shadows have a smell – an obvious observation for a child hiding hunkered under the dank shadowed canopy of a large misshapen bush in an old wood: their fast breaths from running under the count down to ‘coming ready or not’ sucking up the mulchy smell of wet trodden earth rising up from the ground beneath them.
There was an honesty in the closeness: the proximity. There’s not enough room for posturing and fakery between a child’s senses and the tiny bug on the blade of grass they watch intently.
Michael had watched the Davis boy sometimes as he slumped on the canteen table, his face buried in the wrestle of his blazer and undone shirtsleeve.
Michael knew that at that very moment the boy was taking comfort in closeness. He knew that the boy was drinking in the smell of his shirt, the powder that washed it, the smell of his skin beneath it, aware that the shirt had sat in the machine for a few minutes too many, a slight dampness underlying the Bold scoop happiness of its whiteness.
Michael knew that as the boy sucked in air that he would be vaguely aware of the slight smell of charring emanating from the small circular burn holes in his blazer sleeve from a little light magnifying glass in the sun experiment.
. The beach also drew out the wonder in the boy. Michael had happened to see him once while taking one of his regular walks away from himself.
The boy was crouched, his arse parked on the sand, rummaging in some small circle of something, the back of his trousers like a litmus-paper reading of the sea water they had soaked while he rooted about in some daydream.
Michael had watched as the boy searched in small pools of water for answers to questions he had not yet thought to ask. Perhaps thats where the use of ‘unfathomable’ had come from for things beyond our comprehension.
Running his fingers along rock crags and chipping moluscs, the boy obviously took irrational and regular delight in discovering the great map written into every beach surface: in every cleft and texture, in every dune and ripple, in every groove and undulation; in every flat expanse and in every dark corner and rock bottom.
Michael had seen him as he stared endlessly at the wind-flicked water as it fractured the light and sent it splintering outwards.
The boy deserved to know the ebb and flow of what rushed through his veins.
He deserved to know that the hypersensitivity he felt in every atom of his being and every action and ripple he unleashed in the world was an inherited condition: and one that ultimately led to the dreadful exception of being amazing.
Being amazing – being far from average – was Michael hoped, something that the boy would hopefully one day learn to forgive in himself.
And the tragic comedy of it all? In this higgledy-piggledy boy, the comedy of all that white-hot, hormonal creaking, elongation and sebaceous madness was almost secondary to the singular plunge into the unknown he had taken, unwittingly and innocently with a flick of the wrist perhaps, but nonetheless, this boy has unleashed something his grandfather could only have dreamed of. Not only that, he had done it uncluttered by any of the toxic ugly reasons for doing so that his grandfather harboured within himself .
Michael wondered whether his still-born sexuality had something to do with his own quite bleak and clumsy journey to growing up. Perhaps his heart, cast adrift as such an early age, was already lost before the climbing angst began.
But, strangely for all of this, on reflection, Michael felt quite positive about the process of growing up.
He truly believed that once the lucky individual had scrambled through the cloud-strewn rare air of growing that, actually, the primal rub of feral chest beating and sexual proximity that came from young adulthood and onwards: its scents and odours and cavernous recesses and damp delicious fustiness, represented the closest we could find to the childlike pleasure of rummaging in nature’s closet.
Crass perhaps. Too much detail maybe. But that’s how he felt. And if the bestial and visceral nature of ‘pick a market town any market town’ on a friday night was anything to go by, he was standing by it. Not very scientific. But highly evidential.
Michael wondered whether this might offer some form of explanation for the socio-sexual compulsions of all those adults, packed sardine like into every on-line swinger and adult dating site.
He wondered whether a quick survey might just turn reveal them to be the fiercest bug watchers, tree shadow dwellers, stick trench diggers, puddle swimmers and bark inspectors of their generation, all desperately trying to rediscover their super sensory selves once more in the dark musty corners of any web site they could find.
The lip of Michael’s chipped china cup clipped his own. The smokey Lapsang tang rolled under his nose and on to his lips. The smokiness did its work.
Grown ups. Bunch of fakers the lot of ‘em.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the process of publishing this story to the blog I am altering the original text of the Kindle Version. The blog published version will be the most up to date edition.