|Writing: The Treat|
She stood in the doorway, gun in hand, waiting. Raindrops splattered onto her boots, spitting them shiny till she could see the Smith and Wesson glimmering in their reflection. She loved the wait because she got to see so many things that, ordinarily, people didn't take the time to notice. Without even moving her head, she could fix here eyes on at least ten, different, unusual facts of life, like the one she was staring at. Four worms were squiggling in the rain, on the pavement, but the fifth one lay huddled in a ball, sheltered under an empty book of matches. "Not all worms like water" was a fact she had witnessed in a matter of seconds because she had bothered to look. She moved her eyes up and to the right: a lurcher poised its anus above a bollard and shat. "Not all dogs crouch when they crap" was another example of the world's countless oddities that, so often, went ignored. She rotated her eyes clockwise but sweat gathered, seeping from the back of her neck, ambling down her spine, soaking a line down the back of her knickers, making her itch. She didn't like to move - it upset her concentration and interrupted watching. As she scratched her bottom with the tip of the revolver, a couple walked past. She could tell, by the way they took slow, precautious steps, arm in arm, that they were elderly. She would not have chosen them because of their age, nonetheless, it irritated her to think she had been caught off guard. She readjusted her position and breathed deeply, composing herself once again. There was no one in the distance so she allowed her eyes to travel, pricking up her ears in case she heard footsteps. A street light bulb flickered, coming to the end of its life, attracting moths that fluttered farewell for a while, then flew on to a fresher one. "Moths were creatures of the night yet they craved light". There were no laws in nature, only trails with uncanny twists and bends. A starling hopped casually onto the sidewalk and pecked at one of the wet, wriggling, worms, decapitating it - it served it right for being where it was expected. She despised conformity and squashed the remaining three worms out of spite.
She knew she was in the right place, the time had not yet come, but she was patient and she liked to cogitate. Work, children, more work, a couple of hours here and there to do the shopping and catch up on the latest soap opera, and no time to think except in dreams, where nothing made sense and everything fantastic disappeared with the ringing of an alarm clock. There was so much more to be discovered and she was there as a reminder, strategically placed under a disused porch, to awaken the senses of the anaesthetised.
Journalists had written about her, although they didn't know her name, nor understand the game she liked to play. The only description their minute minds had managed to conjure up of her was: Armed and dangerous. It made her laugh - if only they knew how fucking dangerous they were, and what was a gun in comparison to the media? She was like the cockroaches that crawled around their desks at night, eating the crumbs left over from the gobbled sandwiches and unsavoured crisps - creatures that were loathed yet did the dirty work. She did not wish to be labelled an outcast, but under the circumstances, she preferred it to playing a part in a dead society, where life only existed in the papers or on T.V.
A tomcat curried off with a chicken wing clenched between its teeth, overturning the open, overloaded bin. A pile of magazines scattered onto the ground and she glanced at the pretty faces smiling back at her from the covers. She hissed blasphemously at the fashion world's latest goddesses, kicking the lot of them out of her sight. Idolatry was for the idle. In the café across the street, she watched as an overweight, soda guzzling hamburgerivore poured sachets of saccharine into a mug of coffee. She sighed, gripping the weapon with firmer conviction of her reason for being there, waiting, hidden, licking the rain off her lips.
A siren whined as a Police car sped down the road, spraying her legs. Rules weren't made to be broken but if the law did so, so could she. She grinned as she tapped into a conversation between a man and a woman coming her way. The woman was grumbling from the cold and wet. The man was offering the woman his coat. The woman was reluctant, but continued moaning. The man insisted so the woman conceded, complaining that it made no difference anyway. An unadulterated and self-imposed blindness reflected from them both, binding them together even though they probably didn't love each other. She felt sick. She pointed the gun.
The woman choked on the scream trapped in her throat. Piss squirted down the inside of her thighs, splashing the pavement where she knelt pleading mercy and whelping. The man did as he was told, then helped the whimpering woman remove her clothes too, handing them over with unquestioned obedience. She left them there naked. The last couple had got down and made love. As she looked back, the woman was still cowering in a corner, but the man was dancing in the street, the rain was tickling his skin and the tarmac was prickling his feet. She wondered if they would remain together now that they had been faced to face. In any case, she thought, they were welcome to her complimentary treat.
A dog followed her home. She fed it and allowed it to sleep on her bed where she dreamt she was the sun. Red, glowing, heating up.
© 2000 Anna Wildsmith