Here’s some flash fiction inspired by my novel manuscript, and around the word “Perfect”.
We could do that she says and in a moment the wall is broken, or rather the wall isn’t broken immediately but three days later in JOE’S CABS, it breaks and they kiss. Except it doesn’t say JOE’S CABS because the C fell off so it says JOE’S ABS and Polish Joe the owner loudly complains that people will think he’s a bloodyfuck gym but by that point they have kissed and the whole issue of the signage is entirely irrelevant to them.
Paul and Zoe are now kissing whenever Joe’s back is turned. She with her hen’s bum hair and he sweaty. They grope and rut in the rank kitchen. She catches sight of herself reflected on a cupboard door and wonders about perfect worlds. Paul is not as clean as Joe.
Paul drives a minicab and Zoe does the phones. They’ve been circling for years. Years and years. Things could have been so different they agree, if that first day back in 1984 he’d been brave enough to flirt and she’d raised her eyes to meet his. Life isn’t perfect she observes and although he did A Level English and thinks it’s a cliché it sounds like the cleverest thing he ever heard.
Joe meanwhile has been preoccupied with a BROMLEY IN BLOOM local initiative, which necessitates the installation of large planters up and down the high street, filled with bizzy lizzies and pansies in paintbox colours. As a respected member of the Local Traders Association Joe is furious about this. Ostensibly this is because the fat squat tubs block the pavements for local mums with buggies but in reality it is because cupcake-making middle class women have been largely involved in the initiative and if that on its own was not enough, the silly bitches have made jolly bunting and (inexplicably) knitted things around the planters.
This makes him angry in ways that he doesn’t even know how to express in Polish.
He drinks too much whiskey later and gets belligerent in front of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares – starting a fight just to win and not even over something relevant like mice droppings under the servery. Zoe lowers her eyes and goes to bed. He slides a hand around her later but she says life doesn’t work like that, turning her back. Joe wonders how it came to be like this as he ruminates in the bath, thoughts congealing in the cooling water as he touches himself at the memory of a girl he saw onetime in the Aldi. Her scent is still in his nose.
The next day he resolves to do better. There’s a pub quiz. I’ll buy you dinner before. Come on doll, we could do that suggests Joe. And they do. I’ll even buy you one of them cupcakes he joshes and she curls her lip then smiles. Paul and Zoe stop circling like sharks now they circle repelled mild with revulsion. The sign remains broken.