Amanda Palmer was telling me how she had to drive. The very thought was quite forward, but I appreciated the no-bullshit approach and was about to steal a car when I noticed a woman stood in front of me, ostensibly mouthing along to the music. I popped one of the headphones from my ear and tried to nod her away- it was a beautiful day indeed, and yes, isn’t it lovely how the days are getting lighter. But my nodding appeared to have the opposite effect to the one I had intended- she continued talking and I gradually felt my brain slipping out of my ears. The headphones stayed in, so my brain began to emerge from my nose instead, under the brilliant winter sunshine, at the dreary town centre bus stop.
‘That’s a fancy coat,’ she began, ‘where did you get that from?’
It’s cold outside, I hate the seasons here.
‘It’s from ASDA,’ I feebly commented back, aware that with my back turned towards the direction the bus would be approaching from, nought but a fireball explosion singeing the back of my head would give me enough time to stick my hand out. I would be trapped here for an eternity. I shouldn’t have left the house without my cactus this morning.
By 10 o’clock I’m back in bed, fighting the jury in my head.
‘ASDA! You would never guess. I love how it matches your trousers, and you are wearing fancy shoes aswell- just look at you, with your coat and trousers and fancy shoes.’
Yes, look at me indeed. I glanced down at my cat shoes and back up at the woman’s face. She was smiling incessantly, and my lip quivered slightly in a vague attempt to make a polite human connection. She sat down on the metal pole which coupled as a seat, and either because of the guilt of original sin, or out of utter desperation, I did too. I had sealed my fate and hated my knees with the intensity of a thousand suns.
You drive all night, we haven’t slept in years.
‘Lorraine,’ she said, ‘Lorraine- that woman off the telly.’
I nodded with despair.
We suffer mornings most of all, we saw you lying in the road.
‘WHO LOOKS AFTER HER CHILDREN? That’s what I want to know- who looks after her children?’
We tried to dig a decent grave.
‘Because she’s always in Scotland, you know. Always doing those television appearances too- she probably does it for the money.’
But it’s still no way to behave.
‘People like that are always wanting more money. If I had money I wouldn’t need any more, except if I did, and then I would probably go to Scotland aswell. Have you ever been to Scotland? I would never go to Scotland, even for money. Lorraine goes to Scotland, you know.’
She laughed and I swallowed some of the saliva which landed in my mouth.
If he hollers, break his ankles to protect him.
‘Anyway, what do you think of my hair?’
I stared at her for a few moments before realising that she had actually asked me a question to which she was expecting a response. Shocked and overcome with dread I flicked my eyes up to where her hair should have been and instead was faced with a mound of hay, seemingly dipped in the blood of a several menstruating ferrets. It was red, very red, and distinctly severe against her wrinkled skin and sagging breasts.
‘It looks very, er…’
‘I treat myself once a week, you see. I go to the hairdressers and I get them to dye it all red- sometimes they do it too mumsy and I try not to flip out, but today I think they’ve done it really nice.’
Just get inside, it’s almost over.
Distinctly terrified, I attempted to slide away slightly but ended up with my right cheek pressed against the glass of the bus stop, and an old woman pressed up against my left thigh. She began to lean very close to my face and steadily pushed her hand into her coat pocket. Alarmed I stared directly ahead and felt my breath quicken underneath my ASDA coat and fancy shoes. I was teetering between the edges of horror and relief that she was evidently about to stab me in the face, and as she began to withdraw her hand, I knew at the bottom of my heart that my time was up.
But then nothing. I glanced to my left in a fit of annoyance and curiosity, to the woman who had stood up like a cerebral yeti, her arm waving at the edge of the kerb. I cautiously looked in her waving hand and saw a laminated paper rectangle flapping about in the wind.
We’ll drive them far away from streets and lights, from all signs of bad mankind.
‘What are you trying to do, girl, make me miss my bus?’
I’ll meet you in an hour, at the car.