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Miss Varaquez
She was three times my age but I loved her all the same. Her name was Miss Varaquez and she danced at the Flamingo Club. I went every night and watched her dance between or on the tables for the older men. I was seventeen.
At 5am, when Miss Varaquez's shift was over, it was my privilege to accompany her home. I carried make-up cases and clothes stuffed into brown paper grocery bags onto the subway and back to her house where she lived with her mother.
Her mother was four times my age. And every morning (about 6am by this time) without fail, her mother cooked spaghetti bolognese for us. I'm forty-seven now, married with eight children, and I haven't eaten spaghetti bolognese since.



Crocodile Hunters
They must have been wearing new shoes because they sounded like marching soldiers when they passed me. I remembered my time in an Australian prison camp.
I had been fishing in a swamp where a group of crocodile hunters were arrested, got mixed up in the whole thing and ended up serving six months. I've never even seen a crocodile, apart from in the form of the leather goods the hunters wore and carried. Their names were Harold, Jessica, Rupert, James, and Spencer. All married or brothers or sisters or cousins. It must have been a lucrative trade because Harold promised me twenty-five thousand Australian dollars (to compensate my innocent punishment) upon release. Harold kept his promise. He even threw in his favourite knife; a six-inch affair, sheathed in crocodile skin. I stayed another three months in Australia before returning to London.
Fifteen years passed and when I caught up with the newly-shoed group I knew what I had to say. The knight was steady in my hand as I spoke: "All time is time well spent."



The Trumpet
There's a trumpet but it must not ever be played. It wasn't made to be played - it was made to not be played. No one has ever played it and anyone who tried would never admit it. I thought about playing it once or twice; lifted it and held it in my hands, wiggled the little buttons between my fingers and even held it a few centimetres from my lips. But that's as far as it went.
We live on top of a mountain so we can see the land outside of our Kingdom. If we see enemies approaching, it is our job to signal the city so that defence can be organised. We have not heard music in months.



Corners Turned
"You ever read a book?"
"Some."
"Do you fold the pages? When you're in the middle of a chapter?"
"What do you mean?"
"To remember your page."
"Sure."
"Did you ever notice how the words from each side of the page come together to create patterns and spell gibberish?"
"No. I never noticed that."
"Doesn't make any sense, does it?"
"..."
"What do you suppose that means?"
"Don't think it means anything. If you put the steering wheel of a car on its roof it wouldn't make much sense either."


Dear Mr. Morton
My son had two ulcers. In his stomach. Last night they burst so I drove him to the hospital. I drive trains and then when I'm home I drive cars. Maybe one or several of you have ulcers somewhere in your body right now as I say this. I know.
I know where my wife is buried but I haven't visited her in three years. She's in paradise now so I think why bother. I'm close now too - I don't mean that. Or I don't know what I mean by that. I hate shaving more than I hate beards so I haven't done it in three months. I'm just a driver to you but to me I'm a driver too. Oh christ, what the hell am I talking about? I don't write poems but I think them between stops. I wouldn't say they're much good but they keep me amused. I never remember the one between the last stops. And I know I won't remember the next one either.
Feels good to get this off my chest, I hope you don't mind me rambling on like this. I suppose what I'd really like to say is... is that - you know... Hang on, let me think of how to say this so that it's right. So that I don't have to say it again. It's just that I don't know what I want to say anyway.
"There's no place like home."
My son had a seizure when I showed him that film as a child. I think it was the colour of it all but the doctor said it was a one off. No explanation.
Ideas can kill - quite often they do. Maybe it's only ideas that kill. Makes you want to freeze. Christ, you get afraid to think. No use in it anyway. I'm afraid I'm a little too clever for my own good but not clever enough to do anything about it.
I feel sick. My stomach is huge maybe it's just sick.
The name on the gravestone next to my mother's is Charles Morton so I pretend he was my father because I never met the real one. I address bad thoughts to Mr. Morton.
It's ok to drive drunk when you're on track.
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