contact: corneliuszg@googlemail.com

Birthday Surprise

I’ve been quiet for a while now because the police told me to break communications – and I’ve done as they’ve done me – an investigation has been taking place – progress is being made.

Friday was my birthday.

birthday surprise

I received a message from Lucinda – to my Facebook wall.

The first communication for a year – for a whole year… short sharp and to the point it was…

She still loves me.  She still lives.

I’ve been laughing and crying and laughing and crying and laughing and crying…

The day I (didn’t) meet Talx – Part Three

It’s All Done with Mirrors You Know?

I’m running again, stumbling, struggling and shouting – he doesn’t stop… head down he trudges over a ridge of gravel that stretches in front of us and takes him out of sight.  A fence runs along the base of the ridge – a fence adorned with a variety of no entry signs – KEEP OUT – DANGER – WATERBOARD PROPERTY – there’s a gap in it and I slip through… before me I see the wall is on an island – its about 50 long – 20 feet high and slightly curved… there’s a lake of fresh water around it… next to it – on the island stand two dishes… weather beaten concrete dishes about 30 feet in height – pointing out towards the sea… there is no explanation why they should be there…

These I know now are the acoustic mirrors of Dungeness – somehas put  a photo of them up on Pool.  It turns out that they’re a set of abandoned surveillance devices… post world war I – pre radar – set up and run for a few years to track incoming aircraft – great concrete dishes facing the empty skies – scooping out the sounds of the atmosphere and giving the listener just a few precious moments of warning.  Essential at one time for the protection of the nation but rapidly rendered redundant and now left here,  at the back of a housing estate, weathered and weed strewn – still facing the skies –  but now… now no one is listening…
mirror
Barney is crouching by bushes at the edge of the lake, I can see him, he’s half a mile away now – from a hiding place he pulls out a little round coracle boat that almost sinks beneath the water level when he steps into it… he lifts a paddle and begins scooping at the water – slowly drifting towards the islands and the mirrors…

CORNELIUS:  Barney!  Barney… stop!

I run down the bank of gravel – he must be able to hear me…

CORNELIUS:  Barney!  You get great fat f-

And all the air is blasted out of me and I’m flying and the world is tumbling and then it stops and a crash to the ground.  Someone or something has run into me at full pelt… throwing me… and they are now pinning me to the ground – my legs kicking in the air like an tipped beetle.  I look up and leering in my face is a gap toothed grin framed by long grey greasy hair.

DUDLEY:  You’ve got him Mr Hooklam – you’ve got him there you have…

HOOKLAM:  Oh I’ve got him Mr Dudley… stuck up loike a kipper he is!

DUDLEY:  Don’t let him go… I want to see him up close.

And micro quiff pushes into my field of vision and a hand reaches down and the end of my nose is grasped between two knuckles and is then pulled out and I shreak and Dudley chuckles.

Dudley:  Don’t like that Mr Hooklam doesn’t?  Don’t loike that won little bit.

Hooklam:  I’m not surprised Mr Dudley… not surprised oi think he knows he’s in a touch of a bit of a spot of bother!

Dudley:  Oh that he is… aren’t you Mr Cornelius?  In a bit of toight spawt.

There are knees on my chest and I can hardly breath – my head throbs and spins – my arms pinned down and aching…

Hooklam:  Out the way there Mr Dudley…

Greasy hair is now pushing his face into mine – his breath is acidic and sharp… his teeth yellow stained with brown patches of nicotine.  He leans in close until his lips are almost touching mine.

Dudley:  Give him the treatment Mr Hooklam.

Hooklam (whispered):  Oh don’t you worry oi will Mr Dudley… now you sir, you sir have to learn to leave-well-enough-alone.

Dudley:  Don’t be going prying.

Hooklam:  And sticking your nose in where it don’t belong…

Dudley:  Or you’ll get what is coming to you.

Hooklam mouths is pulling back, I can see his cracked lips above my eyes and to my horror a bead of spittle appears between his lips – holding to them – only just…

Dudley:  Give him the treatment Mr Hooklam… teach him a lesson.

And Hooklam pulls his head back slowly… the foul streak of spittle now extending from his lips… it hovers above my face attached to a cord of drool one, two, three inches long.

Dudley:  You stay away from here if you know what is good for you… you stay away from Barney… you leave him to his business…

I twist my head from side to side gasping but the spittle stays just above me – almost – nearly dropping into my face.

Dudley (laughing):  You stay away now…

Cornelius:  No no… ah no.

And then… it falls… impacting on the bridge of my nose, running in my eyes but I don’t have time to react to know the horror of the moment – because an instant later.

<sound of impact>

Dudley:  Have at him you bugger!

Hookley’s forehead smashes into my face and my blood gouts in a soft arc and they erupt into a whirlwind of West Country violence and blows and swearing until I’m left coughing bruised and broken lying on my side.

Hookley:  Ah that was a good one weren’t it Mr Dudley?

Dudley:  Oh it was Mr Hookley- oh yes it was sir.

Hookley:  Oi think he learned his lesson there.

Dudley:  Mr Barney won’t be getting no more trouble from the like of him.  We’re here to protect his interests sir, we’re here to make sure he is left well enough alone.

Hookley:  And in case your thinking otherwise sir…

And he leans down and put a flat metal square into my jacket pocket…

Hookley:  Here’s something for you to stew on.

With a final desultory kick they leave me… gasping and whimpering… as the sun slowly sets across the mirrors and I slide out of consciousness…

Epilogue

nano
I wake and I have a view of Barney’s trainer from the floor… we’re in Eddie’s shack and Travis is standing over me, looking down on me intently.  I can see he’s bruised but nothing compared to the lumpen mess I’ve been reduced to… he bathes my cuts and then lets me lie down. Head resting back, sleeping bag pulled to my chin… I reach down and feel for the metal square in my jacket.  The one Hookley gave me… it’s an iPod.  An old one.  I pull the ear buds from my Edirol and jack them into the Nano… there’s only one track.

I press play.

And Lucinda’s voice fills my ears.

The day I (didn’t) meet TalX – Part Two

On my knees and clinging on

lighthouse dungeness vgood

I leave him to it, reeling in his catch… I can see the cassette body itself gigging and twitching about 40 feet below… slowly being drawn in.

TaLx isn’t coming. I’m at once relieved and disappointed.
I look out across Dungeness, with its flat expanse of gravel strafed with pylons and broken machinery.  The power station stands as a punctuation point at the end of the headland – the artist community, the huts, the feeble tourists attractions all stand in (context) of its scale and brooding intent.  A narrow rail track feeds it… running from Lydd across the flatlands and into the belly of the reactor.

distant trainOne of the line’s perplexingly small trains emerges from the side of the building; tiny and toy like – it looks like a tourist attraction… a joke.

Travis joins me, he’s bundled the tape into a ziplock bag – and tucked it under the harm.

TRAVIS: You notice how it’s nearly always empty on the way in… and yet they’ve always got a full house coming out.

CORNELIUS: You’d think it would be the other way round.

On this occasion the carriages are crowded, the passengers in cream white T Shirts, cramped into miniature open sided carriages… sitting in neat silent rows… facing forward hands on knees.  Except one, at the back… a large figure in dark clothing who stands out… dark clothing with a mass of hair streaming down his back… hair that falls in thick clumps.  Like dreadlocks.

This figure… this huge ungainly figure…

CORNELIUS:  Travis…

Who doesn’t fit in… in his long dirty black coat, with straggling hair… the huge fat figure of-

CORNELIUS: – Barney!  Travis that’s Barney on the train.

It can’t be anyone else.

And we both turn and run as hard and as fast as we possibly can – spinning round the tower – hurling ourselves down the steps – stumbling and tripping and forcing our into the open air… and then running hard across the open ground.  I’m starting to leave Travis behind – maybe I’m more desperate, maybe I’m fitter – but he’s not at my shoulder.

I hear a cry behind me and swing my head round – Travis is on the ground – on the ground and being kicked – being kicked by the two men who were laughing at us – the two men from my party…

Micro-quiff looks up and points at me – grey hair steps away from Travis’ body and they both start after me… chasing me as I chase the train that is now puttering further and further from me…  The train slows at a level crossing – not halting but at least slowing to a creep and I begin to gain on it as the others gain on me… I hear its engine wind up again – it shudders and begins to accelerate.  I’m close now – so are they…
rail dungeness
HOOKLAM:  Have at him Mr Dudley!

DUDLEY:  Indeed Mr Hooklam he’ll soon be ours!

HOOKLAM:  Oh he’s running like a young buck…

DUDLEY:  … but the hounds will have their day.

The train is leaving me.  It’s shuddering away but I’m so- so close.  I kick back hard on my left foot and myself forward, catching hold of the back carriage.  I’ve only got it with one hand – the train is accelerating – my knees are scraping and ripping – I pull myself up… haul myself and topple onto the back seat – onto the lap of a matronly woman… who looks at me with casual disinterest.  I’m bundled half onto the floor and half out of the open sided carriage…

CORNELIUS:  Shit sorry… sorry.

I’m flipping around and desperately spasming in my attempts to hang on, she doesn’t do anything to help me – or chastise me – she looks down on me with a gaze that is distant and cold and disinterested.  Like a fishes eyes but with more mascara.

I’m on my knees now – and scanning along the train – Barney was in the front, I’m 15 carriages back.  I consider working my way along the outside of the train – and then look at my bleeding knees and the ripped palms of my hands… I decide to wait.  Holding onto the outside of one carriage is enough… I look behind but quiff and grey hair are nowhere to be seen.  Neither is Travis.

We’re passing low slung houses, dulled out rows of indentikit bungalows – deadening and 1950s styled… the train is slowing  – pulling up amongst them – there doesn’t seem to be a formal station but we seem to be pulling to a stop.

Suddenly the woman jerks into life.

MATRONLY WOMAN:  Excuuuuse me.
matronly
CORNELIUS:  Sorry what…

MATRONLY WOMAN:  I think… I think ahh ah ah you’ve hurt me…

She’s clutching her knees, which I know I sort of landed on but really I most bounced off her bosum.

MATRONLY WOMAN:  Owwww ouch ouch… what are you doing?

I mean yes I landed on her but there is no way that I could have hurt her that much.

MATRONLY WOMAN:  Ah ah I think you’ve broken something…

The train is starting up again.

CORNELIUS:  I mean I’m not sure – I’m sorry but I can’t see how I can have hurt you that much.

MATRONLY WOMAN:  Oh my god I don’t think I can walk.

I can’t believe this… I look away in despair and flick my eyes down the train.  Barney has gone.

MATRONLY WOMAN:  I need a doctor… you’ve got to help me.

I can’t see him – as the train begins to pick up speed I swing my head around and catch sight of an oversized shambling figure sauntering through the concreted and empty streets.

The woman is looking at me with a mixture of intensity and anger… I think for a moment she is going to hit me.
I take a decision and drop backwards from the train – the O of her shocked mouth disappearing as I fall…

I land and roll into a messy heap – I’ve smacked the back of my head – I’m dazed… I get to my knees and look around.  No sign of Barney.

I hobble run as far as I can, which isn’t very… a hundred yards or so and then stop… the road to my right leads to a patch of scrubland… at the end of which there incongruously rises a wall – a long curved wall… and silhouetted against this is Barney.

the wall