Scunthorpe (2017)

No matter how much of the room’s stale oxygen he stole, inhaling deep streams into his lungs rapidly like roe deer having just escaped ensnarement, his body remained unnourished. The smell of damp, mouldy wallpaper hit him, as he regained awareness of his surroundings. Ancient cigarette smoke that had stained the ceiling, the once white wallpaper and undeniably at one point in the past the scouse girl’s lower teeth (although now they were blindingly white and now a key point of conversation for her, during cigarette breaks), lingered in the air selfishly. Gently fed by a serpent-like stream of new smoke from a bedside roll-up that sat perched in an ashy glass tumbler, its taste penetrated his tastebuds without invitation, sitting alongside a yeasty aftertaste that he put down to either stale beer or her crotch. The micro-climate of the bedsit was clearly not a place for replenishing any vital organs, yet all things considered it was cosy. The ticking of a clock made its presence known once more. Paranoid at having lingered inside her too long, he loosened his grip of her straw-like hair, smirking to himself as a reaction to something he wasn’t sure what. Her limp lock merged into its furry surroundings, as he ejected himself from her abruptly, prompting her to moan like a spurred animal, newly awareness of his being there. Her hole, squelching unexpectedly and to (what he suspected was) her embarrassment, retracted like the beige mouth of a lamprey. Reeling in the aftermath of orgasm, he fell to his naked back, eagerly anticipating a regularity in his breathing. The scouse girl remained in her bovine poise, supporting her trim fatless frame with ease and letting her annoyingly faultless breasts hang; immaculate mounds of injected plastic, round as fleshy buoys. His semen, watery and pale dribbled past her bald crotch, making its way down her thighs within a complex of woven tributaries and rivulets. Above his head, the clock continued ticking steadily. It was late, or early; it was hard to tell exactly which, as the crowds of rowdy passers-by and the mechanical chatter of night buses driving on towards town in the spiralling lane below, had now finally ceased. Marky stretched his arms, until hearing the timely click of joints and rolled over to retrieve his phone, sitting rested within the synthetic locks of a shagpile carpet. Zero missed calls; zero texts. Casting it down once more, he swivelled back over to the scouse girl, who remained in her pose meditatively, head lowered as if truly grazing, her crotch completely exposed. Snippets of their drunken, post-work conversations replayed like a chewed-up cassette, in his mind as he stroked his cropped head therapeutically savouring the refreshing coldness of his ringed fingers over his scalp’s scattered moles. Something, possibly embarrassment or guilt, stabbed at a nerve deep in his chest. His dilated pupils fixed on the bleeding blot of blue in the sky beyond the translucent, curtained window. He wondered what her name was.

Retiring her dainty form, she finally slumped down on the bed careful not to make any bodily contact with him. She retrieved the dying scruffy cigarette, and took a seemingly never-ending drag, exhaling like a victorian chimney. From that angle, with her silhouetted dewed nobbled spine tipped with a scrawled cluster of star tattoos, and restful legs, she seemed peaceful, alien. Having only spoken to her twice before that evening (once to ask where the HR office was, quite sheepishly and the other for a lighter), Marky had little idea what she should look like without either a mop or a broom in her hand, or the chalky tube of a cigarette perched between her forever red plump lips. There was a trace of majesty in her sighthound-like form. Bony, yet revered; aware of her grace and the delicacy of her form, however artificial it was. Her crotch squelched once more, independently. Although nobody had touched the television remote, it seemed to have grown in volume. Marky, zoning in, tried to make sense of what he was watching. A gameshow host enthusiastically introduced a family, over a jazzy saxophone, causing him to sit up, prompted by the tune’s distant familiarity. He gazed at the glowing ambience of the television set as a momentary wave of deja vu washed over his exhausted brain. The family smiled maniacally, waving like North Korean citizens to a Supreme leader. Marky faked a small cough. “Shame about that Les Dennis, eh”, he said surprised by his ability to speak, his voice crackling like a pirate radio transmission. It was the first sentence uttered in the past two hours that was not used as an aid for ejaculation. He continued, “You don’t see him on telly much these days.” The scouse girl remained silent, flexing her elevated toes twice slowly as if to sign I guess non-verbally. Her heels were dry, jagged like flint. For reasons unknown to him, he continued. “Happens though, init… every dog, n’ that. Same with Cheggers. Fuck me, everyone used to love Cheggers…”. A muffled front door below them slammed, followed by the subsequent slam of another. Sucking the dregs of the decrepit roll-up, the scouse girl rolled over to face him, grimacing like a construction cowboy trying to overcharge a minor repair. Marky’s eyes scanned her pointed, face rapidly like an automaton deciphering code. Although her nose wrinkled at the command of her face, her forehead remained placid and virginally blank above her dainty pencilled eyebrows. Marky deduced that she was probably a popular girl at school; bullying her way to the highest tiers of its melodramatic social class, only to end up on minimum wage, hoovering and mopping a call centre. As if remembering what a smile actually was, her face morphed as she spread her legs, pointing to her bald crotch as if advertising its purpose for an infomercial. Marky wondered who her type was, flicking through a mental catalogue of potential temporary suitors. “My turn babes.”, she said shrugging nonchalantly with as much rhetorical confidence as americana tinged babydoll innocence. Although ridiculous, her dialect aroused something in his mind. His raised eyebrows, lowering in a diagonalised meeting, followed with a nod of soft affirmation, guiding his dehydrated lips towards her pussy, careful to avoid the thin trails of his semen, penetrating her lips with his tongue, pointed and cold like an rocket shaped ice lolly. Passively gripping her thigh, he let his thumb burrow between her cheeks like a chubby grub. Maybe Scunthorpe wasn’t so bad afterall, he thought as in the background, the televised audience erupted into a prolonged applause, layered and dense, like tropical rainfall.