Monday 1 December 2014

Light in the Dark

Each day from now until Christmas Eve we're bring you an excerpt from our latest anthology. Enjoy!

A Good Mechanic
Matthew Temple
Sam tossing a hot dog wrapper at Melissa’s head, running up five steps to the pier, pastel blue railings dotted in rust, bumping into a woman in sweet floral dress crying – is that lady crying? – him sprinting too fast to be sure. Faster, run faster. I win.
Melissa muttering, “You ass, Samuel Johnson,” but a big sea taking her words away, leaving thoughts. Those legs are too short for that body. His head’s too big for his body. Samuel Johnson, you ass.
    Melissa moving, her turn.
Patting her head until three fingertips find ketchup dabs on her fringe, cut geometric sharp last Monday, a lunchtime affair, less than one hour. Ketchup scabbing and Melissa hunting for a tissue in denim pockets so tight her fingers hurt going in and coming out even more but looking a million dollars. Her opinion. Are you pregnant or fat? Sam’s opinion.
    “I just washed it, you ass.”
    Back to her hair, big sea taking away her voice again. Melissa thinking – it’s no good, shouting at high tide, he can’t hear me. And there he is unchastened, still smiling, waving, goofy dancing on the pier. Okay you won. You won, Sam. Jesus, I’m twenty-four. I’m too old to race you, Samuel. You’re too old to race, Samuel. My man Sam.
Come August, this Samuel Johnson is going to be her husband, Sam the goofy dancer, jubilant on a pastel pier. He’s not inside her head so doesn’t know she’s too old to race, he’s too old to race. Opening her mouth, cupping hands to echo, Melissa shouting, “I just fricking washed it, Sam,” and this time, him reacting.
    “Wash it again, you lazy doucher.”
Up ahead, him laughing, pointing at fat waves humping the pier, he’s been running past those pastel railings since his legs, way too short, began running, “I’ll toss you in the sea if you keep moaning. Wash your wig, you lazy doucher.”

About the author:
Matthew Temple's writing was recently shortlisted in a contest run by the Newer York Press in the USA. He is currently adapting several of his stories for short film and stage.
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