fiction, photography

HAT

Chris R-0700-2 Image by Christine Renney

The man was wearing a hat. It was the first thing Jonathan noticed before he realised what the man was doing, what was happening. Even as he watched his focus was still drawn to the hat. It was a trilby and it was dark, both the hat and the street, but there was enough light from the street lamps and Jonathan could see and he could hear.
He wondered would the hat have stood out as much as it did if the man had been wearing a matching suit or a raincoat. But dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, the hat clearly did not belong to him. He had taken it, grabbed it from somewhere else, possibly, most probably, snatched it from the top of someone’s head. One of his victims perhaps, but not this one, the one cowering in front of him and fending against his blows. The hat didn’t belong to him either and it didn’t belong on this street. The hat wasn’t part of what was happening here.
If the victim had been aware of it at the beginning of his ordeal, it certainly wasn’t at the forefront of his mind now. Jonathan wondered had the other man, the perpetrator, also forgotten about it and was the joke now on him? But of course, Jonathan wasn’t supposed to be there and anyhow he wasn’t laughing.
The victim was proving to be surprisingly resilient and refused to drop. To fall down onto the ground, where even if he were to curl up into a foetal position, he would be much more vulnerable. Kicking him in his heavy boots would have been so much easier and the perpetrator was clearly flagging. The punches were getting weaker and his fists were hurting.
Jonathan moved closer. The perpetrator was still bobbing and weaving this way and that and the victim was standing with his head bowed, not moving, not watching. Both of them were entirely unaware that Jonathan was there. Reaching out, waiting for the opportune moment, he snatched the hat and placed it on top of his own head. Everything stopped and he lingered just long enough for this register and then Jonathan began to run.

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poetry

DON’T EVER

Chris R-0115 Image by Christine Renney

Don’t ever think that we are
So far gone and too far down
And that it doesn’t matter
That their voices, the others’ voices
Are louder and have more clout
That we are just a clamour
And that they are the clarion
And that only they can shout
That they have the megaphone
And all of the music
And are able to drown out our lyrics
Or that the street corner isn’t
A stage or the blank page
Or that the pen, a biro, isn’t enough
Or that they are a fact
And we are merely fiction

Standard
fiction, life

OBSTRUCTION

Chris R-1202 Image by Christine Renney

The widescreen TV is the only source of light. Across the threshold now I begin to gag a little. The floor is littered with rags and if I go in I’ll have to push through or step onto them.
The boy is behind me and waiting I turn back toward him and he stares up at me perplexed. I gaze across at the TV and the dad in “Little House on the Prairie” is explaining that germs can’t be seen with the human eye.
‘I used to watch this when I was a kid,’ I say.
‘Yeah,’ bored, he pushes past me and kicks through the carpet of mess.
The rags are clothes and there are also old newspapers, fast food wrappers, crushed cans and plastic bottles, most of which still contain a little of their once fizzy drink.
He sits with his mother on the sofa and they wrestle for the remote. Mum in charge the boy leaps up and stands in front of the screen. She points but he moves to block her again and again. Mum, writhing on the sofa, can’t win. The boy is much too quick and, the rubbish at his feet, he shuffles and spins until he notices me. I think he had forgotten me and now he stops.
The channel switches and mum raises her arms in triumph.

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