we found ourselves off the wagon and back in the old haunts. squandering what money we had on gumballs. we fell asleep with the chip pan on. we got consumption. and scurvy. the old opium den had been turned into a health food shop. the quarter gill was now a mash potato restaurant. what had become of our regular haunts? we used to devour these bars as if they were chocolate. we wandered into tango class but the number was odd and rather than dance with the teacher or charlie i backed away and danced with an imaginary woman. the teacher said i was holding her too close. the rangers won the league, which was good for charlie who is a hun, but not for me. we watched in a rangers pub, and i had to remain incognito while across town celtic lost.
at dusk we passed a colossus of a jungle jim. all covered with kids. silent kids. silent barely moving kids watching us with malevolent intent. dear god in heaven, a few of them swung their legs slowly or brushed a fly away, their stare unbroken. more would appear from the shadows and latch on to the jim. if the moment could speak it would have buckled over and puked on the floor with nervous panic. oh for a rocket propelled grenade. and in our pockets nothing but gumballs, oversized gumballs too big for any human mouth. we went to the book beach pub and after rooting about under the sand we both found one. i got post office. i forget what she got. we wandered into a new bar over at the mire. they served cocktails in goldfish bowls with large straws. it was all very silly but everyone else was doing it. in the club i was hit by a gold shoe. a womans heel thrown by some unknown clogchucker which arced over the dance floor and smashed into my drink throwing it over my tshirt and face.
as we headed home and reached the suburbs, avoiding the early morning learner drivers, we basked in the muesli light. a real mouth mould had taken root, and we were forced to drink from a koi pond on all fours. and charlie got nipped on her chin by a fish. it was hilarious, then unsettling, then just confusing. i didnt know those fish could bite, she kept saying, while holding her chin, walking with her eyes shut. it seemed like revenge for the fish bowls. in the morning i woke up with the smell of my tshirt filling the room with the smell of sweets and charlie and mashed potato. it must have been a magic shoe.