Spirit Of Law
The fly would have seen two men standing opposite each other, about six feet apart. One, the man on the left, about five eight, slim build, with a black balaclava covering his face. The other, closer to six feet, more heavily built, certainly older, would have been wearing pyjamas. Or more likely boxer shorts and a T-shirt.
The two men stare at each other without moving. If we look at their hands we see that one is holding a set of car keys. They are the keys to the large BMW on the drive that one might assume belongs to the man in the boxer shorts. He, on the right, holds a kitchen knife in his left hand. Perhaps he is left handed, or perhaps he will use his right hand for stability or to push the other man away.
Neither moves. We no longer want to be the fly on the wall, rather we want to be inside their heads. If we can be a fly on the wall, we can get into their heads. It's no more far fetched.
The man on the right believes he understands the law. He knows that a knife is a more dangerous weapon that a set of keys. He also knows that he might forget this in anger, if the red mist comes down as it has on a couple of occasions in his life. He also knows that once he feels it coming, he cannot prevent this. He is holding the knife tight but holding his thoughts even tighter still. He believes that the law will protect him, and that he can use the knife in self defence. He knows that he cannot stab the other man in the back as he is running away. In between, a scenario that includes many possibilities, he's not sure. As long as he remains rational, he feels confident he will make the right decision.
The man on the left - with the telltale balaclava and the keys that are not his - has seen the knife. He has measured in his mind the height, width, strength and mental agility of his opponent, and concluded that he would not win a physical contest even without the knife. He has only youth on his side. And perhaps, he has very little to lose. He can conceive a couple of ways that he could win. But he's never been in this position before. Every previous entry has been successful. Did he do something wrong? He puts it down to bad luck. Wrong place, wrong time. More specifically, he was in the kitchen as the man in boxer shorts came down for a glass of water. A random event in the scope of the world.
At this point it would be possible to return to how the world existed an hour earlier with a few well choreographed moves. The knife could be placed back in the drawer. The car keys could be replaced on the peg by the front door. One man could return to bed, having forgotten to draw himself a glass of water. The other could leave the house through one of the two recognised exits. Only the broken glass panel on the back door would suggest that this stand off had ever happened. That would be rectified by a call to a glazier in the morning.
But the fly is startled by a sudden movement and instinctively reacts by launching itself from the wall. It senses the rush of air in the room, and darts away from the turbulence. It scoots into the hall, hearing behind it the noise of two people coming together. The fly rests on the hall table and sits there until there is no longer any noise. Curious, the fly returns to the kitchen and finds its previous perch on the wall.
There is now only one body in the room, and that body lies on the floor, face down. There is a small amount of blood on the floor and the body is motionless. It is the man with the balaclava.
Twenty minutes later the siren of an ambulance will startle the fly. The man in boxer shorts will return, still wearing the same clothes, and explain how he acted in self defence.
‘They look at me’, she shouts,
‘they sit in judgment’.
Her eyes are focused on pigeons courting
in the walls of the Castle ruins.
‘They're not bothered’, I say, ‘about you.
Let’s talk about getting you housed’.
‘You don’t get it’, she says, 'there's no justice,
there's no spirit of law’.
I know there is, that I see her blue feet
sticking out from pink plastic clogs,
her fag-butt hanging like
a burning sword on her thin, old lady lips.
‘I had to keep my strength up’, she laughs,
waves the White Lightning can like a wand
as I sigh at the thought of the paperwork,
how to justify using my discretion.
‘You’ve never been at the gate’,
she whispers, ‘never been through,
out of the neighbourhood,
somewhere worse than dreams’.
‘Look’, I say, ‘I’m here to try and help,
we can't have you being arrested again'.
She grins, shakes the can, sprays
the Controlled Drinking Zone sign.
I reach for her shoulder as she rears up:
‘If I'm not here I can't turn them back
with my body, with my being,
you're trying to trick me.'
She sucks on the can, shakes her head
at my blue uniform, my pointless presence,
my inability to restore
a world where she belonged.
‘‘You have to celebrate!”
“so far from……….”
‘ok just a few’
singing off key - 'the Fieelds of A-T-H-E-N-R-Y!’
hugging a stranger
in a strange land.
‘’home sick Sheila?”
‘‘let's have another scoop"
cocktails - blue lagoons/b52s
“we've only Scottish”
‘ah Celts like ourselves.'
‘’One more for the road."
along a highway
my hat - a wine box
a shop - must go in...
looking through the Sunday papers
this week's tv guide
stuffed up a thin t-shirt.
Out and home free!
Sirens, flashing lights
‘‘hey white wine hat”
‘‘what’s under your shirt mate?”
Sobering very rapid
caught a rebel thief (background blue lit)
in a convict land.