01 January 2008

a new life - part 1


By the time he had taken five steps Francis knew this path was the wrong one. All roads eventually wind up at the same place of course but it's the variety of routes that makes the journey worthwhile. Francis didn't care for the cracks in the pavement or the grubby shop windows. This road was distinctly not worthwhile. Not worth the erosion of shoe leather. Not worth the tendonitis behind his left knee. A change of scenery was what he needed.

He turned abruptly and walked into a tall city gent who had been tailgating him. "Pardon me, sir," muttered the suit, touching the brim of his hat as he regained marching speed. Francis shook his head in despair. The standard of pedestrian traffic was too shabby these days. Surely everyone knew the safe gap for in line walking was three full paces?

The point is, he told himself severely in his head, the point is... actually what the hell was the point? This was happening too frequently for his liking. Lost snatches of thought, like dream fragments hovering on the edge of conscious thought. He knew he was mad at something, but what? Come to think of it he was just mad at the world. He almost always held an opinion the exact opposite of everyone else. But that doesn't make me wrong does it? The insistent voice whined in his head.

Was it his own voice or the thoughts of another personality, camped out in his mind? Having retraced his steps he turned right at the lights. He was the only pedestrian to wait for the little green man before striding into the road. Walking rules, pedestrians and opposing views, phew! He was worn out and it was barely 9am. Time to return to base and revise his approach to the day. Soon the redbrick fortress came back into view.

Not an asylum more a home for the intellectually challenged. Francis read the words that formed an arch above the old Victorian gates: St Agnes' Home for the Frail. They wouldn't get away with such political incorrectness these days of course but to tear down those old iron gates would be an even worse crime. So the weak in mind, who were a danger to no one but themselves, retained the sobriquet "frail."

The shortest route to the grand front doors was across a manicured lawn but Francis used the stone pathway. He knew there was enough time to sing the first verse of Brain Damage. As usual his right foot touched the doorstep with the final line, "Got to keep the loonies on the path."

He climbed the wide creaking stairs to reach his top floor sanctuary. Shutting the door softly on the day's difficult world he laid back on the hard narrow bed. From somewhere deep in the building a man's voice wailed, winding up like a banshee. He couldn't make out the words, he didn't need to. The sound was unmistakable, despair. He rolled over and put his ears under the pillow.

Francis had been a banker, he was growing certain of that. Whether an important one or a trivial one he couldn't remember - he was still working on that. Francis was 49.

6 comments:

Mrs CeCrux said...

I can't wait to read the next part!

Queen Neetee said...

You have such a unique way of writing. Once again you've collected our tickets and given us all window seats for a perfect view of everything.
Wow! 13 installments! PV, are you on a test run for a novel? That would be marvelous!

I hope that I'm still on vacation when you make your next post. I'll be able to read without interruption.

Great start!

Perfect Virgo said...

Mrs C - I'll probably post one or two a week.

Neetee - a test run for a novel, hmmm how perceptive of you! 300 pages would be too much to chew yet so this short one will be good practice.

Thanks as always for your very kind words about my writing. They are such a boost, especially coming from a fellow writer.

cocaine jesus said...

i like the semi-autobiographical feel to this. it gives it an honesty and realism that without that input would leave it lacking.
good stuff.

Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - thanks as always for your honest open appraisal. As I guess you're probably finding too, even a short story can be a complex construction to piece together convincingly.

Michelle Dawn said...

It's great being able to get inside your, er, I mean Francis' head. And I love this line:

"Pardon me, sir," muttered the suit.