Behind the fence, in the garden for sale, they sit –
one astride the bench, the other on a chair.

Smoking in silence: Ash spills on the table from the little brown dish full of yesterday’s butts. Acrid blue vapour from expelled breath fills the air on this warm summer’s night.

With the stars coming out these two players build their separate fictions in dark plastic boxes. Each with a game-plan, secret they think from one another, and the rest of the world. They are worthy opponents: inept skills equally matched; Goals ungodly to the same degree.

The game is self-gain without cost or blame. “Responsibility for outcome not something I claim.” Make it quick and get out, leave no shadow of doubt whose fault it is for ensuing pain.

Take as much as you can. Steal all that you want. Consume without guilt: Use where you can. Find another player if this one falls short. Better still, keep a stable of options: Parasitisation - a skill to be honed. Amorality - the venerated god.

They dodge and weave donning scheme and false dreams. They manoeuvre and duck when questions challenge motive, laying blame at the feet of the other. Denial is the screen against the stream of clumsy lies used to glue together their artifice.

Their alliance is built on distrust false tantrums protect,
Built on lies engineered distress keeps safe.
Deceit is a shield that will keep the opponent at bay,
for today at least.

And so it goes on – in beds behind curtains that keep out the dawn. With sacred energy spent in godless ways. Night visits to spy. Days to plot; messages sent to manipulate and control.

Lost to original motive the fiction will implode leaving these players no option but to chase shattered pieces that will no longer fit together, if indeed they ever did. An unholy collusion born through lack of alternative.

Salvation...perhaps sail away in a boat on a stinking canal? Submerge in false emotion? Hide in another story professing fame? Pile high the false claims of character to shore-up the black holed core destined never to be filled.

Forgiveness comes wholesale -
Seek appeasement for hurt inflicted in slavish martyrdom, voluntarily undertaken, just enough to win the prize.

Make the wounded responsible for terms and conditions. All that’s needed is to carry them out. Since safely in the hands of those who you believe to need you, you’re secure in the knowledge they won’t risk a rift. They’ll not ask you for anything you can’t accomplish. They’ll not challenge, or pry.

So, off you go believing you’re in charge of the currency; have shares in the bank. No need to engage any deeper.

If this does not work,
or a ‘dessert’ is required,
serve up contrition, with Merlot and whipped cream,
Van Morrison for company, at the table in tears, at Le Lévrier,
on a dark, cold, Tuesday night.

Collaged paper, watercolour, gouache, ink, pen, graphite on watercolour paper.
56cm x 82cm
Click image to see full size