Peter Sheridan



Beside the huge lump of more than a thousand letters two meneen talked, not so much of conversation, more of a kind of a string of noises that grew on to the silence that hung about the lump and the silver clock on the wall with the two silver hands and the red hand that turned about in a circle. One sat on a table, much like the ones he used to sit at when at school. He swung his legs freely and listened to the other try out new rings for his mobile phone. The one with the phone asked the one on the table did he know that one. To be truthful to the one on the table he didn’t, it sounded much like the last one, just beeps and boops.

“No I don’t no.”

He swung his legs some more and wondered about the Managerial.

“When do you think he’ll be in again?”

“There! Wait till you hear this one…”

Again it was simple high pitched tones repeating.

“That was easy. Jesus you don’t know much do you?

“No I don’t no”.

He paused, as if to sigh, or to breath.

“Yeah. This is shite man.”

The managerial opened the door to their room and walked in with the same movement. He walked behind the table to the far side of the room and back around behind the huge pile of more than ten thousand letters and stopped in the middle of the room a bit nearer to the side with the door.

“Well you both must have some fair idea about what you have to do.”

The one on the table looked up at his red face and then at the huge pile. The other was tucking his phone into a pouch on his belt.

“There’s one letter we’re looking for in that pile there.”

“Just one.”

“Yes, just one. It has to be unearthed by Friday at the very latest.”

“The very latest.”

“Yes, the absolute latest.” His eyes darted left and right. “So that’s clear then. Right and good.”

He seemed to be preparing to leave.

“I’ll be in no doubt to check up on progress here throughout the day, no less than 6 times from now until 5. If the letter has not been found at that time you will have to stay on until it is found, you understand it is essential it is found, and we know it to be in that pile over there.”

He started to pat his keys sharply that hung from one of his belt rings and rested at the mouth of his right trouser pocket.

“Who’s the letter addressed to?”

“It will be easy to find – the address is written in red ink and on a blue envelope, which I’m sure you’ll both agree is unique and easy to find to say the least. And that’s that, so get stuck in and I’ll be around, alright?”

He walked out the door leaving one swinging his legs and the other reaching into the pouch on his belt for his mobile phone.

“Yeah man this is shite.”

The one on the table was using the light from the centre of the ceiling as an imaginary camera from where he could study the room and the huge boil of letters and the other one with his mobile. Yes he thought, you could see the whole thing from there. The other one hadn’t spoken in a while and was busy texting. As the splashes fell against the shy light window above them he thought what fat heads we both have. Both of us, as perceived from above, have tremendously fat heads, me more so than he. Then he wondered what progress was to be derived from such ideas. He half sighed, swung his legs more and started to wonder about the clock. A half full or a half empty sigh? These things and more surely would reveal themselves in the due process of time, that fact was hard to argue against he was certain. Yes, he was certain.

If someone was watching from the hanging light above them, or in through the sky light they would have noticed little change there, and absolutely no working being carried out to find any letter. No work at all. From such a ledge one would have espied the Managerial, redder than usual and reddening still as his infrequent visits to the room increased, until the one time at twelve minutes past four (according to the clock on the wall) when it came clear from his person a strange cracking shriek that appeared to have come from his neck, well below his head anyway. It would have been difficult to ascertain exactly where unless one had the aid of mirrors on the ground. That’s one of the draw backs of looking down from above. Reddening, twiddling and swinging legs. It seemed to the one on the table that the Managerial was carrying something around with him, but it was invisible and seemingly very heavy. He seemed to be carrying the two of them somehow, yet one never left the table and the other never left the floor. And the audience didn’t budge an inch.

“Jesus. You can hear them start already!”

The boy on the table indeed heard the first noises of people beginning to leave, from the scuffles through the wall and the door and the odd noise here and there. The other’s mobile started to ring. Luckily he had it at hand.

“Yeah, Dad! Yeah. Yeah.”

“Yeah I remember, for who? Oh yeah, yeah now I remember, how much?”

“£11 pounds an hour? Right – I’m on me way.”

“Good luck.”

He spun the phone around once in the air, caught it loosely, but caught it, and exited. The boy’s legs now were the only thing moving, the Managerial’s face seemed frozen in a twisted look towards the door where the other one disappeared out of. Oh and the red hand still circled the face of the clock. It circled roughly three times (for the boy was counting, roughly) and then that red face broke into life, and his hands started tearing through 100,000 letters. The boy’s feet swung inwards, towards the table and on the outer stroke he popped off the table by use of his palms and landed behind the Managerial. He studied the back of his bald head before he knelt down beside him and one by one started examining the letters.

Ambleweed dentures and a paisley blue frock, whipped cheese on the cream cheese on the back of the old orion, tumbling down several well versed countrysides, at the back of the parked car the heron slips by overhead unnoticed and then that man who was that man that who was my principle man. Don Heron. They saved his soul and put him on a course where no doubt his cumbleshnook subconscious hid little fleet men with black sly eyes and fumblestiltskin under fat chins dances that wee wee jigermaroo. Maroo ma daddyoh! Ho ho fat sacks crumpled down stumbled up the ragged stairs and wished to the heavenly people that I could paint what he saw with words. Now that’s absurd. Or is it? It is if I say it is, so it isn’t because that old man rivet is a complex motherfucker. And you’d get nothing out of nowhere at the rate we’re going. Someone forgot to read the small print which clearly states: Ye who loseth the race meeteth with punishments unsavoury. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////I wait for thee, I wait for thee, I wait for something as revolting as me to grease proof my fire proof readings. Or catch in the terrible folds that would shock even a thesbian to the nature of all the wrong thongs and ring stings and amd are the sound the very sound of it. Two ugly things kissing, or at least one self made (with a little help) ugly thing kissing something ugly by association. What was that healing of the nation? Fire plants in the pitch pitch dark. Smell and be refreshed unless of course you’re irrefreshable in which case I might love you sometime somewhere we’ll meet again in some sunny fantasy of mine or yours and the whole thing the ugly thing that made us part. Ah well she couldn’t bare me fart. So I fucked her on the dart. The dirty fucking tart.

Now they would have both agreed (should they have discussed the matter) that it was indeed a strange note, on two distinct and obvious levels. The first was that it was unduly strange in content, and the second, even perhaps more sinister was the fact it was important enough to somebody to have people search through 999,999 other letters to find it. Should they have continued discussing this further it was inevitable that the younger one (being all consumed with inquisitiveness and wonderment) should raise the question concerning the content of all the other letters. But seeing as the younger one had found it, opened it and read it until the Managerial sensed something had occurred and turned to face the reading boy, at which point he snatched it, perused it somewhat savagely, like a dog eating a fallen ice-cream cone before the sun had its way, folded it up and said nothing to the boy, bar a “that’s it now, you’ll get paid tomorrow.” And that was that. The younger one seemed to think the whole scenario something from a strange film you’d watch by accident at night on Channel 4. That’s what he thought.