She leafed through the “Soft Furnishings manual”, whilst eyeing her own flat’s scanty sticks: giant corpses of insects in most but name. She herself was comfy, if anorexic - the meat on her skeleton still providing sufficient compensatory cushioning for her sedentary way of life. Meals were no longer commonplace - yet she often wandered into the kitchen, if only for the exercise. It always seemed to be raining outside, penetrating her tinnitus with its own brand of splattering. The television set had been lost somewhere in the flat, yet she still retained its remote control. Searching for lost things was pretty pointless, because they would only lose themselves again - once a propensity; always a propensity. And her own slow mouldering would never be reversed - not until she regained the old spirit spark, that smidgin of red-blooded joy which once resided in her soul. The manual flicked over, page by page: the drapes, swags, loose covers, pouffes, plump pillows, antimacassars, frills, fringes, tassels and so forth were depicted in the same range of three or four pastel shades as if their world was bereft of primary colours. An artist had evidently touched up each photograph with such thin veneers of mauve, pink and lime. Within such an environment, she could even give credit to ghosts - in a rose wine décolletage of velvet or drifting wisps of revealing lace or satin-corrupted tints of flirtatious gossamer or flimsy body-hugging skeins of enticing silk. Again, she eyed her own flat, itself full of tawdry hangings, behind which hid most of the elbowy furniture. Her bed, however, was revealed in its pee-stained lop-ended glory - mattress tufted by nights of sleepless terror. She knew it would soon be past her bedtime - yet again - and perhaps forever. And, as darkness drained even the gloom of its meagre differentiation, she tottered up from the foot-stool where she had been squatting with the manual. From the gutted sideboard she picked up the coffin-shaped contraption and pointed it towards the netchoked window - and pressed the hardened pad of her index-finger upon a coloured button - which, as it happened, would have activated fast-text in the old days before losers won. The sound of rain became stitched with the last words, the last rite of passage. And she watched bright blood draining from her own near-exhausted sump for the final time - leaving only the loose covers to complete the walk bedward.
(published 'Tears In The Fence' 1996)