September 11, 2008


           Abu-Khan dashes through endless bronze savannah.

          Work-Finished-Philip traipses on home through traffic junctions and darkness. The three skinny Iranian kids are staring, with shameless lust, at a pretty woman who shakes out her hair by the bus stop.

The unsubtlety, he thinks, smiling, of innocence, and then, gazing at her out of the shadows of his eyes,

           I, too, am part of this landscape.

           “I can almost taste you,” Harriet says, and Aroused-Philip rises to the challenge.

           When Philip-Deceiving sneaks into the study late at night, he becomes Abu-Khan, firing off his twin pistols, rising from the dead. Hours later, the clock strikes three and Frazzled-Philip wakes as if from sleep, switches the monitor off, and coils his body around her as, he knows, Aroused-Philip would have wanted him to.

           Struck-By-Moments-Of-Beauty-Philip, walking to work, passes a schoolyard and is momentarily transformed by the plateau of lifeless concrete. Philip-Dulled-By-Routine sinks through, hours later, into the keyboard. He is close, he knows, to touching Abu-Khan.

           An attractive working colleague brushes up against him late in the afternoon, her lips nearing his. A searing erection. He remembers, later, that he’d once met her boyfriend at a dinner party. They arrange to meet the following week for a quick drink.

           Slumping in his living-room chair, he finds his right hand to be trembling uncontrollably.

           “What’re you afraid of,” he asks it, uncertainly.


           The kind psychiatrist, Doctor Howser, attempts to explain Philip to himself in a room surrounded by painted vases halfway to Basingstoke.

           He’s right, Explained-Philip thinks. I have to reconnect with my life.

           Doctor Howser’s door closes quietly behind him and Driving-Philip is too busy focused on the road to reconnect to anything.

           Abu-Khan blasts out shot after shot at the treacherous youths sharing a joint outside the apartment block, leering at Philip-Exhausted. They seem to be invulnerable.

           A tearful Harriet asks him to let her in; Philip has no way of explaining that he can’t speak for every new mood. He simply holds her, as if by instinct, but after a few seconds she rips herself away and slams the front door behind her. With a new rising interest, he thinks,

           She can change, too.

           Philip-Of-The-Epiphany waits before the bathroom mirror, as if trying something different. He vows that this Philip is the true version, and frowns, hoping to hold on to this mindset. His work colleague calls, and cancels their date.

           Alone-Philip watches the television, but cannot immerse himself in the faces he sees there.

           Drunk-Philip wipes out. Philip-Who’s-Been-Drunk wakes up, and ignores the phone. Philip-To-Mother finally picks up, and assures her, truthfully, that everything is fine.

           When Philip-Suicidal finally leaps from the Embankment, it’s Abu-Khan who continues to dash, roaring, through endless bronze savannah.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. James Harringman

    I really like this momentary-epithet thing you going on here. Although, you are a fictional character serial killer, are you ever going to write a story with a happy ending?

    11 Sep 2008, 16:03

  2. True to the nature of the masculine short story, it ends with ‘la petite morte.’

    11 Sep 2008, 16:17

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