I’m lying on a log raft beside a giant salamander. A ladykiller in its glossy hide, the beast lounges. It grooms itself fussily, making the raft lurch. Stars go out overhead, the salamander smiles and coughs.
I am a giant beaver, sodden with glue. Everything has stuck to me. I am miserable – clotted, glaucous, stinking. I didn’t even want to be the beaver in this scene.
Around in the parochial bath-warm dirty little sea float hundreds of beds from Clark’s store, all soiled.
We have gone to Video Morass for a video, but only wandered staring at the racks for two hours, depressed, before returning home. Twin tubs of ice cream sit on either side of the raft, empty, each with its smudged spoon. It’s Philandering Walrus, a Ben & Jerry’s flavour so extreme it includes absinthe, child prostitutes, and enriched uranium.
The moon is scuffed plastic. The sky sags, stinking of damp. Although I have run away several times, I only get to other regions of the same degrading scene. Clark runs away, too, but we are always on the raft, it’s night, the light strained, the stale beds rock. Not a breath of wind and
I’m ready to tear my throat out just to make Clark feel bad –
If I can only forget about the salamander utterly, we’ll be freed. I’ll blink and he’ll be a man: I’ll be a tanned girl. We’ll wake in a new meadow, smelling like youth. The flowers will bounce with the weight of bees, the frail grass will vanish and reappear in the sun’s glare. This is how it was meant to be. But I can’t, I can’t forget, I have my own needs and I need them and I didn’t even ask to be the beaver in this scene) when my cellphone rang.
It was Hamid.