Saturday, 5 December 2009


I’m hovering above the pavement - face to the wall, head full of Ideas - deep in ‘crack-contemplation’. I’d recently been very taken by Ideas, an article in Mountain magazine, advocating the merits of “head-jamming”.

I’m just about to become a crack-head when a child’s voice brings me back down to earth:

“Mummy, are all these little children dead?” But before I have a chance to step down and turn round, there’s a motherly reply: “No darling, of course they’re not dead; they’re only sleeping”.

It would be untrue to say that I’d never noticed this strange, glass-encased dolls-house - inviting donations for the Blind – I’ve passed it several times on my way to the beach; but like a familiar painting, long-hung on the sitting room wall, this strange asylumesque structure, and its tableau of what I only now realise are, 'dead children', had become all but invisible to me. I forgot my headlock for a moment and went over and joined the life-sized children contemplating their deceased counterparts, through the glass.

It was indeed a disturbing tableau. The children appeared to have been ‘struck-down’ in the midst of play: the result of a gas-attack or a high school massacre? Troughs of pink, oversized flowers added to the funereal atmosphere. One poor soul had died on his bike – sat dead in the saddle; 

a clock had crashed to the ground – time had stopped; the roof of the building was cracked and appeared scorched: a meteorite hit?

Even the Teddy Bear’s picnic had been poisoned!

Their mother had wandered off to sit on a near-by bench, and was busy filling her face. The children however, weren’t convinced about her ‘sleep-theory’. “I can see up her skirt”; “why’s she sleeping with a whip in her hand?" But I resisted telling the kids; “these children are no more asleep than you or I”. Instead, I corroborated their mother’s lies, but added: “If they are asleep, they can’t be very comfortable, we should go to a café and get them some soft white pillows; and we won’t have to pay, cafés give tiny pillow-cases full of sugar away free with coffee, or tea”. They seemed to like this idea and ran over to inform their mother. I didn’t turn around, I kept vigil over the ‘dead’, but I was able to observe her warped reaction, as an even more warped reflection, in the glass of the cabinet: her piggy-eyes burned into my back; her thin lips branded me with an N for nutter.

Without looking back, I go over and have another attempt at jamming my head in the crack; but my head's too big. By the time I’m back on the street - ears burning - the family have vanished; Anyway: how would we have got the sachets of sugar-pillows through the glass and positioned them under the heads of the dead? 
Perhaps I should carry this photo of an ‘Office Sleeper’ in my wallet – ready for the next time I have to try and explain this inexplicable tableau to children?  
No, the purest ideas remain pure - whether it’s a head-jam, or pillows of sugar for fallen children - because they are unrealizable. 

No comments:

Post a Comment