The postman drops a letter through Lucy’s door. Lucy doesn’t hear. She’s upstairs in her bedroom, doused in petrol, tied to her bed, screaming silently into a gag. The postman doesn’t know this. He walks back up the garden path. His eyes are red and if you leaned right into his face you’d spot a crusty redness around his nostrils and skin pockmarked with plump blackheads.
Dave is thirty-one. He’s a postman. He’s been a man that posts post for ten years. Posting post is a rewarding job. Giving people what they want, what they’ve requested: dildos, bike-pumps and coffee; huge boxes the shape of rockets, small boxes with suspiciously fake-sounding names and thin letters that Dave always fingers for the subtle edge of a fifty pound note. He’d never steal the money, he just likes to know it’s there.
Each time Dave slips a letter through a copper letter box, or delivers a parcel – well, is there any other feeling like it? The only comparable sensation for Dave is a slam of white powder and a cold beer. Lager and cocaine are a lonely indulgence for Dave, as he lives alone in a small flat with an assortment of games consoles and skateboards with cracked wheels. Faded tattoos on his forearms depict his history: black-grey, fading tribal swirls and the name ‘Anna.’
On his bedroom walls are pictures from a disposable camera, and more than not feature a beaming blonde girl with curling hair and an eyebrow piercing. An askew world map, tacked to a wonky cork-board, illustrates all of the places Dave has never been and never will. Dave’s current girlfriend doesn’t know about the map, or the pictures of blonde Anna on his bedroom wall, because his current girlfriend lives in Mexico. They’ve never met. Dave sends her money when he’s drunk.
This is fine. Dave has nothing else to spend his money on. Today is Friday. He doesn’t know that Lucy has a match held over her body. There’s nothing Dave has to worry about. At the end of Lucy’s road he needs to turn into Melville Place, along Bush Road, across the park to the depot and that’s his morning over. Back to the flat for a coffee, a thirty minute nap, then into town to buy some new boots for his weekend of doing sweet-fuck-all.
All this: alone.
Well, he’d have it no other way.
More to come. These are experimental shorts toying with characters and backstories. As part of a bigger project, I’m trying to work more on my planning and outlining before beginning writing. These shorts are a way of constructing a world and a voice before starting a new book.
Check out the first installment here: Stories in Short #29: Snapshots ‘1