I’m sitting at the bus stop waiting to get to work, bored to my bones. Every day – sat here; waiting. And for what? To do it all again tomorrow. I find it so mind-numbing.
A pigeon lands clumsily on the pavement near my feet. It pop-pops along looking confused. And, I think, I’d like to be him. Not so much the Chlamydia, but the freedom. The puffed up feathery-ness. Admittedly he has one boss eye and his feet are gnarled but he doesn’t seem bothered. A pigeon’s life looks relaxed and a little dirty – it’d suit me, I think.
I glance up to see a hulk of red bus trundling closer. I make myself board and pay the driver. He’s unwashed and greasy; his fetid fingernails grazing my palm with the change. I feel a frisson of sensation – fractionally greater than anaesthetised.
I seat myself beside the window. I see an elderly man shuffling along, walking his dog. It’s a scruffy mongrel of a thing – wiry hair and minimal charm. And, I think, I’d like to be him. The man would feed me and tickle my head and I could curl into my basket and my biggest concern would be where I left my chew toy. No debts, no responsibilities. I find myself craving it: the power of shapeshifting.
I trudge from the depot to the chippy. I net my hair; don my apron. I pick up a slimy opalescent fillet, batter it and sink it into the boiling oil. It spits, and furls begin to fan around it. I could be that fish – cooked through and delicious. I could be consumed, digested; the protein to build a muscle. Yes, if I could become that fish, I think I would.
Sweat collects on my forehead. I wipe it away with my apron when the boss is turned away. I batter some sausages; refill the condiments.
The bell dings and He walks in. It’s more of a glide really, as though his gait has been WD-forty-ed – smooth and perfect. I know I’m blushing but the oil glow will mask it, thankfully. He’s wearing a smart pea coat, with a grey scarf snug at his neck. It looks expensive; cashmere maybe. I smile, concentrating on telepathising ‘notice me’ vibes. He orders without taking his eyes off his phone.
I wish I were his scarf. Soft; tantalisingly so. Wrapped intimately around him. Cosy. Everyday he’d touch me, bend me, mould me. I’d be however he wanted me to be.
He’d notice me if I were a scarf.
And if he didn’t? I could tighten and squeeze and refuse to let go. I could throttle and asphyxiate.
If only I could transmogrify.
Nicola has recently discovered writing after a change in career and having her boys. She enjoys the extreme ends of the writing spectrum – flash fiction and novels – but is too contrary for anything in between. She can be found tweeting at @NicolaAWrites
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