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February 23, 2017 / hbrowne4

Don’t talk of the past, she begged by Ruairi McDonnell

From an Inkslingers prompt.

It had long since failed to have meaning. He sat on that bench every day. He always drank 2 litres of cider. He may have more elsewhere later in the day, but always 2 litres on that bench. Every day. He was disciplined like that. Disciplined down and out. His nerves were long since frayed copper wire and his stomach long since roiling acid and his head long since aching cotton wool

He never shook, but he had to concentrate on things. Rolling a cigarette required a bit more thought than it should. Lifting a glass required some care not to knock it. He never lifted glasses or cups anymore; all his liquids came in brown plastic bottles these days. He was on the cusp of being a “shaker”. He knew it was only a matter of time before the last vestiges of steadiness were going to suffer from the drink

“Don’t talk of the past, she begged”

It never stopped. There is no respite from one’s own thoughts and this thought he couldn’t stop echoing around his otherwise addled and anaesthetized mind. “Don’t think of the polar bear”. Or in his case, “don’t think of the polar bear and don’t see the pink elephants”

He watched a pigeon. The pigeon doesn’t think he thought

“Don’t talk of the past, she begged”

“Don’t think of the present” he thought

He drank more cider. It had that almost saline taste cheap ciders tend to have. He finished the bottle and let it fall to the grass. He picked it up. He never littered. It felt like a modicum of principle and order, along with his bench ritual, overlaid on a nonexistence

“Don’t talk of the past, she begged”

He put the bottle in the bin

“Don’t talk of the past, she begged”

He walked off through the park


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