\”…to the end that vacuous Halloween lantern grin of the junkie. Chiseled in sinew and bone.\” – ib
Jody the Hat and Pablo Dillinger were just miles into the stretch formerly known as The West Highland Way when they made contact with The Young Team. Pablo Dillinger squatted in the road. His guts an oily river. Under the brim of a Fedora, the Hat\’s ears howled. The Honda buzzed. Fizzed. A lion of Judah painted on one side of the petrol tank. A blue and white saltire on the other. On it perched a boy, a skelf, in oversized headphones. A tumble of filaments. Puffer fish. The ancestral shock of auburn hair partially tamed by the connecting rod of plastic carved into his skull. At a distance he resembled a tiny gladiator preparing to cut a rug with Auntie, bring the roof down on the spoiled, but the sounds bleeding over the whine of the engine were pure CT. Government approved silt. The bike was almost certainly borrowed from the Brotherhood. The dusted. Behind them the ground fell away abruptly. Plunging by twisting degree into a hollowed out channel littered with empty bottles. Buckfast. Mad Dog 20-20. The Devil\’s Pulpit. Water flowed into it. Out of it. It was a place where The Young Team sent off their dead. The boy opened the throttle some more. Balancing the weight of the frame on the heel of one boot. Aside from the headphones, the boots, he wore nothing but shorts. In another locality, a different time zone, Jody the Hat and Pablo Dillinger might have reached out to him with sticks of gum. His mouth a sea anemone blistering in sun bitten pool. \”Trubba,\” said Dillinger. \”Fuck,\” spat the Hat. Dropping one hand to the Tascam dangling on its strap. Like a child soldier caught square in the eye of the lens, the boy exuded a toxic photogenic charm. Pablo Dillinger raised his camera and composed himself for the shot. Clenching both buttocks while continuing to squirt. Where correspondents chase awards across a double page spread, Pablo Dillinger was nothing if not diligent. Overtaken by a weakness to bludgeon the house senseless with a royal flush of dubs, the bleachers echo with the whisper of melodica. The Hat let him have it with a full stream of FLAC. Asbo. Straight between the eyes. The boy pitched over. A sheep with the staggers on a barbed wire fence. Sprawled in a tangle of spoke. Engine noise. Rust. The headphones unstuck. The china pelvis dislocated. A stream of urine sizzling on the cylinder block. Pablo Dillinger leaped to his feet and fastened his pants. \”You got him,\” he said. The Hat\’s tiny mouth said nothing. Shut the fuck up, the tilt of felt brim advised. He and Pablo covered the ground by inches to where the body sat half upright. Tugged at by ghosts. Those invalid brothers and sisters buoyed by elegy. The sky to the south rolled with smoke. The Hat seized the boy by the hair and dragged him back on the seat to expose the tattoos on his chest. Young Team Pygmy Death Squad. We have Come For Your Children. He looked to be about twelve-years-old. In truth, he was closer to forty. Under the blue tattoos, the skin clung like varicose porcelain to rib and joint. Tented over the distended belly where the navel bulged. An eye engraved in cataract. A rash of old and fresh tracks wove a dark bloom on both arms. The thread of brown matter issuing from the ear indicated long term abuse. Cock in Pocket. A pitchforked nut. A big fat man pushing a little pram. The Hat and Pablo Dillinger rolled a joint and shared it. Plucking a filtered cigarette plugged like a bullet into the leather belt slung around its waist. First generation Ministry. Shredding it. Pilfering a pinch of tobacco. Disposing of the body in those tall weeds at the side of the road with no concession to ritual magic. They lit up the Tascam, too, and listened to some Tubby. Worked out those kinks that result from being on the farm too long. They were being watched. Ears older than their\’s were tuned to the dub. Jody the Hat checked his batteries. Exhaled into the encroaching darkness. By 1AM the sirens falter. The hammers to the south bed down to a pulse. Pablo never sleeps. Not soundly. The quiet he inhabits is the space between sinew and socket. The dials twitch. The tape rolls. Spooling behind eyelids, the fluttering of moths. East of the Nile. A mile upstream. The engineering nowhere so critical as the end result: chin to midriff, thickening to a river. What started out as an anonymous pouring, a splash from a carafe, a water bearer.