Effective Calming Measures


The mini-roundabout at the bus station end of Seldown Bridge holds three cars and has eight lanes of traffic channelled onto it. I looked at it for a long time. I saw the giant tin-opener on the quay.  I thought about the asbestos under the beach and how much I miss the Hants and Dorset bus garage. The bare-chested man in purple velour tracksuit bottoms staggered by playing New York, New York on a mouth-organ. He told me to stop whistling. I wasn’t whistling. He told me a Beverly sister used to live in Poole and did I want to hear one of their songs.

I said nothing.

I could sleep the sleep of a thousand animals.

Purple velour asked if I was going to say no to the Yacht Haven.

Poole was better when Boone’s hardware still sold machetes.

I asked him if he ever dressed up as a butterfly catcher, but he said that wasn’t him.

It was now necessary to make a few adjustments to my life.

I went home and crashed my car through the fence and left it there, half on the pavement, half on the lawn. I dragged my furniture outside, including the new suite from Bright House with that mental rip-off insurance policy and sat on the sofa with my stereo blasting twenty punk anthems.

Everyone walked past and looked.

I set fire to the neighbours shed, laughing as it burned and warming my hands on the flames. They watched from the window, pressing numbers into that little phone they have.

All I am waiting for is some intelligence to come out of the mouths of council staff.

David Gaffney