In the previous post I alluded to my early writing – it led me to dig out some old files (from a word processor, rather than a computer, even though I refer to a computer in the story itself) that have survived. This is one such sketch, I must have been 18 or so when I wrote it, it has a youthful arrogance and pomp that I dislike, and it muddles around with post-modenism, which I still thought clever and daring back then, but I present it faithfully but with my elder self’s editing notes in red, as there are elements of it that are of some merit, if only for curiosity’s sake:
While he was vacantly waiting by the kettle his cat padded testily onto his computer keyboard.
Its one tentative paw (is the cat meant to be a monopod?) deleted his entire first chapter.
He came back with his coffee to find the screen blank except for the characters reproduced above.
He did not curse or rend (render) the skies mute with his weeping. He sipped at his coffee and looked at the cat’s creation.
This man is parts of me. You will never know me but through these words.
What of his soul? (?)
He had written a story (The deleted pages were a story) about a man who woke up one morning and went through his usual routine, leaving the house for work and walking briskly to the papershop and then the bus stop.
At the bus stop he is reading his paper when he sees, across the road, a small green pig floating seven feet above the ground. The pig has four helium balloons tied to it.
The man is astounded. He looks hard at the pig, which floats just above the walking people, down the street and out of sight.
He discreetly looks (looks discreetly) at all the other people waiting at the bus stop, they seem not to have noticed the pig or at least,not to have been surprised by it.
He wants to speak of the pig but doesn’t dare to. He fears blank strangers faces:
‘What are you talking about?’,’What pig?’,’Green you say?’,’Balloons!’.
So instead he stares at the crossword and falls into a perplexed, distant contemplation which almost causes him to miss the bus.
At work he is uneasy. He is haunted by the image of the silent green pig floating above the streets. His boss shouts at him because he is motionless in front of his computer, mouth open, staring off into space.
He is unsure of whether he saw it for real or not. He looks weakly at his boss and winces, silently.
‘For God’s sake man…’ his boss is saying.
Over his boss’s shoulder he can see, through the window, the green pig floating happily past. He cannot hear the stern rebukes of his boss.
That night he lies awake in bed. Staring at the ceiling,unable to think of anything but the green pig.
It is possible, he thinks (reasons), for a pig to be painted green – perhaps even to be born green. It is also possible to tie balloons filled with a gas lighter than air to it and cause it to be airborne. But why?
Though it was possible that it could exist it was unlikely that it did.
Because of this he began to think he was going mad.
The next morning as he approaches his front door to leave he finds himself grasped by an impenetrable (inescapable) fear. His shaking hands fail him.
(After ten minutes, breathing deeply), He opens the door and steps outside. The world is pale in the morning light
And that is as much as I wrote. I wonder what I would have written next. I can remember, slightly, the initial idea of writing something absurd that was real, that might cause a man to lose his grip on reality. I even recall that I had an ending for the story that amused me, an explanation of why there was a green pig, floating about the city on balloons, but I can’t now quite recall what it was and I made no notes that have survived.
But then, maybe it is obvious.