“From 2020”

1. The first half having been given up to space, I decided to devote my remaining life to time, this thing we live in fishily or on like moss or the spores of a stubborn candida strain only to be gored or gaffed, roots fossicked out by rake or have our membranes made so permeable by -azole drugs the contents of the cell flood everywhere. The bubble gun I’d bought on Amazon had come, so flushed, time’s new novitiate, I stood outside the door in velour slippers with a plastic wedge, from M&S, the toes gone through, and practised pulsing softly on the trigger, pushing dribbly hopeless sac shapes out, dead embryos that, managed all the same to right themselves to spheres, and bob as bubbles do, the colour of a rainbow minced or diced into the ornamental tree, or else just brim the fatal fence, most out of reach of the toddler capering side to side to keep his balance on the grass, one snotty finger prodding like a rapper turned jihadist’s threat of threat and all, ten seconds in, unskinned of radiance, re-rendered air. This would have been in that sad hobbled stretch of week between a Sunday Christmas and new year, my friends all 40+, harassed by infants, joylessly still slugging Côte de Beaune and fennel-roasted nuts, the liver detox books not downloaded to app but only browsed by phone in the dark mornings, slitless. (I lay there worrying at my own which had the meaty bigness underrib of foie gras entier. The pillow case smelled horsey, sheets unchanged, the laundry everywhere, mountainously.) It wasn’t till my birthday, Jan 3, when schools went back, search engines saw a volume spike for ‘custody’ and gifs of sullen cats with emery boards explained the dead-eyed un- sheathed fear produced

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