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08 AUGUST 2006
MATCHBOX // SKINNY JEANS // SAPLING
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matchbox:

He likes how Hamilton moves, though Yan's his favourite. He spends a lot of time trying to make his eyes wide like Yan's are. At school he hides his head in his hands and pulls his eyelids apart with thumbs and index fingers. The other kids think he's strange, which he likes. He has saved a leaf from every garland he's worn on his head to every gig over the last four years. At first he had to go with his mother but once he hit 14 she let him go alone. He's got 143 leaves pinned on his bedroom walls. When they dry up he's going to crumble them into a matchbox he stole from Eamon's pocket as he ran around with his drum. He's planning on giving it to the girl he loves, when he finally meets her. But there aren't many girls at the gigs, so he's not sure when it will be. He rubs his eyes, pulls a twig from his hair. Widening his eyes, he sniffs the matchbox again.

skinny jeans:

seriously, i say, i thought they were appalling. one of the worst bands i'd ever seen. i mean, they were old, you know, really old, over 25 or in their late twenties or god, i don't know, FUCKING OLD, right?

she nods.

and then, only one of them is playing a thing, you know? one of them's playing a guitar, and THAT. IS. IT.

she raises her eyebrows in that 'carry on, tell me more' kind of way.

in which case, you'd think the other three should be, like, super-hot. that's what they're there for, just to be these superhot dollybirds, but they're NOT. it's just, it's appalling. i mean, they're wearing dresses, it's not like they're not trying--

she's still looking at me. taking sips from her drink. she's getting to the bottom and the coke's rattling around in the straw. she's kind of slurping. i can't decide if she wants me to find it sexy or not.

--yeah, they've got make-up on, so they're not like some dykes, but they're just old and they're not even skinny. god, really unattractive. nice voices i guess. sometimes. and they looked like they were having fun. but really. i mean they looked like they didn't even care that they weren't particularly thin or young. they would do these choreographed dance moves, and they'd click their fingers, and they'd look at each other and smile. they looked so happy. but, appalling, you know. i don't want to have to see that.

her face has changed. her eyebrows have frozen right halfway up her forehead, almost buried in her fringe. she's put her coke down and she's crossing her arms. i look down and the tip of her converse is flexing up and down. she'd be tapping her foot but you can't tell with those soft soles. when she does this there's a tiny tear next to the rubbery white tip. it opens and closes with each tap like a little mouth. i'd like to wriggle my finger into that gap, i'm thinking. tear the edges a bit. widen it up so i can get more of me in.

what are you doing, i ask her.

she uncrosses her arms and looks at her feet.

it's morse code for 'you fat fuck', she tells me, without taking her eyes from her trainers.

she says she learnt it at brownies.

i stand up and put my hands in my pockets, bunching them up tight so she can't see the shape of my cock. i got a bit hard when i was staring at her shoe. i tell her the next band are about to start, and i'm going to the bar. i turn 37 next month, maybe i am getting a little too old for these skinny jeans.

sapling:

the actor lives in dalston, in this warehouse. oh, not much you know, just bits and bobs, boy with black eye in 'casualty', the requisite appearance on 'the bill'. there was talk of 'hollyoaks' but it didn't happen. it will though. he can feel the ambition burning up in him like a seed pushing up through compost. if something doesn't happen soon it will grow right out of him, unfurling white and mouse-like at first, then turning vivid green and luminous. he screws up the right side of his mouth, and tugs at his straight black hair, smoothing it across his forehead. he presses his fingers against his chest but nothing's come out yet, thank god. he has to get a job before it happens because it'll hurt like a bastard to cut it off.


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