Monday, June 11, 2012

Jamison's Clarity

A Diesel Jeans Ad in London, 2001
(A first for I Must Be Off! I'm posting one of my stories here for the Flash Across Borders edition of the Aotearoa Affair Blog Carnival. If this post is cut off at the bottom, try reloading the page. This usually solves the problem.)

Jamison’s Clarity
by Christopher Allen

Jamison blinked into the milky eyes of the mutt lying on the pavement next to him and tried to remember what people used to call him or where he’d once lived. Beyond the dog, his silvery skyscraper headboard mirrored a filthy, bedded-down and bearded geezer. Someone had draped him in a blue blanket—the kind one gets in aeroplanes, he thought.
“Eureka, Topeka!” he shouted at his reflection, bleared brilliant by the a.m. sun. “I’ve been in an aeroplane!” A slick young suit dropped a fifty pence piece into the dog’s licked-shiny bowl.
“I’ve ridden in an aeroplane!” Jamison belted at every suit that passed until his throat was hoarse and he couldn’t remember why riding in an aeroplane had been such a bolt of clarity. Then as usual he bared his teeth at the suits, which he’d divided into slow suits and fast suits. “Hey, slowsuit!” he yelled. “What’s that say up there?” Jamison pointed to a picture of a straw-faced girl holding up a glass of pale, cloudy liquid—an advertisement of sorts covering the twenty-storey building across the street.
Slowsuit laughed. “It says ‘Save yourself. Drink urine.’” Clink.
That’s what Jamison thought it said. “How am I supposed to do that?” he asked. “I don’t have a glass.” But slowsuit had moved on, and Jamison couldn’t keep the sky from clouding. Jamison looked down at his trousers, soiled with dog slobber and smut. He was fairly sure people shouldn’t drink wee. Roily, he rasped at the next suit, “I’ve ridden in an aeroplane!”
After rush hour, Jamison pulled his blanket over his face and played peekaboo with the dog, a performance that always paid well with ahhs and pounds.
“Five quid. Not bad. You hungry, Armani? Cavalli?” But the dog didn’t stir at these names. “No.” Then Jamison tried the name on his belt. “Gucci?” He thought the dog might answer to one of the names on his clothes (they all sounded like dogs’ names), but his friend only lifted his head and dumb-eyed his master. “But I have to call you something,” Jamison said and scratched the dog’s neck. “Let’s see. Why don’t we call you Jamison? I like that name. You like that name? It sounds like a name for someone shaggy and noble like you.”
The mutt’s head sank back to the pavement and huffed a stinky sigh. The name Jamison was apparently as good as any other.
Clink. Clink.
“Cheers,” Jamison said and squinted skyward, grinning at a distant murmur. He imagined himself scaling the building across the street, up and up toward the straw-faced girl with Jamison in tow. Now he had two holds on the weirding world: he’d once ridden in an aeroplane and he had a dog named Jamison. For a moment clarity soughed overhead: an aeroplane. Now all he needed was that glass.


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type. Allen writes fiction, creative non-fiction and of course this here blog. His work has appeared in numerous places both online and in print. Read more about him HERE.