May 2015 – hedge bottom – Bog Standards by Martin Bolton

Bog Standards

by Martin Bolton

Dusk marched from the east. It looked annoyed about something.

The retreating sun lingered long enough for me to glimpse the flashes of stubby white tails as the last remaining rabbits darted beneath the hedge bottom, on their way to sleep secure beneath several feet of earth, away from the confusion and the madness of the world. I wondered if they dreamed. I wondered if I dreamed.

I had woken under an apple tree with a vile hangover, covered in bird droppings. Newton’s law conspired with a ripe apple and the resulting assault on my temple had stirred me from my booze-addled slumber. Sitting up, gingerly cradling my cranium, I was drawn to the main house, a hundred yards away, by the sound of a man bellowing. I groggily made my way towards the source of this obnoxious hooting.

As I approached the house, I beheld a huge man stood on top of a mount of earth. He was dressed in a first world war officer’s uniform, with a pair of black, shiny knee length boots that were as tall as me. He wore no hat, and his jet black hair was slicked back tight to his enormous skull. The man stood with his giant feet wide apart and his arms spread. He must have been every inch of twenty feet tall.

“I’ve come from far away to see the sun go down,” he shouted, his voice rattling the windows of my house. “Dusk approaches, I am the barrier that sees the sun safely to its rest, that it may rise again tomorrow!”

I scratched my aching head and blinked. When my eyes opened again the man’s top lip had sprouted a thick, black handlebar moustache and he was wearing a dear stalker. That’s odd, I thought, the moustache seems fitting, but the hat is right out. Considering the man’s size and demeanour, I confined my opinion of his dress sense to the secure cell of an inner monologue.

I was struck by a flicker of recognition, but it was not sufficiently solid to form a coherent memory. Some residual familiarity, seemingly from a former life, remained faint and intangible in the back of my mind, nagging me incessantly.

“I am your uncle,” the man continued, “and this is your sister.”

He pointed towards the house and, for the first time, I noticed a young woman standing before the door. She wore a plane blue dress and her dark brown hair was tied into buns on either side of her head.

“That’s very nice,” I said, “but the thing is, I urgently need the toilet.”

The woman smiled and gestured towards the side of the house. My “uncle” remained atop his mound and continued to bellow as I hurried behind the house, followed by my “sister”. At the rear of the house was a dense woodland, growing darker as the sun retreated. There, in the roots of a giant beech tree, was a toilet.

My relief was short lived. The toilet was overflowing with sick. I pulled the chain that dangled from somewhere high in the branches and a swirling vortex roared into life, devouring the contents of the toilet. But the vortex did not stop there. Instead, it continued to grow, swallowing the tree, splintering bark and churning the ground as it expanded.

I stepped back as the ground beneath my feet was eaten away. The pangs in my stomach were growing more insistent and it wouldn’t be long before I flooded my under carriage with hot, greasy effluence.

My “sister” seemed unworried. With a serene expression, she pointed towards the house. I lurched desperately through the back door and stumbled up the stairs to the bathroom. To my consternation, I found the toilet smashed to pieces, water spurting from the porcelain ruin.

I was running out of time. This turd was coming whether I liked it or not, and it was not fussy about the manner of its emancipation. Whimpering involuntarily, I pulled down my trousers and hung my arse over the side of the bath. But before I could release the tension from my clenched and aching buttocks, the taps began to protest.

“Nay, sir,” the hot tap scolded me, “befoul not thy shiny tub!”

“Have mercy,” gushed the cold tap, “spare thine china trough thy brown indignity!”

Touched by their plight, I remained clenched and shuffled away, down the stairs and out the front door, trousers clinging to my ankles.

My “uncle” was where I had left him, atop his mound ranting about seeing the sun safely home. But now he was surrounded by dozens of smashed toilets. I stumbled from one to the other, trying to find an intact seat on which to park my heaving bottom and relieve my straining guts of their poisonous burden. As I franticly staggered from one shattered china bowl to another, the vortex grew in size and fury and began to consume my house. The deafening sound of splintering wood, cracking masonry and smashing glass began to drown out the ravings of my “uncle”.

I put my hands to my ears and screamed.

* * * *

Bright sunlight streamed between the slats of the Venetian blind. My phone was ringing. I touched the green ‘answer’ icon and put the phone to my ear.

“Mr Harlequin?” a voice said.

“Speaking,” I replied.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

My stomach ached abominably.


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