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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

80_ym_evendeadneedsomewhere_kcwalker.jpg
Art by Keith Coates Walker 2020

Even the Dead Need Somewhere to Live

 

by Jon Park

 

    Jimmy Franklin is thirty-four years old. A terminal bachelor, he lives in a two-bedroom apartment in the centre of Gateshead, just up from the new Tesco’s. Jimmy isn’t a people person. A professional loner, he avoids them as much as possible. Or, at least that is, the living.

    You see, Jimmy has a special gift. He can see dead people.  Just like that kid in the movie. Dead people, like dead naked Terry, who lies all day, every day, in Jimmy’s bathtub. Foul brown water covering his pale, bloated body.  Whenever Jimmy comes to the bathroom, Terry will sit up, arms resting on the side of the bath and ask the same question.

    “What’s the weather like out, Jimmy?”

    “It’s pissing it down, Terry. Literally bouncing off the payments.”

    “I knew it,” Terry shrieks with delight, splashing his hands down into the fetid water. “I can feel it in my bones, you know. They never fail me.” Terry, as if to demonstrate this talent, proceeds to hold his arms over the edge of the bath. Skin and flesh drips from them like wax down a burning candle.

    Jimmy enters his kitchen. Here we find Old Man Frank, sat at a small table. Frank’s head is tilted back so the deep slash that has opened his throat is visible. A flap of bloody flesh dangles down onto his chest.

    “You fancy a cuppa, Frank?” Jimmy asks, as he flicks on the kettle.

    “Oh, aye, son,” Frank wheezes through the hole in his throat. “That would be smashing.”

    Jimmy makes two cups of tea and joins Frank at the table.

    In Jimmy’s spare bedroom, sprawled across the double bed, we find Dianne and Paul. Young lovers locked in an eternal embrace. Jimmy likes to come here and play with Dianne’s long blonde hair. Styling it, so it hides the hole smashed into the back of her skull.

   At night, Jimmy likes to lie with them, pressing himself into Dianne’s back.  She never objects, and sometimes he can feel her pushing back.

    Finally, there is Barry. He sits in the ironically named living room. Wearing a pair of blood-stained overalls, his massive frame squeezed into an armchair.

  Jimmy likes to sit with him, and together they watch movies. Barry’s viewing of the television doesn’t appear to be inhibited at all by the handle of the large screwdriver that protrudes from the center of his forehead.

  It had surprised Jimmy how little effort it had taken to plant the screwdriver there. And the blood. It had sprayed everywhere.

  Jimmy checks his watch. He knows Terry is on the turn. He needs replacing.

  Pulling on his coat, Jimmy checks the pocket. He can feel the reassuring outline of the knife. Satisfied, he leaves his apartment to seek Terry’s replacement. 

  Mary is Jimmy’s next door neighbor. Mary has a special gift, too. The gift of smell. It was Mary who called the cops.

 

 

Jon Park lives in Gateshead in the North East of England. After several years playing guitar in a local band, he turned to writing, and with encouragement from his daughters Emily and Charlotte, and his partner Tracey, he started to release them into the world.

Keith C. Walker was born in Leeds in 1939. He studied Ceramics at Leeds College of Art and the Royal College of Art. In the late 1960s to early 1970s, he was Personal Assistant to Eduardo Paolozzi. Keith taught at Hull College of Art and Leicester Polytechnic, which is now De Montfort University. In 994 he retired from Academia.

Keith says, “Digital technology has made and continues to make big changes to all of our lives: the way we communicate, the way we are monitored, the way we entertain ourselves, and much, much more. 


We now leave a digital footprint wherever we go, and with whatever we do. 

Do we already have one foot in an Orwellian world?


 My collages are an investigation, with a small “I,” on the impact of digital technology and its possibilities.”

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2020