On the Third Day (Three Days Ago)

Four days he had gone without shaving. Usually within seven or eight he would remove the growth from his face. Look into the mirror and have a sense of rejuvenation. Sometimes he would apply a little eau de cologne. Patting it on his cheeks and behind on his neck. Adding to the freshness.

Two days into the new year he wrote her a letter. Something brief. Everything a denial. Not lying. But being ambiguous about most subject matter in conversation with her. As if drawing energy from each moment set out to frustrate. Her anger might be a form of fuel to drive him forward. Toward. Very little. Almost nothing. Artificial intelligence or ai. Love or the cruel playing upon emotions.

That’s not very PC. A reply. What does that say, what doesn’t that say? PC. Political correctness or personal computer.

He hurried along the coastal road. Certain that it was going to rain. He had to get back. Split logs. Set a fire. Halting for some moments. Distracted by the sighting of a heron. Then ushering himself forward and another sighting less than a hundred metres on. Had anyone counted their numbers. He counted three. Pleasingly close. What? In close proximity. But he was thinking P and C. Acronyms and abbreviations. So many words and phrases in the contemporary idiom that he met with what almost bordered on contempt.

Penal colony. Persecution complex. Placidly concealed. Putrid colon. Polluted conscience. Perplexingly complicated. Permanently confounded.

That night he sat in the bath. Habit forming. Bath foam, Radio 3, something slowly simmering on the hob. An electric hob. Shit to cook with. He would have preferred gas. His life alone called for a discipline he had never confronted himself with. Personal criticism. Wasn’t it personal column. Puerile comments. Public concerns.

Although he was usually in bed by ten thirty he rarely turned the light off until about two in the morning.

Prostate cancer. Posture correction. Political condemnation. Primary colours. Paranoid cunt. Petty crimes. Parental consent. Playful child. Probable cause. Probing creep. Perverted cretin. Permissive culture. Passive creature. Pancreatic cyst. What? People’s choice. Pussy cat. Practical considerations. Positive charge. Plaster cast. Prison cell. Position closed. Pest control. Portnoy’s complaint. Pastry case. Post code. He preferred, pin code. Paralytic consumerists. Pedantic codgers. Perpendicular cock. Problematic colon. Presumptuous concerns. He wouldn’t sleep. Or he would wake up trying to think of more.

Just as he was falling asleep she sent him an image.

Pretty cute. Pantyhose connoisseur. Panty collector. Pathetic crawler.

Possible consequences.

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