Spray Paint

The black line rose and fell like a radio wave. He liked that. He liked the smell and the hiss and choke as the jet spurted out. It coated his fingers.
He liked the smooth silver top of the can. This was a good one, good for circling round. He drew the peace sign, but something was wrong. What did he even do it for? He did the one with the ‘A’ in the middle. That was for anarchy. That meant chaos and not paying taxes, not paying the council, not paying the ‘leckie bill.
‘Can’t bloody pay the ‘leckie bill.’
His mum’d pulled out the plugs in his room.
He hated that look of hers, like it was his fault. He was a kid, bills were for when you got older. He’d needed to get out of the rubbish tip, out of feeling sad and it getting worse and nobody coming. No visits, no plate of biscuits and being excited because someone’s coming.
Maybe she thought he was getting too old for all that. The say before it had been, ‘Double figures, can’t believe it. Where’s that baby of mine gone, eh?’
She’d touched his hair and made him shiver, gave him a big blue envelope with a card of a chimp with sunglasses on. She’d made such a fuss.
‘Waiting for the Argos sale so I can get you a nice big present.’
She’d kissed him on the cheek. He’d wanted to hug her, but just stood there. He’d wanted to clean the place up and he’d pay the bills, make it so people’d come round again. They’d see they were all right. They were normal people.
The can spluttered in the underpass. He made a dribbling black-hole next to a cross-eyed face.
He wanted home and telly and everything to be okay.

Written 30th September, 2016


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Gabrielle Barnby