Time Takes a Cigarette 1

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Hogmanay. The Royal Mile is rammed to the ginnels. They’re wavering by the Waverley. Getting bolloxed by John Knox House. Friends. Loved ones. Strangers. Japanese students in fake ginger beards and Disney tartan. The countdown begins. Why do they only begin at ten? Some of us have been counting a lot longer. This. Moment. Has. Happened. Many. Times. Before. The crowd breathes in. The bells. Fireworks ejaculate across the city, brimstone spermatozoa impregnating the sky, if only sheer effort was enough. Thrombotic pensioners hold their shivering pets closer. Snogs spread like a zombie-plague through the crowd. Handshakes and manhugs. For a moment we’re all heroes. We’ve made it this far. Another number can be added to our parenthetical life-span. The daisy-chain of years. We link hands like DNA. It always seems to be the same faces. I swear I recognise half the people here, but I’m useless with names. Auld Lang Syne surges through the crowd on slurred 33 RPM, the time signature erratic. His Master’s Voice has had a few. How much alcohol is flowing through the veins of humankind right now? Am I the only sober person in the Western Hemisphere? A drunken American in a kilt crushes my shoulders, telling me I’m the best friend he never had, or some such. A whisky kiss and third degree Rabbie Burns. I’ve been here too many times. Should old acquaintances be forgot…?

Perhaps they should.

Forward!

(1 of 12 connected flash fictions written by Kevan Manwaring, dedicated to David Bowie 1947-2016, and published here to mark the first anniversary of the passing of a visionary starman & much-missed musical genius. ‘Look up here, I’m in Heaven…’).

Copyright © Kevan Manwaring 2016

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