The Plumbing Cantos: Canto XVII

“Ah there he is!” says Patrick, beckoning
the creature over gleefully. “He’s knocked
some walls down, this one! Kicks up quite a stink!”

I couldn’t see him landing on the rocks
the way that Patrick did. The creature looked
a lot like one of my old clients – Not

that old. A young guy, glasses, face that puts
you at your ease and makes you think of him
as much like you. His tail had a hook

(I mean the creature, not the client), thin
and pointed, venom tipped. His body had
a scaly texture, claws and paws and fins,

the lot. I see some people as I scan
across, while Patrick shoots a short sharp sigh.
“I’ll head towards the creature. On the way

You have a look at them and satisfy
your curiosity alone, then join
me after near the creature.” Just as I

attempt to answer, off he goes. Un-bouyed
by my abandonment, I head towards
the sort of folk I generally avoid.

I’m sure they’re people I’d not seen before.
They clawed themselves as fire hit their skin,
and hopped from foot to foot and screamed and swore.

I noticed each one had a lanyard swing
around their necks while hopping up and down.
I grabbed the first to try and read the thing.

The first said: “Trader. UBS.” Around
their neck, the next along had “CEO
of Ticketmaster, followed by this: “Sound

Archivist (John Peel Archive).” “COO
of An Estate Agents I Shall Not Name”
was after that. Some nameless lawyer, though

there were some others. I forget. The same
dark suits they all have on. You know. “Hey You!
Just what d’you think your doing here?” he brayed.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” All consumed
by his attempts to get a taxi. “Send
my cab to her if he comes into view.”

I laughed him off and left him to descend
towards my guide. I didn’t want to piss
off Patrick anyway, but as I wend

towards the man, there’s no way you could miss
the famous “Patrick’s Frown”. He’s sat astride
the creature yelling “JUST. GET. ON.” The hiss

escaping from the creature’s spattered hide
exhumes a gag and heave from in me, I
decide to mount the thing. I feel it’s side.

“OH HURRY UP!” snaps Pat. And so I find
myself ascending it to sit behind
the fella. “NO, YOU GO UP FRONT.” he cries

and as we shift around the whole thing slides
and starts to fly. There’s nothing I can hold.
My sweaty hands slide on the scales. We ride

up higher just as Patrick grabs the folds
of my Hi-Viz to stop me falling off.
“HEY GERYON! SLOW DOWN!” The truth be told

I feel a bit like Icarus. All hot.
Or Phaëthon maybe. Just imagine their
two Dads. With hands on hips they’d stare and scoff.

“Don’t muck around. You shouldn’t be up there.”
“No why are you behaving like a dick?”
they’d say. And then announce how they despair.

The drop from creature down into the pit
was fifty foot or so, I’d guess. The flames
had made it hard to see the floor for shit

until the creature lands in it. I’m not
about to lie. It was a thrilling trip.
The creature snarled as Pat and I got off

and shot away when we were clear of it.

 

Copyright (©) Michael L Radcliffe 2018

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