By Jim Snee
Wardel Prism walked away from the Squid and Teapot in what can only be described as a blue funk. That is to say that the usual clammy Hopeless fog had, in these small hours of the morning, thickened into a proper clinging wet funk, and Wardel was busily and loudly cursing the air blue.
In truth, he was not usually a happy individual, his sullen moods seemingly well fitted to the twisted frame that had earned him the name “Wonky Popeye” amongst his peers. But at that particular moment he was as far from happy as he had ever felt. At seventeen he was used to a rollercoaster of hormones, but now they were overflowing into disappointment, frustration, anger and self-loathing.
It had been going so well. Bumpa Sallow was everything Wardel had ever dreamed of in a woman; three foot tall, beautiful and old enough to be his mother. And she had been enjoying the evening. They had smiled and laughed over their drinks. They had gone back to her hovel and kissed in the doorway. They had even got on the bed and Wardel had started trying to unlock the mystery of dress fastenings.
And then it had changed.
What had he done wrong?
She said it wasn’t him, but in his mind he knew he’d done something wrong. And so he had apologised and left. All the excitement, joy and (dare he say it) love, had come crashing down in a horrible cold silence.
He swore as he walked out of her weed infested garden.
He swore as he headed down the road in a direction that he could only think of as ‘away’.
He swore at the funk and the twittering, whispering voices within it. To him it seemed like the taunting of the other boys, who already claimed his excessively muscular right arm was proof of a solitary love life. They would tell him he wasn’t a real man and that a real man would have gone through with it, would have ‘persuaded her’. Now Wardel knew what they meant by persuaded, and it made him even more angry.
“Has it ever occurred to anyone that I don’t want to do that?” he shouted to night. “Why does everyone think we men have to force ourselves on women? What kind of lunatic would enjoy that?”
The twittering voices fell silent.
Something formless shambled out of the funk and carefully placed a small silver object in Wardel’s hand.
It was a spoon.
Then, it shambled silently away.
“Oh.” said Wardel. “Thank you… so it’s not just me then…”
Art by Tom Brown