Sample 6. The Adventures of Miles Punkash. Novel. Fiction. Subject: Identity and Alienation

A sample from the novel, ‘The Adventures of Miles Punkash.’
Chapter 9, The Jesus Lizard
I’ve got short hair, and it’s kind of thin too. They say that men with thin hair on top or bald men are the most desirable – women that is. They say it’s because they have the most testosterone and they say that they like that. Personally, I always wanted long hair, long hair and muscles in my arms, but not in my neck. The functionality of the neck has led to it being retained in all land vertebrates as well as marine-adapted tetrapods such as turtles and penguins. So I see it as quite successful as a body part, and not something that needs my attention. The superhero comic men who have long hair and live in the ice are the best ones and I don’t know any superheroes who are bald. Come to think of it, Watcher is bald, but is he a hero? I came home yesterday from a long walk, I had to meet someone in the park but they didn’t come, so I started walking with this other guy. I’ve seen him about and we talk about this and that, but we mostly talk about his dog, because it’s there.
Sunday was insane, I had to review some kid’s essay at home as a favour, but after I started he called me up to say it doesn’t matter, but by that time I was way into it that I couldn’t stop myself, because it was about spits, as in, the landform, spits. If I’m being honest, I asked if I could lend a hand as the kid has always been okay to me and I know him through the girl in the cafe. I met him one time, when he was waiting for her to finish work. I waited with him – I remember it ’cause we started talking about heroes. These days I guess I don’t know what makes a hero, as they are all a little different, especially these days. Ghost Rider is bald, but that’s kind of unfair, as there isn’t going to be any hair on a firey skull.
I’ve always wanted long hair – just to try it out with a vest and jeans and with sneakers. I guess it would be fun to climb onto a motorbike and say ‘go’, but I never will, as bikes are hard to build, I know it from my time in the magazine shop. Bikes, and horses, they are two of the hardest things to build and get a grip of – but on a boat, you do the hard work and then just let the water take you. London is raining these days, I guess it happens sometimes. God is in the rain is a line from that movie with that hero who wears a mask, but I don’t get what she means when she says it, or much about the film, but I think that’s why they made it for adults. I liked the hero in that film and the girl who said God is in the rain but I especially liked the hero because he was mysterious, which is important to me.
*
I knew it was time to leave London when I almost set fire to The British Library. Most people claim to be scared of messing up, but I am genuinely scared, especially when fire is involved. I guess I don’t care about certain things but when it comes to fire – I run like a maniac, like the time when I ran away from him in the woods, it was exactly the same.
I woke up in a real state today, my flatmate, the old man claimed he had made me some kind of dinner last night and that it would still be okay for later. It was kind of odd because I never see him in the kitchen, at least not with any of the equipment in his hands, just the odd mug or bowl. I didn’t know what to do and I was getting panicky about leaving town, although I had gotten rid of my belongings and Charlie’s Scalextric. I hadn’t decided what to do with my manuals, though, whether to take them or leave them for the old man, and I realised I didn’t care. I needed to jump on a train and go sight-seeing, because I was watching my face in the mirror – and it was ill looking. I’d never smoked a cigarette before, but I decided I was old enough, and I look older than fifteen, especially with the stress, so I bought a pack of cigarettes but I didn’t know which ones to ask for so I asked for ‘them’ ones. The poor Indian chap didn’t know where to begin and there were a heap of folks in line, they knew I was doing this for the first time, especially when he asked if I meant Marlborough and I just made a shoulder point. I knew he was from India because he told me when I asked him, compared to Bangladesh.
The train was quite empty but I still saw some girl I used to know. We pretended we didn’t see each other and it might not have been her anyway – I know so many people around town, it’s hard to keep up: I’ve lived here for ages. In my carriage, some giant beast of a man came and sat opposite but when we got to Blackfriars, he shifted himself closer to me, I could smell him because he was close. He had a big jacket and under that – a shirt and under that – cologne. He apologised that he was getting close, but really he just wanted to see out of the window, which was understandable – because we were at the river. The problem was, so did I. We were both oggling out of the window like a bunch of tourists, opposite one another and thinking about the same thing, would boats be okay on the Thames? I think he was from Nigeria because he looked like he might have been. By the time I got to St Pancras, I had had enough and mostly just wanted to be back in the house with my tools and my walls but I powered on, I always like to power on when I wear my boots, because there is no need to walk slowly: unless you are in Miami. I can’t stand people who walk slowly. I lit up the first cigarette, which took me about three minutes and my skin was bleeding from the scraping to get the lighter on, not bleeding as in a flesh wound but it was getting there. It also took me about one minute to get it out of the pack. I guess I enjoyed it, until it started to make me feel sick, so I threw it in the bin. Some bins take better to tin while others prefer paper or general waste. This was the start of my next adventure, tin. This one was black with the universal green recycling symbol. I looked around and nobody was there apart from an old woman who looked like she was unwell. Bins are sometimes different colours so the user may differentiate between the types of materials to be put inside. While there is no universal standard, the color blue is commonly used to show that a bin is for recycling in public. This bin was green. I felt really alone and scared at once – basically like men do when they find out they have to go to jail. I had forgotten to stub it out, like they do, so I just stood there, alone, thinking about the bins and then fire. I was waiting and waiting and waiting: for it to catch fire and kill me and everyone else, and burn all of the books, like the Nazi’s tried to do – but it didn’t. Then I realised that CCTV was watching, so I turned and ran into The British Library to hide. I ordered a coffee and the girl asked me if I was staying in or taking away. I felt like a criminal, for all I knew, there was a fire outside that was horrific and I was inside like a wimp who was talking about milk. I also decided that if it was a fire and big, then I’ll be more calm when it burns this place down, cause I’ll know why. With the milk, I went for full fat because of my weight. I sat down and pretended to read my book but people were looking at me and the security guard was talking into his walkie-talkie and may not have been talking about me but he may have. I put my book away and left the library, which was a shame but sometimes life is. I walked past the bin and felt great but also massively like a loser. I came home and went to listen to The Jesus Lizard on my headphones but I didn’t, I listened to Bjork. There are various accessories available for walkie talkies such as rechargeable batteries, drop in rechargers, multi-unit rechargers for charging as many as six units at a time, and an audio accessory jack that can be used for headsets or speaker microphones. They say that sometimes, “fires can take hours to ignite”. They say that the conditions have to be just right.
I have brought back my departure date from the fifteenth to tomorrow. Tomorrow I sail. For all I know, there is a fire there now and I’m going to just run away like a freak, because I am a freak. God I hate cops, why do the cop chiefs employ the most vial creepo looking fat kids? I know a load of people without jobs that would make great cops, like that geezer Isabella was telling me about. He’d be able to run much faster than me. The geezers are unemployed but the creeps have jobs like cop jobs. I just don’t want any bad to happen to anyone else and that’s what can happen when you sell cigarettes to underaged children.
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