By Kieran Rollin
A boy scampering, a man chasing, quick light feet and long slapping steps along the prosy patchwork of street. An excitement of feed spins heads in the decay and grey of the town centre.
Pink brick, flags, tar and chip. In seconds they pass over years of bureaucratic revamps lain on top of one another, legacies hammered down with the pugilistic fervour found in barracks and boardrooms. Windows flash behind them, they slalom through statues of people. The boy holds his coat closed with both hands, his elbows swinging like clipped wings.
White boy, brown man. They breathe hard and make no invitation to the people they pass. So, the people watch. The pigeons too. They watch the brown man close on the white boy.
The traffic lights are green, and a lorry hurtles down the hill oblivious to it all, impolite in its movement through the theatre. The people need this. They need. Not a particular justice or injustice or a particular colour of man or a particular colour of boy, nor woman or girl. Simply, the happening of something to someone else; not them.
The man reaches out his hand prematurely, the boy digs his foot into the ground, the lorry thunders, bouncing on its axles, the pigeons realise just in time, except …
The boy is too slow in turning, feels a hand grab the back of his coat, hears the setting of slowing feet. The pigeons lift off from the road and peel away in flight.
The boy spins the man spins the boy by the grasp of hand on coat.
The dynamism overflows, unravels. They unjoin like dancers. The last pigeon, perhaps enthralled, spins right into the metal grille of the lorry.
The boy’s coat splits open down the middle just before he hits the ground and his innards explode in colourful wrappers. Dairy Milks, Twixes, McCoys, Jelly Babies, Walkers, Sudafed, Aptamil. A colourless, squashed loaf of bread. To the onlooker’s horror, a pink square of Turkish Delight skids along the floor.
The man picks his stock up and tries to pad the shape back into the bread as, unseen, feathers spin like insolent children down the side of the passing lorry, jubilant in their freedom, and having passed, the backdraft sucks them up. The man shyly kicks the Aptamil back at the boy and walks away.
Kieran Rollin is a 33-year-old accountant based in Sheffield, England seeking penitence through writing. He is part of a cadre of writers who motivate and inspire each other in equal measure.