By Donovan Reves
Cross tube station and down to the Northern Line platform start my podcast wait on train for High Barnet better chance for a seat in the rear carriage inevitably some greasy bloke or posh bloke or fucking ancient bloke gawking shameless at my legs as if they’re on display for him personally oh fuck that’s right found a run in this almost-new stocking on the train this morning but anyway in a half hour from now I’ll be off the train at Kentish Town pop in at the Co-Op avocadoes on sale then Superdrug for toothpaste then round the corner he’ll be home by then kissy how was the gallery shop oh fine how was the office
fine prep supper cook supper eat supper tidy up snuggle watch our show brush teeth kit off maybe fifteen hundred seconds of sex why not fifteen thousand seconds boys on a hair trigger in bed and everywhere else that’s the way of it fireworks going off too close to the ground so nobody gets the full effect well time to go home in less than ten minutes but goddamnit I put these
in a tidy stack yesterday and now they’re all out of order they’re behind the counter so a customer didn’t manage it must have been Bailey on the early shift they were all in order not now well why must she undo what I do around here maybe Ian did it though in here rooting around who knows hope tomorrow’s
yoga instructor is that guy looks like Ryan Gosling kind of his voice like a smooth jazz deejay so relaxing also he doesn’t overdo it on the vinyasa
Oh now what’s this lady about coming in here like seven minutes before the shop closes quite pretty though big eyes not a tourist I don’t think and she seems to like the Van Gogh pattern scarves but now she’s looking at the art-themed Monopoly like it’s actually interesting come on it’s a fucking Monopoly game they’re all the same except for what’s on Park Place and Boardwalk etc. and now she’s coming over here looking at the postcards first one then another and then she holds one out to me and says
- What’s this then?
It’s a fucking postcard but I daren’t say that instead say
- It’s a Kandinsky.
- Right, but what do you see in it?
Balance. Balance meticulous and pure is what I see in every mature Kandinsky picture but instead for some stupid fucking reason I blurt out
- Mouse vomit.
- Hmmm, that’s interesting. I don’t get that from this piece.
Now she wants me to ask her what she gets from it not what she sees but what she gets from it ah well working at a gallery shop one swims in that kind of pretentiousness all day but she seems halfway earnest so I gamely go ahead
- What do you get from it?
- A strange attractor.
- A what?
- A strange attractor. How we move through time. Ever looping forward, looping through days, weeks, years, but never the same loop twice. Never once the exact same loop.
- Ah, right, that’s a Chaos Theory thing, isn’t it.
- Why, yes. It is.
- My Aunt was good with maths. We talked about that stuff.
- And you learned from her, apparently.
- I guess. Don’t ask me to make a proof or solve an integral, though.
- What a shame, Chloe, I do so love to give out maths assignments to random shop girls.
Said with a wry smile she must have read my name badge and she adds
- It’s a pretty name.
- Thank you.
I should say and so I say
- We’re closing in just a few minutes. The gallery and shop are closing. Can I help you find anything?
Does she want me to say something else I’m not sure what the way she’s looking at me though as if I’m an actual person here in front of her I’m not so used to that in this job she has grey eyes I should say something but what then she’s putting the postcard back and says
- No, that’s all right. I should be getting along. Pass by here every day and it struck me that I’ve never so much as popped in. Good evening.
- Good evening.
Well that was interesting flirting or my imagination the way she looked at me though she seemed really smart or else full of shit well maybe it’s all the same swishy skirt lovely ankles what gorgeous raven hair pulled into a ponytail she smelled nice too like the H&M on Oxford Circus but was she actually um was she really
the way she looked at me though it’s been a while since a woman and I but then mouse vomit where the fuck did that come from she didn’t seem put off by it though will I see her tomorrow or on the next loop round well possibly won’t ever see her again was that a missed connection or was it a perfect connection in some funny way well less than five minutes now until I lock the door
count the till log off grab my things give the You Are On Closed Circuit Television camera my middle finger Douglas finds that amusing calls it my tea time fuck you switch off the lights then go out through the main office wave to Tony and Brie when will those two finally don’t they see it themselves then out onto the street probably some guy from Dallas capturing himself and Lord Nelson with a fucking selfie stick well that’s London and I’ll stride once more through the living clouds of pigeons and tourists the stone lions are so huge I swear they seem bigger in winter why on earth would that be well anyway evening will send me for the umpteenth time amongst them and down the curved staircase into Charing
Donovan Reves writes fiction and poetry in Corvallis, Oregon. He visits London as often as possible, which is less often than he would like.
Dana Robinson is a multimedia artist from Florida who works predominantly with fiber and paint. Upon graduating with a BFA from Florida State University, Robinson worked at Elsewhere Artist Collaborative, lived in Baltimore where she began her brand Hot Dog Paradise and moved to Gainesville where she worked to curate art shows and provide resources for artists. She is currently working on a zine about her Grandfather's Codfish, selling her leather goods as Hot Dog Paradise in Williamsburg, NY, volunteering with the 8-Ball Community and pursuing her MFA at The School of Visual Arts.