A shaggy mooc story


I’d got into the lazy habit of driving halfway to work, but big houses in streets nearby don’t like to see unsightly cars, so staff who have not been granted a car-park pass are chased further away by yellow lines, to cram together on streets (and often their pavements) of little houses that either have more important things to worry about or merely tut and raise a brow rather than getting down PDQ to the MP’s surgery.

Tuesday, when I saw paint-cans poised for the latest batch of lines, I remembered that I am both symptom and cause. I felt my tightening waistband, my fusting brain, the dying planet, and I resolved to walk each working day – all the way there and all the way back again.

So it was that I found myself tramping alongside the duel carriageway Wednesday, brain bouncing, shaking about the settled thoughts until they burst into an epiphany: this is what walking will do, when hormones are aligned. The central reservation with its leafless trees is key to the metaphor that I am hoping will save my story from pointless flailing.

Thursday, I strode out audaciously, head held high; I knew where my story was going. I marched stiff-necked and swift up our road, then through the tunnel of trees that shelters old folks homes and student accommodation, crossed the main road and on past the generous Bohemian villas, over the brow of the hill to where new money gathers, in modern boxes perched in strict pecking order, looking down on the city and each other. Near the top, as I glided past twenty foot tall wrought iron gates, I was yowled at. It was a mooc. Its back legs were unable to move independently of each other due to the size of its big oers that swelled between, so that as it came bounding up to the gate – still yapping – it resembled a playground spring rocker that needed a good oiling.

I turned to face it, offset position, flexible knees, finger to lips, eyes narrowed: ‘SSSHHH,’ I hissed. It rolled its terrible yellow eyes and showed its terrible weeping scorm. I sucked my teeth, cocked my brow and quieter this time: ‘sssssssssshhhhhhh.’

Its tail fell, it turned and slinked away; last I saw it was squeezing its oers through the mooc-flap.

Invincible, me.


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