This article is taken from Stand 231, 19(3) September - December 2021.

Rosalind Goldsmith Tats and Torments
Edward is sitting on top of his red VW van. It’s rusted round the wheels, round the doors, under the front fender and round the back by the exhaust. It’s a beat-up old pile of shit. Trash heap of the ’70s, should’ve died long ago. He knows it. Won’t let it go. It still moves, that’s the thing. It still rolls right on when it wants to. The gears choke, the choke slips, it groans and complains, but it can still take him places, places he wants to go. Just – not now. Right now, it’s tanked and isn’t going anywhere.

He’s pulled over on the shoulder of the highway, sitting cross-legged on the roof, sipping the dregs of an instant coffee from a paper cup. His last coffee grains are in that cup. Lumps of congealed powdered milk float about. No sugar. None left. It’s 5:00 in the morning. He looks round. Dry scrub to his right, beyond that sand and the black smudge of mountains, to his left the empty highway. He is on his way. Knows the thing he is after. Has the plan all worked up and ready to act on.

The rising sun spews up a real display – a fine showing of rubies and tangerines. Tall cactus plants shadow down in the blood light. Stand like soldiers at attention, watching him. Jesus. They are not. They are just plants, right? And they are not watching him. Could be, though. They look like people standing there, ...
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