Picking up from “So…” Chapter 4 of “The Sleeper on the Train.”
When William read the letter from Michelle with its phone number on the back he knew he would one day call or text it. He wanted that thought to inspire him in some way, excite him even. But instead he found himself frustrated, because he knew Michelle lived miles and miles away and whatever he’d try to make happen would not happen right now, when he most needed something more in his life than writing or masturbating or mowing that fucking lawn or prepping dinner for when Carol got home from school. In short, he was bored and frustrated. And where exactly did she live, the beautiful Michelle, with her long blonde hair coiled seductively around one ear missing its bling, and her bright blue eyes and cheekbones like small apples? All he knew is that he’d left the train at Manchester and she’d remained on it, he’d seen her through the window as he headed for the exit at Piccadilly’s Platform 14, and he’d seen she was seemingly still sleeping, sibilantly snoring, and might’ve gone on sleeping all the way to Glasgow for all he knew.
So if he called that number right now, what could that achieve right now when he needed excitement, distraction from the boredom and depression that purported to be his fifty-year-old life? Inevitably and unavoidably the thought turned his frustration into anger, and the thought of that lawn and its embedded cat shit could only exacerbate the issue and culminate in loathing; of cats, of a relationship he wanted out of, and of himself for his selfish depression. Just as he prepared to put his thoughts into words on the laptop screen, he looked down on to the lawn, where with sickeningly impeccable timing the neighbour’s tomcat with its ridiculous name of Derek sat to put down its traffic cone. Nauseous, William felt compelled to channel his ire into verse…
“Cat Doggerel for Bad Poetry Day” he wrote
Cats gatecrash my garden
Shit then split quiet as mice
It’s not nice.
To say how I feel about felines
Who haven’t even the courtesy
To bury their turds I’m lost for words.
And they eat birds.
Why should I go out to clear its dump with a clump of kitchen tissue
when the mouse-hound avoids the issue?
A friend of mine in Hitchin
provides a bog for his mog in the kitchen
Of all places.
I hate these faeces to pieces.
Having typed thunderingly, William dragged his seat back and looked into the garden where Derek was now padding away with empty bowels, then read back his words.
“What a load of shit!” he said aloud and instantly hit delete before adding, “What the fuck am I doing with my life?”