* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.


29 August 2002
Matt doesn't have the words

At the restaurant that evening it's just like any other meal out until I remember it'll all be over soon and I get nervous for a bit. I have an odd suspended feeling like I'm already single and accidentally flirt a little with the waitress. In the loudness and hubbub Sarah looks at me piercingly; my elation turns into crushing tension, but it's okay she thinks it's something else.

"You're trying me make me jealous, aren't you?" she laughs, oblivious. In turn, my tension evaporates into contained rage. This is why I hate her.

The email client paused for a second before emptying my Outbox as if to say "Are you really sure you want to send this?"

I go out for a jog. The croissants I pick up on the way back are soggy and Sarah won't eat them. She says she's hungover after last night. Usually I'd comment that she always says that, that's she's drunk too much twice a week for three years and every single time said she'll never do it again. But in my trepidation strangely she doesn't bother me so much and I pretend to go downstairs to fetch strawberry jam to hide my half smile.

Finally she vomits and I accidentally on purpose let her hair fall into the stream of watery puke, ruddy from the wine.

Three and a half years ago my nerves were just the same. I'd laugh out loud at inappropriate moments and hug my thumbs in my fists to to stop drumming my fingers on my thighs. By the time I asked her to marry me she thought I was about to admit I was a murderer, or been cheating. It's the only double-take I've ever seen her make, a surprised "yes!" when she thought she'd be having to get rid of me.

Sarah is very in control. Apart from that one time, she never cries, she never gets upset, nevers laughs properly, never really guffaws. Just a small amused, distant look. It drives me mad. Three years of trying to get a reaction, three years of being treated as distant as the moon.

So I searched on the Web, emailed around, paid a hitman and arranged to have her shot.

My nerves are almost completely balanced by the relief I'm feeling at soon being free of her, but as it is I'm jittering and barely worth talking to. When the bang comes we're walking to the shops and I have a cartoon vision in my mind of a car bomb or lightning strike before Sarah slumps to the ground. I've known it was coming, sometime in the next two days, but I must say it surprises a tear or two of shock out of me.

It's sunny and hot, there's not a single cloud. The blue is pale and washed over the sky, a bright white blue. Suddenly I notice how vast the heavens are, how tall and spacious it all is. The city is a circle around me on the horizon. Forward and back is the road, illuminated a slate colour by the bright sky and edged by a living fuzzy green of trees. The townhouses around me are baroque with gutters and slates, detailing on the brickwork. The shadows striped and crosshatched over everything are themselves still bright making a patchwork of stained glass windows, a cathedral of the trees and the cars and the yellow brick.

It's photographic in its crispness, lucid, I see all of it for the first time. Even while the roaring motorbike is receding I still feel like I can see the bullet hanging in the air, shining like the sun, and I try to grab it.

I find myself on the ground with my hands in Sarah's hair and wet with blood and the world implodes to these five pure sensations: the bright field of red in front of me, the unexpectedly heavy weight, the heat of the sun on the back of my neck, the gravel sharp on my knees, and the wet on my cheeks that for some reason hasn't stopped yet and if anything is getting worse.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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