Another Perfect Day in Fucking Paradise — the first chapter of the fifth novel by Chris Page
The commute is bloody today.
The raffish young bloke standing in front of me is chewing on the head of a young woman, who in her smart, dark suit looks the office worker type. He is dragging his black teeth through her scalp, which rucks and flakes like old carpet. You can see his teeth scraping on her exposed skull. Her hair is coming out in clumps and sticking thickly in the dark gore around the man’s mouth. The woman doesn’t seem to mind or notice, just keeps on playing Candy Brain or Soul Crush or whatever on her phone.
Behind the happy couple, a balding oldie in a naff mac sneezes and his whole face falls off onto his shirt front. The pig doesn’t even try to use a handkerchief. An aerosol of decaying blood and nasal mucous diffuses in the air of the crowded train.
A middle manager type makes an impatiently ostentatious gesture to look at his gold bullion watch and accidentally punches out half the rib cage of the rake chewing on the girl’s head. The rake obliviously continues his absent–minded mastication.
To my left another nondescript office drone is digging for gold, jamming his finger as far into his nose as he can, wedging out maggots, bits of his own sinuses, and popping them in his mouth. One incautious jab later and he has poked his own finger through the soggy, rotting skull into his own frontal lobes, and he just stops and sags to the floor, properly dead now.
The train pauses at a station. Yet another office stiff gets some protruding coil of his intestines caught in the jamb as the train door slides open, yanking out his insides, which spray all over the indifferent commuters trying to get on. He spends the next three stops trying to reel in his guts and organs, and stuff it all back inside himself. He makes some temporary repair by buttoning his jacket really tight before getting off, but he loses it all again on the platform in the scrum of travellers trying to get on.
I try to keep my head down on my phone, avoid eye contact so no one will notice me, but we are all packed so tight I can barely move my thumb on the apps or even see the damn thing properly. And the girl in front of me, the one who is having her scalp chewed off, begins to leak all over my screen.
It is not a good start to the day. But then, it never is. ‘Start to the day’ and ‘good’ are strangers. They cannot exist in the same place at the same time. They are matter and anti-matter.
My fellow commuters are all pressed up against each other, faces flattened against the train windows and doors, gnawing listlessly on each other, gawping at their phones, absently pulling off their own ears or noses, breaking each other’s bones as they jostle for seats.
I’m just stuck here again, as I am every fucking day, cheek by rotting jowl, all the way to my stop, where the door opens and disgorges me and the commuting dead in one river, one torrent of rotting flesh and grave slime.
And this goes on day after day after day. I don’t know how I put up with it.
Another Perfect Day in Fucking Paradise is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon. Here’s the link to Chris Page’s Amazon author page, but you might want to order from your regional Amazon site to minimise postage.
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