Gully Suckers by Phil Hall


I’d cried my ears off; when I heard she’d OD’ed on Catnip. It had turned her a shade of grey; she looked like a winter’s shadow.

She had the appearance of someone who’d vomited out their own eyeballs, and then gobbled up her own face, but had missed because she couldn’t see.

She slowly came too, I felt cock-a-hoop, almost giddy, like a tipsy wigwam or a wonky snickers bar. Emotionally confused, a mixed bag of meat and cooking sherry. Oh god, make it stop.

She spun me around like a soggy zoetrope all slow and forced, similar to a postman’s deflated tire in gravel.

Her instructions were bizarre and incoherent, she was a user and a junky. I was part of her master plan, a dog-eared Ikea instruction manual, a worn-out Argos catalogue that had been scribbled on by some kid high on haribo, who’d then chewed through the cheap blue pen, inhaled the ink then immediately spat it back out over the commodity section.

She gargled with some words, which then fell from her bottom lip, relieved and wheezing onto her lap. They’d been replicated affectionately in her diary decorated with wilted drawings of flowers bedded in and around the sentences; a sense of hyperbably that was akin to being trapped inside a drunken yet familiar suburban cul-de-sac.

A shamble of a thrill seeker on an aging bumper car track, getting pummeled from both sides, losing her change with every hit, she was hooked.

You must get up, I told her, you’re covered in grease. She never listened, the words never stuck, they’d simply skim off her face and down a ditch. She lit a cigarette and then chain smoked like a trouper. When she’s in her 80’s she’ll look like two cue balls stuck to pack of grey crêpe paper. She was pale and fragile like a crumbling cliff face.

Head lolloping on the back door of a taxi rank, I pulled her up from the floor. She’d been there so long her hair had a side quiff; the long straight fringe and large eyes gave her the appearance of a tatty skateboard viewed from the side.

As we waited for a car to pass by she held my hand, cleared her throat and spat to the curb. I raised my eyebrows and intended to look at her with disgust. Then did the same, I was hooked.

Come on you smackhead, she said, let’s shoot up in the park, or black up; it’s your choice.

She said I was a nutbag, and that racism is shit.

As the night’s damp air set in we lay under the swings and knocked them back and forth, a rush of air on our faces each time they swung by. A full moon framed through an angular set of clouds, the chain’s swing whipping passed like a ship’s radar refreshing in a monochrome sky. She opened a bag of Wotsits and made plane sounds whilst flicking them up and over the oncoming swing, most of which landed on my face.

She rested a Wotsit on my cheek and said I looked like a savory ashtray.


2 Responses to “Gully Suckers by Phil Hall”

  1. writersofarun Says:

    Phil….this is a work of art. It’s completely insane. But I like it. Did she really OD on catnip though, is what I really need to know. Also…will there be a picture? Oh God, I want to see a picture. Of all of it.

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