Read Fullalove Online

Authors: Gordon Burn

Fullalove (26 page)

‘Who is it?’ In response to my rap on the door.

‘Who do you think it is, Father Christmas? Who were you expecting?’

On the bed is a woman who I have never met but recognise instantly. I also recognise the hands – the clawy fingers of the hands from the black draw-string bag Hawkins wears around his neck.

The woman on the bed is Patsy Bonelli, mother of Hayley devil girl. She is naked, her legs pulled wide apart, her feet somehow tethered. Kneeling on the bed beside her, also naked, is Robin Carson. The two small hands have been pushed up in the space between the woman’s legs, tarantulous fingers against the lilac-white thighs: a trapped creature tearing an exit, a body leaving her body.

There has been a hole opening up in the seam behind the little dog’s head, and Carson has used this to skewer it on his erection.

Hawkins steps from behind the door and crashes a light in my face.

So this is me. Caught. Snatched. Definitively captured. KIA. Killed in action. TSD. Time since death. The nineteenth-century conviction that the last thing seen at the point of death would be fixed, as in a photograph, on the surface of the eye.

‘Sucking on the devil’s dick‚’ Hawkins says. He is speeding, grinding his molars; his jaws really grinding. ‘We’re dancing with the devil, Norman. We’re doing the cha-cha-cha. We’re doing the slow drag.’

*

It is the early hours, but there are people about in the streets, just walking. Parents with children; young people in uniform hooded tops playing tapes of motorway traffic, glass smashing, family quarrels at full volume on the boxes toted on their shoulders.

People straggling out of side streets, falling in, merging; a low-budget Wartime musical; the march up to the mill-owner’s house, the deposition to the pit boss’s mansion. ‘Crowds of people moved through the streets with a dream-like violence.’ My feet taking me past shops disappeared behind roller shutters, the interiors cut up into volumes of chain-link fencing, to the only place they know with any certainty they have been before.

The lift lobby at Ullswater House is a dungeon of shattered glass and compacted litter. ‘Rat-piss hell’ sprayed in metal paint. It is here, on a small patch of dirt and grass, that they have erected the shrine.

For a skeleton they have taken a cage from one of the pub machines and walled it in with empty cans of High Strength Lager. The canopy has been constructed from strips of orange police caution tape worked into a stole or alb. Items of the children’s clothing have been laid inside – small T-shirts, thick-washed white and pink synthetics – along with some of their toys: a pink elephant, a tiger, a green horse. Night-lights float in a tank, surrounded by picture candles. Yellow ribbons, hardly yellow any more, years after the release of the last hostage, have been stripped from car aerials and fastened to the frame. A cable-lead from a third-or fourth-storey window supplies the power to the television playing home-video footage of Mitsubishi Diamante and Sudio Porsche Carrera from pre-birth – streaky black-and-white pre-natal scans – to almost the day of their deaths. Shaky zoom-ins on drooly smiling faces, a hand reaching for a tinselly Christmas tree, the first child being joined by her new sister. The linking backdrop is the yellow-gold medallion-patterned wallpaper of the room where they were murdered, the ornamental limbless figures, the goldfish in its bowl.

Out of the darkness a steady stream of figures coming forward, waiting to kiss the spar of the cage that one of Heath’s assailants repeatedly cleans with a rag of silk.

Out
of
the
darkness
a
steady
stream
of
figures
coming
forward,
wait
ing
to
kiss
the
spar
of
the
cage
that
one
of
Heath’s
assailants
repeatedly
cleans
with
a
rag
of
silk.

The spectre, hanging back, recording. Re-formatting, word-counting, re-nosing experience; putting a headline on it before it has a chance to be felt. Telling it in words that will never see black and white.

Gordon Burn was the author of four novels,
Alma Cogan
(winner of the Whitbread First Novel Prize),
Fullalove
,
The North of England Home Service
and
Born Yesterday
. He was also the author of the non-fiction titles
Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son
,
Pocket Money
,
Happy Like Murderers, On The Way to Work
(with Damien Hirst) and
Best and Edwards.
His last book,
Sex & Violence, Death and Silence
, was a collection of his essays on art. Gordon Burn was the author of four novels,
Alma Cogan
(winner of the Whitbread First Novel Prize),
Fullalove
,
The North of England Home Service
and
Born Yesterday
. He was also the author of the non-fiction titles
Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son
,
Pocket Money
,
Happy Like Murderers, On The Way to Work
(with Damien Hirst) and
Best and Edwards.
His last book,
Sex & Violence, Death and Silence
, was a collection of his essays on art.

This ebook edition published in 2011
by Faber and Faber Ltd
Bloomsbury House
74–77 Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3DA

All rights reserved
© Gordon Burn, 1995

From
Molloy
by Samuel Beckett, translated by Samuel Beckett in association with Patrick Bowles, reprinted by kind permission of the Samuel Beckett Estate and the Calder Educational Trust, London.

From ‘Mario in Citta’ © 1978 by John Cheever, reprinted by kind permission of Alfred A. Knopf.

‘Detroit City’ written by Danny Dill and Mel Tillis © 1963 Polygram Music Publishing Ltd, lyrics reproduced by kind permission of the publisher.

Lyrics reproduced of ‘Is It My Body’ by kind permission of Carlin Music Corp., UK administrator

From
World Within World
© 1951 by Stephen Spender, reprinted by kind permission of the author

With the exception of those persons appearing as well-known personalities under their own names, albeit in often fictitious circumstances, all other characters do not bear any relationship to living characters and any resemblance to living persons is wholly incidental

The author wishes to acknowledge his debt to the work, particularly the doll works, of the American artist Mike Kelley

The right of Gordon Burn to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights, and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly

ISBN 978–0–571–26701–9

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