The oil soaked into the carpet in an ever-widening circle of shame around us both as we copulated on the living room floor.

When we reached our climactic finish, our cries caused the cat to jump down in fright from the settee and run obliviously through the mess and out through the half-opened door, leaving a trail of black footprints behind him as he ran into the hall and up the stairs.

“Oh god, I’m sorry,” I said, looking at the mess. “I’m getting old, these days. It’s my knees. If I don’t lubricate them they seize up. But then when I do, I leak.”

“Urgh,” said the scarecrow. “You could have warned me. I’m flammable enough as it is.”

He felt his back and grimaced in disgust at the feel of himself. He rubbed his fingers together in front of my face, my thick black fluid oozing down them towards the grubby palms of his hands.

“How the hell am I going to get all this out? It’s disgusting. Christ, I can feel it soaking through me, soaking into my heart.”

He emphasised that last word and gave me a withering look while he waited for me to respond to his cutting jibe.

The wind suddenly gusted through the open window and the curtains billowed extravagantly. The daylight cast a tawdry brightness across the room, which left both of us deflated.

On the other side of the window, I caught a glimpse of a face peering in, emotionless, wizened, more like a mask than living flesh.

“Please, carry on,” he said, when he noticed me staring. “Don’t mind me.”

But by now the scarecrow had already left, and I was too self-conscious to continue on my own.



1. Written on August 7th, 2018


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