The coastline was dotted with Zombie poles, and during this morning’s hazy sunrise, just before the rain set in, there seemed to be more of them than ever. But, of course, there were not enough in one single shot to enable a generalisation as to the nature of these poles. Their redness looked too neatly uniform to be the outcome of mindless or piecemeal body-chafing.
So closely following Christmas, the day after Boxing Day, in fact, I was surprised to find only one empty manger near the encroaching sea’s edge. These mangers, like the Zombie poles, often peppered our coastline all the year round, most of them seeming ready for imminent occupation, with grubby pillow and tiny duvet, but this one, today, appeared recently vacated rather than ready for occupation, containing, as it did, what I at first took to be breadcrumbs and spilt breast milk or was it the remains of an ice-cream sandwich (a delicacy of the holiday resort nearby)? I cringed when I saw red marks on the duvet, probably a sick gull’s droppings still damp with dawn’s dew, soon to become even damper with the splattering of now noticeable raindrops as further encouraged by advancing tides.
I knelt beside the manger, mourning whatever had been thrown out of it. The thought of a premature demangerisation was something that was hard to bear. I was, I recall, one such baby thrown out early, but I had been thrown out from a seemingly civilised fixture, a more stable cot indoors. Indeed, abandoned, as I was, to fend for myself in an admittedly well-equipped nursery, I found nobody to teach me about the use of each implement and toy or about the correct route to the kitchen or bathroom. Nobody to provide a helping hand with the diaper that I did not know I needed.
Luxury abounded but I had never been able to enjoy it for what it was intended. So I once crawled into the outside and billeted myself in any manger I could find, having first pretended it had been left solely for me. A sparse smallholding’s stable or even an out-of-season beach were better than any luxury when you didn’t know how to exploit such luxury. At least the rain managed to seep between my lips. And those who pole-danced sluggishly with the arrival of dusk were able sporadically to bring me any residue of food they no longer found edible because of their condition. Some passers-by were accompanied by unusually docile dogs on leads, forgetting the purpose of their eternal stroll beside the sea. What they were still looking for…
A Prêt à Manger floating out upon the waves, at the end of this Boxing Day’s Boxing Day.
Above is a new DFL thingie as commissioned by means of a title given by G.S. Carnivals of Thomas Ligotti On-Line. Other such thingies here.