If you love, adore the moon. If you rob, steal a camel.

Stories for the Long Silk Road

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Paul Tristram: A Haberdashery Of Heartache

He stepped quickly in through
the gloomy, creaking shop front door,
leaving the drizzly rain of London’s
‘Bleeding Heart Yard’ behind him.
Removing his battered old trilby hat
he shook it casting little sooty globs
of water down onto the sawdust floor.
He approached the teeth marked counter
and rang the little bronze bell, thrice.
An assistant quickly appeared from behind
a dusty velvet curtained doorway
wearing an apron which was splattered
with blood to the extent that he could have
previously been employed as sidekick
to Him who tore up Lady Elizabeth Hatton.
He adjusted the small round spectacles
upon his long and crooked nose,
scratched at his balding head
whilst pulling a pencil nubbing out
from behind his greasy right ear
(such as the kind you find in a gambling den!)
He tapped the lead against his tongue, twice,
coughed and spoke thus,
“Is the slash & stitching for yourself, sir?
How long was this previous relationship, in years?
Was a wedding band used to bind the contract?
Is the enemy still alive and well or deceased?
Ankle-biters, are there any ankle-biters, sir?
If so how many of them and of what sex
also, is there any fondness for any of them
or are they merely relationship baggage?
Please, don’t look that way, sir, I must ask.
Last but not least, the guilt, there is always guilt,
on this occasion which side of the fence does it lay?”
The patron winced and shuffled uncomfortably
from one foot back and fore to the other,
then spoke his reply in an exhausted drawl
“It would have been thirteen years to this day.
Yes, the messy business is for myself.
There was a brass contractual finger ring
but I spied it in a ‘Leaving Shop’ window
3 streets ago only yesterday morning.
God, did not bless the coupling with children,
but with enough misery to fill the hole instead.
And as for the guilt, well while I do not
have a decent thing to say about her
being a gentleman, I must take responsibility
for letting her into my home to begin with!”
The assistant finished noting this down
and with a frown he spoke again,
“You must not be too hard on yourself,
it speaks for itself that you are stood here
and she is not, sir!
Besides we are not here to judge but to mend
Repairing butchered hearts is our business
and our business is very well and healthy.
It will be a whole 3 banknotes for the operation,
which will take approximately one single hour.
It is indeed your lucky day, sir.
This morning’s work ran rather smoothly,
the first after midday vitals didn’t make it though,
hence the state of my normally spotless apparel.
The lady who was supposed to be up next
and booked her appointed yesterday afternoon
could not wait the 24 hours or so
for we have just been informed that she took
a permanent dip off Shadwell Docks last night.
Which gives us a 2 hour gap until the next one.
The Master is out back smoking his pipe,
if you take a seat, I will give him a shout
and we will both be with you directly, sir!”

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Silk Road Mantra

by Suchoon Mo

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road

I go and go

from west to east

I go and go

from east to west

bury me not

in the lone Silk Road


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