My maternal grandfather turned up at my council flat with his father, who was a tiny bearded man in an ancient wheelchair. I hadn’t seen them for a long time. Without saying hello, my great grandfather raised a fist in the air and began to berate me for being nearly sixty and still without a proper home or job. Even when my grandfather lifted him out of the chair, carried him to the toilet and put him down on the seat, he continued to scold me. The whole flat soon started to stink, but I said nothing through fear of offending them.
‘Come on,’ the youth said, running towards me. He grabbed my hand and I found myself running too, straight towards a wall so that I had no choice than to jump with him. On the other side was a drop of several feet. We both fell onto our backs, but to my surprise, although I was winded, the only part of me that hurt was my foot. It had caught on a precious vase on the top of the wall. The youth was doubled up, not with pain, but with laughter. He took hold of my hand again. ‘You’ll have to pay for that smashed vase,’ he told me. ‘But the jump was your idea.’ ‘It was your foot,’ he said, and gripped my hand even tighter.
I came across Priscilla’s young daughter wandering through the park on her own. She was half carrying, half dragging a large doll by one of its hands. The doll reminded me of her late father, with his stiff, dyed-black hair and dark eye shadow. I had seen him once in concert in 1970. I remembered him walking through the audience full of gratitude as if he himself could not believe that he was there, singing better than he ever had. How could we have known that he would soon no longer care whether he lived or died? I found Priscilla weeping on a bench. She waved me away without even looking up. It was people like me who through our adoration had killed her loved one, she shouted after me.
Ian Seed’s most recent publications are Italian Lessons (LikeThisPress, 2017), Identity Papers (Shearsman, 2016) and The Thief of Talant (Wakefield, 2016), the first translation into English of Pierre Reverdy’s Le Voleur de Talan. His work is represented in a number of anthologies, most recently The Forward Book of Poetry 2017 (Faber&Faber), The Best Small Fictions 2017 (Braddock Avenue Books) and The Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt). He teaches at the University of Chester in the UK. His "Four Short Prose Pieces" appeared in Issue #23; "Trick" and "Bright and Early" in Issue #42; "Travel," "A Life," and "Investment" in Issue #47; "Three Stories" in Issue #55; and Four Stories in Issue #59 of The Cafe Irreal.