Friday, 8 February 2013

Terse, Cogent, Salient: Anthony Malone

Ghosts Of The Real Leather Jacket

It was only a second-hand leather jacket he'd picked up from the local charity shop to keep him warm in winter but it made him do bad things. For one thing, when he put it on, he swore blind he came from Lithuania when in fact he hailed from Guildford. He started drinking shots of rum instead of his usual Bacardi Breezers and singing sentimental songs about sailing away on the Esperanza leaving the love of his life Tatiana weeping on the shore. He developed a taste for ravjul, imqaret and biskuttinis and hung round Docklands asking bewildered HSBC employees if there was any work going. He put rings on his fingers and got his left ear pierced. It was all a bit odd.

Soon he began to look forward to A Night Wearing The Jacket. When he took it off, he once more reverted to his old self but that seemed dreary by comparison. The wait in the rain for the bus to work; taking out the rubbish; washing his socks. He had a steady job working for The Carphone Warehouse but his colleagues couldn't understand why he was taking so much time off work or why he sheepishly rolled back in with cuts and bruises all over him, reeking of booze and had fresh tattoos on his arms celebrating his new friends Mariajo, Dima and Odin. After several reprimands from his Branch Manager for scaring the customers and his appalling personal hygiene, he went home one night after work, defiantly put the jacket on and for an entire month lived as a landsick Lithuanian trawlerman, drinking himself stupid, picking fights and sleeping in his flat with the jacket wrapped around him. One morning he blearily awoke and the jacket slipped off him but his old self was gone forever.

Months later, outraged by the arrears, his landlord broke into his flat, bringing the police with him for fear of finding a dead body but there was no one there, just a leather jacket slung over the back of a chair and various books and videos. Neighbours denied seeing any young man for ages. “No one of that name here,” they claimed. “Only Vigo. And he was bad news.”

So the Landlord threw out the dead potted plants, sent in the cleaners, boxed up the few books and clothes and took them to the local charity shop where an elderly widow hung the battered leather jacket up on a coathanger and put a plastic cover over it. Eventually, after a few weeks, a fifty-five year old golfing enthusiast and father of four bought the jacket, tried it on, and shocked his family by abruptly moving to Guildford, applying for a vacancy at the local Carphone Warehouse and drinking nothing but Bacardi Breezers in clubs around the West End. Madness got him too, in the end. So the world turns.

*     *     *

Anthony Malone’s fiction has been published in Murky Depths, Mad Swirl, Litro Online and many others. He has read at numerous Live Lit events and recorded for London Link Radio.

1 comment:

  1. After trying on a leather jacket in a Guildford charity shop, I went out and bought a VW Golf. I wonder if there's a connection????