I Never Have

Between films, Jaws took up residence with us in Cranberry Court.
I forget the number of the flat. We didn’t live there long.
I suspect he moved out when Jaws 3 came along.
The floor was lino. PE knicker green. Dark enough to write on in chalk (and I did) ‘cos there was a thing to pass the time.
Apart from at night, when the underfloor heating pipes rattled, and the sole scorching began.
I’d leap the distance to the cardboard bed (yes, this is a thing; look it up)
And it wasn’t just the dry, toe-torturing heat from the baking lino that made me jump,
It was the thought of what was Down There.
Because Jaws was Down There.
Because he was.
The story was that he’d have my feet, my legs, my torso – I’d seen it on the telly, I had –
The story was that he was more active at night,
‘cos that’s when the body parts would come bobbing up to the surface,
When I’d be most at risk,
And needing to keep myself still and schtum,
No matter what had woken me this time.
In reality, though, I was reassured by his presence Down There.
I was certain that he would never hurt me,
Because I took care not to step on his crinkly, rubbery comedy nose,
And because he was never the worst thing about that flat.

So why wouldn’t I think fondly of him all these years later?

Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Red Fez. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains frustratingly as unproduced as it was the last time he updated this biography. And then there’s the small matter of the 10 completed novels… 14, if you count the ones that have been written off. Number 15 is now 90,000 words in. Those 5:00am starts are really paying off.

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