1984: The Killing Moon
My head buzzed with mushrooms and dope, and Stig’s
mentalist eyes were burning my soul. Stig Doyle: free
marketeer. He looked around the tiny caravan as if
eavesdroppers may be lurking within its sixty square foot of
ash, beer cans, soiled sheets and Razzles.
Having delivered a series of tortuous, complex instructions
I had already forgotten, Stig revved off on his scrambler, a
bike that enabled him to visit his regulars without using the
roads. After he’d gone, I pulled out my project: a shoebox of
photographs I’d been taking over the previous months and
which Tony at least seemed happy with.
Unable to focus, I lay down and watched branches scrape
the windows. My head hurt with cider, my belly ached and
there was nothing to drink except the cold mushroom tea.
There was a cider bottle full of the stuff so I took a deep swig,
winced at the slimy taste, then took some more and jogged
into the lounge to accelerate the poison.
It started to rain; drops thudded on the rooftop like ingots.
The caravan was expanding in all directions, each tin room as
massive as a cathedral. My project, suggested by my
desperate art teacher, seemed suddenly ludicrous:
photographs of Millmoor, Julie, Stig arsing around, six
months of work – Christ knows how much I’d spent on film
Impatiently, I stuffed the project back into the box, vowing
that from then on art and autobiography would always remain
After locking the caravan with a rusty padlock, I pedalled
my Grifter through the woods. Still having some Polaroid
film left, I stopped in the quiet lane and looked around at the
trees heaving and whispering beneath the onslaught of rain.
Up in the sky were magic mushroom clouds. Tufts sieved
down through the branches, washing up pure against trees and
In the first year of the sixth-form we were reading about
the great philosophers. As I snapped, a gorse bush
transformed itself into Nietzsche. I wondered if this should be
my project: philosophers as foliage. A sycamore reminded me
of Kierkegaard and an ancient oak became Schopenhauer.
There were no banyan trees in Millmoor woods however, so
Jung was conspicuous by his absence.
Feeling nauseous, I suddenly stopped dead in the middle of
the wood. Spinning, faster and faster, trees sneaking up from
behind, nobody for miles. An odd thought came to me, a
strand of some philosophy of my own perhaps, or maybe just
some deluded teen crap on mushrooms:
Here I am.
*This is an extract of “Fire Horses” by M L Piggott.
“Fire Horses”: synopsis and quotes
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