• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 07
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Queen Liz

When the painter abandoned me to this place, years ago now, I was just excited to be here. My creation had taken three weeks of night parties, the painter and her boozy twenty-something friends laughing and chatting as she conjured me from a mere orange torso, adding arms, legs, and this glorious long tail. ‘Liz’ she christened me, raising a beer bottle to the sky. ‘Queen Liz!’ Later, she snuck by alone to see me at night, adding final touches; a blue frame for me to crawl upon, and two green plants with which to attract insects. She blew me a last kiss, before climbing back over the metal fence, as police sirens whirred outside. 

I haven’t seen her since. But then again, I haven’t seen anything for a long while. The green glitter paint she used for my eyes wore away countless rains ago. Those emerald eyes had witnessed worms whorl their way through the plant and food waste of the compost bin, would-be gardeners using it for their plots, planting flowers and fruits and vegetables while their children squealed and played. Birds would locate worms in the new peat, flying their spoils up to their babies in nests. Butterflies and insects would buzz about the stench, conjuring such desire in me that I’d dream of God painting me a flickering golden tongue with which to devour them whole. 

Now a suited man comes by. He says Berlin is full of ‘zwecklos’ places like this, that such useless parts of the city must change, that there must be progress. He brings with him planners and builders as if to tell me my days are numbered. If I could, I’d ask to borrow his eyes for just one day before he and his friends sent me on my way. I’d fill those pupils with the colour of sunsets and sunrises, of clouds passing by, lazy as they please. I’d show them the way goblets of rainwater glisten on blue tarpaulin, how a frost freezes colourless flags so they petrify in the wind. I’d show them the black-blue metallic sheen of a lone coprophagous beetle squatting on a fresh pile of dog shit, and the scrawny street rat who has just emerged from a pile of rubbish to race along my back as if launching himself at the moon.