• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 01

The Chair

It’s that one, the green chair in the corner. The salesman tried to offload a recliner on me, but I wanted this wing-backed fat-buttoned brass-studded squatter the moment I saw it. Plus, leather you can clean.

That auction house crouching next to the mortuary on the Largo Road. You always insisted there was no connection. But I saw the chipped porcelain cups and duck-headed canes of people who die alone in their flats on rainy Tuesday mornings, discovered a week later, scared stiff and upright in a rickety chair or collapsed across a trestle table, steeping next to a mossy cup of tea.

So I wonder what my chair has seen. Its black corgi legs are scuffed at the front where some half-blind biddy must have run her hoover. Or maybe a dog cut his teeth on it, beavering down to fresh bright pine. A nursing chair, my mother called it, tossing hope into its lap. I clutched my wine stem and sank in heavy, crushed out the air. A smoking chair. You stand corrected.

I wrote my whole thesis with its arms around me, my first novel with my legs thrown over one arm like a bride carried over her threshold. Highback curls in Princess Leia waves next to my ears, an intergalactic shield, so I can hear myself think. It squeaks when I sink into it, sighs when I lever out. Sometimes when the barometer changes it pops a cough, commenting on the weather.

A sensual thing, soft and shining, rubbed bright ripe and apple green. Its fat back bulges with secrets, heaving flesh buttoned up too tight, threatening to spill out white and greedy the second you pluck a stud from the infinite whorls on the wings.


The Chair

There’s a pea pod scar across the wall behind it from that time we made beastly love in it, skooched it up against the wallpaper and rocked it till we left a mark. Just that once. My chair’s really only big enough for one.

Of course I also blew your boss in it, just that once. He was more than you in every way. I remember thinking, It’s a good thing I can wipe this chair down afterwards. A good thing.

When you left, you took all the furniture built for two. Our sofa, our bed. But you left me the chair. “That dead people’s chair,” you called it. You have no idea how relieved I was.

Now I can’t write unless I’m tied up in it, pricked with one of those brass tacks till blood spills out and stains the words. When the studs run out it’ll be my turn, dredged up days later, creaky cold with my head warped back against one of the wings. And that relentless chair will carry my secrets to someone else’s corner.