You walk along the beach, the pebbles crunching beneath your All Stars.
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, God it s early. The sky is flat and wide, lightening in slivers. You hear the distant crack of wave against rock, the slap of water against stone, and closer, the lapping of liquid tongues salty over sand. You lick your lips with a thick tongue. God it s early, you think, and my head is humming. You kick the charred twigs that mark the spot where we drank and danced into the early hours. The charcoal is as brittle and fragile as an old woman s bones and snaps softly. No embers. You smile and pull out a cigarette. A crow stabs around in the ugly weed that litters the shore. You watch the crow. And then I see your lips say, Fuck like Wayne Rooney when he misses. And Fuck again. You rush at the crow, arms flailing, feet scuffing the sand. You see the finger first, and then the hand. And then the frayed wrist of Anjie s parka. And her body wrapped in bloated, bubbly clothes. The cigarette is still in your mouth as you pull her up the shore. The effort required is too much. You haven t had coffee. You need coffee. You sit watching Anjie rise and fall as the tide recedes and light peels strips of darkness from the sky. She is like a photograph in the dark room where you work. She is washed in blue, cool blue. You are as still as a trigger. But then you move. Quickly. You take the scarf from around your neck and with it tie Anjie s ankles together. You fold her arms across her chest. It is flat. You are thinking, She was bigger than that. And then you force her knees up against her chest and secure the scarf around her neck. Perfect. I see you scrambling for pebbles and filling her pockets frantically. You find a large one. This will do. You smash it into her mouth, breaking teeth as you push. No blood. Fuck. It will not fit. It sticks out like a grotesque swollen tongue. Like one of those fucking masks, you think. I remember your T shirt and smile: Vodka Connecting People. I see you take the phone from your pocket. I imagine you are calling Jez. You need an alibi. He won t answer. Too pissed. Still sleeping. You text. You take off your All Stars and place the phone in one of them. You bend to grab Anjie s hood and then drag the giant foetus into the water. You are breathing heavily as you stumble out to sea. I see you rock and shudder as wave and undertow knock you off balance. The foetus is bobbing up and down. I remember Stevie Smith s poem and smile. You are an absurd figure drowning, not waving. I take the phone from the All Stars, read the text, and then dump it in my backpack. Time for a full English breakfast.