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Jay Merill    



WENT OUT AND GOT wasted yeah, with some guy. Story of my life so far.  Like as not he was on his uppers and I was the one as forked out for the bill.  Bit further on down the road and I ran out of dosh.  Sister wouldn’t help me, said I’d brought it on myself.  Got drawn into debt; drank to forget.


    Was out of it more times than you could count and now guess what.  I’m permanently there – on the street is as out as you’ll ever get. If you’re talking about a place that is.  Talking about your head, I’m definitely out of that, booze or no booze.

    The booze out’s a comfort  till you puke, but I wonder why it is you can never picture this is gonna happen till you get that queasy feeling and your belly starts to churn.  Well, I never can.  Beforehand the booze is your dearest friend.


    Have got a nice little bit of something stashed under my blanket, matter of fact –  best kept out of sight, believe me. Types you get round here in Notting Hill wouldn’t think twice about nicking your final drop.  Depraved lot of desperados is what they are.  Then we’ve got the snotty gits as well.  Make me puke up worse than the booze does.  They go strutting past you, pretending they aint seen hide nor hair.  But they’re no more honest than the rest.  And like as not they’ll have a nasty look in the eye and will be pulling this face as though to say they can smell something rotten and it’s you.  Most likely it is but still it’s rude to act that way as it’s not always somebody’s fault they’ve ended up on the street.  Issit.  How would they like to be cut off like this from their posh ensuites?


    So I started off as a tart with a heart.  And it was the heart part that did for me more times than you could count.  I’d have done well to have thought of my own self a bit instead of laying myself bare.  But I always was my own worst enemy and that’s a fact.  Wore my heart on my sleeve my sister loved to tell me.  So there you go.


    Mind you, can still show fellers a thing or two when I’ve had a few.  For one thing I do me dance routine.  Well, the opening steps anyways, before I totter. But the tottering part they seem to like the best.  If it’s summer and I’ve shed me outer layers that is.  Because like as not I’ll be showin all I’ve got.   And I got plenty. So they gets an eyeful, and if they’s up for it they’ll get a handful.  Because, nothing wrong with a bit of touchy-feely.  Touchy-feely makes the world go round.  Must I spell it out?


    Booze is one thing but I sometimes have a bit of smack.  Couple of my old cronies give it me and we have a laugh an a half.  More often than not we’re a threesome in this big wide doorway by the cinema.  You might have seen us, hanging loose all weathers. If you’ve passed that way.  Bandy-Randy, Sog and me.  One night, sister comes along, sees me, says I make her sick. Sog goes, Why not come and join us Love.  Get a skinful.  Randy tells him why’s he bother?  I tell sister she shouldn’t have darkened my doorway – ignorance is bliss.


    Sister’s ashamed of me.  She’s just as bad as all the other snot-bags up this way. Says as how I oughta grow up fast. Truth is…  Jealousy.  I’m five years younger, and way sexier. She never did want me to ave a life.  Now says as how I’m a slapper good and proper and she’s gonna have to keep her kids away from me as what kind of a role model would I be for them?


    What I really want to say about the life I’m living now is – the cold can get right into you and make you ache.  I’m not confident I’ll survive the coming winter.  I long for warmth, for the ensuites, or any old bathroom anywhere with clean hot water in it. The suffering and the longing are a treadmill where I place my shaky feet.  So need the booze now as much as ever. It seems there’s no escape.


Fiction by Jay will be published shortly by 3 AM Magazine, Litro, Matter Press, Prairie Schooner and tNY Press.  Jay is a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.  Her stories have appeared recently in Bunbury Magazine,The Casket of Fictional Delights, Crannog Magazine, Foliate Oak, The Galway Review,  Minor Literature[s], Prague Revue, Story Shack, Wigleaf and other great publications.  She has 2 short story collections published by Salt and is the winner of the Salt Short Story Prize.  Jay lives in London UK and is currently Writer in Residence at Women in Publishing.




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