Heather Enderby

CLAIRE HAMILTON — CREATIVE WRITINGThe pen is mightier than the sword

Heather Enderby

1951 John Whelbourne
He stood by his wife’s graveside. It was one of the places he had visited everyday for weeks now in his search for answers. Twenty two and a half years of marriage had ended on her death and he felt loss. Words could not capture the depth of this feeling. The empty space beside him was still solid with memories, cold with the relentless truth, and it filled him with longing.

Man should not be alone.

He wondered at the weight of the love they bore, and he asked himself these questions “What happens to all that love, where does it go? Could it possibly cease to be, just as Dorothy had ceased to be? They were questions he and Dorothy had visited before. He knew, if he knew anything at all in that grief laden moment in time, that such love could not ‘no longer exist’.

He felt a warmth and wholeness creep through him as the realisation dawned on him, and with that knowledge came the idea of what he must do. He made a plan.

Ewan McBride – an introduction to the hero
The light breaks through the gaps of the semi-closed blind announcing another new day into the room. The angular room, with its hard bare polished floorboards and rectangular bed with plain grey covers, is unadorned and uncluttered, almost bare. A vaporous cocktail of laundry basket and men’s changing room hangs in the air. The alarm rings but Ewan is already awake. He feels around to see if the most important parts of his body are intact, and, secure in their existence, anchors himself to the day. He climbs out of bed stepping over last nights shed garments and grabs his plain grey robe.

A quick glance in the mirror confirms what Ewan is feeling; heavy eyed, under slept, not at his best. A hint of regret sweeps through him as he thinks ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’.

Ewan turns on the shower (he likes turning things on). The bathroom fills with warm, damp air and he feels life creeping back. The fresh clear water flows over his body and, as the body wash physically removes yesterday’s grime, it also spirits away the lethargy that is the legacy of last night’s excesses. It is like a light has been turned on. Then to operation grooming; this is a seven stage ritual starting with an exfoliation, followed by a towel down, then an all over moisturiser. Deodorant, a fake tan cream, a shave and finally, smellies are liberally thrown on the beautiful torso.

“Looking good, looking good,” He says to his image in the mirror. He wraps a white bath towel around his waist and tucks it in. He pauses longer in front of the mirror and muses over the power of health and beauty (probably the same thing) in selling products. The way he was feeling, he could sell anything. Even if it were a pair of his dad’s discarded underpants, they would sell like hot cakes.

On go the Calvin Klein boxers; the crisp white shirt collected from the laundry yesterday, the camel coloured chinos and the Hugo Boss jacket. Now back to the bathroom to tackle the hair, the second grooming ritual of the morning. First it’s the straighteners. Then the rest of the world slips away as the artist becomes involved in the art form.

 He immerses his fingers into the tools of his trade, the pot of modelling clay, and runs it through his hair. Then the architecture starts. First he places a strand to the left, then another to the right at a tangent to the first. He reproduces yet another jaunty angle as perfect as the first. And so on until the masterpiece is constructed. Or is it? He redoes the strand he put to the left and then changes the angle of his head;
decides it doesn’t look right and, puts it back again. Ten minutes of modelling and another missed photo opportunity later and the Modern Meterosexual is ready to be let loose on the world.

Fester sat down abruptly, lifted his leg to a space two inches from his ear, then lowered his head, docking it like a plug into a socket and scratched at it ferociously.  “Friggin fleas, I’m going to have to wangle some treatment for this, they’re driving me nuts”. (getting used to a new body always came with a certain amount of irritation) He finished scratching, took his paw away from his ear, relocated it to his mouth and gave it a languid chew. Then he stood up, gave himself a shake, and carried on with his business. He’d been on this case for just two days and though he had made no progress, he was beginning to find his way around, and gather information.

Fester had many a breed of dog in him the result of which was a mostly black, wavy haired dog with orange tinted eyebrows. Interestingly, his head was smaller than his neck, a design feature Fester had requested as it gave him the ability to slip a collar and thus aid escape. In dog world their unit of measurement for height is ‘the knee’. One knee equates approximately to the distance from foot to knee of the average man and its derivation and exact distance is from the actual knee height of the first human that needed looking after by a dog. His name was Adam. A small dog, such as a Jack Russell would be a third Knee high; whereas a King Charles spaniel would be a half knee high. A Great Dane would be two knees high; other wisely known as a hip high. Fester was one knee high. He found this a very useful stature; he was not too big to be menacing and not too small to be kicked away. And on occasions when endeavouring to endear himself to someone he could deposit himself next to them and lean, gently and trustingly, into their leg. The simple human would then be flattered that the dog was so comfortable with them and look upon him like he were an old warm boot, with affection. He had two distinguishing characteristics; one was that there was nothing distinguishing about him – in fact he could blend with wherever he was and it would be possible to ‘not-notice’ him; and the other was that he could smile.
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