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Apricot

Your brother died many years ago

He was part of the Dream Battalion

And had been promoted

Quite quickly as all the other officers were dead

Until that fateful afternoon

When he was shot in the head whilst drinking a cup of tea

As you and I are doing now

Maisie leaned forward and filled my cup nearly to the brim

We were in a small room that overlooked an avenue of trees

On the wall above the fireplace was a small photograph of a middle aged woman naked in a bathroom

Her bottom was heavy but was not unattractive and the photograph appeared to have been taken from another room

Is that you?

No I wish it was I would have liked to have had her intellect

Who is she?

I do not know

Then why do you hang it above your fireplace?

There is no reason

Everything has a reason

No on the day I purchased the photograph I had already decided to hang it above my fireplace it was decision I had made

Why did you not hang on another wall in another room?

Because I wanted to liberate myself

Do you know who she is?

Apricot I suppose

I wish my brother was here as he could answer all your questions

Are you my questions bothering you?

No I find your questions quite liberating

Then why do you wish that your brother was here with us?

Because he is dead if he was here with us then I would imagine that he would be quite well and would answer your questions

I would have not lost my brother

Is the woman in the photograph you?

Yes

Who took the photograph?

One of my students

What were you doing?

Washing my pubic hair I have quite an amount of it you know

That must be rather boring for you

It is rather rotten when you have a period

I do not have periods

I know

But if there was a war I would most probably be called up

Like my brother

Would you go?

No

No why not do you not love your country?

I love my country as much as the next man but I do not love the blind creatures

The blind creatures?

Yes these are the people in this country and many others that make decisions that affect us all

Your brother died because of a decision made by a certain creature

No no Simon he died because he was shot by a sniper when drinking a cup of tea

The sniper at that moment made a decision to shoot your brother

And a creature without sight much further up the tree had made a decision that snipers were to be used to kill enemy soldiers

The woman in the photograph is not me

I know

How do you know?

Because I have seen your bottom

How we have only just met?

I have known you for many years

Do you not remember the day I took the photographs of you?

No have you seen me naked?

Yes quite naked

Do you not remember Chicago?

I have never visited Chicago

I was told that you rarely locked your bathroom door and wherever you stayed the hinges to these doors were always broken

Well I found the keys to your apartment

They were under the doormat

I know they were always to be found under the doormat

It is such an obviously place

I had my Leica with me

And then I saw you emerge from your bath and start to arrange your hair in the mirror

I took a few quick shots before you heard the camera clicking

What happened?

Nothing you just turned and smiled at me

Did I scold you?

No not really

You naughty boy was all you said and you carried on arranging your hair without closing the door

Did you take further photographs?

No there was something odd about you

That I was naked and had showed my sex to you

No you were wearing shoes quite sturdy shoes with a steep heel

Why would I wear shoes when bathing?

This is what made the photographs extraordinary and that was why I hung my favourite above your fireplace

After you took the photographs what did you do?

Nothing although I wanted to fuck you

I had a period and that was the reason I was bathing

I saw your soiled underwear as I entered the apartment

What were your thoughts did you want to fuck a woman in the middle of her cycle?

It was of no odds to me

Did you notice that I soon wore a pair of large white knickers?

Yes you were wearing them when you entered the main room

Did you still want to fuck me?

Yes

Then why did you not ask?

Because the blood was already beginning to soil you fresh underwear

Are you married?

Yes

Have you ever fucked your wife during her cycle?

Sometimes we have

Do you enjoy it?

It is of no consequence to me I just clean up afterwards

What about your wife

When I first met her she was slightly ashamed of her period until the day that I place a used towel of hers in my mouth

What did you do?

I just kept it there for a short while to show my wife that there was nothing to be ashamed of

Did you taste her blood?

I must have although I do not remember it

How did she react?

At first she was disgusted but she soon saw my point

The point being?

The point was that if she had cut her hand then I would have kissed it and licked the blood away

Just because the blood had emerged from her cunt what was the difference?

Is the blood from her hand any different to the blood from her cunt?

I looked up and noticed that the trees in the avenue were being whipped up by a sudden breeze

I think it is going to rain shortly

I agree the heat has been oppressive

Do you have to leave now?

No not really

Teddy was a virgin when he died he had never experienced a woman her soft skin her breasts her cunt

That is what upset me the most

You cannot change it do not torture yourself

Maisie’s eyes began to moisten and a tear ran down her smooth cheek

I always cry for him he should have experienced a lot more

Did you know that one of his fellow soldiers wrote to me soon after his death?

No

He noted that when Teddy was shot for a moment as the bullet ripped his skull apart there was a most radiant smile on his face

That might have been the impact of the bullet

No even in our few short years together I knew Teddy well so very very well

I knew that Teddy was smiling at the irony of it all

He was resting and drinking a cup of tea but had not kept his head low enough

I knew that I was going to lose Teddy but I thought it would be in battle shot to pieces whilst tangled in barbed wire

But to die when drinking tea I ask you what a fucking mess

Do you know during the week before he went to war I offered myself to him

I climbed naked into his bed and offered myself to him

What did he do?

He kissed me and held me but we did not fuck

I knew he wanted to fuck me as his cock was hard

But he did not fuck me

Did you speak?

No we were both silent

What happened?

We both fell asleep

I awoke first and returned to my room

Was it ever mentioned?

No within the year Edward was dead

On the day that his death was reported I went to his room undressed and lay in his bed but I did not cry

What did you do?

I masturbated and had the most intense orgasm that I have ever experienced

And then?

And then I cried and cried

I cried for days and became a terrible burden on my poor parents

You were committed for a while I believe

Only for a week or so as I tried to destroy my looks I took his razor to my cunt but thankfully or not did not do much harm to myself

Has it passed now?

I am not sure I keep your photograph above my fire as enjoy people looking at me

I am exhibited it is better that way

Are you ever asked is it you?

Never you are the first one

But I like to see the young men looking at my bottom and imagining what it would be like to fuck me

They might just be looking at your bottom

True but I am allowed my license

Suddenly the branch of the nearest tree brushed against the window of the room

The sky was dark almost yellow in colour

Lightning soon began to appear and for an instant illuminated everything and then the thunder rolled above us

Would you like a fresh pot of tea as this one has cooled?

No the tea is fine

As I lifted the delicate bone china cup to my lips Maisie pulled a revolver from under a newspaper on the small table beside her

Do not worry I am not going to shoot you

I did not think you would

This is Teddy’s service revolver you know

I thought it might be

I sleep with it under my pillow

Are you scared of intruders?

No this area is incredibly safe  

Maisie rose from her chair and walked towards the window

Look at all the people running afraid of the storm they can see me at this window but pay me no attention even with this revolver in my hand

I could shoot any of them and that would be that they would be dead with a bullet in their brain

But I choose not to

The choice is mine however

One of them might be carrying a pistol

They would look up and shoot me here straight through my heart and this lovely white dress would be as soiled as my large white knickers were on the day you photographed me

They have a choice also  

Maisie handed me the revolver

Take it with you when you leave as one day I will grow tired of myself

You will destroy yourself

It is the ultimate illustration of hate

My fireplace will remain attached to that wall until such time that I decide to have it removed

It has no future but did have a past

The materials used might have been part of a great work of art  admired by many

This sculpture would appear in books and in hundreds of years would be still admired

But its fate was to be that of an inter-war fireplace

It faces that tree and that is its only entertainment

Occasionally I lie on the rug in front of the fire and masturbate or even take a lover and we drink casually quite naked in front of the fireplace

But I know if I touch it my skin is likely to burn it is as if the fireplace is jealous of my freedom

Fireplaces do not have sexual feelings

I agree I do not suppose it would care if I placed a rotting sheep in front of it

It is cold now as the day is so humid

Maisie leaned forward and touched the frame of the fireplace

Quite cold

She placed her bare foot into the little ash that was to be found

Quite cold

This fireplace is dead but if I lit a fire then I would give it life again

This is my decision

But if the fire did not take then I would shiver

Do you think that about whose decision that is?

That would be poor planning on my part

Then are you saying that the fireplace is dead unable to make decisions

Yes

The branch of the tree hit the window again but with a great deal more force

The next time that it hits that window it will break it

I have no control over the summer storm

No-one has

It will cease soon

Stay with me as I am scared

No

I will undress in front of you

I have seen you naked I can see you naked now in the photograph

You may have seen me naked but you have never touched me

I am married

Is that a reason?

You desired me once

I still desire you

Then stay

No I am married happily married

Is that a barrier?

Yes even though I could quite easily stay and we could fuck quite happily all night I choose not to

Am I not attractive?

Very attractive but I have a freedom of choice I can make many decisions

I could raise this pistol and shoot you in the head so that you might die as your brother did

I could go into the kitchen and make a cup of tea

I could light the fire

I could remove your dress and caress your breasts

But I am not going to do any of these

When the storm ceases I am will leave you

On my way home I will throw the revolver into the river as not to cause further danger

I will arrive home and kiss my wife

She will ask after you and I will joke that we have spent the whole afternoon fucking

She will laugh

You see these are my choices

And you will cook yourself a meal and watch the sun vanish from the sky

Those are your choices

Your brother died many years ago

He was part of the Dream Battalion

And had been promoted

Quite quickly as all the other officers were dead

Until that fateful afternoon

When he was shot in the head whilst drinking a cup of tea

As you and I are doing now

I feel that we are going to repeat our conversation

No the words might be the same but the storm has now passed

The branch of the tree will not strike the window as it did before

The heat is less oppressive now

Where shall we start?

Your brother died many years ago

He was part of the Dream Battalion

And had been promoted

Quite quickly as all the other officers were dead

Until that fateful afternoon

When he was shot in the head whilst drinking a cup of tea

As you and I are doing now

Maisie leaned forward and filled my cup nearly to the brim

We were in a small room that overlooked an avenue of trees

On the wall above the fireplace was a small photograph of a middle aged woman naked in a bathroom

Her bottom was heavy but was not unattractive and the photograph appeared to have been taken from another room

Is that you?

No I wish it was I would have liked to have had her intellect

Who is she?

I do not know

Then why do you hang it above your fireplace?

There is no reason

Everything has a reason

No on the day I purchased the photograph I had already decided to hang it above my fireplace it was decision I had made

Why did you not hang on another wall in another room?

Because I wanted to liberate myself

Do you know who she is?

Apricot I suppose