Conrad sat at Sydney Parade of a Tuesday morning. He began whispering into the sunray; “Divert your mind’s iris away from the relentlessly clamorous dissonance of pea counting commerce and tinny traffic, and repose as your sweet little conscience has momentarily soothed itself, sensually dropping like beads of soft rain on the beach, or liquid butter soaking into the sponge of a fresh bagel, or the face on a horse as his muscles sink into a bath after a gruelling race, or her face as you caress her cheek under that soft Montmartre moonlight, or the Corsican midnight baths, or an almond breeze. From her heart, syrup drips, beating with perfect balance, expressive motions, colours gliding with soft trails of opal, coruscating lazuli trail among her toes, as she ascends, remembering her there. Clouds above arranged themselves in patterns of lithe aqueousness – silver and bronze turrets shooting out flames of white pearl, the polyvalent hues shimmering all suddenly, all consuming on the languorous boughs ‘neath, the citadel of tender sable a vision of indescribable timelessness. Tendril patterns of sweet bronze all down the cool interior.” Somebody is asking for spare change, a bovine gait, tonsils of coarse breath. Sensual molten violets and blue remained in him, despite the noxious intrusion, glittering on all foliage and all at once, in fulsome release, symphonic purges, audibly relieved, visibly enraptured. The Dart will be here in 6 minutes, look sharp.  Conrad adjusted his yellow and purple chequered bow-tie then, as he sat blankly, dazzled on the platform at Sydney Parade, all profundity evaporated into thick dust.

As the modern aesthetic began to bruise its way through the tissues of his eyes, garish reds issuing from one advertisement to another neon fart. Then drawing his gaze into a bin to see a crying pigeon, some mashed banana and a Panini sticker of Chris Waddle smoking; the usual flickering vignettes of Duburbia in decay.  And then, some risible phalanx of teenage mucus arrived. Rakish and faux-brave, chewing goose fat and walking like arthritic chickens, the shuffling, the filth laden claw-hands cupped on the smooth spheres of their unhung bald balls, their hands down their ‘tracksuits’ staring vacantly at the middle horizon, spitting turbid lumps of black phlegm onto the platform. ‘ These young men were labelled ‘Yobs’ by the Brits. Disaffected, wanton youth. Conrad was 24, although exceedingly more erudite and far less fearsome looking. “Where are you off to pal?”, came the cry. Conrad shuffled among his thoughts and said, “I’m just getting the DART.” His long, sloping face, jarred to the angle of a porpoise with a mouth full of lemon zest and let out a hissing bark in the direction of the boys; their kneecaps buckling at the sheer sonic suddenness of it. His phone buzzed in his pocket; The St Matthew’s Passion ring-tone caught everybody sitting in his carriage off guard,  unsurprisingly, he had now travelled into the Dun Laoghaire.

His father’s usurious practice had allowed for a weighty tutelage in one of Britain’s most prestigious universities; inculcating a contempt for the low minded, the myopic and the provincial at every chicane. Conrad’s field was Classics and Art History, suitably honoured, and he was currently making rangy strides for an M.A in Fine Arts, hoping to cultivate and foster his already rooted love for the Fauvists. A most fascinating descent into the spurious engagements between contemporaries of the philosophy that cronyism sees business parks that’ll never be used built. Quite. Well, quite indeed. Just look at Bride’s Glen LUAS terminus. Isn’t it funny that it drives us to there? ‘‘Tis I suppose,aye. One could assume its symbolic value as a sort of light rail transit system which follows not the yellow brick road to Oz – but rather, a whooshing, slinking end at Bride’s Glen – a barren, derelict business park – symbolizing and encapsulating the dripping, flaccid nadir of the Celtic Tiger. You’re quite right. This is my stop. I’ll be off then, tooddleoo! 

Conrad disembarked.

As Conrad stood, he stared avidly, at each groat bound together by dried cider, lipstick flecked cigarette butts or placenta having wriggled from the social welfare cue on the main-street, a clairvoyant placenta, with terrified pre-physical visions , squirming free to escape a fate spent dressed in the sport’s shops finest garb, hacking lumps off their hair because it looks ‘cool’, and driving mopeds and cars too fast into chippers, left with a head full of battered sausages, vinegar and Rothman’s.  Give em the whip. The group of weals dissolved into the fast-food pool-hall torture they are so wantonly drawn to. The doors swished open, jarred, he sat beside a  rather elderly looking woman with false hair, a chubby, pudgy to the touch round face, and one tight purple turtleneck with a picture of a blunderbuss on it, her odour was that of feint pear tinged with stuttering emissions of ripe fig from her right . She smelled like an antique bookshop in Nicosia. Her ears seemed to inflate as the train grew faster. Conrad assessed her and wisely crossed his legs in the other direction. A pig was running along the other platform wearing a cape. As the DART moved along its tracks, croaking its African rhythms from beneath the carriages, the tribal hypnosis of the Sandycove to Gleageary percussively invoked a sense of the exotic other in Conrad. Suddenly, a rather large man stood up and allowed his mouth grow exceedingly wide, so wide in fact that everybody on the carriage were totally perplexed by the man’s sudden rise to visibility. With no announcement, the man opened his mouth so wide that the old lady beside him placed both hands to her cheeks and looked on in wild astonishment.  At this point, his jaw had completed dislocated, and his mouth and lips had grown so stretched vertically that very little could be seen by way of behind him except this wide, huge, yawning mouth. His arms then too, began to move funnily, his arms arching behind him at an angle and he began engaging in some sort of macabre commuters ritual. With the whole train hypnotized, and with no hint that this truly incredible performance would, or should, ever stop, a puffin suddenly thrust itself free from the deepest recesses of the man, straight through the carriage (over everybody’s heads) and out a slit in the window of the tiniest gap that you would think would be too small of a gap for a puffin to fly out of. Puffin’s are very supple I gather. Most expert gymnasts are those birds. Russian gymnast herself, Olga Darblovoko would concur. Sure isn’t she herself three quarter pigeon.  She is.

Well that was a most spiritually rousing injection; a truly galvanizing confession. The book, “A Charlatan’s Rapture”, is available now from a man in Dun Laoighaire DART ticket booth, just ask for “Jim Soup Waxer Carnivore De Quaph Blackjack Transit Poo Goose Blunder Buss Hermit”.  But he lives at home with his demure pheasant so just inquire for Vivian of Donnybrook, they live in that house there, you know the one that looks like Audrey Hepburn’s toilet in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I can’t say that I do mind you, and I think you’ll find the kestrel is the most nimble of our ornithological natives; I once saw one corkscrew through a keyhole in Ballsbridge. Well for you. Bye!

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