|Wayne Sleeth, Little Library, Gibbon's Rent, #unsettledgallery No.6|
Today we discover the Small World Future of.... Wayne Sleeth
I met a man who could make something out of nothing.
"Like an alchemist!" (Except none of them succeeded.)
"Like a wizard!" (Except they're not real.)
"Like a magician!" (Except the songbird is in reality squashed flat beneath the false floor of the cage.)
And then he was speeding away, ahead of me, out the door.
What I loved about him was his positivity, his self-belief, his happy-face and his vigorous sexual energy. And all the champagne bars he took me to. And the dresses from Jones.
On the day he came home early, I knew something bad was on its way because that morning he dropped a penny on the carpet. He'd never lost money ever before. I picked it up and turned it in my hand. It had been so long since I'd seen one, I almost thought they'd been abolished.
He appeared with his box of belongings, six hours before he would usually arrive home.
"It's all gone," he said.
"There's nothing left."
We sometimes had trouble communicating.
"There's less than nothing left," he said. And that suddenly did seem more serious.
"Are we poor?" I asked.
"We are destitute," he said. I should have known we couldn't just be poor.
"We'll have to cash it all in - the house, the other houses, the cars, the holidays, the pets, the children..."
"Not the children," I said.
"We'll have to tighten our belts," he said.
"And roll up our sleeves," I added but he did not seem to think this was helpful.
"I'll have to offload everything - the shares, the phones, the watches, the phablet..."
"Okay stop," I said. I got the gist and I liked him better when he was positive.
"You have me," I said.
He laughed. "You don't own people."
This was news to me.
"Well you have this," I said and held the penny out.
He took it from me. He sat down on the floor. He rolled it on the ground. He polished it between his index finger and thumb. He tapped it against his lip and then his teeth. He flipped it in the air. It came up heads.
"Okay," he said, getting up, "I know what to do now."
Natalie Low enjoys putting words on paper and believes that everyone has a book of some sort inside them. She lives in Twickenham, UK with her rather charming family. She has published two chapbooks Dementia (2015) and recently School Run (2017).