Monday, 1 December 2008

friday morning with sun saluki

There is a bridge in New Luddle that stretches out over a busy commuter track. Cars and trucks grumble and shit along its uneven surface but the drivers – the Dupontians - don’t ever look up.

They don’t ever see the boy who stands on this bridge every morning looking down.

The boy is called Sun Saluki and he likes to look for slogans. Today he sees three. They are not new to him. Sun Saluki can’t remember the last time he saw a new slogan. Today he sees three:
Dupont 4 ever (thin blue ink staggered along bicep)
Dupont is all I want (white t-shirt, thick red bubble letters)
I’m a Du – who the fuck are you?
(knitted red scarf stretched across rear window)
He steps down from the bridge a little disappointed. The Dupontians don’t seem as interested in slogans these days. He expected a little more on his fifteenth birthday: one-five the only age to be alive.

There are no slogans in New Luddle. Away from the bridge they are uninvented, unheard, unknown. I guess you’d need a reason to have a slogan, a reason to shout out. The New Ludlows never shout, they never have a reason.

Leaving treads in the dust Sun Saluki walks away from the bridge towards home. He sees Ferry Doberman jogging. Every morning he catches a glimpse of Ferry Doberman completing his three laps of the colony. Always bursting into a sprint for the final lap, always collapsing just short of the finish. Ferry wears pale blue shorts with black cotton stripes down each side. Sweat pours down his face and drips from his fingertips. He is a lissom waxwork melting in the sun. His long hooked nose drips like a faulty tap. He is utterly soaked and completely sapped. Gradually he recovers. Gradually he straightens up. Tomorrow he’ll be fine.

Ferry is the talk of the colony right now. Apparently… Ferry’s brother Donny told Bill Spitz that Ferry was thinking about entering a marathon. It would seem that at first Bill Spitz wasn’t too impressed with this slight piece of gossip, but then Donny explained how the marathon wasn’t here in New Luddle, but across the border in Dupont.

Sun Saluki can’t remember the last time a resident left the colony; perhaps when he was a child, he didn’t know. He wouldn’t be surprised if nobody had ever left New Luddle. Why would you? He certainly couldn’t think of any reasons.
Across the street Tala Pekepoo is making her way to Beth Pointer’s cafĂ©. Sun Saluki waves and speaks.

‘Enjoy your breakfast, Tala.’

Tala waves back but does not speak. Perhaps she didn’t hear. Usually she’d say hello.
Sun carries on home, kicking dust. He leaves diamond shaped treads in the ground. He too begins to sweat in the morning heat.

Today the sun is hot. He remembers one time, up on the bridge, a Dupontian car had a sticker in its rear window that said ‘hot hot hot’ in big red letters. The first ‘h’ and last ‘t’ were shaded by large green parasols and all the o’s were pictured as blazing suns. As Sun feels the heat spread over his body, mummifying him in warmth, he thinks this would probably be a good slogan to stick onto his fifteenth birthday - hot hot hot. With green parasols and blazing suns.

He looks at his watch. It is twenty-five minutes past eight. He needs to be home soon for breakfast if he is to make it in time to meet his friends. He promised Daisy Spaniel and Fleece Dingo he’d see them by the statue of Victor Poodle no later than nine.

He hurries home.

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