THE HAHA THURSDAY
January 7 2022
by J. F. Gleeson
Brown is the overwhelming colour of the pub interior which can be cosy or turgid depending on what the summer is doing outside and whether it’s a dressed down fug of thick summer or clean wind and 10pm blue sky, or summer flipped onto its faces and rammed down into the ground, this called winter, which had after a decade or two turned into the fear of ending.
On a Thursday, summer, she told me she’d been involved with a mutual friend a few months ago. Somewhere here a false assumption was made that I was a Normal Person who would be able to handle this Normal Information in a Normal Fashion. Instead I ran away making what was in my head a RIGHT SCENE, the perceived creation of which was itself fraught with false assumptions, reliant on witnesses being fully intimate with what is Normally Expected of me so that seeing a Minor Variation in character will indicate to them that something is WRONG. Now people might think you have a PROBLEM. All well and all GOOD until a few days later when you regret it but the regretting would otherwise have been of NOT causing a Scene. So you’ll be crusting up the bathtub thinking of SOMETHING. Might as well be LEAVING THE PUB TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE IT CLOSES instead of LEAVING THE PUB WHEN IT CLOSES: ARE YOU OKAY??
ARE YOU SURE.
You wanted someone to ask. When they ask you want to say Yes. You want to be heard saying No. Desirous of TELEPATHY.
I could not go past the church because of this Performance and instead took a nightstreet which had bled slowly into the Way Home. There was an open window above with a washing line. A bus that passed the end of the street was full of people who had faces where I was not expecting to see faces.
Before I turned the corner of this street off to where the bus had been I met a man who began speaking with me mid-sentence and carried on speaking in full sentences as though we had already been engaged in conversation.
Something about this worked and I was instantly speaking in the same manner and we were getting along Really Well.
The man was quite old and kept rubbing his mouth with the palm of his right hand, whereupon he would rub that same palm on his forehead and something black and soupy would be smeared across it. He was also wearing an outfit which was VERY STYLISH made of sheets of razor sharp metal and accompanied by a cloak made of those same shining rusted sheets. He winced when he walked like it was Not Very Comfortable, which is to say that it looked like he HURT. I was sure I had seen him on the Windblown Hill about ten years ago.
We LAUGHED QUITE A BIT AT SOME THINGS and Not Really So Much at others. We smiled and were joking and just out of the sides of the hood that was wrapped tightly around his Face looked to be the edges of Other Faces but the darkness made it difficult to tell.
Oh you’ve come well to it then, he said.
I HAVE HAVEN’T I.
On some trail of utter SHITE I catalogued for him a catalogue of things that I COULD NOT HEAR without turning into a FUCKING WRECK:
- X IS REALLY HANDSOME.
- I REALLY LIKE X HE’S SO NICE.
- NO I MEAN REALLY HANDSOME I HADN’T NOTICED IT BEFORE.
- I THINK X AND X ARE REALLY ATTRACTED TO X.
- X IS SO GORGEOUS TOO.
- I MEAN PEOPLE SHOULD TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE FACT THAT THE PERSON THEY ARE TALKING TO MIGHT BE A COGNITIVELY FRAGILE MESS WHO BECOMES DERANGED WHEN THEY HEAR SUCH THINGS?
Do you think you are expecting too much of people! the street man said to me.
Hahahaing, yes I know.
You’ve decided though haven’t you.
Ah you know me too well.
I’ll see you sometime soon then.
A BUS went past full of PEOPLE.
THEY HAD LOTS OF FACES ON THEM AND SO DID THE BUS.
And the hahaing.
It was all SO FUNNY.
Because it was VERY LATE THURSDAY, GONE MIDNIGHT.
MOST OF IT HAPPENED ON A FRIDAY.
J. F. GLEESON
J. F. Gleeson lives in England. His work has appeared, or is soon to appear, in Ligeia, Rejection Letters, The Daily Drunk, Maudlin House, Dream Journal, Goat's Milk, the Bear Creek Gazette, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Weird Horror and Mandrake. He has in the past used the pen name John Banning. He can be tired and dreams a lot. Find links to his work on his website: deadlostbeaches.blog. This is his second publication with Overheard. Read "Library Meeting" here.