Oct/Nov 2006  •   Fiction  •   Special Feature

Spatchcocked by Love

by Alex Keegan

Photo by Jim Gourley

Photo by Jim Gourley

Round the bend is a town like nowhere, but I'm still here in Peter's jeep trusting him to fuck my life up even more, to take me further in my search for pain, to fulfill my deep desire for being miserable.

He says this place is amazing. He read about it in the Sun, he says, so it must be true. I've had the rough (more rough than any man deserves), and now it's easy-street, smoothness forever, concubines and camels for us, like oil-soaked Sheiks, like the Sultan of Brunei.

We hit a big hole in the road. I'm thinking, how does Pete think fucking Eldorado is got to via such a shitty road? But I know the answer, before I ask: to keep it secret, ya dummy!

We swing round the bend and ahead is more road, more dust, more boulders, more bends.

"So?" I say, and Peter says, "What's the difference between a duck?" sounding like he might be starting to sober up.

"What's the difference between a duck?" The jeep bounces.

"Yeah, what's the difference between a duck?"

All there is is road. I'm thinking of Toilet Duck for some reason, not the feathered kind. Toilet cleaner, bathroom stuff from when I had a house, a wife, and two daughters... Helen loved Garibaldis, Jenny always wanted Fig Rolls.

"That's not a proper fucking question."

"Yes, it is!" Pete shouts. "What's the difference between a duck?"

We were away, me and Pete, off the rig in the Gulf, off on another bender. We should have been home, back at the compound, me with Helen, and Jenny and Carol, Pete with Betty and his little Em'.

Oh, we loved 'em all right, like a rough man making money loves his wife and kids, has a photo in a frame on his bedside locker, like an oiler gets maudlin on a secret drunk. We didn't expect the attack. The embassy had said stay indoors, take care, blah, blah, blah, but me and Pete didn't have the radio on. We were just going round another bend, unwinding before heading back.

They cook a bird out here, slit it down the middle, spread it, flatten it, hold it on a stick over charcoal. Me and Pete, that's us, slit up, open, spatchcocked, fucked, just going on and on, round another bend, another bend, telling stupid fucking jokes.