“GOOD BOYS” & TWO POEMS by DAVID LARKIN

 

GOOD BOYS

I remember when my family first got our dog. She pissed and shat everywhere. Dad would shout and Mam would say leave her alone, she’s only young. She had a stumpy little tail and shed a lot of white hair throughout the years. My sister used to feed her scraps, so she’d like her the best. Then everyone else started doing it and she got fat. I never bothered trying too hard. I cuddled her sometimes when everyone went to bed and I wasn’t able to sleep, but I rarely walked her. I wish I did now but I’ll make amends with my own pets.

The three good boys (myself included) drove home from the pet shop. I was holding our little pals in the back seat in their bags. Three gorgeous yokes; Sammy, Declan, Viktor plucked from the pet-shop shelf and ready to be taken care of. Soon they’d be best friends. Sammy was mine he looked like a pokemon, apparently. He was white and redish orange and had more girth than the other boys, his tail was big and transparent and it made him look very classy when he swam in circles. Declan was the traditional throwback, orange in colour, he was smaller than Sammy but bigger than Viktor, he was the perfect pet for a good boy and sat the most still on the journey home. Viktor was the cutest little fella you’d ever see, he was the colour of the sun and the fastest in the whole pet shop, so of course we had to have him. The young marine biologist in the pet shop told us that it probably wouldn’t be clever to have all three of them in such a small space, which was on sale I might add. The good boys told him to fuck off and mind his business. The bowl was plenty big enough for three of them. We had been reading up on them all summer long in our spare time. The good boys welcomed the other good boys to their new home, what a day.

I wonder what they’re thinking, said one good boy to the others. Probably fuck all, yeah fuck all I’d say, they’ve only short memories, not great for thinkin’. They must be thinking something, I’d say Sammy’s looking at himself in the reflection and flicking the pebbles at the other boys when we we’re not looking. I’d say Viktors asking them all for a game of chasing, they’ll never catch him though, he’s the fastest little man. What’s Declan thinking then? Ah Declan’s depressed blurted one good boy rather boldly. Yeah Declan is definitely depressed. The good boys thought about their sad friend for a second. Maybe he misses his wife, maybe he’s smarter than the other boys, maybe he’s homesick. We should have a party for Declan. Will we have a party for Declan? We will, we’ll have a party for Declan, tomorrow. We’ll go to the pet shop after the football, yeah after the football. Do they have popcorn for fish? I don’t know actually, I don’t think they do. Aw wish they did, popcorn is Declan’s favourite. Is it? It is yeah. What will we get them in the shops then? We’ll get him a toy. We’ll get them a marble arch to be swimming through, bitta fun. Yeah they’d be bored swimming around doing nothing and we’re out here having the craic, in the sitting room watching the football, listening to tunes, having the craic. We’ll get them something nice anyway. Do they have PED’s for pets? They don’t no, no they don’t. I wish they did, three little brutes we’d have. Well I wouldn’t give Victor steroids. Ah you would yeah, yeah you would. If you saw our two boys bruising about the place, youd be feeding Viktor more than morning oats. I’ll google it. Don’t bother… Nah they don’t its all fake articles. Pass on that joint there. You’ll have to light it again, not much left actually, just kill it.

During this brief nonsense intermission the fish swam about, blowing bubbles and sliding up and down one another, the silhouette of Sammy’s tail rubbed across Viktor’s small body as he swam past. Declan joined in with the play, they were the three best friends. Occasionally he’d spin away and do his own thing. The other two pair paid no heed to this, they couldn’t really anyway, they were dumb after all. The three good boys didn’t get up on time for the football that morning, lazy bones. They did however kick some ball around the kitchen that evening. Convincing themselves they were raw products of elite street football, there were several casualties of this silly thought. There were Guinness glasses, coffee mugs, and all other forms of delph, all smashed. Occasionally a good boy would take one in the face, no tears though. The three good boys left the mess alone for a few hours hoping that when they came back it would have been cleaned. The pets took full advantage of the few hours of silence in the house while they were away. Everyone loves a bit of quiet, sometimes.

On the way to the maxi zoo, one of the boys sang every song on the radio word for word and way out of tune, he was a good boy for trying. Do they have animals in this pet-shop? No it’s just toys, food and silly stuff. What kind of silly stuff? Like jungle-gyms for ferrets, spiders for lizards, watches for turtles and bones for bold dogs. They should really get animals for here it’d be good for business. True yeah, if I had a pet shop I’d have a rake of animals, big ones out the back, cute ones for the front. The layout of the last pet shop we visited went something like; Bunnies and guinea pigs front of house, rats after them, I remember rats because one of the good boys took a bit of a fright when he saw them. There were birdies in cages which was rather cruel actually. The turtles and lizards had their own section and after them finally, were the goldfish. The three good boys found themselves outside the maxi zoo, feeling underwhelmed and slightly teased by all the fun apparatus, none of it bar a Spongebob tank, was very suitable to our little pals. There was nothing there for Declan. All we got was cleaning stuff. Will we have a clean party? A clean party it is. Well I don’t like clean party’s said one of the good boys I’d rather kill myself he claimed. The two other boys realised this was only a play, and joined in. I’ll kill myself too, yeah me too, we can all do it. The three good boys laughed away down to the drive through. The journey home smelled like coffee and sundaes, the perfect balance of business and pleasure, some might say. Don’t be smoking in the car, Don’t be getting on to him. I’ll open a window. There was no reason to smoke ten minutes away from home, but even the best boys have their vices. The good boys pulled up to the driveway, shortly after the cigarette was lit.

Knock into Tara there, see if my poster came. Tara was the lady who lived at the front of the property. She had two kids and a man. She shouted at them all equally, this made two of the good boys rather upset, they wished the boy next door could be as good as they were and not get so many scouldings. She had a soft spot for one of the good boys though, he smiled a lot and the other boys told him he could do anything. The good boy in question sat in the car, dabbing his smoke out on his shoe, like a cowboy would. She’ll think I’m silly if I keep knocking into her? She won’t she likes you, yeah she likes you. Does she really? She does yeah, yeah she does. The good boy remembered Halloween night. He was sitting in, making his own fun playing with his pets. When Tara knocked in and asked did he want to set off some fireworks with the kids. The good boy had never played with fireworks before. This good boy in particular, was the clumsiest. He would always take the bottom or middle bunk when the good boys went to bed. He tried to take the top bunk one night and had nightmares about bungee jumping. Lucky for him he woke up before the other two and threw those manky sheets in the bin. The good boy stood at Tara’s front door smiling, his hands looking like spare parts. HELLO, oh hey how are you? Good yeah, tired after work, you know yourself. (The good boy liked this opening line the best, truth be told he hadn’t done a hard days work in his life.) Oh stop, tell me about it, I’m just back from the school now, that little fucker got in trouble, fighting again. Oh shit is he alright? Yeah he’s grand, just bold. Oh, well have you got any post for us? Tara looked different today, her hair was tied up and her nails were long and painted and she had her hoop earrings on, ooh la la thought the good boy. Tara fetched the post for the good boy and he walked back around to the house, wondering about their next encounter.

During the time it took the good boy to collect the post, the other boys stood over the table in the kitchen. There was no music on and they were not kicking the football, just standing. The mess was still there too. The good boy walked in said something silly about sexy Tara. Neither good boy laughed at this bold remark. He glanced over at the fishbowl, full of water. Sammy was swimming close to the top of the tank, his fins looked bigger and he was moving rather more cleverly all of a sudden. Viktor was closer to the stones and he was doing his usual, fast paced routine. He was always a nightmare when it came to cleaning time, he was too quick. Scanning the bowl again the last good boy in the door looked over at the other two. Declan had done it. He lay on the floor, bone dry with his eyes opened, like he was on the ice at the mongers with the mackerels. The good boy picked up an empty box of smokes from the ground. He picked up Declan from the wooden floor and placed him in the box and took a picture for twitter. The box remained in their sitting room for the night, it started to really smell after a while. Each good boy took more than one whiff of it, just to make sure. The following morning after the last words from the good boys, Declan was flushed down the toilet at the second attempt, and our circle of brawlers was prematurely disbanded.

Sammy and Viktor are so lonely without their pal. Maybe they made him do it. Maybe he fell out. I don’t think they really care that he’s gone. They’ve been floating in and out of each other’s arses all day. They have been doing that actually. Yeah but you know how you get when you’re mourning and lonely; remember sad kisses, remember sad wanks, remember feeling a heavy breathe that wasn’t just for you. I wonder what they’re thinking about now. They’re probably wondering why Declan got a bit big for his bowl. I thought fish were simple. So did I. I thought they were like us.

 

Tits for Tattoos

Some people read Karl Marx
Others prefer Nicholas Sparks
I’ve not read either
I just know certain parts

Some like the cities
Others the seaside
I live in a suburb
Let’s not be too snide

Men like lights on, sometimes
Women prefer the dark?
I listen to Haim
And sleep alone, so I won’t remark

Lots like to wander
Most of us do ponder
Pop artists will pander,
repeat, loss of wonder.

My Cactus Can Talk

I promise
I’ll hurt you, if you grab.
Take me to your top shelf.
Sit me on a window ledge.
Tuck me in to a flower bed.
And leave me alone.

I don’t need showers.
Or kisses all the time,
I’m sorry
I’m not that kind.

Think of me once a month
Give us a little glance
A little something, go on take a chance.
And
I promise

That I’ll not die,
For quite a while.