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Seven prose pieces from ‘The Philosopher’.

Fortnightly Fiction.

By TOM JENKS.

 

1.THE PHILOSOPHER SITS down to his usual breakfast of pancakes with squirty cream and contemplates the mountain. Are the clouds blue-grey or grey-blue? Will the snow geese pass over soon, on their way to the artificial lake?  What exactly takes place in that two-man Alpine tent, near the stand of leylandii, either halfway up or halfway down the mountain, depending upon your frame of mind and direction of travel?
2.The logical positivists meet in the back room of Caffe Nero every second Wednesday, but never invite the philosopher to join them. Sometimes, the philosopher goes in there anyway and sits by the window with a soya latte and a Viennese whirl. It’s not like anyone can actually stop him.
3.It is only after assembling and erecting his 6 x 6-foot Keter Manor Pent Garden Storage Shed that the philosopher discovers that the shed requires a wooden, plastic or stone base to prevent leakage and encroaching moss. Sometimes, concludes the philosopher, it is difficult to maintain equilibrium.
4.When the weather’s fair, the philosopher meets the theologian at the artificial lake for a bicycle ride. Conversation is lively, but proscribed: cookery, county cricket, country music. Other topics are passed over in silence.
5.Who exactly do the existentialists think they are, wonders the philosopher indignantly, with their black polo necks, their bicycles, their slim volumes of difficult verse, their almond croissants and their beautiful, beautiful girlfriends?
6.Perhaps, the philosopher considers, he should get himself a dog, one of the intelligent breeds, like those who can defuse unexploded ordnance or staff the speaking clock when the speaking clock is asleep.
7.When the weather is fair, the philosopher visits the mystic in his 6 x 6-foot Keter Manor Pent Garden Storage Shed. Even the mystic, reflects the philosopher ruefully, knew that the shed required a wooden, plastic or stone base to prevent leakage and encroaching moss before erecting it. And this is a man who sits on top of telegraph poles and eats raw mince.

Tom Jenks’ latest book is A Long and Hard Night Troubled by Visions (if p then q, 2018). Work has recently appeared in Perverse, Poetry Review and The Penguin Book of Oulipo. He edits zimZalla, a small press specialising in literary objects.
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