Under the Weather
Sand paper mouth is an arid landscape. Parched. Casey balances heel of left hand against the rigid steel rim of V8 can and teases the ring pull with index finger. “Oomph” escapes Casey’s lips. Face grimaces as a bullet of pain ricochets down tight throat. Right hand moves straight to neck by instinct and offers a fruitless massage. Casey wrinkles nose, relieved that there is a temporary drought there too. Yellow straw sticks out of plastic bag but Casey roots around until a red one can be found. Red straw is plunged straight into the murky depths of the restorative veggie pulp.
Casey raises can of super veggie power upwards in left hand. Thrusts right arm into air, fist clenched to salute the almighty healing elixir. Nose catches whiff of pureed juice. Throat fights against sandpaper mouth and wins with a rough gag. Casey frowns, shuts tired, bleary eyes and reaches mouth, emu style, towards bobbing red straw. Mouth finds target and clamps shut. Nose breathes deep, cleansing breath, refocuses suspicious mind. Cheeks suck in like a daft goldfish as veggie sludge is inched up the straw.
Arid landscape is flooded. Teeth and gums and soft palate are drenched in purifying, vitamin loaded liquid. Casey cradles the mouthful, reluctant to swallow. Taste buds have been on strike but are now forced back into action by the overpowering flavour of pulpy toms and carrots. Casey commands mouth to pump its contents towards starved stomach via tired throat. Sludge flushes down throat with no remorse. Pulp bristles like broken glass.
Casey is relieved to have managed some fluid. Head feels light and fluffy, is cotton-wool filled. Casey rises from seat, shuffles towards bookcase. Album after memory loaded album stares back, eager to be perused. Big green velour cover is the chosen one. Casey’s socks crinkle and stretch with each half step. Couch is just a short distance but the journey seems epic. Night Nurse bottle perches on counter en route and Casey makes a desperate grab before collapsing on couch. Breathless. Exertion is overwhelming. Casey pants.
Once semi-recovered, green album is cracked open, yet another attempt at self-medication. Page after page of pictures await viewing. Each one is bursting with explosions of bright colours. ‘2003 trip to Asia’ is the unexciting title. Casey grips brown medicine bottle in both hands, struggles with the click-clacking child lock. Wishes there was a child around to get stubborn bottle open. A sigh escapes tired mouth, with relief as lid is released and flung onto floor. Casey doesn’t bother with measuring cap, instead takes two brisk slugs. Swallows, allows the medicine to coat the insides of throat before scalding weary chest.
Casey winces. Sits back with photo album and flicks through pages. The Great Wall of China. Dozens and dozens of tourists streaming by, never allowing a quiet picture to be taken. Casey smiles at that now, remembering the futile frustration that had been felt. Cellophane pages stick together and need to be peeled apart to reveal other wonders. Casey finds the favourite pages: fields of flowers. Beautiful buds strewn across endless fields, all bursting with colour. Exotic, flimsy looking flowers, many painted in delicate hues, others bright and garish, dazzling Casey’s blurry eyes. Night Nurse slowly begins to take hold. Waltzes Casey into a deep flower filled slumber.
Kate Alexander-Kirk drinks copious amounts of tea as she dreams up weird and wonderful stories that she one day hopes to realise. And she does it all donning her Top-Hat at a jaunty angle.