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An Albion Stomp – Daniel Paton

Mar 6, 2022 | Fiction | 0 comments

Walk in, drink up, walk out, repeat. The chit chat and shit chat get more frenzied with each stop and start as we flip flop about the city center. The moon starts telling the sun to fuck off and we become more and more like zombies—the ones that run, that chase flesh until their bones break, the cunts from 28 Days Later—not dawdling dementia patients. Between bars we shout loud and act proud, but fuck Pride and your side, we won’t listen. Our ears burn all year long from our barking and bitching wives and bosses and kids and parents. We hold tongues and bite lips until we can get out and breathe. Right now is summer, and summer means escape. This is our time to waste time, a break from the 9 to 5 and crying skies of our Brexit nation. That’s right, we left you, but we’re still here. We’ll tell you all about it if you stand still. We’ll gloat and mock because your eye-rolls are tipped with envy. You’re French, Spanish, Italian or some poor prick from over East, you don’t know about freedom like we do. We’re free to call out and talk back without looking back because we took back what has always been our country. Ours. Away from molesting European fingers because we’ve always been different.
It’s funny how time becomes wobbly when you have so much fun. Hours get eaten up by the carnage, just ask the beaten-up tramp back there, who begged too hard for our hard-earned cash. They know when to quit it back home, but here there’s no rules, so don’t pretend we’re breaking any.
We find a couple of comrades in every other place; we couldn’t escape them if we wanted to. Cheap beers feed big cheers. Fuck your sneers and hidden fears because of what we did last year, and the year before and the year before. Over here you should be grateful. Our pockets are filled with your funny little currency, and you can have some if you can take us. So, speak our language, we know you can because everyone can, no one bothers with your strange one. We’ll yell and point until you get it. You don’t do pints? What a rip off, that extra 68 ml makes all the difference. But it’s decent stuff you’ve got anyway so two more for all our party.
Girls with leaflets entice us into late night bars. It’s not difficult for them. We’re not used to their slim frames and exotic eyes, and we can’t say no. Their sale goes beyond the job, we’re sure they want us. Same with the strippers who think they’re doing us in by charging us extra. Well extra to them is fuck all to us and we’ll see who wins this game of chicken. See, we have a recent record. Krakow cracked under our weight last week. Amsterdam sank further down as we put holes in potholes and hot whores. Berlin is burning, we split the Buda from the Pest and Prague never checked. Cities blend on the mainland, despite the hours on trains between. Hours made more bearable by bottles. One Old Town or Jewish Quarter or Business District or Bombed Wreckage looks just like another. The hungry swallow custom the same no matter where they lay. And now we’re getting it again and fuck your dirty looks because you need us like we want you. A bargain made post-war. A deal sealed with spit.
Dark doors eventually vomit us back on to the cobblestones. The pale light of day fights neon shop signs and we stumble about for something to eat. A quick scrap after cold kebabs and we’re back to the hostel. Mornings don’t exist now, it’s too soon until past noon and then we’ll stir, lions coming out of the den, holding heads, and shaking off stains. Laugh away the heavy heads. Recall each fight and fuck in exaggerated detail and get ready for more. We’re Brits abroad, Brits on tour, blitzed again, the holiday ends. Until the next.

Daniel Paton is a young writer who studied Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. He has had short fiction published in anthologies and online journals, and also writes screenplays and stage plays, one of which was performed at Stroud Theatre Festival 2018. He currently lives in Belfast, having just completed his MA at Queen’s University, where he looks to work on his debut novel.

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