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Such a Dirty Old Man

mean mister mustard sleeps in the park
shaves in the dark trying to save paper
sleeps in a hole in the road
saving up to buy some clothes
keeps a ten-bob note up his nose
such a mean old man
such a mean old man

Everything I write is a lie. But, these days, I write little as there are other lies I’ve been living.

Such a mean old man, she says. A liar, a cheat, a thief, a plagiarist. A man.

It seems that everything I see – in life in life in life – these days tells me so. Such a dirty old man.

The nemesis lives and breathes and looks lovelier every day. She’s put on a pound or two and I secretly enjoy it while I take every opportunity to tell her she’s getting fatter, using the truth to cover up the truth. She’s getting older. And fatter. A goddamned hippopotamus. When she straddles my body I can barely breathe. A goddamned hippopotamus.

Such a dirty old man.

I’ve been listening to the Beatles lately – a lot a lot a lot – and the truth of it is, I do not like them. Ringo, Paul, John, George: how dare they? From the past they mock me with their truths and their lies. “The eagle picks my eye, the worm he licks my bones”: nonsense. Worms have got no tongues. Have they?

Such a mean old man.

Yesterday, I awoke to the sounds of traffic and it calmed me down. Her body lay next to mine, breathing softly, her mouth open, her eyes closed. “How lucky I am,” I thought, “My own goddamned hippopotamus. A beautiful purple hippopotamus.”

I get up, make her coffee, breakfast, and then I wake her gently with a slap. She smiles and throws a pillow at me. Ridiculous: pillows don’t hurt.

“Everybody’s got something to hide,” she says, “except for me and my monkey.” Ridiculous. A monkey.

How lucky I am. My own goddamned hippopotamus. A beautiful purple hippopotamus.

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