Tuesday, 5 March 2013

'Broken, empty, used' Defamiliarisation piece

Take an everyday object and defamiliarise it.


Broken, empty, used


It was the day I was to learn what it meant to be what I was. The night was dark with the threat of rain and I’d fallen, I’d really fallen. Once I was practically on top of the shelf, now I sat on the sidewalk  trying to ignore the pitiful rustling of the empty discarded litter that surrounded me. It was so cold, my jacket was tight around me but it didn’t stop the cold leaking into my insides.  If people passed by they saw me, oh yes you always see us, but they look away. I’m nothing but filth, grime that would do better in a green bin than on the streets. In my proper place some might observe, I was after all no longer clean, or new. I was labelled by those above me, bought, sold, however you wanted to look at it. The point is I was no longer free.


He found me there, hesitated only a moment before picking me up and driving me home. In the back seat where I couldn’t be seen, I suppose it wouldn’t do for the neighbours to talk. I think some already knew this was his habit,  I wasn’t the first. I wouldn’t be the last for him. Bright yellow lights shone down onto me, at the command of a red blur we halted and a wreath of light circled his head like a halo. Such irony, I thought at the time. I’d already smelt the whiskey, it lingered on his pressed suit and unmarked tie. There’s nothing wrong with whiskey don’t get me wrong, but there was something wrong with him and he wasn’t the only one. You might ask if I knew, as I was settled down more gently than expected into the seat, if I knew what was going to happen to me. I wonder it myself sometimes, I think even if I had suspected, it wouldn’t have changed anything. In my position you never say no. It wasn’t always bad, some others I knew had been taken to parties and swirled around, they’d experienced the joy and celebration of people. It just wasn’t as glamorous for all of us.


We don’t choose, those that say we do are liars and cowards. Too cowardly to see when something’s wrong, too cowardly to admit that they have not the desire or the inclination to lend a helping hand. We’re more than unfortunate, we are alone.


Inside the four walls I sat on the edge of a stained coffee table while he locked the door and poured more down his throat. I felt almost invisible, my kind always are until someone wants them. Taking the opportunity to glance around I saw photos of a respectable woman, a child and him, a family like a packaged set of tinned beans, wrapped up together. Perfection caught in a frame, a lie for the world. It made me sick. For a while it seemed that he’d forgotten me but then it began.


He took me by my slender neck and hauled me up, I choked but didn’t scream. He quickly discarded my thin wrapper and pressed his warm mouth to my cold one. Despite the strong flavour in my own mouth I could taste the bitterness of his own. It was that taste that was overpowering his mind, his willpower. He gripped me too tightly, he swung me around without care. I was slammed down onto the table before being forced back up again. I was dizzy, my insides fizzing at being knocked about so violently.  I will spare details, finally I was thrown at a bad angle and I lay on the kitchen floor; broken, empty, used.


In the morning his young son almost stepped on my broken shell, the respectable woman saw me for the first time and became red with rage. She had been gone all night and like I said, I wasn’t the first. They argued, he was nursing a throbbing head and in no mood for it, he hit her. She didn’t cry, she collected up the other ones as efficiently as honey bee collects pollen in summer, then she picked up the dustpan and brush and swept me up, swept me away. I was tossed into a bin, into darkness where my kind are easily forgotten.  I didn’t choose this, I wish it were different, but I will be taken away like the others, I’ll be recycled again and again and passed from one hand to another. 


Word count: 752

Authors note: This short piece was about a glass bottle of alcohol. I personified the bottle to make the story hit at a very important issue, and despite hints throughout the text E.g. Top shelf, labelled. I hope that the true identity of the object was not clear until the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment