1454 c/o Aiden Clarkson

Margret Tells Us About
The Important Wet Dead Man

On the beach, in the town, in a green dress and a grey fleece, suffering under The King, going through the rubbish, by a campfire, putting lipstick on my nipples, eating fish and chips and EVERYWHERE I am Margret.

The important wet drying dead body of an important wet dead man was on the beach. Up about a mile along from where the older-than-us wall eventually peters out, down maybe thirty foot from the end of the grasses and little scrub plants sat upon by butterflies. The butterflies would sit on the flowers I would take up and sever and slot in my thick hair. And the butterflies would follow me and get on me when I stood still, and would only fly off when I started shouting at the sea, or at the public toilet block. I loved to walk to the public toilet block and shout at it.

The body, important, wet, was alone by itself on the sand. There was nothing around it but tiny thousands of constant-movement sand-fleas. And occasional pebbles that looked, from above - gull’s-eye – like they’d been orbiting it, but had found their movement arrested.
       The body, headless, in a blue tracksuit, white trainers, rotting stink, was stationary, amongst pebbles still, sand-fleas moving miniature. The important wet drying blue tracksuit grey skin dead body of an important wet dead man. On the beach about a mile along.

My littlest sister told me about the six men and The King. She had been down at the beach when they found it. She had been getting all the plastic off the beach. For which the family received money. I used to be the little girl who got the plastic. My little sister with dark hair in a red jacket, waterproof but not windproof, wind-chilled, picking up plastic with blue-cold hands, a tiny red thing in front of great grey sea.
       She saw six men stood around the important dead body. In the same colour and design tracksuits, same colour and design shoes, but with their heads attached. She kept her distance, as she had been taught, until was beckoned with a stern gesture, and then the promise of money, as she had been taught, and even when beckoned was reticent, as she had been taught, and was finally persuaded to walk the two miles into town to tell The King.

We’d known the important dead body was there wet for three days. And we had decided better off out of. We’d visited him on the first night and jumped on his chest. Bearing in mind I was trying to distract myself.

The King was sane one year off and one year on. He was the one policeman, banker and voice of god in the whole country, which is a big responsibility.
       I loved him, he was very nice to me all the time when I had to be made to leave shops, or when I strayed on to the Campsite and he had to come and drag me away by my neck, or when I went on my knees behind the hotel and he shoved it in between my lips to the furthest back gagging part of my mouth.

The King, tin crown on his head, wearing official black dressing gown, tramped down the beach towards where the body was laying at the centre of its little arrangement of objects - pebbles, fleas, six men, littlest sister - with a frown so deep and a face set so angry that you could almost forget, says littlest sister, that this year wasn’t one of his sane ones.
       The King had a plastic bag in his hand with a head in it. It can only be assumed that the head had been found earlier, somewhere else on the beach. I wish The King had my head in a bag.
       He got the head out of the bag without so much as hello to the six men stood around the wet important body, and with the head in one hand he picked the body up by the front of its clothes and he jammed the head on the neck stump to see if it fitted. The six men all took a synchronised step back and gave gasps. All of the six men said
      It’s Him, Definitely, That Is His Head On His Body.
The King said

The six men picked the heavy important wet body up and carried it back to town. The King walked after them with the head under his arm with his crown on it, and the bag he had carried the head in pulled down over his own head, stumbling a little over rocks and singing our national anthem very loudly.

My littlest sister said she would’ve followed further but The King’s singing had set her off as well and she had to find something to shout at, and had settled on the ploughed up and disturbed sand where the important dead wet body had been. She stayed there staring at that space and shouting. She said
       …Margret You Understand That, You Have To Do It Too, You Have To Shout…
       And I do, and did, and could, but I hit her anyway, once, across the legs, acting regal and Kingish.