Literary Orphans

Clive de Yarrog
by Tariq Joyce


Clive de Yarrog is hanging on for his life.

He’s on holiday with his mother to celebrate that on this Birthday he would reach the same age as Christ did. According to her, he matched the Lord’s height years ago.

As the air hostess, hotel staff, and today’s NYC walking tour guide can attest; it was her treat, all her expense.

The only money in his pocket was a 1950’s penny from his grandfather’s coin collection. He takes it everywhere, habitually rotating it across his fingers at speeds that coincide with his daily anxieties.

During this architectural excursion, Clive, feigning a need to be to be closer to God (rather than farther from his mother), strayed from the group to the roof. Always secretly more interested in science than religion, he leaned over the parapet with that penny in his hand, and wondered how much it would hurt if he let it drop on her. As if working out its terminal velocity wasn’t difficult enough, factoring her mad Irish hair into the equation nearly blew his mind.

However, It was an act of God that blew him over. He managed to grab a ledge as he slipped and turned to face his mother, and her world of fresh horror below.

“My son! Help! My son.”

A young woman with a pram chimed in, “Oh my no! That woman’s son is going to die!”

“Nonsense, my boy has excellent fingers — he’s an accountant.”

With all the grace of a drunken spider, he tried to sway to safety. On the first swing he failed, on the next stretch, so did his zipper. He shook and kicked; but it was useless, and so he remained… dangling.

“Your penis, Clive, it’s popped out!” she bawled.

The concerned and gasping crowd pulled nearer, in the shape of a grin. She ape jumped around this crescent, hoping to batt down their lashes with her eyes and shrill, before she spun and cried,

“My Clive! Can’t you let one hand go — to fix yourself?”

“No, Mum, the wind up here would break the wings of a bird.”

“Why didn’t you do more sports! If you don’t let go you’ll die of shame.”

The crowd grew thicker still, with most gurgling a mix of terror and laughter. Other members held their breath; hoping to float up closer and gain some perspective.

Then, Martha, a woman whom locals say, ‘Was too tall for hell, yet shaped to send men there.’ appeared, filling the window by his side with her dark allure. The breeze used her hair to paint ravens around the frame. Her low cut dress revealing the squeeze of full large breasts, which, like two rounds of heavy dough rested dangerously on the sill —threatening everything. She met clive eye to eye and with a smile that tucked her gloss red lips under those high cheek bones, said:

“Hey, I can reach.”

He looked from her to his mother and then beyond, considering which way of letting go.

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Tariq Joyce has a BA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, England. He was born and raised in Cork City, and is currently living there with his lovely young family. He is giving prose fiction a go. When not clacking away he looks out of the window for amusement. He likes to laugh at how much us humans move our arms when we walk; at how grateful ladies struggle with heavy hand luggage while their husbands stride ahead towing the big case that has wheels; how young ones negotiate the downhill pavements in heels; the quarrels; and how it’s always the big guy that gives the little guy a crushing hug when they’re drunk, never the other way around.
Twitter: @TariqJoyce.


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–Foreground art & Background dark photo art by Zak Milofsky

–Background light photo art by Dinty W. Moore