#2

by Luke Otley

Paid work at last. Open each lid slowly, as if frightened of what horrors it will unveil in the silent shade of morning. In a thick unruly fog blown off the coast I eat my sparse breakfast – four cups of water and a slice of bread – trying to offset an on-setting hangover…last night staggering stumbling shambling to bed at gone three with the rattle of ice on glass dogging me to my slumber like the perverse Pied Piper of Hastings.

Awake now though, and at the door of a battered beaten old wagon with carpet taped to the roof in a crude fashion and all manners of insulation and wires hanging everywhere. It ticks over like an exenterated prehistoric mammal working through its final days. We drive in the silence and watch silently the ploughed fields roll through the morning mist like an endless brown surf. On arrival to the farm and our own ploughed field we grab each a pitchfork and hit the cool earth with venom. We are digging for asparagus roots, which are horrible spider-like creations. In goes the fork, and bent double stooped in peasantry you ignore the dull ache in your lower back, unearth these foul arachnids…these strange foreign roots…

We dig all day and the sun comes down on us inevitably, the skin cauterised, now a lurid red that serves as backdrop to the ashen mud whitened in the heat. Our sweat mixes with the filth and blood from burst blisters to form a ghastly witch’s stew but we continue about our work, the endless drudge, until tomorrow…