Despite some ordinary, some might say highly negative, reviews of DBC Pierre’s Petit Mal released last year, (“a motely collection”) was one of the kinder descriptions, in June, he’s serving up Breakfast with the Borgias, a horror-thriller novella, published by Random. In the meantime, newspaper readers had a treat when his short story Cox (previously published as Suddenly Doctor Cox) based on a character he met when he was in Trinidad, was run as part of the summer reading package in The Australian. The beautiful illustration is by Sturt Krygsman.
And over the steamy Australian summer period one of Driving to work I saw the most beautiful road kill. It was a carpet of iridescent blue butterflies, squashed but flashing on the highway. Wings twitched and glinted in the heat, making me want to stop and collect them. But under the sparkle were only dead insects. Like suicide-butterflies they swarmed out of the jungle to die under mini-vans throvving drum and bass; or when the traffic was light to lie twitching in reggaes that floated down the mountain like fog. Even in death the butterflies were stunning. What a start to a day, to a season, this carpet of beauty and needless death; if any death can be needless, or beautiful. I tried not to run over the things but it was impossible. The drive made me think: whatever gave the creatures their shine in life was still active after death. Beauty survived them, was even framed and made meaningful by death.
I’ll never forget them, nor the feelings they inspired.
It was my first day at work on the island. When I arrived at the office I found that a guy lived in the dirt under the building. A young guy, black, with doll’s eyes, and a jutting lower lip. I discovered he was there when a colleague went to a place and jumped on it hard.
“Cox” he said.
The man shuffled into the office. He was crinkled with sleep, like he’d slept in his clothes. David Cox was his name. His fly was open. He shuffled because his boots had no laces. He took instructions from the colleague for an errand in a hangdog kind of way, and I noted that his voice lacked the full lilt of Trinidad, instead it had a drawl that tapered to quiet at the end of his words, making them somehow sad. To read the full story go to The Australian