Opening Line: A gaping mouth never full

Ants attacking a moth

Image: Pixabay

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last.

He’d walked past the place so many times in his old life, heard the raised voices, seen the huddled tourists clicking their camera phones. Sometimes there’d be applause, sometimes giggles, a smirk behind a palm. He was always too busy to stop.

That was before.

Now he has as much time as he likes to listen and watch. ‘Time rich, cash poor,’ his Mum said when he told her about losing his job.

He can’t afford to go to pubs or restaurants anymore – contact with friends has dropped off anyway. Just so busy with work, mate.

Now he spends his time in the capital’s parks. He likes watching the loose necked pelicans in St James’s, the deer in Richmond. But it’s the people he finds most fascinating and most hideous. The foreigners with their bum bags slung under overfed guts, office workers on their lunch breaks, stuffing meatball subs into their mouths, leaving the wrappers behind to flap in the wind like injured gulls. He sees it everywhere – humanity is a gaping mouth never full.

One Saturday he was sitting on a bench in Hyde Park. It was hot, a lot of scorched flesh on show. The litter bin next to him was full, at its base a moat of spilled vanilla ice cream black with ants. There’s the world, he thought, infested with people. And they won’t stop until it’s all gone.

That was the moment.

A wooden crate was difficult to come by. Scarce, apparently. Twenty quid on ebay. Eventually, he spotted one in a skip, just lying there, half covered by a length of stained stair carpet. Fate, he thought, as he carried it home.

Now he’s here at Speaker’s Corner and even though he hasn’t said a word, tourists are gathering, curious podgy faces upturned, cameras raised, ready to record.

And he knows.

These will be the best words. They will burn into every heart, shame the devourers.

These words will shape the world.



Written for The Daily Post’s Opening Line prompt.

For those of you who are unaware of Regent’s Park’s astonishing Speakers’ Corner, do pop along here to find out more.


18 thoughts on “Opening Line: A gaping mouth never full

  1. I love it – partly because he reminds me of myself. I’m always launching into rants about ethics and politics. It never crosses my mind until it’s too late, that people don’t want to hear why pharmaceutical companies should be nationalised, or how giving your money to Cancer Research won’t help you when you get cancer unless you’re rich, because the miracle drug they’ve been throwing money at was never intended to be available on the NHS .
    See? There I go again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your rantiness! You rant about such amazingly worthwhile stuff. Now, come the day when you surround yourself with stray cats called Mr Binky and Pharoah and tell me to stop eating baked beans cos the government’s putting sedatives in them to suppress the revolutionary instincts o the working man … Maybe I’ll call someone 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How did you know about Mr Binky and Pharoah? About the baked beans – Pharoah says they’re doing it to cat food too. Lately he turns up his nose up at all foods but freshwater salmon, wild venison and caviare. Apparently they’re almost the only foods that aren’t affected, because that’s what the rich live on. Truffles are safe, but Pharoah doesn’t like them.
        Fortunately I usually have enough money left over for my lentils, which I liven up with ditchwater – tap water is so bland, don’t you think?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Pharoah is such a selfish little toe rag – he could share a little of his salmon with you. Oh, and if you get bored of the lentil and dishwater diet don’t forget goji berries – I’m not entirely sure what they are, but lots of middle class people are eating them these days, so I’m sure they’d be safe. Power to the People, comrade 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Pharoah intercepted that message. He says they’ve got free-range champagne-soaked hummingbirds hearts in aspic at the local deli, and I won’t be able to afford goji berries once I’ve bought them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You should be grateful for such a kind and generous master. I bet he only beats you Monday to Friday too and leaves weekends as beat-free days. You lucky thing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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