Standing Up Like Steam

Who’s this with his broken nose, his flat feet, his cauliflower ears, his closed eyes, his cracked chin, his receding hairline, his burnt-off eyebrows, his knock-knees, his fallen arches, his bandy legs, his swivel hips, his one small ball, his Reynard fox, his boiling breath, his barnacled kidneys, his gap-toothed gums, his leaking belly button, his stalactite bladder, his stolen nose, his shrivelled nipples, his big Adam’s Apple, his tennis elbow, his galling stones, his typist’s wrist, his big fat tongue, his turning prostate, his honeypot fat, his Bluto shingles, his broken back, his spaceship teeth, his useless knob, his snapped neck, his ingrown toenail? Who is he, this specimen of a fine, fine fellow?

He’s a dappled, crippled version of you. Only slightly more attractive.

So he is. Bring him closer so I can get a better look. Does he sing?

I’ve no idea.

As a younger man I was known far and wide for my superb culinary skills. I was a member of all the choirs you know.

Culinary skills?


You said culinary skills. When you were talking about singing.

Did I?


How silly of me. I do apologise.

That’s okay.

But where was I?


Oh yes. I joined all of the choirs. I was very much in demand. I once sang for the Queen. At Sandhurst.

I didn’t know you were at Sandhurst.

It’s how I came to be so crippled and twisted. And it’s when I turned into this fellow here.

Is that right?

Actually, now I come to think of it – no. No, it’s not. I’ve never seen this fellow before in my life. Who is he again?

A dappled, crippled version of you. Only more attractive.

Are you sure? I mean, dash it – I suppose he does look a little like me around the eyes, but I really don’t see the resemblance beyond that.

You have to look closer. And smell closer.

Smell closer?

Yes. That’s shit you can smell.

Is it?



You know, of course, what I’m getting at?

That I too smell of shit?



And not just smell of it. You’ve got it caked around your arse again haven’t you?


So has he.

Has he? Oh, yes, I see. That’s properly caked in, isn’t it? Properly dry.

It is. There’s years of work gone into that. Years of craftsmanship. You don’t get caked in shit like that without working at it. Just look at those intricate patterns. I tell you, he could teach that Chris Offli a thing or two.


Chris Offli. Ofili. Whatever he’s called. He paints with elephant dung.

Elephant dung?


What on earth for?



About Paul Saxton

More information about Paul Saxton here: Follow me on Twitter: @paulsaxton
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2 Responses to Standing Up Like Steam

  1. Shannon says:

    …And then there’s those times where the pictures you can paint are quite disturbing, all the more so for how inventive your descriptions are. Leaking belly buttons indeed. I like the galling stones though.

  2. Molly Bloom says:

    I think that this and the doughnut story are really great. Really clever and fun too. I love the way that the scenes change too from the doughnut store to the beach.

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