Tripping out: 3 stories by Astrid Sutton

Taking a trip with Incy

Incy wincy spider

Climbs up the spout

Down comes the rain

Washes the spider out

Out comes the sunshine

Dries up all the rain

Incy wincy spider

Up the spout again

I’m in the garden.  SHE walks out of the back door and stands next to me.

“Your hair is beautiful.” I say. “It’s full of multicoloured stripes.” I want to touch it. The colours dance like Joseph’s coat of many colours. She walks away and her retreating body becomes a haze of oval shapes in mauve, pink, and iridescent purple.

There are black lines in a grid at the back of the house, the stripes are becoming blacker as they move towards me.

There he is! Incy Wincy. He and I will climb up the spout together. But now She is coming towards me again with her stripy hair. She mustn’t spoil it!

“What are you doing?” she says.

“I’m going travelling with Incy Wincy! Goodbye. I love you!”

Incy and I climb into the pipe. There are dark mountains in that spout. Peaks in and crags in the darkness.

“Incy,” I say, “where are we going?”

“ I will lead you to a strange land with cliffs and canyons” he replies.

With that, a flood of water flushes us off our feet. A torrent of brownish rainwater rushes down, lit by glowing amber reflections. I feel a thud as the water pushes us out of the canyon and I’m on my feet, on dry land.

“I’m very hungry.” I say.

“Me too!” says Incy. He weaves a web between the black grids. The threads wobble and gleam, shot by drops of water that become diamonds before my eyes.  The web is like gossamer, but soon it shatters into shards before transforming itself again into enveloping softness.

A blue shape flies past. Its wings have more colours than a rainbow, its body fat, its eyes huge and bulbous.

“What is your name?” I say. “You are ravishing!”

At that moment, the creature is caught in the glistening contraption of the web. I can see Incy spinning, spinning. His silver threads bind the creature into an exquisite cocoon of priceless beauty.

“I have prepared you a banquet,” says Incy.

We sit on the grass to eat. The crunch of the exterior reveals the morsel to taste better than pearls of caviar, softer and more delectable than a fresh farm egg straight from the hen, and more tempting than chocolate.

The sun has come out: a big orange ball of heat, dancing and glowing. As I look, Incy’s face appears to be in the centre of it.

“You are beautiful,” I say.

SHE comes out of the house and asks if I’m hungry.

“Incy and I have just eaten. Look at his face, it’s in the sun!”

“I can’t see it.” she says.

“It is the most perfect thing I have ever seen!” say I. I look for Incy. But he has left me. I walk back to the black stripes.

“Where are you Incy? I love you!”

Incy is scuttling away. “I’m going to the spout! I need some down -time in the dark. See you!”

Tripping out in WC1

I’m walking across squares, squares that are moving outwards in front of me. I stop to look at an exquisite shape: two circles of steel chained to a stripy mass. They are important. Once I work out how they revolve I will know everything.

I stop a girl who’s wearing a floral bandana. I can see smiling faces in the flowers and they are smiling at me.

“Do you know how those circles work? Do they spin?” I ask.

She walks on, and I walk after her. “Please tell me! It’s important. If you tell me, we will both know everything!”

She won’t stop. I return to look at the circles. I know that they move – but how? I shut my eyes and soon they turn. Are they one, two, or three dimensional?  I can see orange concentric circles that turn again into fiery Catherine wheels. I’m a little scared. Now I know the secret but I’m afraid of the fire.

Behind the fire, purple rectangles in front of other purple rectangles are opening  and  shutting. They are giant jaws! I must leave quickly in case they shut on my secret and I lose it forever.

Tripping to Bloomsbury Bowling Alley

Alice and I are sitting by the bowling lanes. The clatter of the falling skittles is deafening, like the sound of a shotgun spraying bullets.

“Al, please can we sit down? “I say.

The lights in the dinette seem to reflect 100×100 times. We’re in the dinette yet under a night sky with a million stars twinkling and Van Morrison singing “Brown Eyed Girl.”

“….Making love in the green grass, underneath the stad-ium…” sings Van, and I hear the base getting loud, louder, deafening.

The night sky of the dinette becomes Van the Man’s stadium as I look at the back of Al’s chair. The chair is growing, its round back becoming a seat on the stands and all the chairs behind multiplying into other seats. If I stood on the back I could see down to the green grass.

I now remember that Alice is there. I am transfixed by her necklace now that I’ve left the stadium. It has a sheeny reflection in which I can see undulations of fabric belonging to her top. Now, the undulations become hills in a magical landscape.

I’m concentrating, but I no longer know whether I’m inside or outside. Perhaps Al knows?  I cannot decide whether I ever want to go home. I am in a world of wonders.


About claire collison

Writer, photographer, creative facilitator, and breast cancer survivor, I am currently Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Library (WAL) My first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize, and my short stories and poetry have appeared in print and online. In 2015 I was awarded second place in the inaugural Resurgence Prize, the world's first eco poetry competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. This blog began as a space for words generated on my walking/writing workshops at the Mary Ward centre in Bloomsbury - Writing the City (WTC). WTC has since grown to include many other venues, including the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Barbican, the River Rom, Southwark Woods, Aylesbury Estate, and most recently, as part of Walking Women festival, An Intimate Tour of Breasts. I have worked with Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, as the recipient of the first Max Reinhardt Literacy Award, designing teaching resources; and for The Photographers' Gallery, helping school children develop visual literacy as part of 'Seeing More Things'. If you would like me to design a workshop or walk for you, please be in touch!
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