SPOTLIGHT: Coo by Mark Burrow


The Danish Financial Controller tells me to stuff envelopes for a mass mailout. Shows me how to fold a letter. Air licks the envelope and pretends to seal the flap. “Do you understand?” she asks.

I look at her. Nah, I wanna go, can you run that by me again? The middle part’s all confusing. 

She struts off.

I wonder what the world record is for licking envelopes.


I’m out for work drinks and end up with a Kiwi girl from the accounts department. We’re completely arseholed. When the barman calls last orders, we stagger outside and into an alleyway and snog in the fire exit of a Chinese. I push her against the steel door and start fingering her. I’m about to drop my trousers when a copper tells us to do one. We take the tube to her grubby flat share, fall onto her unmade bed and pull our clothes and underwear off.

“Are you in me?” she yells.


“Are you sure?”

“Don’t be fucking cheeky.”

“I can’t feel anything.”

“Fuck off.”

“I swear I can’t feel it.”

“Let’s do it birdy style.”

“What you on about?”

I drink from a bottle of beer on the bedside table.

She complains as she shifts around. “You English are fucking shithouse in bed.”

“Shit hot more like.” I slide myself in, touching the smooth purple scarring on her body from when she pulled a kettle on herself as a toddler. 


It’s either really late or really early when I leave.

Kisses goodbye. Smelling of booze, fags and genitalia.

Promising to keep what’s happened between ourselves.

“It was fun.”

I’m walking deserted streets in the rain. Drowning in a land of wet neon like Rick Deckard in Blade Runner. I enter a 24-hour shop near where I live. The owners never bat an eyelid when I buy booze, no matter what state I’m in. They call me “Boss,” putting cans of lager and bottles of white wine and packs of fags in small black plastic bags. The only catch is they charge extra for booze in the hours they aren’t supposed to serve it.

I walk along the street.

Do you understand, Envelope Licker?

I do. I really do.

You can lick my hairy bollocks, how’d you like that?

I listen to music in my room, dancing naked, looking at myself in the mirror. Another flat share with another mish-mash of misfits and nobodies.

I’m Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now, smearing myself in blood from broken glass. I’m a cockney Jim Morrison, pissed and off-of his nut. Fuck managers. Teachers. Tories. They think they have me sussed. Think they know what I’m about.

None of them come close to getting me.

I’m Will-O’-the-Wisp.

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