The Hat

The hat glittered with the light of a thousand suns hammered into sequins. The feathers put even the peacock models on the covers of peacock romance novels to shame. The hat band was a hat band. There’s only so much you can do with a hat band.

This would change everything.

‘I forgot you were a human being,’ his boss would say, ‘because your eyes are dead when you’re at work, and you speak in the monotone of a computer generated answering machine. Without the charm and motivation, obviously. But now, in that hat, I understand you. Have any job you want. Have mine! There’s nothing more for me in this life anyway, now I’ve seen your hat.’ Then his boss would slam his head in the photocopier until he was dead, and the photocopies would be used as the invitations to his funeral.

‘I thought you were just the strange, lonely man who doesn’t realise I can see him when he watches me with the lights off,’ his neighbour’s wife would say. ‘But now I see you for who you are. Your own unfulfilled desperation for human contact hasn’t twisted you ironically into someone with whom human contact is now deeply revolting, it really is everyone else’s fault! Kiss me in front of my husband, who fears and respects you!’ And then he would finally have her, and like everyone who gets what they want, be completely satisfied and not immediately want something else.

‘You were right,’ the dog down the street would say, ‘you are a better scratcher than my owner. I only growled and barked at you because your smile looks like the quivering snarl of an elderly wolf. But now, in that hat, I can smell your kind heart. Let’s roll around on the grass together.’

He would be happy.

Almost afraid to touch it, he took the hat down gently. It weighed as little as his troubles would when he wore it. It felt like the life he was supposed to have. His tomorrow self was reflected in every golden sequin, smiling, likeable, fulfilled.

He put it on.

‘What a faggot,’ said a passing twelve year old.


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