Richard Pierce

Life, Politics, Writing

Day 60

Fragmentary. It could almost be a noun like reliquary (container or shrine in which sacred relics are kept). A container or shrine in which fragmented thoughts are kept.

A sense of futility this morning.

Achilles tendon strained. Walking is a touch difficult. An excessive love of sport marked by a largely undistinguished career (highlight probably that of being in top 50 ranked epée fencers in Norway).

Kyiv under siege. Civilians dying, without doubt.

The business O works for has software developers in Kyiv. They have decided to stay and have been training with their assault rifles.

The realisation that a lot of news coverage of the crisis is racist, and that non-European refugees are being discriminated against (verified footage of Africans not being allowed to board trains from Ukraine to Poland). I feel like a racist for calling my minor problems First World problems.

Terminology is an issue when we try to abbreviate thoughts into social-media-friendly phrases. Soundbites are just that.

Meaningless adverts for things we don’t really need. On any medium.

The irrelevance of meteorological spring.

The holes in the garden around the builders’ digger filling with rain.

The cat confused because the cat flap is locked so she doesn’t fall out of the cat flap into the holes.

I cried when I watched Longshot last night when I wouldn’t sleep because climbing the stairs was too difficult, because I wanted the injury to disappear, because my irrational mind was telling me that staying awake would mend it. The sadness at the storyline of the film being too good to be true. Too good in all ways.

A paper cut on the middle finger of my left hand. That’s the finger I use for the scroll button on my mouse (I have used my left hand for my mouse ever since I developed fencer’s elbow in Norway and started fencing left-handed so I didn’t have to stop) because it lets me scroll about 4 lines more than using my left index finger. Biology, body mechanics. It all comes back to that.

A dream about rare hardback books, and me buying one although the front cover was almost entirely detached. I don’t know what the book was, but the colour of its linen was the same pale blue of my old car (sitting on next door’s drive right now).

I will dredge up some hope from somewhere. I always do. I will dredge up dreams of playing sport (my late osteopath from my life before Norway always said that visualisations like that are healing). I will also visualise sun like we had yesterday afternoon.

I find it impossible to write these blogposts without having a break – the mind wanders



Two strides is all it takes her to reach the Ambulatory, even with him over her shoulder, and one more to rip open the metal screen, close it behind her, and disappear into the cathedral. She doesn’t want to be pinned down in that dead-end of a chapel, with no way of escape. She finds cover behind one of the massive columns, sets him down on the ground, puts a finger to her lips even though she’s not sure he can see, puts her hand over his mouth just to be sure he doesn’t speak. The sound of footsteps in the chapel, scurrying like rats, subdued commands, the rattle of hands on the ornate metal. Darkness is now her friend, their friend. She gets the pistol out, its weight reassuring in her hand. Ten rounds, that’s all she has, curses herself for not having looked for more.

The footsteps come closer. She pushes him further back behind her, into the nook between columns, stands stock still, waits until she can see the shadow in the shadows creep past her, waits again, detects the motion of a second, suppresses her instincts to strike. A shallow breath, and two are past. Counts to five. A third movement, deliberately hanging behind the first two. Hunting in packs. The only question is if there’s a fourth. She flexes her fingers around the pistol grip, reverses it at the last moment, holds it by the barrel. Pushes him even further back at the same time as uncoiling herself into the walkway, a whirl of arms and legs and clatter, the impact of flesh and bone under the hardness of the wrong end of the pistol, a short sharp echo of bodies dropping to the ground voicelessly, a chorus of metal. A final hiss from her, and the silver cone of brightness from her flashlight hovers on the disarray of bodies now on the ground. She picks up their guns, stuffs them into any pocket she can find.

‘Did you kill them?’ His voice startles her until she remembers he’s there, when the red mist of taught instinct recedes.

‘Why would I?’


‘Irrelevant.’ Her torch picks out the face of the one closest to her. He looks fast asleep. She puts her hand into his jacket, searches his pockets. ‘Nothing.’ She’s in a world of her own as she repeats the search on the others. She draws a blank with each one. ‘Do you recognise any of them?’

‘I haven’t seen anyone’s face in all this, except yours,’ he says.

‘Idiot.’ She pulls one of the guns out of her pocket, holds the torch next to its trigger. ‘Makarov,’ she says. ‘Doesn’t mean anything, though.’

‘Aren’t they really old, though?’

‘Doesn’t matter if they work, does it?’

‘So they’re Russians?’

‘What did I just say?’

‘Erm, when?’

‘Listen will you. Learn. I said it doesn’t mean anything. They could be English thugs with Russian pistols. They could be Icelandic gamers with Russian pistols. It tells us nothing.’ She puts it back in her pocket. ‘Now let’s get out of here before they wake up.’

‘Just leave them here?’

‘You want me to take them home, too?’

‘Well, no, but…’

‘You were harmless and promised an answer to my problem. They’re dangerous and have no answers. They’re professionals, so even if I started pulling out finger nails, they’d not tell me what I need to know.’

‘This is stupid.’

‘Correct.’ She walks away. ‘We need to get to London.’


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  1. Ren Powell

    1st March 2022 at 13:49

    I hope your Achilles heals quickly. And that this major mess in Eastern Europe would stop and that we can also then see all the other major messes around the world that we tend to forget. While somehow finding time to forget it all on a daily basis – just for a while. Surely you have a playlist for that?

    1. Richard Pierce

      2nd March 2022 at 06:57

      I wish I did have a playlist for that. The problem is it would probably be called How We Fucked Up The World.

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