The Protector of Small Things

by Jinnwoo

OWEN LEE JOE KING leads PAT around the back of a tall office block into an area of dumpsters and broken-up cardboard boxes. They are away from main roads, not visible to the general public. There are broken bottles and cigarette butts on the floor, and the area smells of urine.
PAT looks nervous. It’s been a bad date so far. Just moments ago, OWEN LEE JOE KING had offered to buy PAT a drink at the BROWN BEAR PUB. PAT refused on medical grounds. PAT explained he had had a large mental breakdown and was currently medicating, and the pills weren’t supposed to be mixed with alcohol. On hearing this, OWEN LEE JOE KING asked to buy some of the pills from PAT, because he thought they would “make him go whappy.” PAT knew then that OWEN LEE JOE KING probably wasn’t “the one.”

OWEN LEE JOE KING: When the police arrested me and asked for my name - I said “OWEN KING.” They asked if I had middle names, so I said “LEE JOE.” [Beat.] OWEN LEE JOE KING! It was hilarious. They didn’t get it though.
PAT can’t remember OWEN’s actual name, so thinks he will just refer to him as OWEN LEE JOE KING from now on - when he writes about this in his diary, and so on.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: Do you like my jacket? I got it especially. Everything I’m wearing now is stolen especially for our date. I have a Bart Simpson tattoo.
PAT: Did you steal that as well?
OWEN LEE JOE KING: No, I paid for it with my pocket money when I was 14. 20 years have flown by. I turned 34 last week.
OWEN LEE JOE KING shows PAT his Bart Simpson tattoo.
PAT: It looks just like him.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: How old are you again?
PAT: [Beat.] 18 or 19.
OWEN LEE JOE KING grins. PAT limply smiles back.
OWEN LEE JOE KING stops smiling abruptly and the tone changes. He puts his hand up and strokes PAT’s face. He looks at PAT’s mouth. They kiss for a while whilst PAT thinks about his bus timetable.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: I like this sneaking around. It feels wrong, I like it. You’re even better than your picture.
PAT: Yeah. Thank you.
They kiss again. PAT puts his hand down OWEN LEE JOE KING’s underwear because he thinks he might as well, and it seems like the kind of thing OWEN LEE JOE KING might be expecting to happen. PAT holds OWEN LEE JOE KING’s penis in his hand. It is soft, small, and limp, like a naked mouse, and as he squeezes it, a drop of urine dribbles out and into PAT’s hand.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: [Whispers.] You’re trembling - are you cold?
PAT: [Whispers.] I’m cold.
PAT isn’t cold.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: [Whispers.] Let me warm you up a bit.
PAT and OWEN LEE JOE KING have sex behind the bins.
2.          EXT. STREET. DAY.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: Do you want me to walk you to your bus stop?
PAT: No, it’s ok, thank you, though.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: I can’t believe how lovely you are.
OWEN LEE JOE KING walks PAT to his bus stop anyway. On the way, OWEN LEE JOE KING makes fun of someone in a wheelchair, and PAT thinks “Fucking hell this is terrible.” To get to the bus stop, they walk over an overpass and OWEN LEE JOE KING forces PAT to stop and look at the traffic below.
OWEN LEE JOE KING: Look at the view. It’s all for you. It’s all for you!
PAT doesn’t want it.
PAT catches his bus, and cries all the way home. When he gets home, he walks out into the fields so his parents can’t hear him, and calls the sex advice line. He asks them if he could have got HIV from what OWEN LEE JOE KING did to him today. They tell him yes.
As PAT walks back to his house, he comes across a snail in the middle of the path. He picks it up and moves it under a bush where it won’t be trodden on. A few steps later he sees a plastic six-pack ring from beer or coke on the ground. He breaks it up into tiny parts and puts it in the bin so turtles won’t get stuck in it like he saw on TV. PAT thinks “Maybe I could be the protector of small things, and then everything bad I do will be outweighed by that goodness.”
PAT [v/o]: I am the protector of small things. To the rescue.
PAT goes home.
End scene.

Jinnwoo is a writer, musician, and visual artist from Leicester (UK), currently living in Brighton (UK). He released a solo record Strangers Bring Me No Light in 2016 on Cargo Records, as well as records with British Folk groups Bird in the Belly (GF*M Records), and Green Ribbons (Matiere Memoire Records). His vocals also featured on Kyla La Grange’s second album Cut Your Teeth (Sony Records) and Ben Walker’s debut solo record Echo (Folk Room Records).

As a visual artist, Jinnwoo has produced work for the likes of Island Records, Warner Records, Thirty Tigers Records, as well as appearing in publications such as The Guardian, Beijing Today, Wonderland Magazine, Oh Comely Magazine and fRoots.

Little Hollywood is Jinnwoo’s debut book.

Artwork: "Pineapple Jack/Pop" by Jinnwoo