If I were you I'd watch out for Lego in the carpet.
If I were you, I'd let me go, uncurl those fingers one by one, relieve your pain, release your guilt, hobble toward the winter's sun. If I were you, I'd ditch the spade, let amends lay buried deep, hide them in your frozen smile, greet them in your gravel grave. I'd expunge the past, forget the now, release us from our dance macabre, if I were you, if I were you, I'd let me die before you go.
If you were me, you'd know the secret I can't reveal. The anxiety of muting your lips while your mind chatters endlessly like a troop of delinquent monkeys. You'd know the metaphor of blood on your hands as you hallucinate crimson spectres. The solitude of self-imposed silence far worse than the burden of guilt.
If you were me you still wouldn't understand me.
If you were me, you'd wing it instead. Hope to luck and your quick wits and the several spells hidden about your person.
If you were me, you'd have left a long time ago. If that was an option when you were stuck on a dead-end planet where the only spacecraft left once a decade.
If he was her, he'd have shimmied her sparkling ruby dress in as a guest then asked the way to the guest bathroom while the soiree was going on and then quickly diverted to the chamber where the Jewel of Astorath lay hidden.
If he was her he'd be better at walking in heels.
If he were her he'd be capable of ruling the universe. But he only thinks he's capable of it. And it's a pity she doesn't realise any of this.
If he was her he'd be finding it a lot harder. People always listened when he talked. It was something about the eyebrows.
If she was him, she'd have hidden upstairs the night before and would be in place to steal the gem while the shindig was carrying on downstairs, wand at the ready.
If she were him, she'd go in guns blazing. Her fists whirling, she'd break their ribs and crack their jaws. She'd knock their teeth out with their own shot glasses. She'd like that very much.
If she was him she'd have kicked him in the balls. But he was calm, miraculously calm, and he just said: "Pardon me?"
If she was him, she'd become a her because being a him has lost its charm. "Be yourself," she'd say as him being her. Adding with a grin, "Who gives a shit?"
If we were you we'd be wearing your team's colours. Yuck.
If we were you, we'd have the getaway driver hired as a waiter and poised to steal a car at a moment's notice, with an invisibility charm ready to be activated.
If we were you we'd have given the first lot the slip, told them some silver-tongued story, given them a fake name. Wouldn't have been in this situation if we had.
If we were them we'd understand how the town came to be so still,
We'd understand the clothes spread across the streets,
like they got so hot they could no longer bear the weight of them,
We wouldn't wonder about the empty houses, doors wide open,
with old meals sitting on the tables.
If we were them we'd understand why the nights are so black
and why the place only comes alive at night.
If we were them we'd have seen the writing on the wall. They were bang to rights and no way out of it.
If we were them, we'd have hired a wizard to take down the wards before pocketing the gem and sprinting for the fake waiter before being hit with a lightning bolt and having the jewel snatched from his hands.
If you were us, you'd have strong wards around the chamber where the Jewel of Astorath lies.
If you were us, you'd have to stop dancing in the sky and singing to the elephants, except on Tuesdays.
If they were us, they'd have a security wizard patrolling the upper floor to stop any heists.
If they were us they'd understand why we did the things that have brought about such vitriolic condemnation.
If they were us they'd never had made it. She wouldn't have lasted ten minutes, and he didn't look any better - both pale, weedy, beneath their fantastically expensive workout gear. But it hadn't been them. It never was.
If they were us, they'd know not to leave the City. There are things out there… waiting… beyond the ice, beyond the smashed towers and the blistered cliffs of steel.
Why not wait here with us, in the safe place, in the deep warm- here, where our enemies are known to us already?
We Us I You
If we were us you'd have leaned over, given me a peck on the cheek and said something reassuring. But there was no us anymore.
If I were you I'd not look behind you. If I were you I'd run.
(Clockhouse London Writers contributing to this collaboration were: Allen Ashley, Madeleine Beresford, Rima Devereaux, Okala Elesia, Marcus Fender, G J Haines, Mark Lewis, A N Myers. Stephen Oram, Gary Power, Robin Riback, Liz Tuckwell, David Turnbull, and Sandra Unerman)