The waitress presents them with the beer sampler, to which she has added three complimentary glasses. She must have delivered her lines many times before, with the same carefully disguised insincerity. The meal over, he says keep the change. As she wheels away, she scratches him on the back, lightly.
He was a Foxhound. Others were Bassets, Beagles or Harriers. They assembled in the courtyard before meals, supervised by the Roman-nosed Scot who taught English. To reach the dining room, they descended into the basement, then ascended, following the scent. Later he discarded the indoctrination and became a hunt saboteur.
The pigeons sat quietly in the branches of the trees, fat after an early festive lunch, puzzling over the absence of red buses. They were taking the air to escape from the parents, the Queen, the deflation that made the 25th seem like an extra twenty-four hours of Boxing Day.
He glances out at the uniformed figures dawdling along the street. ‘Look at all those traffic wardens. I wonder what’s the collective noun for them?’ She’s not equal to the invitation. Later, like mortified Rousseau after peasants left him lost for words, the answer arrives: a tedium of traffic wardens.
A tennis professional, Dad’s face was well-tanned, not unlike Sean Connery’s. Indeed, a journalist once described him as 003½. I suspect the quip betrayed knowledge that the similarities were not simply facial. I worry about the legacy of this story: am I destined to play out my life as 001¾?
Her way was successively barred by the robust suitcases and bodies of a holidaying family of zombies, two nattering legal secretaries, and a space cadet attempting to calculate the elevation between platform and ground level. Obviously it was time to step up the Campaign for a Third Lane on Escalators.
The school bully drove a two-inch nail through his finger. He laughed as he held aloft the injured digit, with which the nail had formed a perfect right angle. Later that term he lifted me off the floor by the neck. I hammered his nuts with my knee and ran.
Like you, the cameraman is trying not to disrupt the flow of life. He frames a picture, pans away, closes in again. He finds and tracks you. His art is in his patience, his freezing fingers. Though you seek to avoid his lens, deflect his focus, he’ll never lose you.
The silver car flips off the road, landing upside down on the pavement. By the time I reach the scene, a crowd has gathered. The driver’s seat is empty. Of the surrounding people, none look like they own a Porsche; no-one wears the face of someone who has cheated death.
Neither drove, and the house was never left unoccupied. July was wet. To bring their hoods together and simply kiss was soon frustrating. The church was off-road, surrounded by wheat fields. There they first made love, on the vestry’s Persian rug, watched over by a stone angel with broken wings.