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That's living

26 Sep 2004

They sat in a coffee shop off Russell Square. Far off Russell Square, through the radii first of Starbucks coffee, and then the one of houses that served decent coffee. Practically King's Cross by now. The old man added three sugars to the cup; his son, nerves already jangling, had a decaf.

"I'm so pleased for you," the father said. "I can't believe it. I still can't believe it. You've been looking for a decent job for so long. And now you're working abroad too! It's almost like the Auf Wiedersehen, Pet!"

At the side

22 Aug 2004

"Not bloody bored now, are you, John Atherton?"

A labour of love

9 Aug 2004

Edward climbed up the last set of stairs. His right kneecap crackled when he flexed the joint under it, and he was breathing heavily. Under his moustache and around his hatband he sweated invisibly. At last he reached the fourth floor landing. He bade his heart slow down, and noticed that his surroundings had, between there and the floor below, become much more ornate: opulent in a faded, wistful way. The colour of the wallpaper was dark, and that of the wood darker. All was illuminated by a solitary, dim lightbulb, hung inside the trappings of what was once a gas mantle.

At the church

25 Jul 2004

John and Bert were only a furlong or two from S. Mary's Church when it started raining. John had kept ahead of Bert all the way there, although Bert had tried a couple of times to talk to his employee. All in vain: John stayed tight-lipped, pissed off.

At the door

18 Jul 2004

Bang, bang, bang! went the Devil in John's wardrobe. It towered over him, ready to topple, and fear crawled over his shoulders as if the tendons were being drawn out through his neck, but now it wasn't fear but confusion, and he woke to the quiet of the terrace, broken every few moments by a reveille on a front door—our front door, he realised, yanking himself out of bed.