There’s a copy of The Watchtower magazine pinned to the front door of one of the back-to-backs. Someone has scrawled across Jesus’ face in biro, “NOT INTERESTED, ONE WORD FREE WILL!”
As we watch the police moving the drunks along in the park, Michael tells me he once saw a man staggering down the street with a bottle in his hand and another two in the pockets of his coat. He says he watched the man’s expression turn from horror to relief as the bottle
in his hand had slipped onto the floor but hadn’t broken. But then, as he bent down to pick it up, the bottles from his pockets fell out and smashed all over the pavement and his expression had turned to one of bewildered anguish.
The swallows are swooping after the flies that buzz around the cow shit on the track down to the farm. I make my way up to the house and knock at the door. The air is fetid and still, hung thick with the stench of pig shit. A woman with a grey bob and plastic-rimmed glasses opens the door. She winces and says “Oh! What a foul smell!” Then, with one hand over her nose, she grabs the parcel from me and shuts the door behind her without saying goodbye.
The man who is brewing beer in his garden and doesn’t wear a shirt says hello.
I stand on a dead mouse and, after several minutes of trying, I can’t get the worst of it out from the tread of my shoes.