Tuesday 18 February 2014

The woman with the bit of cake on her face looked perplexed at the pair of boxing gloves in the road

The woman with the bit of cake on her face looks perplexed at the pair of boxing gloves in the road. It’s raining hard, occasionally sleeting, and the deluged streets dance in reflected light. I cross to the street that’s lined with empty pizza boxes, food tins, cooking sauce jars, energy drink cans, navy blue underpants, cerise pink shoes with missing heels, rolls of sodden carpet, mattresses, children’s plastic ride-on toys, a sofa, broken glass, an empty satnav box, and a massive burst-open bag of aggregate. Near the top, at one of the houses where they have sold all the stone flags from the yard and replaced them with dog shit, the woman with the tattoos and the bathrobe says, “Ooo, it’s snowing!” “I know”, I say. “I take it you don’t like snow.” “No, not really, it’s a bit inconvenient.” “Haha! I do”, she says, as she closes the door and disappears back inside her warm dry house.

Next door, the stocky terrier on the windowsill is on its hind legs, pulling down the curtains, its cock flopping from side to side as it scrabbles its front paws against the glass, trying to get a better purchase.

It’s still raining when I knock at the house with the crumbling concrete driveway to tell the owner that the driver’s door of the S-Class Mercedes saloon with the low profile tyres is wide open. A man in his late-twenties answers. He wears a meticulously manicured beard, three-quarter length tracksuit pants, flip-flops and a t-shirt. “Yeah”, he laughs, “I got to take it to the scrappers. Cheers, mate”.