Short only a locust

Thunder in the evening. Lulu cowered on, and then behind, the sofa. I fought my  way through the Holloway Gazette, a weekly distillation of the darker canticles of Job.

The elderly of Nib’s Acre face winter without insulation. A pool of blood appears on Filrose Crescent. A man stabbed in the ear on a Tube platform is hit by his own ambulance, breaking both collarbones and an urn of his mother’s ashes. “She wanted scattering,” he reports, as her ground remnants coat a ring of chip-huffing onlookers, “but not here.”

I am waiting for Cliff Richard to announce his Christmas single on the One Show when an unexpected fist pounds at the window. What I assume to be a meth-crazed local barbarian yawps out a murderous vowel-string. In seconds Lulu is under the sofa. I fancy I can feel her ridged back through the upholstery. By the time I lure her out with warmed Nutella and throw open the door, the street outside is deserted. Even the lights of Sew Over It Suit Repair are dim.

Later, a text from Danny. “WR R U LOL??!” I fail to share his amusement. I angrily text him a picture of a doorbell, feel instant guilt for my harshness, and realise I have missed Cliff entirely. I turn to the cruel comforts of the Holloway Gazette. They have mutilated my letter about the rats. It seems I shall be forced to write to them again.


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