Mon semblable, mon voisin
November 19, 2013

I was presenting bulbous TV awards in a submarine which was also a workingman’s cabaret. My patter was casual and keen and the response was riotous. Tears of laughter sparked in the autocue wrangler’s hulihee like sequins on a mohair catsuit. I had just felled Alan Titchmarsh with an offhand epigram when the podium split and I was back, curled like a furred foetus on the same cold Holloway pallet.

The source of the disturbance was soon clear. Lulu had grappled her fawn monstrosity into the scullery, and she was ranging across it with a hairdryer like an Uhlan shooting the wounded. I have lost the battle of the stairway. Throw in the plum-juiced upholstery and we have a home-furnishings holocaust. It is time to shop.

I had penetrated just far enough into Highbury Interiors to assure myself that it was in Highbury and did boast at least one interior when I spied the bear-brown quiff of my Halloween nemesis bobbing past the window. He was still, gladioli aside, in costume. He even sported the same lensless simulacra of my NHS hornrim, which had once displaced John Lennon’s execrable tin-rimmed squinters from an overlong sojourn at pop’s eyewear pinnacle.

Of course I followed him. Past low Biddestone, past the lacquered scowl of the City and Islington, on without a swerve through Parkhurst and Seven Sisters. He paused at Nambucca to ogle the poster of some grunting lumberjack with a five-string bass, and I dropped into a painful crouch behind the chalkboard of a pub. By the time I could creak erect and focus, he was disappearing into Brickfield Terrace itself. Odd. Odd and alarming. I ran in a ferment to the corner, and saw him draw close to my house. I feared alike for my sanity and for Lulu, though a stray unworthy image of gore-slabbered carpet held the promise of a compensatory boon from the rampage. But my uncanny shadow did not quite reach The Vapours. Instead he turned left, up the short path to Horwin Manor. Curious and ever more curious. He let himself in with a key.

Again I had the sensation of my surroundings peeling away to expose a bone-grim reality beneath.

This demands investigation.