Meet Pandarus
December 2, 2013

A woman in Brighton has developed a process to make picture frames from minced placenta. There is always a point at which I stop reading the newspapers and launch myself into the day. This was today’s.

My knock on Lulu’s door of late is timid and almost inaudible, as if a sturdy declarative thump might of itself summon up her plump inamoratus, gibbous and ruby-radiant in a crack of the door.  Today I braved it, bearing cooled porridge in what the catalogue billed as a sycamore kuksa, but is more properly characterised, due to its double handle, as a quaich. The wood at least is not in doubt, and neither on a normal morning is Lulu’s response to the freshening buckwheat scent.

That this was not a normal morning was quickly evident. I knocked three times before the door opened, and then it was not thrown wide with the usual ravenous hand. Instead it barely moved. I could tell by the scuffle and creak that she had retired instantly to bed. I pondered for a moment the sliver of winter light, then pushed in. Lulu lay huddled, the polar-fleece comforter she favours pulled up to her top lip. She was alone.

“No Borset today?” I burbled, affected breeziness making me sound like a floorwalker in a carpet shop. Lulu shook her head. A wide tear trickled down one cheek, zigzagging a little first in the wrinkles of her lower lid. Borset is no more.

I left the porringer cupped in her outstretched hand and strode downstairs. I could not pretend to miss Borset, with his cratered frontage and his gruesome carnal tang. But I will not have Lulu sad. Wreathed in chai fumes now, I felt a sacramental spirit move within me. My detective reinvention was a dismal wreck. Today sees another new me. If I cannot claim affection for myself, as a casual glance will confirm, I can at least catalyse it in others. In a moment I am on the street, coatless, scanning the faces of the Holloway foot-traffic (to what I recognise shortly thereafter, returning to the Vapours for my vintage checkback duffel, as their considerable alarm) for marks of Eros.

Such is my vigour that I almost forget to check the Horwin casements for my pale tormenter. Almost.