In the kitchen I watched as mother scooped up Jaws, plopped him in a glass of water, cleaned his bowl and fed him. She said something about the fish surviving of its own feces but at the time my eyes were on her ankles praying to god I never melted over my shoes like that.
“It's been almost a week!” she said “No-one's had word of you and what with that nasty murder that took place in the borough, well. Verity says you won't respond to mails and when I try to call your phone's permanantely on that silly answer message you have, and... and.. and....

And mum's words got smaller and smaller and fainter and fainter until they vanished altogether, fading into the memory of that day, John handing me the receiver to record my message, the two of us standing there naked, freshly showered and shivering in the room with the spring sun rising out the near window. “Commiserations, you've reached the Spencer residence. Your host is playing Toad in the Hole, so please leave a message after the sheep's bleep...” Then John and I sniggering over the end of the message.

I caught mum looking at me with a worried/frightened look across her face. I composed myself, realising that the memory must have slipped into realtime and I had suddenly erupted into laughter for no apparent reason. I wanted to speak but no words would come and I knew if I pushed for them I would only find tears. Mum was more like a nurse than my mother, someone who had barged in on my illness, disturbed me and was flushing the room with bright light. I wanted to speak and I wanted her gone. I was confused. And then I was up again and darting for the living room. Did she close the gate? You must close the gate! Don't want that fucking dog in the yard. Not near the window boxes. What was that she said about murder?

Up at the window I peered out desperately. The gate was closed, still as the chilled evening. Almost...

Just coming in to view, from the very top of the street, was a boy, a familiar figure but not at a familiar time. God, can it really be him? What the hell is he doing here? At this time? And that wasn't all, because as he approached I noticed he was reading, his book wide open and his nose shoved right in the crease. And on getting nearer he seemed taller than usual, more ginger and muscular. It was Brian the Postboy and without so much as even a glimpse up, he strolled on by, as if just by chance, The Dangerous Dandy by Barbara Cartland not quite covering the tail of his wicked grin.


  1. I'm dying to know what Babs thinks about her book's starring role in this sordid melodrama.

    But that stupid psychic of mine has disappeared.

    Last heard of at some American Tea Party shindig. I'd sent her there to represent me and ask Sarah P why she hasn't called in such a long time.

    Now it seems she's been spotted rioting with students in England!

    Surely not as a direct consequence of hanging out with Tea Partiers?

    So Braindead's been working out?

    All the more meat for Marlowe...

  2. Mrs Winthrope: I'd love to know what Bab's would think also. It's actually one of my favourite little parts how that book and someone as desperately unfashionable as Cartland has come to play a cult role in WFJ. And the contrast of course is that John's breakdown came after reading a Cooper book. So two books, one at the start and one nearer the finish, couldn't be any further apart. What John was doing reading Dennis Cooper will be another 'Lost' mystery I'm afraid... again, I just cannot convincingly answer that one! haha

    No, I don't think Braindeads been working out, more he just looked more imposing to Tristram. Strolling by showing off evidence that could have Tristy put away for life made him appear colossus. X

  3. My nephew informs me that all the best dramas leave many loose threads - 'like Twin Peaks'.

    I made the mistake of letting him show me an episode of that.

    I immediately added Lynch's name next to Cooper's in my 'Weirdo perverts to be dealt with personally when The Rapture comes' list.

    And I've re-programmed my nephew's electronic voice to play back everything he says in backwards dwarf mode.

    Unfortunately I think he rather likes it.


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