THE MEN

February, damp and unpredictable, the air still. On the edge of the allotments two men stand talking. One smokes a slow pipe while the other, young and thin, describes with his hands something large and vague. A lean brown dog belonging to one, ignoring both noses wet grass, tracing elusive smells to and fro along the path. On the far side another man, stocky in jeans and jersey is tying up a net, patiently patching and mending thinking of next year’s growth. From a blue van stream four greyhounds, slender, high-stepping, tails curved between quivering legs. Three men follow, pause, light cigarettes in cupped hands. Securing leashes, they move past the allotments and up the hil

MADONNAS

Excuse me, can I have a word? The thing is, I wanted to catch the early bus but I didn’t get on it. I wanted…actually, I needed to speak to you. Have you a minute or two? It’s warm in here. They keep these shopping centres over-heated, don’t they? What a lovely baby ! He’s not going to fret, is he? Good. Lovely. Oh, she, then. You can’t tell, can you? Not with the rainbow suit. What’s her name? Aurora? …..How unusual …and what’s yours? Samantha….but you like Sam. Lovely names. I’m Jessica, by the way. I’m maybe speaking out of turn….the thing is, I was shopping here earlier on when you were handing out leaflets. I was hot so I took a break on one of the benches. I watched you.

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