Tales From The Town #61: Explanations Of Necessities

“But why, Mum?”

“What’s he doing here?”

“He’s the new lodger,” Agnes explained. “He’s moving into the new rooms.”

“We don’t want him.”

“We don’t need him.”

“But we do need his money,” Agnes said. “It’s sad but it’s true. Feeding all you kids doesn’t come cheap.”

“We aren’t that expensive!”

“We barely eat a thing!”

“Daniel eats nothing at all!”

“I eat apples from the apple tree,” Daniel said. “And drink water from the tap.”

“And ice creams from the ice cream van,” said Agnes, sighing slightly. “I’m sorry everyone, but we really do need a new lodger now Oya’s moved in with Anna.”

“But she hasn’t moved out!”

“She’s just moved upstairs!”

“I know, I know,” said Agnes. “But it’s not like I can continue charging them both now they share a single room, is it?”

“You could!” Claire said. “I would.”

“It just wouldn’t be fair,” said Agnes.

“Who cares about fair!” Claire grumped. “I hate him!”

“You hardly know him, Claire,” Agnes said. “How can you hate him?”

“He called me fat!”

“He did not,” Ethel said.

“He did!”

“Didn’t!”

“He said you were a big girl,” Tina said. “I was there.”

“We were all there,” Ethel said. “Even Mum!”

“See!” Claire said. “It’s the same thing. I told you!”

“That’s not the same thing, Claire,” Agnes said. “I’m sure he was just trying to be nice.”

“He’s not nice at all,” Claire said. “He’s creepy. I don’t like his eyes. Or his smile. Or his name.”

“He’s got eyes like blueberry pies,” Daniel said.

“What’s wrong with his name?” Agnes said. “Christopher’s a nice name.”

“He’s got a name like a videogame,” Daniel suggested. It was the best he could do.

“It’s not even a little bit nice!” Claire said. “It’s an awful name and I hate it!”

“He’s got smiles like a crocodile’s!” Daniel added for good measure.

“No he doesn’t,” Claire said, spinning right round so she could refute Daniel’s allegations head on. “If he had a smile like a crocodile his smile would be nice and I’d like him but his smile is awful and I hate him so he doesn’t have a smile like a crocodile AT ALL.”

“Claire what’s gotten into you?” Agnes asked. “He’s not even moved in yet. You probably won’t even have to see him when he does. He’s very busy. He works in the city, you know?”

“Well maybe he should stay there!” Claire shouted, before suddenly slumping down on the settee.

It was all too much for her. She pulled a hairbrush out of her pocket and started running it furiously through her hair in an attempt to calm down. The cat pawed at her knees, then climbed up her leggings like they were a ladder. Everyone else drifted from the room like clouds.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 9th, 2022

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Tales From The Town #25: Beneath The Boat, On The Top Of The Hill

Above the town, at the top of the hill, in the copse of trees where nobody goes, there’s an old wooden boat, upside down and abandoned about as far from the sea as you can get round here.

Eleonora has no idea how it got there, or whose it is, or how old it is, or how long its been there. It can’t have been too long, in that though the paint’s all peeled away, the wood hasn’t rotted through, and it’s not sunk down so deep into the mud yet that it can’t be moved.

Yet still it looks to Eleonora as though its been there forever. An ancient tomb of kings and queens, buried beneath their ships at the high point of the town.

On days like today, when there’s nothing she wants to do but cry, and nowhere she can bear to be without screaming, she climbs up here, and crawls under there, and lies down in the dark, her eyes closed now as she listens to the sound of the wind and the sound of the rain and the sound of the world going on perfectly well without her.

And by mechanisms she does not know, using powers she cannot understand, as she lies there in the dark, beneath the boat, in the copse of trees, on the top of the hill, as far away from anywhere and everywhere as she can get round here, the cat always finds here, and joins her, and sleeps on her chest for as long as she pleases, for as long as she needs.

They don’t need anybody else. Together they will live forever.

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Notes:

1. Written between May 5th and May 10th, 2021
2. “Together We Will Live Forever” is the title of this lovely piece of music from the end of The Fountain

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Tales From The Town #21: The Bookshop

The books on the shelves changed every time you turned away. The words dripped from the pages like venom. By the time you got them home you did not know what you were going to find inside.

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Notes:

1. Written on May 8th, 2021

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Patreon subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real.

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Tales From The Town #15: Summer

A Summer’s Day

“It’s hot,” Tina said.

“It’s really hot,” Claire agreed.

“It’s too hot,” Ethel insisted.

“It’s not hot enough,” said Daniel.

A Summer’s Night

It was dark outside. Really dark. You couldn’t see a thing. But you could hear it all. It went on and on. It would not stop. Don’t they ever sleep out there?

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Notes:

1. Written on May 6th, 2021

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Patreon subscribers get not just early access to content and also the occasional gift, but also my eternal gratitude. Which I'm not sure is very useful, but is certainly very real.

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Tales From The Town #3: The New Boy

“Mum! Mum! You’ll never guess what!”

“There’s a new boy at school!”

“He’s so tall!”

“And mysterious!

“He’s called Timothy!”

“His mum’s a weightlifter!”

“His dad breeds cats!”

The cat, who had been asleep until now on her second favourite shelf, slowly opened her eyes at the sound of her name, and then just as slowly closed them again.

“He used to go to a different school!”

“But now he goes to ours!”

“He’s been everywhere!”

“And done everything!”

“He once drove a real car!”

“He once flew in a hot air balloon!”

“He’s been to Antarctica!”

“He’s been to Mars!”

“Well, doesn’t he sound nice,” Agnes said.

“He’s so nice!”

“He’s amazing!”

“He’s so tall!”

“He’s our new best friend!”

But by Wednesday he wasn’t new anymore, and after the weekend they never spoke of him again.

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Notes:

1. Written on April 30th, 2021
2. Hopefully there’ll be one of these every week from now on but who knows

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