Of all the dreams Yulia dreamed, her favourite dreams were dreams of animals.
Today, around noon, as she served a customer some cigarettes from the display behind the till, she saw, out of the corner of her eye, on the street outside the shop, a turtle. And on the turtle’s back she could see a tortoise. And on the tortoise’s back she could see a terrapin. And on the terrapin’s back she could see a fourth creature that was exactly the same as the first three creatures, except this one was even smaller again than all the others below.
She didn’t know what this one was called, but she was certain its name started with a T. It had to. Yet no matter how many names she tried – tartaran? tiralpoise? tintle? turlesque? – none of them seemed to fit.
She was so distracted by all this she was late for lunch.
A week from now, when Yulia tells Jeanette all about it in the cafe, she will no longer remember whether it was all a dream or a sight she had actually seen. Not that it matters. That’s not the point of the story now.
The point of the story now is whether on the back of the fourth creature there had been a fifth, too small for her to see, but there all the same. And on the back of the fifth, perhaps a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, a ninth… For all of them Yulia tries searching for a name.
Jeanette eats her cake in silence and smiles wider with every bite.
1. Written between the 1st and the 3rd of May, 2021
2. There’ll be a new episode of this every Saturday morning now
3. Until the end of time
4. Or I run out of things to say
5. And they run out of things to do