Wednesday, 9 May 2018


In a barbershop. Second time I had been there. Remembered having had a 9:00 appointment made for myself and my younger brother on the previous day and that I had also had my hair cut at this time. The shop was long and rectangular, the door central in a long glazed wall. 3 comfy leather chairs sat to your left as you entered. Beyond these was the seemingly obtusely small 'cutting zone', which took up one short wall with a piece of counter returning and running a few meters up the next, terminating next to a further 5 seats. These were of a cheaper make than those to the side of the door, the last 2 of which faced your typical barber's window. The opposite short wall had 2 seats to either side of a large antique radiator, a vast, cream painted beast with thick bars creating a spacious, hollow centre. Here too, as stood beside the door, was an old fashioned hatstand, twisting this way and that at head and foot. The floor was tiled, perhaps an artificial laminate replica, but seemingly inverted, the grout forming perceptible ridges, the sunken tiles giving an impression of carpet(?). When I arrived the place was very busy, even of a morning, the floor already covered in clippings over towards the 3 chairs and the 'cutting zone'. I hoped to sit in a comfy chair, but ended up covered in hair as I sat and was subsequently warned off. I was directed instead to a seat opposite the door. As this older woman who had scolded and reseated me turned to look back into the body of the shop I looked at the rear of her head, thinking how poor her hair was, a thinning, arid, worn-red sprouting, for someone who worked in such a place-

A man who resembled my Uncle Enn entered, but he looked much older than I remembered, exuding a lizard-like air, his body and features tight and wiry as if his skin had contracted over his muscles. Behind him was Gee Haitch, trussed up as of a wet morning's walk to work. We knew each other, obviously, but did not show it. I was suddenly assailed by two girls brandishing several pieces of clearly marbled timber and enquiring as to which of them matched. We agreed on which two were the same before they sniffed at my opinion and decided upon a new pair. This process, which took place very much in-my-face, was then repeated with several pieces of toast. We concur that two light brown wholemeal slices constitute a twin before I accept a pale piece of white toast, soaking in butter. I fold this over and munch on it automatically, taking no pleasure in the experience. Uncle Enn and Gee Haitch have taken up a seat to either side of the dominating cream radiator. Uncle Enn, nearest the window wall, complains about the heating and starts to fiddle with the valve/thermostat at his feet. He then says something I don't hear, but something in my mind tells me it is Anti-Semetic. As the others recover from this outburst, he follows up with another. The radiator wall transforms momentarily here, becoming a black and white Maus-esque cartoon, depicting a squat boy in WW2 evacuee attire, looking distressed-

All returns to normal as Uncle Enn says he could fix the radiator(s). In this interim I knew Uncle Enn had killed Gee Haitch. Turning my head I see a small dog's dirt in the centre of the floor, partially trodden into the tile/carpet. A woman across the room sits there motionless. I see Uncle Enn, now half-rendered in a b/w David Lloyd art-style, as if of some half-remembered Warrior Comic strip, sinking into the upstairs floor, the carpet softly swallowing him entirely akin to a scene in the film The Money Pit. This occurred while he was examining the radiator there. His wife turned up, a small, frumpy woman with a shock of red hair. Despite the fact she was able to avoid the same fate as he, by chance rather than by any skill, she too was eventually swallowed by the floor. I knew somehow that she'd been pushed in, able to picture the hands motioning at her back. My notion was confirmed as I met Gee Haitch's ghost on the steps outside. He was a pale blue apparition, little flames leaping around his head, but dressed in the same jacket and rucksack. We talked, quite naturally, about what he'd been up to, aware that he was due to disappear for good. He was, I remember thinking, in high spirits-    

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