Slipping between browsers at Borough market, she pretended an interest in literature, in homeware and clothes, in vinyl. Her hand dipped foreign pockets. Some coins, receipts, some lint. Some nothing. She was counting again the coins in the underpass, handing lint alms out with receipts to the breeze, when –
Aight, Letitia. You lookin cold, girl. You got my money, right?
Lemons took her by the elbow in his black ski glove, just like a gentleman might, and led her off into the apricity. But she felt little of its heat.
Dizzy drove the three of them. Black-out windows, bass boom, syncopated snakebite snare. The city unfurls. They stopped at a new build somewhere. Nothing extraordinary; concrete, convenience, conurbation. Dizzy buzzed up.
It was a warm room with scant air. Sofa, some lighting, dub reggae. A bearded dreadlock with an aubergine face, not unfriendly, sat serious. Lemons cuffs the man’s hand. Aight. Ease. Introductions. Dizzy takes the weight off his sneakers, makes like he’s quite at home. Lemons draws a yellow finger across the space.
Fish. This, Letitia. Letitia. This, Fish.
Hello, though no one word is spoken. A half nod.
This the girl? says Fish. The county girl?
and when i sleep, luella [ix/xii]©2019