Short on time, Tweed Gilet meld day into night raising a frenetic, greasy, bubble haired, scuffed rhythm and soul hullabaloo. The frontman, yesterday’s eyeliner, candle wax flesh bent beneath the polystyrene, sick-looking, kisses the mic, briefly, tenderly, intones, “Safe home everybody.”
Being a stranger in town, Knott, nowhere to go post-show, began to help the band pack down by coiling cable, humping amp. He spoke with a smile and when the van was loaded he naturally clambered over the passenger seat and found himself a space there among the equipment, the band. The bass player drives. The bass player has pink eyes. His name is Giles and he wants to party. Giles drives to a terraced house on a quiet street.
A baggie is passed around the kitchen table. Soon, countless joints are being smoked. Booze becomes dregs.
At the table Knott sat next to a woman with five inches of fuchsia mohawk. She wears a box-fresh Blondie tee and shiny leather trousers. A walking stick rests against the table between her legs. She has thumbed this path a long time. She calls herself John.
“I love animals,” says John. “They have pure souls, not like people. Cats particularly love me. You wouldn’t believe it looking at me, but I come from a very very very straight family.”
He wouldn’t have thought otherwise. John describes her family and they sound like very very very nice, ordinary folk. He wonders just what sort of person John is.
John talks and Knott has to repeat words several times before they seemingly penetrate her brain. John is irritating. But he is drawn into her dreadful orbit. Everything is, rightly or wrongly, hilarious.
“There was once a comedy called The Young Ones,” she says.
Dan dresses like a cartoon mortician; stovepipe hat, beard of cobweb, kohl. He covets a cd player at the table’s end and treats everyone several times to his band’s demo. He is under the impression that the louder he plays it the better it sounds. Each play is made worse by Dan turning the song off mid way through to explain some nuance of his lyrics. The man with pink eyes, sat at the other end of the table, says suddenly, “There is only one rule in this house. Just one. If you’re playing your own music, you play it in its entirety. You do not stop it midway through.”
“A fair rule,” says Dan. Dan presses play. We begin again.
A boy in a Nirvana hoodie, head to the table, sick-looking, groans and the girl sat at his side tucks his greasy hair behind his ear and kisses the top of that mop. She says, “What’s with the fancy-looking shed?”
There is a fancy-looking shed in the backyard.
“Dovecote.” Deadpan. This is Giles.
She considers this and says, “Do you let them out much?”
“Not often. Sparrow hawks are a big problem round here.”
“You keep hawks?”
“In the shed?”
“The dovecote, yes.”
“How do they know their way home? To the dovecote?”
“Magnetic fields, mostly,” says Giles. “Magnetic fields and auditory clues.”
John taps Knott on the shoulder with her stick.
John says, “I was on speed for twenty years.”
“Must’ve been some comedown.” But John doesn’t hear.
He slept a vague sleep there at the table and woke with the sunlight on his face. John was gone. Giles was gone. The boy in the hoodie and the girl were gone. He drank tap water and pulled the door to. There was a tiny, empty eggshell in the road. Two crows crowed in the cemetery. He found the main road. The sunlight glancing off the windscreens as they passed his raised thumb.