CREATIVE Michael Nath

NWR Issue 97

British Story

A westerly was gusting through the trees and Kennedy wasn't at home. Temperature fell as the wind howled. He couldn’t have had more than four hours’ sleep; it was going to rain. When primitive man heard that howling, he invented spirits. With a dull crack and shout, white figures ran. Kennedy sat as he was. White figures crossed. There was a puddle on the step before him. He moved his legs to keep his shoes out of it. The wind dropped, the air cracked. Say a spell! Go on!

Wind moderate!
Air crack!
Let me go home …


Pathetic.

***

At 8am, a knock at the front door had been answered by Kennedy halfdressed. A hooded youth was there with a request from Arthur Mountain (verbal, not written) saying please to join the latter and his secretary to watch cricket today in Oxfordshire, if Dr Kennedy wasn’t too busy. Kennedy said thanks very much, found a two-pound coin in his trousers for a tip, and closed the door before Barbara had time to witness the messenger.

‘You’re going to watch cricket now!’ Barbara cried as Kennedy made his way along the hall explaining. One of these days he’d never come home at all! Joke. They knew Kennedy really didn’t have enough of a life for a man of his age, and with all due respect to your Project, you ought to get out more while you have the chance (ie, before the baby appears). She’d actually been awake last night when the storyteller entered their bed from the long march, surprising Kennedy this morning by advising him of the exact time he arranged himself beside her smelling of whisky – and cigarettes.

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