11 May 2007

I turned eight on holiday in Norway. We stayed in a wooden cabin a short walk from the forest and a large lake. It seemed like every lake in Norway had a rowboat on the shore. I struggled to push this boat out into the water. I would spend all day on the water. I made a fishing rod from a stick and a shoelace. Worms were nowhere to be found and the fish did not like blueberries which were everywhere. Twice when I was sat on the boat in the middle of the lake a noise made me look to the shore and I saw the same big black wolf. It drank from the water then looked up at me as I sat on my boat in my straw hat. It winked at me, a big wink I could see from far away and then turned and walked off. No one believed that a wolf had said hello to me. “Really Bruce, wolves just don’t say hello to strangers in a nice way and I’m not even sure wolves can wink.” said Mother. When we drove away from the cabin and the forest I saw a big truck parked by the track. It had a black carpet on the bonnet. I pressed my nose to the window. A tall bearded man stood by the truck tying the paws together. He was smiling when he looked up at me and winked.

1 May 2007

The first time we met was in London on a wet day and I had just been soaked to the skin. Grey water dripped from my nose and hands and my black suit was now skin-tight. I stood still and looked skyward but remembered there was nobody up there. I looked down at my wet shoes and then she was standing in front of me chuckling. “Don’t you know never to stand next to a puddle in the bus lane?”

“Don’t you know it’s not safe to talk to strangers?”

“Well, some strangers are clearly not dangerous. Those standing in their very own puddle rank very low on my list of possible threats.”

“What about if I had a knife which I wasn’t going to use but now I’m wet and pissed off and some lady is taking the mickey and I decide that perhaps, right now, I want to kill someone and she’ll do?”

“Do you have a knife? Should I start running?”

“No.”

“No? No knife?”

“ No knife. But I could drip all over you and give you pneumonia.”

She kept her eyes on mine but tilted her head to one side and pursed her lips. Then “Lovely weather isn’t it?”, she said as she looked up at the sky.

“There’s obviously no one up there. And I refuse to talk about the weather.”

“Too British?”

“Yes. And it’s a boring topic. Why talk about the weather when we can talk about football?”

“True. Great derby match last night, I really thought Fulham were in with a chance.”

“Okay, stop right there.”

“Not a footie supporter? Bit of a dubious judgement call there.”

“Well, you don’t look much like a fan.”

“No? My knickers are a big give away and I have a tattoo but I suppose that wouldn’t actually help you much.”

“Nope. Fulham. So you have yellow knickers?”

“Hmmm. Are you going to stand here all day in the rain waiting to get dry?”

“I was thinking about it. I don’t really see any point in going on if this is the way I’m going to be treated.”

“Come on, you’re not that wet.”

“I have puddle water in my belly button and, yep, look, a bit of grit in my ear.”

“Well, I’m off. Nice to meet you. Gotta get to work.”

“Hang on, wait a minute. How about a drink?”

“A drink? But you’re a stranger, remember?”

“Not really, not anymore. Just a quick one while I dry off a bit.”

“Ummm.”

“Come on. I want to know about your tattoo.”

“It’s in a very secretive place. I’m not going to show you.”

“I have a secret tattoo too. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”

“We’ll see about that. Watch out, here comes another bus.”

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