Thursday, 23 December 2021

Lucky For Some.

Mavis Wicks at number 16 lives alone, so a lot of what she does is done in private.


I live next door at number 14, it’s my favourite number: valentine’s day is on the 14thof February, number 7 is a lucky number and two sevens are fourteen – double luck, and i was born in 1914. 


Ok, that probably means I should be dead so maybe it was 2014. Then again that would make me seven years’ old which is something you probably wouldn’t believe either.


Let’s just say that because I live next door to her I know that a lot of what follows is true, even if, until now, it has remained secret.


You wouldn’t know it to look at her but Mavis has a glass eye. She uses make up in a creative way so as to draw attention away from it and she wears thick rimmed black glasses anyway.


When she’s out.


When she gets home she goes first to the kitchen and switches the kettle on, and whilst it is heating she goes to the bathroom and removes her glass eye much as many people remove their contact lenses. Then she sets the glass eye in a bowl and adds some of the boiling water before using the remainder to fill the tea pot. She sets the bowl, water and eye on a table by the front door so that she doesn’t forget her eye in the morning.


Then she sits on the sofa, drinks her tea and listens to the radio.


Because of the glass eye she prefers the radio, it’s less strain for her.


Her ears are fine.


Sometimes she will bang on our joining wall if I am making too much noise; I am a musician and play the guitar badly and the drums loudly.


Across the road at number 15 live the Jennings.


I think they are brother and sister, they are must be twins and to my eyes (and Mavis’s eye) they are identical even if as siblings they can’t be.


He lives on the ground floor, she lives on the upper floor and strangely there are no stairs between the two; they use a ladder on the outside of the house.


Last Christmas someone stole the ladder for a joke and Lilly – the sister – had to be rescued by the local fire department. This is when she met, and fell in love with Jason who lives at the end of the street at number 21. 


Three sevens.


Triple luck.


Jason joined the fire brigade straight from school and is due to retire next year. He is thinking of taking employment at the Water Board next.


The Water Board occupy numbers 17 and 19, which is somewhat ironic as The River Teese runs between the two plots and the officials have a small boat to allow employees easy access to either building.


Noah who built the boat lives at number 18.


He is very old, older even than I am but he has a memory like a vice. He remembers the names of everyone in the street, he remembers his grandchildren’s birthdays – there are seven of them – and he remembers that I owe him still for the shopping he did for me the last time I was ill.


I’m ok now but the illness has left me with some memory lapses – for instance I can’t remember the name of the woman who lives at number 20. I just know that she is very pretty and that if I wasn’t either dead or still at primary school I would ask her to be my wife.


Noah tells me her name each time I ask him, but each time I ask him I am looking at her, I am distracted and I immediately forget both what he tells me and that I had asked.


I usually mumble something like ‘catch you later’ and skip out to go and say hello to her and ask if she wants any help with her shopping, her garden or her collection of racing iguanas that she trained herself.


She often says yes.


Her ex-husband lives at number 22, something that makes it difficult for all of us, but the Police suspect him of several major crimes so there is a chance that he might not be resident in the street much longer.


I’m not sure what one does with their house if one goes to prison, maybe he will be able to let it.


The homeless folk at numbers 10 and 12 would be happy to rent, their houses burnt down during the freak fire storms two years ago that started with a super surge of electricity in the experimental solar powered dynamo that they had constructed as part of the Community Initiative Challenge. Since then they have been living under canvas and using the bathroom across the road at number 13.


Arthur, who lives at number 13 was the author of the Community Initiative Challenge so he is known in the street as Arthur Author even though his surname is really Sixpence. The CIC as he calls it was his idea to foster a spirit of togetherness in the street after the unfortunate events that occurred at number 11 and which left the community traumatised and number 11 empty and boarded up.


Arthur considers it very lucky that he lives at number 13 and not number 11.


13, lucky for some.

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