Needless to say, Frankie never showed, but this was not entirely unexpected. Dressed up in sling backs & a white polka dot dress like Joan Crawford I stood smoking in the tropical rain on the Cinderella stairs of the courthouse. I waited until five past nine, which I think you’ll agree is long enough to hold out hope for someone whom you knew was never going to come in the first place.
Carl Brooks (the enemy of the piece) arrived at ten to nine and kept me company on the stone steps in his indestructible & unfathomable check suit, which had been freshly brushed for the occasion and so was now crackling with static electricity and chances are conducting the coming tropical storm; a lot of dry cut grass had stuck to his back where he couldn’t see it. I don’t know if he wanted to chat out of interest or spite, or if (possibly) a lifetime of parsimony & working for the Council meant that he was now incredibly lonely: anyway, his casual comments on the passers-by were worthy of the dustbin of history. Frankie’s failure to appear meant that we were in & out of the court hearing in five minutes, so by 9.10 Brooks had been awarded every legal right to possess my old aunts’ house, and was in fact encouraged by the magistrate to destroy it. This too was only to be expected: every Shitsville knows that it never takes long for your dreams to die & savour of ashes in your mouth. It is in our blood. I must say my aunts accepted it with a lot of grace. They admitted the house had seen better days – where there now hung think curtains of slimy moss in which you could hear the green snakes rustling they’d once spent idylls playing ping-pong in white Summer shorts, as sweet smelling sunshine came in through the latticework. (In any case there had always been some contention about whether the house really belonged to them or to the Russian people).
Straight afterwards Brooks said he was on his way to light the sticks of dynamite that he had been placing around the house for a week in preparation & asked me if I wanted to share a taxi since we were going the same way (to the same place) (tho I suspect he really wanted to split the cost). His victory had put him in a good mood and he giggled, “He, he, he…” more than a few times, making his suit squeak at the seams. It was really too much to bare.