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666 Great Junction Street

Part 5

Seraphema flung open the door and swerved to avoid Sylvester's pounding fists.

'There's someone under my floorboards!' she screamed.

'How bizarre,' said Sylvester, studying his new neighbour's pale blue eyes. 'How did they get there?'

'Well, I don't know, do I?'

She noticed Jock McConnell bounding up the stairs with one bare foot and a boot on the other.

'Let me through, I'm a boxer,' he cried. He pushed past the bewildered pair at the door and ran into the flat. 'Where is it?'

Seraphema pointed to the bedroom. Jock threw himself to the floor and peered through. 'It's me!' he cried.

Sylvester caught Seraphema's eye and drew a circle on his right temple with his forefinger. 'OK, Jock. Come away now.'

'No, really,' said Jock. 'Look, if you don't believe me.'

Sylvester was a little trepidacious, the several superstitious bones in his body now alerted and quivering with anticipation. But to back down in front of this obviously distressed maiden would severely sully his reputation as fearless rugged poet. He inched over to gaze through the floorboard and sure enough, there was a face staring back. His.

'Ah, I see. It appears there is a piece of a broken mirror down there,' he explained.

Seraphema sighed. 'Oh, thank heavens,' she said. 'But, that's seven years bad luck isn't it?'

'Only to the instigator of the breakage, which I presume would be either Philip or Quentin, previously of this parish. Bloody noisy buggers they were. I imagine a mirror smashing would have gone by largely unnoticed amidst the cacophony regularly broadcast from their theatre of screams.'

He offered his hand to Seraphema. 'Sylvester Rambling's the name. I live next door.'

After quickly checking that his right trouser leg was rolled down, Jock also introduced himself, adding, 'I'm 24. D'ye fancy a drink? I'm heading off to Wilkies in a minute.'

Seraphema politely declined and turned to the slightly stooped figure that was Scotland's modern successor to William McGonagall. 'I thought you'd be a lot bigger, somehow. Why does it say Mind Your Head above your door?'

'Ah, well,' began Sylvester, stroking the air beneath his chin as if fondling an imaginary beard. 'It's basically a reminder to any potential visitor that upon entering my humble abode, they must endeavour to engage in stimulating conversation in order to offset any further deterioration in my cerebellum. I am fearful of my mental capacities becoming sluggish and constantly remind myself to let my lazy brain run riot at every possible opportunity.'

'Oh, I see,' said Seraphema tactfully.

'Right, I'm off,' said Jock.

'Thanks for your help,' said Seraphema as Jock hobbled away downstairs.

'Now, when is your furniture arriving?' asked Sylvester.

'I don't have any,' said Seraphema.

'Not even a kettle?'


'In that case, I insist you make full use of my facilities. I have Jammie Dodgers and some Talisker.'

'I'd be delighted,' said Seraphema. 'But I really must get this place tidied up and go and buy things.'

'Plenty time for that,' said Sylvester. 'Come, let us imbibe.'

'Oh, very well,' said Seraphema. 'Thank you.'

Next week: Aye Noon



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