She looked around, checking the street was empty. Then with a practiced flick of the thumb, she popped the latch. Then ducked inside and closed the door behind her in one swift movement.

It never failed to amaze her how she managed to fit inside the street-light. It didn't make sense, she shouldn't be able to fit. But every night since the first time she heard his voice, she'd felt that wierd sensation of the doorway ballooning around her as she swung into the circular room.
The first time had been terrifying. A tinny, muffled voice called her name as she walked home from work one night. Possibilities scrolled through her head; had somebody followed he, was somebody behind her? When she realised it was coming from the street-light she had to stop, check herself. When she was much younger, she'd entertained the thought that each and every street-light was powered by a tiny person on an exercise-bike, living in the wide base of the post. And hearing that voice brought the childhood fantasy back to her abruptly. She steadied herself, and placed a cautious hand on the lamp door. She'd half expected it to smoothly swing open, but the hinges were rusty, and the fastening stuck.
"Turn it left"
Came the voice from the lamp. She jiggled the catch, but it refused to budge.
"Left, fahking left. Christ, it's not that difficult."
After a few noisy minutes, and the application of her door-keys for leverage, she'd managed to open the door a crack. Inside was, exactly as she'd imagined, a man on a bicycle, in a tiny circular bedsit.

And now here she sat, drinking strong, sweet tea from a mug she knew to be smaller than an eggcup, but filled her hands like one at home. The man looked up at her. He'd been stirring a pan on the stove. Was he even a man? She hesitated to call him an elf, a pixie, a faerie, a gnome, because he seemed so very real. And he swore like a bouncer.
"Fahkin 'ell. Can't believe I went an ran outa eggs the night you come rahnd. Yew must fink I'm a proper batchelor, innit? Can't take care of meself or naffink."
She'd taken to doing his washing up when she was there. It did tend to build up, and she felt better if her hands were busy. Conversation could get awkward when he was puffing away on the bike, and she curled up comfortably on the sofa.

1 comment:

Sookraj said...

You really need to read some of Will Self's short stories... Tough Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys perhaps?

The mix of the surreal, grotesque and mundane really sings here.