November petered out. December whistled on the horizon. Jack sat at his writing desk and looked onto liquorice daylight which hung on fading ivy. Fingerprints, dead bugs and pigeon droppings adorned his window. Today was one of those writing days where the whiteness of his journal burned his eyes. His pen felt like a heavy wooden club…
He was a cause for concern. Where trouble lurked, you would find him shuffling around the edges, dabbling in a bit of this, a bit of that. He could get you anything you wanted, bottle-tops, pogo-sticks, baking-soda. A multitude of events hidden in the lining of his faux-fur jacket.
‘Why don’t you wear a pin-striped suit like all the other?’ I once asked.
‘Different class, son, different class,’ he replied.
He would let you pay in instalments. Once a week, after payday, if you were lucky to have a job. Deep down, he was a good sort. Same as the rest of us, trying to scrape enough to take into tomorrow. Your debt would be added to your tab. Most people down our street had tabs which would be carried over onto his headstone.
He had never seen a sparrowhawk this close. Three metres at most, as he camouflaged himself behind Aloe Vera’s across his window. Blue silvered wings shrouded her prey. Powerful limbs and speckled chest absorbed dawn sunlight.
Peck by peck she dismantled. A carpet of young pigeon feathers laid to confirm her regal status. His slight twitch alerted her. Sparrowhawk and carcass gone. Upstairs, his 6 a.m. alarm, a lament for a grieving mother, floated through the Mede.