Page 8

   I finally find a place. Outside the school, down a deserted street, up some stairs. What they have back here is a tent town. Should be the unnecessarily expansive grounds of the admin building for defunct factory behind. Closed then, abandoned now, although who knows for sure in all these makeshift alleys. Grey noon acts like a cover for the whole place.
   How do, I say.
   The man inside this tiny place on a corner looks out at me.
   That hurt? He says.
   What hurt? I say.
   I have a gash up the inside of my left forearm. I bound it when it happened but it needs attention. I keep both fists on the table. I don’t know what he’s talking about. Never trust a man with a moustache, that’s all I know. He has a bushy black handlebar under a round nose and small eyes with pretty lashes.
   How about..? I gesture at his wall, a grimy tarpaulin and a set of shelves with plastic containers holding sad collections of various vegetables.
   He shakes his head, though he stands in his shadows before a black stove. I don’t want to step in too far. I’d be cornering him in that little place he has made for himself in there – everything darkened by grime and cooking oil.
   I do smell meat cooking though.