Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paris, Paris

Earlier it rained more and warmer than usual.

A double rainbow scissored the sky and the city stood stained with colour as stale as a water-damaged nursery rhyme. Later, the sun spun fierce and piercing. Half-naked hipsters flooded the parks and every drop soaked back up to the blue like so many ascending souls.

An elderly man, yellow raincoat, crosses the boulevard on his way to the bookshop. A blind woman of no fixed address plays the recorder badly for money.

The old man stops and turns back to his dog, to convince him of the safety of crossing the street. The damp and dizzy terrier steps carefully down and skips to the heel of his owner’s right boot.

The boy’s death is not news yet.

It’s a bank holiday and the bookshop is closed. Instead of discount shelves and browsing customers, prostitutes the wrong side of forty display in each staggered doorway: each one made up like a stolen car.

Their supervisors line the railings of the boarded up church next door. They smoke and talk, one eye on the women, and never let go of their phones.

The elderly man shouts for help.