Ethelbert's Sunday Afternoon
Bloody hell, I'm thirsty, I wonder if there's a buffet car on this train?
What the fuck? Where did this field come from? How long have I been standing here? What's that light over there?
Sorry? How much? Oh, I've had seven coffees and three bacon sarnies, have I? In that case that's quite reasonable.
There you go, keep the change.
Right, better phone work now. When did I switch this off? Oh yes, that exploding bee was annoying me.
Hello? Okay, I've sobered up and I'm fighting fit now. Let's deliver this baby.
It's too late now Keith, we don't need you any more.
Hey, the birds are singing, it must be morning.
Excuse me – can I have another coffee, please?
Matt knocked at the door. Julia opened it after a long pause and looked distinctly displeased to see him. A puzzled
look flitted across his face before he gathered his thoughts.
"Hi, I'm back."
"I can see that," she said frostily.
He went to kiss her on the lips but she pulled away and went back into the flat. He shrugged and followed her in. He
paused in the living room, looking at some home made rugs which hung over the back of the sofa. He waited for her to
speak. She didn't. Nor did she meet his eye.
"I see you've been hard at work again. What's this one - dead man's trousers, old syringes, soiled bandages and
"Don't be obtuse, Matt, I use recycled hospital waste but not that. I couldn't make a rug from catheters. Or
syringes; trust you."
"Is that another regional stereotype?"
"Syringes - I'm from Dundee not Glasgow."
Julia busied herself with tidying the rugs into a slightly neater pile, still avoiding his eye.
"Hmm. This wasn't exactly the welcome home I was expecting. She can't know, can she? Of course not. So why is
she being so frosty? I was rather hoping for a shag after a hard week away."
"What? Oh. Please."
He followed her into the kitchen where she began a prolonged routine of collecting a tray, mugs and biscuits -
anything to avoid talking. He watched her, wondering what on earth was the matter.
"How long have you known me, Julia?"
"Sorry, I forgot, if you have milk your head falls off and your knees explode."
"It's a dairy intolerance, not a..."
She shot him a sharp look and he lapsed into silence.
"Is it her period? I'd better not ask, not when she has access to cutlery."
As the kettle boiled and punctured the awkward silence she fastidiously rearranged her fridge magnets. Turning
back to the kettle she caught him watching her.
"Stop looking at my arse!"
"It's hard not to, those jeans are tighter than an Edinburgh accountant. Anyway, I've seen your arse, and your..."
"Don't you dare!"
She looked flustered and turned away to pour the coffee.
"I was going to use an artistic term, not a gynecological one! Anyway you can't regret posing for 'naked primary
school teacher by moonlight'? It was big hit at my art school."
"That was years ago. Anyway, that's not what it was called."
"In my head it is!"
"You can forget any thoughts like that tonight."