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The Wedding Feast

He was back at the door within seconds, ringing the bell. An upstairs light came on, but the
love of his life remained stubbornly indoors. He grew impatient. If there were perverts in the
alleyway, he wanted her torch before they decided to venture out into her front garden and
practise their moves on him. He knocked again, hoping the noise might scare them off.
Mandy appeared at her front bedroom window. She had her dressing gown on already. She
did not look happy.
“What? I’ve gotta be in Bromley by eight thirty.”
“There’s someone in the alleyway.”
“You what?”
“In the alley. Round there. Perverts.”
He gestured round the side of the building, indicating helpfully precisely where the perverts
were likely to be situated. She did not seem interested, though.
“There’s only one pervert round here, and I’m talking to him. Now fuck off home.”
She slammed the window shut, and the lights went back out. He felt aggrieved. There was he,
trying to save her from being molested by total strangers, and she was telling him to fuck off!
If she kept this up, they’d all be gone by the time he got the torch off her. Then she’d be
sorry.
He knocked again, louder still. No reply. How rude!
“Mandy!” he called through the letter-box. “Throw me down a torch.”
Still no response.
“Fuck you, then,” he said, and made his way back to the car, slamming the door shut so she
would know that he was cross. He jammed the key in the ignition, and was just about to twist
it when he heard the whispering again. Whatever it was, it was still there.
He toyed with the idea of driving off regardless, but ruled this out, even before the Snake of
Conscience started twitching again. He had made the mistake of telling her about the
prowlers. “How could you leave me alone?” she would say if he drove away now. “You
knew there was someone there! You just fucked off and left them to it, without so much as a
backward fucking glance?” She would crucify him. Maybe he should have just driven away
the first time, and denied all knowledge if anything happened. He would have been in the
clear then.
He got back out the car, and looked up at the window, in the forlorn hope that Mandy might
be up there, beckoning him in. No sign of life there at all. She was probably flossing her teeth
by now. He dragged himself towards the passageway to investigate further.
“Hello?” he ventured. “Anyone there?”
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