How we rotate our faces! Try to add levers to the eyes to push them further out – work properly, for God’s sake. Draw the mouth backwards, teeth forwards, screw up the eye sockets.
‘What’s that one?”
“That’s Kingsley Amis. That’s Bennett…but I don’t think you agree with him.’
This couple are examining the top shelf of Classics, but he can’t see properly.
‘That’s Enid Bagnold.’
‘Who the devil?’
‘National Velvet.’ And that’s James Baldwin.”
‘I don’t think so.’
They continue on, murmuring, agreeing and arguing.
‘No. Listen, I said…Bellow. Saul Bellow.’
‘Well, I don’t like the young writers. Is that Dickens?’
‘AH….My God, is that Durrell? Which brother?’
‘God, really? What have they got?’
‘All of them.’
‘…I’ll take Justine.’
‘I bet you will.’
They moved to Art. I can’t hear what they are saying, but I can hear the click and whir of the interested eye sockets, the loaded brain, the immense experience. He turns around.
‘Damn those glasses.’
‘Well, go and get them.’ She glares him into a decision.
He made one.
When he came back to the shop, he stood outside in the cold, pinned to the window outside, looking through at a Roald Dahl biography that he could have looked at in the warmth inside. He peered, turning his head back and forth to get the details. He finally came in, and bent a brief sideways glance on me, his eyes, now magnified, were enormous, a three dimensional glare. But he was pleased. He continued onwards.
He forgot Art. He got caught in Young Readers.
He examined Swallows and Amazons. He said, ‘Ah.’
He looked at Geoffrey Trease, No Boats on Bannermere, and said, ‘Ah’.
His wife called out, ‘Look here.’
And he said, ‘EH?’ He didn’t move. He was back with Durrell. ‘Ah, goody, good and good,’
His wife called again, ‘Look at this.’
But he didn’t move.
She said, ‘Are you coming?’
He lifted his shoulders and shuffled past me; he said, ‘There’s no peace.’
Artwork by Shishkin Andrey