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December 2007, vol 3 no 4

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Ken Jones

 

The End of the Affair

"Personal Effects"
still clinging to each thing
the person

The exhibits are still there on my side table. They're already looking reproachful. There is the open handbag itself -- scarlet, flouncy and plastic, with a big brass clasp. It was wedged behind some crumbling medieval stonework in the castle grounds. I caught sight of it quite by accident.

Condoms, a pair, plain & unribbed;
Lipstick, red and full-on;
Tampax ®;
Pills - unidentified;
Return half of Arriva Trains Wales ticket - Aberystwyth to Birmingham;
Biro - "Not to be Removed from Reception";
Empty envelope, roughly torn open and bearing the scribbled legend "Lucinda":
Shopping list in careful copperplate, every item ticked;
A Michelin tyre-man the key ring empty;
ZIPPO lighter.

No money, credit cards, mobile, and, alas ! no silver plated Beretta 950 automatic -- the favourite of lady spies and honey-traps.

Deep inside
the empty intimacy
of powder and scent

Yes, I know what you're thinking ! But what do you expect ? "Elderly & infirm". Living alone in a little flat overlooking the grey Irish Sea. Oh, yes, I know now why people who have been burgled feel a sense of personal violation.

Of course, I have done the decent things. Worked my way through three successive weeks of The Cambrian News , which lovingly and meticulously records every public misdemeanour in our little town. And drawn a blank also at the police station.

But I can't have Lucinda living here with me any longer. It's not healthy, is it? She might, after all, be a married lady... But neither can I bear to have her put away in a tin "Unclaimed Goods" box. Heaven knows how long she'd languish there.

And so, one moonless night, after a stiff drink, I return the handbag's contents to their original chaos, adding a quartz stone for ballast, and securing the big brass clasp. And blow her a kiss for better luck.

Buried at sea
a scarlet Splash
a trail of bubbles ...