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Pat & Jack. Jack passed Pat her g&t. Ta, Pat said goggle-eyed.

Theyd been dancing all night and now the light of the dawn was cutting a dia ond shape on the dance floor. Theyd et

the night before when Jack had passed Pat her first g&t in si! years" her first since shed been released fro prison at eight the pre#ious orning. Jack would ne#er ha#e guessed

and if he had he wouldnt ha#e cared. Pat was an eyeful. $nd so, thought Pat, was Jack% Pat lifted Jacks wrist again. There was no resistance" there hadnt been any all night. &ight was co ing round again. 'he was waiting for then when she would pinch herself. $s eight ca e and went she resol#ed ne#er to pinch anything again e#er ( not unless Jack belonged to so eone else that was. Pat leaned into Jack again and he leaned back. ))) *ack at Jack+s studio flat, with its de#astating #iews o#er the wide ,aite ata harbour, Pat considered the first of any proposals Jack would ake to Pat.

-ou are so beautiful, was one. . will wish to paint you so e ti e... /h, . don+t know,0 replied Pat fro an artist. ,hat was it her her where she was standing. 'he hadn+t realised Jack was

other had said1 +2ien 3ott%+ she realised. 45othing%1 2ind you

other had been struck du b e#er since she had farewelled Pat+s father on an ill

fated #oyage... $ beautiful elody reached up to the fro outside, o#er an e!pansi#e, fig-tree shaded

deck... $ #oice, so soft it sounded, but Jack heard it... 6rawn, Jack rushed out to see, tripped, then tu bled out of sight o#er the handrail outside. Pat wondered where Jack had gone1 /ne her inute he was there, the ne!t... 7arpe 6ie ,

other+s fa#ourite e!pression once, leading al ost to a sei8ure then, Pat now noting

that Jack had not only a #ery eclectic selection of books and 76s, but also an e!pensi#e

looking gold watch, now taken off, and now sitting with Jack+s wallet on the the tiled fire-place%

antle abo#e

+2ien gott,+ aloud, and resisting an al ost irresistible urge now, to pop both ite s into her handbag, and then to clear off1 +7an . ne#er put y past behind e1+ $nother thought.

$nd in ti es of stress and te ptation Pat had often spoke aloud in 3er an, learnt the records her 'uddenly, other used to play, her fa#ourite being 2arlene 6ietrichs, 49illy 2arlene. e ories of all the wonderful ti es she had had with her other standing

under streetlights, ist.

eeting new people, flooded all o#er and through her like a rolling

))) Jack soon ca e bursting back, standing at the door dishe#elled. 02ien gott0 she said aloud, putting down the little things she was handling,% ,hat has happened1 . heard a #oice, Jack, answering, back: .t sounded like an angel, up abo#e, but it was down below, on the street. . fell off ,hat was it, did you see1Pat. .t was a she, Pat, and with a truly beautiful #oice. 'he reached told e, helped e up, then y feet% ;e started rubbing the back of his neck.

e that she had nowhere to stay tonight. .+#e in#ited her in. ;er na e is 7arla <an

'chloon... +,haaat%%%%,+ said Pat =>uietly?, the sound half- strangled, half- way out, as this beautiful young wo an stepped into the roo , not too boldly at first, but after a glance at Jack had reassured her, >uite boldly then. Pleased to eet you, 7arla >uickly approached Pat, who recoiled at first, then leant e orable to her ne!t =you know...?.

forwards, whispered the

@n-upbraided, 7arla pecked Pat on the other cheek, whispered so ething e>ually sweet back, sounded like, +u A darling1+ Pat felt sick, yark, worse ( alar ed: +a foreign tongue as well.+ Then a Bolt such as she only felt once before, in Prison one night, when she had thought she was drea ing, but when she found her cell- ate had Boined her in her cot. +&nough of that,+ this now: 'o, things are not going so well for you then. Poor thing, a house fire or so ething1 This had to be put out. 5o, all+s fine, 7arla ca e back with this line: $lways has been, by the way. . co e fro a rich =at that Pat thought she saw Jacks nose twitch1?, supporti#e fa ily, always there for e, picking up the tab, if needed. *ut how would . eet the ore interesting people if

. Bust fell back on that e#ery day1 &!cruciating disco fort is the only way Pats inner feelings could be described at this point. 2ayhe was at the point of anifestation... $ deep breath, don+t let it out... $nd

when it did co e out it ca e out as a slow whistling sound, al ost i perceptible. $nd perhaps because of that, at that point, a s all dog, with a s all Patch of black o#er one eye, ca e wandering in, to the roo . $h, Patch, Jack >uickly introduced Patch: 2y brothers dog, actually, he is tra#elling, like you 7arla, singing for his supper so ewhere hi self tonight, he dancing, he+s goes. /h, . think you are filling yours >uite well, actuallyC said 7arla, to that. Pat said +na-thing.+ Jack continued, hardly issing a beat. *etter get Patch so ething to eat... 'o e late ean eggs, a ore into that actually. *ig boots he has, they fit hi ight be as well. /r

well, he co es and

breakie you two1 . can cook at least. Dancy so e scra bled legs, . croissant aybe... 7offee... -es..1

))) 9ater, still early though, the girls, Patch, Jack, at breakfast, a croissant apiece, the phone rang. Jack took the call outside, listening ore than talking a lot, an e!cla ation or two,

so ething like: They wouldn+t be here anyway..1 *ut who though1 2ore coffee anyoneC $nother croissant... ,alkies Patch1 ))) Jack took Patch for a walk. The girls tidied up, @pon his return he announced that he ight o#e out for a little while, he had had enough of city li#ing, it had been so e ti e,

since he got away. /r, put this way, he said: ,e ha#e been thrown together for a reason. . feel that it ust be for this reason. ,e ight all need a break. .t ca e to e as Patch

and . were out walking. 7arla. ,hat fun% Pat. -ou+re not Boking1 . ne#er Boke. *esides it will be good for Patch as well. ;e needs space where he can stretch his legs, rabbits to chase, a porch to lie on. . need a porch as well, so ewhere to sit, so ewhere fro +; where . can look down the road, look yself.

,+ wondered Pat, perspicaciously, +that phone call1+ ind Jack, asked 7arla, for this country-li#ing1

-ou ha#e a place in

-es, said Jack. 'o ewhere where there are steep hills, there is a #alley, down there a winding ri#er, a shack, that . ust clai back%

4,here is all this going, wondered Pat1 )))

The car packed, so e bedding, left o#ers, cans, biscuits for Patch, 9&P, they headed off to check Jacks shack. Pat rode in the back with Patch, 7arla ha#ing beaten her off for the pri e seat while Jack was checking the flat was locked up again. 4'he probably doesnt e#en want Jack, decided Pat. 4$ bit broad she is also, too lunches, that one, free ones...+ Jack didnt say uch to 7arla or Pat in the back, Bust dro#e, his face a picture of any

concentration. ;e negotiated their way out of the city, out into the countryside, past hedges that Patch got e!cited about, down lanes, up and o#er hills. The roads got rougher, rockier, the ride bu pier. They were all thrown about, in this together, finally Jack pulled up. .+ 9ost% ,e shall ha#e to backtrack. .+#e issed a turn, again..1

.t was 7arla that now suggested they let Patch out, for a run around, ha#e a stretch the sel#es. *ut it was then when things got a little further hectic as well then, which ended with Pat soon getting stuck into 7arla about letting Patch out% Dor Patch took off now, and soon all they could hear was a baleful yelp, di inishing in le#el as it receded. That was real bright, that. 'he+d had a feeling, Pat ;ell co e back. That was 7arla+s best reply to that. ,ell Bust ha#e to wait, said Jack, and, it+s getting late. $nd wait they would, all night, that passed do8ing in the car, 7arla wrapped up in her fur coat the only one getting any sleep, at all, with Pat getting out of the car at inter#als, cold, calling out for Patch to co e back. ))) There are things that can change your life,+ Jack went on, to anyone awake, back behind the wheel again, after Patch had ca e back.

Eeep going, said 7arla, as she shook herself awake. -ou ean drea s, said Pat, fro the back, she+d had a few, last night. inds a huge pu88le fitted together in

-es, and new e!periences,

ore knowledge, our

whiche#er way. $long co es a new piece... could be a drea . Pity we can+t ask Patch1 Patch probably didn+t sleep too uch hi self last night Jack, added Pat. /ut there in

the dark, he was probably wide awake all night, trying to find his way back. ;oping that we hadnt gone on without hi . Probably a little cold as well, and a little wet, crying out: -elp, helpless... wondering what else was about hi either you know. Patch is, Jack perked up. $rent you Patch, reaching down between 7arlas legs to Pat Patch as he said that. $nd fro $round the back seat Pat nearly yelped herself at that... id-day they finally arri#ed at Jack+s shack. 'et in a low enclosed #alley, as he in the dark1 6ogs are not fearless

had said, it was in an out of the way place, and there were wooded hills reaching high on nearly all sides, e!cept there was still a way in near. 5earing there, before Jack had found the turn-off, they had the et two old ladies on a dusty etal road. They had said, gi#ing 1 This had struck Pat as an odd thing

directions, that they had been e!pecting the

to say e#en then, but she didnt say, then. $ll Jack said, after assuring Pat and 7arla that he hadn+t rung the or anything =and so this was a spontaneous ad#enture still?, was

that they were called 5ettie and *etty, not often seen out or about. 9ucky the , then, though. They were ho e, and... +;ow >ueer,+ thought pat, instead% ,hat 7arla had ne#er felt of course was lo#ed #ery uch before. $nd so she would ake

so ething of any chance at friendships. 'he wasn+t selfish though, blind. ;er parents had always been there. /f course, she had said. $nd of course she could get whate#er she

wished for out of the . *ut only so long as she asked for it long enough. $nyone can get anything that way. .t was de eaning. 'he+d no wish to go back to that. $nd so of late, though she+d been floating about as usual, she+d also been looking for so ewhere to hang up her fur coat and now with a longer looking #iew in ind as well.

$nd thats Bust what she did, or so ething like that, when they reached Jacks shack. Throwing the door open, while Jack and Pat were still getting out, she found a peg on the back of it, and hung he coat there. 'he was followed in by Pat, the first to notice how clean the shack was, not what she e!pected, fro hi it+s rough look outside1 The aunties, she >ueried Jack, when she saw

looking about hi self, he noting how odd things see ed out of place as well1

+5ot so sure1+ replied Jack, and he wasn+t either1 Patch yelping, running about, was ne!t off the ark again, after a rabbit whose tail hed

seen twitching in a ongst the #ariegated thistles, out in the field, way out in front of the shack. 7arla started calling after hi i ediately: Patch, co e back...%

+Too late,+ thought Pat, and Patch did not look back either ( haring, he was, across that field towards the trees way off, in rapid pursuit of this rabbit, who see ed to be stopping fro ti e to ti e, to allow Patch to catch up perhaps1 ad in the country. . knew hed like it

Jack, on the porch, leant back: $ city dog gone here.

$t that Pat pulled up a chair beside hi , poured herself a glass of the 7hablis opened by Jack. 7arla headed out the back looking for the con#enience that Jack told her was back there. *ack she ca e looking shaken: There is a dead cow out the back, only freshly dead it is, as well% ;ow... only freshly dead1 asked Pat.

Jack hardly stirred, his

ind was racing =was big brother back?1

.ts blood is running out% said 7arla, aghast% ,ell, said Pat, wed better cut it up then, hang it high... Jack was further taken aback. $nd do you know how to do that, Pat1 /f course, =though she+d ne#er let on that she had been a boner once, too lowly?, and into the kitchen she went for the cur#y knife she+d noticed handy before. $s dusk drew near 7arla stepped inside, retrie#ed her fur coat fro the hook behind the

front door, draped it o#er her shoulders, and returned to her glass of 7hablis with Jack. .n the distance Patch yowled" out the back Pat slashed" on the porch 7arla shi#ered, o#ed her chair closer to Jacks. $ couple of hours later after they had eaten a light together by Jack, the eal of crisps and lettuce i!ed

eat hung by Pat and Jack out the back yet a bit fresh for adding to

anything yet, the bottle finished, the con#ersation, light, darkness descended outside. Dro the gloo they heard a ore-pork call with its owl-like hoot. /ut there, chasing his anything. Just

own de ons around is Patch, said Jack. 5ot trying to get away fro

trying to bring so ething big back to us to show us. Just like all of us, we like to show. <ery profound Jack, said Pat. +;e wont get uch praise if he brings back a re#olting rat%+ said 7arla, last% for so e sleep now girls... *ring on to orrow eh, see what Patch

+5o,+ said Jack. +.+

ight bring back1 9ooking out the door he then said, 3oodnight Patch, 2oon... 6o co e backC+

5o yap back fro gloo

Patch though1 .nstead out there the

ore-pork hooted back fro

the

again. $fter that, after 7arla snuffed out the wick of one re aining la p going, the

last re aining light went out. /utside a dark cloud rolled in, settled o#er the entire #alley, the oonlight faded to nothing, the twinkling lights in the hea#ens abo#e went out one

after the other. ))) The ne!t orning Patch, out all night =where1?, ca e back, >uite so e feat. Perhaps he

was fearless, they al ost agreed... *ut, to add, he did bring so ething re#olting back. $rgg, said 7arla. ,hat sort of re#olting thing is that1 ,hat shall we do with it1 2ore to the point, said Jack, we can+t ha#e that lying about% ,e can+t ignore it either... 2ow it with a lawn ower, suggested 7arla, scatter it, about... That actually had erit, both Jack and Pat thought, surprised. &!cept that we don+t ha#e

one of those here, . don+t think1 ;e headed off towards the i ple ent shed out back to look through it again anyway. +The grass,+ wondered 7arla, +what keeps it down then1+ . guess it+ll Bust ha#e to lie about, stinking then, said Pat, after Jack returned fro back, hands out. $rgg, . can s ell it in y hair now, said 7arla. out

-es it is a bit rank, said Pat. *ut this is a big thing to Patch. ,e+ll Bust ha#e to allow hi his day in the sun. +$nd you . suppose as well, cowgirl,+ 7arla kept that to herself. )))

The dark clouds now cleared away, the sun shone down, all things appeared a little brighter then... They all headed inside after Jack to rattle up so ething for breakfast. Patch e#en ca e down fro snaffle for hi self1 ,ithin half an hour they were all laughing about it also by then, laughing as they+d not laughed together yet, or before, laughing because Patch had seen so ething else, now, and he was off again, out of the door, off, his yapping receding as he got further and further away fro the again, the silliness of it all occurring to all of the . -et, being ind that, they can not tell1 his ound then, sauntering after the , to see what he could

laughed at, did Patch

.t is our chance now, said Jack ne!t, after they+d all stopped laughing, dried their eyes with the clean tea towels at hand, and after Jack was sure Patch was well away fro the

by then as well: To get rid of that thing... .+ll Bust bury it where he+s left it. ;e+ll ne#er twig. The s ell of it, e#en lingering, will be what he will e!pect there anyway. That not e#idence that it is buried there at all1 *rilliant, said 7arla. $t last, a bright idea% -es, said Pat. .f it works1 $nd it did. ))) $s was beco ing Patch+s pattern perhaps, Patch ca e back again in the catches, he went straight to his orning. 5o

ound, sniffed, looked about. They were all careful not to

catch his eye, not to laugh too loud... Jack caught the eye of Pat and she winked back... ;old that, said Jack, and he disappeared inside, brushing 7arla aside, soon back with a sketch pad that Pat hadn+t see hi pack. The light is Bust right...

7arla coughed, but Pat held Jack+s ga8e again now. $nd now she knew she would do so for >uite so e ti e. This was a sign. $nd if it was this that Jack wanted ost of her now,

then he could take his ti e. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFGGFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

*y 2ark 2c.#or.

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