Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gathering Evidence

Since she had last seen Newtown, she told me, King Street had gone downhill, what with the homeless people lying open-mouthed and snoring on blankets on the footpath -- and on the north side of the street too, which meant that they were vulnerable to the squalls from the south -- and so many shops closed, the windows smeared and empty, which was due to the rents that the owners were charging -- ten thousand dollars for a single week, she'd heard, and these weren't the original owners but the sons and daughters of those original owners who had worked out that, even if their shops stayed empty, no rent coming in, they would save thousands and thousands of dollars in tax from their many other investments and so, in the end, would be far better off.

To a girl in one of the closing down shops who, since she was suffering from pleurisy, was unable to keep still -- the pleurisy making her want to iron all the pieces that my friend wanted to try on or to dash from one side of the shop to the other to find a pure wool jacket that she could make a very good price, with the pile of clothing the owners had brought in that morning still heaped, unsorted, on the counter and the girl's still feverish hand pressing to the cornered edge of her forehead as she described how she had recently had to give up her doctorate on Elizabeth Gyring but that now, if my friend could believe it, she was far better off -- to this particular girl my friend had recommended a book she thought the girl should read for no other reason than that there was pleurisy and anger in it -- a bit of pleurisy and a lot of anger.

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