Grim faces stepping from the train in Cromford. Angled into the cold. One woman has a face and the lean of an Easter Island statue.
Station worker stops to tell me that he’s sick of litter. “Next station along, all I end up doing is picking up needles, used condoms, drugs, used nappies. And there are loads of bins from them to shove this stuff into. How would they like it if I just curled a shit out on their front lawn?”
Not much, I guess. You can’t really argue with that sort of logic. I mean, we’re talking about biohazards. Fight fire with fire.
“See you mate,” he laughs, as he walks off down the platform sprinkling white salt crystals onto stomped out cigarette ends and sweet wrappers. It’s cold.
Cardinal Pignose moved slowly down the staircase. Below him from the reception area came the sound of laughter. He was drunk. A bead of sweat hung for a moment on his temple then ran down past his grinning mouth and along the flabby line of his jowl. This was perfect, he thought. Flabby folds and pillows of bulging flesh strained under thin summer dresses on the twenty or so female guests whilst, on most of the men, balloon guts tore at the seams of hired cream brocade waistcoats.
Pignose’s entrance pierced the chip fat atmosphere as the sound of his segs clack-clack-pinged off of the proudly displayed Roman mosaic – dug up from a grand villa nearby and now, two thousand years after its construction, destined to spend the rest of its existence right underneath a fake glass sign reading “Welcome to North Lincolnshire Council.”
The reception area was buzzing with post-wedding excitement. Bride and Groom took long pulls on a hip flask. She winced every time. He swigged, and his eyes moved slower in his vast bearded head. Fixed alcohol grin. Backs of his rented trousers dragging on the polished floor, tugging even further down under pointy-shoe heels.
The Bride’s face looked like meat fat in a hot room. She asked a friend if her hair was still up in its arrangement. Her friend took a look; reached a hand gingerly up to cup the unraveling dark curls; lied ‘Yeah, it’s still perfect.’
The photographer asked everyone to go outside into the municipal park for photographs. No-one seemed dressed for the sub zero wind. The park was bare – just muddied grass, leafless trees, memories of me being stoned in it many times many years ago – the wedding party huddled and interwove in awkwardness. People tried unsuccessfully to look pleased to talk to each other. A baby was huddled in tight to the bosom of a mother who looked like she wanted to be anywhere else, even back in childbirth. Bride and Groom stood motionless looking right into the lens. Completely still.