Three Legged Stool


The guys are dressed like drab is the new black – one wears blue jeans that look like they were meant for someone a lot fatter – waist cinched tight, leg bottoms concertinaed like he has just jumped off a tall building. The other wears greasy looking black jeans that make him seem like he works as a car mechanic. Saying that – neither look like they have been working today.

She is more the show-off. Tight white long-sleeve t-shirt over a skinny torso that sports padded parts and a bra-strap falling down inside her sleeve. Bright red hair is scraped back ferociously from skin that almost matches her hair.

The camera has caught her with eyes closed and a word fighting to work its way out of her mouth. One young man looks either concerned or stupid, his slightly pregnant belly pressed against his shirt, and the other has his back to the camera – ears ready to flap him away to somewhere else.

The scene whirs into life and the words fall from her mouth

‘Feck, guy’s – don’t look now but there’s some bloke taking a photograph of us.”

Blue-jeans whips around and spots me immediately.

‘Oi, what you fink you’re doing?’

Black-jeans turns more slowly – determined to save his energy for an old age that will take him before he’s ready. His will be a quiet death in front of a screen; one that will slide him into the ground before he’s made the high score in anything at all. He squints his eyes and glaciers pass behind them.

‘Liam, no!’ By the time red-head has called, Liam is half way to me.

It’s an easy getaway, though. I slip around the corner, and then into the crowded market. Keeping low I swim beneath the crowd, knowing that even if he comes in the same door, he won’t be able to spot me. Coming out the other side into the sunlight, I see that black-jeans and red-head have ambled over to join the other Liam. And I take another photograph.

This time, Liam is facing me, so I have to be a bit more careful, but he is busy telling the girl what a hero he is. I’m amazed to see a flicker of interest on her face. A spring wedding, perhaps? Ah, these mayfly lives.

Ah there now, would you look at that – he leans in to give her a peck on the cheek and then wheels away down the street. I can almost see black-jeans wondering whether he wants to peck her too, but before he can decide, she flutters her fingers at him, and is off in the other direction, flares swishing around her ankles.

‘C’mon, mate,’ calls Liam over his shoulder, already half way to the bus-stop.

Scratching idly at the stubble struggling from his chin, black-jeans unclamps his legs from the pavement, one by one, and moved off down the street.


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