• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 12
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Trimming my best friend’s snake hair

You say you’re not feeling yourself and I say you look ok and you say can you not see the snakes and I start to say what snakes but then you tilt your head forward and, yes, in this light, but it’s just a trick, surely, only now you’re holding out some scissors, maybe the same scissors you sliced the top of your sister’s ear off with, not deliberately, of course, and when the blood had stopped it was really just a tiny nick, but still, she wouldn’t let you near her again with the scissors, and actually I don’t know how you got hold of them today because as far as I knew she’d locked them away in the painted bureau and swallowed the key, so she said, except, of course, she meant it figuratively – didn’t she? – although, truly, she does have the look of somebody who could unlock a secret from the inside, and lately I’ve been feeling something turning in my stomach when I see her, but now you’re saying so are you going to do something about these snakes or what, and I sigh a little, for effect, so you know that I’m doing you some kind of major favour, but I say ok, go on then, and take the scissors from your outstretched hand and make you sit on the old blue chair in the middle of your kitchen, and try not to think any more about your sister, with her hair like a sudden, wide waterfall, or how her fingers accidentally slipped onto mine yesterday on the bench outside TinBox Music, or how the dance beat buzz upstairs might be her getting ready to come down, and yes, they really do look a bit like tangled snakes, because of course you always did have trouble with your hair, even when we were boys and I had to tell Miss Gill that the other kids kept asking you what your octopus was called, and I guess it’s not your fault you haven’t been to a hairdresser for so long, and now you say just do the ends then, and I say ok and give one of the snakes a little tug, and you try to pass me a comb but I say I won’t be needing that.