It has been very hot and the house has filled with loom bands, small, glowing rings like nuclear worms. I collect them up in jars, screwing the lids on tight, but still they come, covering tables, worktops, floors. Stevanovich got the Daves making bracelets in football colours, to sell at the summer fete in the park. The Aston Villa ones were the prettiest, and they would do for Westham supporters as well. S said they’d go for £1 each. Which I doubted.
On the afternoon of the fete it was hotter than ever. They set off for the park with the bracelets and a tablecloth to lay them out on. In the indoor gloom I tried to start my new novel, but I couldn’t decide between my various ideas. I remembered wistfully how the idea for She’s Not There had grabbed me by the throat and whispered, “I am yours, only yours.” Why? Because it was stolen? Actually someone else’s idea?
I gave up and set off for the fete, squinting and unsteady in the light.
Coming across the fete was like coming across a cult, the bright mark of the initiate looped on every wrist. Cake stall, plant stall, stall selling pints of Pimms. Steel drummers playing on the bandstand. A small, drunk woman was twirling in the sun, but people were mainly huddled into every square inch of shade.
I found the Daves behind a long queue of eager children, crouching over their remaining wares. “We should have made more red and white ones,” grimaced Dave 1 as I squatted down beside him. “They’re Arsenal, Liverpool and Man U.”
“Where’s Stevanovich?” I asked.
Dave 1 shrugged. “Dunno. He went off ages ago.”
I found him by the Pimms stall, talking to the small, drunk woman, who had red and white loom bands all the way up both arms. I tried to get his attention but their conversation was loud, intense and incoherent. The Pimms was sold out. As were the cakes. And the plants. I went back to the Daves and helped them count up their takings.
“Eighty three pounds,” said Dave 1. “So that’s £21 for you, and £21 for me.” He pushed a pile of coins over to his younger brother.
“What about the rest of it?” I asked.
“It’s for Stevanovich.”
“Stevanovich?!! But he’s done nothing! He didn’t make any, and he didn’t help you sell them!”
“I know. But it was his idea.”