already Dead, Whitechapel Ghost style logs on, to the computer in the corner of a classroom. The room is bright grey from the air outside, the temperature is freezing. All day has been gay, The Lordship Recreation Ground sparkles with a fine covering of ice white snow. All pedestrian walk through slowly, marveling – what a real Winter scene Tottenham look in this day and age. Yes! We get Online.
The room is empty but for spooks. Gone were the figurines from the House of Aksler. They were brought back yesterday. This is an old wholesale and toy shop, owned by some orthodox fellow in Stamford Hill. It’s closing soon see, and it seemed a pity to say no to some draw-lining paper from the 1960s, a packed of cocktail umbrellas, 2 copies of 70s Japan interior artwork. And a handheld model of a bear, with a monkey on his shoulder glaring down at some infernal invisible pawn. A chipped old hare. A badger.
I had to be quick. The Man was turning up soon, and he’s the one who pays me. The task was to send an urgent contact to a martial arts teacher in Arlington, Texas. Brian Painter teaches internal arts at his retreat and specialises in Tibetan styles as well as Daoist Yoga, Tai Chi and Xing Yi. He teaches a rare style, Tibetan Blue Heron Boxing. Long Tailed Tits in the sparse trees of the Spinney outside. Broadwater Farm. Freedom Road. the spinney. I saw a Green Woodpecker there last week. Donald Byrd: Black Byrd spins on the record player, but that’s tonight…
Could hear the door in the corridor outside opening. Thinks, ‘That’s it, question asked. Regards from Whitechapel, Ghost Style.’ Send Send. Cancel Cancel. Footsteps mark the impending entry then the glass door in heavy metal frame swings open. And he’s wearing a Russian-style fur hat. A Big Russian-looking hat.
Later, at a cold dark Hackney Downs Station. My telephone goes to Liverpool Street as I stay on the platform. I hail the Station Attendant: A Jamaican man called Rowan. He recalls the graphic representation of the train lines which end at Liverpool Street, from where he can see the train’s progress, at this point LondonFields Station. He calls another man at Liverpool Street who leaves immediately to meet the train, in the hope of finding the telephone. Raymond and I talk about the chances of finding the missing object: we conclude quite high. He likes to get drunk at Christmas, around family, then speak to friends in the afternoon. We laughed until we were silent, waiting for a call.
When it came, it was from the Lost Property desk at Liverpool Street. The phone had been handed in by a member of the general public. After leaving Raymond, and taking another train away from Hackney, I reached the desk, where the charge to retrieve missing telephones is £10. The young lady there let me off – my phone was back with me so painlessly! The carol singers were singing over a Brass Band in the underground. “The Angel of the Lord came down…” Thanks to everyone who did something to shape that trip.