Instead of highways or autobahn we have mud-churned tracks and narrow lanes with tarmac cratering to atomic-scale canyons. We have stretches of damp layby with deep bus track grooves and the faint impression of little feet. We have hills. Clusters of old buildings. Beige stone. And grey 1960's modernity that signals something like a town. Horny pigeons shield flat rooftops with swelled bellies from leftover spits of rain.
It is ideal Fucking-A-Milk-Maid-In-A-Hayloft Weather.
Jamie dry-chafes himself off in the echoing steel toilets under the multi-storey car park. Wiping his right hand with loo roll he thinks how it wasn't quite as exciting as yesterday's lunch break:
1:00 - Leave for lunch from Tesco.
1:10 - Wander around chain shops considering buying shit he doesn't want but is on Special Offer.
1:30 - Choke the bishop.
1:38 (the public aspect gets him off quickly) - Bump into Jack Rhodite.
Jack: 'Shit - James! No way! Long time no see! Leet-rally didn't even realise you were still around the old place. What's up, man?'
Jamie: 'Um - yeah, man. Still livin' the dream in the big city. Ha ha. Just, you know, moseying around life, takin' it easy and stuff. Jus' chillin' really, you know?'
Jack [PHONE RINGS]: 'Shit, man - it's the Tokyo Office. Good to see you, man. Leet-rally like, let's go for a drink, man. I'm back for a day or two. Sorry, man, gotta take this bitch. HELLO ICHIRO! HOW ARE YOU TODAY?'
[EXEUNT JACK RHODITE FOR ANOTHER TEN YEARS]
1:45 - Consider suicide while browsing rubber gloves in some pound shop or whatever.
1:57 - Return to the check-out he's chained to forty hours a week.
Would you like a bag with that?
In the white glare of strip lighting and the constant beep of vegetables and reduced lagers it is almost as if this rhythm never started and will never end. The isles stretch off like desks in a school room. Beyond the automatic doors and the security guard is a playground and the taste of freedom wafting in on the smell after it rains. Fresh from the roof tiles. The future is still distant. And the city is a dream. In the cereal section a toddler is crying.