Camden Dream

I tried to lose The Monk out past the lock, through the corridors of the market and the old horse hospital, where the smells of rising damp mixed with sandalwood incense and sausage fat. We headed out across the backstreets. The Monk liked to trump me with his experiences of Camden: pointing out a squat he’d lived in not far from the Roundhouse; citing the money launderers and sellers of obscene videos who occupied shops in this area, only revealing themselves in some pre-internet edition of the dark web. Earlier, we had been concerned to see the trees moving. Not swaying in the wind, as you might imagine but stumbling along on their roots, resettling themselves hurriedly, shifting like malign elves from a tainted bedtime story. Firs reached through their shades of green into something approaching the night’s sky. Gladioli, tinted like a seventies postcard, burst from a dumped washing machine. The Monk carried a suitcase on his back, bound with a leather belt, like something stolen from a wartime orphan. We shouted abuse at each other, chasing through the night, down on the tow path of the canal, where the water lay in a stagnant sheet, a low yellow moon grinning blandly in the sheen .

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