He met the footballer not long after. Another resident had called down to the cabin to complain about a ball being kicked from the roof, and Mitchell had gone up to investigate. He had assumed that it was children, either those from the Belgian family or even a group from the town. But as he stepped out onto the roof, he saw a man dressed in long white shorts and a tracksuit top of a bright captivating blue. Beyond him, a satellite dish pointed towards the sky, an aerial bending slightly in the breeze.
‘Hello mate.’ The footballer had watched him approach, a sly, sharp smile playing over his lips. He bounced the ball on the concrete, once, twice. ‘You like the view too?’
‘I work here. I came up to see who kicked the ball.’
‘Ah. I see.’ The footballer flinched. His eyes were slanted and dark, his elegant cheekbones supporting his even olive skin. ‘I don’t want to break any rules. I’m just a guy, like anyone.’ He bounced the ball again and the sound pierced the air. ‘I come up here a lot. I guess I should tell you this. I like it up here. The privacy, the quiet. My life is quite intense. I’d like to keep coming up here. If no one argues…’
‘I’m worried that it’s dangerous for you to be up here. We’d be liable if anything happened.’
‘Don’t worry, my friend. I grew up on a roof. Me and my friends kicked balls on top of our tower block. It’s where I learned to play…’
Something about his manner made Mitchell relent. The footballer had clapped him on the shoulder. ‘It’s good to meet you. The lads, at the club, they call me Puff.’ He immediately scowled, and the effect upon his face was startling. ‘But not the gay thing. I’m Dragan. So, Magic Dragon. The song, you know. Puff the Magic Dragon. Magic for my feet. Left foot, right. Dragon for my name.’ He stared at Mitchell, licked his lips. ‘Not the gay thing at all.’
Buy Scenes From The Island here.