P. 10

"Let the past be the past," Jack usually says soothingly to her. The only thing that

                   can make the thick, good-natured Jack mad is when people don't call him by his
                   title the Antique Dealer; he refuses to be called a haggler, collector, scrap dealer,

                   or whatever else people might think of calling him. And as most people find out,

                   since what he sells is mostly something he collects at the landfill, or once every
                   blue moon, from the estates of deceased.

                     "I am an antique dealer." Often he has refused to trade with a customer if they

                   have wrongly titled him.

                     Tonight Jano will present the gang his new idea, and if they are in on it and
                   succeed, will make them the most feared gang in Brighton. He exults from inside;

                   they will love it, he is sure of it.

                     Jano sits comfortably on the bed with one arm under his head and smokes a
                   cigarette. The only thing that’s illuminating the room is an old, moss-green

                   architectural lamp that flashes regularly because the socket is loose. He has tried

                   to repair it with a piece of tape. The lamp flickers less now than it did before, but
                   he has given up doing anything about it. Jack has promised him a new one.

                   Instead, he has put stickers with footballers and pop stars on it. Not because he is
                   interested in football or music, but he has nonetheless put them there.

                     He shuts the cigarette on the plate, rolls back on the bed and curls up. With a

                   crab-like motion he gets the quilt halfway over him. He looks at his wristwatch
                   and presses one of the three little buttons and sets the alarm to wake him in half

                   an hour and tries to sleep. He wakes up when the watch howls, picks up, takes

                   his pocketknife; a small folding knife, and the bottle of spirit that he sticks under
                   his jacket, and walks out of the house.

                     It’s slightly colder now outside. Janokovic pats his jacket and presses his arm

                   tightly around the bottle, which he keeps inside.
                     "Yes, it's still here." He mutters to himself. Though nobody can hear him; this is

                   what he does when he gets nervous. He starts walking a little faster. After ten

                   minutes approximately, he is at the bus stop. The bus arrives shortly after he
                   does, and twenty minutes later he is on the pier again.
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