Angela put the pint of milk down on the table and looked in the hallway mirror at the fat which gathered on the tops of her legs. Securing the phone between her shoulder and her cheek, using the sweat trickling down from her hair net as a kind of glue, she sucked her teeth. “I don’t remember getting a call from you last night Drew.” She used both hands to pull down her shirt, which was riding up around her belly.
As much as she tried, Angela was not a demure and sophisticated woman. She rarely left the house but when she did she tripped down the stairs on buses and popped down the aisle, grabbing at the rails as part of an electrocuted dance. At the beach she got in the way of badly disciplined children, who threw stones or lolly sticks and whose parents came tumbling out from behind their sun umbrellas, apologising profusely. Angela would stand hot and red with the white shape of a flat stone over her breast bone and part of a rum and raisin ice cream in her hair. She was convinced that these incidents would no longer happen if she lost ten-to-twelve pounds and saved up enough money to buy a new car with tinted windows.
On the other end of the line Drew imagined murdering Angela and running over her body several times in his pick-up truck. He watched flies mating in his living room with his mouth damp in the corners. It was a very hot day.
“I can’t meet you this afternoon Drew” said Angela, “I’m sorry but I’ve made plans.”
She patted her hair, which was wholly stuck to her head, and waited for a response. When Drew said nothing she said, “I’m just meeting a few friends, if you must know Drew. I’m sure you can go to ASDA by yourself can’t you?”
She pulled a loaf of bread out of the cupboard and listened to Drew’s breathing.
“Don’t you want me to have friends?” His silence was making her tap her fingers and she walked to the other side of the room to turn on the radio.
“How about I bring you some fish and chips on the way back then?” She sucked her teeth again and opened a packet of jam tarts.
Drew was still watching the flies, six, seven, eight flies; Angela offered him mushy peas and he felt nausea rock his stomach.
“Hey Angela,” he said.
“What is it honey?”
Her voice was thick, he imagined her pouting at herself in the hallway mirror, her top button undone and her shirt stuck to the tops of her breasts, ‘honeeeyyy, sweetie, dahhhling’, she said. “Did I tell you about Mitch the cabbie who lived up the road from Mum’s?” he rushed over the words.
“What are you talking about Drew? Who is...?” “Someone called the police because the windows, they went all black and it looked like it was moving. The glass was rippling Angela. D’you know what it was up there?”
He paused to breathe imagining the black tide and carrying on in a whisper, “The window was moving because every inch was covered with flies, because old Mitch had been dead for five weeks and when they smashed the door in his eyes were gone and the flies were all inside of his brain and...”
Angela hung up and Drew listened to the dial tone for several seconds, breathing heavily.