When I was fifteen years old, I had a paper round. Every Thursday, the papers dropped in three piles outside my back door. I sat down, my thumbs and fingers getting black with ink and dust, sorting out the supplements and sliding them into the main newspaper. Then I’d attach them to my little trolley, hook the ropes around the stack and trundle around the neighbourhood.
From the first bundle being unpacked to the last paper delivered took three hours, and I got 7.50 for my troubles.
That seven fifty now buys me a bottle of strong juices allowing me to dream. I wish I felt as euphoric sober as I do drunk. No matter. As the sun sets over distant houses, I feel my brain soar and my body slowly die, until my brain soars too close to the sun and the wings melt, along with the rest of me.
Nothing but misery with that paper round. Rain soaked the papers, so the customers complained. Wind blew them across the street, so the customers complained. Supplements weren’t divided fairly, so the customers complained. I never saw their faces, only their doors.
Except one day, when I approached No. 45. As I stood to feed the paper into the letterbox, a woman in a white brassiere, white knickers and white hold-up stockings opened the door slowly, with a smile. Gently, she took the paper from my hands. Blew me a kiss. The door closed.
Rain, wind or snow. I walked on air.