Andy Canker was wearing that bloody suit again: the white one that his dad had been wearing when he died. Which wouldn’t have been so bad in and of itself, but, as everyone in town knew, his dad shot himself through the heart with one of those big nail guns they use for killing cows with.
He sat on Canary Dobbs’ front garden wall, idly picking at the dried bloodspatter around the hole in the jacket’s breast. Canary watched him through the living room window for a bit, tapping her lips with her chipped fingernails. In other times, Canary would have waited for Andy to piss off again, or phoned the filth to tell them there was a rapist wanking on her front gate. Or bribed her retarded brother with raw meat to bite through Andy’s bollocks, even though things ended poorly last time and the neighbourhood kids called him Hitler for six months. But, today, she went out there with two bottles of French lager. Andy cradled the dewy green bottle in his hands as she sat down next to him.
“October already, eh?” she said.
“What a fucking month for it,” Andy said. “Pisses down with rain all October, the leaves all turn to shit in the gutters, and there’s never anything good on telly. And it’s still early in the football season.”
“Don’t seem fair, does it?” Canary took a swig of the thin, chilled beer, too cold for the autumn outdoors, and gave a little shudder. “I mean, end of December. That’d make sense. Or, I dunno, midsummer. Big important dates. The world will end on the 31st of December — who’d be surprised by that? It’s only right. But the end of October? That’s poxy, that is.”
Andy looked at the street, where a sparrow was trying to decide whether a chunk of Burger King box stuck in a dog turd was food or not. “Will you tell me why your mum and dad called you Canary?”
Canary sighed. “They wanted everyone to think I’d been conceived in the Canary Islands, ‘cos it sounded special. And Back Of The Kebab Shop On A Friday Night is a bit long, I s’pose. Or Motorway Toilet At Newport Pagnell, if I am me dad’s after all.”
She finished her bottle and threw it into the road. “It’s funny, really. I should miss ‘em, but I really don’t. Makes me wonder if I’ll miss anything when, you know. I’m dead. It’s like I should miss something. What would you miss?”
“What would I miss when I’m dead?” Andy said, rubbing the chevron-shaped scar on his wrist where his mother had once tried to iron him while he slept.