April 18: friend or foe?

As I am walking around the streets and I come upon a pedestrian walking towards me there ensues a complex negotiation. Am I friend or foe, or maybe both? We are like medieval travellers on the path through Sherwood Forest. I could be one of the Sherrif of Nottingham’s men, one of those so-called Norman foot-soldiers with their functional, egg-shaped helmuts, or I could be Will Scarlet. The hips shuffle the centre of gravity away from my trajectory; I do like wise. We are like two lizards on a wall with our parallelogramic shiftings; or else like pieces on a chessboard. Our eyes register foe, foe first, then one of us remembers to smile, or if one of us is a mask-wearer, nod, accepting our fraternity faced with all the uncertain rejigs that are going on around us. We are suddenly on a chessboard but unsure of our powers. We are cribbed.

Headphones don’t help, you know. People under headphones think they are as able as us, but they are oblivious. In the supermarket on their phones they skate around. It is as if they have never heard of this new chessboard we have to go around on. I’m doing the Rook. That woman’s doing the Knight. Why is this guy passing Go?


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