Twist and Twine
by Bill West
smoothed the job application and turned to the
Jenny, I see you have a medical condition, Lino,
Linono I'm sorry I can't read this word.
Jenny said, a fear of string.
peered at Jenny as if waiting for the punchline
of a tiresome joke. On reflection, she concluded,
this pale girl with chewed fingernails and split
ends was not joking.
see, how unusual I haven't heard of that one
the strap of her handbag.
therapy and everything. she gabbled.
Dr Mason said it all started when I was
little. Children can't make sense of shocking
things the way grown-ups can.
nodded her head to suggest a mother's concern.
She wondered whether to buy liver for her tea.
at my Aunty's house after school while I waited
for Mum to collect me.
remembered that she was low on onions.
house was full of house-plants and stuff. She was
always making macramé plant hangers from string.
She decorated them with beads, bells and little
mirrors. We'd sit in the kitchen and she'd show
me how to knot the string so that the flowerpots
buy some wine.
Aunty asked me to get some more string from the
cupboard under the sink. At first I couldn't see
any string but then I saw something peeping
through a hole at the back. I reached in and
managed to get a little bit of it between my
fingers. It felt stiff and dirty. I pulled at it
until I got to a big knot and could get a better
grip. Then I pulled and pulled until it came free.
says it happens sometimes. They snuggle together
to keep warm and bits of pooh and stuff stick
their tails together. They thrash about and their
tails get all tangled and knotted. When they pull
the knots tighten. They're called King Rats.
There were four, all dead, dried up like
holding them by their tails
leaned forward and patted Jenny's wrist.
there dear, that must have been terrible. But
tell me, do you think that this is the best place
for someone like you to work everyday? If I had
your phobia the last place I would want to work
round at the brightly coloured spindles of yarn
that lined the wool shop's walls.