Sketch: Dave’s Not Here

Frank rolled over, the bed empty. Ever since Dave had been so bloody sick, Frank had been on a bit of a roll with the city boys, but not last night, he’d had a quiet night at home – alone. Frank lay in bed and jerked off, just a little, just a little, to start the day off as usual. He stood up finally and wandered around his bedroom, fiddling with the books on the windowsill. The old Victorian with bay windows faced the park. He stood in there, naked, staring out across the grass and trees. He’d loved Dave, he had, but now, it was all different. Bloody AIDS, who knew, right? Well, Frank didn’t want to be in London anymore, not without Dave, but what choice did he have? Not much, oh it wasn’t too bad, good mates lived here but still, where was Dave when you needed him? Frank pulled on black jeans and a green tee shirt, shoving his hands through his short black hair, good enough, good enough. Down the hall and in the kitchen, Frank popped some bread in the toaster as his flatmate and good friend, Steve, came in half-dressed in pajamas, scratching his hairy belly, top of his head had ginger hair sticking up and out as usual, eyes were bloodshot but shining, one of the happy ones, that’s Steve. Lucky bastard. They stood side by side at the window, one lean and tall, the other stocky and stubborn, as they drank their tea with milk and sugar. Frank passed over a slice of toast with marmite. The rain splattered against the kitchen windows and they  went to sit at the old wooden table with their mugs and plates. And then Steve asked how he was but Frank shook his head and stared out the window, munching on cold toast. And then Frank muttered that Dave’s not here, and Frank hit his skinny chest then looked out the window and finished his tea. They stared at the drizzle: Summer in London, bloody marvelous.

(An excerpt from the novel, Thundering Boots.)

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