The Eyes of Jarvis Trench
I called at the house to view the motor bike. It was a 1967 Triumph Tiger Cub. I had owned a similar bike in my teens and fancied that it would make a project for the winter.
I was early. Mrs Trench answered the door in a flustered state but ushered me inside and led me to the living room. “You will have to excuse me,” she said. “You are early and it is time for my therapy but it won’t take long. Can I get you a cup of tea?”
The filth that surrounded her encouraged me to decline the offer. “No thank you,” I said.
She offered me a chair. I sat and looked about the room. It was littered with orange coloured objects I first took for balloons. I soon realised they were football bladders. There were perhaps 20 of them; each one sported a number of puncture repair patches. The patches on each bladder occupied positions on the same latitude. If they had been globes I would have estimated that they were on a line occupied by Stockholm. The patches circled the bladders. There were a number of deflated footballs, the old fashioned ‘lace up’ variety, and two or three repair kits. A professional-looking pump stood beside the chair she sat down in.
“Won’t take long,” she repeated as she took up one of the footballs and a bladder. There was an image painted on the ball but I was unable to make it out. She slowly and carefully fed the bladder into the ball, took the nozzle of the pump and inserted it into the bladder. With her right hand she worked the pump while steadying the ball with her left and her knees. As the ball inflated I saw that the leather was painted with a likeness of a man. He had bright blue eyes. She looked at me as the ball became tight and said, “I used to do the lacing once but don’t feel the need anymore.”
Gripping the ball between her thighs she took up two long needles then carefully and simultaneously forced a spike into each pupil.
As the needles entered she intoned the words: What are you looking at now, Jarvis Trench? She removed the weapons and laid the sighing ball on the floor beside the chair.
“The motorbike,” she said as she rose and I followed suit. “It is in the shed, it is not locked. Why don’t you go and take a look? It ain’t been used much. My husband only rode it to and from his camera club and he ain’t done that since the day he left his darkroom unlocked.”