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Pickle Me This

March 19, 2006

My mind has wings and I dun know to where it's flew

About two and a half years ago, on my way home from work in Nottingham one September evening, I was walking past the cemetery at the top of Mansfield Road. Separated from the pavement by a tall wrought-iron fence with deathly-pointy tips along the top, it was a lovely, sprawling weedy old graveyard with crumbling stones falling down its clines and I used to love to see the sun setting orange just beyond, atop the Goose Fair Grounds. A sign on the gates explicitly warned that said gates were locked each evening at a certain time whose specificity should not be compromised by the fact that I’ve forgotten it. But I never concerned myself much with those details; I’m not a real fancier of cemeteries. I was content to watch the place fly by each night behind its iron bars as I walked my way home, listening to shoddy BBC1 Europop on my crappy Panasonic Cassette Walkman.

This particular night I was in a hurry; I had a doctor’s appointment, which I was already late for. I was rushing down the back side of the hill on Mansfield Road beside the cemetery, when a girl about my age called out to me from inside it. I couldn’t hear her over “Fly on the Wings of Love” by XTM, so I turned the radio off.
“Pardon me?” I asked her.
“I said, I’m stuck in here,” she said. “What time do they close the gates?”
“At * o’ clock.”
“What time is it now?”
“Past * o’clock I guess.” I’ve never worn a watch.
“Could you help me?” she asked. She had chased me along the length of the graveyard and I was just about to slip out of her arm’s reach.
But as I said, I was in a hurry. “You could climb the fence,” I suggested. “Or call 999?”
She shrugged. “I don’t think so,” she said. “What am I going to do?” She was strangely calm for one so needy.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Good luck though.” I hurried on to get my throat examined.

And I think about her often. I wonder if she’s still camped out ‘neath a tombstone.

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