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Alfred at No 30, Streetview Terrace. – Poems, Pictures & Prose by Saaleha Idrees Bamjee

Alfred at No 30, Streetview Terrace.

There was another crazy person at the door.

This one had a pink plastic garden flamingo in a sleeper embrace under his right arm, while he authoritively left-palmed a faux-cheetahfur bound filofax. Looking very much like a sunday morning tv-evangelist with a god-struck devotee and a well-thumped bible, Alfred thought, squinting cautiously through the peekhole.

Yesterday’s one was an attractive brunette wearing electric-blue Manolohs.

She held the doorbell button down for exactly one full minute, paused for a minute, pressed for a minute. Pause, press, pause, press, pause, press. Alfred confirmed the timing with the stopwatch on his mobile phone. She kept very good time, Alfred thought, she didn’t have a watch on, nor did it look like she was counting the seconds. Alfred found this quality quite the turn-on. He always liked women with good timing, they were usually excellent dancers. She continued her finger two-step for fifteen minutes.

He was just about to open the door to invite her in for a cup of something-whatever-she-liked, when she reached into her coat pocket and stuck a green post-it on the buzzer. And with that, she walked down the long passage, her tapered heels tapping the tune of New York, New York.
And with a mach three heart, Alfred had leaned against the door wistfully, feeling like he’d loved and lost.

Back to today’s nutjob.
The man with the pink flamingo and kitschy filofax, did in fact, look quite reasonable. No manic person could pull off the aura of self-confidence with such surety.
But the filofax gave him away.
Which compos mentis these days hauled that antiquated organisational tool around, Alfred wondered. Every normal person he knew used Blackberrys.

The man ignored the press-here-for-attention sign and went for the door knocker instead. The one-two-two-two-three thudding caused Alfred to flinch. His eye was flush against the peekhole and the stern vibrations channeled an unpleasant current through his eyesocket.
The crazy man didn’t linger when it was obvious Alfred wasn’t planning on letting him in. It took four more of his power knocks to come to that realisation.

With an air of why-do-i-waste-my-fucking-time-with-these-lesser-mortals, the crazy man opened his filofax and removed a pink post-it note. He stuck this to the grateful knocker and went on his way.

Alfred slid down the door, and sat leaning against it, staring at the portmanteau his great-aunt Margolia brought back from her travels in Liverpool.

That made 15 blank post-it notes in total. Four of them personally delivered by the crazy people (the other two hand deliveries were made by twins dressed as Batman and Robin), five stuck on his fetish magazines in the postbox, another five left flapping against the tyres of his car and one emailed to him as a jpeg attachment.

What could it all mean, thought Alfred.

Just what, could it, all mean.

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I am a writer and photographer (look up my work on based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have an MA in Creative Writing from the university currently known as Rhodes. My writing accolades include winning the 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize and the 2020 Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize for my debut collection, Zikr.

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