Miss Anne’s Tropes

Photo by Andre Benz

In a street that is still as clear water, a person ghosts past, avoiding the gaze of trail lights. To the unfamiliar, the street would have been a ghoulish maze. The shadow, squeamish at the ease with which its custodian found the way through the morass, gave away a lot more than one would expect. It spoke of hands, deep inside gloves. A head, snuggled into a hat. And anything else wrapped in an oversized trench coat. The walk went on, without pause or sound in step, till it came to a bank hidden in the muddle of old-fashioned residences. It was late in the day but early enough to say for sure if people lived in those houses and worked in those buildings. Yet, one couldn’t say for certain. The shadow kept pace. The bank’s foyer looked more like a barber’s shop, except that there were no mirrors and no swiveling chairs. The lobbyman at the foyer desk was at ease with his work. He adjusted his glasses, and squinted to make sense of scrawled letters, that he copied, from cheque to ledger. The squint that he employed, both elegantly and so frequently, was a practiced one.

The lobbyman waited for his guest, clothed in mystery, to shed the coat, the hat and the gloves, and foil her own disguise. Accustomed to the coldness and untimeliness of his oldest customer, he knocked twice on the desk before he began,

“Good evening, Miss Anne. Your accounts with people. They are unsettled.”

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