teasing the dog
View from the cafe window: a part of the railway bridge, trees, a car parked with its nearside wheels in a long puddle. Some hikers come past with their trousers tucked into their socks. The cafe dog, a big alsation, looks up. Half a dozen climbers are eating out there, grouped round the weathered grey tables in the ten o’ clock sun. A boy nineteen or twenty years old stands out from the rest. His hair is dyed dark red and worn in plaited rats’-tails down his back; his arms are thin and white, and will show no muscle until he locks them off later in the day soloing Quietus Stanage, which he nearly falls off; he has on elegant dirty fatigue trousers and a T-shirt with the sleeves torn out. He is teasing the dog with the remains of his breakfast. “Look at this!” he shouts. And then to the dog, “Hey!”, snatching the food away at the last moment, offering it and snatching it away until with a look of understanding the dog loses interest and moves away.
From Climbers, 1989