|Posted on April 25, 2021 at 6:00 AM|
Hook’s head clangs, like bin lids, like saucepan and spoon; he runs his fingers through his matted hair to ensure he hasn’t been scalped overnight. His throat’s clogged with bitter cobwebs and he shakes with nausea and self-loathing. His bones have osteoporosis, his liver’s doing Catherine-wheels and a slug’s crawled into his armpit to die. Half the buttons on his shirt are gone, as is his jacket; miraculously his BlackBerry, shoved down his pants, seems intact.
By the railings opposite the FA HQ Hook urinates against a bush, watched by a life-sized cut-out of Frank Lampard. Feeling a lump on his bell-end he has a momentary existential panic until a kernel of sweetcorn drops to the scorched earth. Hook espies a young lady with the blasé, resentful expression of an au-pair walk towards him pushing someone else’s pram. Catching her eye he turns, pissing on his shoes, and he starts to walk away, jets of urine spurting. The au-pair screams; tucking himself in Hook begins running, shards of pain pulsing through his ankle, warm piss dribbling down his leg.
Hook staggers inside the small, Catholic church at the east side of the square. Not wishing to be too dramatic he goes to the back row, falls to his knees and prays; it doesn’t work. Hook has always had the feeling someone’s watching him, and not in a good way; yet here, where he needs that omniscient eye, he senses its absence. Church is the one place, reflects Hook, where one feels self-conscious because one isn’t being watched.