172: Locked Doors

There were no electrics, just the feel for blood and fluffy spider’s homes, abandoned saucer, and a penny from another age. The echoes were gone, stopped after the door was sealed. A lopsided rotary telephone, pale green waste of the 1980s hung off the orange sponge. There was no room for ghosts, but the photo seeped in regardless, and the buttons, nuts, screws, washers and bolts. The key hung in the lock always then, black and thin, but it was enough. Too easy it turned. When us boys were of age the doorway saw it’s last influx – a surrealist inferno of snakes and ladders weeping through these Elysian fields. The Rubik cube chucked, Evil Kinevil came off his bike, the 1981 Sapphire and Steel annual was 2-D only.

The sports-men retirement didn’t seem so bad – twilight years reading editions of Valiant, and Lion. The Arsenal Subbuteo team counted among them a fatality, two cripples, and the comics attracted silverfish and held the damp. In time the dust fell upon Bond’s car clogging the engines, the plans of Thunderbirds International Rescue were of no use to anyone.

In happier times, I’d locked my brother in there.

I returned to the house to help them move but when I got to the cupboard, the key had been removed, just as it was when The Brother Wars were at their fiercest. It was locked. On the other side, Action Man and Buggy Boy, Streamline and Lego Tom Baker waited. In that keyhole chink of light they heard the compact digital that played only 80s music. It should have been a living hell but provided consistency and stability, like nursery rhymes. The glint of new neighbours illuminated the chequered red and white table-cloth, the shinier bits of the cutlery and the cleaner laminate. The curtains came off and the muddy old windows were exchanged for the 21st century. Children entered the house again. They regarded the keyhole with curious eyes. The middle class parents made them watch Blue Peter were sugar-drunk presenters raved about British Pathe, time capsules and the Wayback Machine.

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