9th June

Unrelated Incidents

i.m. Iain Banks

Two middle-aged men sitting on a sofa at a party discover a shared interest in the lives of Celtic saints and the places associated with them.

A boy of three has his face painted at a library open day. He is wearing a green T-shirt and the artist gives a green tinge to the boy’s face so that he resembles a tiger emerging from the jungle undergrowth.

A woman spends the afternoon weeding her garden. She is eighty-six and finds the bending and kneeling hard work, but loves the fact that she can still do it. She is invigorated by the dirt under her nails, the heat of the sun on her back. In a chair next to the shed, her husband dozes. She should probably cover his head with a hat, but at his age, she thinks, what difference will it really make?

A pizza delivery van arrives at a block of flats. The driver presses the buzzer of the flat whose occupant ordered the ‘Quattro Stagioni’. Nobody lets him in. He phones the restaurant to check the address. He tries the buzzer again. Still no answer. He carries the box back to the van and drives away.

Two teenage girls sprawl on a blanket in the park. They are friends. One is texting, the other is reading a book. They don’t say much to one another. They don’t have to. They are friends.

A young man busking on a street corner plays one last song, then scrapes the coins out of his guitar case and puts away his guitar. Nobody was listening, nobody gave him a round of applause, but he’s made enough money in three hours to buy himself a couple of beers. He gets out his mobile and phones a mate. They arrange to meet in a certain pub.

A Scottish writer dies of cancer at the age of fifty-nine. He has had only a few weeks’ warning – enough time to finish his last novel, not enough to do everything he had left to do. He has recorded a final interview, not yet broadcast. ‘I’ve had a brilliant life,’ he says in it. ‘I think I’ve been more lucky than unlucky.’

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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