…but they had nothing to do with the shop whose owner was a great Roy Orbison fan.  Or so they assumed judging by the music that came from downstairs every evening: that and short bursts of Gene Pitney. 

Diana and her brother lived together for financial reasons (they couldn’t stand each other otherwise, to be blunt) – on the basis that two could live as cheaply as one because of all the buy one get one free offers with sell-by dates always today.  The shop below was a Convenience store so everything there was more expensive, making Diana and her brother walk miles to the nearest Lidl or Aldi. Equidistant in different directions so not much to choose between them other than whim. Dragging back – balanced in each of their hands by splitting bio-degradable shopping-bags each Saturday morning.  Sometimes they treated each other to a cheap compilation CD of favourite songs from the good old Nineties.  Those were the days.  Everything was downloadable these days in random shuffles of disconnected tracks – played on postage-stamp sized devices dangling like crucifixes used to dangle – the new religion of streaming.

 One Saturday when they returned from Lidl or Aldi – you could usually tell which one from the logos on the bags – they found the shop beneath their flat closed.  It was a 24/7 Convenience store – well, you had to do it that way to be able to use the word ‘Convenience’ at all – so being closed was a definite no no. 

 Diana peered through: watching dark shapes behind the counter appearing to count what was on the shelves. She assumed it must be a stock-take of some sort. Except there seemed lots of tins piled up on the floor in pyramids.  The sound of Roy Orbison could be heard as they walked up the stairs. Followed seamlessly by 24 hours from Tulsa like gravel being shaken in a coal scuttle.  Diana’s brother – wearing sun-glasses as he was – started to mime ‘Only the Lonely’ halfway up the stairs when that song started  to play. Strange, though, as he hadn’t even been born in the Sixties. In fact, in his world, the world started only 24 hours ago. He lived for the moment. Didn’t worry at all. Easy not to worry about the future when you didn’t have a past to prove that there would be a future at all.  But that somehow didn’t explain the nostalgic CDs they bought.  Music was eternal, I guess. When they reached their flat over the shop, they put on one of the two CDs they’d just bought at Lidl or Aldi – but which one had been free and which cost price they’d forgotten.  Probably Take That was free.  Not a strict multi-artist compilation at all.

 There was a series of crashing tins all night from below. Someone down there didn’t worry about the future, either, or so it seemed. Only death is silent.

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  1. I just accidentally – complete chance – heard a drama about Roy Orbison on Rado 4 Extra – which includes his yearning to stop time at the moment of optimum happiness forever.
    Perhaps it did for Roy. 😐

    This Roy Orbison ‘thingie’ was a speed-writing exercise with a randomly picked title at the Clacton Writers Group.

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