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Keith & Joe

10 June 2005

Sorrow floats. Like oil, like scum: it coats the world in greasy, sticky layers.

I had meant to be writing about the process, the effects of finishing a book, and how different this time is from ever before: how thereís no sense of relief or accomplishment, only a grinding anxiety that has sapped any pleasure out of it. Self-pity, in other words, all dressed up in neurosis.

But two old and dear friends of mine were killed in a hit-and-run incident on Wednesday night, and sorrow floats; whatever I give my attention to, suddenly Iím back to that. They were near neighbours of mine, and were walking down the hill that is to all intents and purposes our hill, that weíve lived on and off for twenty years and more; they were going to the pub that is to all intents and purposes our pub, where weíve been drinking on and on for the same length of time; everything familiar, comfortable, secure. And then some kid in a BMW takes a corner too fast, and theyíre dead, and I canít count the number of lives that are devastated.

Sorrow floats, anger is an undercurrent. Traditionally, itís a part of the mourning process; here there is more obvious cause for it, but Iím afraid I may end up raging against the system. Killing two men with a car is not a motoring offence, itís a crime of violence, and it should be treated that way, but my suspicion is that it wonít be.


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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.