Four families cast adrift on a sea of troubles soon become the flotsam of life choices daring to manifest real action against the path of least resistance.

Jane and Marion firmfaced against the sleet. Paul cracks his funnies. Rose finding God and the freezing snow. Andy finding Emily. Emily finding the Knife and the Needle. Nikolai finding Ecstasy in the Antifa.

Alex finding himself far from the city, helped by a wise old man, “groomed” by a man who was once a teacher but carries a dark secret. Jack finding gravity, falling forever. Gabriel Kithingee finding his singing voice and Juliana Kithingee finding boys of all age too funny, girls too cattish, adults too serious and compromised, dreaming of a land of the blind across the ocean.

After his conversation with Nikolai, he finishes his shift and goes home. He is soon lying spreadeagled on his bed, face down, listening to music via headphones. His head and pelvis twist rhythmically to the jaunty warble of the King of Rock-and-roll. The lazy knocking of Ruth on his bedroom door cannot penetrate Andy’s headphones. When younger he had, too often, been forced to listen to his mother’s hammering, hiding behind a locked door, hoping for her to lose interest or pass out. Ruth, whose night and day years ago blended into one indistinct, drunken somnambulism, issues a pot-pourri of slurred curses and pleas to her son but, without having her eyes on him, she cannot sustain long-term attention to the task. Instead, she slides down his doorway, too lazy to haul herself into another room, and falls asleep snoring at her son’s threshold like a ragged St Bernard.

“All that glitters is not gold.” — SHAKESPEARE

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