Glock’s armpits omit the damp, humid, sweet smell of rain.
He’s been three days without a shower, two of those days without sleep. His face wears a smile that only ever comes from one of two things. I doubt he’s been laid. I doubt he’d let anyone get close to him smelling like rain.
Smiling from the highest branch of The Tree of Perfect Solitude, Glock is ready to give his annual sermon, to address his congregation.
“Welcome, friends, welcome to The Tree of Perfect Solitude. With many of our members not present this year – dead, overseas or missing from us - we welcome two more, Shaun and Amy. Welcome!”
We all put our hands together, mine feel as if they aren’t touching, but still making noise.
“Last year was the Year of the Salmon. We shall no longer live in the times of Salmon. From today forth, the year will be known as the Year of the Climbing Tree Frog!” Spirit has momentarily left his voice, though I still believe he believes.
Sam interrupts: “Surely there is something better than the ‘Year of The Climbing Tree Frog’?”
There is a moment of silence. Anxiety lingers. I feel frightened that Sam will be scolded. I feel worried that this may all end; that Glock may not come up with a suitable, worthy name for the year. That we will all lose faith. That the tree may disappear, crumble, burst instantaneously into flames taking all of us with it. Anticipation is everywhere.
“The Year of the Prawn!!!!”
The congregation of five erupts. Our thoughts now alive and wild, having fermented like paper under tongue. We’re ready to move now. To face the long grass, orb spiders, human-shaped holes in the ground. Alex moves forward, I follow behind. His ankles buckle under the weight of thousands of thoughts. Glock offers his hand and I smile a smile that can only come from one of two things.