It’s 2 am. There’s a ladybird in the trunk of a car and nineteen bodies burning down a dirt road in a town that shares its name with a girl I once fucked in a club by a river. The building that housed the club was old before I was born. During the war, it had been a prosperous hat factory. The hats it made were famous for miles around, or something like that. You get to the place by a lane. The lane is named after a world-renowned singer from back in the day. She was as big as the Beatles, or so they say. According to others, she was nothing but a heffer. She played the piano, as do I. Although it has to be said, I don’t play it very well. I just hit the keys in no particular order and hope for the best. The nineteen bodies are Mexican. The ghosts escaping their cracked, fleshy shells are Mexican, also. I’ve no idea where the ladybird flew in from. Perhaps it was a case of misadventure; clinging to a favoured flower, the flower snipped and tossed into a plastic bag ready to be taken to the local tip on the outskirts of town. Perhaps, though, it was looking for somewhere to lie low, looking for someplace to rest its weary head while the world turned regardless. The girl in the club I was intimate with was named after a coin. For many years, I kept her in my pocket for good luck until one day, she fell out through a hole and was lost to me forever. I’ve got you now, though. And you’re not in my pocket; you’re under my skin, consuming me like the finest exotic disease known to man.