Dust in the crooks of their arms. Faces wear expressions that are neither one thing or another: it us up to you to project emotion onto their impassive faces in the same way someone sketches in the thoughts of a pet cat or dog.
Black lines where heads join bodies. Extravagant wigs. Others have plastic ripples that signify hair. Mona Lisa eyes watch you wherever you go unless they are concealed by dark glasses.
Naturally, they all have perfect figures from which designer jackets hang loosely. You never see one that has a weight problem and can only wear elasticated jogging trousers.
Fixed stares are unsettling.
This statement calls up the whole question of eye contact. At the moment I am in the dog house. I listen to a list of failings and stare at the floorboards, a vase of flowers and the cat licking her paws. Anything to avoid the stare of the hanging judge.
Which triggers a memory of riding in a car and my friend’s Dad with his woodcutter beard saying ‘here comes the judge’ as we approach a pub named after some notorious gavel basher who sentenced many a man to the gallows for some trivial incident that would barely pass for a crime these days.
Some are more expressive than others. The men with long hair and bright baseball caps look like they know how to have a good time. You can imagine them knocking back bottles of beers around fires on beaches in summer. If your wife wasn’t with you some of them would risk the security cameras and whisper a quick joke in your ear and then immediately freeze again as you start to laugh.
Sometimes I pray for a mannequin that looks just like me. Do you know the Ray Bradbury story? What a thing that would be. The mannequin could go to the party and I could stay at home and no-one would be any the wiser.
However, it should be remembered the Ray Bradbury story had a chilling end.
Incidentally, I didn’t write this piece. I’m too busy trying to figure how I can get out of this locked suitcase.