This is the opening story of In Camera with text by Nicholas Royle and art by David Gledhill.
Father was treating a man who had slipped and fallen in the street outside our house. J and I were in the bushes, watching through the window of the consulting room. We were using binoculars made from the cardboard cylinders in toilet rolls. We would tape them together, then stand in different parts of the garden and watch each other. When the weather was bad, we would play indoors. J would stand on the far side of the dining room and I would take up a position in the living room and we would observe each other through the glass doors like soldiers across a frontier.
I used to like imagining what J could see from where he stood: me; two tables that stood between us; in the dining room, to the right of the glass doors, a sideboard. On the sideboard was a fruit bowl and in it, usually, a bunch of bananas. I never appreciated how much bigger our house was compared to most others. The difference between our situation and that of our neighbours only really came home to me when I saw these bananas. Bananas were scarce. I didn’t like bananas and never ate them. J ate them.
‘The window’s open,’ J said. ‘We can listen.’
We approached the house, crouching beneath the window.
‘… victim of a practical joke,’ the patient was saying.
‘How do you mean?’ Father asked him.
‘Normally I never set eyes on a banana. I can’t remember the last time I ate one. And then I go and step on a banana skin outside your front door and fall on my backside.’
‘You might say it’s the best place to slip on a banana skin,’ said Father in a jovial tone.
The man didn’t answer. We could only imagine the look on his face. I was more interested in the look on J’s face.
‘By any chance,’ I whispered, ‘have you had anything from the fruit bowl today?’
In Camera is available from Foyles (107 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT), London Review Bookshop (14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL), Burley Fisher Books (400 Kingsland Road, E8 4AA) or visit the Negative Press Shop for worldwide delivery.