1626 c/o Ben Brooks


I really think you are a witch and I am scared that you will eat me, my wife said.
I wont eat you, I said.
She turned on her side, facing away from me, and pretended to snore. It sounded like she was birthing foals through her mouth.
I sat up.
You don't believe me, I said.
I'm sorry, she said.
And she fell asleep.

I couldn't sleep. I smoked a cigarette and sent the same text message to everyone on my phone (except my wife, her mother, my dentist, and Shanghai Palace). The message said:

Have you ever suspected me of being a witch?
If yes, why?

Replies dripped in slowly through the night. In between each one I played Snake 2 but never once managed to climb above my lowest high score. My fingers were upset. They wanted to sleep. Some of the replies I received were:

hi falk. wer u been? want 2 get a beer on sat?

dont think ur a witch m8


yh in the woods that time there wos purple ravins on ur sholders


haha u freak go 2 bed

I didnt reply to the replies. I neatly copied them out onto my wife's back in red pen.

In the morning my wife was in the kitchen making risotto. My favourite. She had woken up early and gone out to pick mushrooms in the wood. When I came downstairs she pushed one into my mouth and kissed me on the head.

Sit down, she said. It will be ready in a minute.

We ate calmly.
I smoked two cigarettes while my wife cleared it away.

At eleven, two men in duffel coats knocked at our door. My wife let them in. We all sat around the kitchen table sorting out paperwork. There was a lot of paperwork. I signed everything and didn't make a fuss. My wife was very proud. She squeezed my thigh several times.

At one, we all ate tiny, triangular blueberry sandwiches.

At two, my wife jumped on my back, kissed my ears, and watched the men lead me away.

They led me to a balding croft where I burned for six thousand days. Fireworks broke out of my eyes. I cried a little. I disappeared the way I had been taught to. It was abrupt.