Three days gone by, and Alec is still AWOL. His older brother, Damon — late thirties, covered in tattoos, a tried-and-tested anarchist — still can't find him. Eventually, Damon climbs through a small window and pushes up the blinds. It's now another three days later, and what Damon saw through the crushed blinds and yellowing curtains is talked about in every local and national newspaper: two young people, 29 and seventeen, found dead in an apartment. 29 is his little brother.
It takes three months to get a toxicology report in this country. Cause of death undetermined. Death certain. The neighbour "Z" says they fell into a bad crowd. Another neighbour "T" says she's not surprised: 'her sister is in prison, the parents are gone, she had no sense of direction.'
Damon mourns in silence and violence. He decides to cure his pain by fucking and snorting it away, and we all know how that usually ends: in impotence. He talks me through the conspiracy theories surrounding the death, tries to work the logic around the suicide note in a woman's handwriting, the glasses of soft drink on the table, the thoughtless drug use, the unlocked front door. How many days were they dead? he asks. Suddenly all those Christie novels are forgotten, and instead, death is without clever craft; it is senseless, brutal, cruel. It waits, I think, puffing cigarettes in its lonely invisibility while you're ten feet away at a bus stop. Any day now.
Nothing can bring your little brother back.
In loving memory of A.M.