‘I don’t keep bulbs in the sockets. I’m saving on the electric.’
A doughy man in his early thirties, there’s an unsettling aura about David, something beyond the smell of stale sweat and self-neglect, something that the three flies buzzing overhead are probably trying to spell out. He stands quite neutrally in the middle of the room, his arms down by his sides, waiting for our next question.
We have to make do with what natural light there is, coming in through the yellowing net curtains, illuminating an orderly but airless and foul-smelling room, comprising a sofa, table, bookcase of DVDs, a glass cabinet filled with porcelain tortoises, and on every wall, a different superhero: The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Batman.
‘Great posters,’ I say.
He turns his eyes on me and smiles unexpectedly. His gum-line is so low, his teeth so angled and rotten, I feel like taking a step back, like Roy Schneider in Jaws, chumming over the side of the boat and the shark suddenly rearing up.
‘Do you? Do you like my posters?’
‘Yep,’ I say. ‘They’re erm…’ And for the moment I can’t think of a word.
David stares at me.