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666 Great Junction Street

Part 1

The young lady in the dusky plum sweater and green chiffon dress trembled as she stood before the grand Georgian entrance of her new abode. Daddy would be so proud of her finding a flat so quickly in her first year at Edinburgh University. She had landed in that ever so ever so happening quarter of the metropolis - Leith.

Of course, Scotland was terribly exciting, so much more rustic than Gloucester, and she was itching to be acquainted with the new neighbours ensconced in the block of flats before her eyes. She imagined the hive of creativity buzzing within those walls as Edinbohemians beavered away at innovative artistic projects in their studios carefully littered with exotic etchings and sculptures, or hatching thrilling revolutionary programmes of social upheaval, while she fumbled with her keys.

An old man in a Stetson and dirty brown chaps moseyed down the stairs of the close towards the entrance door, graciously holding it open for her. She eyed the old fellow up and down, noting that what she assumed to be fringes on his faux-leather jacket were actually strips of slashed material hanging loosely from his arms.

'Why, thank you,' she said, holding out a welcoming hand. 'I'm Seraphema Fox-Mangler. I'm moving in to flat 3F1.'

The old man began to thrust a withered hand towards her, then flipped his fingers to form a pointing gun.

'Howdy! My name's Clint. Clint MacMurdo. Got any vodka? Shoot!'

He made a pcheeew! noise, circled Seraphama three times and, finally accepting there wasn't a sniff of Smirnoff to be had about this slender vision in cashmere, headed out into the wild untamed plains of Great Junction Street.

'How quaint,' thought Seraphema entering the stairway, absentmindedly picking at the flaking paint scabs on the wall. From behind the door of flat GF2 she could hear a distinct combination of scuttling and slurping. Intrigued, but not overly keen to investigate further, she proceeded to climb the stairs, listening attentively for any other revealing noises.

On passing flat 2F1, a young couple soaked in Burberry and Kappa exploded from the doorway grasping a buggy containing a small bleating object swathed in sports attire.

'Shut it, Shadney!' cautioned the female of the group, her scarlet-streaked ponytail swatting the resident stairway midges as she yelped.

Her male companion, wiping his beloved's spittle from the single thick eyebrow languishing menacingly across his forehead tickled by the gelled rats' tails hanging from his hairline, echoed her parental sentiments,

'Aye, shut it!'

Seraphema cautiously proffered a hand. 'Hi!' she said, 'My name's'

The couple brushed past her without so much as a sneer of recognition and thumped down the stairs, dragging the buggy behind them. The child inside (for so Seraphema assumed it to be - either that or the arse of a turkey) squawked at every bump, its head (for so Seraphema assumed it to be - either that or the parson's nose) rebounding rhythmically with every squawk.

'Oh, I just know I'm going to love it here,' thought Seraphema, as she reached the top landing, observing the Mind Your Head notice above the door of her neighbour's flat.



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