The wall is flooded with orange light. So hard that it forces the bricks back a millimetre or two; and it renders passing figures from the plunging shadows fleetingly two dimensional; and it dazzles them.
Or it would have done, had they paused.
Drunken and hurrying in zigzags.
Except one. And in the obliterating light her hair might be any colour.
Except red. If the orange light were to strike anything red (or, god forbid, actually orange), the object in question would ignite, dazzling the zigzaggers in the streets around Seven Dials into prone submission.
And one of them suddenly bumps into her, and they spin together.
Hands on the other’s arms to steady themselves.
“Watch out darling,” she says to ears still ringing with trance beats.
And had he refused the last four drinks he would have dwelt on that word: “darling.” It would have confirmed to him her position in the throws of kindly middle age.
Something about the tone.
And he would have looked at her face and figure as hard as was politely possible. And the evidence of his eyes, her smooth skin, glossy hair and athletic figure, would have failed the test of sudden assumption.
And she’d be middle aged and young at the same time.