Richard Pierce

Life, Politics, Writing

Day 326

The thought had crossed my mind to write anojther poem today, but I wasn’t feeling it after a fairly chaotic day. I also wanted to share something special – for me at any rate. A secret I’ve discovered with the coffee machine that Im using. Early on in my back-todrinking-coffee days, I ran water through the same espresso pod twice, and the result was only just short of vile. Then M bought some ristretto pods (same measure of espresso, but the machine puts less water through it, ristretto meaning restricted in English). So the other day, after we’d been to a vegan food fair in Norwich city centre and got some proper Norwegian cinnamon buns (kanelboller to you and me), I experimented with running water through the same ristretto pod twice. Oh. My. God. It turns out to make the most magical larger strong coffee I can imagine. So I’ve had one every day since Sunday at about 4:30 pm, just to give me a pick-up late afternoon (and after I’ve nibbled something sweet and taken 15 minutes out of my work day to read a bit of a book). Anyway … I still eff and blind every afternoon on rediscovering how magical it tastes. Little things, and all that.

The main stream media is making Sunak’s job quite easy for him right now, leading all their bulletins with coverage of the World Cup in Qatar, that shameful endeavour that’s going on, and I, for one, am not happy about it. Not just because what’s been happening out there in the last 12 years (interesting side note – that’s how long the Tories have been in power, that’s how long they’ve been destroying this country for), and what’s happening there now, but because Sunak and his ilk are now operating under the smoke screen of that event (I wouldn’t mind if the MSM reported on the outrages still going on, like Wales fans being told they couldn’t wear their Rainbow hats into Wales’ first group game, rather than on the football, which no-one intelligent actually cares about this time round) and getting away, literally, with murder. The myth of the 40 new hospitals, first perpetuated by Johnson, still does the rounds, rumours about a Swiss-style arrangement with the EU are doing the rounds while Sunak denies them in a babbled and incoherent 10-minute speech to the CBI, the Public Order Bill (which will allow the government to suppress at will protests and demonstrations it doesn’t agree with) is still making its way through Parliament, and the dismemberment of the NHS continues at the hands of a man (that Sunak again) who pays £250 for appointments with his GP. Politics is a mess, and Sunak’s government of “integrity, professionalism, and accountability at every level” is nowhere to be seen. What nore is there to be said? Keep fighting, those of you (and me) who believe in better.



Marit jumps up, but Aggie stops her. ‘Leave the,’ she says. ‘They’ll have a lot to talk about.’

‘I guess,’ Marit says, and her shoulder slump. ‘Ever feel the odd one out?’

‘All the time,’ Aggie says. ‘All my life till now.’

Robert’s footsteps quieten as he runs down the stairs. No more sounds.

‘And now we wait,’ Katharina says, crosses her arms. ‘This could take an age, knowing my daughter.’

‘Or not,’ Anna says. ‘Love doesn’t need many words, does it?’ She smiles a little self-consciously.

‘You’re an expert all of a sudden?’ Marit says, flopping down in the chair next to Anna. She looks under the table, an exaggerated peek at what she already knows. She sighs.

‘You’re still young,’ Katharina says.

‘That’s all you old people know how to say,’ Marit says, pulling a sulky face. ‘And it doesn’t help.’ She holds her hands up. ‘And don’t say I shouldn’t want everything now. There’s nothing wrong with wanting everything now.’

‘There is if it’s going to kill you,’ Aggie says quietly, leaning against the kitchen cabinet nearest the door, like she always used to when she was waiting for Sir and Madam to get home.

‘I know, I know.’ Marit’s tone is soft and sad. ‘If I’d have known Tom was a traitor, half a traitor, I’d not have listened to him. And I know I was lucky.’

The door opens and Cassie walks in, and owns the whole room with her first glance. ‘Yes, you were lucky.’ She’s taller than Aggie can remember, bears herself with some supernatural grace, her black hair dropping smoothly down the back of her catsuit, a suit so tight you can see the outline of every muscle in her body. Aggie isn’t used to seeing her so explicitly commanding, alpha, powerful. ‘I know everything that happened,’ Cassie says. ‘And how wouldn’t I?’

‘Madam.’ Aggie almost curtsies.

‘Enough of that shit, Aggie. We don’t have to pretend anymore.’ Cassie walks over to the coffee machine before anyone, not even Aggie moves. She picks big cup from the shelf, a pod from next to it. ‘A double espresso is just what I need.’ And while the machine gurgles and spits, she goes across to Marit, the whole room watching, and she knows it, reaches out her left hand, and, when Marit finally, slightly unwillingly gets up, Cassie wraps her arms around her squeezes her. ‘I’m so sorry about everything that’s happened since I had to go. It will work out, honestly it will.’ She lets go of her daughter when the coffee machine exhales the last of its steam, grabs her cup, carries it to the table, and sits down with a sigh. ‘Has Valentine tried anything here yet?’

‘Not that we know of,’ Robert says, now standing behind her, his hands on her shoulders.

Aggie is sure Cassie must feel how his trembling has become worse. Perhaps it will settle now that he has Cassie back, now that he feels she’s safe again.

‘I thought you knew everything,’ Marit says.

‘He has ways of blocking me out,’ Cassie says, looks down into her coffee, takes another lesiurely but hungry sip.

‘How could you?’ Marit stops when Cassie sends a piercing glance across at her.

‘Yours not to reason, mine not to understand,’ Cassie says. ‘But my mistake entirely. Twenty years of a mistake, wild goose chase. Until now. But let’s leave the past where it should stay. We will find him and finish him.’

‘Unless he gets us first,’ Zav says.

Cassie raises an eyebrow. ‘That won’t happen.’

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