The old man thrills to unearth dirty bits where they’re most unexpected. Book shop displays, pale pages splayed wanton behind nose-smeared glass for all to see those slight sweet smuts of words that sound like what they mean – the awe of throb; the thrust of pearly breast, an itch to ‘b’, the hush of saucy; whispers simply nothing – not even sweet unless she’s freshly published, ink unsmudged. Cookbooks are better than prose, he finds, exposing riots of flushed cooks and rosier fruits – tumbling cherries burst with scarlet sap, the candied apples ooze, tender toffee drapes a spoon; apricots slump over-ripe on a steamy counter in a drizzled honey bun kitchen – salacious orgies of what ifs, could be. A lap of…

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