This time Steve took the deeds along with him, and there it was, clear as day – the fence between him and Edward was a shared fence. Equal responsibility.
With a roll of the eyes the evidence was dismissed.
‘Posts, old boy. You have the posts, so it’s your fence. And of course, it’s a wood fence, matches all the new builds.’
Edward had one of the original red brick detached built on the sensible flat, not like Steve’s yellow brick semi scrabbling for a grip on the lowest rung of the housing ladder on these steep slopes above. Most of the red brickies were nice folk, but Edward. The man bought wines by the case, and he laid them down in his wine cellar that was just the dead space beneath the decking cut into the slope at the top of his garden. The same slope topped by their shared fence that was now wobbling.
Steve said, ‘One good gust will bring this fence down, and they’re forecasting storm of the century tonight. So if we-‘
Edward grinned suddenly. ‘Your namesake was on the idiot box this previous evening.’
Bloody Edward. And bloody handsome Rylan off the telly, but mostly bloody Edward. One single misdelivered letter gave it away that Steve had been christened Rylan and now the man didn’t miss a chance to rub it in just how much of a craggy and interesting face Steve had been born with.
Edward sighed. ‘Such a trial, for both of us. Your namesake, my facesake. But don’t forget I had the beard first.’
Edward climbed down to his wine hole. Steve remained stood at the fence. He could just replace the fence himself, but no, this was principle.
A gust of wind ruffled the papers in his hand. Steve nudged one of the fence posts. The fence shivered, a wave rolling along the sagging boards before bouncing from either end and returning to meet in the middle with an ominous creak. Another light gust of wind and the fence murmured once more.
There was a storm coming. The sensible thing was to take down the fence in a controlled manner. Last Christmas the Johnson’s cherry tree came down in the snow and smashed up the neighbours Las Vegas themed koi pond with miniature pyramid and gaudy neon light.
Steve’s handful of papers spilled over the fence to the decking below.
‘Oh. Dear me,’ Steve said.
He called for Edward until the man’s questioning face appeared above the lip of the decking.
‘Papers, old boy. The wind took them. It’s really gusting.’
Edward looked. He sighed, and rose tiredly, coming up the four steps of his decking as though this was some vast mountain he was being asked to climb. He knelt to gather the papers.
‘Hey Rylan,’ Steve said.
Edward looked up at him. There was something of a resemblance to the guy on the telly, though maybe it was coloured by the eye of the beholder who’d spent twenty years being nicknamed after the funny looking one from the movie Fargo, played by – wait for it – Steve Buscemi.
Who needs the wind when you have twenty years of rage building up inside you?