This article is taken from Stand 234, 20(2) July - September 2022.

Peter Arscott Maxwell's Nose
Maxwell believes that self-control is what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. If you allow the impulsive the tiniest toe-hold, then you may as well throw everything out of the window: planning, problem-solving, decision-making. The news on his laptop confirms this: statues being torn down from their pedestals, riots everywhere, youth criminality, rash government policies, businesses in thrall to consumers’ undiscerning habits.

He smiles to himself, closes the laptop and looks across the breakfast table at Katrine.

‘I have no idea when I’m getting home tonight.’

‘Right,’ says Katrine.

‘I’ve got a late meeting with some buyers from Holland. I’ll have to take them out later.’

‘Right,’ says Katrine.

‘Don’t wait up.’

‘I won’t.’

Maxwell finishes his tea, gets up from the table and puts on his jacket. He picks up his attaché case, slides the laptop into it and looks at himself in the hall mirror. Not bad for fifty eight. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Katrine go into the kitchen. He pats his pockets: keys, mobile, wallet. He opens the front door and steps out.

On the station platform, he nods at his fellow commuters as they wait for the 7.42. Most are already on their mobiles. The train arrives with the usual metallic screeching, giving off its hot diesel fumes and already packed with passengers. The only thing that makes the ...
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