Nick Cave

I saw Nick Cave once, in the old Borders bookshop in Brighton’s Churchill Square. I didn’t realise it was him at first. He was standing with his back up against some books in an alcove. Then, when a rather stiff-looking man walked past, he leapt out.

‘Look at my red right hand!’ he shouted. ‘Look at my red right hand!’

The man jumped, and let out an undignified yelp, before walking away as fast as he could, shaking his head and muttering.

Nick crept back into the alcove. I could see it was him now, his features familiar despite the startling hair-loss of recent years and the carefully-shaped beard that had yet to be revealed to the public. I could also see that he did indeed have a red right hand. At least, it had been haphazardly coloured-in red, in what seemed like felt tip.

A young, pretty woman walked past the alcove. Nick jumped out again.

‘Look at my red right hand!’ he said, waving it in the woman’s face. ‘The devil made it red, you know!’

The woman screamed as Nick flung himself backwards against the books, knocking several from the shelf as he pretended to be strangled by the red hand, and fighting it off with the other. He then fell to the floor, kicking more books as he went.

A store security man soon stood over him, trying to get his attention.

Nick just looked up as he writhed about, meanwhile kicking the security man in the back of the knee.

‘Stop it!’ He gasped. ‘Stop the hand. It’s killing me!’

The security man looked about, as if embarrassed.

‘Not again,’ I’m sure I heard him mutter.

Then he reached down, effortlessly grabbed the hand from around Nick’s neck by the wrist, and banged it several times against a hardback book of astronomy with little force.

He dropped the hand, and it fell to the floor.

‘Think it’s time for you to leave now, sir,’ said the security man.

‘Ow,’ said Nick, rubbing the limp red right hand. ‘That hurt.’

‘Come on, now,’ said the security man, lifting him up from the floor.

‘That really hurt,’ said Nick, as he was led away.

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