Neglect in Soho

A ground floor room replete with treatises on architecture and art provides a socially acceptable entrance into a shop whose cellar is packed with pornography and erotica.

Whilst the covers of the basement books curl eyebrows, a stranger sight is being had by the few customers milling around above, for there is, close to the entrance, a push chair, in which a three year old, a black boy, is slumped.

The slothful boy has just enough energy to direct his arms, lethargically, to a book positioned on a nearby table. His eyes are glazed over, his fingers gently touch the outside cover of the book, the boy seems not to know how long he is going to be left sitting in the pushchair, nor does he seem to care a great deal about not knowing.

The peculiarity of this situation is added to by the context, none of the customers in the shop pay the boy the slightest attention, none are black, none are within three metres of the boy, and the shop assistant, sat behind the till, in clear sight of the boy, is in a monotony induced trance.

The boy takes his fingers off the book, so slowly, as if to suggest every sensation and change is sensation is worth savouring, such is his deprivation.

He stares at the wall, at his colours, and then softens his gaze as if to acknowledge that processing visual stimuli is of no use to him.

Time ticks, minutes go by, and then out of the blue, one quirky moment pierces the emptiness of this weekday morning.

A small scrawny man, a black man with dreads, appears from below the ground like a jack-in-the-box.

Having taken the basement staircase in two or three bounds, he gives a quick nod to the shop assistant, and hurries the pushchair, with its lifeless contents, out of the shop, down the street.

Checking for traffic, he quickly crosses the road after which he levers his load over the doorstep of an establishment, which sells publications, most of which, if the advertisements on the front of the shop window are anything to go by, of a sexually exhibitive nature.

 

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