Red Rubber Gloves
by Christine Brooke-Rose
In the kitchen window of the right-hand house the panel of two squares over two over two over two is open to reveal a· black rectangle and the beginning of the gleaming sink. Inside the sink is a red plastic bowl and on the window-sill are the red rubber gloves, now at rest.
In the morning the sunlight slants on all the windows, reflecting gold in some of the black squares but not in others, making each rectangular window, with its eight squares across and four squares down, look like half a chessboard gone berserk in order to confuse the queen and both her knights.
In the black rectangle of the open kitchen window the sunlight gleams on the stainless steel double sink unit, just beyond the cream-painted frame. Above the gleaming sink the red rubber gloves move swiftly, rise from the silver greyness lifting a yellow mass, plunging it into greyness, lifting it again, twisting its tail, shifting it to the right-hand. sink, moving back left, vanishing into greyness, rising and moving swiftly, in and out, together and apart.
On closer scrutiny I can see that in the left-hand house the wooden frames of the thirty-two black squares, eight by four in each of the rectangular windows, are painted white. It is only the right-hand house which has cream-painted windows. They all looked the same behind the trees against the strong September sun that faces me on my high balcony. The left-hand house seems quite devoid of life. Possibly the two rectangular windows, one above the other in the square end of the inverted U, are not the windows of the bathroom and kitchen at all in the left-hand house. It is difficult to see them through the apple-tree, and of course through the goldening elm in the garden at the back of my block. In the right-hand house, however, the lower room is definitely the kitchen, in the black rectangle of which the red rubber gloves move swiftly apart, shake hands, vanish into greyness, lift up a foam-white mass, vanish and reappear, move to the right, move back, lunge into greyness, rise and move swiftly right. Beyond the red rubber gloves is a pale grey shape, then blackness.
About the Author
Christine Brooke-Rose was born in Geneva, Switzerland to an English father and American-Swiss mother. She was brought up mainly in Brussels, and educated there, at Somerville College, Oxford and University College, London. During World War II she worked at Bletchley Park as a WAAF in intelligence, later completing her university degree. She then worked for a time in London as a literary journalist and scholar. She was married three times: to Rodney Bax, whom she met at Bletchley Park; to the poet Jerzy Pietrkiewicz; and briefly to Claude Brooke. On separating from Pietrkiewicz in 1968 she moved to France, teaching at the University of Paris, Vincennes, from 1968 to 1988. After she retired she lived in the south of France. (more…)
About the Narrator
Kim Lakin-Smith is the author ofnbsp;Tourniquet; Tales from the Renegade City (Immanion Press: 2007), Cyber Circus (Newcon Press: 2011) and the YA novella Queen Rat (Murky Depths, 2012). Her dark fantasy and science fiction short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies including Black Static, Interzone, Celebration, Myth-Understandings, Further Conflicts, Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories By Women, and others, with ‘Johnny and Emmie-Lou Get Married’ shortlisted for the BSFA short story award 2009. Kim has a background in performance and is a regular guest speaker at writing workshops and conventions.