ADA, by marrying Doddoe, had unwittingly outlawed her children from the Nook. Doddoe was a "bad lot," Merton swore, a foul- mouthed drunken bully beyond the railings of reason or help or pity. His son-in-law would have laughed and agreed arrogantly with the truth of these random verdicts if Merton had said them to his face--which he hadn't bothered to do, though Merton's fiery stick-brandishing ostracism was nevertheless known.

Doddoe had an inside demon whose existence he was unable to acknowledge, a figure pictured by a friendly yet untrustworthy grin on Doddoe's actual face, that pulled the strings of his recklessness in the most haphazard seesaw fashion. Harold Seaton didn't like him, having frequently been put out when associated with Doddoe's misadventures, and nothing made Seaton more black- dog depressive than to be put out by something. There was the time when the pair of them collected all the spare underwear their wives possessed and pawned it for the pleasure of a pint and a seat at the pictures. In retaliation Ada had laid hands on Doddoe's


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Key to the Door


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