It's eleven-thirty in London, still half-an-hour left to end this day, half-an-hour before midnight.
At half-past-eleven, in the dead ends of streets, people give their wrecthed souls for fresh money and squirm in and out of their ratholes. A small corpse is lying in the shadows. There is this girl called Wendy, but she doesn't remember her name, always looking for a fix she is. Small, slim, sick and still an addict she is. You know the dead little thing belongs to her, but she didn't gave it a name. It never was her baby. Midnight is yet to come and Wendy wallows in her pain with the promise of heaven inside a needle.
At half-past-eleven, inside a wretched household, a pit of drunken misery, sonny makes his first crude attempt at a ritual slaying and spreads the blood of his family across the floor. No more tears in the night - he mubles beneath his breath - no more beatings, no more poverty, no more, suffering is no more. He says that Satan will come and give him the world if only he is strong. Midnight is yet to come and the boy looks at his hands in furious confusion and gives out a hollow moan.
At half-past-eleven, Mr. Mayflower, the bird shop owner, is not quite right in the head. He takes each little bird in his hand and gently rips off its wings. Midnight is yet to come and Mr. Mayflower, mad with the conviction of deluded knowledge, climbs to the roof and attempts to fly.
At half-past-eleven, in the glintering mansion of Minister Harrison, he shakes all the right hands and kisses all the right cheeks with a bulletproof smile. Soon - he says to himself - he will have paid all his dues, will have returned all his favours, will finally be a man of the people, by the people, and at last be able to dedicate himself to the greater good. He will shed his skin of painfull corruption and lay bare the truth for all to see. That is what he tells himself when he closes the door to his study, after all the guests have left. Midnight is yet to come and he clutches his chest in pain, forever unable to breath.
At half-past-eleven, in the dark corners of the city, screams of pain and terror are a dim, yellow, fading light. The skinheads crack his skull against the pavement and take a step back when they ear that sound and see what they have done. Midnight is yet to come as they bow their heads to hate and run in celebration through the deserted road.
At half-past-eleven, daddy has not come home yet. Mummy walks up and down the room. There's a sudden noise, she picks up the phone. She's upset, she's crying, she says "no" louder and louder. She stands in the hall and puts the phone down, says it's past our bedtime. Midnight is yet to come as mummy goes to bed alone with the help of too many sleeping pills.
At half-past-eleven, the city's floating market is where the real money is. Shadows meet in backways and corners and try to come up with numbers to trade with unthinkable goods. You start with pistols, whores and crack and learn about the military grade weaponry, the snuffs and the cocaine. You pick and chose before you move on to something else, that which is so perverse that will never show up in the papers. Midnight is yet to come, but that makes no diference for children that will never again see the daylight.
Some say it's too early, some say it's too late,
But the city bell sings in silence and sorrow.
It reads the right time, the middle of the hour,
And, with a heavy heart, refuses to toil.
E uma Maria qualquer nas alamedas do sono cansada de ser mulher
às onze e meia matou-se."
- Balada das Onze e Meia, Joaquim Pessoa