An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Friday, May 05, 2006


Gilbert sipped his coffee, letting the steam rise. Lighting another cigarette he looked up and out of the kitchen window. Grey grey grey. This was the third consecutive badly starred morning and he was getting fed up with it. This morning he was alone at the table. Yesterday's planned excursion to Rethymnon had been foiled by a plot by the local bus company and tourists. The weather had been grey again and those tourists who had been unable to hire cars had all decided to catch the bus into Reht - damn their eyes. When the bus driver had spotted just how many people were waiting at the Kavros stop he had accelerated past shrugging his shoulders and indicating with a nod of his head over a shrugged shoulder that his bus was all but full already. The three of them had settled for a coffee and a pizza but had resolved to try again today and to aim for an earlier bus. His internal clock had woken him way too early and so now he sat with his coffee and waited for Abby and Kelly to arrive. No rush.

As well as being the third awful day weatherwise it had been his third consecutively Dick-free night and he felt so much better. Three nights of dreamless, apparition-free, rest. His head was clearer now than for some time - ever since Dick's first visit in fact. Admittedly he now had all his wrinkles and crow's feet back but that seems a small price to pay for the extra lucidity. He'd had 3 days of increasing clarity of mind in which to consider these visitations - 3 days in which to dredge his memories and assemble a more complete idea of what was going on. And he had made significant progress. He had 3 of the vignettes that Dick had seeded pretty much fleshed out now. Moreover he also had a working hypothesis about what was going on worked out. How to verify it though?

He drained the coffee pot and rolled a cigarette. Then it came to him. "Of course, Finn! And maybe that other woman. Jill was it? They might be able to help.Surely?" He picked up his mug and an ashtray and wandered over to his Mac. First he looked up the other woman by searching thru Finn's old blog entries. There she was on the seventh page he scanned (no search engine still) Jill Walker - that was her. No immediate sign of an email address though. He clicked around for a while and came up with what looked like her email address and figured he'd give that a go and just for luck he'd ask Finn to pass a copy of his on to her if he knew her email address. Belt and braces.

Gilbert finished the dregs of the coffee in one swig and got down to composing a suitable email. Not too leading but sufficiently suggestive would be the right tone. If he could pull it off. At last it was done - not to his entire satisfaction but well enough done for the purpose. He checked the addressees and punted it off into the ether(net). "Cyber-fingers crossed" he intoned to himself while gently, subliminally invoking Saint Alan Turing - patron saint of the worldwideweb.

And still there was no sign of the girls. It was early even now. No rush. He shuffled over to the sink, filled the kettle and emptied the coffee press. Back at the iMac he opened a new document and began to type up the latest vignette that he had reconstructed - Dick's voice whispered to him as he typed. Nudging and niggling.

You are looking into a room that is as near to square as makes no nevermind. It is dark. It is night time. It is a large room. In all probability it is 4 by 4 metres. The ceiling is high. Perhaps 2 metres 90. Plumb in the centre of the room is a large black partners desk. The drawers have brass handles and the writing surface is covered in a tooled and figured tan leather inset into a black surround of perhaps 3 inches breadth. The piece is clearly old but in very good condition and may have been sensitively restored anytime in the past 30 years. There is only one chair drawn up to the desk. A leather high back office chair complete with arm rests and wheels. Very recent vintage this piece. In the chair sits the Laz but of him we shall say nothing for now. His chair faces magnetic north. The wall to his left is furnished with metal shelving, custom made and completely filled with books. It is not possible, no matter how long you stare at the books, to determine the order in which they are filed - though filed they are. And very precisely too. There is light source within the room but it is not possible to determine where it is - a simple white light dimly suffuses the room without managing to actually light any thing. To reconstruct as best we can it is necessarily true that you are standing behind the Laz. He is unaware of your presence. You, however, feel his presence intensely. It is malevolently creative - you know this. On the desk before him there are three boxes aligned north south and one that is oriented east west and that touches them. Two of the north south boxes are shoe boxes. The other two boxes - at right angles each to the other - appear, at first glance, to be identical. One of the shoe boxes is a Nike box and bears the legend Air Rift, Silver, Size 42. The other is rather a boot box than a shoe box and is marked Camper, Olive, 37. The design name is obscured by a scuff to the label. These two boxes touch each other. Peer closely, being careful not to alert the Laz to your propinquity, the remaining, near identical boxes, are lacquer work or enamel. Tortoiseshell? There seems no way of opening either box. Don't you wish you could touch them? No seams. No corners. But each has a label let into the lacquer or enamel - brass? Bronze? Eastern? The light is better on the east west box - screw up your eyes - what does the label say? Antiquaks? And the other? No - it is too worn. You cannot read it but you sense that is says everything without saying anything. You know this box - you have seen it or read of it before. It's very familiarity is uncanny: unsettling. A cold shudder runs through the hair on your neck - this is a key - can you make out the first letter? An O or a Q - definitely one of them. But which? To the left of the boxes is a pile of books not neatly arranged just haphazardly stacked and atop this pile is a thumbed, almost distraught, copy of the Stew - the dust jacket is ripped and spindled, worn smooth and scribbled on in an ugly blue biro. Beside this pile there is an unopened ream of A4 paper - Panacopia reads the label - this side up points the label skyward. A spun aluminium ashtray -full of tipped butts. An open packet of Assos 25 cigarettes and a small cheap disposable lighter fitted into a peanut shaped rubber structure - black. Beyond, another pile of book - a Pristine copy of The Lavender Way on top. Your eyes move right - you have finally discovered the source of the light in the room. To the right of the box sculpture - for that is suddenly how it strikes you on looking again at it - sits, no "sits" is too trivial a verb for something so majestic - imposes a Remington portable typewriter of indeterminate vintage. It glows. And seems to throb.

And at this point Abby and Kelly appeared at the stable door and broke the reverie. A blind fell heavily over the scene and it was gone - like a magicians magic trick. Gilbert saved the file and made more coffee. The kettle had not been used.

(to be continued ... )


  1. I am not much up on modern French writers, though I belive that you are. However, I hope that you will not be offended when I tell you that you remind me of Robb-Grillet.

    I particularly enjoyed today's piece and look forward to more.

  2. Offended moi? Not at all my good friend. ARG is a diamond. I am flattered. There is a lot more to come.