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

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

THE POWER OF LONGHAND (part the third)

"And then it got really interesting" continued Gilbert lighting yet another cigarette, "he continued typing for a while (and I kept throwing curve balls into his plot line) until he rested a while and leant back in his chair. And he stayed like that for several minutes - obviously thinking. He got up and left the room - a rectangle of light just missed me as he went out. Soon though, he was back and with a mug of coffee and a packet of Assos. He sat himself back down in the chair in front of the typewriter (it is definitely my old one - and if my modified Flann's theory is correct then it is part James Joyce part Myles nag Copaleen and part me - at least - that's some potent piece of hardware he;s churning out his high class potboiler on) and then he just slumped over. As if dead - face down on he keyboard!"

Gilbert ground out the butt into the thick, cast aluminium ashtray before him. "Minutes crawled by and all I knew for sure was that he was alive - his back rose and fell ever so slightly - and then just as suddenly as he had collapsed he woke or roused or came out of the catatonia that had gripped him. It felt as though thirty or more minutes had passed. I was stiff from standing so still in that dark corner scarcely daring to breathe. And all of the time he was out I was wondering whether I'd be able to get back to this reality if he upped and died on me. I was really frightened Abby! What if I couldn't get back? Put the wind up me I can tell you. Anyway, he snaps back upright, ramrod straight, rubs his eyes, and runs his hands through his hair. So I'm standing there waiting and he leans forward and grabs the Camper box. Same procedure as with the NIke one. Slides it around and lifts the lid. And what do you think he produced from this magic box? A rabbit? No! Scrolls! That's right, you heard correctly, three scrolls. Big ones too. He unscrolls one a way and puts it back. He unscrolls the next one a ways, nods, rolls it back up, and puts it on the desk. He puts the third one back in the box and stands up pushing the chair back. All I can see at this point is him leaning over the desk clearly unfurling this scroll that must have been A2, maybe A1, and pinning the four corners down with paper weights. And all the time nodding to himself. I can see his finger tracing shapes above the scroll but I cannot see it. He sits back down and starts making notes in a little book with a pencil. He lifts the coffee mug and finds it cold. Must have been nearly half an hour I figure. He gets up and heads to the door again. The searching rectangle of light just missed me as I began to move. I wasn't going to miss my chance and as soon as that rectangle started to shrink and fade I was over at his desk - standing where he stood only moments before. I could smell him. An odd slightly stale smell but with a theatrical back scent - like women who wear too much foundation. You know Abby, a bit like the girls in the big cosmetic shops here".

Gilbert unwrapped a fresh pack of cigarettes and was soon lighting yet another cigarette. "Now I wasn't sure whether he was making more coffee or whether he would just stick the mug in a microwave so I didn't hang around but I saw more than enough. It took me while to twig what it was I was looking at but when it clicked I was fine. The scroll had three directed graphs drawn on it - plot graphs, narrative graphs whatever - and they all intersected like a Venn diagram. I heard his footfall and legged it back into my little niche. My heart was thumping fit to infarct. I was dizzy too. I stood stock still and tried to gather myself together but the tiny, spidery text in the middle of that intersection seemed to have burned itself onto my retinas. My heart would not calm, I could feel my pulse at my temples, I had reddened, my breathing was rapid and shallow. I half convinced myself I was going to have a stroke."

"In a meticulous hand, at the point of intersection, in all caps, was inscribed the following legend in red ink 'GILBERT SUCCUMBS TO ALZHEIMERS - DEATH CANNOT BE TOO FAR AWAY NOW' - and it was finished with a flourished exclamamtion.".

(to be continued ... )

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