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

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Sleep deprivation

Gilbert sipped his coffee, letting the steam rise. Lighting another cigarette he looked up and out of the kitchen window. The sky was so clear that the reflection from the white of the outside walls hurt his eyes. The terracotta walls inside seemed to be alight. He sniffed. The breeze was strengthening and it was bringing both dust and pollen. Eddies of thistle down swirled in the vortex. The watering was complete: upstairs and down. Only cleaning the cellar remained on his personal list of chores. That and cleaning the kennel and run. The gardenia was in bloom and save for a little damage caused by the recent south winds everything in the garden was looking healthy. He was giving Abby a sleep in. She deserved it after all her efforts tidying the front garden and weeding the lavender patches.

Despite the glare, he looked up and out of the kitchen window and spied her making her way down: checking every plant on her way. He waved. The dogs made not a sound.

She bussed his cheek on the way in and sat herself down opposite him. He blew her a kiss and smiled. She stared uncomprehending at him. "Gilbert, what happened? You look like shit. Look at me." Obediently he looked up. "What?" She took his face between her hands and turned it first left and then right. Still holding it, she ordered "Look up, and over there" nodding. "There's blood in your left eye - you look like you haven't slept in weeks, your skin is grey and you've got half a set of Louis Vuitton under your eyes. What, in the name of Alan Turing, have you been up to?"

Gilbert rushed off to the bathroom and checked in the mirror. She was right - he looked like shit. There was blood in his eye. He did have huge bags under his eyes. He looked, he thought, not unlike his father just before he died.

"I've not been sleeping too well." he offered "I'm worried about this Laz guy. Truth be told, I'm petrified. I know what he's up to but I don't know what to do. I dare not leave him alone and he's writing most of the way through the night these days. I'm exhausted." He put his head in his hands and sighed a deep sigh. His cigarette burned itself out in the ashtray messily, noxiously. "Look Gilbert, you're going to have to get a grip on this - well, on yourself. You simply can't go on like this. You're wearing yourself out. You're a shell - a husk." His head still cradled he sighed again "What can I do? He's in the driving seat Who knows - maybe this is all part of his plan. It's bloody madness I know but what can I do?"

"For a start you can have another coffee" she said and poured him one. She poured the dregs into her own cup. "And then you need to sleep. Didn't you say he only writes at night? Well. It's daytime now so you need to catch up and you can do it safely now." He lifted his head. "That's a good idea - that'll work - but first I have to tell you about last night. I got there before he started writing. I had free run of his study for ten minutes before he turned up. I got to try opening the remaining boxes - no luck - my hands aren't big enough - I had a good look at his typewriter - my typewriter as was." He lit another cigarette - the ashtray was now half full.

"When he finally arrived - I heard his footfall coming down what sounded like stairs - he scanned the room but seemed not to see me - perhaps I'm invisible to him. He had a set of keys in one hand - along with a mug of steaming coffee - and two packs of cigarettes and a lighter in the other. He put them all on a pine table to the left of the partners desk and then he pulled out the chair - it's on wheels - and sat in front of the typewriter. And then he pushed the typewriter back and brought one of the tortoiseshell boxes - the leftmost one - to the newly cleared space in front of him. And then he did that weird thing with his hands and opened it - it still reminds me of a bird of prey when he does that. He slid the top left drawer open and took out what seemed to be a mustard spoon which he then dipped into the box. He levelled the spoon off with a small piece of perspex and pinched at it as though he were taking snuff. He lifted his hand and sprinkled it lightly over the keyboard. Decidedly weird. Well then he started to write - without making reference once to notes or sources - as if he had most of the stuff written already in his head - and he continued like that for hours. I nearly fell asleep. He worked like a man possessed. My legs were numb. My head was numb. I was asleep on my feet."

"But the key thing - the fascinating thing was when he had finished. He spent a bit of time online talking to some of his bizarre online friends - the vampire, the red indian, the Brighton Belle, and a few others and closed down. Finally he opened the other tortoiseshell box and repeated the mustard spoon and sprinkle routine. What was that all about?"

"GIlbert, get yourself off to bed and get some rest - you're raving - we'll talk later - go get some sleep - please!"

(to be continued ... )

1 comment:

  1. This powder has me intrigued. Are you sure you haven't been snorting it? ;-)