Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Yes Cecil, A Long Story Short, Part Thirty-Nine

Wrapped in her house coat, her feet beneath her on the upholstered chair, Thérèse warmed her hands with a cup of coffee held close to her chest, the steam rising in front of her eyes like the warm vapours from a subterranean fissure. She went over the conversation with Arthur Roquebrune, trying to decipher the possible dissimulation in his words, the signs and nuances of the withheld, and though she sensed he was deeply concerned, she also felt he was being equivocal, like some stage manager holding the curtain together out on a proscenium stage, assuaging a restless crowd that the show would go on—as soon as the inebriated lead actor found his way to consciousness.

She was weary from little sleep. It was now 7:30 a. m. in Bergen.

At least Martine would be back from Stavanger today. She would have to tell her all about the David Ashemore case, the missing flash drive, and the possible need to change the locks and get additional security devices.. She was filled with dread over Martine's possible reaction. She had contemplated leaving Bergen but she felt uneasy about such a decision. There were too many unknowns.

She got up and walked over to the front window and noticed something broken on the window sill. A piece of white plastic with a circular shape. She went to the front door and upon opening it, could see that the exterior light had been broken, the plastic cover and the bulb in pieces amidst the leaves and small twigs on the steps. It must have been the high winds last night she told herself. She went to the kitchen to get the broom from behind the door and noticed a piece of white plastic on the floor near the dark synthetic bristles. She picked it up and could see it had a circular shape much like the broken light fixture outside.


Missed intentions and failing resolutions danced a slow quadrille around him as Pavor checked his on-line messages. In his private email, his agent and publicist had sent enquiries as to his progress; in his public email from his minimal website, there was a request for an interview from a small magazine, offers to review new books, offers to blurb new books, offers to read unpublished books, questions from a university student concerning the heroic and mythic in his Olivaster Moon, a query from a University Professor over the possible use or allegory and symbol in his Rex Manu Propria, or his RMP as the scholar termed it, and another concerning his use of idyll in his Rex In Arcadia.

Nothing from Mélisande. No response. Private or public.

He logged out of his emails and then logged into his gluttony of news feeds wondering what had possessed him to venture into such territory. The syndicated, the aggregated, the annotated, the calculated, the calibrated, and the validated all leading him to feel, in the end, fabricated and flagellated. How could he possibly keep up?

And his agent had suggested he get on Twitter and Facebook. My god, how would he ever get any work done? He couldn't understand how other, more famous authors, could manage such social medias. Perhaps they had ghost twitterers he thought. He disliked real cocktail parties let alone Twitter's endlessly digital cocktail party, a twenty-four hour, seven day a week bacchanal of hotlinks and twitpics, slants and views, theories and humours, all garnished with directives and dispositions.

Playing poker with Thomas Pynchon and Stephen King—and never mentioning books—would be more his thing. That would be fine. But no, not Twitter.

Pavor closed down his internet connection and shut his laptop. Restless, that's what he was feeling. Restless. Empty. He needed human stimulation. People watching was in order. He should take the morning off and drive into Trieste and let the bustle of humanity swing him about like a dusty wind and wash over him like a spring rain. Have a light brunch, and a stroll. Yes, deep observation and strong coffee would be the antidotes to his damned self-concerns.

Perhaps he should take that Burton book down to the antiquarian bookshop for an appraisal too. He picked it up off the desk and flipped through the pages and read a few lines at random.

Hardly we learn to wield the blade before
the wrist grows stiff and old;
Hardly we learn to ply the pen ere Thought
and Fancy faint with cold:

Hardly we find the path of love, to sink the
Self, forget the “I,”
When sad suspicion grips the heart, when
Man, the Man begins to die:

The whole artificial construct of the poem was rhetorical. Burton's summation of his philosophical viewpoints hiding behind the couch or flowered veil of a pseudonym. Pavor remembered when he was younger he had fallen under the spell of exotic travel narratives and the author's assault of the Victorian stuffed shirts, but not long after he came to see Burton as an Imperialist, and one who upheld racist views. He was a man of his time. Larger than life perhaps, but of his time.

Perhaps he could sell the book and finance a research trip? Rex Packard in Japan? Have him driving a Toyota 2000GT around Tokyo? Partying at Café 1894?

The doorbell rang. At least he assumed it to be the doorbell having never heard it before. He wondered who or what it could be. Postal delivery? Neighbour? The Authorities? 'Why for you have no papers?' His imagination kept step with his sense of words as he recognized 'author' and 'paper' in this last thought, and realized that literary theorists would have clambered all over it, or his agent saying he was an author who needed to be producing pages of finely typed papers. He grabbed his leather coat and the keys to the car in preparation for an emergency exit if needed, and then opened the door looking like he was in a hurry.

"Mr. Loveridge?"

© ralph patrick mackay

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