A Taste of Chlorine.
Did you hear the possums last night? Up in the roof?
Sorry, I say, I didn’t.
It sounded like a stampede, she says. Like a wild party.
Why weren’t we invited? I chuckle. Nah, I was asleep.
I forgot, she says. You sleep deep.
I had a dream, I say.
Now you’re sounding like Martin Luther King. What was yours?
I was swimming laps in the pool. I was the only one there. I came out exhausted but exhilarated. That’s when I came in to see you.
You better have a shower then.
You smell of chlorine.
Molly and Tom are sipping G & T’s on the porch of their third room apartment overlooking the golf course.
“It is so peaceful here, “ Molly remarks.
The main road passes the links where cars pick up speed after leaving the confines of a 50 k zone but their roar is swallowed by the distance from the apartments and the vastness of the course.
Just then Tom’s eyes lift as he notices a vehicle driving over the green. It has just come off the road.
It slows down and stops. Two figures in dark blue uniform dash out.
“It looks like a police van,” Tom remarks. “What are they doing on the course?”
Just then three shots ring out. Then silence. There is a scuffle of some sort. Within a few minutes the van drives off.
Later at dinner Tom and Molly learn from their waiter that a king ‘roo had been hit by a SUV and wandered onto the course, broken and bloody, “scaring the bejesus out of the oldies”.
That it was the night before Halloween did not go unnoticed.
We arrived late at night. That may have been the reason.
Or maybe our reputation preceded us.
Either way we ended up in Siberia, Room 313 , the furthest most room from the front desk, next to the storage area.
Adele, the desk clerk, wasn’t much help. In her effort to be genial, she often hit the wrong note.
Eventually, we got our keys and lugged our baggage down the long, long corridor, the shadows across the carpet hulking and ominous.
By the time we got to our room we were stuffed,
We stripped off and hopped beneath the covers of the king size bed.
That’s when I realized we had company.
The figure beside me shifted uneasily
I am going to bed with Mrs. Crasthorpe.
I have been to bed with her before.
It was a most pleasant experience.
Her husband is dead. She is a free woman now.
She is fit and feisty and when she’s breathed in the briny air of Eastbourne, she loosens up and tells me.
She has generously full lips. blonde hair and grey-blue eyes and is the ripe old age of 59.
Nothing unseemly passes between us, however.
Sadly she is an invention of William Trevor.
You look like a newt
in yr birthday suit
she said with clear élan.
A little blemished.
A strange fit of a man.
I’ve read yr text.
I know what’s next
& up the stairs she ran
Is it any good pleading? Thompson says.
For your life? Not really.
But you can’t just toss me aside like a dog carcass, not after all I’ve done for you.
You were more than serviceable, Hunter admits. But you’ve served your purpose. You can’t argue with me.
Will it be painless?
Well, get it over with then.
One minute, Hunter says.
He reaches into his satchel and pulls out his laptop.
Finish your drink, Hunter says. Out with the old and in with the new, he smiles, keyboarding fiercely.
He taps the delete button.
And with that, Thompson is gone.
I was talking to my rarely glimpsed neighbour who was out the front raking the leaves.
We chewed the fat for a while
and then I asked him about Gus, his elderly Jack Russel.
He doesn’t annoy you. does he? he asked.
Not at all, I said. I’m a dog person.
Well, he annoys the hell out of me, he said. The other day he was barking at the dining room wall and wouldn’t stop. There was nothing there.
Apparently, they see ghosts, I said. Even in the dark.
He stopped raking.
Or he has dementia? He offered.
Wow! I said. That would open a can of worms. Think how many documented ghost sightings could be put down to dementia.
People don’t bark at walls, he said.
Not even in they’re barking mad ? I asked.
We both laughed uneasily.
Inside, the dog began barking again.
Your canal’s very narrow, he says.
Yes, like the Thai tunnel cave divers had to negotiate to get those boys out. Not much sound can get through. There are no cave divers small enough to help it along.
Like that film in the sixties? I say.
Which film is that?
‘Fantastic Voyage’, where a submarine crew are shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of a scientist to repair his brain.
Can’t help you there, he says.
Is it hereditary then?
Quite possible. The left auditory canal is quite large. Can carry a lot of sound.
Maybe that’s why I lean a little to the left, I say.
Politically? he asks.
No, doc. When I walk.
- pic courtesy of Pinterest
You’re taking over, she says.
Am I? I say. I didn’t know that.
You men are all the same, she says.
I go away and think about it.
Can one take over without even realizing it?
Did Alexander the Great conquer all those kingdoms without
even being aware of it?
Did Genghis Khan?
Did these warrior leaders perform their actions with sleight-of-hand
fooling even themselves?
Take over? Who? Me?
I talk to my therapist who is mightily amused at the very notion.
She said what? Who? You?
I take a good look in the mirror as I pass by.
Ummm. My tentacles do seem to have grown longer.
pic by pinterest. Andrei-Pervukhin on DeviantArt
Someone once said, be in the moment otherwise you will miss your life.
I don’t know about that.
Once I was stuck in the moment.
It was like being stuck in a lift.
I was going nowhere.
Not even up and down.
There was no way out.
No alarm button to press.
No side passages to explore like in a labyrinth.
I was stuck. In the moment.
That moment when at three in the morning
the phone shrieked at us
from the hallway.
I could hear the old Minotaur lurching down the tunnels
of my brain.
I tried not to panic.
Tried smoking a cigarette
Humming a tune
Studying a fly on the wall
Reciting my nine times tables
the alphabet back to front —
do you know how difficult that is? —
And then suddenly SNAP
I was out of it.
I don’t know how long I was in the moment.
But I did wonder if I’d ever
Get out and join
The flow of life again.