Pampas – Season 2

ht19onofnjhxxagofbxe

2.0 Kind of quiet in the Edgware Road. Johnny Depp is on the hubbly bubbly but Roy has an American Spirit Black Pack Perique blend filter that he requested from a tourist. Richard has a snus portion under his upper lip. When he spits, Johnny says “You don’t have to spit. That’s the point. The Swedes don’t spit.” Roy nods wryly as if yeah what Swedes ever spit? Roy has this look at the moment: a tee shirt that says ‘I Forgot My Hot Pants’ and a picture of some denim hot pants with sequins. Under a pin stripe jacket. Johnny, largely with kind of a Bedouin thing, nevertheless has a tee shirt ‘Sublevel Yachting’. Roy sees a dog, says “Ah!”, leans over and stubs his cigarette out on its arse. The actual hole. Fucking mayhem.

§§§§§

cooper-gary-photo-xl-gary-cooper-623-full


2.1 The lady who had the dog swung the hubbly bubbly at Johnny’s head at which point of contact it smashed and propelled him onto the pavement he was spark out even as he flew in the air face down. She took the jagged base and went for Roy’s neck but he was rising to his feet and caught it on the shoulder she reared back and kicked his chest with her heels but he caught her ankle and flipped her over she landed on her back on Johnny’s back the dog went fucking nuts and clamped onto Richard’s leg but he did a massive punt and it went vertically up and as it came down later Roy blood all down his look grabbed its ears and swung it so hard the ears came off in his hands. He put them in his breast pocket and pointed at them. He said “My hanky.” And yeah it was a striking effect.

§§§§§

gray995


2.2 There was some concern about Johnny’s cheeks. He had broken the fall through the air with them. Richard had rolled him over and it was certainly the case that they (the cheeks) were now the site of contusions that enlarged even as you stood. Roy’s position was “It’s not what you look like” but Richard’s was “It’s what you look like.” Then Richard pointed out “I can’t see him fronting in Selfridge’s, Roy.” Roy took a bread roll that had rolled from its basket during the scuffle and broke it in half. He then surprised Richard with a joke, something the latter had not expected from one more at home among larches. Roy said “It’s a thing of two halves.” Richard held Johnny’s mouth open and Roy pushed a roll half, with its convexity outermost, into the space between the 52 year old film star’s upper right 8,7,6 and the flesh below his zygomatic bone and between upper left 6,7,8 and the flesh below his zygomatic bone on that side.

§§§§§

cloth2


2.3 “Where’s his turban?” Roy said. “I don’t think it’s a turban,” Richard said. “The head thing. Where did it go?” Roy continued. “It’s under that car,” Richard indicated. “Leave it. He looks better, yes?” Roy went. “The cheeks look a bit low,” mused Richard. “Only if you know him,” Roy went. “People do, though,” Richard remarked. A lady came over. “Is that Roy?” she opened. “Ruth,” goes Roy, “How is Mrs Atkinson?” Ruth says “She is as well as can be expected. She lost some clothing on a train and more recently her son was murdered.” Roy responds “Mrs Atkinson’s son was not of the highest cut, to be frank.” “Have you hurt yourself, Roy?” she notices. “Blood of dog,” he says. “That could be a fragrance,” Richard says. “More of a wine,” Roy says. “I think so,” goes Ruth.

§§§§§

plaid

2.4 Ruth took Johnny’s feet while Roy and Richard took the heavy end. They got him into the 4×4 where Roy took a couple of minutes reshaping his (Johnny’s) cheeks with small pinches. Then Roy drove to a lady’s clothier up the road with skirts and cardigans and similar things where he asked the assistant to show Ruth some skirts. She got a pleated one like a kilt in different colours and a cardigan in lavender. Plus some brogued walking shoes but the holes don’t go right through. Then in Church Street a street off where they were they got a denim jacket like Lee or one of those. Richard said “It’s a shit look, Roy.” Ruth said “Well, it will cover many situations.” And Roy said “See, Richard? Shut the fuck up.”

§§§§§

___pastel_macarons____by_cherry_fizzle-d5leni1


2.5 Richard ruminated what does Roy know about Ruth? Settled among spruce, sleeping in seclusion, with whom would he wind up? How had he honed, who had he wooed? Ruth pulled another macaron from her rucksack. “Richard said you stuck a fag up a dog’s shitter, Roy.” “So I gather,” Roy shrugged. Richard goes “Actually Ruth, your look, it really works with that macaroon. I was hasty.” “Aron,” Ruth commented. “Where do you, you know, come from?” Richard directly asked. “Weakling,” she said. “Near Crowborough,” Richard said, “Sussex.” Ruth nodded very slightly. “Do you find,” ventured Richard, “despite yourself, that we tend to become like names that a) have long limned our pasts and b) are susceptible to such an operation, I mean you could hardly expect that of North Challey, for example.” Ruth replied As a matter of fact no.

§§§§§

glasspod3image680x450

2.6 Roy folded down the three seats in the 4×4 and rolled Johnny towards the hatch back. He then invited Ruth to go and lie on the floor with him, next to Johnny. Richard sat in the front looking at the street. Roy and Ruth rose and fell energetically and Richard felt himself flooded with ancient memories. Once again pistol shots rang out in his head and he could not stop them. And he could not stop the pain that flared around each shot. The street darkened and Richard went blind. He touched his eyes and then he reached out to feel the glass before him. He sat in the dark although it was not exactly dark it was nothing.

§§§§§

dreamstime_m_14341663-human-skin-pores

2.7 When the vehicle was quiet again Richard said “Please excuse me Ruth and Roy but I cannot see.” Roy said “We’ll see about that,” glancing at Ruth for acknowledgement of his swift wordplay. He took the blind Richard by the hand and led him down the road in the Marble Arch a monument direction. “Among us prowl the reptiles, Richard, their skin rife with light-sensitive proteins. For millennia the mammals have have suppressed this knowledge in order to deflect criticism of the vulgar binocular system. Take a leaf from the gecko and the sublevel cuttlefish, use the skin of the head, wear shorts that you may savour the vision that flows from the flanks. See the world anew with your neck.” He led Richard to the middle of the road and walked back without him to the 4×4 with pale Johnny in it and Ruth.

§§§§§

screenshot4

2.8 “Take it round the park,” Roy says. Richard pulls off his shirt and vest in order to optimise neck and shoulder vision. At first with dermally distributed visuality you can’t process the inputs – the brain can’t stitch them together from so many perspectives. Entomologists have stated that young flies also have this problem. Ruth is intrigued by his head lolling over the back of the driving seat – his eyes, were they not defunct, would be peering at her chest. His throat is taut and he has pushed the seat almost up to the steering wheel. “I’ll just check Johnny,” he says, raising his left hand to the roof of the 4×4 so that with a twist of the palm he may periscopically survey the rear area and its insensible resident. “Still still,” he reports. “Anyway, Rockahula,” he says and takes off down Park Lane a rich road.

§§§§§

sci_eye_iris_2_cropped

2.9 He does well. Takes it at a fair clip, mind you it’s pretty much like a short strip of motorway along there, using his hands in all these increasingly snakey moves, it’s like rear view mirrors but on all sides (he has one hand through the sunroof) but it isn’t because with a mirror you look in it but with this his hand is looking you don’t need anything more. “I’m getting into it, I’m getting into it,” he declares and he’s whipping in and out past the shit statues and Ruth says to Roy “This is quite exciting” and Roy says back “I can see you like it” and Ruth says “Can you see what I’m doing?” and suddenly Richard’s skin goes off, just when it was so good it just goes off and Ruth looks down and sees his eyes go on and she shouts “He’s looking at my chest!” and in that dark gap Richard mounts the pavement.

§§§§§

intravenous-line-in-hand-veins

2.10 “The Arab man is comatose yet shows no impacts other than facial contusions and minor abrasion. Possibly he was asleep at the moment of collision and failed to use his arms protectively,” said the good looking young Dr Peter Grant, “but he did have bread in his mouth which he must have been chewing.”
“I don’t think he’s an Arab, doctor, “ said auburn haired young nurse Penny Arnold, “his trousers are roomily tailored but otherwise the indications are European or American.” Dr Peter Grant looked at the efficient young nurse with his hazel eyes. “I’m not happy with verbal and motor responses. We’ll go straight to imaging for subdural haematoma.” “Right away, Dr Grant,” said the pretty young professional.

§§§§§

screenshot5

2.11 Roy was in the finals of a Shaving Competition with five other men who had not shaved for two days. They would sprint through a cornfield to a roar from gathered men and women who understood shaving and supported the Shaving Group’s waiving of the No Cut rule, which disqualified contestants who drew blood, however modestly, in the course of the high speed challenge. At the far side of the field were the shaving stations, each bearing a disposable razor, an aerosol of unscented foam and a small bowl of warm water. Roy enjoyed the No Cut Waiver because he had mastered the Single Sweep, wherein the shaver describes a series of unpunctuated undulating crescents across his face and neck regardless of nicks and gouges. But to his horror he could not move his hands.

§§§§§

screenshot6

2.12 We know from EEG that persons in coma are not brain dead. The comatose have brain activity, they are not flatliners. Their brains respond to stimuli by emitting an electrical impulse. But if Johnny were in deep coma they would not let him go home. If he were in a vegetative state, with modest reflexes and sleep-wake cycles, he could go home. But you wonder now if he thinks or sees pictures in this place beneath the sea. There is no way of telling. Is it a thought if there is no thinker? If there is no thinker then are there pictures floating down there and what are they of? Are they of things that we never see anyway even when we have the full box of waves?

§§§§§

light2

2.13 Keira and I agreed that we had a sense of foreboding. As if a loathsome vapour or malodour were closing down the sky. “Perhaps we do need stars of the screen, Johnny,” said Keira, alluding to my suggestion (see 26/07/15) that actors should fully extend the scope of their impersonations so that they might step into everyday life and apply their strengths there rather than on the screen where people know it’s acting. “I suppose,” she continued, “there could be problems with getting carried away.” “In a sense that is collateral damage,” I opined. “In the world of entertainment we see many professionals, take Matthew McConaughey for example, who achieve remarkable verisimilitude. Such protean figures must, at this tipping point in the story of civilisation, make the transition.”

§§§§§

the-slow-fader-in-the-dating-world

2.14 Just two days later Keira had gone. I was so sad. I knew that I would miss her dreadfully. For much of her life she had been feted as one of the beauties of her generation. She had a tremendous openness and spent much of her time in a state of delight. As she faded away I held her hand, her features softened and her breath grew light. “Can you remember when you knocked me over in the café?” I whispered. “No need to whisper,” Brogan said, “I’m not the nervous type.” “Hey, Brogan! What’s new?” I said. “Who are you?” she asked, matter of factly.

§§§§§

lives-less-ordinar_1385208i

2.15 Brogan, I’m afraid I don’t know Harry, Amy or Paul,” I said to Brogan. She turned from the window and looked firmly at me. “David, because I have had largely unsatisfactory relationships in one way or another, both intimately also with friends and acquaintances, such as with John who has, I must confess, faded in my mind of late, I tend to focus my energies on the travails of others. This should not be seen as somehow explaining my activities – I have skills and they are, I can say this, successfully applied. I can cut to the heart of the matter. I am driven, if you like, but I have found in life what I can do well and it pleases me.” I felt warmth towards Brogan. “Yes, Brogan, I see that,” I said.

§§§§§

food_drinks_glass_of_cold_beer_025568_

2.16 It was clear that Brogan was feeling cooped up. We went for a walk in the neighbourhood. She moved quickly through the knots of passersby, sometimes pausing to scrutinise individuals who, for reasons that were not apparent, caught her attention. As we passed The Amount of Beer a young woman seated with friends at a streetside table looked up and smiled broadly. “Brogan! Wow!” she cried. Her friends seemed similarly delighted. The young woman was scanning the street beyond Brogan. “Are you doing another one?” she asked. Brogan replied “Are you a friend of Amy’s?” “Er…no?” said the young woman. “I’m looking for Amy,” said Brogan. “With Johnny?” the young woman said, looking at me. Brogan said “Johnny’s not around. That’s David.” The young woman grinned. “Right,” she said.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.17 Brogan told me that while she was keen to locate Amy in order to ascertain just what happened with Harry after the dinner with Paul, she sensed that for the next few minutes it would be a waiting game. She said “From time to time in this caper, David, there are little gaps and it is in these that I pursue my personal interests.” “Good idea, Brogan,” I said, “I’m the same.” Brogan said “I like ornamental gardens. I have a dog, called Andrew. I am fond of jazz. There are some cousins. I relax when I can. I am drawn to certain sorts of figurine. My mother is blind. I dislike people who search their pockets for no reason. Before John there was Frank, who was moustachioed. My little nieces love me and I them. My best friend drowned. There is no God. Picasso is admirable. Let me be clear. There is so much.”

§§§§§

sok-aloe-vera-1

2.18 We passed a house in flames licking high and screams coming from it of despair. Brogan tore off her coat which was rayon and therefore a fire risk. She ran into the house as I held the coat. From all the windows came thick smoke and cries. Was there a person in every room? It could not be ruled out. To my amazement Brogan appeared at a window holding a side table which she repeatedly dashed against the window frame. “David, stand back!” she cried and moments later came an armchair. “Position it, David!” she instructed hoarsely as it went hard to the pavement. I shoved the chair round so that the man thrown next landed in it. “Reassure him!” yelled the tireless figure. “And look in my coat!” There was a bottle of Cien (the Lidl own-brand) aloe vera lotion. I smeared it on the man saying “No worries. Shit happens.”

§§§§§

_86

2.19 I was trying to get a sense of what Brogan was. For example, from where did her memories come? The moustachioed Frank – had she encountered him in the course of her entirely prescribed and necessarily episodic past? How could it be otherwise? Unless her psychology was such that she was able to generate material to fill the biographical gaps. But to use the term ‘psychology’ was itself ridiculous. And how would she recognise that there was a gap to be filled? I was familiar with the work of Anheuser & Busch on confabulation but to apply that to Brogan would be to pathologise this exceptionally resourceful individual. And, of course, it was also my belief that since our future was now in the hands of those whose psychology was largely extinguished our salvation lay with those most adroit in the management of surfaces.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.20 After the Fire Chief had warmly congratulated her, and the burned man had clasped her hands, I resolved to traverse with Brogan the archipelago the waters of which might prove to conceal branches, bridges, aspects opening onto aspects, in short, a body not pinned with trinkets but itself full and fruitful. “What’s it like having a blind mother?” I asked her. “You are not seen. The silver of the mirror is blackened. You are not carried in her mind. How then could you carry yourself? There is no echo. All moves ever outward, fading into air. I made my own sandwiches. I cleaned my own face,” Brogan said.

§§§§§

berenice-marlohe-lookig-side-black-n-white-face-closeup-version-2

2.21 She sat beside me on a bench and I was able to study her in repose. Generally she looked resolute but I began to notice something odd in the way she composed the muscles of her face. It was the fact that I found myself using the word ‘composed’ that made me pay closer attention. We are used to seeing people drumming their fingers on tabletops or nodding absently in thought but Brogan seemed to be cycling through a repertoire of small facial movements that had the effect of slightly altering her expression then returning it to its initial state. This state, that I have called ‘resolute’, would liquefy – momentarily assuming an almost expressionless condition – then reproduce itself. It seemed odd rather than neurotic, almost as if she were using her spare time to perfect something.

§§§§§

056a_c89-f

2.22 “What are you doing later?” I asked her. “It depends what happens,” she said. “What if nothing happens?” I said. “That doesn’t arise,” she said. “But would you go home? To your house?” I asked. Brogan reached for her bag. She peered into each of its several compartments, working from the smallest, which bore a pair of fastenings, to the most capacious, which would normally lie beside her hip. Then she returned to the smallest and removed from it an ivory comb to which she quietly said “No”, then from the next a purse of coloured sand to which she said “No” from the next a jar of white dried beans to which she said “No” and to the most capacious then to the smallest again and “No” and I said “Can you not find them?” and she said “I can’t find them.” Then she said “But they must be there.”

§§§§§

il_570xn808528687_wbdu

2.23 In this way she searched her bag many times. The narrow boats passed, one with a sleeping cat on the hatch. A phone rang. Brogan reached into the inside pocket of her bright rayon coat. “No,” she said. It was mine. I said “David here.” A voice said “David, it’s Amy.” I said to Brogan “It’s Amy.” She took the phone. In a honeyed voice she murmured “Amy.” Then “We will.” Then Brogan turned to me and said “Let’s get up and go. Amy’s coming round.” “Where?” I enquired. “Where’s she coming?” Brogan strode away from the canal. “To mine.” After a few minutes we were at hers. Brogan released the fastenings on her bag. She put her hand into the smallest compartment at the front and took out her keys. They were on a fob with some bright fur.

§§§§§

b99be308feffb943d1f4672c8ae307f7

2.24 Brogan showed me into her place. I was struck by its cleanliness. I understood that in a fundamentally anxious society one would tend to encounter a fetishisation of the clean and the tidy but Brogan’s place didn’t quite fit that bill. It was, for example, dustless and its edges and corners, including the edges of the carpeting, were marvellously accurate, abutting each other in such a way that one felt that even at several fractal magnifications there would be essential, geometric contiguity. She allowed me to look into her wardrobe, where I found long brass rails hung with skirts, blouses and coats made from polyester, acrylic, nylon satins and rayon taffetas. The colours were bold, bright, unpatterned. “Shall we sit down now?” asked Brogan. We did so in the sitting room. “She’ll be along,” Brogan reassured me.

§§§§§

32310286_7fca143570

2.25 After several hours, in the course of which Brogan sat quietly in an armchair, the door bell rang. Amy was in her early thirties with a mohair twopiece. “Amy,” Brogan said, “What did Harry do after dropping you off after your dinner at Paul’s?” Amy said gravely “Brogan, Harry is a selfish fuck inhabiting an extreme point on a spectrum reserved for those who experience others as a system of obscure and incoherent signs that are rarely worthy of a response. He is, psychologically, akin to one who cannot find his arse in the dark.” Brogan stood up “Are these the qualities of one who would do another in, Amy?” “Has Paul been done then?” Amy enquired. “Sundered,” rejoined Brogan. Amy crumpled. “I loved him,” she whispered.

§§§§§

1

2.26 Paul was rent. Riven by Harry. Amy aghast. I scarcely knew her. I had only known Brogan for hours. But now Brogan rose into her calling. As she moved dynamically around the bare, pure space she would, from time to time, stop. At one point coming to within a few feet of me she spoke fiercely to my face but not fully to my eye. Amy moved up behind her so that she was seen over Brogan’s shoulder. Then Amy walked to the table and sat at it, her hands clasped, staring down upon them. Brogan laid one hand on her shoulder but directed her speech towards the window. As their feelings intensified they strode, fell together, turned, restlessly crossing and recrossing the space abreast and in echelon. At one point they stopped. Amy said “When I sat at the table I felt I needed your hand there earlier.” Brogan said “That’s fine.”

§§§§§

fig_roll

2.27 Then Amy says “I’d just like a biscuit.” Brogan says “I have some. I’ll find them.” And she goes off to find them, looking around for them here, there. In all manner of places they might be. A drawer. A box. She looked. Then there they were, in her hand. Not like they’d been there all along be sensible. She also had a nice cuppa for Amy. And one for herself. “I so wanted this,” Amy declared. “Fig roll said brogan helpfully. I tell you what caught my eye she put the biscuit in her mouth then took it out and said I really wanted this but she actually hadn’t bitten it the end was still there but she was chewing and I thought eh

§§§§§

ip-cb2-full-version-2

2.28 All at once Amy put her biscuit aside and curled up on the floor in a ball as if there were a fire there there wasn’t. Brogan (from the hugely successful ‘Brogan’) jutted her chin forward and gazed down upon Amy recently bereft. She (Brogan) walked from the pale space to an adjoining one and came back in with a stick. This stick was not dowel but pretty straight with like a handbrake kind of hand grip on the holding end and a knob of soft leather like I believe they are called percussion mallets in music at the other end. She prodded at Amy’s back and Amy said “fortunately” then at her neck Amy said “that question” then her thigh she said “de la rue” (of the road Fr) then her wrist she said “factory” then her navel she said “inasmuch Bobby”. It went on. I have to say, it was actually kind of okay.

§§§§§

s-l10001

2.29 Eventually Amy’s responses faded and she lay quite still on the carpet, as though every word had been tapped out of her body. “Is she okay?” I asked, “She barely seems to breath.” “Oh yes,” Brogan said, “She will rest now. We can go.” “Will she be okay when she wakes up?” I wondered. “Oh yes,” said Brogan, “She won’t wake up until the next thing.” “When’s the next thing then?” I sought. “Who for?” enquired Brogan, “Her or me?” I thought for a moment. “Er…you.” “Soon, I hope,” she said, “but there’s no hurry. I don’t mind in between. Do you?” “I guess not,” I said. “It could get boring, I guess.” “It’s just in between, David,” Brogan said, “No biggy.”

§§§§§

irish-silver-sugar-tongs-georgian_irish-sugartongs

2.30 I was beginning to understand the situation. If I could somehow intervene in the scheme that animated Brogan, in some way divert its fitful expressions so as to seize authorship then I might realise my ambition to visit upon the world beings whose perfection of intent would quite eclipse the stuttering endeavours of those who merely made things up as they went along. Were I simply to execute my own designs then matters of light and shade, considerations of tone and tenor, all manner of titrations and refinements would cloud if not wholly entangle my purposes. How much more inexorable would these be if Brogan, the embodiment of gung ho can do know how, were my proxy and prosthetic!

§§§§§

hand-made-ox-horn-stag-antler-buttons-toggles-choice-button-stag-16mm-beige-4-2750-pekm800x600ekm

2.31 “Brogan,” I said to Brogan (yes the one from ‘Brogan’) “Do you have any small talk?” Brogan, wearing a sky blue duffle coat of felted duffel with the horn fastenings (the blue was of the purest altitude I had seen) and beneath it a lime shift, said “How is it measured?” I replied “Well, it is to do with matters of little consequence and often used to make situations pleasant and make time pass before you get to your floor.” “You see,” she said “all that I say advances me. There is no slack, no roll of chub. Who of us can locate the wellsprings of our utterance? Not me certainly David. Even when I say Can’t complain or Is she really? I am in a situation that moves things towards something.” Brogan paused. Her eyes welled with tears. “I would like to say something that was nothing.”

§§§§§

2592-740-313

2.32 “Amy is in the past now,” said Brogan. “That’s why she’s asleep. She might not wake up unless she is needed. She might not be needed. I’m usually the last to know. It’s not a problem though, because I’ll forget her. And then it’ll just be her clothes. They’re usually left in a neat pile. She herself will have gone. I don’t know where they go.” “Are there lots of them then?” I asked. Brogan frowned. “I suppose so,” she said. “It’s not something I dwell on. Did you see I’m wearing blue?” “Are there sausages to be had?” I heard myself saying. They were in the cupboard. Pork and lavender. I fried six. Brogan put one to her mouth. But whereas I munched mine hers came out untoothed. Again.

§§§§§

julien-in-courtroom-vision-2-version-2

2.33 We looked up and there was this guy on the sofa. “That’s Big Vague Michael,” said Brogan. “Does he have a key?” I asked. “He doesn’t need one,” she said. Big Vague Michael had an interesting way of moving. He didn’t move much but he was moving all the time but not leaving the sofa. His head was big and you know where sometimes with people you can’t see them but you’re looking right at them? Well it was like that. We’re not talking invisible or anything, it was certainly there and plus there was nothing to stop you looking at his head but when you did it was unsatisfactory. You thought this head doesn’t sort of hang together. It’s not like deformed or anything. It’s like you could look all you want but there was nothing coming back. That’s a good way of putting it.

§§§§§

tumblr_mxu1lvr7vi1t4fzt1o1_500

2.34 “Mike!” goes Brogan. “Mike!” He’s just across from her. Big Vague Michael hears this but his eyes are kind of nystagmus (see Pampas: Season 1: #93 09/07/15) but then he clicks them to a stop and looks at Brogan. “He’s…he’s..” he goes. “It’s Brogan, Mike.” She turns to me “We haven’t met,” she explains. “He gradually composes himself,” Big Mike says. “Yes,” Brogan says, “You do.” And as I’m looking his head is tightening together like air is sucked out. “See that?” asks Brogan. “They all do that. Sometimes as men, sometimes as women. Or before that.”

§§§§§

than-hoat-tinh-dang-bot1

2.35 This big handsome man, Mike, looking certain and shaped, raises his head to address Brogan who is standing up. He smiles warmly, extends his arms then suddenly clutches his throat, from which are expressed the bubbling shrieks of what you would expect if treading on a box full of live but plucked young turkeys. A black powder trickles from his mouth and thickens to a steady stream, spilling down his shirt and lap onto the tailored carpet. “My God!” I cry aghast. “Soot,” says Brogan. “Dirt!” I insist. “No,” she is quite matter of fact. “It really is not. It is the final and pure sum of him as he burns.” Mike’s eyes roll up as he dies on the sofa.

§§§§§

oil-cloth-wallet-paisley-park-2-5275-p


2.36 “He came here to die,” I said. “A man comes in, heaves soot and snuffs it.” “No, he didn’t come here,” Brogan explains, “He is the next thing. We must search the body for identification.” She starts going through Mike’s pockets. “He’s Mike,” I said. “I know no Mikes,” she said. “Look…” She extracts from his inner breast pocket an oilcloth wallet and passes it to me. It was still warm. There was nothing in it. “I wish Jean and Max were here,” Brogan said. “I haven’t seen them in years,” I told her. Rather ruefully, Brogan said “They’re so good at this sort of thing, you know.” The doorbell rang. “Funny,” she said, “Usually they don’t ring.”

§§§§§

Readers: the Editor of Pampas would like to apologise for the uncharacteristically protracted gap in publication between the previous and the above. This is due to circumstances well within my control.

§§§§§

1351430_500x800x250

2.37 “David!” It was Brogan. “Brogan?” I said, snapping out of it. Brogan, reclining on a sofa ‘just like from shop’, looked largely relaxed but she said “That was the door. Ages ago.” I said, coming back to myself, “I was busy, for several weeks. I couldn’t get to it.” She vocalised “Humph!” Then she spoke “Well I just hope they’re still there.” “Who, Jean and Max?” “Tush!” she exclaimed, “I was actually mindful of the numbers.” I looked quizzical. “The numbers…” Brogan sat up. “David! I’m Borgan.” I appeared puzzled. “The Danish thing?” “Fuck!” she swore. “I meant Brogan. The various shit that I do – you have to have the numbers.”

§§§§§

traditional-porch

2.38 It was, I realised, odd that Brogan could have a thought like that. “When you say ‘numbers’, what are you thinking exactly?” I put to her. “You feel them. When they like you,” she replied. “Brogan – who?” I was insistent. “I have a reputation. I take down scum. I slot punks. The loved ones of those whose condition I improve give cakes and cards of gratitude. Such things spread. The forces of the law begrudgingly admire my prowesses.” “That’s probably prowess, isn’t it?” (I saw no reason to let ordinary talk go off like bad squirrels.) Brogan said “Whatever.” Then she said “Sometimes on a hot night, on the porch, I can hear them. They’re out there.” “The numbers,” I nodded. “Yeah,” confirmed Brogan.

§§§§§

5110846295_85c5469ac7_b

2.39 I wondered what Brogan knew. She could not, for instance, know that Johnny Depp lay in a coma, that Roy an obvious nutjob and chicken jalfrezi could not feel his hands with his hands, that Ruth in another wing was wounded and Richard the stout as in staunch and stalwart not lardy aide lay within a respirator. But there was one thing namely my own resemblance to filmstar Johnny where when people found I wasn’t him they said “Wow! That’s like some kind of 3D photocopier of meat or similar.” What would Brogan make of this, given her emerging sensitivity to those on the soft horizons of her mind? Brogan said suddenly “You’re not my cousin are you, David? You feel sort of close.”

§§§§§

cleaningsieve-version-3

2.40 “Weird scenes inside the gold mine,” I said to myself. I had been getting used to the tight demarcation of Brogan’s capacities. That she would throw burning men from buildings was one thing (see Pampas 2.18); that she had, in any wise, a hinterland ran counter to my sense of sense. When Brogan intimated that I was, in some way, familiar to her beyond the purview of our brief acquaintance, there were only two respectable explanations. 1. That her perimeter was porous whereas I had considered it thoroughly circumscribed 2. That we had had prior business in her capacity as ‘Brogan’ of the heavily streamed and boxed ‘Brogan’. “Brogan, let me say this: no way am I your cousin. Okay?” I said.

§§§§§

screenshot7

2.41 So I went down the stairs to get Jean and Max. I was looking forward to seeing them greatly. I first met them in 1979 then lost touch for 24 years then lost touch again. Now, another 12 years on, they had knocked on the door of the apartment to which Brogan had access when she was waiting for the next thing. Perhaps they would be able to get to the bottom of the terrible burning out from within of Big Vague Michael (see Pampas 2.33). Or the drifting away of the still, barely lightly breathing Amy on the floor curled up. Of their type they were the tops. If anyone could sift the solute from the solvent, it was they.

§§§§§

screenshot-copy

2.42 It is apposite that this morning, Andy Wilson, director of key episodes of ‘Ripper Street’ and ‘Wallander’, should have enquired kindly about Hugh, whom he knew well in the heyday of Jean and Max’s ascension to prominence in the field of collaborative investigation wherein Max would theorise quickly from the facts as he saw them whereas Jean would see the local in terms of its relation to the pattern, the scheme, the grand elusive overall. It was the loss by Hugh of his diary (not his calendar, Andy) that led to some of the finest work of the inquisitive partnership. Hugh hit it off with Susan, who lived near the equator. It was she who partially resolved his anxiety by taking him to a number of stationery shops.

§§§§§

tears-of-love-photomanipulation

2.43 I had never seen them in the street before. Jean. Taller than Max by some way. The tumbling hair. The age she had been she was. And Max too, no change in his height. And as if the years had not passed through him. “David, we never die,” said Jean. Her deep voice. I said, shaking my head, tearful “You don’t, Jean, you don’t.” Max took my hand. “No. It’s really good,” he said. Still muttering. Terrific tailoring. I clasped them both to me and they me to them. I put my hands round the backs of their necks and stood away. I was shaking my head. And I hadn’t even asked. It was because of Brogan. “She’s upstairs,” I said. “She really loves your work.”

§§§§§

cinnamon-bun

2.44 So Jean and Max (see Strength Weekly Long Read and Seasonal Treat http://www.strengthweekly.com/2008/02/08/lots-ep-i/) came up the stairs with me and there was Brogan. Who knew them. They exclaimed and hugged, said “Wow!”, shook their heads like I had (see Pampas 2.43). Max got out a sealed packet of frozen Cinnamon Buns from the Ikea food section just beyond the checkout at least it is in the Wembley one. “Why are they so cold?” Brogan asked. “You have to heat them up,” explained Max, “They come from Sweden.” Brogan said “I’m not Swedish (see Pampas 2.43).” Max heated them and when Brogan bit one she threw up.

§§§§§

santa-johnny

2.45 Max was taken aback. “It’s just a bun,” he protested. Brogan was supporting herself on the arm of the cream sofa, onto which she had voided the morsel. “She doesn’t eat,” she gasped. “Who?” Max and I said in unison. “Brogan,” she replied, “Did you ever see her eat?” “You don’t eat?” Max, nonplussed. “It’s never been the next thing. She only does the next thing.” The next thing we knew, Brogan straightened up and was gone. “Keira!” I cried. Because there she was. “Johnny. Wow. I’m fucking starving. What have you got?” said Keira. Then she hugged me. “Who’s Johnny?” asked Jean.

§§§§§

keirascope1712_647x800

2.46 I had to think fast. “She calls me Johnny,” I blurted. “So much better than Colin,” offered Keira. “That’s got to be true,” Max confirmed. “I never called him Colin,” Jean went. “That’s two of us then,” Keira a dit. Jean goes “Did they shoot those horses?” “What? In the movie?” asks Keira surprised. “I suppose they couldn’t take them home,” Jean concluded. “You had that great dress,” Max goes, “The green one.” Jean goes “I was in Entre Rios, on the pampas, the gauchos have the bolas in addition to the lariat. They call the cows ‘Hola Agustin! Hola Victor!’ and if the cows do not come they entangle them, tripping them by their thin ankles on the evening plains.”

§§§§§

httpmedia-cache-ak0pinimgcom736xbfd5fdbfd5fd20dc25f8794289ea737e8bfa53

2.47 “We thought we’d see Brogan,” Max said. “She was sick on the sofa,” I said. Jean glanced across the room, “Looks alright.” Keira is looking around too. “What is this place? A show home?” “It’s Brogan’s,” I said. Max shook his head “She had a place in a mews. Full of knickknacks.” “As far as I can tell,” I mused “It’s kind of where she came in between things.” “Like the green room,” suggested Keira. “Not quite. But sort of,” I said. “Anyway!” Keira yelled, “I could eat a scabby horse between two bread vans.” “What about Nando’s?” Max went. “Love it.” Keira swept us down the stairs.

§§§§§

atlantic_north_1803-2

2.48 “David,” began Jean in the cab. “Who’s David?” enquired Keira. This time round I thought better of blurting out a response and went instead for a measure of half truth. But before I even began to speak I had to work out how to deal with the accent problem. Keira expected me to have an American accent but Jean and Max knew me as British. I decided, with no great originality, to go for mid-Atlantic. I have a Canadian friend who has lived in the UK for thirty years or more and speaks with an English turn of phrase rendered in a faint drawl that places him beyond these shores yet fails to make landfall in the west. As a model this could be useful, but perhaps only to a skilled mimic. It is indeed both a blessing and a curse to bear an uncanny resemblance to an A-list Hollywood film star.

§§§§§

streamkeepers

2.49 “Well, Keira,” I said in the cab to Nando’s, “First we must conjure a time when all phones, known then as telephones, were attached to the wall with a wire. Of the various marks of sophistication to which the aspiring sophisticate might aspire was the longer wire, consisting of twined, fabric-covered cords and enabling the caller to step at least three or four feet away from the fixed body. Similarly impressive was the advent, in 1979, of water in a bottle. Those of us emerging from Austerity 1.0 had been used to walking from one building, such as the home, to another, such as another home, without experiencing thirst. Had we, en route, become thirsty which, by and large, we did not, we could not, using the Favourites list, send a message ahead requesting that a glass of water be taken from the tap in readiness for our arrival.”

§§§§§

lawn_july_2004_1-version-2

2.50 I could tell that Keira was fascinated by my account of the social hydraulics of the simpler times. She pressed her slender, wiry frame – I thought of Amy – against me in the cab, as I continued to expatiate. “In common with all children I was urged by my parents not to hesitate, when feeling thirsty, to knock on the door of a passing house and politely ask for a glass of water. Often the householders would invite the child in, pressing biscuits and fancies upon them and sometimes unopened Christmas presents resulting from sad bereavements. I was shown lawns, wedding dresses and carving tools while my friend Susan saw radios, a spaniel and lavender. In this way communities were forged, their bonds enduring after the manner of what were then the new epoxy glues.”

§§§§§

windmill-384579_960_720

2.51 “In fact, on one occasion,” I recalled, “Susan, having walked from one town to the next one along, started to feel the beginnings of thirst. She turned into the gateway of Christine and Christopher Gilchrist whose friends, Susan would learn, called them both Chris. Chris opened the door and without hesitating agreed to arrange a glass of water. Chris sat her down and Susan slipped her socks off. Susan said “Is your name an adjective?” and Chris said “Not in my case.” “Phew for that,” a dit Sue. “Do you know oude genever, Susan?” enquired Chris. “The Swittish city,” Sue a dit reasonably confidently. Chris laughed in a non-condescending way. “It’s actually a pleasant drink,” he said, “From the Netherlands.” Max said “I see where you’re going now.” Keira said “You’re well ahead of me then, Max.”

§§§§§

16983672059_bce7f3e945-version-2

2.52 Susan sipped and savoured the small drink but felt it was too raspy for her tastes. Some time later I too had occasion to walk to that town and chanced to knock for water at Christine and Christopher Gilchrist’s. Christine said that Susan, who had her own room at the Gilchrist’s, had gone to Eindhoven in the Netherlands. I went into a bar in De Markt where there are many bars and in the winter a rink and in the spring stalls. In a low-ceilinged one with green light I approached a man and woman and said “I am looking eagerly for Susan.” The man said “She’s gone. But I’m Max and this is my associate Jean.” Soon Susan was just something that happened and I began to relish my chance acquaintances.

§§§§§

screenshot8

2.53 Max explained that Jean had a capacity to evaluate in depth both the vital and the morbid signs of individuals and groups by considering the tremors which immersed them. These engulfings, explained Max, were not to be confused with the ray, the waves, the force field, the spirit level, the plumb bob, the bridle of the tidal, the outgush, the secret life of flow and eddy, certain glands. He gave an example, “It’s like – how can we dance when our earth is turning? How do we sleep while our beds are burning?” He nodded, straightened his tie, chartreuse on a fern pinpoint oxford, glanced at his links. He said “I go more for the footprint, the stain.” Jean said “Max would press a key in wax.”

§§§§§

mold-release

2.54 And Roy, of course, is a drifter. Essentially a drifter. Of no fixity. And now that he is allowed up (which is not to suggest that, had he not been genuinely incapacitated as a result of the colliding, he would have heeded the mild admonitions of the nurses: he would not, as we have come to expect, have given a fuck) he has taken to wandering the wards, eager to bench test the healing powers he had acquired since gaining access to the cleaning cupboards adjacent to the buffing machine bay wherein he had found the silicon-based mould release agents which, applied in gel form to the gums and fingered into the nostrils, brought about a purging so intense that it descaled sclerosis at every level of his being and put Roy in touch with his inner Christ.

§§§§§

m0ssy1

2.55 Let no one imagine that Roy was a creature of impulse. Despite his preference for the forest gladeless, he was not a sociopath. He looked down on those fetid nomads and their fireworks, foot soldiers of fuckup, peevish outbursters commando in their polyester, call him Rover he comes when you whistle. Accordingly, when the medical social worker, finding the psychopath Roy unforthcoming when she enquired as to whether he would like to talk to her in confidence about anything that might be troubling him, suggested that he keep a Feelings Journal, he did not gank her though his stare was rather cold.

§§§§§

mottle1

2.56 Instead, Roy fell to considering his livid spots. These were not issues that might compel him to declare “Actually I have a problem with that” but the patches of inflamed flesh that, since he had opened himself to Christ with strong ointments, had begun to course along his limbs, flushing and mottling, sometimes lingering at the neck at others simmering even across his eyelids inevitably suggesting unsettling expressions that he was not in fact expressing. These eczemas flowed over him through the day and would be seen in some circles as a language but Roy himself said contentedly “They are my jewels.”

§§§§§

screen-shot-2016-03-06-at-124830

2.57 Roy sent blood down into his body to the parts that would benefit from the force and freshness. He was familiar with the Harveyan schema wherein the blood moved in a circle thanks to the heart pump, and he considered this credible but contemptible insofar as as it removed from his domain an eminence. The passivity of those who surrendered corporeal sovereignty to a presumptively autonomous system – within their own bodies for fuck’s sake – pissed him off. By a system of grimaces, contractions and selective tightenings he wrested control from the pump and was pleased to see that his jewels now traced the new pulsions as they rolled down from his reddened head.

§§§§§

screen-shot-2016-03-15-at-144951

2.58 Flushed with his vanquishment of autonomous blood circling and encouraged by his developing capacity to situate distinctive skin colourations at will, Roy turned his heightened attention to the actual quality of his blood rather than its tides and was upset to find that while it was itself sterile there were ranged around it, in the arrangements of tubes and vessels and suchlike such as also the skin itself, life forms teeming in their billions in their several dozen teeny types. Seventeen alone in the : ! And Roy knew that the walls of capillaries are only a few nanometers thick so how come, he wondered, life forms did not get into his sterile blood? For all he knew, they had. They had. For all he knew.

§§§§§

screenshot-2

2.59 What especially vexed him was the notion, widely bruited in the microbiological literature, that ‘the normal bacterial flora of the adult human clearly benefit from their host’. Just look at them bacteroides fragilis makes you think of weakness bacteroides oralis how dare they bifidobacterium bifidum makes you think of two dogs salmonella enteritidis the sandwiches are off again but I didn’t have a fucking sandwich propionibacterium acnes is that a pony with boils I mean come on enterococcus faecalis you’re fucking kidding me proteus mirabilis too late now son they’re all in it’s fucking open house. Roy set off for the cleaning cupboard. Scorched earth.

§§§§§

kieraandnatalie-2

2.60 In the cab a few minutes away from Nando’s Jean goes affectionately “David, you’re wearing well,” and I go “Jean, you’re too kind but your own unlined skin speaks of an enviable and luminous tranquillity.” Max goes “She’s not. Tranquil.” Jean comes in “But I’m luminous, Max, like he says.” And Max comes back “You can dress in the dark. That’s got to be useful.” Then Max says to Keira “You’re fabulous too, Keira.” And Keira goes “You’re sweet, Max. And so is Johnny.” And Jean looks at Keira “I love how you call him that.” Keira says “It’s just what I feel.” Apart from the driver, who was quite properly concentrating on what must be achieved, the rest of the people here, Jean and Max and Keira and David, looked at each other approvingly.

§§§§§

800px-dew_on_nasturtium_leaf

2.61 In those moments of easeful calm I felt the four of us were somehow of a piece with each other, that our differences were inconsequential, that we moved with grace across each other’s bounds then unbound flowed hither then thither in golden worlds. I was familiar with the idea that there is within us a yearning for a lost past in which we enjoyed a mysterious oneness with all that was and all that we encountered but perhaps this nostalgic melancholy is simply a tissue drawn across unpalatable hunger whereas here, in this taxi, it was as if I were actually in the minds of Max and Jean and Keira and Keira and Jean and Max were somehow all in my mind.

§§§§§

car-offroad

2.62 While Keira was ordering Chicken Butterfly off the bone, drizzled with the peri-peri oil that she loved, I asked Jean and Max how their lives had shaped up after 1983, when we last worked together. Jean said “At first we had momentum. We saw dust devils dancing and damped them down. We breezed through bodies locked in rooms from the inside with no footprints in the surrounding snow or windows. But where once we were driven now we were derelict, deadheaded. The engine fell from the chassis, the car coasted to the verge with no majesty. In Groningen I said to Max ‘What would Jean do?’ and Max said ‘Ask Max.’”

§§§§§

the-ghost-canoe-friday-the-13th-26488727-500-400

2.63 But what did Max mean? When he said ‘Ask Max’ in response to Jean’s question ‘What would Jean do?’ it may be that he meant that Jean would ask Max what to do. On the other hand, he may have meant that he, Max, would ask Max what to do, thereby suggesting that Max is outside himself looking at himself. If this is the case then it is as if he believes that the Max who is looked at may hold the answer to something that eludes the Max who is observing the more housed, less vagrant Max. All of which suggests that Jean and Max, investigators once blessed with what is now an ailing complementarity, having lost the plot are, in only a figurative sense, both in search of an author. Strewth.

(This passage was remodeled and replaced 05/04/16. See notification below.)

§§§§§

hospital_office_3418438k


§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§ PAMPAS: PRODUCT REPLACEMENT §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§
A post on the Pampas series dated 04/04/16 was removed from this location on 05/04/16 following the identification of substandard components. In the view of the Editor these latter were compromised as follows:
The textual material referred to a complex situation in a complicated rather than accessible way.
The material was stylised almost to the point of opacity.
In keeping with the mission to maintain high standards for the series the passage has been remodeled in such a way as to prioritise clarity. Lucidity even. The remodeled passage may be found above.

(While rebuilding Strength Weekly in May 2019, the Editor concluded that his attempt at ‘remodeling’ the piece above, while not unduly stylised, left intact an unacceptable level of confusion. In other words, I couldn’t understand it even though I wrote it. I think it may be no more than an overwrought reflection on the slight oddness of Max referring to himself as ‘Max’ rather than ‘me’.)

§§§§§

carolina_reaper_header

2.64 Keira has all sauce and everything round her mouth. “Johnny,” she says “Doesn’t this remind you of St Vincent? Yeah? With Orlando?” Max is weeping and pointing to his mouth because of the Very Hot he overdid. Jean asks “In Florida?” Keira replies “The actor. We used to go to the Flowt after we wrapped. Me and Johnny and Orlando. On the beach.” Jean cocked her head quizzically. This was getting to be something of a trial. I loved them all but this whole masquerade thing was fucking with my head. Jean breathed in. I had a light bulb come on. “Keira,” I went, “You remember Brogan?” She came “Well, naturally.” I squeezed her hand and reached over and then I squeezed Jean’s hand. I said “So you’ll understand what I have to do.”

§§§§§

iceland3

2.65 I know this guy I said. You’d like him. I winked at Jean, including Max who was drinking from a jug. Yeah, you’d find him interesting. He has a tale to tell. Yes I said to myself I do. I had been weakening. I needed a safe place. Free from exposure. Sometimes you read a book and you think yeah I’d like to live in that world. Not necessarily all animals and landscapes and beauty but where shit can happen and relationships but it’s only a book so no matter how harrowing and of today etc it’s a book it’s not like here. It’s art. Where you can hide. Or other people’s lives. That you like the way they live. Much the same. I mean I liked Jean and Max’s life. And their personalities. I mean I realise they are complements and not full people but were they ever? They had been to Holland, South America you name it. Iceland.

§§§§§

luggage11

2.66 (Interim Orientation Advisory) I reminded Keira of our discussion (see 1.104 (26/07/15)) wherein I had suggested that, given the dearth of capability in the worldscape and the abundance of problem solving in the fictosphere, actors should extend the scope of their impersonations so that they might step into everyday life and apply their strengths there rather than on the screen where people know it’s acting. I then suggested that this could be constructively countered by civilians, who would undertake to participate in artificial situations so that their lack of skill would ground and possibly neutralise some of the deleterious effects of prolonged masquerade. A fluid exchange of this sort would not, I felt, perpetuate a separation so much as promote a mutuality.

§§§§§

article-0-1a9d07b1000005dc-336_634x533

2.67 I told Keira that I couldn’t wait for her to meet my friend David, a civilian friend working with Jean and Max. She welcomed the suggestion. With an enormous sense of relief I let Johnny go and became myself again. I still looked like him, of course, but I didn’t have to pretend I was him any more. “We’re just off,” David explained, “Will you come with us?” Keira said “That would be lovely, David. Can Johnny come along?” David said that Johnny was not there at the moment. Okay a dit Keira. Now Jean and Max would relax and Keira would have a new but attentive companion. One who was not living a lie.

§§§§§

wtinfohvelvet

2.68 Jean and Max led the way and David was with Keira as they went off with resolve. They had foodpuppies with them and sports drinks. As well they had coats and tablets. Max thought it was ‘fuckpuppies’ but Jean told him to pay attention. Max as he went down snapped off the damp and velvet like young antlers extrusions and popped them into his mouth. Musty you’d think but like water chestnuts to the teeth. Put my hand in a tree. Jean sees a dog. Keira goes “Hey.” Fairly safe. Who remembers coincidence? What it was like. Don’t have coincidence now just a lot of things. If they coincide it’s like so what? it’s not a fucking surprise is it. They’re bound to be in your head.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.69 In the evenings out there the foodpuppies start to glow a faint purple. No more than a wristwatch. You can use them as a neck stole. Keira asks “Who is in there?” The guys go “We don’t know, ma’am. We figure they been in there three days, four.” Jean says “It must be so quiet.” The guys say “We look at it ma’am and it kind of has this calm effect.” Max comments “Some of the drives are long. You just want to be cool.” Keira declares “I’m going to wave.” She waves at them. At first it’s just still then you can see waving back. “They’re waving back,” Keira is pleased. Max demurs “It’s reflections.” Keira glares “Fuck it Max, look again. See? Waving. Am I waving? Is there waving in this group? I thought not.” And yeah, you could see it. White hand going to and fro.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.70 Keira takes off her dress and slides into the water in an oyster silk slip. She circles the car then surfaces. “It’s a 1949 Buick Roadmaster. The Sedanette,” she announces. Max asks what’s the water like. “It’s okay. Better than expected.” Max is down to his boxers and before you can say wow primark jumps in. Keira says “I think it’s a family down there.” Max asks “How many?” Keira says “A father a mother and two children.” Max duck dives and swirls around then “Yeah. The two in front have got rings on.” Keira asks “Did you wave?” Max replies “Of course.” Anyway Jean and I get in we’re generally splashing about. Jean says “The kids are both reading.” Keira asks “Can you see what?” Jean says “They’ve kind of got them in their laps.”

§§§§§

screenshot

2.71 We’re lying by the pool drying out. The foodpuppies are under a tree. Jean is on her stomach with one arm in the water. The air is still. Maybe a lark. Max has nothing to do. He’s sitting up. He says “All those years, with Jean, after we stopped working with David. When I cut myself, on the arm, I could see titanium. Shiny. Blue.” Keira who had been staring at the sun looked round at him. “Did it feel good, Max?” He nods. “Oh yeah. You could do things.” Jean nods too. “Max says he feels vague now, don’t you, Max?” He shrugs. “Something like that. Yeah.” Keira goes “I don’t think you’re vague, Max.” Max says “Well, you know. Maybe.”

§§§§§

screenshot

2.72 Jean reached for a foodpuppy and moved round the perimeter of the pool towards the front of the car below. A breeze rattled the birches briefly. I held a sports drink. She dropped the foodpuppy and it skeetered from side to side in the green water as it drifted down. “Did they see it?” Keira asked. “Yes,” said Jean, “They’re indicating that they did.” And it is certainly the case that when you looked down to them in that world they were nodding as if pleasedly to say “You are very kind. You should not have bothered.” But of course we bothered! It is a pleasant thing to meet others where so few go! Jean who had been dipping down came up and said “If only you knew how strange it is to be there. It is not life but its shadow, it is not motion but its soundless spectre.”

§§§§§

screenshot


2.73 Then again Keira dove deep and grasped the mirror on the passenger side then gasped then pointed then shook her head as if to say “You’re kidding me!” Which maybe she did say that. But back on the land she said “It’s Winona! Can you believe that? Fucking Winona!” There was a cry somewhere. Max looked puzzled. Night fell. From the sunken Sedanette there streamed green light. Max said “Phosphorescent algae.” Keira said “She used to go with Johnny. Between 1989 and 1993. Not that I’ve looked it up.” Jean asked “Is she okay?” I said “I’m sure she’s fine now.” Max said “Yeah, Jean and me saw that in the case of the glowing body on the pebbles at dusk as the sea came in and back at night not so long ago. Didn’t we, Jean?” Jean goes “Yeah, he’s right.”

§§§§§

screenshot

2.74 Max isn’t wiry he’s like stocky. He goes down following this glow and gestures to the person everyone says is Winona, which I believe she is. I mean Keira should know. We all should know: Heathers, Little Women. I’m thinking is she old now or what? I go “Max! Is she old or what?” He goes, through the water, “It’s not great visibility what with the night.” I go “Yeah, right.” He opens the door and helps her out and she comes up and says in a murmur “I want to sleep deep sleep.” Max says “There’s this kind of jelly.” Jean enquires “What?” Max responds to her “It’s like a film.” Keira goes “Well, that is the territory.” Max shakes his head “All over her body.” It was kind of glistening. “Can she breathe?” asks Jean. Max goes “Yeah. Obvs.” “Should we peel her though?” someone says. Max says “I guess.”

§§§§§

screenshot

2.75 Max and Jean start to pull away the turbid caul. The Roadmaster is the 1949 model but that would mean Winona is 67 but which is ridiculous based on the idea you are as old as your car which is ridiculous though I say so myself. Nobody is that old they would change their car from time to time. Jean is very careful she gently pulls and the film comes away from first the brow then gently over the face and Winona is pale you can see her pores and then down her neck but she has clothes on, a dark green dress. Her eyes were open even during when her brow was covered so presumably she could see through the film. How long has she been down there I wonder with her companions. “Lovely eyes,” Jean says. “Probably Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir,” Keira says, “she’s his face.”

§§§§§

screenshot

2.76 Foodpuppies are pleasing to touch in their smooth weight and so Jean placed two in the damp lap of Winona as she haltingly revived. “Her Grandpa was Timothy Leary,” Max said helpfully. Folded away the years of bead and veneration. When afghan was a coat. Rewrite the world. “Who says?” Keira says. “It’s known,” Max said firmly. Then Max says “I’m not saying that because a person’s Grandpa was something that the person is like that.” “0n the other hand Keira says there could have been acid in the sugar carelessly. Or on the stationery I’m thinking of the blotting paper here.” Max snaps his fingers. “No. He was her godfather. Yeah.” Winona now carefully peeled of film looks at me. She frowns then goes hesitantly then more certainly “Johnny?” Fuck I go in my head.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.77 It has not been my wish, in the course of these writings, to dwell on the personal. Even so, I should explain that over the years I have been regularly mistaken for Sting of The Police, particularly when that group enjoyed currency in the so-called post-Punk era. Youngsters would frequently come up to me, thrusting into my hands copies of Zenyatta Mondatta for signature. I would politely decline, saying “I’m not him.” They would say “Why did you dye your hair, Sting?” I would say “I didn’t. I’m not him.” After a while I just signed them – it made things simpler and it pleased the youngsters. Is that so wrong? I think not. Readers may appreciate, then, that the ‘Johnny Depp period’ which I have attempted to chronicle here, while fraught with both ferocity and felicity, was not unfamiliar. That is, until Winona.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.78 Winona extended her hand toward me and the foodpuppies fell from her lap by the waterside. She stroked my cheek. And said slowly “For a while I got to be something different.” Her hand was cold to me. She pulled at her hair and it came off but it was a wig and underneath was beautiful black hair kept dry by the wet wig now falling away through the water. She murmured Johnny and seemed not to notice anyone around. And I said But now I’m just me again. Keira is putting her dress on she puts it on and says I’m going in there once more. She gives a little swift smile and goes down. After a while I go down just to see and she is in the Roadmaster. Are you coming up I say. “No,” she mouths I can’t hear her. “You go on,” she says. I wave and she waves. I go back up to Winona. I swim back up there.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.79 Jean and Max who I had known for a long time and they knew me agreed with me. “She was a terrific girl,” Jean said. And Max said “She’ll be fine. She’ll have that film to cover her.” I had worked with them in the 70s in the 20th century. We really knew each other. They were not judgmental people. We sat and looked out over the pool remembering her not saying much for a while. After a while Jean said there are good people down there it’s not as if. Max said “There are kids down there. With their books.” The sun was coming up through a watery sky. It would help to dry Winona. Some early birds cheeped somewhere. You never know where they are you just hear them.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.80 This time I was really sure. I realised that my uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp was not something that I should just go along with. Of course it had had its advantages – I had enjoyed the company of a number of beautiful and personable women, not to mention their colleagues – giants in the field of entertainment. Winona, shifting in and out of sleep, still pale, feverish, could not take her eyes off me. “I’m not him, Winona,” I said, as plain as plain could be. She squeezed my hand and nodded. I felt a great relief. We could be man and woman now. We would walk together in an ordinary way that was deep and close and I would not be her Johnny. If I reminded her of the Johnny with whom she had been from 1989 to 1993 after Edward Scissorhands together then that was just something I had no control over. I would simply be her David.

§§§§§

screenshot

2.81 Winona said My time in the Buick Roadmaster Sedanette was uneventful but then I was offered the possibility of going further down. I would live in a system of tunnels, constantly burrowing and subsisting on tubers. I found the prospect repellent despite my confusion. Jean said What confusion is that Winona? Which was when Winona dropped a bombshell. “I have she said for some time been aware that my perceptual apparatus is delivering sensory information pertinent to situations that have no relationship at all to the milieux in which I gather I am physically present.” My lamb said Jean. Max asked Are these things happening somewhere else then? “Winona said Yes as far as I am concerned Max obvs but there is the fear that they are phantasmal. At the end of the day.”

§§§§§

screenshot

2.82 Max said “While you’ve been away there have been some developments.” We were beside the car pool. “Such as what?” I enquired. Well Jean said “Max and Winona have been getting on famously.” “Which is good,” I ventured. “Oh it is Jean said.” Max said “She is several months into the family way.” “You’ll be great, Max I said, Won’t he Jean?” “He knows I will always love him in a sisterly way as a brother Jean said.” I turned to Winona who was there too her feet were in the pool to the ankles. “That’s great Winona” I said, “It’s a real adventure.” Winona said “I kind of thought Well you are not Johnny David but Max is Max.” She said And that feels right. And I said I’m kind of sad Winona but perhaps we’ll meet again sometime and look back on this.” “Yeah said Winona