IF YOU GO OUT IN THE AFTERNOON SUN BE SURE OF A BIG SURPRISE

Part two of the apocalyptic story of writing Taking Leave on Patmos in Greece, or how after a bumpy ride I heard just what I needed to hear from the sage, wit and poet Robert Lax.

August 13th 3.30 in the afternoon. Patmos, Greece. Temperature – hot to boiling.

It was like being in a submarine – Das Boot where all the emergency hooters and alarms are sounding… this is all a disaster, this is all a disaster, this is all a disaster, this is all a disaster…..

I ran out of the house – the scooter would not start…another omen if ever I needed one… I speed-walked down the street….siesta time – no old ladies dressed in black standing about sneering – sensibly all asleep… only mad dogs and me out in the 2.30pm boiling hot sun… where was I headed? Possibly to throw myself into the sea – or rather the diesel-stained water of the port… no John Fowles promontory in sight… just hot, hot, hot, hot, hot.

Hurry – walk faster – hurry, walk faster… get down onto the port… light blue fishing boats, yellow fishing nets, cats and dogs horizontal in the shade in doorways, beneath cars and trucks, anywhere to keep cool and stop panting. No one around – it’s Dodge City in the Mediterranean… Matt Dillon striding into town without any guns or ammunition… wanting to fight the first person who came my way, just mow them down whoever they are with the power of my speed-walking…

I walk under a 100-yard-long arbour, green leaves shading the sun… slow down a little but must not rest, sway and swagger side-to-side… like one of those stupid kids on a shooting spree at Columbine… boosh bang bosh – I walk on suddenly aware of something wearing a tweedy woolen hat is coming round the corner, I cannot stop in time… agghh I have knocked down revered Robert Lax, onto his back.

He looks like a helpless grey bearded two legged spider dressed in a windcheater and scarf… Two seconds from my own heart attack as the scene becomes a freeze-frame in my head and plays as a huge angry mob detaches from Lax’s funeral procession, chasing me towards a cliff edge.

Stay tuned to the same channel, same place tomorrow to find out what happened…

« Read Part One here || Read Part Three here »


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