Being The Beginning Sunday, January 23, 2011
1 The Exchange Sunday, January 30, 2011
2 bildende Kraft Saturday, February 5, 2011
3 Gossamer Wings Friday, February 11, 2011
4 Nemesis Saturday, February 19, 2011
5 Odd Shoes Friday, February 25, 2011
6 al-Rûh Friday, March 4, 2011
7 A Love Supreme Thursday, March 10, 2011
8 The Three-Cornered Light Thursday, March 24, 2011
9 Serendipity Tuesday, April 5, 2011
10 The Watchman Friday, April 15, 2011
11 The Upright Way Sunday, April 25, 2011
12 Angels Wednesday, May 4, 2011
13 The Cave of Montesinos Tuesday, May 10, 2011
16 The Perfect Square
18 The Uncontainable
19 The Ear of Malchus
20 Mauvais Pas
21 Sinan Qua Non
27 The Vanishing Point
28 The Cat Walks
29 The Approximate Likeness of Being
Becalming Unscientific Postscript
The Cave of Montesinos
“Tell me thy company, and I will tell thee what thou art.”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Flanagan re-reads the last entry in Rio’s diary again. ‘Shite,’ he whispers, relieved that Mac, if he was true to his word, had not read through it. January 29 was also the date, he suddenly remembered, that Mac had called him and said he had been brought in for further questioning by the police. The truth he knew now was that Mac instead of being with the police and being detained overnight had gone on a massive bender, pub-crawling any pub that would serve him. Flanagan also remembered that he had just arrived back at the Nomad hotel in Istanbul after a visit to Ismâil the bookseller’s specialist friend and not wanting to be alone had headed for the café across the street, looking for company when Mac had phoned, ranting…
‘I’m glad you’re ok, Mac,’ Flanagan said after waiting for the eruption to finish. ‘Though you do sound rough.’
‘Where the hell are you, Jaffa?’ Cormac McMurragh demanded, hurt in his voice.
‘Where do you think? Istanbul.’
‘You’ve left a sorry mess behind you here…you bollix!’
‘What do you mean Mac?’ Flanagan asked quietly, recognising that his friend was being deadly serious.
‘There’s an all points bulletin out on you with Interpol. They think you are responsible for the robbery and Joe’s death . . . and the disappearance of Phyllis. You’re not, are you Jaffa?’
‘Both you and I know I had nothing to do with that,’ he said emphatically.
‘Rio’s seriously pissed off with you Jaffa. She and her Uncle Jack are heading for Istanbul to fuck you over. He’s some sort of a cop, I think.’
‘Shit!’ he said loudly, looking around him, looking towards the shadows.
‘Yeah! And you leaving me to wallow in it,’ Cormac McMurragh whined.
‘I’m sorry about that Mac. Once I have the Book I’ll come back and explain . . . to Rio as well.’
‘If she doesn’t get to you first!’
There was then a long silence, and just the sound of their breathing transmitted as both gathered their thoughts.
Across the road, Flanagan could see, beside his hotel entrance was a shop selling carpets. Two good-looking men were sitting outside preening themselves, waiting to ponce and then pounce on any pedestrian who might show a half-interest in their wares. ‘Like Altisidora!’ Flanagan suddenly said, loudly, hoping Mac would remember better days: their schooldays and the drama enactment that had brought them together for the first time.
There was another pause but then at last it came. ‘Since thou, false fiend, When nymph’s thy friend, Aeneas-like dost bob her Go rot, and die, Boil, roast, or fry, With Barnabas the robber . . . Fucking apt all the same, ya bollix.’ Mac’s voice was brittle.
‘You remembered, Mac. We did have some great times. Didn’t we?’
‘What’s up with you, Jaffa? You sound weird?’
‘Na. Just tired.’
‘You and I both! Why are you pushing so hard for a bloody book? Do you think that you’ll find that it really does contain some universal secret, the answer to the world’s ills . . . or your own for that matter.’
One of the carpet sellers was looking at Flanagan intently, calculating. ‘You and I know there are no secrets, Mac, just distorting mirrors. No, it’s just something I have to do. . . must do before . . .’
‘Speak up, Jaffa. The line is shite,’ Mac shouted.
‘Any chance of you coming out here, Mac? I could do with your company,’ Flanagan asked,
‘Yeah. Of course I am. I’ll pay.’
‘Christ. You must be desperate,’ Mac said.
‘Dear Sancho. Pardon me that I have brought upon thee, as well as myself, the scandal of madness . . .’
Mac laughed, finally. ‘Alive or dead! The bounty hunters ride again!’
‘What do you mean by that, Mac?’ Flanagan asked cautiously, a serious edge in his voice; he wondered if his friend already knew.
‘Nothing and everything, Jaffa! It’s always been our way, you and I . . . you leading, me following, but with a duty to each other, to our purpose, our existence. The great thing is though . . .’ Mac slurred to a stop, was silent for a moment then continued, ‘The great thing is though, that to you and me, the bounty hunters of being, the reward is the same. Alive or dead, either way we get it.’
‘Bollix I am!’
‘Get over here, Mac. I really need you.’
‘I’m on my way. If only to protect you from Rio.’
‘She’s some woman, Mac.’
‘The best, Jaffa! The very best.’
Flanagan cannot keep his eyes open any longer . . . and doesn’t.