Sunday, August 12, 2007


From the roof I throw stones that crack the street, leaving crevices as dark and as blue as the ocean floor. Everything here smells like snow. Shadows are always cool against the cliffs of slate and glass. In the centre of the piazza, a tower. On the top floor, a man with a ram's head shakes his horns slowly back and forth. From his fingers slide bright strings of dough, dripping and sizzling on the stones far below. In place of fingernails matt small poultices of leaves. The veterans all sleep loudly beneath creamy folds of paper. I fold it, and then fold creases and imaginary creases until the picture is embedded into the plane and springs away like an origami box, falling open, trampled thickly by bare feet.

A bulbous city, lightly covered with earth. All the policemen carry paper lanterns and keep tigers in their pockets in case of an emergency, pull tail. I'm driving a 1984 Toyota Celica, white, with pop-up headlights and a broken indicator. The chassis stinks of bongwater. The map is stuck between the seats. I ripped it, prying out directions from beneath the sticky vinyl. Our contact was refusing to budge. Burnt chickens and leaking gas pipes. We could be in Thailand, but we're not. I wanted to go home and cook pasta. Bringing deep pans of salty water to a luxurious, rolling boil and frying up mushrooms with garlic, fresh chillis and handfuls of chopped parsley. I flicked on the radio, poured a glass of wine. The telephone rang. I cradled the receiver and waited.

Who is this?
Who is this?
Hello? Who is this?

The phone hit the floor with a dull click and skidded across the linoleum. I picked it up carefully and with my right hand jimmied up the window sash and tossed it into space. I was wearing a powderblue suit that day, with black loafers, a pink necktie, blue shirt and cufflinks shaped like bullets. I was looking for clues.

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