Sunday, 9 August 2009

Spanish castles

For behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts that never gave suck.Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Luke: 29-31

Pop-Pop stared, with the fixed eye of memory, out through the glass shards from within the ruin where once a window had framed the world. Nothing moved on the old farm. The overwhelming silence of absence returned to him: the logical culmination of an evolutionary process muted by the terminal punctuation of a dead-end. Where do you go when there's nowhere to go? The great heatwave had flattened the landscape to a mind-numbing sameness – a smooth evenness untrammeled by change; the wake of time; the interference of mind and machine. In the middle-distance the dune fields, temporary shifting structures, dissolved imperceptibly back and forth between something and nothing. Castles in a child's sandpit. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust. From the partially dirt-occluded window he could make out the form of his wife stretched out on the sun lounger, no doubt bathing in one of her animal-print thongs. She was determined to make as few lifestyle concessions as possible to environmental collapse. Make imaginary hay while the sun lasts. He could overhear her part of the phone conversation with the wine merchant ... apparently the crop had been particularly fine in Iceland this year ... her daughter now ... had she mentioned ... flying high? In the back Alpha-Alpha was thumbing his Rolodex for contacts to determine the right circles to breach in order to break into the exclusive world of the barbecue circuit. Down South. Happier times.

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