here I have no tag of stereotype

here I am unique, here I am locked-in

here, within the lemon sandstone walls

of a timeworn, breathless Moorish fortification

I live a little, dream a lot, suffer, eat, wash and shit

He was looking out through the barred window, elbows upon sill, crossed fingers supporting his chin, his back to her. Heard her footsteps as she approached. Noted she was alone, for once. Out of choice he did not turn about face, did not acknowledge her presence.

For her part, she observed he had lost a little weight. Even from behind, protruding ribs told their own story.  The unsuspecting often took his blasé indifference toward all and sundry as a sign of resignation, maybe outright defeat, or perhaps just that his fabled genius had finally played out. How little they knew, for such apathy was merely a façade. A fact she was well aware of.

“Here, I have clothing for you…just an old gandoora…it’ll have to do. I couldn’t find any sandals. The thing is we can’t have you…well…not like this…not today”

In the blue times twixt constant contemplation vis-a-vis his passion for lost causes, and the equally irksome conspiracy of idiots focused on inflammatory design, the prisoner would lay down and wait in anticipation of a Popular Front parade.

“I’ll leave the gandoora folded on your bed. What are you so engrossed thinking about?”

Still he did not turn around. “For no good reason, other than perhaps the subliminal, I resolved that I would see if I could count up to one billion in whispers and wondered just how long such a challenge would take.  Too long I reckon.  You see, having determined that there are 86,400 seconds in a day it would take more or less 11,574 days, which works out at nearly 32 years to achieve such a quest, and that is assuming I take no sleep for the duration and only allowing one second to speak each number. Plainly I would need the occasional rest and further, as the numbers got bigger they would take more than one second to say. Given that I would likely pop my clogs, or be disposed of prior to completion I am thinking it for the best to abort the mission at this embryonic stage…by the way, why favour me with clothing after all this time? Since when has compassion been within your gift? And what’s so bloody important about today?”

At home, she would watch, sometimes even play with the antennae bristling ants that owned her garden.  Yet in this place, she reigned supreme, played no silly games.

“Look at me, face me.” Be that an order or request he cared not, studiously he ignored her. “Have it your way then,” an out of character statement by any standard, the iron rod her usual preference, “You are free to leave…obviously, you can’t leave as you are.” She found herself wishing for storm clouds to match her imperfect mood.

At last he changed position, looked her in the eye, “How so?”

She knew well that her cigarettes would kill before they cured, a presumption of her own private subjugation. Looking at him stood there stark naked the thought struck that, ‘spellbound are the idealists, the others are in their graves’. She thinks she might write that down a little later. She could see his bruising was fading, though his scars were eternal, ensuring memory of her would live on in his worst nightmares. Then, “Franco fell into a coma and died last evening…natural causes, hence…well, hence your ‘freedom’ assuming you’ll ever be ‘free’ in spirit, that is.” He sensed that word ‘freedom’ she spat out had left a bitter taste.

“So, all Godfearing, one-time fascists so very fond of The White Terror can now sit back and count their pesetas, and claim they knew nothing about anything?”

She wore a phony smile, “You should know my preference would have been to have your head on a platter…excuse the metaphor…we never did break you; dehumanise you, you ‘the one who got away’…still, I feel sure we’ll meet again one day. Come, make haste, you will be escorted all the way to the French border.”

51 thoughts on “BLASÉ INDIFFERENCE

  1. Tempted to say something like Le Pen is mightier . . . etc, but the clichéd possibility of it all withers my soul. Great writing, on the conspiracy of idiots, Mike.

    1. Le Pen, Trump, the rise of the ugly far right here, there and everywhere…it’s all going horribly wrong…not a living important (in the global plan of things) soul seems aware of either/or this and the lessons of history.

  2. soul-searchingly provocative and disturbing – you paint this ancillary vignette of “la Represión Franquista” with powerful colors – a bravura performance, my friend

    1. ‘Amazing, mighty’ I’ll take that! Mind you Ms S, Svetlana says the same thing to me often, although she tends to add twat thus ruining what would be a trilogy of word praise! Story of my life.

      1. She calls me much worse things… unrepeatable. Did you ever watch that regular Harry Enfield skit here he visits a café run by a Polish beauty who is sometimes kind toward him; other times most rude? He gets most confused, especially so as he fancies her something chronic. Well, just half an hour ago, the sweet Polish gal at one place I frequent had dropped her usual come hither smile and replaced it with a foul, bugger off scowl. Rather made Shirl laugh when I told her.

      1. I once decided to count to a billion figuring the 32 years thing was just an exaggerated estimate. I think I made it to 3,999 before getting bored.

  3. The entire story was magnificent, playing catch-up with your site today. Have a great week. Ann

      1. Truly, you have helped. I’ve been on re these last few days, when leaving home is illogical, so old. I have expanded the roll of my albino gal within the body of the book and even have a summarized version to blog. 1,000 words is dangerous when blogging, but I think I will give the gal another outing. And you, after all, are the expert teacher in such matters.

      2. (blushes) Gosh, I’m no expert, but I do so love to read, especially when I’m tied to the homestead by grubby little hands. When did Biff and Bash learn sailing knots?!

      3. Small people are born with full knowledge of maritime knots…every one knows that! Seriously, I think for the first time in several centuries, I am on a roll. Enjoy your day, mine is shortly dead and buried.

  4. Look how life can change in a blink of an eye. You are in the middle of counting to a billion, every little bit of your existence is planned ahead, and then a chain of mundane events sends it spinning in another direction.
    Love the ant part. You are wise and kind.

    1. This was an odd one Inese. So very odd…a coldest winter odd. I blame it on this Raynaud’s Phenomenon that keeps me housebound on coldest days…too much time to think, no time to act.

      1. You are very clever, for this is a cut down extract from the thing I’ve been writing since last May. I have a new book of poetry ready to go, yet I want one book of surreal fiction written before I die.

      2. Is this a part of the novel about the spy gal or it is a different one? The ants made me think that there is a bigger story behind that prison guard.

      3. All part of the same thing. It’s a play on time and events written in the first person and as the spine of the ‘book’ ate the alpha gals he meets during the currency of his covert activities in days of yore.

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