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Sol y sombre

23 Sep 2001

With the two glasses of spirit he had poured at the bar, Oliverio Paio picked his way across the tiled floor, swinging his tapered legs to place one shiny shoe in front of the other. He was shaped like a pinstriped balloon, head perched with its pointed beard, on the flat of the balloon's top. A big man, he was nonetheless not flabby, but solid; not even muscle, just taut flesh.

He went thataway

21 Sep 2001

Jon remembered little of that morning's conversation with Dr Harris. As his hangover swelled within him, his attention span for incidentals had dispersed like a mist. Thankfully, ingrained behaviour had forced him to memorize every last detail of the dossier Harris had presented him with, in the doctor's office.

Seek him in the valley

20 Sep 2001

A scrabble of feet, a rattle of stones that spill down the path like bleached old bones. More care was needed. With the spine of the hills behind him, the downward journey began with the steepest slopes yet, and the road surface had long since dissolved into a mess of aggregate.

Make it to the bus stop

19 Sep 2001

Slowly, dully, Jon put on his other sock, all attention absorbed in manoeuvring it over his heel. Hands on his knees, then elbows pointed forwards, as if about to stand up. There was a pause, a long pause, too long. The radio-alarm clock clicked on once more and blared noise, rousing him again. This time it pushed him with its nonsense to the sink, where he stared at his barely-bearded face.

Spanish dust

17 Sep 2001

He kicked up the soil that sprawled, lifeless and brick-red, over the tarmac from the scrub that bordered the fields. It billowed behind him like an infernal smoke, clung to his shoes and tried to suck moisture out of the leather, to crack and ruin the polish. The sun, stupefied by its own heat, continued to press down on the landscape, squeezing out complication from Mr. Barnaby's head.