Friday, February 06, 2009


So there lay Colonel Dudz, on a white metal cot with a white bed sheet and no blanket. The sun filtered through the blinds and the white tiles shone like mercury sticking off glass tubes, or something like it, but Colonel Dudz did not know or care. In his kingdom called the Head, he was the head and everyone his slave, embalmed in lymph and blood clots. 

He remembered nothing of his previous life, not his wife or his three sons and one dead daughter in Congo. He did remember a certain Mister Billiard, for he sat beside his bed every day from eleven to noon and left after graciously eating the Colonel's orange marmalade from a plastic cup. The Colonel liked his margarine better just as they once made some from alligator fat stirred by wooden ladles which were just bones of men found floating. The Colonel was the last one to remember this atrocious recipe which was all but lost, save for an old diary his wife discovered in their wooden mansion below the snow capped Andean mountains.

23rd June, 1943

The sun is melting, not my crew for there is none left. I wrapped the last of them in a dried reptile's skin and set him afloat to sink. I have reached river so thick and the forest so sparse that a world of simians and amphibians has given way to mermen and wise sages in blue green depths of maybe my mind or my soul, I couldn't tell. There is a way to return ofcourse. There is wood to be found and boilers to be fed, but I'd rather drift through the thick river and find myself upon the ocean, than return. The sea is not far away. I can feel the salt coat my skin and my hair stick to my very brains. There isn't any margarine left, but that is not a worry, it's the ergot that we lost three months ago that bothers my insides. 

Billiard had read the seven hundred and twenty six pages thrice over, while he smoked the Colonel's pipe, the Colonel no longer remembers he had. The disappointment this last page followed by blank ones evoked has robbed Mister Billiard of his smile and solutions he had thought of. The Colonel had to be revived, but there was no alligator fat or ergot residue to be found in the Asylum of Holy Benevolence. The answer was in the weathered diary that smelt of a new fragrance every day, from swamps to smouldering marshes, mountain gorillas to water snakes, morphine to melting snow, and Billiard missed it all. 

It was fifteen past noon. Billiard got up, put the diary in a white metal drawer and left without a farewell to the Colonel busy staring at his own feet. But there were none, eaten decades ago by a snapping alligator's jaw, digested and excreted in the thicket of a river that met the sea and then the ocean on moonless nights, while mermaids sang melancholy songs and the waves beat on ancient reefs buried with the weight of a million plankton and seasick sailors.