Κυριακή, 1 Ιουλίου 2018

THE FOUR LANTERNS - NOT IN THE MAP

Jenevier had a worry since he woke up. He put on his soua schovaz off white suit and combed his grey hair. He drank his coffee from wild rice in a hurry and put a few drops of perfume on his neck. Ηe left his phosphorescent cat, Madlen, sleeping on the couch and took a deep breath. He wore his sunglasses and locked the door. He walked to Brenanson’s main road and started mumbling the schedule of the day. 
“Today is Sunday, at ten o clock the Gerard family is expected for their daughter’s wedding, everything is ready for the ceremony at the gardens and the reception in the central hall, the bouquets for the decoration will be sent at five past three from the orange trees at the borders. The Sunday press will be already distributed to the rooms except for young Claude’s newspaper with the birds’ sounds that help him with his insomnia at room 333. The Debrizes are leaving at noon and I must have their bill ready with a small bottle of iridescent garden leaves for which the elderly wife was so fond of.”
He walked and mumbled with all the tasks of the day that made him cheerful. He was a man of habit and of strict deadlines. His day was full by meeting other people’s needs. He found meaning in all this. In his effort to satisfy others and to be considered irreplaceable in the hotel’s operation, he believed that he had no time or energy left for his own life after work. The hotel had become his life and in this way he had the excuse for his own unfinished personal business. He generously gave his remaining energy to his kitty who had grown old with him as well and was the perfect frugal and independent companion.
He turned down Driselier Street and stood still. The shops were still closed. How could that be? Usually at this time of the day there were crowds outside the baker’s, the butcher and the dairy shop. The smell of the bread and the fresh cream with butter was stimulating. Cyclists, mums and forgotten divers of the previous night held their baguettes and created a busy hive. “Strange” he thought and reached the end of the road. He looked down. The manhole that he lifted to get to the hotel simply was not there. He looked down at the street again. He was at the right spot. But it was not possible. He took the same road every single day. Even with his eyes closed he would raise the right manhole to go down the thirteen steps and get to the hotel’s rooftop oasis that comforted him every day. 
Unless it was a joke of bad taste, and he could not think who could have started it, he was unable to figure out what had gone wrong. He looked around. Yes, he was at the Driselier street intersection, the most central street in Brenanson. He was at the right spot, at the right time and yet everything looked so wrong. There was not a single man to ask what was going on, even though he had not heard anything on the news on the underwater radio he used to listen to for a while before he left for the hotel. He went back to the beginning of the street and he looked at the sign of the building at the corner. The sign said “Driselier Street” in calligraphy. He went back to where the manhole was. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Again. Jenevier looked at his watch. Half an hour had passed. He was trying to solve a puzzle for half an hour that had begun to get on his nerves and he was still at zero point. Tired as he was, he sat at the edge of the pavement.
“How strange” he said and took a deep breath. He looked at the sky that had already gathered the first grey clouds. A black cat slowly moved towards him. She rubbed on his feet looking for his caresses.

“Am I the first you meet as well, my little one? Where did they all go?” he asked her as he caressed her soft body. She lifted her tail up and left meowing. 

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