Books Magazine

Crossing Water

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Although he feels he's in a play, he is anyway (to misquote Paul McCartney)....
She: "You are going on a long journey."
I: "Not aboard the Trans-Pennine Express, I hope."
She: "I see trains and boats and planes."
I: "Burt Bacharach!"
She: "Who's he?"
I: "A tall, dark, handsome arranger."
She: "You're making fun of me."
I: "Sorry. Carry on, Oracle."
She: "I see you crossing water."
I: "Good. Now we're getting somewhere."
She: "Yes, you are in a boat."
I: "What kind of boat?"
She: "I cannot name it to you."
I: "Oh, but this is important. Please concentrate."
She: "It is a medium-sized boat."
I: "Like a yacht? Or a ferry? Does it have sails?"
She: "These things I cannot divulge."
I: "Am I alone or accompanied?"
She: "You are not alone."
I: "Who am I with in this medium-sized boat?"
She: "That I cannot tell."
I: "But, come on. You're the Oracle."
She: "Sir, I cannot tell if you are with any of the beautiful women, or either of the men wearing trench-coats and hats although it is the middle of summer. Perhaps you are with the goats. Or maybe you are simply in company but unaccompanied."
I: "There are goats?"
She: "Indeed. Several goats."
I: "What color are the goats?"
She: "That I cannot tell, but they smell."
I: "You can't say what color they are, but you can smell them?"
She: "That is correct. I am colour-blind, a quirk of birth, but I am not anosmic. The goats are dark."
I: "Okay, we're getting off the point here. Where am I going in this medium-sized boat with beautiful women, men in trench-coats and smelly, dark goats? Please don't tell me you cannot say!"
She: "On the contrary. I see you heading towards a very beautiful island."
I: "Excellent. Please describe this island to me, in monochrome if needs be."
She: "You're making fun of me again."
I: "No, honestly, I didn't mean it like that. You are a very sensitive Oracle!"
She: "I have to be, to do what I do. It is a blessing and a curse."
I: "I understand. Please proceed."
She: "I see a sandy shore."
I: "There's always something there to remind me."
She: "Remind you of what?"
I: "It's a Burt Bacharach song that Sandie Shaw had a big hit with."
She: "I've no idea what you're talking about."
I: "Apologies. This island - kindly continue."
She: "I see an olive grove and there are goats in the trees."
I: "Do you mean among the trees?"
She: "No, I mean literally up in the branches, munching on the leaves."
I: "I knew it. It must be a Greek island. We're crossing water from one Greek island to another."
She: "If you say so, Sir. I see a harbor with many little boats tied up, and pale houses on a hillside and women working hard in the fields and men sitting in cafes doing absolutely nothing."
I: "Yes, that's definitely Greece."
She: "I also see a cove. Wait, no. Not simply a cove - he's a tall, dark, handsome arranger and he's come down to the harbor to greet you as you arrive, helping you all out of the medium-sized boat, the beautiful women first, then the goats and the men in trench-coats and lastly yourself and he's speaking to you all as you step ashore."

I: "This is most fascinating. I don't suppose you can tell me what he's saying?"
She: "Oh yes, his voice is very clear. He's saying to everyone: 'Welcome to Hades'."
Crossing Water
I hope you enjoyed that mythological spoof of the journey to the afterlife. Greece does actually beckon; Paros, to be precise, pictured above. It's time to try and extend summer and I'm feeling de-mob happy (you'd noticed), so I leave you with this ATOL-exempted cautionary tale, latest playful product of the imaginarium:
Package Holiday
The card on the doormat advised: Missed you,
so sorry - package left at number 92.
I rang the bell of my neighbours from hell
and waited, though hardly with bated breath
for I thought I knew what to expect.
Mavis came to the door in a floral bikini
which barely contained her generous figure.
Suppressing a snigger, I showed her the card
which she read with a sigh, as though bored,
and then beckoned me in through the hall.
She had sand on her feet, a little strange,
but all was explained when we stood in the lounge.
They'd knocked out a wall to make one big room
for the loud, drunken parties they held every Friday
and to which Pippa and I were never invited.
There stood the box that I'd come to collect
but its side was ripped off and its contents gone.
I bent down and picked up the packing slip
on which was itemised as follows:
one plastic groundsheet tray
12 feet by 12 feet with Velcro edging,
one large bag of fine white sand to cover same,
one sun lamp with lead, plug and two spare bulbs,
one inflatable palm tree with weighted stand,
one compact disc of soothing sea sounds,
two colourful Egyptian cotton beach towels,
two pairs of sun-glasses, one cooler bag,
one holiday romance, two bats, one ball.
Call 1-700-collect if any component is missing.
There was also a postcard card which said:
Do away with travel worries and delays,
enjoy a stress-free break at home instead.
Thank you for purchasing this package holiday.
Enjoy! Courtesy of the Funky Fun Company.
I stared in utter disbelief at the mis-en-scene
playing out in the middle of the floor.
Ron, a scrawny young man in Bermuda shorts,
lay sprawled on my towel, on my square of beach,
tanning himself with my lamp, cold beer to hand,
while he ogled the centrefold of a girlie mag,
lulled by the boom of my surf sounds and gulls.
Mavis hovered, uncertain about resuming
her place on my other towel, on which reposed
the trashy novel, sunglasses and a dry martini.
Ron's unscrupulous ways and shameless leer
filled my head with apocalyptic thoughts
of visiting shock and awe right then, right there
on the despicable pair, but I baulked. Discretion
whispered 'Take them to court, use the law'.
With a snort, I kicked sand in his face and walked.
Thanks for reading. I'm off to find the sun! Back (all too) soon y'all, S ;-) Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook

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