The room is full of flies. One zips across me, then another, and I can hear the drone of many more inside of the bathroom. I don’t know where they are coming from, they’re all over the room. I kill a thousand a day. I walk toward the bathroom and throw open the door and there is this great black mass, forty thousand of them, and I spray fly-killer into it until the death fumes burn my eyes and nose.
The men sat around the large table in the dining room of the abandoned mansion. They were thirteen in total, all of them stinking and wasted. They picked at the game meat with their knives and fingers, then wiping them on their filthy rags. Their hats lay on the table beside them like miniature dome monoliths.
Nobody could explain where the lights had arrived from, it all passed so quickly, but those that had the opportunity to speculate, they said they were something deriving from some alien place, a type of counterfeit prophet sent in one final deception of mankind.
We would start at dawn and finish in the middle afternoon. We would pick the apples and the pears and you would yank at the apples and the pears trying for the ripe ones only. It was cold in the mornings. We were tired and we were thousands of miles from home in a foreign country and we only worked for lodging and a very small salary.
In that golden glow of early Saturday morning light he stares into her eyes, dark, dark blue like a moody sky, they remind him of that lyric in that Guns n’Roses song, and her narrow face framed by hair yellow as fire. Her milk-white skin still unblemished, no pimples or scars; her nose is in perfect harmony and proportion with the rest of her face, and the two pink rose leaf lips, he imagines they taste of strawberry.
He stands naked in front of the tall mirror, the kitchen scissors in one hand, his testicles held gently in the other.
I remember it very well. I was four years old. I had gotten bored of waiting for my parents as they leafed through second-hand books in one of the marquee tents and had wandered off. This was when the book festival was still very much in its infancy, housed in just a couple of marquees by the river, before the throngs of people and the shuttle buses and national sponsors and fields full of cars.
I’m not really a man for pictures; I’m a man for words. Please don’t get the idea I don’t like photographs, I love them, what I mean to say is that I’m not a photographer. So I tend to lump all of the photographs that I take together in one single folder and leave them there without ever reviewing them, mostly out of laziness. People ask me: when are you going to post some pictures online? And I tell them, soon, soon.
But I do look at some pictures again on a computer screen, after the event, perhaps for a blog or because a place is particularly interesting, and that was when I first noticed it.