Fishing in Beirut

March 29, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 9)

Filed under: Character : Djinn, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 10:31

Djinn was in the supermarket. He held a basket with fruit inside it, and read from a tin. Did he want to eat this or not? He decided to take it, placed it carefully next to apples, and continued. An old woman stepped to one side.
In the second aisle he studied the sauces, tomato and curry and others in jars. He scanned the top shelf for rice. He wanted cereal as well as this, and walked quickly around to locate it. He avoided the brands made from sugar.
When all was bought and he was back on the street, one of his bags burst. Apples rolled drainward bound. He hated himself for his stupidity, feeling undignified scrambling about, and looked up frantically, making sure no one had seen. A little girl smiled from a window. He clenched tight his jaw, furious.
In the apartment he checked the bruising, the apples discoloured and cracked. He binned them in another wave of fury. This country, its weather and people. He ran the tap to wash juice from his fingertips, kneading the joints together to remove the sticky mess. The soap he was using was useless.
He left after lunch again, stalking the streets of the 14th arrondissement. The air was chilly and sharp. On rue Didot he felt a pain in his side, and leaned against a lamppost, gasping. A dog moved out of the way.
He ventured down roads and alleyways, weaving toward the tower he planned one day to hit. That day was so close he could feel it. At last he stood underneath, staring up at the rooms full of lights. There were people in there so oblivious. He watched the traffic on the place alongside, the stopping and starting, and the people in throngs. It was like his own movie. They came towards him, didn’t see him, were replaced by others in an endless urban dance. They were all just the same and all stupid.
He smoked a cigarette and ignored a scavenging beggar. He spat on the ground to dismiss him. Smoke curled around, escaping from Djinn’s mouth, at Montparnasse, in Paris. A woman eyed him malevolently.
There were dark clouds overhead now. It looked certain it would rain. Others sensed this also, scurried to shelter in time, but he didn’t. He waited and then it began. Massive globular drops descended, attacking him, rendering the concrete world a river or reservoir. He stood there impassive and unflinching.
“Monsieur,” someone called out. “Monsieur.” Of course he ignored this completely. Soon all sound was drowned out by the rain, the passing cars and rumbling chatter unheard. He could feel his sensations shutting down. He clenched his fists and gripped his teeth with his tongue, urging feeling to return so he might suffer longer. His elbows involuntarily shook.
Whenever this rain stopped he would stand for another hour. He decided it there and then. Whenever the water ceased and the world again resumed, he would stand one hour more in this place. Society or conscience wouldn’t move him.
He rubbed at his face as the water thundered down, feeling stinging on his cheeks and nothing in his hands. “Monsieur!” he heard again, as from a distance.


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