Sunday, September 6, 2009

page 205 of Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes

having out at Chiswick, and although she sounded raving to me over the blower, she said she'd be right along. I even, as well, thought of trying Suze and Henley at the Cookham place and in the London showrooms, but I skipped it. Of course I tried Wiz, but only got the dialling tone - not even Wiz's woman.

But even with the cats who dug it best, the great difficulty I had was in getting over what was happening: I mean, the scale of it, how serious,and that this was supposed to be the British Isles. Because even though most of them had heard something of it by now, there seemed to be a sort of conspiracy in the air to pretend what was happening in Napoli, wasn't happening: or, if it was, it somehow didn't signify at all.

I shot off after this up to my penthouse, to wash off the mud and blood, and have a lay down for a moment, and a bite. And while I was doing to, there was a little knock, and in on me walked the Fabulous Hoplite. He was looking a bit diminuendo, and smiled rather nervously, and was wearing a beach-gown and his Sardinian slippers.

'My!' he said. 'What times we live in!'

'Sit down, beautiful. You can say that again.'

'You've been bruised, child,' he said, trying to grope my tribal scars.

'Hands off the model, Hop,' I told him. 'How have things been with you?'

The Hoplite got up, spun round so that the beach-gown did a Royal Ballet thing, and sat down again and said, 'Oh, no complaints...But I don't like all this.'

'Who does?'

'Somebody must,' he said, 'or it wouldn't happen.'

'Clever boy. You been out at all?'

He let the gown fall open to reveal his pectorals. 'Once was enough,' he said. 'A glimpse, and I was in again.'

'Wise child.'

I suppose you've been out fighting battles!' His eyes gleamed.

'The battles fought me.'

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