Sunday 24 March 2013
As I reach Sex Shop Monica pops out of the doorway and blocks my way. Strong smell of Brut aftershave. She is holding two things: a rubber tube with a nozzle in her left hand and a paper bag in her right.
Mister Fielding! I got something for you.
There was a kid from the post office just ten minutes ago...
Yeah. He asked if there was a Brit with a silly eight-ball trilby staying here by the name of Jack F. Said he had a special delivery for him.
What did you say?
I said you're staying here but I quite liked your hat.
Thank you. I point to the rubber tube. Please don't tell me that's it.
No, no, she says, this is...
Trembling, I take the paper bag and pluck out the contents - another postcard. I hold it up. There's a picture of what looks like a Bangkok streetscene. Judging by the traffic and the BOAC sign I'd put it some time in the fifties. Love those guys pedalling their rickshaws (big nod to them in Zen City, actually). I flip the postcard and scan the Hungarian's crabby writing. It's Diogenes telling me I've got to get back to Budapest again.
What's the matter, Jack? Why are biting your lip like that? Jack?
I push my hat back. Have you ever thought you'd lost something really, really important, I say. Then - just when you thought you'd finally comes to terms with the terrible loss of it - it finally shows up agan?
No, can't say I have.
Oh. Well that's what has just happened to me.
Sounds like a ghost from the past.
You don't sound too happy about this ghost, Jack.
But I don't answer. Instead I go into my apartment and start shoving all my things into my canvas holdall. OK, OK. I've got the message, my friend. Back to the Big B.
Got a host of ghosts to meet.