It was just gone 4.00 when he gently arose into the pleasantly yellowing half light of the afternoon- below the mouldering colonial balcony window of his apartment he could just make out the “mock” quarrelsome voices of Jose Henrique and his perennial side-kick, Pacho “the patch” Fernadez outside the café “La Torreta.” Who knows what they’re talking about, those two ancient Senors, he thought…until he heard the familiar crash of the cafe shutter hit the pavement with considerable force, then more voices, a bit less audible this time, keys being fumbled with, locks being turned, the usual … he thought, the second always a bit slower to turn because of the rust, more exclamations, then finally success! Laughter, the rich waft of a cigarette just lit, listening half-absently until the two Senors’ melodious voices became more and more distant as they rambled on down the street, towards their homes for a few hours of rest. It was now official he thought, Antofagasta was having its daily siesta, who needs the boring precision of clocks, when you have immutable characters like that, and, yet his whole professional life was nothing more than a titanic wresting and balancing of calculations and mappings, of measurements and predictions from a force, whose nature, could only ever really be grasped, he often thought, in those unguarded moments when you where looking elsewhere, when the illusive original answer would become apparent, like some girl you chased in your dreams for years, only, for her to finally accept you, but in a totally different context ... ! And we all know that never really works out ... !
Perhaps, Perhaps, he thought the Cosmos does have sense of humour after all, and maybe there is something of Don Quixote’s jousting at windmills in at our all endeavours….but what else could I have done with my life? … he mused, no point in "what ifs" now. “Yes, I need a coffee, a large one at that, to hell with my blood pressure, besides the antioxidants cancel that out, they say, whoever they be!” he mumbled quietly to himself.
4.17 and all the pretty little streets lay quiet and deserted, save for the regular hum of the local police chief’s diesel patrol which had to do the rounds through the city, even during the siesta, just in case, there was an Earthquake when everyone was asleep, and apart from the red, white and blue bunting flapping in the ocean’s breeze for independence day, nothing else much stirred. There was relative peace in such moments, moments to muse upon the previous night’s work just gone, and, what lay ahead next evening, as he snipped the coffee, not too hot, not too cool, just right he though as he surveyed the empty city street from his balcony; the Sun disappeared westward towards the Pacific. Yet, despite the peace, his head hurt in some inexplicable way, as he continued pondering more of the data he had taken from the previous night, the thoughts of that peculiar dream, with its uncanny emblems, also seemed to undercut, in discrete fragments, elements of what he was trying to comprehend ... until his musings were broken abruptly by the phone.
“Bob, I hope you're up and decent.”
“Well, I’m up, acclimatising Boris, before yet another night of fun and games.”
“Fun and Games, you're right on the money there, Comrade!”
“Why what’s up, wait …. don’t tell me, Boris, I know you’ve finally been recalled to Russia, as they’ve decided that you would be an excellent person to send up to the International Space-station, I always knew they’d find a spot for you.”
“Haha, very funny Saint Anthony, anyway, listen my friend, myself and Doctor Appledon went through some of the data you gave us this morning before you left … and we spend the day, checking and rechecking the stuff, and to be honest, we’ve come across, what might one call them, ah yes, 'anomalies' in your data.”
“What do you mean 'anomalies'?”
“Bob, it’s simply better that you get your 'ass' as they say in America back here asap, I mean you have too see it for yourself, the data is just so strange, that if it were true, well it would mean ...”
“Boris, old comrade you’re beginning to unnerve me, ever so little!”
“Listen, I’m not messing for once, myself and Liz have said nothing to anyone else here.”
“O.K, O.K I believe you, give me an hour and I’ll be there.”
The phone shut off abruptly, what the hell, he thought, as the relative peace of the afternoon lingered on, beyond the balcony, he snipped the coffee once more, almost cold, pondering what it all could mean …smiling, thinking that the crazy Russian really was as “mad” as himself, but, Liz, no, she was sane and serious to the core, so perhaps there was something to it, he thought as he gulped down the last remnants of the cold, treacle like coffee.