LAMOUX THE FINAL CHAPTER

ESTELLA

The best feeling in the world is when you steal something without malice and just for a laugh. I was shown something. A manuscript. About an old love of mine called Alexander. It was of his final days. Timpaux my lodger showed me. It was apparently given to him by one of the Rosemary boys. I read it. I recognized the words. I gazed at the story. It was mine. I had written it many years ago. When the world was fantastic and the flowers would bloom when I would smile. I read it and I threw it on the fire. I knew what I had to do. I went to the park with an old bag of mine full of grand old dresses that I used to wear. I went to the park it was very early in the morning and the men with the Hot Air Balloons were setting up getting ready for their dawn flights. I had my pistol. I merely walked up to one that was closest to leaving and told him to get out. I let rip on the gas. Let rip on a scream and I felt my sense of adventure grasp me for the first time in many years. I did not know where I would go. I did not know where the storm clouds would take me or if I would fly to close to the sun. But Saint Gideon had granted me wings and I was going to use them. I would leave this city. I would leave Lamoux. And reclaim my youth.

HONDURAS

I have taken a friend beneath my arm. Bernard. He is a poet and from the Rue d’Bloome. We are to become sailors aboard the Turkish captain’s ship. Both of us leaving the shores of Lamoux for the Mediterranean. There is no telling what may happen to us but for the first time I am facing the future with my head high and unashamedly. Cam, the captain, merely wanted a copy of the manuscript outlining the story of Iskander which we managed to give to him and we set off on our new adventure into the future shortly. The future, not wasted, not hopeless, not alone. I am not sorry to leave Lamoux, the streets here are now owned by a new breed of lovers. The pavements are walked by a new breed of poets. I may return. When I am an old man. When I want to walk through the memories of my youth and pay homage to the city that inspired so many dreams and broke many more. Bernard the poet is itching to leave. He is forever chewing his pistachios and maybe one day he too will follow the trail of shells back toward Lamoux, back to the city of the Roman Lighthouse to hide a manuscript of poems in its Library or to listen to the summer symphonies once more. Yet now there is no point in thinking of such things. We are leaving. Riding the waves for foreign shores to linger in breezes in which we have never lingered before. We will make the new legends and have strangers write great manuscripts of us. Love makes great adventurers of us all.

GARFLOUGH

Thank the Saint! My mother who had turned me over to my father in his church could never have foreseen the destiny that she has handed me. I was told by my Mother that a career in the church was more than any boy could ask. A career in the church was better than selling cigars in the Café Babel. I looked at her as she begged me never to begrudge her. I said farewell. I walked away from her my heart aching and my father Malugain standing there. It was he and I. As soon as my Mother left he grabbed me and demanded to know if I had any money. I told him not. He then grabbed me by the arm and marched me out the back of the church telling me I was not to go down the cellars and I was only allowed a foxhole of a room that stunk of illness and up on the bell tower. He then left me on the bell tower. Locking me up there. I looked over the edge down onto the streets of Lamoux and into the old cemetery. I was hoping Annette would be there dancing. She wasn’t it was a very quiet day in Lamoux. I prayed to the Saint for wings. I fell toward the stone floor and wept myself to sleep. I awoke to an amazing sight. The Church was clearly on fire with huge flames licking the sides and smoke coming up through the trapdoor the leads to the giant bell. I was trapped and could not contain my coughs with tears reeling down my face. The whole night was lit by the massive flames. I thought I heard screams down below the trapdoor and someone running up. It was my father. I locked the trapdoor from my side. He started swearing at me and ripping at the wood. I swore back at him. I then started looking around the edge of the wall. I would have to try and climb down. There was no way down. The smoke was making me sleepy and light headed. I felt something on my shoulder. At first I thought a wing had sprung. I turned around it was a rope. A hot air balloon was appearing through the smoke. I grabbed the rope and snaked my way up to the basket just as my father broke through the trapdoor. I looked at my savior. It was an old woman with a beautiful dress on and pearls around her neck. I asked her if she was Saint Gideon. She said no. She was Saint Estella. She asked me if I have ever wanted wings because I was about to learn to fly. Then she frowned and asked if I would like to be taken down. I looked at her and smiled and I shook my head. Finally my prayers have been answered. We floated over the church and over Lamoux and we heard the most astonishing noise as the bell fell from its tower and through the church to the ground marking the end of the church of Lamoux.

FLEUR

My love he is lost. We snuck into the great church. We found that bastard Malugain counting his gold pieces by the devil’s candlelight. A great fight ensued. My love he gripped Malugain’s head so tight that his eyeball actually popped from its socket. Yet Malugain was too strong. Too big. His will to live was too much. He just would not die. I crept up and stabbed that bastard right in the gut. He turned pulled out the blade and drove it into my love. He rolled on the floor and looked into space. So serenely. Malugain looked down at him. He smiled and told him that it was just another poor soul off the streets. I ran at him screaming but he merely drove his fist into my face and I fell on the floor. I came to. He was back at the table counting his gold as if nothing had happened. I stood up and found a big candlestick I quietly swung it over my head but rethought my actions. I quietly walked backwards out of the room and made my way up the stairs. I locked the door that lead out into the main chapel there was no way to go but up to the bell tower. I then doused the whole of the church in oil and threw a candle on it. I ran out of that church of hell laughing. The light that shone through the lead-light windows was a miracle unto itself and then I fled. Out the gate into the old cemetery, into the streets of Lamoux and before going to my home I went to the Café Taffe. I ate the biggest most delicious plate of spaghetti. I sat in silence for my love and had a glass of wine for him. I then made my way through the night to my home and sat by the fire. I finally fell asleep only waking when the sound of the bell finally fell and hit the ground with the most satisfying sound I have ever heard.

TRABEQUE

I finally found my dancer. Annette. Under strange circumstances. It appears I have become her guardian and the man from the church, the seventh son has decided he too must have her at any cost. We stayed the night at my house and he slept out in the old cemetery. This morning at dawn he started yelling. Begging her to come out and dance with him. That God was sending them a message I went out to my balcony and saw an amazing sight. The old church was in flames and a hot air balloon was hovering over the bell tower as a boy climbed to safety. The Seventh Son looked up at me and told me he was going to kill me. He was standing beneath an old elm looking at me with a strange intense look. I thought there was someone else moving through the cemetery but it appeared it was just him. I yelled down to him that Annette did not know him and did not want to talk to him. I could feel the heat from the church and hoped to the horizon of heaven that there was no one else inside. He told me they were meant for each other. That it was God’s will and that if I got in the way of God’s work he would make sure my throat was cut. I quickly got Annette and decided to take her to a friend of mine. The man was not in control of himself, standing in the heat of a burning church. Fires in Lamoux have been known to spread also. I would take her to The soap lady, Lorna, She has always been friendly to me and has often helped me in times of need. I thought maybe Annette could stay there while this seventh son reclaimed his senses. We escaped out the back but he must have heard us as he was soon following us. We ran though the streets and up the alleys. I was glad that we both knew the ins and outs of the physical map of Lamoux. We seemed to have lost him or at least gained some time. We ran down the Rue d’Bloome. Past the usual crowd who were all out on the street now pointing and staring up at the sky. Up at the glow where the flames of the church fire were licking and lighting the sky. We ran into the Café Babel. He must have lost us in the crowd. Gloriette was standing in the bar watching the sky. Crying. I told her what I had seen. She seemed to recover at once and smiled. And poured us both a drink. Telling us her son Garflough was always and will always be a survivor. We finished our drinks and grabbed a bottle of gin. We took it back stage and made a makeshift from an old curtain and costumes. We drank the gin and fell asleep. We awoke late morning to smashing glass, it was him again. Breaking the window panes in the door. We ran out the back but he saw us and he was soon following us once again. We ran down the street the Rosemary hitting our ankles as we ran. We ran through towards the Soap Lady’s house down by the River Inkon. I knocked on the door of the Soap Lady but there was no answer. Nor was there anytime. I turned around and he was coming at us. Knife drawn. Annette grabbed my hand and we ran down the road towards the Inkon’s bank. We got to the river and Annette turned. This man was walking towards us. She walked up to him and asked him his name it was Jean. She asked him if he would like her to dance. He didn’t seem shocked by this question at all, he merely said yes. Annette started to dance, started to twirl and kick her legs as she does so well. I moved around and crept behind him as he watched his mouth open. His excitement showing. I ran up and grabbed him he yelled and I pushed him straight into the fast flowing waters of the Inkon. He grabbled with the wind around him. Trying to get a hold of something but the waters took him further out and eventually down. Annette looked at me and smiled. And she kissed me. Then we looked up as the most beautiful scent over came the whole of the city. It was as if all the flowers had bloomed in that one instant. We couldn’t understand it. Yet with our kiss and with this smell that was getting stronger and stronger all of a sudden I felt as happy as I ever had and with another small kiss we walked arm in arm back towards the Rue d’Bloome where we would go for a large plate of Spaghetti to share and maybe I would sing a song for her to dance to.

LORNA

I watched from my window. An amazing event unfolded. It was like watching the very instant that summer appeared in a wave of heat and greenery. The Moth, Augustus. He had been up since the early morning. Ever since the Bell from the church awoke the whole of Lamoux when it fell during the fire that has destroyed the church of Lamoux and apparently both of our Padres. Walking up and down the stairs, the Moth had been loading boxes of delicious smelling packages, wrapped in brown paper onto a cart that stood like a patient friend on the side of the street. I knew what was in the packages. I recognized the smell as soon as I heard him shuffling down the stairs. I knew where they were made. When they were made. Some I had not smelt in many, many years. I watched as he filled this cart full of my soap. He must have been collecting each bar. Since the first day he walked into my apartment when we were both in the palms of youth and bought that first bar. I watched with great interest. For myself, I have stopped making my soaps. I feel it is time to stop such things. The people of Lamoux are changing. And I want my rest. It seemed the Moth had finished loading his cart. It looked as though the wheels would break under so much soap. I wondered how much was there. I wondered what it was worth. All this time he would merely tell me his name for a bar. Yet he would never use it. He sat down and grabbed the horse’s reigns. He lit a cigarette and looked straight at me in the window. I ran down to him and his cart. On the street it was a beautiful day. Quiet. Bright. I looked up at him and asked him what he was doing. He told me he was going for a picnic by the river and would love me to join. He grabbed me by the hand and we drove his cart to the point in the Inkon River where it drops over a levy. The whole way we were silent lost in the delicious scent that we trailed behind us. We stopped at the levy. A narrow part of the river that is popular with fisherman and lovers as the falling of the water over the artificial wall causes a small waterfall. Augustus told me to sit by the cart as he unloaded it. He carried all of my soap and built a wall of it on the banks of the Inkon. He was heaving and groaning so I stood up and helped him. By the time we were finished it stood high and wide. He then looked at me and smiled. He ripped all the brown paper from the packages. In doing so the most extraordinary smell unleashed itself across the open air. We both breathed in. He looked at me and leant against the wall of soap. He heaved against it. The wall wavered yet it stood its ground. He looked up at it squinting against the sun. He ran at it. It rocked gently. He heaved again. I walked up and pushed at it. We watched as it leant forward. Time seemed to stand so silent and so still. The world froze. And it was then the wall of soap fell into the bubbling and frothing waters of the levy of the Inkon. He looked at me and smiled telling me that if that soap doesn’t wash Lamoux clean, nothing will. I laughed and went back to the cart to unpack the picnic as the most beautiful, grandest, fantastic mountain of froth and bubbles started to spread out across the river’s breadth. We sat on the bank in the sunshine watching it, breathing in the scent. Drinking champagne and laughing. He looked at me and he then said that his name was Caesar.

This is how I shall always remember Lamoux. Sitting by the river in the sunshine with love on the mind and the scent of flowers being blown on the breeze. Lamoux may change but the lovers never will. The lovers will keep the Lighthouse lit to guide in all the lost and weary. To brighten the nights on the Rue d’Bloome, To show the artists where to drink, the poets where to laugh and the lover’s where to love. Lamoux will always be Lamoux so long as there are the lovers. For good, for bad, forever.

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~ by yesknow on September 15, 2010.

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