Thursday, May 10, 2012

Karamba



   Sean woke to the sound of a brilliant church bell. He had been asleep for nearly ten hours. He had been hungry before he slept and now he was starving. Mrs. Robinson had seen to it that his kitchenette was loaded with food: fruit, bread, various sliced meats, dairy products, dried soup mixes and, oddly, a six-pack of Pepsi Max. As he ate, he took out his phone and pulled up the images of Billy that the crew back in Seattle had uncovered. It was Billy all right, sitting in some kind of cafe or coffee house wearing a traditional Icelandic sweater. There was a sign on the wall written in Icelandic. The picture had been posted the week before. A woman with a severe blond hairdo was looking straight into the camera. The picture was captioned Helgi, Billy, Þora og Moi. French? Or just an affectation? Sean closed his phone and headed out. It was colder that it looked. Mrs. Robinson was right again; Sean realized that he should have brought a sweater. His windbreaker did help some, but he soon realized that he needed something more substantial. Across the street from a small square that was inhabited by skateboarders, he found a tourist shop selling handknits.

   “Perhaps Billy had bought his here,” Sean thought. One of them looked to have the same pattern as Billy’s. “Maybe they’re the same all over the country?” he thought, “When in Iceland, do as the Icelanders do?”  He bought it.

   Wandering the streets, Sean began to search for the funky bistro that was in the photo. Most of the places he walked by were swank, certainly nothing like the places he and Billy used to frequent in college. As he went up the main drag the places became more inviting. Number 22 looked funky enough. He went in and quickly saw that it was the same place as the one shown in the photo. It was still fairly early. The bar was nearly deserted. Sean walked up to the bar. The bartender nodded when he saw him.

   "Tuborg, já?"

   It was what Billy always used to drink. Then it dawned on Sean. The bartender thought that Sean was Billy. The sweater must have cinched it.

   “Yeah, thanks,” said Sean, slipping into the Billy-impersonator role he had used so often in college.

   “You looking for Silu, já?” said the barkeep,  “She’s mad at you.”

   “I know,” said Sean, acting as if he knew all about it.

   “She doesn’t like it when you flirt with her and then leave with her sister.”

   “Sometimes things happen,” Sean replied. It was one of Billy’s lines. Billy had always said it with an innocent smile. “Do you think she may be back tonight?”

   “Time will tell. Silu does what she wants. Listen to these words I say. You may be a big shot in the States but here, here you are just another tourist. Every day, all year long, they will come but they will always go. Every Icelander knows this. Some of the women, they think you might be the ticket to get them off the rock, but not Silu. She doesn’t need you. Þora, Þora is the one who thinks she needs you.”

   “Thanks for the warning.”

   Sean sat down in a corner and pulled out his phone to study the picture of Billy, Silu and Þora. It had been put through some cheesy filter to make it look blurry. Sean’s hair was long enough to pass for Billy’s and if he combed it down and over his forehead a little Sean knew that he could still pass for him. Neither Billy nor Sean had put on much weight since college. As Sean finished his beer, a DJ was setting up in the corner.

   He headed out into the night.




Fiction

By Professor Batty