Did you say phosphorus? Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention, I was distracted by the heat. You must be in love, she says, laughing. I’ve no idea who she is, never seen her before, but I catch a glimpse of teeth and eyes generating more energy than New York City high on the usual mayhem of questionable substances. No, I don’t think so, I say, my guess is that some joker has set fire to my undergarments or I suppose it could be fire ants disturbed by my resting on their nest. Besides, the last time I saw Eros he was stuck in the middle of a roundabout, somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, chained, castrated and blinded – poisoned by pornography – no chance of one of his arrows hitting this human heart anytime soon.
Now you, I say to her, because my some accident, some random circulation of the packed streets, she is still next to me, or maybe we were separated and have been pushed, by some sort of weird action of what some people call fate, back together – not that I would want that together word to be over-interpreted – now you, I pushed as much meaning as possible into that you, you surely are in love, you are . . . but she’s whirled away as the beat of the drums and the heat increase. I have to admit to some moments of darkness that intervene at this point and the next thing I know is that I’m sitting on or more like lying on a horse, the wrong way round – what I mean is I’m facing the wrong way, the rear end, of said horse. A brown horse as far as I remember, though I do believe the mane was a paler, straw colour. Anyway, so here I am, my back resting along the neck of the animal and I’m chatting away and as far as I’m concerned he (or she, as the case may be) understands me perfectly but does not respond with any words of its own.
I don’t know about undercover agents. It all feels too exposed, like there are people here who know way more than I do, though I did manage to borrow a trench coat from this fella who happened to have two, one draped around his shoulders, the other over his arm.
My brother, he addresses me, you need this more than I do, and grinning reveals his rotten teeth and his breath makes me weak at the knees. The name Cain comes to mind but I push it to one side, reasoning that he is right, I need it more than he does.