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Glass 22

The room was filled with small grey monitors and for a small charge one could watch anything that was not illegal

Two men of Middle Eastern appearance were chatting to their wives and kissing the screen when their children appeared with their toys

That is where I found Laura sitting in front of monitor four watching grainy film of a long forgotten war

She was pleased to see me

Carlos how nice it is to see you

You requested that I come

I did not think that you would come

How long has it been?

Five years

What are you doing?

I am watching footage of the Spanish Civil War

Why?

I am trying to find my brother

Your brother?

Yes

But the war ended nearly eighty years ago

I am aware of that

You are too young to have a brother who fought in the Spanish Civil War

Perhaps your grandfather

My brother was a poet

They were all poets

Laura touched the mouse and froze a busy monochrome image on the small screen

See I think that is him

The image showed a fresh faced boy of about nineteen smiling at the camera

His face was tired and dirty but this did hinder his youthful appearance

He was called Carlos like you

Perhaps you were named after him

I never knew your brother

He would have liked you as you are very alike

Perhaps

Why are you viewing this footage?

I want to know what happened to him

What do you know?

That he disappeared during the Spanish Civil War

Do you know where?

No

That’s a pity we might have been able to make enquiries in the area

Those who were children then are old people now

I am going to steal this disc would you help me

How?

Just distract the receptionist while I slip it in my bag

Then what

We will spend another fifteen minutes here looking at stock footage of the war

She will suspect nothing

I am not exactly friendly with the cops you know

It will not come to that  

I walked across to the receptionist and asked her whether they had any material on Tibet

It was the first thing that came into my head

As she turned her back I saw Laura hide the disc in her straw bag

To my surprise where was little on Tibet

I sat in front of monitor one and watched footage of a festival in Northern Tibet

After fifteen minutes Laura left

I stayed for another ten minutes

Laura was in the coffee shop opposite the library

She gestured for me to join her

See they did not suspect a thing I often steal from there

Why?

So that I may watch the discs in the peace of my apartment

So you still share with Maria?

Yes

I hardly know her she is such a shy girl

She is not shy when you get to know her

Do want to come back to my apartment?

I thought you would never ask

Fool

Are you spoken for?

Yes

Pity I like your birthmark

Who is the lucky man?

Maria

Maria?

Yes we were joined in marriage in October

I thought you liked men?

I do

We had good times

Very good times

But I did not love you

I adored you but I did not love you

What did your parents think?

They approved of my relationship they just wanted happiness for me

Do they know about your search?

No

Why have you not told them?

Because it would cause them pain

They have never got over the loss of Carlos that is why they treasure Maria and I to such an extent

 

The apartment which was in the centre of Madrid was simply furnished

It was on the third floor and had partial views over a small park

 

I often watch people in the park from this window

I imagine their lives

When will Maria be back?

In an hour

You wanted me to watch the footage with you again

My computer is in the study

Would you just watch the footage again and tell me how many times you see Carlos

Also see if you can see where it was shot

Road signs churches anything

The geography of the hills

Even the geography of the hills

I will prepare refreshments

I watched the short film twice whilst Laura was in the kitchen

The boy who was Carlos only appeared twice in the film

Initially he was cleaning his rifle

On the second occasion he was passing the camera

There were no clues as to the location of the gathering

I knew that if I guessed I would be wrong

 

When were you released?

Three months ago

How long did you get?

Three years but I was out after two

The sentence was stiff

It was not my first offence

How do you feel about it?

Wasted

Wasted I was a fool

It was quick money

I have a lot of debts

My father is not rich

Neither is mine

Do not shout at me but surely he must have helped you with this apartment

Yes he did as a wedding gift

Then your father is rich

Still the same Carlos

Poor Laura poor rich Laura

Laura playfully slapped my face and as she did so the doorbell rang

That must be Maria she has forgotten her key again

I will let her know that I have a visitor

 

Whilst Laura had not changed greatly Maria seemed more groomed than I had remembered her

She kissed me lightly on the cheek but I still sensed her shyness

Carlos helped me steal a disc from the library

Carlos risked prison for me

Bravo Carlos

Laura and Maria embraced tenderly

I tried not to watch them as I felt a little awkward

See we are shocking Carlos

Up to recently Carlos only had male company it will take Carlos a while to adjust

What did they lock you up for?

Maria!

Drugs

Are you clean?

I do not do drugs I only distributed them

In Madrid?

No in the Cordoba area

Let me look at your arms

I rolled up my shirtsleeve and showed Maria my pale arm

She smiled but I could sense a subtle jealousy

See no needle marks

You?

I take everything my body is like a dartboard

I still have my contacts

You are not so shy now

That is because I am married as you can see

Are you shocked?

As long as you are both happy

 

I stayed the night at the apartment but any thoughts of a sexual nature were dispelled when Laura and Maria attended a pop concert in the evening

Laura apologised profusely to me but they only had two tickets

Maria who was still slightly hostile thought that their hospitality was gratitude enough as to tell the truth I did not really have anywhere else to stay

I was staying with my sister but this was not a long term solution

After Laura and Maria had left I returned to their study and began to look at the discs of the Spanish Civil War

I also found some personal material but resisted the temptation to watch these private discs

There were seventeen discs in all

Some were only minutes long and others lasted well over an hour

Most of it was stock footage shot with a hand held cameras

Two of the discs contained newsreel footage and were quite graphic

 

Laura came into my bedroom at about nine in the morning with a cup of coffee

She was fully dressed and appeared to have been out whilst I was still sleeping

 

Coffee

Thank you

What time did you retire?

About two you were not home

We went to a party

Laura sat on the end of my bed as I sipped my coffee

All the discs

All the war ones

Did you watch any of the other discs?

No

Liar

I am an honourable man

An honourable drug dealer

Laura laughed

I do not mind if you watch them

What about Maria she does not care for me

She does

She sees me as a threat

You are no threat

I am an honourable man

That is why we make them

For people to watch

It is all part of the fun

You asked me for my help

So I did

To find out what happened to your brother

Prison has changed you

I have matured that is all

Well should you tire of my research then you are welcome to view all the other discs

We also have friends you know

You do not like boys now do you?

Were you buggered in the prison showers once too often?

I know a lot of boys

Fuck you Laura

I am sorry Carlos but I am spoken for

We both laughed I might have changed but Laura had not

I have watched all of the civil war discs

And

Your brother only shows up on disc eight after six and twenty-eight minutes

When was he born?

1922

So he would have been between sixteen or seventeen when he disappeared

I was his younger sister

So you tell me

If Carlos is still alive then he would be ninety five

And you?

I am eighty-seven

 

I was nearly unconscious as I was tied roughly to a post

There was so much blood on my face I could hardly see what was happening

I could see soldiers with rifles

And then the pain

The searing pain

I found it difficult to breathe

A soldier with shiny boots stood in front of me

I felt him place a gun against the nape of my neck

 

Carlos tell me what you have taken?

The voice was detached

It was Laura’s

Will he pull through?

I cannot tell

The drug is unidentified

We must identify the substance

 

A soldier with shiny boots stood in front of me

I felt him place a gun against the nape of my neck

 

Do not worry about me the soldier has finished me off

 

Laura came into my bedroom at about nine in the morning with a cup of coffee

She was fully dressed and appeared to have been out whilst I was still sleeping

 

Excuse me sir but do you know the woman who has been watching the Spanish Civil War discs

Yes

Her name

Why do you need to know?

Please give me her name

Check your records

Laura de Sol

Then you have her name

Thank you sir

Then why ask me?

Because she has been stealing discs from the library for the last year

She has depleted our Spanish Civil War stock

I have informed the authorities

Are you her lover?

No I am her brother

Do you fuck her?

I am her brother

If she was my sister I would fuck her

 

Laura came into my bedroom at about nine in the morning with a cup of coffee

She was fully dressed and appeared to have been out whilst I was still sleeping

 

Should we revive him?

Yes

Why?

Because of the paperwork if nothing else you oaf

Every time a prisoner dies then there is paperwork mountains of paperwork and then an enquiry

Even for a sad junkie like this

He is not a junkie

A junkie would be able to handle this

But he is already dead he was shot by the Nationalists in 1938

Do not listen to rumours Gonzalez

 

I was sitting on the floor opposite Laura and Maria

Did you sleep well?

Very

I used to sleep in that bed it is very soft

After prison bunks every bed is soft

Did you discover anything looking at the discs?

Not now Maria lets have breakfast

Well all I know is that your brother was not executed by the Nationalists in 1938

Because he published a book of poetry in 1946 in Argentina

I would have found this out

He used a pen name

What was that?

An English name

Michael Stanley Collins

Is he still alive?

Poets never die

Lorca is dead

Is he?

Did he publish any further books of poetry?

Yes in 1951 and 1965

Both were published in English in Argentina

Does he still live there?

No he left in the 1970s

It was not safe for him to stay

 

Should we revive him?

Yes

Why?

Because of the paperwork if nothing else you oaf

Every time a prisoner dies then there is paperwork mountains of paperwork and then an enquiry

 

Laura was wearing a red print dress which was quite modest

Maria was wearing a green print dress which was quite modest

One of us is wearing underwear the other is not

Can you guess who?

I am an honourable man

You must have thought about it when you were in prison

I am an honourable man

 

My head was slammed into a stainless steel basin

For fucks sake Gonzalez be careful

Even for a sad junkie like this

He is not a junkie

A junkie would be able to handle this

But he is already dead he was shot by the Nationalists in 1938

Do not listen to rumours Gonzalez

 

I was vomiting

But I did not open my eyes

Get it out of him get the poison out of him

Where in the fuck is the doctor?

At lunch

He has to eat

If he dies there will hell to pay

He’s only a prison junkie we have many

He is not a junkie

He is a poet

 

I was nearly unconscious as I was tied roughly to a post

There was so much blood on my face I could hardly see what was happening

I could see soldiers with rifles

And then the pain

The searing pain

I found it difficult to breathe

A soldier with shiny boots stood in front of me

I felt him place a gun against the nape of my neck

 

There was a loud knock at the door

Police

Fuck!

Have you any drugs on you?

No I am clean

Police open the door

Laura opened the door and was faced with two officers who I took to be Catalans

Yes

Are you Laura de Sol?

Yes

Miss de Sol

Mrs I am married

Maria who had been in the kitchen joined Laura by the door

And this is my wife

The taller of the two cops looked at Maria’s rubber gloves

And yes officer this is cocaine

We have a warrant to search this apartment

Why?

We have reason to believe that you have been stealing discs about the Spanish Civil War from the library

There is no need to search the apartment all the discs are in our study correctly labelled

My brother stole them for me

Your brother is dead he was shot by the Nationalists in 1938

Please do not take the discs with the blue labels as those are our private discs

Carlos was too embarrassed to watch them

I am an honourable man

Officer one of us is not wearing underwear can you guess who?

 

An hour later I was in a police cell

I was wearing             print dress

I was not aware of its colour as I had closed my eyes when I was arrested

Maria gave it to me as a prize for guessing that she was not wearing underwear

The cops applauded me

It was a moment of triumph

 

They will throw the book at you lad

You have only been out of prison for a short while and you have been found in the possession of property stolen from the library

I am not guilty

They all say that

At least you guessed correctly that is a very pretty dress

What colour is it?

Yellow

Like the sun

Like the sun

There was a knock at the door

I heard the cop vacate my cell

He returned minutes later

The city of Madrid owes you a great apology sir

Why?

We have arrested the wrong man

Your papers state that you are Carlos de Sol when in fact you are Michael Stanley Collins

Am I?

You were born in Leatherhead England in 1922

May I keep the dress?

Please do it is the least we can do

 

Laura came into my bedroom at about nine in the morning with a cup of coffee

She was fully dressed and appeared to have been out whilst I was still sleeping

In the movies I would be naked or wearing very little

You would be getting hard over me

This is not the movies

My wife would walk in and surprise us and you can guess the rest

I am an honourable man

May I keep your dress?

I do not have a yellow one

The cops were so kind to you

Maria gave it to me

It was a prize

 

The room was filled with small grey monitors and for a small charge one could watch anything that was not illegal

Two men of Middle Eastern appearance were chatting to their wives and kissing the screen when their children appeared with their toys

That is where I found Laura sitting in front of monitor four watching grainy film of a long forgotten war

She was pleased to see me

We were joined by an older woman who began to look at wild flowers on various websites

I always choose my flowers with care

That’s nice

It is for my brother

He died in the Spanish Civil War

At Cordoba in 1936

My brother also died in the war

In 1938

He was only sixteen years old

He had lied about his age

They shot him like a rabid dog but I say they were the rabid ones

I spit in Franco’s grave

So do I

Who is that handsome man you have with you?

A friend his name is Carlos

You look very pale Carlos have you been in prison?

Alas yes

Were you a terrorist?

No a drug dealer

Scum of the earth if you excuse me

This city is riddled with drugs

Do you take drugs my dear?

No never

I knew so you have a lovely complexion

I used to have a complexion like you when I was young

But age and cigarettes caught up on me

Not even a tramp would want to know me now

You are still attractive madam is she not Carlos?

You are very attractive madam

And you have an exquisite taste in flowers

My sister also died in the war

I still have her blood stained shirt

I sleep with it every night

She was shot by a sniper in an ambush

What was her name?

Marisa

My sister’s name was Marisa

I would have fought also but I was just a child

Although I did set fire to cornfields

Who would suspect a little girl?

I will be in next week on Friday if you are here I will be glad to speak to you

You remind me so much of Marisa

 

I was in a small prison cell with white washed walls

It reeked of vomit and shit

In the corner huddled on his bunk was another prisoner

He had shit himself

I banged at the cell door

This man is in distress please help him

There was no answer so I repeated my plea

There was a bang at the door

What is it?

This man is in distress

He has shit himself

And you cannot stand the smell

What can I do about it?

Get medical help he is obviously ill

The doctors are all at lunch

They are always at lunch

If you are so concerned then clean him up yourself

There is a basin in the corner

He has not moved since you brought him in

Perhaps he is dead

Dead men do not shit themselves

 

Laura looked through the spy hole in the cell door

I felt ashamed

I will take him home

In that state

Would you clean him up?

No

I am not asking you to do it without payment

Laura opened her purse and pulled out a couple of bills

Please help me no taxi will accept him in that state

The cop accepted the bills that Laura had given him and I was dragged roughly into the showers

Fucking junkie you do not deserve a sister like that

It seemed that they were using disinfectant to clean me up

I was given a worn scrubbing brush

Here scrub yourself I am not going to touch you and if you are not pristine for your lovely sister then I will rip your balls off

You do not deserve a sister like that

Do you watch her?

Do you spy on her you pervert?

Fuck off

The cop hit me with his fist

The next time I will really hurt you

Do you look at her breasts when she is in the bath?

Do they excite you?

 

Laura came into my bedroom at about nine in the morning with a cup of coffee

She was fully dressed and appeared to have been out whilst I was still sleeping

 

Laura the cop wants to know whether I get excited when I look at your breasts

Of course he does officer

He is a real man unlike you

 

Laura took a pistol from her bag and shot the cop between the eyes

He fell dead at my feet

 

You said that you were not a terrorist

A girl can have her secrets

Here let me help to clean you up

 

I sat in the back of the taxi in an ill-fitting police uniform

The driver drove us to a gay club in the south of the city

Laura had suggested this to avoid suspicion

 

Laura came into my bedroom at about nine in the morning with a cup of coffee

She was fully dressed and appeared to have been out whilst I was still sleeping

 

Why did you kill the cop?

What cop?

Here read this

 

Laura took a pistol from her bag and shot the cop between the eyes

He fell dead at my feet

 

You have just written it I saw you write it

Maria is in the kitchen

 

Two days later Laura and Maria held a small gathering for a few friends at their apartment

To my surprise I was the only man

Of the fifteen or so people that were there I only recognised one face

Stella a supply teacher from Malaga

I had met her briefly at a book launch shortly before I was imprisoned

 

That is a complete lie I do not read books at all

I have a French translation of Eliot’s poetry in my jacket pocket

I do not speak French

I do not read poetry

 

Stella joined me at the window after a few minutes

It is a nice park Madrid has so many nice parks

Yes

Have you walked through it?

No

You are Laura’s brother if I am not mistaken

No I am an Englishman called Michael Stanley Collins

Laura’s brother died during the Spanish Civil War

Do you recognise me?

Yes you are Stella and you were born in Malaga

Are you still a supply teacher?

No I am a real one

Stella laughed at her own joke and let her white wine dazzle her lips

I have not seen you in a while

I have been in prison

How dreadful did you kill someone?

Madrid is full of scumbags

No drugs I supplied drugs

A financier’s daughter overdosed quite badly and they came down on me

Did she survive?

I believe so

That’s good

She is a researcher for the Socialists now

You are full of facts

And you

Well I am a teacher at a school in the west of the city

I am married and try to have sex at least once a week

Stella laughed at her own joke and let her white wine dazzle her lips

You went to school with my husband

Did I?

Belen R

No

Belen R

Oh yes the small fat girl who cried a lot

She is a beautiful swan now

But still weeps a lot when things sadden her

Please give her my regards

Better still would you like to see her

Is she here?

No

Stella took a top of the range phone from her jeans pocket and tapped in a code

See there is Belen R

She is in the bath

She knows I am watching her

I have cameras set up all over my apartment

That must be expensive

It did not cost me a penny

 

Belen R had risen from the bath and was drying herself with a mauve towel

I watched as the cameras followed her through the apartment

Whilst she had thinned out greatly Belen R was still a little chubby

 

Did you have them in prison?

Have what?

Webcams

No

Security cameras

Yes when they worked

It is the same principle

The park over there has them to keep out the scum out

Belen R and I have them in our apartment so we can be watched 24/7 365

By who?

Anybody who pays

 

Stella handed me her phone again

Belen R was lying on a bed with her back to the camera

She appeared to be masturbating

I handed the phone back to Stella

 

Don’t you like it?

I am an honourable man

Laura and Maria have camera’s set up in this apartment

See there is one there and another one next to us here

I looked but could not see any cameras

I cannot see any

They are all around us with the exception of the WC

She drew the line at people watching her shit

It does not bother me though

If people get off watching me shit or having a period then so be it

I looked around the room but still could not see any cameras

I saw you arrive on Thursday

Poor you

Why?

You have such a white body

Prison

You should go to the beach

There are no beaches in Madrid

You seem to spend a great deal of time in the study

There are no cameras in the study

Laura would not let them put cameras in the study

Them?

The owners of the website

What website?

Madrid Apartments 24/7

I think that is what ours is called

You really do not know do you?

No this is new to me

These type of webcams are really big in Spain just now

Do you get paid?

What a silly question

Of course we do and quite handsomely

How do you think that Laura and Maria could afford this palace?

Laura’s father helped

He gave them money when they married

Laura’s father did not give them any money

She fucked him off by marrying Maria and he is still fucked off with her

He could not see his daughter as a dyke

Laura came from very conservative money you know

Laura’s father and his father too did very well out of Franco’s Spain

But Franco hated gays that was the reason Lorca was murdered

So she funded this apartment with money from the website company?

Correct

Why did she lie to me?

Probably not to scare you away

Meaning?

Well have you whacked off in the shower since you have been here?

No I am an honourable man

Well if you had it would have been broadcast live on the website and that might have fucked you off a bit

That is why they both walk around naked at times it is part of the contract

I have never seen either of them naked

As long as we are naked at times and fuck and lick every so often then they leave you alone

Who

You are really not awake are you?

The companies who own the websites

There are many in Spain at present

It is quite fun you know

Belen R and I watch Laura and Maria and they watch us

Laura most probably has some discs somewhere

Stella must have noted recognition in my eyes

You have watched them

No I am an honourable man

Liar

What do you think?

I have not watched them

Do you know that Laura steals from the library?

Yes

Well it goes both ways as she returns discs

Not the Spanish Civil War ones they are in the study

I know

She returns our fuck discs

Recordings of Maria and herself

Recordings of Belen R 

Recordings of Stella the teacher

 

Recordings of all our other girlfriends

She swaps the labels so for instance one might show a title such as The Trams of Madrid or something equally as bland

Surely the library has tumbled on this

They might have

Then why do they not stop it?

Because all the girls are doing it

They are overwhelmed

And I do not think they give a fuck anyway

I know for a fact that the head librarian has many copies

He is heavily into gay girls

How do you know?

Because I hold an art class for the older people on Wednesday afternoon and one of the junior librarians recognised me

What happened?

We just swopped discs and have done so on occasions since

You said that you teach art to the older members of the library

Yes

Do you find it rewarding?

Very

There were art workshops in prison

Did you attend any?

No

Why?

I cannot draw

Everybody can draw

I find it incredibly rewarding being surrounded by these older people

Some remember the civil war clearly

There is such a maturity to their art

They put a lifetime of experience into their drawings

And also some of the men may have watched me on the website or have stolen a disc from the library

That makes me wet

 

Laura who had been mingling came across to Stella and gave her a small kiss on the cheek

You have stolen my brother

I like Englishmen

I like their cool temperament

That is a generalisation Stella

They can be as temperamental as Spanish men

 

Laura left us as suddenly as she had found us

There had been a knock at the door

 

I looked around the room but still could not see any cameras

 

Tomorrow at about seven I will be in the shower if you want to watch

Belen R and I shower together on Fridays if you can wait that long

I am an honourable man

Or just check out our back catalogue

 

A soldier with shiny boots stood in front of me

I felt him place a gun against the nape of my neck

 

I did not believe what Stella had told me

When I was finally left alone in the apartment I accessed the website

There were cameras in all the rooms of the apartment except the study and the WC

I looked around the apartment again but could not see any cameras

I went back to the study and rewound to see if the cameras had recorded my search

To my surprise the webcam had not recorded my movements

I tried again and again

There was no record of me

I checked the recording of the get together and there was film of Stella standing by the bookcase

But she was not talking to me

We had spoken for quite a while

But there was no record of my presence

I switched to Stella’s apartment which was empty

I reversed the recording

Stella was indeed in the shower at seven in the morning

She waved briefly at the camera

She knew that I would watch the recording

I switched back to Laura’s apartment and wound back to the day of my arrival

There was plenty of footage of Laura and Maria but I did not appear once

As I switched back to the live recording there was a knock at the door

A parcel was being delivered

I was away from the screen for about five minutes but when I returned the screen was not showing Laura’s apartment but a recording of prisoners being readied for execution

I tried to exit

But the system would not let me

I checked my location

I was still logged into Madrid Apartments 24/7

Some of the men were crying

Some stood erect and faced their executioners bravely

One man who did not look to be Spanish spat in the face of a soldier

He was immediately hit in the face with a rifle butt

As he lay in agony on the grass he was shot dead by another soldier

This soldier looked up at the camera and smiled and then lit a cigarette

The prisoners were tied to rough wooden posts and shot

They were then shot in the back of the head

Another prisoner who had not been executed was forced to remove his trousers

A soldier placed his rifle between the doomed man’s buttocks and pulled to trigger

The man lurched forward with a look of abject terror on his face

This was the punishment for homosexuals

I suddenly realised that I was going to vomit and rushed to the bathroom

When I returned I was again logged into Madrid Apartments 24/7

I tapped each key on the keyboard but nothing happened

Finally I ended up in Stella’s apartment

Belen R was in the kitchen cooking

She was wearing an orange print dress

 

On my cell wall I had written in biro a quote from Camus

In the depth of winter.
I finally learned that within me
There lay an invincible summer

This quote gave me a lot of comfort and as the ink faded in the bright sun

I made the impression harder and thicker with a heavier pen

I was caught by a prison guard who made me clean it off

I did as I as told and then reapplied the quote elsewhere

I was discovered again and was forced to clean the latrines with a toothbrush

Tiring of this continued punishment I murdered both of the guards in a dream and was not bothered again

 

There was a sharp knock at the door

I answered it and had a pistol stuck in my face

On your knees you fucking junkie

What have I done?

You are a card carrying member of the communist party

What!

 

And you are a faggot

Well this faggot is going to overdose

I was pushed on to the floor and a bandage was applied to my upper arm

It was then that I saw Maria

She was wearing a cop’s jacket over her cream print dress

Is this the commie pervert who has been watching you Marisa?

Yes

Then I will let you inject him

He will not trouble you further

Thank you for reporting this to us

 

Without much care Maria plunged the needle into a vein

I winced at the pain

The bandage was removed

I watched the cops leave

That is all that I remembered

 

When I came to Sinead O’Connor was playing on the radio

Laura was walking around the apartment dusting

I thought you said you were clean

I am

Liar

The cops attacked me

Yes and they raped me at the same time

You are a fool Carlos

Does Maria work for the police?

No she is an accountant

She stuck the needle into my arm

Check the webcam

So you know about that

Stella told me

Bitch

Why are you being so hostile?

Because I hate commies  

 

Laura came into my bedroom at about nine in the morning with a cup of coffee

She was fully dressed and appeared to have been out whilst I was still sleeping

 

She killed him you know

Killed who?

Carlos

Who killed Carlos?

Marisa killed Carlos

The old woman’s sister

Yes

Why did she do that?

Because she was a psychopath

She hated men

There were a lot of psychopaths around during the civil war

Just as there were a lot of psychopaths around during World War Two

War is a breeding ground for psychopaths

How do you know this?

You told me

You were there

Marisa was your lover

I do not remember Marisa

Do you remember the cornfield?  

What cornfield?

She seduced you

You were so happy to see her breasts

You were a vigin

You made love and just as you were about to achieve orgasm she shot you in the face

That is why you are blind

I am not blind

Could you see yourself on the webcam?

No

That is because you are blind

So you are saying Marisa killed me in the cornfield?

Yes

But I escaped to Argentina and assumed the identity of an Englishman

She blew your brains out Carlos

She killed you

You were left to rot in that cornfield

You have no final resting place

Marisa Gomez killed upwards of forty men before her miserable life was ended by that sniper

She is one of the most famous psychopaths of the Spanish Civil War

I do not know why I am telling you this

You are perfectly aware of the history of Marisa Gomez

Why do you think the old lady torched the fields?

It was to cover her sister’s crimes

But being young she did not do it very well

 

If I am blind Laura how could I see all your recordings?

I saw you and Maria

Stella and Belen R

I watched everything

I trust you enjoyed them

I am an honourable man

 

I felt the medic trying to find a pulse

They were stretching me out

Laura was crying

Maria was crying

Stella was crying

Belen R was crying

 

Madrid Apartments 24/7 had taken the greatest number of hits in their short history

A junkie had died live on their website

The advertising revenue was sure to rise

 

I felt my body stiffening

Rigor Mortis was setting in

I had been dead for hours

Still the medics checked for my pulse

 

He is dead can you not see that?

He must have taken a tankful of whatever he took

I thought he was clean

So did I

Junkies are never clean

He did not even realise he was blind  

He was such an honourable man

 

The room was filled with small grey monitors and for a small charge one could watch anything that was not illegal

Two men of Middle Eastern appearance were chatting to their wives and kissing the screen when their children appeared with their toys

That is where I found Laura sitting in front of monitor four watching grainy film of a long forgotten war

 

I have just completed my sixth book of poetry

It will be my last

I have no more poetry left in me

I returned to Argentina ten years ago

It was safe for me to return

I have called my last book of poems

Laura

After my late sister

Who was raped and killed in a cornfield by a Falangist in the summer of 1938

 

 

 

Michael Stanley Collins