A Wednesday In Split

One Wednesday afternoon in Split, Ferdy Pogóstic was bouncing along the boulevard on his pogo-stick when he heard a voice in his head.

“Ferdinand! You are the living embodiment of the great Gak! Go forth and do the doings of the Gak!”

But Ferdy heeded not the voice, and continued to bounce along. So the voice returned, more insistent, deafening, until Ferdy paid attention to it. He stopped bouncing, and chucked his pogo-stick into a canal, and went forth as instructed.

His first stopping point was a Split butcher’s shop. He marched in under the awning and announced to the startled butcher that he, Ferdy, was the great Gak, and that he must have a blood sausage.

“For the great Gak has a blood sausage in all the paintings and icons,” he added, as if in explanation.

The startled butcher had no idea what this bedraggled fool was talking about, and sent him packing with a flea in his ear.

And so Ferdy Pogóstic went a-wandering through the streets of Split, without his pogo-stick and without a blood sausage, and nobody recognised him as the living embodiment of the great Gak.

And eventually, on the outskirts of Split, he sat him down anent a well. And then came the voice once more within his head.

“Oops. I mistook you for a different bedgraggled fool. You are not after all the living embodiment of the great Gak. My apologies.”

And Ferdy Pogóstic sat by the well and wept.

And there came a terrific thunderstorm and teeming rainfall, so much rain that the well filled up with water, until it overflowed. And there, bobbing to the surface, was a well-duck, with bright feathers and gleaming beak. It quacked at Ferdy in a language he did not comprehend. He chucked a pebble at it.

By now it was Wednesday evening and time for Ferdy to go home. In spite of the unfriendly pebble, the duck splashed out of the well and followed him, waddling in his wake. And when he was home and was sitting in his armchair by the fire in his chalet in an insalubrious neighbourhood in Split, the well-duck came and sat upon his head, and would not budge.

“Tomorrow,” said Ferdy to himself, “I must retrieve my pogo-stick from the canal. Perhaps when I am once again bouncing along the boulevard I will be able to dislodge this damnable duck.”

But could he?

Across town, the startled butcher was in the back room of his shop, behind a bead curtain, stuffing sausage skins with the blood of ducks. On the wall hung an icon of the great Gak. Or was it the butcher’s mirror?

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