Before Lunchtime

Rain clouds will sweep in from the west before lunchtime. Thunder will brew. Across parks and woodland, stunned unconscious squirrels will lie scattered upon the ground. In taller buildings, electrical wiring systems will fizz and pop. Tarnished silver will glisten anew. The Pontiff will appear on his balcony. Watch the way he moves his arms.

Solveg rides tall in the saddle. He has had a shampoo and rinse and even applied subtle dyes to his hair. He has perfected the art of making an omelette without breaking any eggs. Solveg has lost his good old mama, and must have whisky. Oh, you know why. He, too, moves his arms in that distinctively Papist manner.

In a coppice, one of the squirrels regains consciousness. It skitters up a tree, a larch or a laburnum. What a coppice! From far off there is a rumble of thunder. Looking west, the squirrel from its high vantage point sees Solveg’s good old mama approaching across the fields. Her arms are hidden in the folds of an old red shawl.

Tungsten manufacture continues apace in the Buna. The plant is too noisy for the sudden sheets of pelting rain to be heard hitting the roof. Magnus is in his cubicle checking some paperwork. There is garlic on his breath and garlic too, a whole clove, encased in the ceramic pod slung around his neck on a lanyard. Behind him on the wall hangs a crucifix. The pinned Christ thereon is daubed with red to mimic gore. Magnus moves his arms restlessly.

At the foot of the mountains lies a squalid village. Solveg was born here. Today it has more goats than people. The people don’t need a park, but they have got one, a municipal park with lawns and flowerbeds and volleyball courts and a bandstand and a duckpond and a paddling pool for children. When it was laid out by prisoners of war it had beacon status. Now it is overrun by goats. The statue of Christ in the centre of one of the lawns shows Him with one arm raised in benediction. The other arm was snapped off long ago.

In a crevice in a rock at the bottom of the sea, a demersal being opens one cold alien eye. It summons the rain clouds from the west. It summons the thunder. It stuns the squirrels. It has no arms, nor flippers nor fins nor even tendrils. It is a weird blob.

Solveg on his horse, Magnus in the Buna, both have a keen interest in marine biology. Neither of them put it to use. Now, both of them move their arms towards the sea, towards where they think the sea must be. The coppice is far, far from the sea.

In the park, in the drained paddling pool, the goats run amok. You will find many, many goats in the Bible, but no squirrels, and no demersal blobs. One such blob clung like a barnacle to the submerged timber of the Ark. And then it came loose, and sank to the bottom of the sea. Arms are moved towards where the sea must be, from far inland.

At lunchtime, the rain clouds burst. 

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