Sunday 13 June 2010

Apologies and thanks to Richard Brautigan (deceased)

Cameron was a counter. He vomited nineteen times to San Francisco. He liked to count everything that he did. This had made Greer a little nervous when he first met up with Cameron years ago, but he’d gotten used to it by now. He had to or it might have driven him crazy.
People would sometimes Wonder what Cameron was doing and Greer would say, “He’s counting something,” and people would ask, “What’s he counting?” and Greer would say, “What difference does it make?” and the people would say, “Oh.”

I counted the snails on the track yesterday evening.

People usually wouldn’t go into it any further because Greer and Cameron were very self- assured in that big relaxed casual kind of way that makes people nervous.
Greer and Cameron had an aura about them that they could handle any situation that came up with a minimum amount of effort resulting in a maximum amount of effect.

It had been raining most of the afternoon, most of the week in fact – ever since heavy thunderstorms drove me from garden slumber to the van’s safety last weekend – and I had followed a long drive with a long sit watching South Africa battle with Mexico in the football world cup, so I needed some exercise.

A little hesitant sunshine tempted me up the track and I was astonished to see the number of Gastropodan molluscs who had the same idea.

They did not look tough or mean. They looked like a relaxed essence distilled from these two qualities. They acted as if they were very intimate with something going on that nobody else could see.

Big ones, small ones and a couple of squashed ones – a car interrupted my counting (Minnie and friends returning from the cinema).

“What are you doing?”
“Counting the snails.”


In other words, they had the goods. You didn’t want to fuck with them, even if Cameron was always counting things and he counted nineteen vomits back to San Francisco. Their living was killing people.

No respect like that around here, they drove off as if I was mad.

And one time during the voyage, Greer asked, “How many times is that?”
And Cameron said,”12.”
“How many times coming over?”
“How’s it working out?” Greer said.
“About even.”

I learnt a few things; the snails congregate where the butterflies don’t – no I don’t know what that means - and there are enough around these parts to stop you going hungry if you fancy eating them, which I don’t, though some do.

When I got back to the house, Minnie looked up and said “How many?”


No comments: