Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day Two: That Rain in Spain won’t stay in the Plain.

Monday 2 February 2009

He stood in the doorway, shoulders hunched against the cold; hat pulled down over his eyes and his coat in a tight Harlow grasp. Tendrils of cigarette smoke his only companion. Once more he cursed Shaw, Higgins and Pickering; another dead lead and more blasted rain.
As the rain beat around him; he drew in another breath of the strong Turkish, pushed himself from the doorway, and continued his drudge along Carrer Ruff. Disillusionment was not his companion this day, just the drenching rain. Another day in Barcelona; another day in the corps.

As he pushed on, he heard the haunting sitar playing of Anton Carras; which made him wonder - where was he going to find this third man? He suddenly had to stop, as some cove on a moped cut through his reverie. The Spanish, they love life, the grape, tobacco and mopeds.
He hunkered deeper into his coat, and thought of New York. The Big Apple: a city which never sleeps – except on Sundays. Barcelona reminded him of New York, as a city that never sleeps – but it includes Sundays. The bars and cafes are jumping after 10 at night; those places just bulge. Oh yes, these Spaniards are in love with life.

Get a move on! No wonder every passer by keeps looking at this guy, just standing in the rain – in a dream. He continues to walk, then suddenly remembers his rendezvous - the museum… Huddling into a doorway, he takes out his battered map and realising his chips might be down. In the damp and gloom he traces a route to….what is it called? Pushing his hat upon his forehead with his thumb, just like switching on a light. The Museu D’història de Catalunya – that’s it!

Folding the map, he shoves it into his back pocket, and then heads south along Via Rambla towards the Mirador de Colom. All roads may have led to Rome at some time, in Barcelona the roads eventually lead to Christopher Columbus. Today, however, is not the day to visit the ‘Birdman’ at the Font de Canaletes.

Lighting another Turk, he ploughs his way through the throng of people. Walking along the streets of Barcelona is like a game of constant weaving, veering and running with the ball for touch. People just walk right in front of you; too many destinations and too little time. Upon reaching the Plaça del Teatre, he ducks under a portico to escape another heavy downpour. Idling towards the main street, after the sudden torrent; he stops, and with an intake of breath, he sees another encubierto agente. He flattens himself against the wall.

These coves like to dress-up, talk about not being too conspicuous? He peers again at the figure, which is frozen in silence. Like some character from an H.P. Lovecraft novel, the figure is very ghoulish: horns, talons, unfurled wings and glistening with gold. He watches as some passerby throws it money, as in a tithe to keep the creature at bay. On receiving the hand-out, the fiendish creature opens its eyes and mouth in a macabre gesture; quickly it collapses into its catatonic stance.

Carefully, our fellow slinks past the apparition, and suddenly realises he is surrounded by these frozen forms. These may not be as ghastly as the ghoul, but they too are sentinels of silence.
He makes a hasty dash past the sentries, and hastens towards his destination.

Arriving at the Mirador de Colom, he looks carefully around him, allaying any concern to the presence of other agentes. He quickly crosses the Ronda del Litoral, circuits the Puerto de Barcelona building and crosses the bridge, Rambla de Mar. The Museu D’història de Catalunya is now not far.

Yachts, with erect and swaying masts, like metronomes providing silent pulses to the man’s regular tread, as he nears his destination. There! Over there on the other side! He quickens his pace, rounds the port railings and hastens towards the museum’s entry.

Once again he curses Shaw, Higgins and Pickering; another dead lead… the museum is closed!

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