In Reality, Verne’s prosthetic head was a beautiful thing. It exploded,
as if in a movie of a dream,
from a distance,
on the pier,
in a seafood restaurant
in which I drank a glass of water.
Thinking that a guy’s brain is kinda a big deal, I looked round for someone else’s, while the water tasted of fish. This meant I could not be as refreshed as I might be if I shared Verne’s taste for the ocean.
Elsewhere in the story, I woke up in my own sweat, drawing the curtains back to pictures of Verne’s fake head. I knew then that I was elsewhere, perhaps in England or Australia or America or Spain. In short, I was awake.
So then, at the same time, Verne stroked his straw hair. Going over the dream with a toothcomb or a brush, I struggled to figure out the meaning of the things you are now reading. And a warm welcome to you and to the New Year, if I only say one thing that makes any sense at all.
Alain had his memories. He shared the name of someone’s father, long ago, and spent a month eating nothing but dried apricots. He almost died. His hair was blue. He wanted something different, said his father with the hair of straw. Alain woke from his senior’s dream of the seafront, and by day, in his room, he edited a film about religion.
In the corner of a certain bar called The Orchid Room, Alain stepped in, his head still thick with memories of the man I know as Verne, the man he knew as Alain.
The stereo played Cut Your Hair by Pavement. With hope freshly preserved inside a frozen tear from a showerhead, Alain made a statue of Barack Obama out of tinfoil; not knowing, for the moment, how to talk to Leonard or anyone.
“HEY! French, I mean, kid!” The face that had enough smiles for the whole room belonged to Handsome Johnny, who danced a little with his swagger under an amber spotlight. “YEAH! I know you, you the French kid who writes adventure stories?”
“Non.” Alain Verne Jnr. might have even giggled.
“Oh man! I picked up one of your pamphlets in the Laundromat! Awesome! Twenty Leagues…”
Yeah! I liked that, the *liddle* jigsaw in the envelope, man! Son of a Dadaist! Hey Mamu, come here! You know this guy?”