Landscape of Worry


(page 8 of 10)

James heard the fax machine; he dashed back into the hut. The immigration officer, taking the response out of the machine, remained mysteriously impassive. Concern made a leaf structure pang inside James’s head – or, at least, it appeared that way to me. The immigration officer’s distance was joyless – no apparent desire to be helpful; nor did he look unhelpful either.

He picked up a stamp. The silence got filled by the humming fan. Light from the door left the man’s eyes aglow with sparkles that shone without life, as if the gloom within the hut had drained those irises of all enthusiasm; a dull stubbornness of intransigent intention could easily have ignited into something regrettable had any false moves been made by James who stared at the stamp with that look that hungry dogs have when they suspect that their food bowls are about to be filled. James resisted the temptation to move. His perception of time had been altered by the threat that that bureaucrat offered to his ideal view of his immediate future. He looked as if he was experiencing refugee-camp time. He gave me the feeling that he thought that he was going to be hemmed into a type of vat in which it was impossible to experience any positive, fluid outpouring of events. He may have even thought that he could have ended up in the camp next door. His concentration suggested that time in his imagination had become concentrated into a grave pin-point of brooding hope. His hungry-dog eyes were still with concentration as they stared at that stamp.

Built-up hope gushed out of him like a stream of alleviation when he heard the stamp being thumped against his passport. The wheels that had been spinning in his temples slowed down as his stamped passport re-entered his hands. He drifted back out into the light. The new radiance possessed a refreshing lightness that made things look younger.

We got back into the van. A barrier was raised and we proceeded towards another white building where men in blue uniforms were waiting to meet us. James leant back against our seat’s backrest. His head fell back. He looked out through a side window. An absorbed, self-contained disassociation from all possibilities left him incurious with contentment. We approached the uniformed men. Their black moustaches made hairy crescent moons upon the swarthiness of their faces.

We had to get out with our possessions. The driver was instructed to place his vehicle over a rectangular hole. A man walked through a door in one of the hole’s walls. A metal detector was going to be swept over the van’s underside.

I amused myself by thinking that the driver’s obsession with petrol was connected with Molotov cocktail production. I imagined the man in the hole discovering empty bottles pasted to the van’s underside.

“He’s going to find Molotov cocktails,” I said.

James’s head went back and forth. He put a hand up to his face to hide his amusement.

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About Kim Farleigh


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Kim has been published in several magazines around the world, but he has never been published on mars; but he feels that one day someone will be, and that he won't be around to see it - unfortunately - because he's going to die and he doesn't like that because he considers dying to be nothingness and nothingness...read more is really a waste of time. Unfortunately, due to lack of metaphysical training, he can't bring himself to believe anything else. Long after his death Red Fez will probably have an offshoot called Red Planet.
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