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|SPANNING THE RIVER|
Dreamboat and Sag the Silver Spanner were not their real names; except they became their real names by default. Dreamboat was someone nobody would wish to know other than by this her new name's charm and enticement. She not only lived a lie, but wore one, too. She wanted to dress her personality in heavy disguise, floating along in adoptive roles of easy contentment and helpful beauty. Sag, on the other hand, once an oddjobman, always an oddjobman, but even odder when he bought those hallmarked tools glinting in his hand as he transferred them from toolchest to groove or gashpoint or woodbruise or head-down or heelshock. They made a strange couple.
I met them when they first made it big in the quickchange stakes. Money was part of it. They must have won something or other, since people like that didn't make it big from simple graft. I supposed I would fit their new-found status. I was not rough or ready; I had nous; I had things other people didn't have: wherewithal, good luck, right-place-at-the-right-timeness, call it what you will; I had, above all, provenance. And, at the end of the day, provenance is what this is all about and what the Sag/Dreamboat combo yearned for most of all. They had only just begun their fresh-faced lifestyle and persona repositioning when I came across them, both brows bent, in the Reference library. They were heading up, I could see, on pure knowledge. They had no set categories, no targeted disciplines, no particular branches of learning to climb along - anything went, anything and everything. They had low denominations and common factors at their fingertips heretofore; now, they needed, to turn their tabloids into broadsheets, their toes into grippers, their hearts into brains. I read this into their faces, because, well, why not, I simply had the ability to empathise. Empathy is often a lightweight instinct. With me, it is what it is: putting myself in the other person's shoes, becoming them - not figuratively, but actually.
Initially, I tried Dreamboat for size. But, that moment in the library, she was not primed for docking let alone full entry. I quickly skedaddled over to Sag the Silver Spanner and, yes, here we go, ease myself in without even a dab of his glossy three-in- one oil to lubricate the passage. It was then I could appreciate where I'd lust gone wrong with Dreamboat. She screwed around.
I couldn't possibly condone such looseness. But I knew there was hope, a smidgin of belief in her future as a wonderful voyage along the rivers other existence: the bright bright hoop on her ring finger was impossibly tight-boned. She knew her days of feasting-with-panthers were over - and I jumped straight from his eyes into hers, to get a different perspective. Sudden unpremeditated entry always works.
Yes, Sag sat there, on the other side of the carrel, with silver tealeaves in his eyes, interpreting the printed words beneath him as passports to provenance. Until he flopped over. I had inadvertently imported him, I guess. Sugar-tongs protruded from his erstwhile mouth like frosty fangs. Dreamboat had already fled when I got there. Common as muck and steel-lipped: she didn't dare bear the benefit of my high-flying occupation. Providence and prudence combined, mayhaps. Whatever the case, I picked up Sag's bag of tools, chose therefrom a pair of bright-boned gimlet-eyed oars and thus levered myself against the tide of certain silver sluices which threaded most public areas - given the second-hand sight simply to see the shimmering tracery of such gurgling runnels let alone use them. A smile was nailed to the mouth, a smile which really was a smile this time, albeit an autonomous one. Unless two into one don't go.
|D F LEWIS|