He came to full wakefulness in the middle of the night, the Boland moon looking grimly in on him. He had gone to sleep early, so that his eyes could avoid a very complicated and laborious (with hand-spitting beforehand) bout of triple sodomy on the floor. He had had enough sleep, then, but his room-mates were hard at it, snoring, Wahab on his back, mouth open to the spiders, in his robe on the bare boards. But what really seemed to have jolted him awake was the Muse, pushing lines at him. It was a bit more of that Horatian Ode:
And something something something can
Take partners for a plonk pavane,
The bunded giant's staff
Tracing a seismograph.
Accompanying this was a burbling of unhappy tomato-juice, together with, in the throat, a metallic suspicion that it had not been all that fresh. And then. And then. The derision of that bloody merry crowd (ha) in that place at what had seemed to him, Enderby, and still seemed very respectable verses. Was it then possible that art that was good for one time was not good for another, the laughter justified, himself out of date? There was a Canadian professor who had once been in Piggy's Sty with fawning hosts, going on burringly about new modes of communication and how words were all finished or something and everybody was too much bemused by Gutenberg and not wide enough awake to the revolution in electronics, whatever that was. And there were also these people who, by taking drugs, were vouchsafed visions of the noumenon, and this made them scornful of art that used merely phenomenal subject matter. But what could you do about a noumenal medium, mused Enderby, putting his glasses on. The moon defined itself in sharper craters and ridges, as though the spectacles themselves were in the service of Miss bloody Boland. And, while bloody came into things, that Bloody Mary was dancing about very obscenely inside, and that vodka had probably not been vodka at all but something merely sold as vodka. Enderby winced on a sour vague image of the noumenon behind the label. Diluted surgical spirit, homemade potato-fire, meths. He had better get up and go to the lavatory.
He was fully dressed, except for his shoes, which he now painfully put on. It seemed to him to be cold tonight, and he shivered. He also, despite the shattering evidence that had been granted him this evening, felt depressed. Was anything he could now do as a poet of any value to the world or God the ultimate noumenon? Graaarp, answered his stomach, like some new mode of communication. Behind the door on a nail was hanging the hooded nightshirt garment, djebala or whatever they called it, that Souris, now snoring on top of Ali Fathi, wore when he essayed the streets. Enderby took it and wrapped it round himself, but he saw that his shivering came from the expense of body-fuel in the service of the visceral bubbling that oppressed him. He went downstairs to the lavatory, hearing nothing from either brothel-dormitory, calm of brerrrrgh mind all aaaaarfph passion gockle spent.
But from below he heard quiet but somehow urgent talking, and he saw that a dim lamp, apt for furtive colloquy, was on. He tiptoed down, suppressing his inner noises by some obscure action of the epiglottis and diaphragm. When he got to the bottom of the stairs, he saw, from shadow, that Napo was with a couple of men in the pretentious uniform of the local police. These men, lean, moustached, mafia-swarthy, crafty-eyed, were each taking from Napo a glass of something gold and viscid in the lamplight. Alcohol, against the tenets of the faith, they ought to be had up for that, police and upholders of Islamic law as they were supposed to be. Enderby, flat against his dark wall, listened, but the language was Moghrabi Arabic. It was a serious discourse, though, evidently, and Napo's part in it sounded a bit breathy, even whining. Enderby listened for certain illuminative international or crassly onomatopoeic words, but the only word that was made much of was something sounding like khogh. It was, as Enderby's viscera quietly attested, parroting and nipping him like a parrot, a very visceral sound. Khogh, the viscera went. And then, somewhat louder, Genggergy. Enderby suddenly saw, and then he panicked.
The police and Napo had heard. Enderby saw, in addition to who Khogh was, opened mouths and wide eyes turned on to his patch of dark. He thought he heard a safety-catch clicking off. His first instinct was to run to the lavatory, but they would, he knew, soon have that door shot open. Still, his insides, like spoilt cats demanding milk as lava begins to engulf the town and the cats with it, complained and switched on a kind of small avant-garde chamber piece for muted brass. Enderby, like, with that gown on his shoulders, a student late for a lecture, ran through the kitchen, sufficiently lighted by Miss bloody Boland, and out into the yard. The roosting fowls crooned at him, and the stunted tree raised, like some outworn Maeterlinck property, a gnarled fist. He got over the wall with agility he marvelled at and then panted a second or two in the alleyway. They were after him all right, though they seemed first to be, from a sudden meagre uprush of lunated feathers and a squawked track of conventional gallinaceous protest, abusing the fowls for letting him get away. Enderby ran a yard or two downhill and tried a back door on the opposite side of the alley. It was locked, so he padded, in frightful borborygms and breathlessness, to the next. This was open. He got in, finding himself alone with a tethered white ruminating goat who surveyed Enderby with no surprise, and closed the door, a very warped one, gently. Very usefully, a dog next door made a deep chest-bay once only, as though Enderby had entered a frame or two of his dream, and this sparked off a small violent yapper further up the hill and, further up again, what, very improbable, could only be a pet hyena. Towards these noises, Enderby could tell, four feet were now, with a sketch of urgency, proceeding. The voice of Napo, back at base, made a brief speech with elements of controlled Churchillian outrage in it, then turned into grumbling coughs going back to the kitchen. Good. This would do very well.
Enderby was, in a sense, pleased that a new phase was beginning, perhaps the last phase of the fugitive. It was all a question now of how long Rawcliffe would be in rendering himself available for death. And that was absurd, when one came to think of it, he, Enderby, killing Rawcliffe. But, if one accepted that killing was a legitimate and sempiternal human activity, authorised by the Bible, was there any better motive than Enderby's own? The State made no provisions for the punishment of the perversion of art; indeed, it countenanced such perversion. God, whose name had so often been invoked in the name of bad art, was, at bottom, a Philistine. So it was up to him, Enderby, to strike a blow for art. Was he not perhaps by some considered to have done so already? The popular press might be against him, but surely some letters, suppressed by editors, must have been written on his behalf? There might even be a fund started by Earl Russell or somebody to provide cates and art for him in prison and set him up on his distant release. He was, he was convinced, not alone. His stomach felt easier.
Watched by the chewing goat, Enderby put the djebala or whatever it was on properly, so that, what with the hood, he became a kind of capuchin. He had slept in his teeth as usual, fearing their theft if he did not, but now he removed and stowed them. Remembering the tin of boot-polish in his pocket, he allowed his heart to leap in awe at the poetry which existence itself sometimes contrived: the fusion, or at least meaningful collocation, of disparates-as, for example, a tin of tan boot-polish and himself, Enderby. He removed his spectacles and bedded them with his teeth. Now he disposed his hood in the academic position, pushed up all available sleeves to near the elbow, got out the tin and his handkerchief, then began to dye himself, all that was likely to be visible, by dipping his handkerchief in the tin and thinly spreading the polish. He did not forget nape and ear-crevices. The smell of the stuff was not unpleasant-astringent, vaguely military. Why, there had been that man Lawrence, colonel and scholar, got up like this. He had been viciously debauched by Turks, but his country had honoured him. He too, like Enderby, had had to change his name. He had died in lowly circumstances, riding a motorcycle.
What, when he had finished, he now looked like there was no means of finding out. In the moonlight his hands seemed of a richer colour than nature herself might allow, a richness that suggested dye, or perhaps thinly spread tan boot-polish. Still, it would serve, sleeves well down, hood well over. The goat, with the blessed impartiality granted to animals, saw no difference between the two Enderbys. It took without gratitude the empty polish tin and began to crunch it up roundly, its goatee wagging. Enderby took his leave, Ali bin Enderbi or some such name.
Whither? The Boland moon, asked, would not answer. His true place was that Kasbah, high up at the end of the town, where beggars slept at night in the doorways of shark shops, all Rif rifles from the iron-founding Midlands. But it was necessary that he stay near Rawcliffe's beach-place, not to let his quarry slip out of his tan-polished hands. It was not windy now, but it was not warm. Autumnal Morocco. He could doze, all hunched up, in the shadow of the Acantilado Verde. In the morning he could drink coffee and eat a piece of bread (there was a dirham or so still in his pocket) and then, an eye open for Rawcliffe, get down to begging. There was a lot of begging here: no shame in it. There were a couple of rich hotels near the Acantilado Verde-the Rif and the Miramar: good begging pitches.
He padded gently down the hill-alley, silently rehearsing the Koranic name of God. Properly enunciated, it could serve for many things-disgust, gratitude, awe, admiration, pain. Enderby had heard the name several times a day in his hideout: he thought he could manage the gymnastics of its articulation. You had to try to swallow the tip of your tongue, growling, then pretend you had to give up the attempt because you had to expel a fragment of matter lodged in your glottis. Easy: Allah. He allahed quietly towards the sea under a frowning moon.