“And," Easy Walker cried above the engine, "real donk dirt-bibles. Got a jarvey, brad, all towsermouth for that variety of how's your Auntie-Doris-and-little-Nora-and-the-twins. So we'll march on markers when this lot's dooby-dooed."
The physical assumption of Rawcliffe. His body, in clean pyjamas and wrapped in a Union Jack that Manuel had bought for a few dirhams in, of all places, the Big Fat White Doggy Wog, sat next to Easy Walker in what Enderby took to be the copilot's seat. At least a kind of half-eaten steering-wheel or joystick in front of Rawcliffe twitched and turned in sympathy with Easy Walker's. And also dead Rawcliffe had his share of very lively dials and meters and emergency instructions, exclamation-pointed. His arms were pinioned beneath the flag, and he was corded at neck, waist, thighs, and ankles. No danger of his, its, flailing around if it-he came back to life.
“You sure he's footed the old garbage-can proper?" Easy Walker had asked while they had been bundling him in. "Because there's been cases. There's this case now, brad. Tell you after. Maybe you minced it all masterman."
Enderby sat behind Rawcliffe, an empty seat next to him. It was a small but neat aircraft, American-made, though there was a spelling mistake, Enderby noted, in one of the instructions on the instrument-panel: jetison. That did not make him doubt the airworthiness of the craft, for it was always a matter of every man to his own trade. This one of piloting seemed as much a trade of Easy Walker's as any of the others he professed. He had cried conversationally above the engine even as, tearing down the runway, he brought the speed up to air-speed:
"A real donk passy too, there'll be there. Left the whole bim-bang kadoozer to you then, has he, brad?"
"There's the question of," Enderby had shouted. “That one of mine, I mean."
"Welcome to Bird County," Easy Walker had yelled as the craft nosed into the old-gold Moroccan air. The late afternoon sky to themselves, except for rare gulls and, far to port, a migrant exaltation of brownish birds that, after a rest on the top of Gibraltar, were crossing the Straits for their African wintering. No Air Maroc flight till very much later. Below on the cabochon-cut Mediterranean very few boats, though what looked like a rich man's yacht gleamed to starboard. It was still the sun's time. The moon, thin last night, was not watching over Rawcliffe's ascension into heaven. Fattened, she would draw at him vainly from the deep, gnawed by fishes, his flag defiled. Over the aircraft wireless strange English crackled from Tangier, control tower. Easy Walker ignored it. Aft lay Ceuta.
“There was one," he yelled without effort, "Ricker Sugden did for like his booze brad when he kicked. Do too for this jarvey, I reckon." He recited, drowning the engine:
"Dragged from his doings in the roar of youth,
Snipped like the stem of a caldicot flower,
Snarled time's up ere he'd quaffed his hour,
Tossed to the tearing of the dour dog's tooth."
“That's not quite right for Bawcliffe," Enderby shouted. It wasn't, either. The right one was in all the anthologies, but Enderby's calling of it would never prevail against this of Ricker Sugden's. It was the right one only because it was the only one.
"Bye, my brad, let the bright booze pour
That is suds of stars in the Milky Way,
And its door swing open all the joylit day
And the heavenlord landlord cry you time no more."
"Not one of his best," called Enderby, but he was not heard. Not obscure enough, too much meaning. Poor Rawcliffe. Traitor Rawcliffe rather, but he had paid. Your suit is granted. What suit? To be granted a cell, smallest unit of life. Enderby feebly tried to give out to sea, sky and Easy Walker that last stanza ("His salts have long drained into alien soil"), and then saw how inappropriate it really was. His soil would drain soon into alien salt. There was nothing for Rawcliffe. But it was something to rest in bones, rags of flag fluttering, at the sea's bottom between two continents. It was a kind of poem. Easy Walker cried:
"Nowsy wowsy. You right for the shove, brad?" Enderby nodded, forgetting that Easy Walker's eyes were ahead and there was no driving mirror. The corpse of Rawcliffe had lolled to rest against the perspex of the starboard door. Enderby roughly pushed it so that it began to topple gracefully against Easy Walker. "Watch it, watch it, brad." Leaning over, Enderby turned the door-handle, panting. It was rather stiff. Suddenly it opened and swung, and the huge roaring air without seemed to pull at him, but he dug his nails into Rawcliffe's seat-back. "Nowsy wowsy powsy." Easy Walker made the craft list hard to starboard. A torrent of frozen air was rushing in up diagonally now. Enderby clawed at the corpse through its flag-shroud, heaving it out, but, falling to the air, it seemed to be merely buoyed up by it. "Blast you, Rawcliffe," went Enderby for the last time. "Righty right," Easy Walker sang, and he kicked out at a dead shin. Then he listed further. Enderby pounded and pushed. As it were reluctantly, Rawcliffe's body launched itself into this quite inferior region of the sky, lower, surely, than Parnassus. "Got him, brad," meaning space had. The tricolor, crude in this sapphire and turquoise ambience, span slowly down. "Gone." Without sound, and with lips parted only as for a cigarette, the sea took him. Here lies one whose name was not writ in water, he had once said in his cups.
It was hard to get that door, which had swung open to its limit, back in place. But Easy Walker lurched violently to port and the door hurtled in and, on a lurch that brought them both lying on their sides as at a Roman supper, it slammed to. Then he righted the craft and, widely circling in the air, its nose sniffed round towards home. Home: what else could you call it? Green Africa ahead, then the geometry of the little airport, then a sudden urgent love for the runway. A three-point landing of the kind called insolently skilled, a taxiing towards Easy Walker's waiting Volkswagen.
“Talking about passports,” Enderby said as they sped through the brown country outside town, "I'd like that back if you’ve still got it. I let it go too soon."
"Not poss, brad. Swallowed up, that, in the great dirty passy-hungry what-does-your-dad-do. Have his, though, your need being greater than. Dead jarveys help the living from their heart of darkness. Still. A pig of a pity."
"What I mean is," said Enderby, “I’m entitled to an official identity of some sort." But was he? And, if so, why? He might yet be taken somewhere, but he had no intention of making a move of his own. And, anyway, did bearing a name matter? Rawcliffe would be glad to be called anything or nothing if he could be alive again.
"There was the time I got this passy just as the jarvey as todded it seemed like as to take off. But he came to, yes he did, when it was already swapping tumblers. Well, you’re all right, I'd say, with this Rawcliffe jarvey. He won't come up, no, not never no more. Different from this jarvey back in Great Dirty Mum."
When they arrived back at El Acantilado Verde, Rawcliffe's other verbal monument, Easy Walker was eager to see what shady treasures there might be to buy cheap and sell dear. The three boys sat, in clean white, at a table by the bar-counter, playing some game which involved the linking of little fingers. They had some difficulty in composing their faces to a funeral look. "All finished," Enderby said. "Finito." But there must be a better Spanish word than that. Consommado? It sounded soupish. "Consummation," he said, pushing down to the roots.
"March on markers," said Easy Walker. He was very deft. The amount of pornography he uncovered was shocking. It was mostly in the cartridge-box book-shelves, though previously-because of the austerity of the binding-unsuspected by Enderby. "Here," said Easy Walker, "is some right donk fladge for such as takes a swizzle to it," showing Enderby Victorian steel-engravings of bloody wounds, lovingly detailed, and knobbed whips and knotted thongs. "And here's them shoving up the old kazerzy with it, very painful for my shekels and sherbet. And here," Easy Walker said, shock on his unshockable, "is what I would not have if it was my own Aunt Ada as did it, brad. Cause there's limitations to all bozzles, has to be, stands." In his hands trembled a leather-bound folio of what, to squinting Enderby, seemed at first to be illustrations to the Bible. But they were very perverted illustrations, and there was one that made Enderby feel sick. "I mean," Easy Walker said, slamming the book shut, "that was bad enough in itself without making it worse and dirty sexual." It was the first time Enderby had heard him use plain language. "Making a mock of it like that jarvey I said. When a jarvey snuffs it's not up to him to come back, up-your-piping and that. All right for him in here," he bowed his head, "because he was what he was and no up-my-tickle. But this jarvey like I said. And there was like that saucepan-lid, Lazarus his all-the-same. And crucifixions too in this one, very dirty. Very clear that came off."
"What?" said Enderby. "Who?" Time himself will bring you in his high-powered car. And supposing the car doesn't go on to pick someone else up but, instead, goes back to the garage. Things as they were before, or as near as you could get them. He would not be surprised, he would not be surprised at anything. “You mean," said Enderby, “Tod Crewsy. You mean he's not dead after all."
Easy Walker nodded and nodded. "Laid out, brad, in some arsee plum-and-apple in the Smoke. Then all them teens brooping round, going sniff sniff. Turn-the-handles lighted all about him in his best whistle. And his three brads keeping double-scotch, two at his toots and one behind his uncle. Then he flicks open and says "Where am I?" Got it this morning on the talkbox, in the near-and-far, coming here."
Enderby nodded and nodded. Bitch. Blasphemous bitch. Very clever. Easily done, bribed doctors or not even that. Genuine error. Clinical death and real death. And now sermons about miracles and popsters flocking to give thanks. Our Thammuz, Adonis, Christ for that matter. "And," Enderby said, “I suppose there was one sly pseudo-mourner, come to see, his only chance his handiwork, lurking in the shadows of the chapel, and, when this body rose from the dead, he screamed. Screamed that the times have been that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end, but now they rise again, this is more strange than such a murder is."
Easy Walker shook his head, baffled. "Don't get that at all, brad. Forked me on the cobbles and no rare-with-Worcester. Have to mince the papers when they come out, not out yet, not with that, pennywise."
Enderby shook his bead, not baffled. "No more papers. Bugger the outside world," he said violently. "If not that way, some other. I'll hear about it, only a question of waiting. No resurrection for Rawcliffe, not of any kind. They'll crumple his letter up at Scotland Yard, another crank."
"I'll ghoul these off now," Easy Walker said, "dirt-bibles." He showed new shock on the realisation that his slang had, for once slung at the gold and pierced it. Enderby then had an intuition that he was going to throw off what must be a home-stitched patchwork of patois and, strayed sheep or remittance-man, speak a true language that was far more middle-class than his, Enderby's. "It's all dirt and cheating," he said, and only on the last word (cheadn) did the innominate colonial really sound out. He seemed for an instant as feeble as in a plonk hangover. Enderby nodded. He said kindly:
"Come back tomorrow or the next day for the rest of the stuff. Except for what I want, that is. Any heterosexual pornography I'll keep. I’ve finished with women."
"Finish with them." It was clear and bitter. And then: "What's all them there sling-your-hooks there, brad?" He headed at a set of cartridge-boxes set aside, special.
"Those," said Enderby, "are all the anthologies."
When Easy Walker had left, Enderby ripped open Rawcliffe's mattress with a tarnished curved dagger. There were bundles of dirty notes, high and low in denomination: about, he reckoned, fifteen thousand dirhams. He would buy a new mattress tomorrow; tonight he would make a dog's bed of rugs and cushions. Then he went thoughtfully to examine Rawcliffe's bath and lavatory, rather well-appointed; for the customers there was only a stark, though regularly sluiced, WC off the dining-conservatory. Then he went to the bar. All three boys looked at him in expectation, a composition, as for an early Picasso, of coffee-mug handlers: Antonio sipped wide-eyed; Tetuani warmed both dark brown hands on the mug's belly; Manuel, finished drinking, swung his gently, handle on little finger. "No," Enderby said firmly. "I sleep alone. Yo duermo solo." They nodded with degrees of vigour: they had merely wanted to know. Manuel said:
"Open up bloody shop?"
"Quiere caf'e?" asked Antonio.
Enderby did not resist his yearning towards a resumption of chronic self-imposed dyspepsia. He had convinced himself that he could be healthy enough if he wanted to be. "Make," he said slowly, “very strong tea. Muy fuerte. Not tea-bags but spoonfuls of the real stuff. Comprendido? Tinned milk. Leche condensada." And later he would eat-What? Something stepmotherly gross-a corned beef stew with bacon added to make floating flowers of grease, a grumbling huddle of boiled spuds, pickled onions. He nodded with relaxed kindness then went for his first for a hell of a long time leisurely session in the lavatory.