We are in a cocktail bar, laughing. A ragged drop of lemon just ran up my straw, and The Butter Mouse lies in a pile of broken glass after attempting break dancing. A good handful of ice melts on the table from the wreckage. The robots don't mind. They serve up drinks and chop up fruit regardless.
I only finished my last post two hours ago.
I would like to pretend I was about to say something to the crew. Demand they find us a way out of Pansaers before we got stuck here forever. Instead we heard the shriek of metal when they pulled the grate from the mud.
‘OK then everyone, off we go then,’ a crew member said. The hole they had uncovered was car sized, a rusty ladder jutting from the darkness. One by one they lined up, and hoisted themselves onto the ladder with the uniform cohesion and of a line of ants. A few passengers dropped their depression, and joined the queue. They responded to questions from the rest of us with grins, and shakes of the head.
Jean-Michel was the last one left.
‘Apologies, it was a massive lie,’ he said, and smiled.
So the only way was down. We had to leave The Kandinsky once again, although this time I was not sure if the goodbye was permanent. The remaining bones were polished white, with not even the cartilage left.
I hung The Butter Mouse around my neck like a scarf, and descended into the gloom. Monkeys carved into the rungs jumped around near my knuckles. In my exhausted state even twenty steps made me worry about fainting. But with every rusty meter my shoulders loosened, and the throbbing in my ankles seeped away.
The Butter Mouse warmed my neck, her paws clawed near my chin. She hops off like a lemur after five minutes. Three hundred steps down she winked at me. Our feet and paws soon hit solid ground.
And so we ended up in Richter. I should be annoyed by the trickery, but it is hard to be angry when the drinks are so cold. Especially when you understand a trip through Pansaers is a classic part of Nadada, one designed to give travellers a dose of reality to make you appreciate the amazement of everywhere else.
The robots are taking us up in a hot air balloon for a gig tomorrow. They carved this out on the table for us.
The robots. I haven’t even had time to explain the robots.I just hope that my stuff from the Kandinsky turns up at some point. I’ve still no idea what happened to my cabin.