A Year In Nadada: Week Twenty-Four- The Man Who Wasn’t There

You might think based on last week’s blog that the mountains are as wild as the desert. This is not the case. Soon we drove past cottages, some even with cars parked outside. Some in Nadada still travel by standard methods.  But where? To Duchamp to do their shopping? And why?

Our posse stopped near a lake that stretched from one mountain to another. Men in deep sea diver suits lowered themselves into the water on massive fishing reels. Some returned with fish skulls the size of tables, or ribs twice as long as pool tables. Nadada is never far away.

Jean-Michel organised cottages for us all. You cannot say for the night, because up here the sun only drops to a shade of deep orange. We were still aiming to get some sleep, and in ours was a bed with a fish on the headboard, and magpies on the sheets. 

But there was a knock at the door.

Ten minutes later Jean-Michel and I sat opposite each other in armchairs. The fabric massaged your back, somehow finding the knots and kneading them out. He told me he knew about my blog, and had the perfect story for an interview.

‘The stuff with the puppet is pretty funny,’ he said.

I guess that’s what I am going for.

His American accent is strong, so there may be a few incorrect words in the transcript. However, it is a spooky story, and a change in pace from the others. This is the first one I’ve felt really bad for being so rude.

TBM: Jean-Michel, you said you had a story about ghosts or something.  Keep it quick though, we’re tired.

JM: No problem. You enjoying the cottages?

TBM: Yeah, they’re great. What is your scary story?

JM: Not too much to worry about up here. Sometimes the fish get restless, but they don’t leave the water.

TBM: Tell us about the ghost, we want to go to bed!

JM: Alright. Once, in Doesburg, when time slowed down, I spotted a man in the shadows.

TBM: Right...so what?

JM: You remember what I told you. Doesburg is empty. A ghost town. And I don’t mean the ghost I am talking about.

TBM: Talk about him then!

JM: So, as you know,  we let the tourists have a look around the town, wait for a time bubble to come along, and then have a nice lunch. 

TBM: I remember. There were some tasty sandwiches.

::A pause::

TBM: Tell me about the ghost.

JM:  Ah yes. So, I was cleaning up after lunch, using a sink in a dilapidated bar. I created the water myself. Time slowed down again, and my hands froze in the water, the suds no faster than tar, my gaze straight ahead. In the room opposite was the man.

TBM: What did he look like? Big clanking chains, and sheets over him I assume?

JM: His face was long and thin, long, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Maybe distorted, I’m not sure. He was grinning. I knew all the tourists by them, he wasn’t one of them. And I know he could be created or some kind of wacky living picture. There is a lot of crazy stuff here in Nadada. Look what was in those flowers.

TBM: You don’t say.

JM:  But this man wasn’t created, I’m sure of it.  He existed in a whole different dimension, another place somewhere within the air. It made me think. What if Nadada is the beginning? What if some people have unlocked a new world? Was he smiling at me, or at something only he saw?

TBM: Or it was just a bloke pottering about.

JM: When time snapped back, the man disappeared. I always keep an eye out for him, but nothing yet. But I know what I saw. Ghosts or not, there is something else out there in Nadada.

We chatted for a little while longer, then I went to out bed with a fish on the headboard. I woke up in the night, and heard Jean-Michel talking to someone. There was only The Butter Mouse in the room.

We hit the road to Duchamp tomorrow.