Spots Of Ink
He sits in the cafe, sipping at the thick sweet tar somewhere between Italian espresso and Turkish coffee. Hints of rosewater and liquorice, bitter sediment at the bottom. On the tabletop, the page of the book is lain face-down in front of him, his charcoal name smeared by the act of flattening the crumpled paper. He's just about to turn it over to see - just to see - if it has anything useful to say, when a hand comes down on top of his own and the man with dirty-blond hair scrapes a chair up beside him, sits in it and says:
- Sure and ye'd be better not to do that right now, here, where everyone and anyone could see it, like. Because you and me both know what it is, sure - Christ and I could smell the angel skin a mile off - and, well, let's just say there's some as would cut your right arm off just to get their greasy fookin fingers on it. Not their right arm, mind. Yours.
The man peels Reynard's hand from the page, picks it up and folds it, gives it back to Reynard.
- Ye want to keep that tucked away for now. Christ, don't ye know that there's a fookin war on?
Reynard puts the vellum in his pocket, numb with questions.
- King Finn, says the man.
He waves at a waitor.
- Kave, grazzis.
Reynard finds himself shaking hands.
- No doubt yer a little confused and all, having only just arrived right in the middle of things, but sure and isn't that life for ye? It'd be nice to think that the little folk like yerself and yours truly would be in on the grand schemes of the Powers-That-Be right from the off, but sadly that's not the way it works. No, we're just the ones wake up one day and realise that the world's gone fookin mental and it's us that has to deal with the big pile of shite the Powers-That-Be have gone and got us all up to our eyeballs in.
Who? What? Where? How? Why?
- Anyway, if I could make sense of it to ye here and now, I would, believe me, but, ye see, that's your job - if ye'll take it, like. And seeing as how yer carrying that wee bit of the Book about with you, I hate to say it, but I think ye'll find it's what yer meant to do. To make sense of it all.
The Irishman takes his coffee from the waitor, smiles and nods his thanks.
- Cause sure and it doesn't make any fookin sense to me, he says.