40. The Time of the Child
- Read! She says
Love of the People
- You have read the newspapers! He followed a duck which had left the river heavily, as if it had difficulty raising its large body, and which now passed the summit of the trees lining the banks.
- What a bloody kid, this Stéphane! …
He was called now « STEPHANE ». Everyone knew what that meant. Bret smiles, happy. He lifted the cup of tea to his lips to mask this smile to Mrs Germaine.
- You realize, Mr Nocquet, everybody is nagging this kid! … Look! I tell you, there would be need more kids like that to change this bloody world of selfish ones… You realize, My Good Mister, a true wall of silence which one has made around him so that he does not speak! But the journalists start being interested in it! … Eh; Too bad for the bottom of all those who did not want to let him speak! … You have seen, it is now the Bishop who is really in a bit of a mess and who does not know what to say and to invent to cover his priest who is not worth a rabbit fart of courage…
- Germaine! … Please leave Mr Nocquet quiet. You can see he is at home to rest.
- Rested or not, it is not possible to give quite a turn with a similar story! And this BRET, this Famous Special Superintendent, as they say to throw up of this grand-sounding title, eh? what does he make for this kid, eh? … NOTHING. Here is the truth. It is not true Mr Nocquet?
- Look, Albert, you see well! Mr Nocquet is in the know, must not believe and he agrees with me that this famous Bret he does not give a shit. May be that he is having an easy time, this one! … Come on, fortunately that there are still the journalists to save the setting to the poor people in the pain because if we should count on THEM, those which we pay! …
- Germaine! … Please… do not start with your stories on the Government.
- And why I would not say what I think! Look, you. Albert, you find normal that one makes come an Expert from China, all expenses paid and so on to never hear from him! It is quite simple, ONE does not even know where he is, you find that normal, Mr Nocquet?
- Not at all.
- Listen, I said it well to you Albert, the Good Mister, he agrees again with me.
- You would go fishing with me, presently?
- Thank you… I must go to Paris to work this morning.
- What bloody job that yours. On evenings and on mornings; that must be tiring… I heard you returning this night…rather this morning, it would be righter. And already going out again after the breakfast.
- We get used to it; and it is not every days.
He wanted to phone Chity, to ask him to put the soft pedal not to have to give away information on Jose’s band yet. He needed again two days for setting a trap started yesterday at the evening. Bloody Yoko! What invaluable time she made him lose.
But too bad for her; a mug was needed. It will be her. He does not know how she will emerge from it but he does not worry about it. The Destiny. The Interdependence of the phenomena. She could have been an actor acting as Master never mind, she will be « in submission ». One should not feel sorry for those who moan about the consequences of their own actions… The non-action is also an action like told him so often Small Father.
It was her or Cola. He knew it; it is for that which he was so furious of her defection! In fact, she believed herself above reprisals because she estimated that she was loved by him. He knew that she thought that but she did not know that at the same time, this security that she believed to have obtained, decreased her to him. He believed yesterday evening, while leaving the inn that he will have to lose a little of the revenge of Steph, that he could not go until the end because of her which dropped him now, where things that he had gathered on the indications of the child were finally going to be tied, a so solid, so vicious node, which THEY were all of them going to be caught in it!
And then, the destiny, the intuition perhaps unless it is the chance… In front of the moral deterioration of José and of the teacher, he had perceived fleetingly a possibility of highway junction. He had followed it without believing in it too much, seeking its energy, its support… And then he had seen that it was going to be ok… Yoko will be game since she has given up her place of hunter. Only.
- Chity… I need two more days before you revealed the existence of the bar of Tonio-José-Tarin-Zaïmi.
- Soft pedal?
- OK, you get it.
- I continue on the teacher, the priest, the cops… I still have a lot on one’s plate… Listen, we have just received confidential information of the Ministry of the Interior to prepare a press conference of the Minister. Tomorrow.
- Normal. In the continuity of the things.
- Normal for YOU, Mister the Prince… Me, on the other hand, I must say that I can’t get over all the letters that we receive from people to thank us for our action for this kid.
- Good, since it is you who said it, Mr the Archduke… But what you do not know, and I you will impress you, they say all in these letters that…:
- I am a good-for-nothing and fortunately that YOU…
- Come on, Mr the Archduke, I would like one day to teach you a small something… It is frustrating! It is me the journalist, at least!
- Normal! The reactions of people. I wanted it thus.
- But why, My God! … A bit of AD for you would not have disrupted your career, on the contrary.
- It was necessary that the kid remains alone in front of the projectors. I would have made him shade.
- But why, for God’s sake?
- He had settled a play. I play it for him… since he is not there anymore.
- You are a curious guy, BRET… Eh, there are people who ask me whether it is your true name.
- Good, you leave aside the bar of José and Tonio for the moment. I will beckoned to you.
- Moreover, it suits me! … Enough info yet to pass on the kid and the cops lose their marbles in the both fist fights and the crime of Tonio’s woman. They seek settling of scores between bands side; are at years light of a bringing together with the Cola’s case. That will really be a bolt out of the blue when WE learn to them… For that, I am able to receive the Sprinberg price of the year!
- Ciao… Continue like that; it is well.
- Bye, Mister the Prince… Eh! One more word… I would not like to be in your skin!
It was raining on Paris, a small fine rain which he had found yesterday evening and which was continuing.
He had come here, to the Ile de la Citée because he had initially thought of observing what was going to occur street Mouftard. Now, with this small thin rain which made him raise the collar of the jacket, he did not know very well anymore. On the Marne, it was the mist, not the rain. It is pleasant to walk in the mist. The droplets in suspension wet initially the hair but one realizes it only while passing the hand on it. It was the astonishment to note this wet hand whereas the face only appeared fresh; it was also going to take water, then the lashes would become heavy with rain. Then, one will really have the feeling of rain and one will shiver while closing again the raincoat.
He did not have that in his things. The inn-keeper will surely find one which suits him.
He had left the BMW close to a gate of the ring road. Circulation in Paris was far too infernal.
- Hey! You have heard the radio presently… The Police chief of district which is moved… Well, STEPHANE, you know?
He thought suddenly that it missed one piece of information to finish this file off.
- Change. Bring me to the police station of Clichy.
The driver looked at him in the rear view mirror.
- Eh, you are journalist? … It is for STEPHANE!
I will not want to encumber your ears in the early morning, but must not believe that my entry in the police station went unnoticed. As soon as a police officer saw me, he blew his top with deep breaths « ATTENTION! » And everyone solidified standing to attention with the little finger on the seam of the trousers.
Me, you know me, really sympathetic, without resentment never, always to want to pass unperceived… In short, the perfect son-in-law and I must acknowledge you my astonishment of the very significant reduction in marriage proposals? Would there be a small something which is wrong?
- OK! guys… The first which wants to shit does it upright; the following will be allowed to get his kek off and the third only will be entitled to the john.
- Mister the Special Chief Superintendent, in the absence of the Captain at the Police station, as the Captain is moved and that Management has not nominated another Captain yet, Me, sergeant Tatu, oldest in rank, making function of Captain while waiting of a Captain, I allow myself to invite you in my office, Mister the Special Chief Superintendent detached by the Elysée…
Me, what impresses me, it is that he did not take his breathing again on the way.
- No need, dear Temporary Captain Colleague, I need only one information from the police officer which accompanied the Captain in his investigation the day of STEPHANE’s death.
- Police officer DIDOLO… DIDOLO! leave the rows!
- Mister the Chief Superin…
- Ok! guy, enough… Tell me, you have well looked at this famous cellar?
- Of course! …, it is even me which had to do all the job in the coal soot… You can believe that I was made to feel unwelcome by my wife because these things, it is not paid as a bonus, cleaning side …
- Good, I see that your wife did not cut your tongue. Precisely, it is it which interests me.
- At your command, Mister the Chief Superin …
- In this cellar,was there a rope?
- There was even lots! … I do not know, about ten… You know, of these ropes which are used to hang the coal bags by…
- And… think well… On the bag which crushed the child, was there also a rope.
- Affirmative! It was tied at an angle of the bag.
- Now… the subsidiary question… On which side was this cord?
- Side of the body, Mister the Chief Superintendent.
- Well… How much did the cleaning of your uniform cost you?
- Two hundred and fifty! … A shame… It has had to be twice at the dry cleaner, it appears!
- Well, here they are.
The one who could help the child.
And well, now, not to hide you anything, we drive together towards the residence of the named Tarin, Paul of his first name.
Five thirty a.m. when my sesame opens the reinforced carriage entrance of the « old town house » now chucked in luxury flats. Two per stage. At ease, they are, the guys! Five minutes later, it is the door of the flat which spits its combination. Just remain me to check if the mistress of the premises wears one, her, during the night. Because a woman exists here. Everything breathes her. The perfume like the decoration, the bouquets… A good middle-class woman touched over her comfort who does not look too much at how her husband gains his dough.
Just remain to visit. I would say to you that it is surely the thing that I prefer in my job of killer. To visit. The flats, it is not believable how that reveals intimacies of people … especially if you look at in the cupboards, the drawers, check the pending invoices at the bottom of a writing desk, take the mark and the size of the underclothings, of the stockings, of the suspenders, and then sometimes you find curious things slipped under the furnitures, under the shirts… curious things like cartoons, riding crops, thin lashes, laces, things to make men look like women, but only when they have an intense desire to evacuate a few cubic centimeters of a whitish product, a little oily in a paste, you know, the thing that one needs pressure to send it. One even makes sometimes contests of distance of launching.
There are flats where you have the pout permanently. Some others where that dead stinks. Some others where it seems to you that you walk in a museum, or at least, in a stand of decoration.
There are some others where you would like to sit down and wait for the owners to talk between friends.
You want to know how is that of Tarin, since I visit shameless, having immediately located the room from where a snore pursued by a thin sigh emanates.
And well, that made clean, nice, welcoming, without ostentation, good quiet middle-class who has dough, culture, which goes to the mass on Sunday, who does not shag the maid, who does not have a stuck-up woman… An interior of happy woman, I say to you. Well… we would like to know her the woman. Just to chat with her. Because there are interiors which seduce. That one is one of them. The Tarin, he has got a flair for choosing his bird. Because they are married, naturally.
Hold on, what I said to you! Suffice to ask to be served with me. She is red. Sure. Absolutely. Completely. Come on, have confidence! You do not want to enter all the same the room with me. It is indiscreet. Especially that the lady does not wear slip.
And then, they like their eases in serious people. What a bed! It fits the bill. Two meters fifty at least. Then, you understand, each one takes his eases. Each one takes her eases too. And the flat not being heated at cut-price, one duvet is enough which went flying rather far.
And me. What do you want that I do, in all this mess. I came to question Tarin, Paul of his first name, and I am in a charming place, with an ambiance idem, a great woman who has all what is necessary everywhere where it is necessary, and a guy, which really, when he sleeps looks like a little sulky, a little unhappy child. He has lost his fluency, his arrogance.
What do you want me to do?
And well… I sit down… and I look at… and I meditate… and perhaps that I fell asleep a little.
- Oh! … but what are you doing here?
She is in front of me, draped in her nudity as would say a writer guy who would seek to make figuration. Not disturbed at all. Not a shit for a hair. A woman who does not show herself but which does not make a fuss of it if an end of her thighs is hanging out of her skirt when she gets into the car. An evolved woman. The perfume, the feeling… True, all that.
Not ordinary this Tarin. At least, I really have the feeling that it is the TARINE, not ordinary.
- I wait for Paul, I tell her in reflex.
What would you do in my situation. Normal to wait in the room for the guy whom one came to see, isn’t it… It is the latest fashion « in » of our culture. And to eye up her naked wife. Must not be sectarian, guys. One is there to help each other, really!
In front of me I breathe her belly. The perfume which floats in these places is her odor. No addition. Not ordinary, this TARINE. I know this odor. And my heart opens as it has not done it since a very long time in front of the men…
- Come…she repeated, almost a whisper.
She deviated and reached the door of the room.On the way, she grabbed a dressing gown on the file of an armchair Louis XV. She donned it while walking, without stopping going towards the door which I knew to be the living room. I follow.
In the kitchen, naturally, I settle at the small wood table. The chairs are in straw, as in the old farms. Naturally, she places a bowl in front of me. Another in front of her which remains upright. Not to look at me. She prepares the food of the awaking.
- Do you want a glass of clayish water, before breakfast… I always prepare two of them the evening… but Paul often forgets.
I did not know that one can still drink that nowadays, apart from in monasteries like mine. Sorry, « Small Father » like yours.
- Yes… I drink it each morning.
- I… No coffee, I believe… A little strong tea? … I take « TUOCHA » and adds water all day long… But…
- Where do you come from thus? … Sorry… But…
Here! Time has been just shortened. What beauty! I stir the clay at the bottom of the glass with the end of the wooden spoon. Then I drink the whole in three fast mouthfuls. They seem to me an eternity. THEY SEEM TO ME AN ETERNITY. I want to write correct. The truth does not support the creases. I see each vein of my hand beating under my skin. The distance does not exist anymore. No more observer. Thus nothing to observe anymore. The fixed point which will move as a door which beats at the rhythm of a breathing which passes, has passed, will not return anymore…
- but… You are so… I did not think anymore that I could find that… she says
- Resting… However… she continued
- There is no place to rest at the men… and…
- I looked at you sleeping… half an hour, perhaps. You seemed so tired! … And you have rested me, me who looked at you sleeping, she chuckled.
- I did not think anymore of finding that! …
- You seemed so tired… I did not have anymore the right to feel mine… You have rested me… I did not believe anymore to know that again.
- This rest. This load which slips of your shoulders…
- You come for Paul, don't you? … But you come from far, from very far.
- Him, he believes that you come to arrest him… He does not hide me anything you know… You are the one which one calls ANGEL BRET? Aren’t you… the Special Chief Superintendent …
- Special… yes… very special… You come from far… Not to arrest him… To kill him, isn't it?
- You have chosen another way that me, haven't you?
- But both of us are right, aren't we?
- Does the tea suit you?
- You will kill him?
- For the death of this child?
- He came one day to the door… He did not dare to ring. But I felt a presence. I opened…
- He staid contrite… I took him by the hand.
- I firstly guided him in the flat… I made him visited everything. I opened the cupboards to him. He looked at, almost motionless. His hand did not leave mine…
- Then I stretched his hand towards the wood of the tables, of the cupboards.
- I wanted to make him feel the weft of the fabrics, the linen and…
- That all that was work… IS work… That some benevolence was there too…
- That one did not have to cry.
- He is dead, now.
- I did not know how to give him joy… Too late perhaps.
- Paul did not kill him.
- I knew that you… You could not mislead you so heavily.
- I did not know how to retain his life… He sat down on the straw-bottomed chair, the one beside you. He looked at. He did not dare to touch. I wanted him to touch. He has to agree to live! … I did not know how to do… Do you know what he said while leaving: « do not cry Madam, I will not touch at your husband »… I was suddenly very afraid for him.
- I prepare a kind of vegetable and rice soup for the morning. Do you want some? … one does not easily lose the habits to ask, is not it… Do you want some? You come from so far! … A large bowl?
- You come from the bottom of the earth, don't you?
- From where I bring back small stones… when I streched out the hand in front of me.
- That makes such a long time that I did not see a man returning from there!
- One never should despair… I would have liked that he understands, this child… Perhaps I did not know to find the gestures.
- I do not believe.
- Thank you. It was too late, wasn't it?
- I often thought of him… I believe… Yes, I believe that he had not had the chance to have a benevolent glance on him. hadn't he?
- Everything was thus turning against him.
- What sadness! … All his actions came back against him in evil! …
- I do not have a child… There are those of the others… And then, I already had so many of them… From the bottom of my garden, I see the world, do you know?
- You jumped suddenly, you too?
She sat opposite me on a straw-bottomed chair which keeps the buttocks warm, the rice soup bowl between the hands. Her strong fingers are those which excavate the earth. She remains at the bottom of her garden to listen to the Universe. Her thin silhouette in the dressing gown closed on her chest lights the garden which I did not see but that I know cleared out of what encumbers. Day after day the hands have excavated the earth. The clayish drink of the morning is a witness of it. She has found the niche of the creation. And the energy passes in her like a brook bottomless.
- It is well, she says.
- If I ask you not to kill him, will you do it?
- Then… I ask it to you.
- It will be hard for him?
- It will pay for a fault which he will not have made…
- It is well.
She stood up, went to seek the teapot on the hotplate. She walked round the table and served me another bowl. The jet passed very close to my forearm, slipped between my hands which held the bowl in front of my chest. The liquid came on the ceramics wall and rose with the rise of the level of the tea. The jet did not touch the liquid. No splash. No jolting in my hands.
She has acted without looking at herself doing. And she puts back the teapot in the middle of the small table, on a wicker mat. And she remains there, upright beside me, the arms along the body.
- It is hard? … Do not answer! … It is stupid… Hard, hard, hard… I know. I remain motionless. You, you move… But you must show the immobility in the movement, don't you? No, do not answer… I know. Hard… Have you a place to take refuge?
- It is well… You have to leave, now. Here, is not your place. You have just passed… Do not delay you… I will go at the bottom of my garden… I believe that today plants will open out. They will be marvellous! … Go away, my friend from the bottom of the earth. I will be able to lead Paul to face the life. It is my immobility… Be strong in yours, my friend… my friend… Thank you. I did not believe to still see one of them anymore … Hard. Hard.
I stood up. I surrounded her chest with my arms. I held tight. She turned towards me. She surrounded my chest with her arms. She held tight.
I did not look behind me. She did not look at me leaving.
- It is well, whispered Heidi with the end of the lips… He could meet a friend!
Tong has not spoken anymore since yesterday. He knew his words so imperfect. During the night he had a dream in his sleep. A voice said to him « that he was to look at the young mountain person to live and to move… and that he will enter the true life by her… because she is the door for him »
At the small day, he felt in his body the burn of these words and he knew that it was not a dream.
Then he looked at and did not seek anymore to understand.
- He said to me that there is always a friend somewhere… At the place and the moment that one awaits less…
… But he also said that if one is not vigilant enough, one does not perceive the reality of this friend.
She looked at Tong. She used him as a mirror. She perceived in his eyes the sense of the words which left her lips.
- WHY? I asked him.
- Because one has already a « certainty » of what one will find… and one does not perceive the reality anymore, he answered me.
- But how do you know all that? … You are hardly twenty years old!
He smiles and this smile gave sadness to the mountains.
-It suffices to be at the good place at the right moment… and the training is fast, he said with suffering running of his heart.
She remained in silence and a slow smile increases on her cheeks. Tong followed each movement of fibers of the face.
- It is beautiful, she says… He was a True Man, that « Angel » !
- Why, asked the long monk.
She carried the eyes on him. He perceived mist in them.
- Because he gave her what she required…
These words slipped into the silence of the bedroom as a caress on the empty bed.