Sometimes flashes of inspiration come at the most inopportune times. Whilst locked in a passionate embrace with one’s loved one is but one example. For writer and war hero Freddy Periwinkle it was slightly different, he was locked in a passionate embrace with his next-door neighbour’s loved one in a small hotel on the South coast when a flash came to him. Glancing up from the matter in hand, he divined the pattern on the wallpaper. It was florid patterned wallpaper with a cacophony of vivid red, blue and yellow blotches swirling about in a field of what looked like mauve dead rhubarb stalks. This vision of dissonance prompted him to stop what he was doing and reflect on divine guidance.
Whilst he was ruminating, Dardanella, his partner in passion, didn’t notice Freddy had been distracted, she was used to intermissions due, she surmised, for the need to get his breath back. However, after five minutes of inactivity, her suspicions of other forces being involved were aroused when Freddy shot out of bed muttering exultations to unseen gods. ‘Is it cramp’, she asked, reaching for a cigarette.
‘Cramp,’ he said, staring wildly back at the bed, ‘cramp, no it’s not cramp, It’s a sign. I have been called.’
‘I didn’t hear the phone ring,’ said Dardanella.
‘Elysian fields. I have been called by Perseus and, and the King and Queen of Thebes.’
‘Oh, that’s very nice,’ she replied, getting out of bed, ‘I’m going to have a bath.’
‘Well, they don’t think Homer did a very good job with his Odyssey. They reckon I’m the very chap to put matters right.’
‘Will it take long?’ said Dardanella. Freddy wasn’t listening, he unpacked his laptop and started putting Homer right.
Dardanella shrugged and retired to the bathroom, ran a bath, poured in a goodly amount of foam inducing dead sea bath salts and sank beneath the lather. She was not what you would call ‘worldly wise,’ more sort of ‘worldly witless’, but knew when she was on to a good thing.
The good thing, after sitting and staring at a blank page for ten minutes decided to google Homer’s Oddysey. Half an hour later and being none the wiser regarding Homer’s illumination he spent the next hour reading Euripides, Pausanias, Philostratus and Virgil’s thoughts on the matter and was still at a loss. He studied the wallpaper again
Dardanella, in the meantime, having soaked her body in the dead sea until her eyes watered dried herself off and gave herself an all over body beautification starting with a pedicure and ending with an elaborate coiffure. She wrapped a bath towel around her and came back into the bedroom. Freddy was still staring at the wallpaper, the laptop still perched on his knees.
‘Have you finished?’ she said. ‘I’m getting hungry.’ There was no reply, there was no anything. She went closer. His eyes were glassy, he was very white and he was very dead. She glanced at the computer. His last words were, ‘It wasn’t a sign it was a bloody omen’.