Sesame Seed: Chapter Six.

by | Aug 30, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

“I want you to come here, Tony. I wanted you both to come. My treat,”

Tony gripped the wreckage and pulled it to his chest. Blood smeared on his shirt and he felt the sharp stab of pain. There was a battle going on in his head between the demons of the forbidden space and the need to hear from Dem. The latter won in a surge of empathy and he got up from the bed. He left the tiny room and stood at the door of their bedroom. What seemed like hours passed as he relived half a lifetime of memories.

As he stood with his sticky red hand on the spherical brass door handle, events appeared around him. Furniture passed through the door in a ghostly replay of their first day in the house. Children of various ages ran in and out. Babies cried and voices were raised. A door slammed in anger and he snapped back to reality.

Tony turned the handle which slipped under the slimy redness of his own blood. His blood, not hers like last time. The show that played was darker, and more horrific than the family scenes of a few moments earlier. His grip tightened and the pain increased as the alien piece of glass lost itself in his thumb. The door swung open and his senses were overcome by familiarity. He staggered to the bedside drawer and scrambled through it, clawing at the multitude of miscellaneous shit that cluttered it.

Phone, charger, done. He backed out of the room and pulled the door shut. The brown-red smears he’d left gave him one more kick in the tender part of his memory. No Scene of Crime, no fingerprints, no paper suits, and no pointing fingers. A calmness settled over him as he held the two handsets up to his eyes. One dead, broken, useless. The other was immaculate but, until then, redundant.

Tony walked slowly downstairs to the kitchen. He placed the two phones on the worktop side by side and turned on the tap. Waiting for the water to heat up, he ran his hands under the warm flow, gingerly searching for the errant piece of glass.  The pain directed him to its source and he removed the sliver with a wince. He dried his hands and placed a plaster over the tiny cut. So small, but so much blood, he thought. If only life was like that. Hidden by a piece of flesh-coloured plastic.

He returned to the handsets and transferred the SIM card, still in a state of tranquillity.  Not fazed by the replacement’s inert state, he connected it to the charger. The tiny LED glowed red.

Tony waited a few minutes for the charger to breathe life into the dead handset, then fumbled for the power button on the old Sony. The screen flashed into life with a picture of Marie and him in La Rochelle. He could see the Giant clock tower peeping over his late wife’s shoulder. He closed his eyes and held the phone to his bloody chest. It vibrated in his hand and the home screen was replaced by the tiny avatar of the young Greek.

“Dem? I’m sorry. I had to change the phone. Did you ring back?” Tony breathed, his heart racing in anticipation of the young man’s reaction.

“Yes boss, I tried several times. I thought you didn’t want to speak to me. How can this have happened? Will you tell me please?” Dem was breathing heavily as if he’d been running. Their breaths exchanged in the ensuing silence. Tony couldn’t speak and Dem was waiting for an answer. What seemed like an age passed between the two men.

“What did you want to propose mate?” It was all he could muster, a neutral request, sterile of the emotions that clung to every other thought in his head.

“You don’t want to talk, yeah? I get it. I understand. Oh boy.” Another of Dem’s expressions.

“I’m sorry for this fella. It’s so raw. Tell me about you.” Tony desperately tried to shift the conversation away from the tragedy that had occupied his every thought.

“I want you to come here, Tony. I wanted you both to come. My treat,” Dem broke down again. His sobs were like slaps to Tony’s face as his own tears returned.

“I’m on my way. Let me know the arrangements.” Tony’s spontaneous response surprised even himself. There was a loud hoot from the other man as he blew his nose and cleared his throat. His voice raised an octave.

“Really? You’re actually coming? That’s incredible. You won’t regret it, I swear. I’ll email you the flight tickets. Oh boy!” Dem was jumping now and Tony knew he’d done the right thing.

“Now go and chill young fella. Hug that lovely family of yours and I’ll tell you all about it when I come.” He drew on all of his reserves to send his friend on his way. It was now up to him to make this work. He scrolled through his contacts and found Alan’s number. After three rings, his friend answered.

“Tony, what’s happening? Everything OK?” Alan’s tone was the complete opposite of the emotional Greek’s. Like silk and sandpaper. Tony immediately felt at ease.

“I’m going to Doha. It’s in Qatar, “Tony replied.

“That’s good mate. I know where it is.” There wasn’t a hint of surprise or curiosity in the big man’s response.

“Don’t you want to know why?” Tony was taken aback by Alan’s laid back response.

“I’m sure you are going to tell me and I am equally sure that you will have a great time. When is this epic trip?” Alan always seemed to know exactly what to say. Tony’s enthusiasm for the trip doubled following his friend’s matter-of-fact acceptance of the plan.

“A week on Tuesday, So Melrose is still on. I’ll tell you all about it then,” Tony said, scratching his chin. All of a sudden, his diary was full and he had a lot of telling to do. He was grateful for the opportunity to discuss the impending encounter with Dem.

“Grand, I’ll pick you up this Tuesday, around four.” Alan’s tone remained neutral.

“Four it is. See you then big fella.” Tony hung up and put the phone on the bedside table. He gave his chin a further rub and smiled, spontaneously, for the first time in many weeks.

His mood had changed, and he became curious about the young woman on Facebook. He uploaded the app, logged in, and checked out her profile. Her eyes still disturbed him but his curiosity won over. He began scrolling through the many photographs of an obviously happy and vivacious young woman. However, in every single shot, he recognised something. He couldn’t put his finger on it but a deep melancholy surrounded her, no matter how joyful the occasion was. He blanked the thought from his mind and investigated further. One word jumped out at him, to the point where he almost dropped the phone.

Lives in Doha, Qatar

Works in Doha, Qatar

Doha, the place he was destined for in just over a week. His finger hovered over the accept button, shaking. The smile had gone from his lips and his world began to spin. He placed the handset on the bench and backed against the wall. Something was going on that seemed beyond his control. Other forces were at work in his life.

Chapter Seven

Doha, Qatar. The day before.

“Why do you constantly get it wrong?” Andreas Lindgaard stood over the young woman cowering below him. He was dressed in a black suit…

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