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The Golden Age

Updated on March 12, 2021

A Mystery

Did anyone ever tell you there was a time when we led very different lives, simpler lives, lives in which men were more attuned to the earth and our own feelings? They might have used words like "natural" to describe this time, and indeed it was so, for with each day of toil in the Aegean sea, hauling fish onto their boats then rowing painfully, triumphantly home, they connected ever more closely with the sun and the very essence of their being.

I was at the party of someone called Yvette and was drinking wine. In my coat I found a piece of paper. Where did I last wear this jacket? I tried to recall, but I just couldn't remember. I knew I wore it to a wedding once, but that was some time ago. I must have worn it since then.

"What's that you have there," said Tom.

"It's a number."

"One of your admirers?" said Tom

"Must be. Wish I knew whose it was," I said. The number was written in an elegant, cursive script.

"Ring it," said Tom.

"Not sure," I said.

"Don't be so pathetic," said Tom

"I just can't ring it and say, hello, who are you?" I said.

"Why not? I would," said Tom. "Here, give it to me. I`ll ring it."

"Oh no! No way!"

"You are just absurd. Ring it. Go on. Here is a phone," said Tom.

He pushed the phone at me. We were in the kitchen of the party sitting at the table there. There was someone there looking for something.

"There's more wine here," said Tom.

"Not wine," said the man. He had long curly hair and was wearing sandals. "Beer."

Tom looked at me. I was a bit worried that he would make a comment about the man. He could be quite aggressive sometimes.

"I thought Jesus drank wine," he said to the man.

"Very funny," said the man. "Where's the beer?"

"Fridge," said Tom.

"Oh, yeah, right," said the man. He got some beer out of the fridge. The he went out.

"Okay, he's gone now," said Tom. here: phone.

I dialled the number.

"Hello," said a voice.

"Hi," I said. "It's really hard to hear you."

"That's `cos I'm in a fucking club," shouted the voice

"O," I said.

"Is that you, Phillip?" She said.

"No, it's Caspasian," I said.

"God Almighty, I don't believe you," she said.

"Listen," I said," I can hardly hear you."

"Call me later," the voice said,


But the phone went dead then.

"Who was it?" said Tom.

"Not sure," I said. "I have to call her later. She was at some club."

"Fine, I can wait," said Tom. "Then we are going to meet her and you're going to have some fun for a change."

"Let's go through to the other room."

The man from earlier was in the hallway looking through some cigarette boxes for a cigarette.

"Jesus!" said Tom.

"Hey, have you a cigarette?" said the man.

"Scrounger," said Tom

"Chill out Man," said the man.

"What happens next?" Said Tom.

"I'm not sure," I said. I was getting tired of his aggression. "I am going to talk the them. I went over to a couple of people." They looked at me queerly. Tom took a look at them and wandered back to the kitchen.

I'm Caspasian," I said.

"Nice name," said the girl. "I'm Ann." Her companion wandered off.

Ann had brown hair. She was wearing jeans and a sweat shirt. I became bored with her quite soon.

When you meet some people you feel free to tell them about who you are, and they don't seem to mind at all. With others you feel robbed and empty, and at a loss to perceive why others might find you interesting at all.

Those thoughts were in my mind and I was even thinking of re-joining Tom when I heard and Ann and I rushed upstairs where a body lay, comatose, on the bed.

O fuck, said someone.

She's dead.

It certainly seemed that way. The body was quite pale, in a black dress. There was a cut across her neck.

Get Yvette, said someone.

Jesus came into the room with his beer can in his hand. "O Christ," he said., "what the fuck`s going on?"

"She's dead," said someone. "Go and get Yvette."

Jesus ran out of the room. "Yvette! Yvette," he shouted.

"Jesus", said Yvette wandering into the hall downstairs. "What he fuck`s the matter?" She was carrying a huge joint. She drew from it.

"There's a dead woman in this room."

Yvette was quite stoned. "Call the fucking police for Christ's sake."

She disappeared back into the living room.

I stood there, Jesus came back into the room. He took a look at the dead girl. "O Jesus," he said, "We'd better do something. Have you a phone?"

"There's one there," I said. There was an extension phone on a low table beside the bed, I decided to go, I was tired of the corpse and I didn't want to have to deal with the police.

I left Jesus and went down t the kitchen. Tom was still there. He was staring into space. "Tom, we have to go," I said,. "O," said Tom. "Where to?"

"Anywhere," I said.

"Did you phone that girl?" said Tom.

"No," I said. "I forgot."

"For Gods sake call her," said Tom.

"Okay," I said. "Let's get out of here first."

We were walking through a street in Belsize Park. It was a delicious summer night, the streetlamps reflected yellow and crisp off the Mercedes Benzes and Daimlers lining the road. Tom walked down the middle of the road smoking. Every now and again the wind hushed through the trees.

I dialled the number.

"Phillip," said the voice.

"No, It's Caspsian," I replied.

"Hey! I thought you were Phillip."

"No. No It's Caspasian," I said.

"Find out who it is," said Tom.

"I don't remember you," said the voice.

"Listen," I said.

"What?" she said.

"Who are you?"

The voice laughed. "Oh for fuck`s sake."

"Sorry," I said.

She put down the phone.

"What did she say?" asked Tom.

She said, "For fuck`s sake."

"You fair screwed that up," said Tom.

"Piss off," I said. I really was sick of his aggression.

"What happens next," asked Tom.

"I go home," I said. "You can do what you please."

"What time is it?" asked Tom.

"Three am."

"See you then."

"See you Tom. "

It wasn't that far to where I lived. I might have liked to have invited Tom back to do a sort of post mortem on the evening and drink more, but he was in such a combative mood that I preferred to walk alone, up the hill to West Hampstead where I had a tiny flat.

The flat I had was on one of the roads off West End Lane. It was one of those flats that impose a certain culture on you almost immediately. This flat had a funny smell of plywood, I always thought. If you entered the flat then on the left when you came in was a tiny kitchen, which was barely large enough for frying an egg. On the right, however, was a giant room, full of light with a view of Swiss Cottage below., and it seemed the natural thing to sit there on the window seats and drink wine.

I had a little grass n my pocket so I made a tiny joint and drank a bit. It was almost morning and I could se the sun begin to rise.

Opposite the window was an easel. The picture was all right: I really felt I was getting somewhere. Opposite the window was the subject: a bottle, a skull and a glass. The light coming though made everything very clear and I felt right about everything.

Tadeusz Deregowski 2007


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