By sean mcnulty
He was in a museum. So was Orla. She was across the room from him. She hadn’t seen him. She was looking at the other exhibits. Soon she would have to pass by him. One quiet revolution was all that was needed. And then he came wandering in. To ruin everything again. He was out of uniform. In a fancy suit. They were both museum-clad, in fact. They glided from artefact to artefact. Routine effigy to routiner. Blah-blah-blah. They stopped at Ancient Egypt and had a look. What was so interesting about all that? They stood there for a while in front of a fucking mummy. And then moved off again.
When they got closer to his noble mount, they stopped. Then they were whispering in one another’s ears. No talking in here, he wanted to say. Have some fucking respect. But they couldn’t hear him. Then they just walked past. Not a glance. Bastards. For no good reason at all she scarpered.
Then the room was empty. And it was just him and the other relics. Next thing he was being manhandled; he was tipped on his side and carried into another room; and then he was put into a box and shipped off to New York where he was to be displayed for a few weeks. And who knew where to after. She might never see him now.
Littlewood took the pot with Halda’s now departed rose and put it in the cupboard below the cockpit panel with the rest of them; he then reminded himself not to share this naked dreamland episode with those bloody shrinks. They’d eat it right up. Or if it did arise in conversation, for whatever reason, he would be sure to alter some details to throw them off the scent of his woes.