Jasmine makes a guess

 

There hasn’t been much time this week, either to write or to think about what to put in this blog. Two things have been occupying the time. The first was the exciting but daunting (because of the financial implications) occasion of picking up our new car. I will not say more about that yet as I’m considering writing a blog all about it. (exciting, eh!)

The second was a celebration. A big one. It was Alison’s birthday; one of those which has significance because of the human infatuation with base ten. If we counted on base eight or any other number it wouldn’t have been special at all but these decadal events give us pause for thought.

It’s always fun to celebrate a birthday whether it’s one’s own or of someone close. The cards, the presents, the special meals or activities make it a pleasurable event. That is a consequence of living in the present. But we inhabit time and we also live in our past and our future. Remembering what has come before, birthdays especially, is pleasant but nostalgia is not always good. It is indeed a form of mental disease – a yearning for the past which can’t be re-lived. Looking to the future is also fun; anticipating exciting and rewarding events, like picking  up a new car; looking forward to spending time with a lover or loved ones.. Nevertheless as the birthday count mounts considering the future brings worries. We all know that no-one can escape their own death. Life is a limited period of time. We worry about when the end will come and whether it will be accompanied by pain and distress (for ourselves and those close to us). It can be hard to put those worries to the back of one’s mind and to concentrate on the pleasures and tasks of the present and the enjoyable bits of the future that await us.

This thinking about time and our life in it has arisen partly because we went to see the film Arrival, last week and I have since been reading the anthology by Ted Chiang, from which the source story comes. It is a cerebral SF film (for a change) which is visually excellent but more important, with some interesting ideas. One of these is, what if, like the aliens in the film, we experienced all of our lives simultaneously or put another way we didn’t experience time as one moment followed by another. Cause and effect would cease to be the main consideration. It may also mean that we lose free will. However neuro science has shown that we rarely, if ever, exercise free will over our actions. Our sub-conscious brain has usually initiated an action before we are aware of the decision to be made. Are we then just observers of the passage of time with the present no different to the past or the future? Whatever, I hope there will be a lot more of Alison’s  and my birthdays, to celebrate.

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{Two images of autumn. The first perhaps looking back to the summer and the other towards Christmas.}

………………….

A slightly short episode of Falloff this week, as time was short. I hope it keeps the plot ticking along.

Falloff: Part 4

Angela looked at James. ‘What about that?’
‘I think Inspector Alvarez knows he’s investigating a murder.’
‘Because of her fingers?’
‘Partly.’
‘What else?’ Angela queried.
‘What you told him?’
Angela’s eyes widened. ‘What I told him? I didn’t tell him anything,’
‘Yes, you did. You said that the door to Raquel’s room was opened and closed twice. Since we know that Raquel didn’t leave, then at least one person must have come in and joined her.
Angela nodded slowly. ‘So, you think that proves there was someone with Raquel when she fell?’
James sat on the bed, his forehead creased as he thought.  ‘Yes.’
‘But the second time I heard the door open could have been the other people leaving Raquel on her own. She may have committed suicide.’
James shook his head. ‘I’m sure it’s murder. I expect Alvarez’s team have have done a forensic sweep of the room by now and I bet they found traces of her blood and nails on the balcony.’
Angela shrugged. ‘You’re guessing.’
‘No, the fingers point to murder and I’m sure the door openings mean someone joined her.’
Angela shrugged. ‘If Alvarez agrees with you he’ll need more evidence than your hunch. You didn’t tell him what she said before she died. The “car. . .”.’
James screwed up his face. ‘Well, I don’t know. It could be nothing or it could be the name of someone with nothing to do with her fall. I don’t know.’
‘But, don’t you think, the Inspector should be told so he can work out if it’s important.’
‘Yes, but . . .’
‘You want to do your own investigating, don’t you,’ Angela said with a sigh. There was the sound of flipflops on tiled flooring just outside their door. The footsteps moved up and down the corridor. James and Angela exchanged glances and both moved to their door. James tugged it open and stepped out.  The tall guy they had seen with Raquel at the airport was there pacing outside the door to the room next to their own. He was frowning at the police tape that criss-crossed the door forbidding entry to the room.
‘The police not letting you into the room?’ James said in a conversational tone.
The young man looked at James and Angela tensely. His eyes were dark and his skin pasty. James guessed he hadn’t slept much if at all and was probably still recovering from a hangover.  He seemed to consider for a moment before speaking.
‘Yeah. I’ve got some stuff in there, and there’s Raquel’s things too.’
‘You and Raquel were sharing, were you?’ James asked.
‘Er, sort of,’ he answered, ‘Hey, you’re from the next room. You must be the guy who found her.’
‘That’s right. I’m James and this is my wife, Angela.’ James offered his hand to shake. The big lad took it and held it weakly.
James went on. ‘Look I’m sorry about Raquel. It must be great shock to you. Do you how it happened?’  He examined the big man’s face for evidence of emotion.
He shook his head and his shoulders drooped. ‘I don’t know how she could have fallen off the balcony by accident,’
‘Weren’t you with her since you were sharing?’
The man’s face screwed up as if in pain. ‘I wasn’t with her. We should have been sharing. I thought that’s what she wanted. But. . . well, she didn’t want me with her last night.’
‘She chucked you!’
He grimaced as if the words hurt. ‘Kind of.’
James pressed him. ‘Do you think she committed suicide?’
The young man straightened up to his full two metres height and thrust out his chest.
‘No, I don’t. Me and the others have spent all night telling the fucking police that. They interviewed each of us. That little guy in the suit really got up my nose, and now he wants to speak to me again. He called me to meet him here.’
James wondered if the outburst arose from frustration mixed with tiredness or guilt. He spoke calmly. ‘Inspector Alvarez has just been asking us questions too. He can’t be far away.’
‘I’m not, Seňor Frame.’
James and Angela spun around to see the detective in his crumpled suit.
‘Oh, hello again, Inspector.’ James said.
‘I see you are acquainted with Carl. I thought you did not know Raquel and her friends.’ James noticed just the slightest edge to the final word.
‘We didn’t, er, don’t. We’ve just met, um, Carl here. I gather you want to speak to him.’
‘That is correct, Seňor Frame, and now if you please, I would like to get on with my work.’ The Inspector stood still as if waiting for a response.
‘Ah, oh, yes,’ James said. ‘Let’s go back inside, Ange.’ He took Angela’s arm and pulled her into their bedroom. He pushed the door closed.
‘I think Alvarez is suspicious of you,’ Angela said.
‘What! You think he thinks I killed Raquel.’
Angela laughed. ‘No, don’t be silly. He thinks you’re trying to muscle in on his investigation.’
James drooped. ‘Well, yes, I suppose I was interrogating the guy.’ He straightened up, enthusiastic to continue. ‘But you heard his name?’
‘Carl?’
‘Yes. Don’t you see – car. . .’
Angela sucked in a breath of air. ‘It was his name Raquel said before she died?’
‘It sounded like it.’
Angela looked doubtful. ‘You think it was Carl that pushed her off the balcony?’
James clenched his fists. ‘I think there’s a good chance that Carl is the murderer.’
……………..to be continued

 

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