Being The Beginning Sunday, January 23, 2011
1 The Exchange Sunday, January 30, 2011
2 bildende Kraft Saturday, February 5, 2011
3 Gossamer Wings Friday, February 11, 2011
4 Nemesis Saturday, February 19, 2011
5 Odd Shoes Friday, February 25, 2011
6 al-Rûh Friday, March 4, 2011
7 A Love Supreme Thursday, March 10, 2011
8 The Three-Cornered Light Thursday, March 24, 2011
9 Serendipity Tuesday, April 5, 2011
10 The Watchman Friday, April 15, 2011
11 The Upright Way Sunday, April 25, 2011
12 Angels Wednesday, May 4, 2011
13 The Cave of Montesinos Tuesday, May 10, 2011
14 Idols Tuesday, May 10, 2011
16 The Perfect Square
18 The Uncontainable
19 The Ear of Malchus
20 Mauvais Pas
21 Sinan Qua Non
27 The Vanishing Point
28 The Cat Walks
29 The Approximate Likeness of Being
Becalming Unscientific Postscript
The Meltime (Turk. Melteme: from the shore) winds are the annual
Northeasterly Aetesian winds in the eastern Mediterranean.
“In the fate of the ‘Ãd there was another sign. We let loose
on them a blighting wind . . .”
surat al-dhãriyãt (The Winds); 51, v. 41
“On the surface, an intelligible lie; underneath, the unintelligible truth.”
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The mobile phone, which is placed on the bench beside him, shrills loudly as he sits drinking water in the small park beside of the mosque. Flanagan has just turned it on with the intention of checking for messages but the water was a more urgent need and he left the phone down. He has spent the best part of the last eight hours, since dawn, walking the warren of streets above the northern bank of the Golden Horn, created when the squatters had moved into the old Ok Meydani archery field in the early nineteenth century. The climb had taken him from the Koç museum on the waterfront up to the site of the old archer’s lodge, in front of the Ok Meydani mosque, and then down the hill again into the valley. Flanagan feels exhausted. His hands are shaking. He gulps down the water and ignores the phone’s shrill. It stops ringing.
To his right, to the northeast, on the next rise in the landscape is the Feriköy cemetery where he is convinced the Puta Tobra target-idol once stood. To his left, over the classically domed roof of Piyale Pasha mosque, back up the hill, is the Sinan Pasha mosque, the site where he determined the Hekim target to have been. He thinks through his calculations again and is even more certain. All the clues, he reminds himself, are in Karabatakzade’s letters to his son and father.
Flanagan flips open his notepad and checks his notations one more time: Our messenger spirit, the calligrapher had written deliberately, to his father, as a coded message. The use of the emphatic ‘Our’, he had noted, acknowledged the family’s writing heritage, a heritage which predated the family’s use of Arabic or Persian but still had to be a northern Semitic language. It had to be if the ilm-i-abjad, the science of the letters, was to be used to find the hiding place. Aramaic-Syriac or Palmyran, he had written in bold red letters. In the older Biblical literature in Palestine, Flanagan knew that the Messenger Spirit, the Paraclete of John, was called m-n-h-mna in Syriac, or sometimes munahhemna, meaning ‘the life giver’. Convinced of this, he had paced the distance derived from the calculation of the letter values of the m-n-h-mna word-root– a total of 196 gez – from the graveyard towards the Sinan mosque. This had placed him in the middle of the footbridge that crossed the Piyale Pasha Boulevard – ‘A huge fucking motorway,’ he growled out loud! Sitting on the bench, looking back towards the motorway footbridge Flanagan feels defeated. Concrete and bitumen have long covered-over the field of his dreams.
His mobile phone shrills again. This time he answers it, ‘Ismâil?’
‘Jaffa my friend. Where are you?’
‘It’s no good, Ismâil,’ he said angrily. ‘There is a huge bloody motorway exactly where the Book is most likely buried. It’s a dead end!’
‘Where are you?’
‘Piyale Pasha mosque.’
‘Let us meet. I have some wonderful news for you?’
‘What is it?’
‘Tomorrow my friend. I have no time now. There is much to achieve.’
‘There is a good restaurant beside the Kariye mosque near the Edrine Gate. Midday?’
‘Fine. But tell me the news.’
‘Tomorrow, my friend.’ The line went dead.
Flanagan looks at the phone for a moment and then dials in for his messages. There are two: from Mac telling him he is coming to Istanbul and the other from Alanna. She has not contacted him since that night they had argued in the hotel and she stormed off. He listens. The recording is poor, he thinks she says she is in Izmir, is coming back to the city, and wants him to meet her with the dossier. ‘Fuck the dossier,’ he says aloud. Two small boys playing in the park are staring and laughing at him. He tries calling her back. There is no answer.
Flanagan stands up and walks towards the small garage directly ahead of him, across the small road that skirts the front of the mosque. There is a large poster on a nearby shop wall advertising a health drink. It has a Japanese archer taking aim; 60 or so years in age, Flanagan estimates; the face deeply tanned and lined; the eyes intense in their focused concentration. The archer’s left arm, that holding the bow, is uncovered and is pearly white, with the skin colour and contours of a baby’s arm, remarkable in its contrast, steady in its purpose. Flanagan looks back up the hill over the roof of the mosque towards the Ok Meydani and wonders whether Karabatakzade’s arm was white.
He then turns his attention back to the garage. Three or four taxis are parked outside. They cannot be all in for repair, he thinks. One of them would surely bring him back to the city…