Your shadow becomes very small and holds no particular shape at around noon and Simon was thinking about this as he threw rocks into the sea. Then again, he thought. Your shadow holds no particular shape anyway. There was a green bottle floating next to a rock which he intended smash. He turned to his friend.
“You know they call Twelve O’clock mid-day, it’s actually pretty early isn’t it…”
Myles shrugged and hurled a stone at the bottle, smashing it. “It’s the morning” he said.
Simon spotted an empty beer can floating a little further out and chucked a handful of stones in its general direction.
“But actually,” Myles continued with a forefinger in the air – “the middle of the night is later than midnight too”.
“True”, nodded Simon. “If they just called midday and midnight Three O’clock it would make sense”.
Simon scratched his neck. The harbour was full of boats that he never saw move. Someone had clearly abandoned the one closest to the shore which was apparent from its relative state of dilapidation from the others. He buried his cigarette in the pebbles, shot his friend a tired smile and moved slowly in the direction of Rick’s bar. The locals started drinking beer there at breakfast, whatever time that may be.
Myles mumbled something about heading back to the apartment for a siesta, picked up his bag and walked away along the waterfront.
It was Sunday and the weather was surprisingly cool for the intensity of the sun. The locals all appeared to be wrapped up as if for winter but it wouldn’t have been out of place to see a tourist sweating in a T-shirt; if there were any tourists, that is. The boys didn’t consider themselves tourists because they were there for ‘professional reasons’. The lived as the locals did, in the only bar. The nature of their work meant that they were more likely to find themselves idol than occupied and so they passed their time at Ricks, which was a stone’s throw from the apartment. The place had an internet connection and offered a tab at the bar so if Myles wasn’t at the apartment then Simon knew he could find him there working on his project and causing trouble.
As he crossed the plaza, Simon noticed a loud girl in her twenties. She was sat talking heatedly to another woman, older than herself and she wore a pair of aviator sunglasses that covered a large portion of a flawless face. Simon sat down at a table with a view of the girl and pulled out his phone, paying it little attention. He became engrossed in the way that her long, brown hair rested on her left breast. As he considered how that scene might look without the turquoise bra beneath the thin white shirt, the girl continued on her rant, obliviously. The woman she was with could have been her mother. It was hard to tell. She was just as made up only less attractive. Simon wondered what they were so excited about until the younger of the two stretched and he forgot all about it.
“Snap out of it boy!”
“Joe” said Simon, turning to shake his hand.
Joe looked vaguely amused.
“Did I startle you?”
“Don’t do that” groaned Simon, rubbing his face “- It fucks me up”.
“I think living in the real world fucks you up” boomed Joe, grabbing himself a chair with one hand and snapping his fingers at Rick, who was busy emptying ashtrays, with the other. “Cervessa”.
Simon grimaced. Joe made him feel uncomfortable because he acted in a manner that represented everything he hated. He was the kind of guy who would impose himself upon people and manipulate them as a means to his own ends. Joe had a funny way of making people feel they needed him somehow, regardless of any fierce disrespect that he brought upon himself. The boys were under no illusion as to the dangers of trusting this man and yet they found themselves unwittingly roped into his games as the unfortunate result of repeated exposure to him.
“Suppose I better get a drink then”, conceded Simon.There was no reply from Joe, who had a habit of ignoring things.
Despite having lost count of the days he had waited, Simon was slightly irritated that Joe had turned up now; he had his own work to do. There was a great deal of dead time these days and the majority of it was painfully unproductive. Myles would always talk about his urge to get his project off the ground, but it never went any further than that. Simon would sit with him at Rick’s scribbling in his notebook with gritted teeth as Myles slurred abusive comments about people and hurled ashtrays, beermats and napkin dispensers about the place for hours on end.
Rick shuffled up to the table with one large Estrella and a plate of green olives.
“Thanks Rick” smiled Simon
Joe remained silent, as he too had taken to eying up the loud mouthed girl on the next table. After some time he turned to Simon abruptly, burped without opening his mouth and fixed him with a stare that did little but to make it very clear he had already been drinking.
“I watched you staring at this slut.” He said loudly, waving a finger in her general direction. “You couldn’t have been more obvious… And she never once looked back at you.” He reclined in his chair. “When I was your age I’d have shagged her and been on my way by now.”
“I’m sorry to hear that” replied Simon. “Do you last longer these days?”
They stared at one another for an uncomfortably long time.
“No work next week”, said Joe Finally. “We start back a week Monday”.