(Episode 3) Calloo, Callay, This is my Day!!
The Gentleman I knew as Mr Steppenwolf, rose smoothly from his seat and came towards me, extending his hand. “My name is Vincent”
“ I knew I would find you here again soon,” he declared, “ I recognized you, before you recognized me, I was a student to your Grandfather, and we often travelled to the south of France together, after the Great War.”
“Let's get to the bar for a quick Schnapps, young Anton” he ordered.
“But, What will happen to your table bank?” I asked him, guardedly,
“No Value to anyone but me, my personal table-colour, purple, and they would be very nervous about repercussions from the man they refer to as Steppenwolf!.”
“Skoal, And I will share some history with you”
Then he told me a very strange tale indeed, regarding my Grandfather.
“He would chant softly, rubbing his hands together as the croupier spun the ball,
“White Rabbit, Rolling Rabbit, Run, Run, Run!”
Racing, Jumping, Bouncing just for, Fun, Fun, Fun!
Have set my net to snare you, and will Clap, Clap, Clap!,
Spinning down and tripping up, now trip, drop, TRAP!!!”
and, as it fell, he would clap his hands together, just once, like this, “CLAP!”
When it worked, and it did, regularly” he said, “your Grandfather would announce the same off-the-cuff remark, as if it were the News of the day,
“Claptrap to Victor”, and he would stand and bow to all points of the Compass, even if there was no-one to the North or West.”
I thought that was a funny thing to say, was Victor the rabbit? I did not think so, but it certainly did not refer to Grandfather, his first name was Anton, as is mine'
I remember that he was always dressed in a jacket and tie, sometimes a suit, when he went on his trips with the man I now know as Vincent.
As a child I remember his polished shoes, clean fingernails, a dark, iridescent blue tie that Mother had embossed with his initials, very discreet, in gold thread “AC” and the lingering scent of 'Aramis' as the door closed.
You will find very few with that suave demeanor of style in the salons nowadays.
She loved her Father, as much as I loved her, and while I admired my Father, for his hard work and tenacity when racing his “velocipedes rapides” on the dangerous but exciting Circuit Zandvoort in the dunes.
(In English that means Sand-Ford Racetrack, but to my ear the sensual phonetics of “Zh-arr-nnd-Vooort” are more romantic and comfortable, the original name was Sandevoerde, “szarn-day-vower-dey”and dates back to 1100AD.)
We never mentioned the dreaded Tunnel Oost, or Tarzan at home, and just writing it here brings back dark memories from the seventies.
He went to great lengths to prepare his machinery, as he was by trade, a mechanical engineer who raced the motorcycles he rebuilt and tuned himself, spending hours smeared with oil and grimed, tinkering in his workshop.
See how easily I get side-tracked?
That's the sort of free association that I engage in while playing roulette, I don't want to favour numbers or sections or get trapped into negativity.
I like to think I am open to new ideas, and lateral thinking.