Friday, 11 May 2007

Chapter 88

Danny was starting to relax a little in Alan and Yolanda’s company, despite his initial feeling that he wasn’t exactly a wholly welcome guest at their home. After their tour of the city’s landmarks, they’d taken in a couple of bars, and he’d sampled choice pieces of Serrano ham, a sharp cheese that Yolanda told him was from the Manchego region, and more olives than he’d eaten in his life until that night. A beer or two had loosened them all up. Danny noticed how each of the bars was almost empty when they arrived, but soon filled up. He noticed, too, that some of the people in the first place seemed to follow them – like extras in a film – when they moved to the next. How did this work? Alan seemed to sense his query.

“Didn’t you ever hear of La Movida?” he asked, as the three of them stood at the bar.

Danny shook his head, and listened as Alan outlined how Spain had liberalized once Franco had gone, had everywhere ‘let its hair down’, in Madrid more so than the rest of the country . That awakening was La Movida. But ‘the movement’ had also come to mean the (quite magical) way in which, if you could catch the mood, a city like Madrid came alive. “Keep your eyes open, Danny. You’ll see how every bar, every café, every restaurant here, each has its own ‘time’. The knack is to sense when it is, and to follow your instincts.” Danny nodded – he thought he knew what Alan was saying.

Yolanda threw her head back, and laughed: “So, you are an expert on La Movida now, Mr McFry?” Her comment made Alan blush, just a little, and he looked uncomfortable with it. Danny wondered why she’d called him ‘Mr McFry’, and felt some of his discomfort. Alan was only trying to put him at ease, he realized. He didn’t come across as someone trying to pose as an expert on the city.

There were a few moments of silence while they all took a drink and Danny pretended to check out the other people in the bar. He looked at his watch: they’d be meeting up with Harry soon, he thought. Why hadn’t Harry mentioned this ‘Ana’ before? There was definitely some history there that, for whatever reason, Harry hadn’t wanted to reveal.

Alan’s quite unerring ability to seem to know what Danny was thinking came to the rescue.
“Did you ever drink anis, Danny?” he asked, his face recovering its natural colour as the change of subject dismissed Yolanda’s comments. Danny shook his head again, Alan’s cue to nod to the barman.

“Then, it’s about time you did! And it’s about time you knew all about Ana, too!”
Danny thought he saw Yolanda wince but, like so much with these people, he realized he couldn’t be entirely sure.

*

While he ordered the drinks, Alan McFry was wondering how much he should tell young Danny Longhurst about Ana. Back in the flat, when Harry had explained his plan to get Ana to translate the paper, he’d picked up that Harry’s plan was ‘news’ to Danny.

He’d wondered, at the time, whether his brother might have brought Danny along as some kind of cover. At first, he’d been a little put out that he was expected to shepherd this stranger around the city while Harry dealt with his ‘business’. But the kid had grown on him. He seemed smart, Alan thought. Just the kind of son he could have got along well with, if it had happened that way.

Now, as he waited for their drinks to be poured, his mind was on Yolanda’s sister and the conversation she might be having with his brother, right this moment. ‘Well, Harry boy,’ he thought, ‘if you don’t know Ana’s secret by now, you’re not going to hear it from me!’ It was intriguing to speculate, nonetheless, whether Harry and Ana had ever been in contact with each other over the last five years. If they had, then Yolanda didn’t know about it. Or, if she did, she had her own reasons for not saying. Fleetingly, he wondered what those reasons might be. One thing was for sure – if he told Danny all about Ana, the cat would have fought its way (well and truly) out of the bag. Sometimes, it was a mercy if you helped the cat out…

Thankfully, the barman delivered the anis just then. Alan turned to Danny and handed him a tall glass of the milky-grey drink, on ice.

“Here you are,” he said, “I think this will blow your mind…”

8 comments:

Lillie Ammann said...

I have one complaint about this story - you don't post often enough!

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Then I will have to redouble my efforts! Thanks for sticking with Harry, lillie!

Kind Regards

THJnr

70s teen said...

Great to see Harry back and with a whole new look too. It sort of suits him...... keep it up Tom :-)

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Thanks 70's teen: a few more tweaks yet, but the haircut and shave does seem to have taken a few years off him!

THJnr

Theresa111 said...

P-
Thank you for visiting and the words you shared.

I just peeked in to see that there was more to read! Harry McFry is lovely.

It's almost as if I ramdomly found a box, opened it up and discovered a well hidden prize. I am so glad you are such a good writer. Utopia.

T

the domestic minx said...

Hello Harry!!!

Thank God you're back, I was getting worried...
(you are blowing my mind...)

xx

meleah rebeccah said...

Thank yo so much for coming by my page, reading and commenting! I know how you feel with so many blogs to read it's hard to find the time to write your own stuff!

Thomas Hamburger Jnr said...

Thanks, Meleah: that's a fine blog you've got there - highly recommendable!

Kind Regars
THJnr