Klaus Hnilica
Thursday May 18th, 2017

Falling Down

I no longer remember who told me this story. Perhaps it was the tourist guide when we drove to the ’Manrique Museum’? Or that female professor of geology from Brandenburg? She has been coming to the ’Lanzarote Park Hotel’ in Playa Blanca in March for eight years now and also reads Spanish Daily Newspapers, not just this stupid island magazine Lanzarote 37°. Or was it maybe Pedro who told me this story a one of his inimitable ’language cocktail’ variations at the pool?

I simply cannot recall exactly …

But it was always about that toothless street musician!

He is a true disgrace on the never-ending boardwalk close to the ocean in the south-west of Lanzarote. With his dirty and unappetizing appearance, he should not be permitted to sit there. This is simply not tolerable! Not on this fantastic EU-financed boardwalk! After all, hundreds of people pilgrimage here until late into the night.

Besides, this ’music-playing pig’ does not restrict his appearance to his rusty folding chair in front of the last stretch of fallow land, where hardly anybody would notice him anyway. Instead, he can now be almost exclusively seen on the stone boardwalk balustrade.

What an exhibition: a ’music-playing rubbish heap’ in front of the eternally sparkling, sunny ocean! With a greasy hat lying on the floor and a cap on his sun-burned head! And two watery eyes that look like puddles …

Mostly, he dribbles into his melodica – which is some kind of key flute – from which the same melody is released at all times. But it is strangely alluring! You have to give him that. Perhaps it is even by Mozart? Even if it is perhaps a little too sad? Unfortunately, I was never able to really find out.

Seven years ago, when the concert building Lava-Bubble in Jameos del Agua was closed due to stones falling down from the ceiling, this disgrace had already been playing on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. In those days, he allegedly had a rather rich musical portfolio.

And while the volcano rocks were being glued together with special resin above the roof, he also sat there every day. Perhaps even the occasional cent out of all those six million euros this roof cost found its way into his shabby hat. Who could know? Definitely not the ’music-playing rubbish heap’.

And the inauguration concert given when the renovated concert hall in Jameos del Agua  was ceremoniously re-opened will definitely also have been something he was totally unaware of. As must have been the fact that the famous English conductor John Miguel Smith was going to be at the baton and that even representatives of the Spanish Crown had accepted the invitation.

However, he did notice that the rather pompous John Miguel Smith with his much too young female companion had had a stupid accident where he stumbled right in front of the ’music-playing heap of dirt’ on the day before the concert and fell fully on his nose; yes, that was something he had definitely noticed.

And the Spanish cursing of the noble Brit was probably also something he noticed!
Mind you, Betty had even cried out “attention John“, because apparently he had recognized a strangely alluring melody and consequently only had eyes for the shabbily dressed source of the melody. But at that moment, it was already too late! He fell full-length onto the dignified brown cobbles of the boardwalk here in Playa Blanca…

Ranting, he immediately jumped up, was appalled when he inspected his atrociously grazed hands and elbows, moved his badly ailing fingers like a maniac and kept shaking his head while he smoothed the damaged, bloody t-shirt over his stomach.
He only noticed that he had also torn his rough silver Greek Knot Cross from his neck during his fall when Betty tearfully offered it to him. He gripped it like a bird of prey and threw it into the greasy hat of the street musician, who was totally appalled.

He was quick to pull Betty after him in order to get away from this upheaval among the nosy masses of people as fast as possible. Probably his only remaining worry at this time was tomorrow’s inauguration concert at the “lava bubble”! In Jameos del Agua! And his wounded arms, his injured stomach, his bloody hands and his lacerated chin. And he certainly hoped that nobody had recognized him – the famous John Miguel Smith, when he kissed the boardwalk lying on his stomach like a fallen frog …

What mortification!

However, in at least one case, this hope seemed to have been in vain; because when the ’music-playing rubbish heap’ had overcome his shock paralysis and fished out the cross that lay between the few coins in his hat, there was suddenly a strange sparkle to his alcohol-marked face. A sparkle that even continued when he opened his toothless mouth out of which came a questioning “Miguel?”…

And then again “Miguel – Miguel, is it you?“

The street musician got more and more excited and even panicky. He dropped the soiled melodica and started using his left paw, too, for squeezing the silver cross – and again and again, he croaked: “Miguel !…Miguel !!…Miguel…!!

But John Miguel Smith was far beyond hearing and being seen. In fact, he hurried like a wounded animal along the boardwalk accompanied by his totally hysterical companion. All he wanted was crawl into his lair at the Hotel Vulcano as fast as possible!

Since, as everybody knows, the famous conductor Smith strictly forbids all attempts at finding out about his life and mercilessly deplores even the smallest public assumptions, the desperate calls of an old man, too, were lost in the rippling of the ocean that ran along the lava coast near the boardwalk balustrade.

But still, as I said, I heard somewhere that this incident is the reason and the only reason why the street musician, since that time, only plays this one ’endearing melody’ that, to this day, I could not identify. It is because he still hopes that his Miguel – whom he could not have cared less about when he was a child, in fact whom he even gave away for adoption – might one day pass by and invite him, his alleged father, to drink a brandy ’Carlos III’ with him…

Well, I am not sure if it is really the ’Carlos III’ this rubbish-like musician dreams about, but I would like to invite everyone who can tell me something new about John Miguel Smith to have a ’Carlos I’ with me in the pre-warmed glassed of the Café ’Gilbert’ on the Playa Blanca boardwalk. As I see it, the old ’music-playing piece of dirt’ should get some help, so why not through a good brandy?

PS:
Please note that all persons and activities in this story are fiction. But still, I will continue to look for this melody that caused the famous conductor to fall down. I have to find out more about it …
KH
(Translated by EG)

4 Kommentare zu “Falling Down”

  1. Chris Wood (Friday May 19th, 2017)

    It would be better with the postscript at the start.

  2. KH (Friday May 19th, 2017)

    Chris, Dein Vorschlag würde der Geschichte einen wesentlichen Teil der Spannung nehmen.

  3. Chris Wood (Sunday May 21st, 2017)

    You should try to make your story interesting without this trick. Do good authors try to disappoint the reader at the end? I am a reader, not a writer.

  4. KH (Sunday May 21st, 2017)

    Ja so kann man die Dinge sehen, wenn man Tatsachen in einer Geschichte erwartet.Mir geht es aber gerade umgekehrt: ich mag es, wenn in einer Geschichte die Realität aussen vor bleibt…

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