Part 1 – Not Quite Vanishing
Adverse Camber crunched the sleep brulee from around his eyes and thinned his moustache in the rear view mirror. He had trimmed it to a slighter and slighter top-lip thread as he descended through his lesser and lesser homes, a list of which read: house, hotel, hovel, car. Now that he was preparing to leave even that behind he trimmed his moustache down to the not-quite point of complete removal so that it sat on his face like a moustache tribute to Zeno’s paradox. Like trying to measure the thickness of an eyelash.
He kicked on his shoes and got out of his car in an unwashed manner, leaving behind his remaining stock and his stitched-up fish. As he walked away he heard his car vibrate and buzz and ring with the sound of his telephone but he did not stop to look back or to turn around and see what it was. He knew exactly who it was and he could probably hear his wife shouting into the phone: “Adverse Camber, don’t you dare ever come home again… you… you… I miss you. Damn you Adverse Camber.”
On his back, his rucksack was filled with his homemade books and his new DVD adaptation. And as he stepped off into any direction he knew that nothing could go wrong if he had with him his perfectly wrought story, his distillation of what he was in two different media.
He was back where he began, on the door-to-door trail, the blood pumping through his veins with enthusiasm for this kind of selling. Less slick than before, dishevelled, with history spilling behind him, a tattery trail of sins and scruples. Clutching his story. Treading lightly down the road and feeling like he was walking across piles of dead and paper-thin butterflies, all black and dead and trampled too thin to count.
Part 2 – Vanishing
Adverse Camber climbs silently and truthfully into the back of the cab and as soon as he closes the door the driver starts the engine and they smooth off along the road with the car running on tyres which speak of rubber and oil and of time patted down and hardened and used again. Adverse wears corduroy pyjamas which run with ordered sophistication along the same tracks as the corduroy seats in the cab. He watches the world outside the cab through a pair of wooden sunglasses. Adverse does not need to say anything, he just sits and the driver drives.
They drive for three quarters of an hour without a sound passing between them. There is not even a cough and not even the sound of breathing fills the cab, which runs along the roads with all the smooth progression of a free jazz quartet. The only thing that Adverse still carries with him is his DVD and his book, although these have now changed into shafts of light which tell his story through their aura alone. A simple and much more concise way of telling his tale.
His phone is long left behind, almost disconnected now in its way from the physical world. He does not even think of it ringing and ringing on in the glove box of his car. Of his wife waiting on the other end of the line to say: “Adverse Camber, you… will you just answer me to let me know where you are? To let me know you’re ok?” And then she puts the phone down and wonders what she is waiting for.
The taxi winds its way through a small village. The driver, silent until now, stops outside a grocers and winds his window down to speak to a man standing outside the shop, leaning against the wall. He does not seem to be doing anything but smoking a cigarette. The driver nods in his direction and asks: “How’s it going Steve?” The man takes a long drag and then sends the smoke out into the air where it forms ribbons and then responds: “Non stop mate, busy. Busy, busy.” “Yeah,” the taxi driver says. “Well, I’ll be back around later,” and then he winds the window back up and starts the taxi back up and they continue on, ever on through the village and out the other end.
A little further on they drive past a billboard on the way into the next town. It is full of a large representation of Adverse Camber’s face. There are no words on the billboard, just a date and the words, “The New Adverse Camber: Out Now.” The significance of the date is lost on Adverse Camber who has no idea what the current date is and is sceptical as to the relevance of hastily named days and months and numbers to him now. He has no way of navigating this and with his driver steering the taxi ever onwards, he has no need to do so either.
The driver does not give anything away. He does not make mention of the billboard and he does not even pretend to make any other sound. He just carries on driving. Carries on and on driving.