The Priest’s Bed

Prose: The Priest’s Bed - Racing Daydreams by Colin Johnston

This is a note I made, on the train

And the boy said, “Speak to me of Achille.”.

The old man shifted in the bed. Something had nipped him.

“What does it matter? It’s over.”. The exclamation stealing his breath, he continued at a whisper.

“It is finished. Soon we’ll be dust. Like Campari, like Ascari, like…”. “Like Giorgio and Alberto”, he thought. Beautiful boys, poor Carolina.

Pain rose again. Rattled his chest, pulsed in his neck. Eyes tight shut against it.

The hubbub drone in the street had changed. Pitch & amplitude. The boy chinked the drapes, enough to see that a saloon had pulled up outside. A man unfolded himself from the car. “It can’t be?”, the boy snapped the curtain shut.


The old man’s eyes suddenly wide open. Open to the dust dancing in the half light. Swirling in the warm air. A murmuration. Memory.

The old man looked at it, through it, beyond it.

The dancing sand of a Tripoli afternoon. The rush of air around a motorcycle, high on the Sitges banking. Art Nouveau filigree, reclaiming the vacuum of a Bugatti at speed.

Why this?
It was to end on the road.
Surely it would end on the road?
Why this?
No death, no glory.

Footsteps on the stairs…

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