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by Theodore K. Nasos
2016-04-14 12:09:04
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“Please. Just forget it. Leave it. It doesn’t matter.” Accidentally I had just dropped my glass, full of water, on the carpet. An old Indian carpet with beautiful elephant figures, all in dark green and purple colour.

zach01_400“It’s just water, stop worrying my friend!” It was just water alright but this didn’t make me stop worrying and looking the expensive carpet and the mark the water had left on it.

Sir John was really quiet tonight. I had just read Zacharias’ story and obviously something about it had him in edges. In the beginning, when he finished reading, he had a sad look on his face and then with one sudden move he lit his small wooden pie. Small clouds of grey smoke filled the room quickly. Then he stood up again and walked to his small desk, opened a draw and started studding again the very small but very, very thick green notebook.

“You know, he loved his name. Zacharias. And he used to remind everybody how rich the sound of it was. He also loved that little girl.” And that was the precise moment I moved and dropped the glass with the water on the precious carpet.

“Did you know him well?” That was the only thing I could say after my water accident.

“Oh, no! No! Actually I didn’t know him at all. Myself I mean. Never met him. But I think it was his son who wrote a brief story about him in the Q’s Annual.”

The Q is a mysterious newspaper Sir John refers quite often but I have never seen anywhere. It must be coming from this unidentified land Sir John Q. Flatfoot is coming from. But as I have mention many times before, I don’t know where this land is and of course I have never seen a newspaper from a land I don’t know.

So, as usual and while Sir John was referring to what he had read in his Q newspaper, I didn’t say anything. After all these years one thing I have learn with Sir John is how to shut my mouth and just listen to what he has to say.

“Zacharias was much younger than your friend.” He said pointing with his pie himself. “Hmm, and let’s say that it all happened when he was something like forty and a half years-old. Zacharias was also very thin, almost looking weak. He also had some kind of a breathing problem. Not a very serious one, all of us have similar problems when we are young. But apart from that, which was also responsible for his grey green looks, nothing else physical. On the contrary Mr Flatfoot, the national QLand coach, famous for training a few world-famous runners, had said a few times that Zacharias could have become a real champion.” Sir John stopped and coughed.

“Here I have to make something clear. Mr Jeremiah Flatfoot, that’s his whole name, is not a relative of mine even though I would be very honoured since the late Mr Jeremiah Flatfoot was a great athlete in his youth and the national QLand coach later when he stopped running himself.” That was all said one breath.

Sir John moved his glass a bit away and let a thick cloud of smoke out of his mouth. Today he was smoking a very light aromatic tobacco I had learned to recognize as his Sunday tobacco. A sailor had brought him a little bag, a few years before and since then he used to smoke it only on Sundays.

“But there was also something odd about Zacharias. Something you might find very rare among the citizens of the QLand. Zacharias loved the sea and everybody knew about it from his youth. Zacharias had disappeared once at the age of eleven and then again when he was sixteen for weeks. According to my notes here, his excuse was that he wanted to meet the world. That’s what he said. But he returned every single time.”

“Zacharias had also some odd theories. Theories unknown to QLand till then. He strongly believed that QLand is not the centre of the universe that dolphins can understand and speak, that ants have logic and that dogs have feelings. Of course he believed some other crazy things as well, like that thing that he could speak to all the creatures. It was crazy since Zacharias had a speech problem. But as Mr Jeremiah Flatfoot had said a lot of times, this was not a problem for a champion.” Sir John looked outside the French doors before continuing with his story.

“And in one of these escapes he met the girl. The ship met a very strong storm, sunk and instead of the bottom of the sea he found himself chained and boxed. According to the paper, his son wrote, in the beginning he thought that the girl wanted to eat him, some kind of cannibal, because she put him to a very small box and despite all he pantomime, using hands and legs, nothing could help him to communicate with her. Then he tried to scream but as I mentioned his old breathing problem didn’t let him and he had to sit in the corner until his breath would come back.”

“All this time the girl was watching him and he thinks that while he had his small breathing crisis she somehow understood and she went somewhere for some minutes to come back with food. Zacharias was starving and the food even though poor, looked like a feast.” Sir John stopped and checked his pocket watch. A gold one, present from the Old Queen that had knighthood him.

“And?” the story was pretty confusing but curiosity had kicked in and I wanted to know more about Zacharias and the girl. Sir John smiled and said. “And you have to wait a few more minutes. Zacharias son is going to be here and answer all our questions!”

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