Plus Solids, Tim Woodward
A watermelon starts to rot at the ends. Blotches of dark green soak toward the surface, and at the umbilical spot, a black mould grows. In the summer months, our Kalahari Desert studio mimics greenhouse conditions, so it’s good for tropical plants but not watermelons or writing screenplays. A watermelon vine would do just fine, but those fleshy kids should hit the road come twenty one. In the Kalahari studio we average one week from shop to rot. Of course a greengrocer would have their own timeline, involving a curious process of sniffs and taps. And before that, the melon farmer’s fingers know when to pick, and all the correct places to squeeze. Everyone agrees, the umbilical spot tells a lot, but that’s not all there is to know, oh no. The first watermelon harvest happened 5,000 years back (ago), some Egyptian hiero- glyphics captured the moment. Melon seeds were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankha- mun, spat out all over the place.
Pulling up a sludgy side alley, we stepped over pools of melted New Years snow, and leant through the glass doors of a Radisson Blue Hotel. Room number? Nope. Table reservation? Nope. Just some break- fast type foods, “thanks”, we walked on in. It was late enough that the pastries were picked over, and the fruit reduced to sliced apple.
A local woodland creature, maybe-also-keyboardist for a Sigur Rós inspired prog band, offered to take and make our coffee order (ho-ho!) and so I ordered a double espresso, because with only three hours day- light I considered it bad manners to ask for anything more involved than that. But really who ever has time for a drink in requisite of four cow stomachs? Or the seasonal cultivation / preparation of soya beans? The Woodland Fawn and I looked into each others eyes and knew we were running out of time, for both making and drinking coffee, and we were finally on the same side of this spinning ball of flames and ice but only for a moment, and lo and behold this beau- tiful creature was serving ME! How sad and cruel life can be, at the Radisson Blue Hotel. On leaving we didn’t pay of course, and posing as the hotels most desirable lodgers we fare welled the desk clerk, cor- rectly or incorrectly guessing her first name. The Woodland Fawn was with us. He’d quit his job to travel with me that day, and only that day. We parted at dusk and I cried the saddest tears.