The Watchers

Free The Watchers by Jon Steele

Book: The Watchers by Jon Steele Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jon Steele
Tags: Fiction, General
over her eyes so she could slowly brush it away.
    ‘Really, what kind of merger?’
    ‘Oh, I couldn’t say.’
    She reached under the table, rested her hand on his thigh.
    ‘Hey, I thought you wanted to celebrate.’
    Katherine got home after two in the morning, made a note to call her banker to put in an order for 2,500 shares of Norton-Blessed Ltd. She dropped her clothes on the bathroom floor, rolled a fat marijuana cigarette and lounged in a hot bath.
    Supply running low, must call Lili.
    Lili always had the best dope. Hydroponic and home-grown in a converted barn full of sculptures. Women’s elongated bodies in bronze. Some of them modelled from Katherine’s body. Katherine liked getting stoned and posing for Lili. She liked the way Lili looked at her while shaping her body in soft mounds of hot wax. Yes, must call Lili and have a nice girlie afternoon.
    She drew a deep toke, held the smoke in her lungs.
    Outside the window Lausanne sparkled like diamonds for the picking.
    ‘So easy, so nice …’ She closed her eyes and floated away. ‘… and it always tastes like more.’
    Rochat sat in the loge, listening to the wind.
    He drummed his fingers on the wood table and waited for a thought. Sometimes they blew in with the wind. He was very sure a thought was coming to him when the telephone rang. Rochat jumped and fell off his stool. He looked at the old wood telephone on the wall near his bed. Two tiny bells on top, a tiny hammer pounding furiously between the bells.
    Rochat got to his feet, dusted off his trousers and made himself presentable to answer the telephone in his official capacity. He unhooked the listening tube from the side of the box, spoke into the talking cone at the front.
    ‘ Bonsoir, je suis le guet de la cathédrale de Lausanne .’
    There was loud music and a screaming voice trying to make itself heard.
    ‘Hello, what? I can’t hear you. You want what? Pizza? I’m sorry, this isn’t the all-night pizza place. That has a number six at the end, not a number seven. No, I’m very sure, six at the end of the numbers spells pizza, seven at the end spells cathedral. What? Yes, I have no pizza.’
    The line went dead.
    Rochat reset the listening tube on its hook, tried to remember what he was thinking about before pizza. He couldn’t, so he turned around to the shelf on the wall and sorted through his sketchbooks, pulling down the one he had titled, les bishops mort . He thumbed through the pages to the last drawing of Basil the First. He took an eraser and pencil and began to touch up the old boy’s face. Basil lived with other dead bishops in the nave, all in a row near the Virgin’s Chapel. No one knew their real names because somebody forgot to carve them into the marble. So Rochat named them all Basil and he always greeted them when passing. He was very sure they appreciated it. But the years had not been kind to Basil the First’s marble face. His eyes and nose were missing, and his ears stuck out from the side of his head like a monkey. Rochat worked at it till it was time to prepare for the three o’clock bells, the final call of the night.
    ‘I’m truly sorry, your grace, but here’s no hope.’
    He closed the sketchbook, put on his overcoat and floppy hat, set a fresh candle in the lantern and waited for Marie-Madeleine to call him outside. The binoculars from Monsieur Buhlmann sat on the table, the neck strap looking like the lead on Monsieur Junod’s small dog in Café du Grütli. Rochat picked up the binoculars and slipped the strap over his head.
    ‘ D’accord . We’ll go for a little walk, but no barking.’
    The timbers creaked and groaned, Marie sounded three times. Rochat lit the lantern and shuffled around the balconies, calling the hour to the east, north, west and south. When he finished, he looked out over Lausanne.
    ‘All was very well for another night, Rochat.’
    He blew out the lantern, hooked it to the iron railings. He raised the binoculars to his eyes

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