Overwork and pressure have put grit in his blood. Skin shadowy, tanned ashen from artificial light, mouth soured by stale air, back teeth aching from the lock-jaw of stress. There is shrapnel in his back; shot through with gristle, steel cables of torsion in his neck. His blood pumps thickly and sluggishly, sludging through brittle arteries, pooling as concrete in his chest. Later that night, insomnia mocks sleep, acid burning through bone-dry eyelids. Blinking blindly in the sickly glow of dawn, the road offers an escape.
I am walking to the central Monument in the bright May Sunshine. I am carrying a paper bag that contains a sandwich, a bottle of sparkling water and an apple. The content of the sandwich is not important.
Christian’s habit of over-weighting the belt made Samir nervous. Negative buoyancy in shallow water free-diving was known to be dangerous, lessening the odds of an unconscious diver floating to the surface. Samir had read somewhere that the vast majority of blackouts occurred at thirty feet or less; when the diver was kicking for the surface and both water and oxygen pressure were dropping.