Island Summer - Part 7
    by Jack Rowan

For people, places and things mentioned in this part, please see the end. Further notes about the story appear at the end of part 8. Copyright information is at the start of part 1.

Stories by Jack Rowan:

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I burst frantically into Adam's house, and found Peter and Peggy drinking coffee.

"Adam's been beaten up!"

I blurted out my story.

"Where did they take him?" shouted Peter.

I told them, explained how to get there.

"Come on, Peggy!"

"Wait!" I cried. "Take me too! Please! I can't bear..."

Peter grabbed my shirt.

"Listen, you self-centred little shit. You have to stay here and deal with the cops, if they come past. Peggy and I don't speak the language. God knows, I'd rather your parents did it, but they had to go into The Port. You know how things work here. Talk to them and arrange things so that Adam can go back to England at once. Can you do that?"


"Then do it. You've caused quite enough damage already. Fuck this up and I'll kill you."

Then they were away, leaving me stunned.

I don't remember much of that day. I drifted from room to room, sometimes weeping quietly, sometimes screaming with rage, sometimes just staring into space. In twelve hours I had succeeded in totally destroying everything. I could see Adam dead, or brain-damaged. I could see him alive, and hating me. I waited for them in agony.

The guardia came, and I answered their questions and as far as I could, manoeuvred arrangements as Peter wanted, knowing that even if he lived, I would probably never see Adam again.

After they'd gone, I went to his room, where I had slept with him so often, where night after night we had explored each other, and wept myself to sleep. I awoke a while later, into the same horror. And I waited.

Finally, hours later, I heard their car stop outside, and almost at the same time I heard my parents return next door. Peter came into the room.

"How is he?"

He made me wait. He sat down slowly and looked at me with absolute scorn.

"He's okay. Bruises, cuts, a couple of broken ribs. Concussion. They think he was hit with a rock."

"Oh, God..."

"You swore to me, Kip! You swore!" He was shouting. "He would not be hurt!"

"Peter, I..."

"You know this damn place, you know it from the ground up! It was your responsibility to look after him here!"

"Nothing like this has ever happened. I can't believe..."

"What the fuck happened?"

"We were at my parents' house in Son Fadrí. We had a quarrel. He went off... I looked everywhere, but didn't find him..."

"Why? What was it about?"

"He wanted me to go back to England with him."

"For God's sake! And you said no? You actually said no?"

"Peter, it's hard..."

"You stupid, pig-headed, selfish little brat! Just like that other cunt, you just dumped him, didn't you? At least this time you didn't get as far as fucking him!"

"We just had. For the first time."

"Oh God. All over again." He looked at me almost in despair. "Last time we almost lost him. Did he tell you about that? The pills?"

"No." I was horrified.

"All over again."

"No! I'm not dumping him! Never! It isn't the same! I'm not giving up!"

He stared at me in silence.

"Will you come to England?"

I burst into tears, sobbing into my arms, folded on the table. To my surprise, I felt him pat me gently.

"You can't do it, can you? You just can't do it."

"Oh, Peter..."

"Everyone has their nightmares, haven't they? Their limits. Even the super-competent Kip." He sighed. "Did you speak to the cops?"

"Yes. You can leave tomorrow."

"And the bastard who did it?"

I shrugged. "Nothing. They sent him home."


"There's no evidence. To prosecute him, Adam must make a denunciation. That's how it works here. And if he isn't here, he can't do it. So that's that."

"So he gets off?"

"Yes. But there are people here who won't be pleased. No, he won't get off entirely."

"Well. We're going back, now that we know what the cops said. Tomorrow we'll take him direct to the airport. I have tickets."

"Take me to see him."


At that point I lost it. It was my last chance, my last chance to be with him, to touch him, to try to explain, to do anything, anything at all to reclaim his love, and I was screaming and yelling, begging, pleading.


Peter shouted at me, and I sat down, shocked.

"I'm prepared to help you, but I will do absolutely nothing if you act like a hysterical little queen!"

I sank my face in my hands, hating him.

"I can't take you to see him. He is confused and distressed, and I can't risk you having another row. To be frank, Kip, because you deserve at least that, I have no idea if he even wants to see you."

"No," I whispered.

"But I will take a message to him, if you wish. Well?"

For a long time, I couldn't say anything.

"Just tell him I love him. I can't - I can't ask anything of him. Not now. But let him know I love him. Perhaps - perhaps that will help."

"Yes. Perhaps it will. I will tell him." He lifted my chin up, and looked at me. "It was your first time, wasn't it?"


"Poor child. How very, very dreadful for you."

Then I was crying against his chest, but quietly now, and, surprised, I felt him kiss my head.

"We're going now. We'll be back late. Come in and see us."


Peggy was there; I don't know how long she had been watching. She embraced me.

"Poor Kip. Poor little Kip. Go and see your mum and dad now."

The quiet Welsh words comforted me. I watched them leave, and went home.


"Kip, dear, there you are."

My mother and father were cooking; the delicious smell of frying garlic and onions filled the house.

"I don't know how to tell you..."

"We know. Peggy told us."

Then my mother was hugging me.

"What a terrible, terrible thing."

Suddenly all the horror of the last day burst out of me, and I was screaming and sobbing in her arms, as she patted me and kissed me, comforting me with the old, familiar words, mother's words, childhood words, in English and the Island speech, until finally I quietened down.

"Now. Go and have a shower and change, and then you'd better have something to eat, and then we'll see."

Suddenly I was famished and cracking with thirst; I had touched nothing for nearly twenty-four hours. My father gave me some chilled water and I must have drunk nearly a litre.

Then I went and showered. As it sometimes is with tears, they brought a flat, blank calmness in which the routines of life could begin again. I went downstairs to meet them.

Great slices of bread lying across bowls; and the soup poured on top, oli i aigo, one of the staples of the Island; and candlelight. The smell, the sight, were for me a theme of childhood, restoring and reassuring. I smiled at them, and we sat to eat.

Then they took me to the sofa and sat one on either side of me, their arms round my shoulders, and gradually they got the whole awful story.

"He lay so still," I said, "To start with we wondered if he was dead, but he wasn't. He was so still, and I lay beside him, and I just loved him so much..." I was crying again now, but quietly. "You know, mum, I told you, we had... we had never done everything before. Last night..."

"Oh, Kip, dear."

"Oh, why does everything have to turn so horrible?"

They held me till I quietened again.

"Do you know what Josep said? That he did it for me. He did that to Adam for me, because he loved me. That's what he said. For me."

"Don't let it get to you, Kip," said my father. "Perhaps he does love you, in some weird way. It's not your fault. I suppose his feelings threaten him, and he deals with it by lashing out at gay people. People like that can be vicious and brutal, but really, they're casualties, even if they don't know it. Certainly Josep is a casualty far more than you or Adam. What kind of happiness will he ever have in his life?"

"And how about me? Now that Adam's gone?"

"He's only going to England. He was going to leave soon anyhow. And he's not seriously hurt, not really. What do you mean?"

"We quarreled. He left me. I don't think - I don't think he wants me any more."

"Couples quarrel all the time," said my mother. "It's part of it. What did you quarrel about?"

"He wanted me to go with him to England."

There was a pause.

"Ah. I see," said my father.

"Do you? Peter didn't. He was - he was very hard on me."

"It's his job to look after Adam. But our job is to look after you, Kip, and we will. Well. You must have known that this would come up at some point."

"I tried not to think about it."

"Not usually a helpful tactic. So. Why not go to England? Let's hear it said."

"The Island is everything to me. It's my home, and I love it. I love the people here, and I know them, and they know me, it's the way of life I was born to, and I understand it. Without it I'm nothing. Nobody. I could go to England and be with Adam if he'd have me, but what would be the use? What use would I be to him? I wouldn't really exist."

"So, it's stay here and be king of the Island, and lose Adam, or go to England and be nothing but have him? Is that it?"

"Maybe have him. Yes." I buried my face in my hands. The choice reduced me to despair.

"Do the Island people really know you?" asked my father quietly. "How many of them really know you?"

I stared at him.

"They may think they know you, but the don't. They don't know even the most important thing about you, do they?"

"I - I see what you mean. Oh God."

"Mind you, that was yesterday. Now it's different, isn't it?"

"Oh. Oh shit..."

"Josep. And then Bisbe, and his family. Then your rancho. Vigo and his friends. The guardia, they have their circle... The fact is, Kip, everyone in the village will know by now that you are Adam's lover, that you're gay. It's true, isn't it?"

"Yes," I whispered.

"We are a village together. That's what Cion says, doesn't she? But you know what she thinks about gay people." He spoke bluntly. "Your position here is shot, isn't it? How many even of your group will stick by you?"

I started to weep again.

"Pere will."

"I think you're right. But what will that do for him?"

"Oh, no..."

"We can't run your life, Kip. We can't and we shouldn't try. But you've got some things to think about, it seems to me."

"There's still us," said my mother. "At least we'll never change. So long as we're still around, we'll always support you, no matter what you do. You know that, don't you?"

"Yes, mum. I know that."

At that moment I heard their car outside. Peter and Peggy were back.


"How is he?"

Peter was sitting at the table in the kitchen.

"Much better. Sitting up, taking notice. But still in some pain."

"My mother gave me this soup for you, and some bread." I put the olla and the loaf on the table.

"Oh, heavenly woman. We're famished."

He passed his hands over his face. He seemed weary and much older, and I felt sorry for him.

"Please, Peter..."

"Sorry, Kip. Well. I delivered your message, and he wrote a note for you. Here."

"What does it say?"

"It's yours, Kip. I don't know."

I looked at him with respect. The message was a small piece of paper twice folded. I opened it. The writing was crabbed, barely legible, and I winced, thinking what it had cost him.

Dear Kip

I am so, so sorry


I scanned it, uncomprehending, and then read it out.

"What does it mean? Is he - is he finishing with me?"

Peter sighed.

"Kip, I'm not going to interfere between you and him. You must work it out yourselves. I'm sorry. I once encouraged a relationship of his, and it was the worst thing I could ever have done. Since then I have - not hesitated to say when I thought someone was not worthy of him, and now I think that was wrong too. So I'll say nothing. Except this. Have you thought about where he was found and what he was doing there?"

"It was the cruising ground by the beach."

"Doesn't that worry you?"

"Worry me? Why?"

"He must have gone there to - to look for sex."

"Yes. I think he did."

"He went straight from your bed to look for anonymous sex. Doesn't that disturb you at all? Don't you feel - rather let down and hurt by that?"

"What? As if that matters a damn compared to what happened to him! What are you saying, Peter?"

He was staring at me with his mouth open, as if he'd never really looked at me before.

"You're rather a remarkable young man in some ways, aren't you, Kip? You really do love him, don't you?"

"Yes. I do."

"Then show it. Come to England. Take your courage in both hands, and do it."

I said nothing. Peggy had warmed the soup and put bowls on the table, and they started to eat.

"You're hurting now, aren't you? I know it's hard, but I think, maybe, you need this. I don't think there's been much pain in your life."

"There are various kinds of pain. I don't think you know much about me, Peter."

"I'm sorry, Kip. That was impertinent of me."

"It's true that I've been happy here. But England has never meant anything to me but pain and loneliness."

"It doesn't have to be like that."

"I'm a foreigner there."

"You underestimate yourself," he said. "You're the kind of person who's never a foreigner anywhere for long."

That was something to think about. He had puzzled me.

"I haven't thanked you for what you did this morning," he said. "That was unjust. I'm very, very grateful."

"It wasn't just me. Vigo at the bar helped. So did a man who was - was cruising there."

"The boy at the bar? He's gay, isn't he?"


"When it comes to it, you can only ever really rely on our own people, Kip. Never entirely trust straight people. There are some who are good, of course there are, but most of them hate our guts. The men are the worst, but their bitches can be just as bad. When it comes to it, most of them will let you down, and many of them would happily see us all dead." He spoke with incredible bitterness. "Remember this, Kip. Never trust the breeders."

I looked at him in amazement, and wondered what on earth could have happened in the life of this rich and powerful man to bring forth that deranged credo. Once again I felt sorry for him.

"I'm sorry, Kip. It's late, my boy is lying in hospital, and sometimes I just get so tired of it all."

Greatly daring, I reached out and held his hand, and I was touched when he gripped it fiercely. He smiled at me.

"Now you'd better go, Kip. We'll be away early, so I don't suppose we'll see you."

"Peter... I have to ask. I don't know where you live. Please - can I get in touch?"

He thought.

"It's only fair you should have a way. Here." He took out his pen, and on Adam's note he wrote a London phone number. "That's Adam's. He has his own flat in our basement."

"Thank you," I whispered.

"Let's hope for happier days. Goodbye, Kip."

"Be sure to thank your mother for the soup," said Peggy.

"I will."

"Come to London," she added in Welsh. "Please, boy. I don't know if he realises it, but he needs you. Don't give up on him. Not now."

"Oh, Peggy. Thanks for everything. You've been so kind."

I hugged her, and left.


"No more talk," said my mother. "Here. Take this."

"What is it?"

"It will help you sleep. You need that just now."

I was too tired to argue, and obeyed her. I fell into my bed, where I hadn't slept for nearly a fortnight, and passed out.

I was in a train, stopped in a station. On the other track another train was stopped next to mine, and in it I could see the shadow of a man, and I knew it was Adam. I waved at him and shouted, but he didn't see me. And I knew that all I had to do was to leave my train and get into his, and everything would be all right. But I had to take all my bags, and there were dozens of them. I couldn't get them organised; when I grabbed for one, the others slipped out of my hands, and the other people in my carriage were complaining about me and the trouble I was causing, and arguing with me, on and on. So in the end I decided to leave all the bags, but it was too late, because his train started to move. And as it moved he saw me, and he started to scream, to scream for my help, but it was too late...

I woke with a start, and it was already bright. I felt beside me for Adam, and he wasn't there, and I remembered. An awful grief fell on me, as if someone had died, and I turned and wept into my pillow.

I heard a sound, and then my mother was sitting on the bed, holding me.

"C'mon, love," she said after a while. "Time to be up and doing."

I turned to her.

"Peter and Peggy..."

"They've already left. It's nearly ten o'clock. Get a shower and come and have some breakfast, then we'll think about things."

I did as she said. And by the time I was dressed, I had decided.

She had made a vast breakfast for me, eggs, sobressada, tomatoes fried with garlic, bread, and I realised I was still famished. She poured me some coffee.

"Where's dad?"

"He had to go into The Port again. He'll be back any moment."

"I've been thinking, mum."

"Yes. Let's wait for your father."

"Come and sit out the back with me."

We took our coffee, and I lit a cigarette. The little garden where Richard and I had played when we were toddlers looked more lovely than I could remember; the blue flowers of the huge plumbago hanging over the patio were alive with bees. It saddened me.

"Why did you move here, mother?"

"We wanted to bring up our children in a village. Well, it was only Richard then, and he was a baby, but we hoped for more. We wanted them to know and trust people, to grow up without fear. And we fell in love with the Island. Max had just published his first book, and we had some money for the first time. So we cut our ties, and moved."

"Cut your ties?"

"Oh, yes. Both our sets of parents, all our friends, all the places we loved, everything. We started from scratch."

"Any regrets?"

"None. We made new friends, we made a life. It's been wonderful, twenty-two happy years. And the way you both grew up, it was everything we hoped for. This, this is the first time that the village has ever disappointed us..."

I saw that she on the verge of tears herself, and grasped her hand.

"The village doesn't exist for our benefit," I said. "Pere taught me that."

"I know. But it's hard."

We sat quietly, hand-in-hand, until a few minutes later my father returned.

"How do you feel now, Kip?"

"Not as bad. I've been thinking."


I sighed.

"I shall have to go to England. I don't see any alternative. It's over for me on the Island. There's no future for me here as a gay person. And if I go, there's just a chance that I may be able to make a go of it with Adam. If I don't even try, I'll always regret it."


He pushed something towards me; it was a plane ticket.

"Here. You fly on Saturday, at ten in the morning. That's the earliest I could get."

"Dad! How did you know?"

"What you said. You have no choice, and you're not a fool."

Today was Wednesday. Three days. My father was holding my mother's hand now, gently patting it.

"I'm dreading it. If only... if only the people there were more friendly. They always seem so cold to me. There's no reaching out. I'm dreading being alone there. I'm so... frightened."

"Kip, love, you have to give yourself a chance," said my mother. "Everywhere is different, you know that. You can't expect everyone to be just like Islanders."

"I know what I'm saying. I was at school there for five years, remember?"

"A school, a boarding school, is different. There are warm and friendly people in England, I promise you. It's just that things aren't so on the surface there. There are so many people, you see, so they shrink into themselves. It's self preservation."

"I'll be lost. I won't know where to start. Here it's so easy..."

"It's easy here because you're you," said my father. "You're the famous Tofol. You're the ruler of the world here, aren't you? The king of Sant Pau, and there you'd be nothing, that's what you said."


"What you mean is, you'd just be one tiny person among fifty million, instead of one famous person among two thousand?"

"Okay. Point taken."

"You said that here's it's easy. Don't you think that perhaps it's become a bit too easy? And that maybe the famous Tofol's hat size has got a bit too big?"

I smiled.

"Okay, okay. I just can't see what I'll have to offer Adam. Why should he be interested in someone who's a nobody, who's totally at sea?"

"Don't you think it's possible that he actually rather likes little Kip, and he's not particularly interested in the famous Tofol?"

I suddenly remembered kneeling, sucking his dick, with his hands stroking my hair. I blushed.

"Ha!" said my mother. "A hit, there! I can certainly remember occasions when Max was more interested in little Eileen than in Eileen Popper, PhD!"

They were still laughing when the door opened, and Bisbe came in.



"Here, Bisbe," I called. "Come out here."

When he came through, I was a little surprised. He was wearing clean clothes, he had shaved and his hair was neatly brushed. He was clearly embarrassed.

"I wanted to see Adam's father."

"He's gone back to England," I said. "They've all gone."


"Adam needs medical treatment. They want him to see his own doctor. And... Well, I don't think they wanted to stay. Here, take a seat."

He sat, and my parents left us together.

"I wanted to apologise. On behalf of the family. My dad wanted to come, but I said I would do it."

"Yes. Well..."

"What Josep did was dreadful, and we're ashamed. To you too, Tofol. I'm sorry. Because you and Adam..."


There was a pause.

"Why didn't they want to stay?"

"Would you, Bisbe? You go to a place for a holiday, and someone beats up your son? Would you want to stay?"

"I suppose not."

He paused again. Clearly there was something he was bursting to say.

"Come on, Bisbe. What's on your mind?"

"What I don't understand," he said, suddenly agitated, "Is why someone like you should suddenly turn queer. I mean, why? What's the point? Anyone can see that girls are more beautiful than men, and someone like you, you'll never have any problems pulling girls! Why, Tofol? It doesn't make sense."

"I find men more attractive than women."

He stared at me, unable to process this.

"But they aren't! Anyone can see they aren't. You might as well say that you find... I don't know, chickens more heavy than cows. They aren't, that's all!"

"They are to me."

"But why suddenly change like this?"

"I don't think I did. I was always like this. I just didn't understand myself."

"You're talking nonsense. Not understand yourself? How could someone not understand who they're attracted to? Your dick gets hard, you're attracted, that's it! If your sex is made that way, how could you not understand it? You're simply not making sense, Tofol, and I'm an old friend. You shouldn't make fun of me like this!"

"I'm not. I'm trying to explain how it is. I was always attracted to men, I think. I just didn't like to think about it. I didn't like to think I was that way."

He stared at me, and I could see he was getting angry.

"What you're saying is, that all this time you were queer, but you never said! You never told us!"

"I didn't know!"

"You knew! Of course you knew. You deceived us, that's what it is! All this time we were friends, doing everything together, but you were hiding it from us! All this time you were thinking about doing those piggish things queers do, oh, thousand cunts, Tofol! Pushing your dick up our arses!"

I couldn't help laughing, it was so absurd.

"You laugh at me! All the time you were just a shit-dicked queer, you deceived us for years, and now you think it's funny! I tell you, Tofol, you're no friend of mine any more. What Josep did was wrong, but it's easy to see why people hate queers!"

I was angry too, now.

"I never deceived you, Bisbe. For years and years I've helped you and looked after you. I helped you through school, because I was better at school work than you. I've discussed things with you through and through for hours, trying to help you with girls. We've done everything together. What have I ever done to harm you, Bisbe? Just tell me, what?"

"You deceived me. You deceived the whole village. And you drove Josep to this. It's because of you he did it! It's your fault, Tofol! I won't fight in your parents' house, but just... stay away from me!"

"I'm leaving the Island. We won't meet again."

For a moment I thought his eyes wavered. Then he yelled at me.


And he left.


I was staring blankly into space as my mother sat with me.

"One down. Oh Adam, I hope this is worth it!"

"Bisbe isn't a bad man, dear..."

"I know. If he was, who'd care? Well. I'm not going to sit here and wait as my friends come one-by-one to spit in my eye. I'm going to... oh, I don't know, the Little City. Who wants to come?"

It was peculiar to be there again, sitting in the Esplanade, staring down into the harbour, eating lunch in a restaurant by the quayside, visiting the cathedral, eating ice-cream; all things I had done with Adam. I kept turning my head, almost expecting to see him, and each time his absence hurt.

But I loved the Little City, and it was what I wanted, to visit it simply as a tourist with my parents, to see it for the last time. I already knew I would never be back.

I'd never discussed with my parents the strange little play we had acted out that day, and I realised now that it was something they wouldn't understand. I had crossed another boundary, into things which I couldn't share with them, which were mine only. It was both disorienting and, in an unexpected way, liberating.

That evening, Cion came to the house, with Joan.

She stood just inside the door, and asked my mother if she could see me.

"Hello, Cion. Hello Joan."

"I want you to come to our house, Tofol. It would not be respectful to your parents to say here what I have to say."

"Excuse me," said my mother, using the Island speech. "You show no respect for me at all by going somewhere else to talk to my son. If you have anything to say, say it here. If it's not suitable for my ears, then don't say it. Kip: you are not to leave this house."

"Very well." Cion did not sit. "Tofol, I'm not concerned with what you choose to do with Adam. God knows what piggishness you've been getting up to, but it's not my business."

I sighed.

"Then why refer to it? Adam and I love each other, and we make love. If that's piggishness to you, then I pity you, Cion."

Her eyes flashed.

"It's unnatural and vile."

"No one's asking you to do it. If you did it, maybe it would be unnatural. For me it's entirely natural. That's the way I am."

"It makes my flesh creep to think about it."

"Then don't think about it! You said yourself it was none of your business, but every word you've said has been about it. You open your mouth to insult me, and then say it's none of your business! Tell me, what do you want to say?"

"I'll tell you. Terrible things have been happening. Adam was beaten up. Bisbe is very upset, and everyone is talking and arguing. It makes me angry, because there was peace here, before that queer came along! It's breaking up the village, but you - you go with him, you side with him, Tofol, and you're one of us! How dare you! You've had the support of the village all your life, and now you turn on us!"

"A man was beaten up. Two ribs broken, cuts and bruises all over, concussion. And as far as you're concerned it's his fault?"

"He shouldn't have come here. Queers have no business here, and it's caused nothing but trouble. But you support him! That's what's such a disgrace! Have you no loyalty to our village?"

"I love him. What do you expect?"

"Queers don't love."

I stared at her, so insulted I couldn't speak.

"If you can't think about the village, how about your parents? How do you suppose they feel, with their queer son, and everyone in the village talking about it?"

"Oh, that's easy," said my mother. "We're proud of him. And you needn't worry about us. We're leaving too."

"What?!" Cion and I spoke together.

"Oh yes. If my son isn't acceptable to the village, then the village has no room for us. What did you expect, Cion?"

"You see, Tofol? More dissension, more unrest, and all because of you and your - 'boyfriend'."

"The dissension is entirely of your own making," said my mother. "If everyone minded their own business, there'd be no problem. Instead of which, you're all down on Kip and Adam, with Josep kicking and punching, and you shouting encouragements. It's like a gang of fascists."

"I'm no fascist!"

"You're acting like one. I've heard nothing but fascist rubbish since you stepped through that door. Well. You've said what you had to say; now go."

Cion stepped outside the door, and Joan followed her. Throughout he had said nothing, and on his face I could see only confusion and pain. I felt sorry for him.

"Perhaps it is best if you go to England, Tofol," she said. "There you can find all the queer boys you want. Just don't come back!"

"Goodbye, Cion. You too, Joan. I won't forget you."

To my surprise, he embraced me briefly, and then left.

"I feel as if my roots were being torn up one-by-one."

"Oh Kip, dear."

My mother hugged me.

"Of all my friends, she was the most intelligent, the best to talk to, the most lively. God, how depressing. And the trouble is she's right. I've destroyed your life here."

"You're allowed to love. If other people don't like it, I don't want to live with them. End of story. In any case, it was getting near time."


"We never planned to stay here for ever. This is not a good place to be old in, you know, especially as in the end there'll only be one of us left, of course. No. It's time to go back."

It sounded so sad, so bleak, as if they were giving up on life.

"Don't worry. We've had a good time here. There's lots of years left to have a good time there. We'll find a nice village, and a little house, and get involved. Max has many more books to write, and as for me - you know, I fancy a career in politics, and I can't do that here."

I stared at her.

"Round about Christmas, wait for us," said my father. "We'll be there. And there'll be you, and Richard and Wendy and Ellen. I'm looking forward to it."

I hugged them.

"I just want this to be over now," I said. "I called these people my friends. Boy, I'm learning a lot today."

I still hadn't heard from Pere. I dreaded the encounter.

"I tried to phone Richard," said my father, "But I think he's away. If we can't get in touch, you'd better get a bed-and-breakfast when you get to London. Try tourist inforamtion at the airport. You can stay with Richard and Wendy for a few days till you get somewhere of your own."


"Then you'll need a job..."

    People, Places and Things


Christopher Branford
(Kip, Tofol)
TAWF-oolour hero
Eileen Branford his mother
Max Branford his father
Richard Branford his brother
Wendy Richard's wife
Ellen Richard and Wendy's daughter

Adam Yardley
Peter Yardley his father
Peggy Jenkins their housekeeper

Pere (Pedro)PAIR-uhKip's best friend
Miquel (Miguel) el BisbeBEEZ-buhfriend of Kip
Joan (Juan) de Na CionJoo-AHNfriend of Kip
Cion (Asuncion)SEE-awnfiancee of Joan

Josep (Jose)Joo-ZEPbrother of Bisbe
CiscoSEES-koofather of Bisbe

Vigo (Juan) barman at Sa Tanca


Sant PauSahnt POWSt. Paul; the village
also called San Pablo (Spanish name)
Son FadríSawn Fuh-DHREEholiday development on coast
The Portcapital of the Island
The Little Citythe other main town
Sa TancaSuh TAHNK-uhbeachbar near Son Fadrí

   Other things

guardia(Spanish) guardia civil, paramilitary
police force
oli i aiguaAWL-ee EYE-goosoup based on olive oil and water
ollaAW-lyuha brown earthenware pot
rancho(Spanish) group, gang
sobressadasoo-bruh-SAH-dhuha kind of sausage

    Jack Rowan