A handful of days ago I began an addled missive to a solicitor in retainer with the Lionel William Eisley Cos., who, like me, was engaged to dispose of unqualifiable Byrne assets here and abroad at immediate risk of becoming res nullius, due to peculiar practices with deeds and such, or, in fact, the absence of deeds and titles and such (this solicitor, who will remain unnamed, specializes in the business of successorship, and in the project of appointing successors when none is properly stated in testament). Effectively, two pieces of property in Newfoundland, the corporeal provenance of which may no longer be ascertained, have been abandoned, as well as Byrne’s Cerro residence, lately designated abandoned. I wrote this solicitor with grave misgivings about my own contribution to the task to which I had been entrusted; that is, my curatorial duties, in relation to which I receive from said solicitor regular orders, which a handsome salary has induced me to follow — orders which in a better man might be foiled by conscience. My missive began thus, though it remains incomplete:
Odd things happen to people that find themselves associated with this music — not altogether savory things. So I am obliged to do the one thing I may in an effort to spare life and limb: withdraw. When referring to the pertinent discography, a word comes to mind: accursed. And though I tried to do my predecessor one better — persevere and remain faithful — I am forced to acknowledge my own inadequacy in the face of things ineffable, that mine might prove a simpler drinking life. In the interim, I have attempted to create a simple portal through which the troubled and soundly curious may pass in order to discover albums, tracks and text with little effort.
Though the kindnesses the Lionel William Eisley Cos. has shown me are many, I am forced to pass under and out from the curtain, and hope that mine labours were not in vain; that they were adequate, in light of exotic circumstances.
For the time being, I will suspend my discussion of so-called exotic circumstances, though they be fixed at the center of the drama. Instead I must mention the entrance into affairs of Byrne heir, Corbin, variously in and out of hock, as was the not infrequent fate of the clan from which he hailed, Corbin who looks very much the part of Ireland’s last consumptive, came fairly early to my table on Abbeygate Street Wednesday last, knowing full well that if I am to take an appointment, or if an audience is to be had with me, it is to be accomplished here at my table, after noon, before four. He looked less smart than usual, wore jeans and a t-shirt, tennis shoes, his father’s wristwatch, which kiltered the ensemble, and he had a longish moustache flecked with a startling proportion of gray. I offered him a drink, which I seem not to recall he ever denied, but from some redoubt in his pants he produced a flask from which he took a long pull. On the table he had lain a stack of unorganized papers. One hand, with unclipped nails, rested atop it. Corbin pushed me the papers and leaned back in his chair, which moaned in receipt of his oversized frame. The front and back of the stack were bounded by one half each of a manila envelope and the stack in its entirety by two nails driven through the middle of the left margin.
“It’s a book,” said he.
“So it would seem,” I said. In the upper-right margin of each page was a handwritten numeral: 1, 2, 3… I quickly flipped through the book, which was no simple task. The business end of each nail poked prominently through the backside of the ‘book.’
“What do you think?” Corbin asked. “Can you get me money for that?”
“Money for this? You didn’t write this.” I knew who did.
“A finders fee,” he said. “Not much I’m asking. Ten, maybe twenty thousand Euros.”
“I’ll get you the money. Anything else where you found this?” I hefted the book in the air, balanced it on one hand. It must have been comprised of no fewer than 400 leaves.
“A whole lot of nothing,” he said. Which wasn’t true: there was always something else from which a mysterious something came. And he knew I knew he was saving other treasures for one of the many rainy days which would visit him. “Let’s get a bite,” he said.
“You get a bite,” I said. “I want to read a little of this.”
“I’ll get a bite, then. I’ll come back later.” He wouldn’t, not on this particular day.
We didn’t shake hands. I didn’t stand up. Corbin left.