In a mood for splendour we swam a hundred-and-sixteen miles down the Rhine to see Cardinal Archbishop Geissl enthroned in the great gothic cathedral of Cologne. Our hair still dripping, we ran naked through the streets, flipping and leaping towards the splendid event. But the cathedral was so empty! Owh!
Eventually we found, in his garden, lamenting beside his tomatoes, guess who? – Old Geissl!
“My enthronement is off!” he wuffed.
“Owh!” we sighed.
“But not just that!” yapped our irritatingly unenthroned Cardinal Archbishop. “Everything is off! All seconds after the second which follows the second when I finish saying this, are cancelled! It’s official!”
“Owh!” we said, almost together. Then again: “Owh!” – together.
Less than a second later old Geissl went statue still. Never moved again. Nor did we. Owh! Nor did the magpies and larks, stuck in mid-swoop or mid-flight. Cologne, it seemed, had become a model of its former self. No reason for us to believe that the same circumstance did not apply in all
the world beyond it. Every whistle, yawn, yell, backflip, wherever it was, had gone still, silent, stopped. No rain, no weather, no flow of the Rhine, no rot of tomatoes, no spider able to finish a web. Owh! Owh! Owh!
We thought perhaps people might come and walk around us. Feeling our hair. Tweaking us. They never did. – We knew why, didn’t we? But it is fine to have the pleasure of the grass soft under our bare feet, isn’t it? And weren’t we the lucky ones to be looking at each other in that last second, so we can still see the love in each other’s eyes? – Yes we can, can’t we? – And we are still in a mood for splendour. – Yes we are, aren’t we? Owh!

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