Rawcliffe did not stay under for long. There was a powerful life-urge there, despite everything. "Brandy," he said. "I'll beat them all yet, Enderby." Enderby filled the cup: the bottle was near its end. Rawcliffe sucked it all in like water. "What news?" he asked. "What irrelevancies are proceeding in the big world?"
"There's nothing as far as I can see," Enderby said. "But we've only got the Spanish paper, and I can't read Spanish very well."
Enough, though. When Tetuani came back from posting that air-letter, he brought with him a copy of Espa~na, which Enderby took with him to a bar-table. Rawcliffe unconscious, though roaring terribly from deep in his cortex, Enderby sat with a large whisky, breathing the prophylactic of fresh air from an open window. "Quiere comer?" Antonio asked. Enderby shook his head: he couldn't eat anything just yet, not just yet, gracias all the same. He drank his drink and looked at the paper. It was better that he read what he was undoubtedly going to read not in English: he needed the cushioning of a foreign tongue, with all its associations of literature and tourism, despite his foreknowledge. Words had power of their own: dead would always be a horrible word. On the front page the Caudillo still howled for the Rock, and some Arab leader called vainly for the extermination of Israel. When, on the second page, he came to the headline YOD CREWSY MUERTO, his response was that of a printer who had set the type himself. The score was, say, 10-2, and you had to wait ten minutes, say, for the anticlimax of the final whistle. What it said under the headline was brief. It said, as far as Enderby could tell, that he had passed into a terminal coma after a moment of flickering his eyes open and that soon there were no further indications of cardiac activity. There would be a sort of lying in state somewhere and then a requiem mass at the Catholic Cathedral in London (they meant Westminster). Fr O'Malley would deliver the panegyric. Nothing about girls weeping, as over Osiris or Adonis or somebody. Nothing about Scotland Yard expecting immediate arrest.
"Nothing at all," Enderby said.
What would Scotland Yard do about Rawcliffe's letter? Enderby had two-fingered it himself to Rawcliffe's dictation. It would do no good, Enderby had said, but Rawcliffe had insisted. Repentance, seeing the light, symbolic blow against anti-art. A guest (check guest-list) who had come with full cold-blooded intention of killing and then being arrested-dying of those encroaching claws, what had he to lose?-he had succumbed in reflex to panic and handed gun to an anonymous waiter. He was not sorry, oh no, far from it: so perish all art's enemies, including (but with him it was the fullest blackest knowledge: he knew what he did) himself. Rawcliffe's scrawl, two witnesses: Antonio Alarc'on and Manuel Pardo Palma. Well, Enderby thought, it might resolve things one way or the other. It would welcome the police to one terminus or another. And your name, sir, se~nor? Enderby. Your passport, please, por favor. Well, a slight problem there, officer. Whispered consultation, sergeant calling inspector over, comparing photograph with. All right, Hogg then. I recognised the true murderer and pursued him. Doing the job of the police for them, really, in best fictional tradition. I say no more. All right, arrest me then. Obviously I say no more. No warning necessary.
He was indifferent, really. All he wanted was a small room and a table to write verse on and freedom from the necessity to earn a living. But there remained self-doubt. Was the Muse so generous now only because she was dispensing rubbish? The future, perhaps, lay with those Doggy Wog people. He didn't really know; he wanted to be told, shown. But was he being reserved for something? Why did not everybody know that Hogg was Enderby? Why had that moon-bitch been silent? If John the Spaniard had blown the gaff, why was Tangier not milling with Interpol, demanding to see all foreign passports, combing? What force had struck down Wapenshaw, if it was Wapenshaw they'd been talking about, and rendered him dumb?
Enderby wondered now, sitting on the Rif saddle, keeping away from the putridity, whether he should ask Rawcliffe (meaning the still not foundered intelligence in the penthouse above the demolition squads), as a dying man who had nothing to gain by mendacity, what he thought of his, Enderby's, work and (what he really meant) whether he should go on with it. But heaving and groaning Rawcliffe gave him an answer without being asked, without speaking. Go on with anything so long as you're alive; nothing matters except staying alive. Enderby could see that now, but had not always thought so. Rawcliffe said:
"Get on to Walker. It's going to be it soon, Enderby. Never mind what he asks. Money money money. All money these days. Fortunately it's stuffed in here, mine I mean, by my feet. No danger, Enderby, of ultimate incontinence fouling it. Clean money, most. The dirty part did not really harm my country. Hashish a harmless enough drug. More brandy."
"I'll have to get a new bottle."
"Get it then, blast you. What are those bloody boys doing?"
"Something in the Bible about that. What, could ye not watch with me one hour? This night, before the cock crow." Rawcliffe took breath, rattling, and went feebly cocorico. Then he coughed and coughed. Blood bubbled from both nostrils and some trickled from his right mouth-corner. "Good Christ," he panted, "I won't have this. Bewrayed, beshitten. Die in one's own bloody dung." He tried to shift his body away from the new foulness but rolled back on to it. "I'm getting up," he said. "I'm going to die on my feet. Help me, blast you, Enderby."
"You can't, you mustn't, you -"
"Best to be shot, knifed, standing." He threw his blanket off. He was naked except for a safety-pinned towel like a baby's diaper. "I insist, Enderby, you bastard. I'll drink my terminal liquor in a bar, like a man. My viaticum, you swine." He started, cursing, to get up. Enderby had to help, no way out of it. He went further than he'd gone for anybody. He pulled off Rawcliffe's diaper and wiped him clean with the clean part of it. He forgave his stepmother everything. There was a bathrobe on a nail behind the door. He put his arm round bare shivering Rawcliffe and shuffle-danced him towards it. "Better, Enderby, better,” as he was clothed in gay yellow and blue. “Take me to the bar. Wake those bloody boys. They must be my crutch."
Pushing Rawcliffe before him, Enderby yelled. Antonio peered out from the kitchen first, startled, naked as Rawcliffe had been. He went back in to get the others, himself yelling. Rawcliffe tried to yell but collapsed into coughing. He collapsed against the bar-counter coughing, trying to curse. Soon Antonio and Manuel were holding him up, an arm each about him, in dirty white shirts; Manuel's trousers were already black. "Now, Enderby," Rawcliffe gasped at last. "You say you’ve been a bloody barman. Mix me something. A cocktail called Muerte. Stop that blasted snivelling, you two." Tetuani, tarboosh on, came out, frightened.
And I will, thought Enderby. "Leave it to me," he said, adding, in desperate facetiousness, "sir." He took a large beer-glass and slopped brandy in, then white rum, gin, whisky, vodka. The bottles flashed in the fair afternoon light. It was like celebrating something.
"No need for ice," Rawcliffe gasped. "Get that, maybe, soon. That thing in bloody Shakespeare. Measure for measure, eh? Altogether fitting. Thrilling regions of ribbed ice. Top it, Enderby, with something spumous. Asti, memories of Rome. Add, for old time's sake, a dollop of Strega. Strega, a witch. Witchbitch. That bloody man in Mallorca, Enderby, says the day of the moon goddess is done. The sun goddess takes over." Enderby found a bottle of Asti on the shelf, very warm, favoured of the sun. He cracked its neck against the counter-edge. "Good, Enderby." There was a fine gush. The stench of Rawcliffe was now well overlaid with powerful yea-saying aromas. But, admired Enderby, those boys’ stomachs were strong. He gave the full spuming glass to both Rawcliffe's claws. "A toast," Rawcliffe said. "What shall it be, eh? La sacra poes'ia? The sun goddess? The survival of the spirit? To the," he began to droop, "impending dissolution," to snivel; the strong-handed boys began to snivel with him, "of this, of this -" Enderby became stern: he didn't like this snivelling. He cried: "Ah, shut up. Get that bloody drink down and shut up." It was strong fatherly talk; the medicine was wholesome; had not he, Enderby, once dared death, though dragged gurgling back? "Get on with it, Rawcliffe. Bloody traitor."
"Good, Enderby, good, good. No false compassion there. Excellent." Rawcliffe braced himself, pumped air into his lungs like a parody of a dog's panting, then took his medicine. It spilled and rilled, the mousse got up his nose, he coughed some back into the glass, but he went gamely on to the dregs. Antonio put the flecked glass down for him. Rawcliffe gasped and gasped. Tut. That. On. The." He coughed, like payment, a coin of bloody sputum on to the counter. "I mean. Muerte. The. Ult. Ult. Ultmte. Cktl." He yearned towards his chair, feebly turning. The boys took him over, only his bare toes touching the floor. Rawcliffe collapsed next to his chairside table, full of toys. Coventry Patmore. "Lil sip now." He at once began to snore. The boys put his feet up on a stackable. Enderby thought he had better now telephone Casablanca.