That’s me batting. 77 n.o. (4 sixes, 6 fours). That’s Forbes Abercrombie bowling. Right arm over the wicket fast-medium. Teaches. History, I think. The fielder coming in from cover point is Charlie Sneezum from Zimbabwe, put his lump sum into pigs, lost the lot, married well (financially at least) and now helps his wife run the family chain of florists, roses from Kenya his speciality. The umpire is Chris Lord, lawyer and ladies man, rugby blue from St Andrews. The time is 1530 hrs. Sunday 14 May.
What happened next?
I’ll tell you what happened next.
No sooner (or so it seemed to me) had the ball left Abercrombie’s hand than everything went dark, CLICK, just like that, switched off, The End of the World no longer nigh but now, not just murky dark either but pitch black, jet black, eyeless-in-Gaza, ace-of-spades, down-a-coal-mine black, black as the paper this is written on
and silence, sudden absolute silence, as if a hermetically sealed door had firmly shut me out forever from the bright noisy world outside
no light, no sound
then CLICK, back to normal, well not quite normal, sunlight, voices as before, almost back to what it had been before except that my stumps were all awry, Abercrombie and Sneezum were doing high fives, the wicket keeper was picking up the scattered bails, Lord was sharing a joke with my batting partner and I was walking past them, walking back to the pavillion, irritably playing the shot I probably would have played if
“Well played,” Tom said as he passed me, bat tucked under his arm, fiddling with his gloves.
They applauded me all the way up the steps; I raised my bat to acknowledge their appreciation.
Mrs. Lord was bringing in plates of her neat little triangular sandwiches from the back seat of their quattroporte Maserati, their black labrador padding hopefully at her side.
“Hard luck, ” she said.
Today is August the first.
I am no nearer a solution as to what it was that happened to me that Sunday afternoon in May when I wasn’t expecting it but it has never happened again though now I am expecting it all the time.