The story of Enrique Davenport was, following that last strange night in Tehran, as curious and mis-matched as his name.
Enrique left the meeting of dissident intellectuals confident and happy at the outcome he had worked tirelessly to achieve. While he did not yet have complete certainty that his life’s goal was close to coming to its natural, and violent, culmination, it seemed nonetheless to him that his time in Tehran had brought him immeasurably closer than he had any right to expect even a month earlier. An undated facsimile copy of a telegram he sent to his mother manages to highlight, even through the economy of words necessary back then to transport a message across the world from Iran to the unbelievably small home where his mother lived in Madrid, that Enrique was, for the first time in either his own or his mother’s memory, happy.
The first piece of bad news struck Enrique as close to inconsequential, though a decade later when enough pieces of the puzzle had been painstakingly connected for him to crib together some vague idea of what had occurred, because that was truly a murky time for writers and politicians alike, it was clear to him that nothing is ever truly insignificant and that murders and catastrophe alike balance upon the head of a pin before falling, irretrievably, into consequence and effect. At the time nobody, and least of all Enrique, thought that the death of the hotel manager, one Aziz Al-Aswany, seemed to herald the beginning of the end of the great dream of secular restoration in Iran.
Al-Aswany was found dead in his bathroom, with both of his wrists slit, first horizontally to sever the veins completely, and then vertically from palm to elbow. Doctor Toulouse, a nervous, sweating, bald man with a mild stammer who had been woken from his sleep and taken away from his vacation, not entirely of his own volition, in order to examine the dead man under the darkness of night, attested to the police, who had no time at all for his tendency to slip into French under duress, that while difficult, it would be possible for a determine – truly determined – person to have sufficient control of the blade to so mutilate themselves, though he admitted he had never seen such a case and was forced to admire, no matter how abhorrent he felt toward suicide, a man who could cause his own death in such a manner. The police, satisfied only when he had signed the death certificate, let the terrified doctor return to his hotel and his wife, who had spent the intervening hours drinking white wine while watching the dawn sky break over the minarets. Of all this Enrique knew nothing. From all this Enrique’s downfall began.
Later, much later, there appeared in Le Monde a retraction of the doctor’s signature appeared in a statement located in a tiny corner of the Tuesday edition of the newspaper, though nobody but myself happened to notice, and the fact that I saw it at all was pure chance.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.