Sleep overcame me. When I awoke, beside me there were only Ash and Richard, under a blue blanket. The sound of several guitars, maracas and some congas reached us softly from an area close to the back of the house. Someone was singing a song that started off talking about some news - an accident, a photograph.... This song had been chasing me around for almost two months, wherever I went, with its succession of fragments apparently unconnected and its impacting final chord.
“Everyone and their dog is going to want to cover that song, even without the piano, and if not, time will tell. Anyway, fire's dying out. See?” said Richard after a while.
“I´ll do it” I replied. “I need to go get some cigarettes anyway.”
I found some dry branches and a couple of logs nearby so it was easy to rekindle the fire. As the flames began to grow, I began to see through them, little by little. They made a glow beyond the colors of the burning wood; it was kind of a tonality related to an acoustic sensation that seemed to rise out of the crackle of the fire itself. My synaesthetic rush eventually settled on a voice which at first I could not understand. As it approached, that voice took shape as a blurred silhouette.
“You´ll singe those eyebrows of yours Nar, this time you will!”
Dylan crossed on the other side of the fire, heading for the back entrance to the house. In front of it, the people who had been playing that perturbing song were now forming a circle around the man with the out-of-place hat, who was just at that moment telling the end of his story and quoting excitedly from what he said was the Book of Revelation:
“ My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights. ”
Dylan couldn´t help but hear it as he walked past them to get to the house. From the door, with a gesture as if in slow motion, he turned to counter the man in black:
“That´s not the Book of Revelation. It´s Isaiah, chapter 24.”
I was listening to every word even as I was walking back to Richard and Ash. Suddenly I found I´d stopped, and in a very loud voice, I heard myself say:
“That´s not right either. It´s Isaiah, yes, but chapter 21, verse 8.”
Everybody fell silent. A sea of eyes was on me. Dylan's shone brightly, his expression inscrutable.
“How do you dare?!” he called out as he opened the door.
I was about to reply I´m not sure what, when a dusty voice shook behind me.
“If you are so sure, why don´t you place a bet?”
When I turned, a face like a mask held my gaze fixedly under that huge, black hat. Dylan stopped still against the open door, his head cocked to the side. With great parsimony he finally lit his cigarette.
“Let it be so” he said after a couple of neverending seconds. Then he entered Big Pink, slamming the door behind him.
After so many years, that slam still echoes in my head as the shot before a duel, and I hadn´t even chosen my weapon. Dylan had chosen it for me. If we ever met again, I would ask him if he still remembers the next scene. Like I do tonight. In black and white.