D | E  

Sydney, Hickson Road

Scene 1

When Hektor Maille landed in Sydney, it was dark and late – perhaps the best opportunity to simply not make an appearance. But could one, as the main character in a story, steal out of it unobserved? Could one skip out of the story in the same way that one had while playing hookey in school? And where is one as a protagonist when one is not in the story? In another epic perhaps? «Hektor's Farewell (Hector and Andromache)» is the title of a Schiller poem that describes the final encounter between the Trojan hero and his wife Andromache – its lines trembling equally with heroism and menace: «No more I hear thy martial footsteps fall – Thine arms shall hang, dull trophies, on the wall.»

Hektor Maille had little desire, actually, to embark on the Australian episode. As a life draft, the prospect of being struck down by an Achilles and then have to shin three times up the walls of his town was not exactly enticing neither. But the alternatives were unclear. So he resolved to get on with it.

Moreover, the disquiet in the story was an old hat that he had already put on many times in Japan. «I know just one thing: Out of this strange Harakiri-Haiku-Hokuspokus-Business», as a poetically-supple reader had demanded. He wanted to hold it there.