So everything’s going pretty well as I hit the coast road, heading south towards Grand Anse. The neutral space is automatically clearing up one concern after another as I muse over the story of my historical thriller, Kolony, from a distance, quietly amused at how the process works. It’s taken me 13 years to write its 640-odd pages and at one point I stopped writing it in favour my other book, Voices, a collection of Seychelles short stories, so it’s been in my head, marinating, for an awful long time and its characters have become old friends…well, at least some of them.
Then it happens. Without warning, the electrics die and my machine whimpers into silence. There’s a smell of acid now, rising up to greet me and heat from the battery compartment, close to my right leg, is uncomfortable. I pull over, all thoughts of my story suddenly relegated to the background, driven there by an instinctive feeling in my gut as to what is wrong. The weight of the machine is instantly all too apparent as I free-wheel to a stop, kick down the stand and inspect the damage. It’s the rectifier, no question about it.
I look up the road which is flat for the next 100 yards before gradually developing an incline. I light a cigarette as I study my options which are not many. Opening the battery compartment, I see that one side of the battery has developed a pot-belly, sure sign that the rectifier has ceased doing its job of efficiently chopping the current and charging (in this case, overcharging) the battery. It’s a mess in there and, no, she ain’t going anywhere!
That’s the drawback with motorbikes. In a car you can wait for a tow but that’s not the case with a bike…not unless you want to do a Nantucket sleigh ride on tarmac.
By now, Kolony and its tale of a divided and agenda-ridden band of modern travellers (plus one very disturbed dog) happening upon an ancient hierarchy of pirates, assassins, renegade priests and unspeakably dark rituals on a remote atoll of the Seychelles archipelago, is so distant from my mind that it might have been written by someone else. At least, that’s what I believe at that instant.
It’s getting late and there’s few cars in sight on this empty stretch of road on Mahe Island’s quiet west coast. This is one part of the island where relatively few people live and such quaint hamlets as there are, are few and far between but I can’t leave my machine out here on her own… so I start to push.(TBC)