Thousands of seagulls on the beach at Benghazi, so many
that we literally can’t see the sand. Not
what we expected on this quest for one of Rommel’s
Panzers, even if only a burned-out hulk with only
one survivor. Could this be him, this ancient blue-eyed
beggar in rags? He does not look German. Guten Tag.
But he’s wise to our game. He’s not about to speak
in German or any language. Have a look
at that begging bowl. It’s a tank helmet. Of course
it’s him. Which puts me in a very awkward position.
Why? Because I’m living in his flat in Berlin. Of course
his landlady thought he was dead & it’s been, how long?
fifty-seven years. Fifty-seven years, I wonder what he’d
make of the two drag queens who live next door, that
hysterical laughter, that booming Wagner? Those two,
always trying to get me in drag - stiletto heels, black
nylons, silk chemise, wig - for a night on the town. What
would our silent beggar say to that? Would he let us ride
on the turret of his Panzer? - showing some thigh, V
for Victory as we clatter through villages on our way
to Benghazi, can’t see the sky for the gulls.