Alan Sturrock

I was strolling through the grounds at Trinity College recently one morning when something caught my attention. Just in front of the Berkeley Library there is a small copse-a delicate incline that defies a perfect College Park horizontal.  The dappled sunlight was reflecting off some white, shiny, scattered-about items.

My interest was piqued so I descended and investigated.

The copse was strewn with shiny word samples, much like magnetic refrigerator poetry words and phrases. Individually and collectively, they assumed the demeanor of being discarded, lost, misplaced.. or even abandoned.


I bent down and picked up one and read it: Fulgencio Batista.

I looked upwards to the sky as if my imagination resided there, hoping for a connection, a clue to its meaning. Batista. I repeated the word Batista again and again. The name sounded vaguely familiar.

I looked around some more.

The next phrase read Bay of Pigs. Written underneath, in Spanish, were the words Bahia des Cochinos. Yet another word spelled hostages.

Fulgencio Batista…Bay of Pigs…hostages…suddenly, the little grey cells [as our man Hercules P was fond of saying], began their unfailing work in joining historical dots: the flawed and failed invasion of the island of Cuba by a group of trained expatriates and supported by the US.

To my left I found more words/phrases: Fidel Castro…CIA…B-26 bombers…April 17, 1961.

I was beginning to enjoy this serendipitous game of connecting these not-so-random words and phrases when I was aware that someone was standing behind me at the edge of the copse. I turned around quickly to find a somewhat distraught young man standing there.

‘Can I be of assistance?’ I inquired.

‘I certainly hope so’, he replied. ‘I lost some words from the dissertation on The Bay of Pigs I’m working on upstairs in Berkeley…’

‘..words? words and phrases perhaps?’

‘’Yes. I thought I saved them to the Cloud but I must have skipped a step and now they’re missing. Gone. Blanks where they used to be…’

‘Like these?’ And I reached up and handed him my found words and phrases. He poured over them for a moment, then exclaimed: ‘Yes! Yes!’

‘Thank you…thank you…thank you…they must have fallen out of the Cloud..’

I smiled and scrambled out of the copse.

He shook my hand.

‘Did I thank you?’ he repeated.

‘You did. Several times. Not a bother. It was serendipity…’ I added.

‘Serendipity. Yes…it was serendipity…’