I laughed in his face. “Je vous donne €5 pour trois.”
He looked around, and seeing no nearby tourists to fleece, relented.
That is how I came to have three empty bottles between my feet. Paris sparkled, like a cloth made of stars before me, a sprawling quilt of life lifting Montmartre to the height of the Gods, like some Parisian Mount Olympus. On a scrap of paper, I wrote a poem, rolled it up, stuffed it in a bottle. I stood, stumbled down marble steps, reached the railing, kissed the bottle once, then flung it as far as it would go over the city. When I thought it would fall to Earth, it continued, straight off into the night sky over Paris, and then, when it was almost out of sight, it exploded into colours, three hundred or more, burning and soaring and illuminating, and the cloth of stars on Earth came to be reflected in the sky. And from the dying embers of light came three hundred homing pigeons; their wings taking them out into the world, to one day, one day, bring them back to me.
I wrote that poem for their safe return.