An opportunity - one final hour to live in the sun, free from pain. What would you do with it?
A nearly blind sex addict ornithologist. A terrorist bomb maker turned to God. A Francoist police officer who has destroyed thousands of lives. A battered wife escaping. An antifranquista fisherman who searches for the truth about the death of his first love. A woman whose body is her autobiography.
They have in common two things. They live in a nursing home on the island of Mallorca and all of them are being offered a unique chance – to live an hour in the body of anyone they can see at the hotel pool next door or to choose one of those same holidaymakers to die and extend their own life.
A catch? Of course, such offers don’t come without one.
If they choose the first that is all they will have – one more hour. And to choose the second? There is no guarantee how long their life will be extended.
So, what would you do with one hour?
Or do you want to take a gamble?
3600 Seconds is a story of love, hate, fear, aging and regret. It is not for the faint hearted or for those easily offended. It is, however, for those of you who want to believe in something beyond what the Spanish call the ‘cotidiana’ – the everyday – and who recognise that not all old people are lovely, doddering, harmless, fragile creatures. These people have lived and, who knows, maybe they still do.
Valves hissed, drips beeped, an unseen face wailed with the anguish of a trapped animal. The usual quiet of the building was disturbed by two things – a tannoy summoning medical assistance and the shouts, splashes, laughter and music from the poolside of the adjacent hotel.
Room 406 was a white box with a singular barred window opposite the only door which led out onto the balconied corridor running the length of the building. It had been the home to Juan Merillas Ruiz and Joan Fuster Gaya for almost four years. The men had known and shared hatred for over fifty years, but now they lay opposite each other, repeating the same nine minute conversation interspersed with a three minute blast of rage which happened around once a day.
At first the nurses ran to assist the apoplectic men, calling for sedatives to be administered and imploring the chief doctor to split them up, but now they paid them no more attention than they did to the local church bells chiming the hour and half hour.
It was 9.28am. The heat of the island summer was already pulling the walls in.
These people are helping to fund 3600 Seconds.