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|Monday, July 7th, 2003|
The Disk Click
It has been carried with him, inside the small satchel by his side since the morning. The notebook, is tattered. Not that it is old, but it has been well used, it has been well consumed by words and fragments of life and splices of mundane feeling and plots and plans and all the things that one places down when a thought occurs.
It is his bastion of recluse, but it is not his words that are important. It is not what is written on the pages that matters, it is not the sentences that have meaning. It is not the cleare constructions, nor the phone numbers nor the lists of dealers in his own one-way cipher that are meaningful.
Not the reminders. Not the small sketches that litter the booklet.
The evening before, when he was taken to the room, he had, before submitting himself to the doctors ministrations, taken the notebook from his bag. He had then placed it, carefully, on the bed side table and stared at it. Stared. Long. Hard. Thinking.
THe doctor had calmly guided him over to a chair, and took several things from his bag. Kai had took no notice. He had left his eyes trained on the notebook. Such a small thing, he thought. Such a wonder. Its all there, its all waiting to be sought out. The whole mess and confusion, the reality and the diffusion of life. Its all there, he had thought, its all there, ripe for the giving. Ripe for the sharing, and yet...and yet....
The doctor was tut-tuting and making noises as he attempted to clean the blood away from Kais head. Soemthing stung. Something hurt.
"This is no good, young man. These ..dreadlocks..." and he muttered under his breath.
Kai paid no attention. His mind had wandered, and he realsied that he was tired. He was so, so very very tired.
She had looked tired when he's seen her as well. He remembered. He had wanted to grab her, embrace her, look at her, and yet his own disgust at himself had prevented it. She hadnt looked like she was willignt o offer comfort his way - why would she? What comfort had she to give? It was he, no, he that should have given....
"I'm going to have to give you some stiches, you know. And...."
The doctor paused. cxonsidered.
"I may have to remove one or two of these..dreadlocks. This gash had bled...feircely. They are caoted in..."
The doctor was some kind of considerate. some kind of feeling-type. HE actualyl considered how Kai would feel, if he had to lose some of those thick, tusked locks he ahd cultivated for so many, many years. The doctor was trying to look after him, and be kind at the same time.
Kai had looked over towards the notebook,a nd sighed. Clenched his yes.
"Cut them off," he said.
"Oh..." the doctor replied," are you sure young man?"
"Well, oaky then,...I'll jsut have to cut these two.,.."
"No. If your going tot ake one off...take them all. Cut them all off. Get rid of them."
Change. Time. Semblence of old. Leaving the past. Further running. Here he was, in a room in one of the most opulant residences in the city, he was sitting down, he was being fixed. He had travelled here for some reason, for the very reason that sat there, over on the table.
He wanted to tell her
. He wanted to show her. He wanted to .... he wanted some kind of absolution, but he knew that it would never be forthcoming. From her, maybe, from himself? Never.
The doctor resumed his cutting. He used scissors and viurtually tried to hack them away. The doctor above him swore, and took from his small case,a scalpel. He cut. He removed them. They had come off in blood soaked wads of debris, and he had placed them, carefully, on a piece of newspaper.
"You want to keep..."
"no. Throw them away." he said.
Then the pain came again. The fixing. The Making It Better. All that. The wash, the iodine solution and the stiches. Stiches all over. Matted hair. A bloodied bowl of water and ....
Later, the doctor left. Kai showered. Water washed on different aprts of his body, leaking downwards. Dried blood re-liquified. Down the drain. Downwards. Out to join the other effluent.
Afterwards, he stood in fdront of a mirror. Recognition came slowly. His dreadlocks had been apart of him, had grown with him, had been
him for such a long, long time.....
When he moved his head, it felt strange. All the weight of his drealocks removed. USually after showereing,t hey would be water logged, heavcy and recalcitrant. He moved his head from side to side, feeling his neck muscles adjust to the less than normal sensation of being unburdened.
....and now, a stranger looked back. Eyes sunken from a bolstered meth existance and a crescent of short hacked hair.
I'll have to shave that, once I heal.." he thought to himself.
The stranger's hand went to the stiches on the side dof his face, up above his brow.
THe stranger looked at him. He looked back. He saw the eyes of familiararity and the deluge of want.
HE crossed the room to where he had placed the notebook, and opened it.
No, it was not the notebook itself that mattered at all. His words were meaningless...the iamges though, the images and the words attached...
From within, he took the disc, carefully, almost reverantly. He sighed,a nd held it up towards the light, held it,a dn twisted it that way and this, this way and that fingers, spinning it. One finger through the hole, the other hand moving it around and around and around.
something almost broke, depe down, and the fear almost broke its harness. Not yet, he had thought, not yet, not yet...
Kai had then placed the disc back inside the notebook, picked it up, and held it tight to his chest. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he had rocked and swayed, and at some stage, he had leant back,a dn fallen asleep.
Kai looks next to him at the girl. She looks better. She looks determined. He will show her when she is finished, he thinks. At least now, my running has a purpose...
But he will show her. He will stop running. He will not hide. He will allow it all to flow and ride...but not yet.
Not yet. For now, I must run with her, by her side and do as she wills.
He see's that same pink band within her hair. A momento.
He takes the camera and points it at her.
Shes crazy, he thinks, but is she crazier than I?
Stosia looks over towards him, taking her eyes off the road and smiles.
"Well," she says, "Here we go huh?"
Yes. Here we go indeed, he thought....
|Thursday, June 19th, 2003|
BOOK TWO - FOLTERTE
City and South
By morning, Pasher is ablaze.
The city is ridden with gunfire and every so often the muted thud of a small explosion rocks the morning air. What was only twenty four hours previously a peaceful, cosmopolitan city, has descended into a chaotic warzone where even the sides are difficult to make out. Guerillas from the surrounding regions, hidden amongst the populace and merely biding their time, have made sudden strikes across the city.
Car bomb attacks. Armed assualts and skirmishes with government troops. All out gun battles amongst narrow alleyways and in supermarkets laden with broken juice bottles and lead dissected cereal boxes.
Fires, here. There. EVerywhere. The stream of people continues - out, out to the hillsides. They leave by boat, travelling across the bay and deluging the countryside with their presence. Urban refugee's. The once secretary of State for the Tri-city nation has nto slept all night, and he is angry. Very, very angry. He is angry at the disgusting actions of opportunists, and angry at himself for not having foresen it. He thought he had. He thought his plans for this event watertight, but even he had not forseen the level of betrayal that had emerged.
The rest of the isle is not without problems.
In Folterte, the governor invites several characters into the state parliment building, before the assembly which has conveened early. It is 6am - everyone of note on the city and regional council is present, building plans and drafting operations to assist in the growing unrest to the north turned outright rebellion to the north . He introduces them to his compatriots as Leiutenants of the Free Malagi Party.
Within seconds of their introductions, the ruling Folterte parlimentarians have been rendered into bloodied clots of flesh and clothing as they are massacred by the Malagi guerillas..
Those who have tried to flee are gunned down as they attempt to make the exits by the guards, who themselves are members of the Folterte Militia.
The governor, himself of Malagi descent, then places a phone call to the General of the militia, to notify him that the coup against the Tri-city parliment has been successful. The general then relays that information to his operatives in the north, who are leading guerilla activities amongst the streets of Pasher.
An hour later, the state of Malagania is proclaimed, its entire boundry defined only by the sea surrounding the isle. In reality, the city of Folterte is all that is held - the rest will have to come later...
In Rouge, there is near nothing. Several small explosions rock the early hours, but by and large the military is able to keep control of the populace. Very few of the cities inhabitants are recidivist elements, with most supporting the ruling junta in Pasher. In accordance, the Rouge militia sends aid across the bay to the city, in order to help alleviate the problems occuring in its sister city.
Several hundred kilometers north, a small fleet of international warships is on the move.
In the morning light, farmers find empty parachutes hastily hidden amongst the fields. Black and ominous.
By mid morning, Pasher is once again under the control of the city government, many of the guerillas elements ahving been rounded up and executed - but not without a terrible cost to the cities infrastructure. Many opf the assailants melt out of the city, heading back into the fields and mountains and forrests in order to continue their operatinons in more clandestine ways, their main objective having been reached, giving the newly proclaimed Malaganian ruler time to shore up his defences whilst the military units in Pasher have been otherwise engaged in dealing with their own problems.
The former Secretary of State of Pasher announces his acting Presidential position, and re-affirms that the current state of affairs amongst the city of Folterte is an illegal act in violation of state mandates, and vows to "liberate" the city from all terrorist elements. That the terrorist elements comprise most citizens, several thousand guerilla fighters and the majority of the states milita is not mentioned nor dwelt upon.
As the newly appointed acting president begins his day to chaos and ultimatums, two young citizens of Pasher are fleeing the city, ina dilapidated old humvee - the only vehicle they could get their hands on at such short notice that would fulfill their needs.
They are heading south, towards the newly named region of Malagania, and the city of Folterte itself, unaware of the drastic turn of events that has engulfed the nation since the rising of the sun.
|Monday, June 16th, 2003|
Kaijo And Stosia
He's a mess. An utter mess.
Blood on his face from a cut on his head. His dreads are matted with it. He looks lean, and his eyes stare vacantly all around us.
He is a mirror image of myself, sans blood.
"Kai," I say, softly.
"Stosia." he replies. He is a man of few words, but much intent. He has managed to convey a lot in that one word. One name. Two sylabbles.
I havnt known him for very long. Of course, I have known him by reputation for much longer - what woman living and breathing in Pasher has not? He is a dynamo. A demi god amongst artists and musicians the nation wide - even, possibly,t he world. His celebrity status is unique - he shuns it, and et still, still, he works tirelessly towards it.
"I'm not into the cult of personality," he said to me, that night at the party, only a few days before, "I jsut like wat5ching. WAtching people. Watching rections.."
"your one of the biggest celebrities in this whole freekin hemisphere" I sid to him, "How the hell do yuo manage to keep dissociated from it all?"
Kai had held up his glass of vodka, and answered in his cryptic, and yet immediately clear way
"Thats a stupid question really, Stosia. I avoid it like anyone else who isnt into that bullshit....I become it."
I hadnt been sure what he meant, but it sounded sufficiently artistic and manical to be true. If he belived whatever it was he was saying,t hen it was good enoguh for me. Still, he did manage to avoid the pitfalls of celebrity, and remain some kind of wierd underground icon. That had been all cool. That, was a drawcard. That, had been wonderful.
So I went home with him from the party. Me, the poor little rich girl. Daddy's girl. States little ward. The girl who had the run of the town. There, back in his apartment, I'd walked past his hundreds of photographs that hung to dry or wee mounted all across the walls, and revelled in it all. We did lines of meth and drank more vodka. We talked and at some stage we were kissing, removing our clothes and touching and he was drawing back the curtains and my hands were brushing his dreads to the side and feeling down and we were naked, naked to the world and his hands and my hands moved away and across and over and through and into and....
I snapp back to the now. He's been dumped in my room. I've asked the guards to fuck off. He's sitting there, like a broken laptop, a shattered lcd making strange patterns of broken light across a darkened room.
I went into the bathroom, and poured water into a bowl. Get a teatowel. I'm sure it cost several hundred dolalrs from wherever it had been bought. Ahh. Harrods. Yeah. Whatver.
I go back tow ehre he is sitting in a chair.
"I dont know why I'm here," he said. "I'm sorry..."
And he apologises. He apologises! He's sitting here, in my room, and he is apologising!
"Shut the fuck up Kai," I say, and I take the tea towel and start cleaning off his scalp. Its difficult because of his dreads..but he's taken well care of them, and they are nicely spliced apart.
"I mean sorry abut your dad..." he says.
Oh. I think. Oh.
"Yeah," and I feel him wince under the touch of the tea towel against the cut in th head, "Your lucky they figured you out, you know. Lots of people...dying..today for a lot less. A lot less."
Damn fuckign tears. I wont let them. It wont happen again. I thought back to that night...
...and our cltohes were off. We lay on the bed, talking. We talked too much. We spoke of incidents, we talked of sexual desires. We talked of those things we had done and people we had fucked and the ways in which it had happened. We tocuhed and moved and yet...
...we didnt make love. Amphetamines. Too much of them, he said. A common problem. unable to sufficiently perform....was I disappointed? Sure. I culdnt get him hard. I wanted him hard. I wanted to fuck him, but I didnt. I couldnt. He performed a miracle of teongue techniques regardless and I bathed in the glow. It was a good night. It was a good thing. It was a meeting of minds..and I adored his photographic work...
I knew he had a girlfrienbd. At some stage, he looked at a watch. He'd sworn. He'd asked me if it was okay if he asked me to leave..he had lost track of the time, and she'd be back any second...he lloved her, he'd said, but he had enjoyed our time..he wanted to see me again, he wanted to talk, ...he wanted to fuck, for sure. I'm srue he wanted to make up for his dismal performance, and yet I thought it to be one of the more remarkable nights of my life. Sometimes, the act of merely sharing space witrh someone as intense as that, makes all th edifference. Sometimes, the sex is not necessary...
...he'd given me an eightball of meth before I'd left. I had just finished it all not too long before. After leaving, fucked off my head still and vague, but glowing, I realised I had left my underwear behind. A momentum, I thought. Good for him, I;d smirked,a t the time. I had no hair tie, it must have become lsot somewhere...somewhere...
...wrapped around his hand, is a pink hair tie. Somewhere inside, my heart squirms a little, and I fall into a realm of confusion.
"You know, " I say, casually. As if anything between us now, in this space, at this time, my father having just been both killed and creamted, his ashes standing on a small table int he corner of the room, can be casual, "I was going to get in contact with you...in the morning,th at is. I ...I have some work for you."
I washoff the teatowel. There is a knock at the door, the gaurd, I presumed back with the doctor. I leave them standing outside. Kai's needs wernt urgent.
We are quiet for some time.
"What kind of work, do you mean exactly?"
"Photographic work." I say
He laughs. Not necessarily a kind laugh, but a deep one nevertheless.
"What the fuck? You...want me to take some photographs?", and the laughing continued, "Of WHAT exactly? You? your makeup for tomorrow morning? Your fucking body all naked and writhering on some bed somewhere? Sure! Sure, why the fuck not! I got nothing else to do..." and with saying that, something slid over his face. Pain. Hunger. Fear or some mixture of all the above.." sure," he continues, evern softer.." Ther eis nothing else..."
"No. Not of me. I want you to take photographs of my father..."
He looks blank. I watch his eyes slide over to the urn and he nods a little.
"I think you need some sleep, Stosia. I think we both do."
I finsh wiping off as much blood as I can, and walk into he bathroom with the bloodied bowl of water. Empty it out. Throwthe stained Harrods tea towel into a bin besides the toilet. I washed my hands. I walked out. Kai is looking at me, expectantly.
I tell him what I wan to do. I tell him why. I tell him most everything.
"Your fucking crazy," he says,yet I can see him seriously wieghing up the options. I wait and I can here him mumbling to himself..."..nothing else...can go...sure...nothing else is there...why not...nothing else.." and for a minute I think he's gone crazy, or into some kind of strange meth related psychosis, the kind that takes over without you even know when you overindulge and your running on empty.
I hear a deep intake of breath....
...."Well, I'm going to need a camera."
I look at him. I reach over to his hand, and slide off the elastic hair tie. I strech it, and place it around my own wrist. I see him, half broken and strangely afraid, not the man whom I had met several days before, but a man haunted and agrieved. A man for whome dramatic changes had suddenly fallen over like the thickest pall of smoke across a pillaged town. I wonder for a second, if he is the right person. I can find others...but none I can stand to be near. None I can trust to truely capture what I want with their images.
None that I so desperately want to lose myself in their arms too.
I walk to the door. Greet the doctor, and instruct the guard to take Kai to the guest quarter, to give him a room and have the doctor attend to his sttiches. Feed him. Give him a bed. They help him to his feet and as he is jsut about to leave, I say.
"You'll ahve a new one tomorrow. We leave as soon as we can..."
And I shut the door behind them. I close it. I walk over to the bed, and lay down on it. Take several tamazapans and down them with a small quaffe of water, trying to close my eyes and my mind to everything else except the relief I am feeling at his presence.
I need my sleep.
I need my strength.
I need my dreams, for tomorrow is the start of an even longer day, and an even longer journey.
END OF BOOK ONE
|Thursday, June 12th, 2003|
Towards The Place
HE keeps walking. Keeps stumblng. At one stage, he is on his knees, having tripped over.
She appears. He listens to nothing. she shows and the crowd roars.
Later, he is still moving towards the palace. Nearer. Trying. People are leaving the strips of parkland surrounding it, leaving and many heading to their homes. They've seen it., some are tired. Some, head off to loot, to prey on others, to cause mayhem.
The night sleeps and the populace tilts on an edge.
Later still, he is near the entrance, a thick ring of troops and armoured transports surround it. Why is he here? Why has he come to this spot? Is he seeking something? Is he lookign for something? He has walked a long distance, through the crowds, towards the one point he should be rushing from.
Soldiers fill him full of fear. He walks up to one.
THe soldier is in riot gear. Ful, a mask at the ready. Gun's come up, pensive, apprehensive.
"Get back, and stay. Do not approach any further."
Kai stands rooted tot he spot. He cant move. He wants to say something. He needs to get it out.
"Look", he says, softly, arms upwards "I need to show you something..." his hand moves downwards, to his pocket, and suddenly the rest of the soldiers are springing to life around him, several dropping to knees, all bringing guns up. Atop the armoured car, a larger machine gun bears down on his position.
"Stop!" come the cries, "dont move!" and he is paralysed. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
"No, wait...please, I need to show you something...please? I just want to to take something from my pocket, I need to show you..."
"On your knees, now!" and instead of showing them, he keeps his hands upwards, upwards towards the stars, and falls hard on his knees. He has had fear. He has known it. He does not feel it. It doesnt matter...if this is what it will be, this is what it will be. The mess in his life is behind him, and it cant be cleaned up..if it comes tot his..if it does...
He has no purpose. He has been running from everything blindly. At first he had two eyes, seeing a possilbe escape from himself. Then, with one eye, with no perspective, and now, he is blind. He is dark. There is no pathway, no seclusion, no runways\ to model his needs upon.
Someone hits him over the head with a baton, he goes down, crumpled. He can feel the pain and yet it does not overwhelm him. It sits there, blasting through his skull, breaking like waves upon the rocky bastion of his thoughts. Pain. Sullen. Hands are all over him, searching, patting, one arm behind his back, more pain. Clamped in a lock.
Someone is in his pocket, pulling out his wallet. Another, rummaging through his bag - all he see's is the grains of bitumen below his eyes, shards of stone and tar spliced together into darkness.
He hears words that are familiar.
"Kaijo Augst? Fuck me." and the pain is still there....good. good he thinks, they know me. They know of me. They'll let me up, they'll let me go.
"Your music fucking shit," and theres a pain in his side, lightning fast and he whimpers a little. The soldiers laugh. Someone has turned on his phone - he had forgotten it had been on. He'd forgotten he possessed it. The soldiers let him go. he feels free, and wonders if he should move, and decided to instincitvely turn around, turn over.
Blood is running across his brow, and he can see the soldier looking through his phone, listening to his mesages. Double checking. Pale. White. Scared. Fear. Afraid - why so afraid? What was the message? What was he listening to - what was he doing?
THe wolder rushed over tot he armoured personal carrier. Showed his phone to someone. Swearing. Guns still on him....he wondered...he wondered....
Another soldier walked over to him, and he could just make out the face. older. Gray. Stern.
"Kaijo August? I'm Colonel Matatai."
Kai manages a grunt. The pain is overwhelming. THe colonel looks down at him as if he were a carcass to be scavenged.
"Kaijo August...you really should check your messages more often. You've missed a very important one....or so it seems."
Kai struggles and sits up, and the colonel holds out a hand. He is suddenly reminded of the journey with Monique, and the flat tire, and the guerillas..the stay of execution. Things have always been like that..a stay...a stay of execution...perhaps...perhaps the mess didnt need to be cleaned up. Perhaps...perhaps.
THe colonel hands him his phone. He is still bleeding, but it has lessened...the cut in his head must not have been as bad as he initially thought. He wipes his hands on his shirt, takes the phone. Looks at the call log.
Its a public data key. Encrypted. Over-ride status - un-mistakable. If Kai hadnt of hacked his phone, it would have rung, regardless of if it was turned off or not.
The soldiers had seen the icon on the screen when he took th ephone. The Colonel had understood what it meant.
"..and what, may I ask Mr August, would Miss Annastosia be doing sending you an over-ride message?"
Kai had no idea why either - but it might have had something o do with the fact that he had fucked her brains out, and hadnt actually called her the next day like he had said he would.
Kai smiled at the Colonel, and then began to shake his head slowly, side to side...side to side...side to side...perhaps if they looked even more carefully through his wallet, they would find the....
Right n cue, thought Kai. Right on cue.....
|Wednesday, June 11th, 2003|
Promises Made, Promises Wept
All the things that lead up to this point remind me of the fragility of our meanderings across history. I have studied, I have lived, I have seen all the different parts of the world, and enjoyed a fruitful chilkdhood, and yet, I am as innocent in the ways of death as anyone else whom had never had nayone close to them pass away was.
All that training. All those lessons. At that travelling and so called "experience" and here I am, standing in a light green gown, my face made up by ..whomever, whatever...and standing with a monkey skull sized urn containing all that was physically left of my father.
I place it on the counter. I feel the juice running out through my head, out of my fingertips. I know time iss closing in on me, that nothing else really matters to me now.
I snort the last of the meth, pure and clean. Not even enoguh to get a rise. Not even enough to dull the pain with its clarity - just enough to spike me, jsut enough to get me through.
Afterwards, I'll find him. Somehow.
Fingers, tingling. nose itching, almost sneezing. I sneeze through my mouth, an uncomfortable gesture, and pinch my nose tight. Wastage not wanted.
I take a deep draft from a glass of wine I had almost forgotten about, but which is wonderfully within easy reach of my hands a top an old styled stand coupled with a cigarette ashtray.
A half smoked cigarette burns there. My lungs are sore from the previous night still. Sore, or almost numb. Burnt or fragrenced with broken stubs of nicotine, and chemically bonded smoke molecules
I have no more tears. They are as dry as my throat. As dry as my mouth.
The meth drops down the back of my nose, and slids back to my throat. It tastes like dead ant. A handfull of dead ants, crushed and sliding down my throat. I blink.
i drink more wine. Washing the embers of ampethetamine down in a single slice of liquid.
I stand, arms splayed downwards, fingers extended, eyes closed. I close them, tighter, tighter..then open.
I pick up the urn.
It is light, yet strongly constructed from some kind of metal, engraved with Malagi and bhuddist text, contained and drawn.
This gown is fucking useless. But I have to do this.
Have to, or want to. Or need to?
I step outside, and everything hits me at once. So many lights. So many people. All I have to do is one simple thing, one simple, simple thing...thousands, thousands, a road, the volume. Lights, overwhelming...and...
I tihnk backwards. Several years, a few years, to a conversation with my father. Father...father...
"Well, beacause I believe it will help me into the next life STosia. I have don so much..." and he had looked out the window tot he city below, surveying, much as I had earlier this morning, before the news had catapulted my life into some kind of damning visage of normality, "..and yet ther eis much more I can do. People will remember me, which I, personally, find funny as hell. They look up to me, they mostly love me..and some worship me. Some hate me, for the same reasons as others worship and love and yet....the balance that has been wraught is very tangible."
He had sighed, deeply.
"But, why not put you in the ground, like anyone else? Bury you deep...place a tomb above you even, or a shirne..the people can visit you! If you scatter your ashes..then where will they worship? Where will they lament your passing..in a hundred years time, where will they visit to see you?"
I have known, all along, my fathers importance to both the city and the peoples hearts. Such conversations were rarely dissociated from the grander scheme of ego.
Father turned around then, and put a hand on my shoulder.
"I am a part of this land, Stosia. All of it. Not jsut one state, not jsut one city...but all of it. All that can be traversed by foot, I am a part of. I want to be a part of that...and when I pass, the people must see that that is what I was when I was amongst the living. They must know that my destiny was, and always has been, to remain a part of a whole. We can live, like that, perhaps. Utopia it will never be, but peaceful - yes. We have peace now, of a fashion, but not enough of it as to be able to dig us out of the grave from which we fell so long ago..."
He had brought me closer, and embraced me.
"When I'm gone, you must see it done, Stosia. By your hand or anothers. There will be trouble, I think, in my passing and perhaps, perhaps even by doing so, you will help in your own way to stave off the cahos that may reign around my departure."
I tired not to think of it, at the time. I tried not to think what he was asking. It was a very simple task though, not one of which I was incapable, and int he scheme of things there was no reason not to. No, I jsut had not wanted to think about it because of the whole diea that in carrying out his wishes, he would not be around when I did so. I didnt want him to die...
"Luckily father, I shant have to think about this for some time, but yes,....yes, I shall do what you ask of me, it would be the least I could do for my father. The very least."
I thought I could hear him sniff a little above my head. He had always been a head taller than I. His voice almost came, then jerked back. Then came again.
"Make no mistake Stosia, it will happen...and when it is done, you must do it quickly. Do not leave time. Do not allow it to pass. Please, do it whilst I am in the Bardo, do it whilst my people mourn. do it while it matters.."
"I will father...I promise. I promise."
I almost sway and fall. Swaying. Falling. I remember it vividly, and it has been in my mind for the entire day. That one conversation. That single charge. That little thing...so, so little..and now, I was coming to understand what he meant. It might help. It may help...it...it would certainly help me.
I breath in carefully and the crowd, miraculously, falls quiet. I can not make out a single face - I am not looking anyway. I am nervous, and dont fancy picturing a half million people int heir underwear. I stare instead, at the patterns the lights make int he darkness. The swath. The moon is overhead through clouds and strikgin down upon thousands upon thousands of eyes and mouths and arms and bodies and ....and, it is ...too much. Way too much. Why were they here? to see his downfall? to know it true? to mourn to cry to anger to avenge to destroy....
Armed troops are fucking everywhere I look. EVerywhere I know. Tanks. Troop carriers, people, people and people...dots. Like an anti war parade I saw when once visiting London, its size and majesty confusing the senses... Helicopters in the sky. Fever and complicit crushes of flesh and ministrating personalities.
My mind is chanting a mantra, as I hold the urn containing his remains over my head. The silence is bewildering and thena roar, a cry, breaks out,a nd a thousand voices follow it, follow it along and across the wavelength of emotions and speach.
I chant it within, the mantra. I chatn it over, and over and over again. Meth in my veins, fatigue in my mind, love and hurt and pain and resolve wending their way thorugh my heart.
I chant inaside. My heart beats, but I am unable to feel it inside me with the vibrations of the crowd. I hear gunshots, I hear peace - I hear the entire scope of human confusion buried out in the masses.
I chatn to myself, inside, over, and over...
"I promise father, I promise. I promise father, I promise. I promise father, I promise...."
I can feel my legs going out from under me, and for the second time in one day, blackness is starti- ......
|Tuesday, June 10th, 2003|
"Do you think she'll come out?"
"You know, Stosia?"
"Dunno. Guess she'll have to."
His hands were removed from the warmth. She was leaning on him.
"Pretty amazing crowd huh?"
"I mean, all the city...all of them here in the Surrounds, you know? Waiting...I dont know how to feel. Do I feel sad? Do I feel scared? Things arnt good are they? I mean, he's gone now...whats to stop this place from jsut..turning into a fucked up realm of fire and shit huh?"
She tenses up. She looks down, away from where her eyes are roaming.
"You mean that, dont you? This place..this palce is goignt o go to hell...as soon as they present the ashes..or afterwards...or..at some stage, this crowd...will they go home? will they stay? What if they riot? What if...what if...we're stuck? I dont think I wanna be here...I mean, I loved him and all..but, its...not safe, is it? Really?"
He almost laughs. He stops himself.
"No. Its not safe. You should get the hell away. Out of Pasher, out to the countryside. Away from this ...shit. Away from it all."
She stood up. She bagan hastily pushing things into an old tattered bag.
"Your right..come on, we should start going now - it'll take us ages to get through the crowd...god! what were we thinking, coming here for this shit? What were we thinking?"
He wasnt thinking anything. He had nowhere else to go. He wanted to run, but wanted to see it all unfold. He already felt empty inside, he didnt care. He'd left it all there. Left it all behind. It didnt matter anymore. He wanted to see what happened next....
...she staring at his vacant eyes.
"your not coming, are you?"
Then, Kai did laugh. In her face, hard. Loudly. Threw his head back and peeled it out. Her eyes bored into him, remorseless.
"You asshole!" and she spat on him. Turned her back, crying. Running as well as she could through thr throng. Away. Out. Out of the chlostrophobic sedation of humanity - or atleast, attempting to.
Kai stopped laughing, wiped his eyes with his hand. As his fingers passed his nose, he smelt the scent of the stranger-girls sex upon them, and put his fingers into his mouth. Grim mixed with flecks of paint and small portions of dried blood and the essence of finger fuck delight rolled up and inserted in a warm, wet taste bag of mouth. tongue.
She'd been sweet, he thought. Sweet and fucking dumb.
Kai began walking, clambering over legs, arms, people sitting and praying. One or two fducking in plain view. It was a night for revel, a night for lust,a night for whatever the fuck one wanted, because come morning,t he world would be a different place - if not sooner.
He walked. Slowly but surely. Walked closer to the palace. Walked further into the maelstrom. Unheeding, uncaring. Half lost and drained from having ingested so much pretty-snow that his synapses were grating on the fabric of reality contained in his awareness. Wired and drawn callous.
Somewhere behind him, the flash of a camera lit up the back of his head and the dsurrounds for a brief second, and he sighed.
|Monday, June 9th, 2003|
"So, what have yo thought 'hen?"
Not too long after their breakup, and subsequent re-affirmation of lust, Monique reclined in a bathtub, thinking. Her shoulders are splayed backwards, her arms resting on either side of the tub - her eyes looking down the long length of her body. Smooth. Small. Pert and compact.
She let out a sigh.
The bathtub was outside, in the atrium, under a sheer clean plastiform length which covered the enclosure from the elements from both sun, sky and stars. Along the dges, a crack runs, where the edges have niot been quite bonded together. Beyond, she can see clouds traipsing across the sky. Whispering amongst each toher, flittering, butterfly fucked. Loaded to the hilt with sereptitious wads of water as jizz'd up as a fluffer on celluliod strips.
A few hours previously, she had flown in from Perth, herself. Wihout Kai. He'd been spinning at some club there, some place with some name that she knew from rumour had changed its name a thousand times - so many times, that it was a theme now - that it changed it every week, that its name itself was ellusive - that the place was just known as "the place" now, and that the themes ran amok amongst the postered walls of clubland and zine-stride.
He'd played at the club the night before. Afterwards, they'd run the streets of Northbridge, dirnking, fucking around, with a little tag along of local DJ's all mussed themselves and begging around for handouts, whites and credits. One of them, she remembered, was a big little man on scene, he'd played some bands, done some production, thrown some gigs - but monique knew. Kai knew. Little big man, they called him behind his back, sprung up like a sprout from nowhere three years earlier, his toyed out lil crew only bumping into notch land because the previous notches before them had either become a pack of fucking breeders, inhalaed/exhaled/slathed/pricked/jacked one too many times and met the Long Fucking Corridor or, in less dramtic circumstances, merely moved on, got a fucking life and left all together.
HE had jabbered away. Something abouta release on some london label. Big fucking deal you wank wampjet, your from Perth - how big you tihnk you'll be? Your a fucking splash in te pan, a nothing.
Unfortunatly, so smashed and wired, pissed and slaughtered, she'd said it aloud. The night had degraded from there. Kai's attitude had degraded form there.
Nno fuckin 'spect, Monique. So hes a knobfuck - he fucking booked me, he did alright by me, and he fucking let me play what I wanted, not what I should* have.
They fought for a little bit. when Kai went into some club, Monique fucked him off, went and grabbed a Kebab, went back to the hotel, smashed it up a bit, took her stuff, and went to the airport.
She waited a few hours. A few hours more. Fuck that asshole, she thought, fuck him fuck him fuck him. Dont need that shit. Back me up basshole, no fucking way...cunt. motherwankfuckcunt. Meth loaded. Always. Eyes pricked and rancid.
She managed to get ont he early flight. Kai hadnt turned up, but then, she hadnt left him a note. It happened. he'd be along when he wanted.
She caught a plane back to Pasher.
monqiue rolled over in the bathtub, thinking. Rustling noises from all around her. A breath of dank forest air. The house lay outside the city, a small refuge. It had been her parents, before they'd both gone onwards.....
She took a deep breath, and submerged her entire body beneath the tub. Water splashed over the edges. In the cool night air, wisps of steam left the surface of the water in order to sway its feeble way upwards, aas if to join the cloud that were visable between the crack in the atrium roof.
She made a humming noise. In the porcelin confines, the vibations echoed around her. Her heart began beating. It echoed in her water filled ears. Humming. Humming. singing. Bleeting like a fucking sheep.
Responsibilities she thought. Where are my responsiblities? To Kaijo? To my life? Do I have any for my job?
Secretary..no, no, sorry! Ohh, I'm a "personal Assistant" thankyou, thankyou very much..a personal assistant...where you say? Where else!
She felt the oxygen in her blood stream diminish. She rose, quickly spluttering and brething in. She drew a deep breath and realised with clairity, where her responsibilities relaly lay.
She turned around again, and looked up, a satisfied expression n her face.
"Sure she said. Sure, I've thought about it." She rose from the bath tub, water dripping down off her body. She held out her hand, and one of the five Malagi youths that stood around the bathtub, clad in camoflague, old but well tenderd rifled slung over their shouldered. They melted in,t hey melted out. Appeared, disappeared. Wandered, forecast and acted.
One of them handed her a towel.
"You will assist us?" the shortests of the bunch asked.
mMnique had wrapped herself in the towel, and went to grab her glasses, which were slung across the lip of the bathtub - her contacts having hurt her eyes after the previous nights binge. She needed sleep, she needed rest. She needed to find out if Kaijo had arrived home okay.
"Yeah...yes. I'll help you. Sure, if thats what he wants...I dont understand what the big fuss is about really." As she reached for the glasses they slipped, and fell two feet to the hard concrete, the lenses popping out and scuttling across the ground as they impacted. Swearing as she picked up the temporarily broken visual aides.
From the way they stood there, monique wondered if she had said something wrong. She took the pro-offered mobile phone, and looked at it.
"Nice," she said.
"Just fast dial one..."
"Yeah, got it. Sure. No problems."
"I dont know why he didnt just ask me himself...." she managed to say, and in reply they turned their backs to her and walked away, all except the small, wiry one, who looked at her and smiled.
"Perhaps he thought that if we asked for him, you would understand what it was we were truely a part of, and it would help you in your own he suddenly stopped, without turning around again, and said, "Or perhaps it was merely to scare the fuck out of it - did it work, I wonder?"
Monique had said nothing to his receeding back, standing in confusion. Towel wrapped. Cooling.
Why he had thought the threat was necessary completely eluded her - whoever wasnt afraid of him was a fool. An utter fool.
Monique had believed herself to be well and above such foolishness.
|Sunday, June 8th, 2003|
The Crush In Me
Too many people.
Madness. Mayhem. People on prayer mats, vendors sellign what remained of their wares. Punks toting multicolored rainbow light bright waves and business men with placards proclaiming love.
Black armbands, everywhere, as far as the eye could see. One on each arm.
Kai thought through the pseudo madness that had overtaken him sicne the morning. His shared madness - because now he was seeing the signs of a city gone strangerr than its already starange nature. He wasnt the only one to be wandering, witohut a purpose - wanting so desperately to flee and yet remaining rooted.
Why wasnt he walking out of town? Why wasnt he getting as far away from his life as was possible? The ramifications of remaining around the dross of his insipid history and values made him ill. Either that, or the fact that he had not eaten, nor had a single thing to drink sicne the cafe some immeasurable time int he past.
People bump into him, those that are stll moving. Many, sit. Many, kneel. Some cry. Some shout up to the helicopters that encircle the entire swath of humanity and some stare, blankly, up to the walls of the palace itself, wondering when someone will show up. Wondering, if this will all prove int he end to be some kind of strange joke ont he populace.
The fires outside twon are, for the most aprt, out. They have burnt their way through as much as they could - disaplacing individuals. Still, on the major highway south, people are leaving. Many, are sitting down int heir homes and ating, or looking after their families - but not watching television - unless it is via internet or satellite - for the commercial stations have had their telecasts halted in the name of "state security".
Kai put his foot down, and it was not solid. Someone swore and lurched up - a girl. She was ytelling at him, clenching her hand, tears in her eyes.
"Watch where your going! You stepped on my fucking hand!"
Kai doesnt know how to react. He had been so lost in his own ruminations that he had lost sense of both the physical around him and the fact hat each individual that made up te mass was, indeed, a living, thinking creation. Hard to swallow. Enough bio-material to fill several crater sized pits.
Shes cute though, but shes in pain.
She looks at him, and is still grimacing. She sighs a little,a nd then squats down back to the small space she has staked out. On the blanket, is a bunch of tarot cards, laid out but slightly messed up. She must have been sitting back, and looking down at them, her hand splayed out....
Kai squats beside her. The noise levels around them are incredible. The sea of flesh moves and sways - like a fog that has been personified, they cant see more thana few meters past them, and the stream swirls, and moves,a nd collides and bumps and bores.
"Mind if I sit here for a second? Its a little fuckin chaotic walking around...and I dont think I'll get much closer, relaly..."
She galres. But the glare is too soft. Her face, is too soft. Soft enough to grab in one hand and kiss, he thinks. soft enough also, to take a knife and etch pain all across them like the letters of a broken love ballad. Easy, he tihnks, to grant her pain, or pleasure.....
"Yeah. Sure. Just dont step on my fucking hand again, alright?"
"She glances at him, sideways. Shes had dark hair. Malagi in her, definately. Sharp chek bones, lilted nose. Squatting, as if any minute she is going to take a vibrator and insert it up beneath her skirt and ride...ride...
"Sorry?" Kai says - his train of thought lost for a moment. Meth induced blank. Meth recalcitration. Wind blown dust smack in the thought process.
"I'm Lennel," she says, with a slight frown, "umm...you alright? Your looking a lil..."
"I'm Kai. I'm fine." he stopes her inquisition. If he had any idea that he could score with her, he would fill her in more, but he cant,a nd he certainly doesnt have a place to take her back to to ball her out and break her back with a pound of sweat upon it. He can feel her looking him up and down. He can feel the processes clicking, the recognition patterns breaking down the components of his appearance - for it is a strikign appearance, nothing common about it. Pale, almost white skin. Coiled, compact, lengthy hair in dreadlocked flow. Pale, almost pink eyes - beauty, with genetic distress. He gets it a lot. He gets the stares - on both sides. Strange, the thoughts run. Cool, they continue, oh god he's fucking amazing...so..so different they bellow and ahh, yeah....yeah...ah....they end.
"Oh man, your Kaijo..."
"...August. Yeah." he shrugs, motioning to the cards, "so whats this?"
He picks up one of the cards. Death.
"Oh, hay..thats not really..." she begins.
"I'm not fucking stupid. I know what this card means..."
"Oh. Yeah." and shes nervous. Shes bolloxing out, and crashing into his front. Its always this way, they flounder, they become impressions and moulded by the fables,t he tales the reflections and the media boomtime blow...."I was jsut doing a reading...you know....."
"What, for him?" he points towards the palace, "dont think he's going to ned it right now, dont ya think?"
She laughs a little. She looks lonely. Tired. A fragile baby bird with one of its wings clipped, or a frightened kitten hiding beneath a chest of draws. Looking for comfort. Looking for udnerstanding, knowing that things have changed somewhere, but not knowing where or how - and unable to ride the wave of inconsistency as well as Kai could.
"No, not for him...for her. you know, Annastosia?"
Kai can see a water bottle on the other side of her. He reaches over as if to pick it up - its a meter too far away, he leans across her a little. He can feel her almost flinching away, and then relaxing.
"Mind?" he asks. She reaches down, picks up the bottle. Uncaps it. hands it to him, wondering.
He drinks. A lot. A little. It doesnt matter.
The girl with the name, Lennel, sits quietly for a minute. She thin, small, alone. Beautiful skinned. She sighs, and then picks up the cards, putting them back into a pile. They sit. Silent, but for the amazing roar of the unsatisfied crowd.
"They must be proclaiming sono, dont you tihnk?" she says after a while, almost to herself. Almost to the air.
Kai starts - "huh? Oh...oh yeah..."
THe girl places the cards into a small satchel by her feet, and then sits down, de-squatting. Kai does the same. They sit, silent.
After a while, hr hand is on his, and he can feel the warmth trickling in. contact. Real human contact and emotive response. A stranger upon a stranger, both sitting,w aiting for the inevitable, hoping that something will change,t hat the sun will open up.
It is dark. People trip over them, people swear, some, are drinking and some are dancing - most are sitting, quietly, waiting, waiting.
Kai looks at the strange girl, and pulls his hand out from under hers. For a moment she is ashamed, frighttened, petrified. Seeking some form of minor comfort, she had possibly imposed. He looks at her, then puts his arm around her shoulders, drawing her in close to him. They sit like that, for some time, the smell of apples in his nostrils, the scent of girl and the thoughts....
...the thoughts were elsewhere. On another time. Another night.
Kai sat, with a strange women in his arms, staring up at the high walls of the palace some distance away across a billowing influx of mourners, and thought of a girl know as Annastosia, for whom the cards and fates had signified was headed for great change....
.....Kai wondered, if that change was already in evidence, or if it was still to come.
Kai didnt really know if it was really all that important, and yet he could not stop thinking - he hand ran to the bak of his head, and touched the eleastic tie.
Sighing, he eaned further into the girl, pulling her in towards him. A chill was in the air, and after a small time, the girl unrolled another blanket that she ahd brought and he wrapped it around his back, and pulled her in towards him again wrapping them both firmly in the blanket itself. THousands of people passed them in the darkness, but most sat now. most were at the point they needed to be in.
Apples. Scent. Under the cover of the blanket, int he darkness, Kai took his hand and brought it up under her shirt. She was bra-less, and his hand easily slid up over her breast. His fingers, clasped her nipple, rolling and roving, rubbing and caressing. She moaned a little, leaned back into him, firmer. A small sound escaped her lips. He took ihs other hand, moved her as close to himself as possible., She was between his outstretched legs, his arms engulfing her, his right hand touching, his left hand....
...moving upwards. pushing back her skirt, reaching her underwear, pushing it to the side, positioning. Fingers, extended, entering - and there, he lets them. Warm, comfortable. moving in small, slow movements, almost un-noticable. Warm. Moist. Folded. Needed.
There, amongst the throng of a half million people awaiting a pcocliamation on their soverigns death, with a blanket thrown over them int he darkness and the sound of a thousand different conversations around them, Kai finger fucked a complete stranger - a small girl whose hand he had stepped on and almost crushed - who had been doing a tarot reading for the one person, next to Monique, whom he had attemped to drive from his mind.
For a while, with the girls warmth surrounding him, her fluids dripping upon his slender hands, Kai tried to drive the thoughts away again, failing dismally. He knew that his failure to grasp his happiness, and his own self-defeatist attitude had doomed him from the start, and that the spiral into fear and suffering had begun when he had been careless, and remorseless.
As the girl in his embrace shuddered, Kais heart wept, and the truth hit home even deeper than it had that morning, when everything had changed forever - when he had hit the point of no return and null removal, and he knew
, his very soul knew
, that he would never, on this earth or any other, feel the touch of Stosias lips again.
Kai's heart wept, and yet his eyes, remained dry - looking out past the girls apple scented hair, towards the palace.
|Saturday, June 7th, 2003|
Cold and Kindred
Ariconditioned comfort cold. The kind pf cold that dried out the nose,t he throat, the lungs and the tips of the fingertips. Dry. bone fetished. She had wandered for a while, wasting time, listening to the hush-hubub and prays, the moans and cries. THe sound of a half million individuals waiting.
Waiting for release or redemption.
The walls were fortified, and I just know that if anything was to transpire..if anything was to go wrong.
I shake my head. Cobwebs all around. State knows what the fuck is the deal. He knows.
I cant help but think of that sea of humanity, and the ngiht air biting into them all as they waited. Some clothed. Some bare. Some of one faith others of two, people of politics and people of peace, the collections we bare.
most though,are harmless - they are as much here out of love as I am. Which is a funny thing. I cant relaly remember when I started loving my father. Maybe after she pissed off with that fucking Liberian freight guy. all six foot of his urban fuck machine body tussled and contracted. He hadnt had a chance really, dad. Soverign yes, but too damned compassionate.
He hadnt even chased her. He had sat in his study, and wept, for three days! Seeing no one! I hate him all the more, for she was gone...not that I saw her much anyway.
He changed. We changed. I grew. He was there, always, somehow, always somehow there...
I had never seen him cry again, though.
I walk into the chamber. It is built especially. He built it. He built....it. On te far side. The monks are here, chanting,t here is noise, sound, cacaphony, roiling and boiling in the distances. Gunfire, again. Then - a hush.
Like poisioning a gathering of finches int he morning with aerosol glee, there background shifted into a torpid clarity. They are all standing here. The friends, the people, the lovers and the dreamers. The plotters and, undoubtable, the villains and the heros. All under the one roof, his body, ona cold, metalic trolley between two rows of sullen and, hilariously, serene faces.
It is that fucking serenity that makes me almost choke on asmall specklet of phlegm as I try not to burst out laughing. So emotionless! So glued! So statuesque and with the same torpitude as the hundreds of thousands outside the walls of this fortress we have sheethed ourselves in.
I am smiling. It is the first time in the day I have truely smiled. They have been waiting for me. There is incense int he air. I wipe my nose with the back of my hand. It, and my throat have bgun to itch. I never could handle the sweet disgust that was funeral incense.
I walk tot he trolley, and rolled it forward, towards a large door inset into the side of the chamber. State appears besides me, his eyes locked ahead, his stride wooden, his fingers dripping and flexing pieces of strain as if they were made of futility and remorse.
At the end. THe chamber opens. I stare inside, and I can see my reflectiont here, on all the four surfaces. My own face gleems back towards me as the titanium alloy talks its own walkabout-way. The monks approach. The move him, on a platter. Trussed. Serene. Naked. Burnt and pockmarked, that stench of flesh./...that stench..and I dont look properly, except as he is about to roll in, I galnce downwards, and my eyes linger on his penis for sucha short second - like those times when you are a newly-emerging teenage girl and you see the girth of your father penis for the first time and all that embarrassment and humilty and yet wonder at it all strikes into you and I notice, yes...I notice is not completely flaccid - nor has it been touched with any of te wounds that are on the rest of his body.
I concentrate, and leave that image in my mind. The image of my dead fathers dick standing half at attention as they push the metal platter forward and into the chamber.
Everything is cold around me. Better to remind myself of his viritity, his love of passion,t han glance at his face and see the destruction of harmony broken across it. What little was left for there ven to be an "across it".
I stepped back. He was there. His own making. His own wish. The one wish that STate knew had to be conceeded,r egardles sof his other personal tastes....
My eyes look at the ground and the doors shut shut. finally.
The room warms, little by little. Second by second.
Behind the door,t he temperature increases iby the tens, the twneties,t he hundreds.....and I resolve myself. I hold hat one image in my mind. I glance backwards into my past, even well before my teenage years, to the time I bungled into the shower where my mother and he were bathing. Or so I had assumed. He had been larger then. She had been up against the wall, and her eyes had been....her hand. Washing.
"Mummy, daddy, can I shower now?" the hasty re-arrange. The movement, the laughter.
"Not now Stosia! Mummy and Daddy are washing!"
I remember that first real glance and image. THe first moment of fascination at the male effigy.
I am warm now. The cold is gone. I can feel the fires of the world burning. Behind the enclosed metal. my fathers body carbonises, melts down, becomes the dust upon which we are all founded.
He is gone after some time, I know - he had been gone for some time, and all that is left is for the priests, with their chanting, to place the scant remains into the ceremonial urn that I, as his only present blood-relative, must present and show to the crowd outside.
As the doors are opened...the minutes, I have lsot them..they are gone..the wheeling,t he cold, the heat, the end, the carbon crunching and falling...all gone, all linger, all remaind and hold me...and then, and then...
I am thinking of my father, towelling off. Strong. Healthy. She is there, my mtoher, beautiful, slender...and I solidify in my minds eye the image of his dick. Just his dick - because it is an embedded distraction from not having to think about how his face had apepared..thats all it was, memetic disfuntion and psycho-semeatic block. Some people...no, most people, call it a denial technique.
I call it essential right now - least I losing what nerve I have and what dignity I have attempted to scratch together fromt he ruins of my attributes.
Soon, I will have to present his ashes to the crowds outside, and then .... then I will need to leave. I will need to carry on as if...as if I can accomplish anything.
They are sweeping his ashes. I can accomplish anything. They are removing him. I can do this. They are ....
I can do this...they are.....I can.... he is.....
I blink back tears.
|Thursday, June 5th, 2003|
Concepts of Attrition
They were Malaysian in origin, not african - surprisingly.
The original inhabitants of the isle had settled much as the maori had settled Aotearoa, nomad traders and sea-merchants finding their way over to the african soil from their homes in the east. The isle had been their first point of discovery, and over the years settlements had sprung up to assist the various trade routes between the malaysian lands and the african continent.
Madagascar was, at some stage not too later, settled also.
Thus the isle became settled, and did trade with the varying cultures amongst the african lands, and, utilising the isle as a staging point, even came into contact with the northern civilizations,t he egyptians and their phaorohs, and in doing so also with the muslim empires further to the north, for the isle was a centerpoint between the two, and the culture grew as much as it could within its confines. They were not great, and still many tribal ways held sway amongst them.
The Malagi flourished, and prospered.
In the year 1522, Del Cano, whom had been second in command to Magellan's in his voyages, discovered the near sub-continental sized isle after having spent almost six months at sea. The isle lay relatively quiet and serene in the Indian Ocean, a maritime temperate land largeer in area than Iceland - of which in geological construction was its twin, evidenced by a long ring of undersea mounts which extended in a trail of hotspots stretching south to Antartica.The isle itself was temperate in feel, and when Del Cano and his crew first landed they were greeted by surprised natives, and as they noted the lushness of the lands around them, athey claimed the isle for Spain - whom as history noted, had little interest in the area at that time.
Later, in the absence of Spanish presence, the Dutch began to settle the land, both importing african slaves as well as subjugating the extensive population of Malagi natives. In time, came both the French and the English, each setting up extensive enclaves in order to assist and facilitate further trade to their respective colonies to the east - as well as to utilise the various agricultrual and geological wealths of the land itself.
So it was that the isle was a point of contention for many years. In some cases, especially amongst the British enclaves, small scale genocide upon the native inhabitants was enacted, and yet in others,especially the southern dutch enclave of New Rotterdam, lArge scale genocide was taken out ont he native inhabitants were respected and helped form an integril part of the emerging protectorate that was formed there.
Wars waged over th years betweent he various nations. Alliances shifdted. Names changed. Territory exchanged hands. Towns, cities and large swaths of land werew both claimed and razed, destroyed and built.
Ont he back of a ruined native nation, the three dominant city states endured, in one form or another, a patoi of languages, a radical mix of style and culture.
At some stage in the mid 20th century, after hundreds of yearws of unrest and continual movement of power bases, things began to stabilize - if just a little.
Upon the end of the second world war, whent he world was looking once again for its footage, the three dominant city states each gleaned independance fromt heir various motherlands - if in limited forms.
The Commonwealth of Pasher, long fought over between both france and britain until the early 20th century, was given joint representation and federal independance in a special deal brokered between the two nations, much as the isle of Malta had been brokered also at the end of the war. Its misture of both french and english culture marked it as a place of experiemnts in social engineering, and many named, fondly, as the Quebec of the southern seas. The people of the commonwealth sought to find their own identity, and sever as many ties with both "motherlands" as they could - looking to their regional identity and attempting to make reconciliation with the native Malagi who still inhabited the mountainous regions tot he south.
Rouge, long since granted independant status afterr the first world war, remained elitist and attempted to remain as close to France as possible, whilst maintaining their own independance. Businesses flocked to the city, and with its beautific beaches and laid back attitudes, it qucikly became the isles foremost tourist destination, and attracted high society in all its forms.
Folterte, meanwhile, suffered. A dutch protectorate, it was virtually abandoned in much the same way as the dutch had abandoned western papua. Unable to afford nor maintain event he semblance of an international presence, FOlterte teetered. Interested parties from both The commonwealth of Pasher and Rouge sought at that stage to claim its meager wealth for themselves, and thus a new round of civil flashpoints ensued.
It was the Malagi, strangely enough, who were the key element in maintaining the southern regions independance. As the main bastion for their cultre, the Malagi had long since inter-mingled with the dutch settlers and taken up their ways, yet still they maintained their cultural integrity. Bloody guerilla warfare was fought, and later, with the aid of American advisors, Folterte secured its own independance - the native Malagi holding a huge majority of influence over its development.
In more recent years, much has changed. The ensuring decades saw many more changes upon the isle. Diplomacy, economics and social revolution saw a union form between regions once filled with animosity and bitter feud - fostered by an individual whom held no allegiance to any one region, but who held sway over the citizens beneath him via a concept long lost on many other western nations.
The man who ruled with only love as his strength maintained order amongst biter foes for twnety years - twenty years of prosperity unrivalled in any toher era, which was not to say much...and yet still, in that time, there have been people waiting for a chance to seize power for themselves, for various reasons, with various motivations....
...and some, many more than event he top statistical analysts within the government realised, had become tired of waiting for a chance, and had decided to create one for themselves.
Within the death of love itself, advancement and opportunity beckoned.....
|Wednesday, June 4th, 2003|
Self Strangulating Morals
Not that it hadnt been turmoiltuous. Not that it had been easy. Not that it had been a walk in the park or a walk in the mill or a dust on the flake or whatever other fucking little euphamism was needed.
They'd been cruising towards it for a while. The first occasion, was an act of meager dis-heartenment - or possible disentanglement.
Email. Electronic wankland. The medium of cowardice and utter honesty.
Face to face? Utterly impartial.
A telephone? Sure, distant, and maybe a little impersonal, but still the emotion could be heard, the little lisps of love that remained tattered and burnt could be gathered from the air betweent he two stricken lovers like yarn on a string - pooled by some kitten with a love of red tangles.
A letter, handwritten - where the stains of tears could be seen upon occasion as it was written, or the graceful mistakes in spelling and syntax that could be made out with an emotional stroke or five hundred. The loops all spattered and drained and without the rise of a machine-like glint to their form.
Email. Refuge. Damnable. Respite from plea's. No personality, only that brutal text and binary induced honesty that precluded action.
When they had first broken up, Kai hadnt given two shits. Email? No, even worse. Much worse. Kai fucked off Monique with a simple sms from his mobile phone.dont thnk we shd ctch up gen. sry m8. bai. k.
Not even explaination, not even anything.
The phone call told it all. Weeping. Threatening. The whole nine yards of emotional and un-ending release. The cries and the simplistic begging.</i>
"We're not even fucking together! We fucked for a few months, what the fuck ever?" said Kai, honestly perplexed.
"You fucking love me asshole."
"No, I loved the way you fucked. Difference."
"You said you loved me!"
"I said I loved you? Yeah, when I was shoving my dick up your ass. Sure. I loved you then. Tight, virginal, blissful."
"You fucking asshole."
"No, I fucked
asshole. Yours."Cries in the other end. The slipstream again. The molestation of emotive reason. Harsh, sure. Uncaring? No. If he ahdnt of cared, he would never have been so harsh. The girl needed a break. She needed to hate him, so he wouldnt be around her. He was a bad influence. He was unstable. He was masochistic and derogatory and brought down those walls of carded ego's like feathers from a ducks ass.
"It was fun though, you know?"
He had hung the phone up. Pure and simple.
A week later, she was back in his bed. They had seen each other out, and fucked in a storage cupboard. Like old times. Like old moments.
Kai admitted to himself that he was in love with a girl who was quite possibly more fucked up than himself, and indeed, turned out to be sufficiently deranged as to warrant a complete overhaul of his own sense of morals.
He had thought of all those things, and the strange passage that his life has taken, as he had walked up the hill towards where a throng of half a million people awaited the presentation of their soverigns ashes.He should never have fucked her again in that storage cupboard, he had thought to himself at that moment, he should have left it all behind with a simple electronic message and never embraced his self-strangulating love.
|Tuesday, June 3rd, 2003|
Gardens of Upheaval
Fragments of sleep fell over him in broken waves of delicious purgatory. He would stop. Start. Waken. Sleep. Doze....stranded in that zone between two states....that wake-pick-up-all-day-yeah-still-there fading.
EVery few mintues, as he struggled to focus, his eyes would slap themselves shut impercibtably, and he would then twitch a little, face muscles relaxing and unrelaxing, dreaming and solidifying. The bench was hard behind him. Where his arm rested across two slats, his skin was imprinted with a single embossed line. His body slouched and he had the entyire bench to himself.
No one else approached. People milled around. Soldiers came and went, crwods dispearsed, crowds arrived, gun shots in the afternoon adn the red pomegranite splash of blooded sun heralded the oncoming night.
Would nighrt be worse? He though, looking upwards,t he world around him forgotten. Would the existential beginnning transform into primrose gardens of violence and upeahval?
THe melange of sounds had become less. THe helicopters ranged now, only every tens of minutes, many ordered down. Many landed.
Kai sighed, and wondered if the bench was to be his resting place for the evening, or if he should hint into his streama little more meth and begin the long walk out of the city, towards the hills and mountains,a way fromt he impending disaster that PAsher had become.
People would miss him. People would wonder..but int he confusion most would believe he had disappeared amongst the reams of dangerous events that were to surely spool pout from the dissassociated riots around the city.
People ate. People remained in their homes. People prepared and people waited - in the two hours before nightfall a strange and serene calm fell across the city. There were no longer people waiting outside the entreances to the CEntral train station, the message had been given and the crowds had all long since dispersed - though the guards were still there, ominous, across the road and skulking with cigarettes. They watched him, as they watched everyone.
He didnt know why he was still there. Indecision. Uncertainty.
He thought everything would have been okay whe he left.. His plan had been to take the rail link down to Folterte and possibly book himself onto some kind of emrchant ship - gone to New Guinea perhaps. Or Melbourne. Capte Town or beyond. CAracas or even Cancun. Anywhere away from the Isle. Anywhere away from the past and his failings.
Everything had been fine before the sht hit the fan. It wasnt as if he had planned anything anyway, it had all just happened....these things happen. They really do happen, and when they do..there is no other choice but to run, but to flee and to get the hll away from your own self as quickly and as deftly as possible.
Kai was disgusted at himself..*he* had stopped for freakin coffee. LEaving a whole life and mess of past behind, instead of heading straight for the station, where he may have had a little hope in possibly gaining passage on the trains before the's public transport infrastructure was shut down - he had had fkn coffee and relaxed, thinking that he didnt need tyo run straight away, that he had time, that his mediocre plans would not be obnscurred by an event of such magnitude as the soverigns assasination.
HE had been foolish. Stupid. Slow adn blind.
Kai nlooked beyond the station itself, up to the steep hill beyond, wheer the colorful terraces of affluecnt suburbs were mared by smokey palours eminating from several different locations along the various tiered ridges. Once, the hills leading yp towards the mountain peak had been lined with rice paddies - until the tremendous growth in the city had pushed even those out of the way..and he looked up even further, beyond the burning suburbs where the majority of the soldiers protected the riches and wealthy elite - mostly diplomates and merchant families - those of true high society shyed away from Pasher proper and prolificated in Rouge, and as such they tended to utilise the houses above fro their children, abodes of recline and business in the main port of call on the isle.
....above. Above. The palace itself was not majestic, but build of the earthen clay of the mountainside itself, and was painted a lighter than sky blue, which pinpointed it out from any other structure atop the hillside. He could see the points of lights from torches. He could see the smoke from outside, where sacrifices were burnt in ceremonial offering...
...a good percentage of the cities population would be there now, ,illing around, awaiting the cremation proclaimation.
Kai sighed, and stretched out his legs, stretched out his arms. Stood up. Looked towards the palace up above the city. Looked towards the heart, if not the brain itself. Looked towards death.
Decided. He had been sitting without a plan for too long..best to walk. Best to keep moving. IF he had no plan, he would take up others plans.
Kai began his walk up towrds the hill to join the other mourners outside of the palace - with no other plan, he decided that he would see if he could find any usueful information there, perhaps figure out a new plan.
As he walked, continued cursing himself for both his indecision as well as having been fo foolhardy as to have scrwd up his original one by having stopped for coffee. He began to sweat a little as he walked, small, imperceptible blotches appearing beneath his armpits.
He really had thought that he would have time to get clear of the city before the assasionation - he honesty hadnt expected it to happen so soon.note - this piece is really rough because i kind of did it in bits and pieces in notepad today at work...I needed to get a few things out though so I couldnt help but do it...are any of you people actually following this story ;) hahaha
|Monday, June 2nd, 2003|
"No!" and he slams his fist down on the table.
My fathers table. Him sitting behind it - but where else was he needed? Where else was he positioned? In every capacity but biological and emotional, he was my father now - at least for as long as it took to maintain some semblance of order.
Emotionally though....possibly uncle. Uncle works. Uncle workds well.
"Antonio, fuck you. Its what he wanted, its his god damned wish, and its my responsibility to see it through!"
State swears. An elaboratly constructed sentence ending in the C word. Loudly. Comprhenisible in any language, no amtter if the word was known or not. One of those strings of word that are able to be spat out without any form of ambiguity. There is something about the word cunt that can convey deep emotion and unbending attitutde with its utterance.
Cunt is spat out. Cunt is thrown. Cunt is gutteral and vicarious - we women sometimes celebrate the word with monolouges. We also vilify it - depending ont he intimacy we have with our selves, and we also use it for humour. Men use it on only two occasions - anger, and pisstaking.
Its the natural order of things.
I havnt seen State for several hours. I do not know what he has been doing. Attending to affairs of the State I presume. Spending time Down Below with the others..the people who helped run the place and all that shit..tell the turth, I dontreally care - I have spent the last several hours with dad's corpse.
That wasnt all that pleasant. Sitting by something that smells like what you had for dinner the evening before - in this case charcoal chicken from Nandos - isnt conducive to a good mood. I'd been asked not to. I didnt take kindly to it. So I sat. I thought. I smelt and I had decided.
He had stipulated creamation within a day - he had been a practicing Malagi Bhuddist. There were stipulations attached that had to be observed. The priests would be arriving from temple in the early evening. He would be brunt clear, without coffin, without offerings, so as what remained of his essence would be pure.
That much was important to him.
After that, the real task had to be accomplished. The task that only I had thought most important...others...others...well, others didnt subscribe to it . But it had been his wish, his will, his thoughts and his philosophy. Union and reconciliation at last, a love of all the three pieces of his soul and heart. It was in this way, that he had hoped to give his spirt the strength to not be afraid when travelling those timeless places, to understand that it was dead quicker, and to navigate the bardo and not fear the light beyond - and also, to help his people mourn correctly, without the divisions that he ahd faught so long to dismantle with his kindness.
The only problem was, that those other people that did not subscribe to his final and most romanticised wish, also included State.
Later, I had left his bodies side, and come here, to my fathers office, to see my surrogate uncle sitting in that chair, the reigns of power already, if perhaps temporarily, in his hands.
State is pacing up and down behind the desk. I know he cares about me...he has beent here my whole life. Father and he grew up together in the ghettos of Folterte, roamed together in the mountains as disheartened guerillas themselves - fucked the same women, loved the same women, killed the same people in the same ways.
Fought the good fight. Accomplished great deeds.
I know he cares abut me, which is why he is refusing. I know he lvoes me, in his own fashion, not that he would ever show it. I know,t hat my fathers death, as new as it is, is hurting him. I know, that he is probably afraid of losing me also - and I am touched.
I lower my voice, put in that little girl tone.
"Uncle Tony...." I almost whisper, "You know he wanted someone to do this..you know why..... You know that it has to be me...please, I have to do this?"
State put his face into his hands for a brief second, and looked up at me, waving his hand tot he city that lay spread out below, through the window, behind the glass, below, below, below....
"Have you seen it out there Stosia? It is all I can do to stop this city, no, this whole country from falling apart! I do not know what has happened! It is like a murder of ravens has descended so suddenly and abruptly, and then begun to peck at every little wound we have, even the ones that are long healed! People are dying out there! The city dying! The country is dying!"
I know all this. I know. I cant say it.
"Its what he wanted...maybe...maybe it will help?"
State laughs and it wis mocking.
"Idealist! How can something so small, something so stupid, so like...so like your father....accomplish so much!"
"Look at what he did accomplish with those small ideas, Antonio. Things that are 'so like my father' accomplished more here than anyone else ever did," my voice is frosty.
State suddenly looks suitably apologetic. He knows all this, like I know all of that. That other stuff I know...the stuff I cant say.
"I cant let you go, Stosia. I cant let you..it is not safe out there - here, yes, here I can look after you, make you safe..eventually..here I can be assured that I will not lose you. To do what you suggest? Madness! Utter madness! Maybe, in time...in af ew months..when the troubles are over...and if we are still here to be happy of it...then, then..."
I am angry. I am fuming. I am still awake, still full of meth. 40 hours straight. Things move in my peripheral vision and I know that I will need to get either more soon, or fall into a coma - though I do not believe hat falling asleep is an option right now. Not an option at all.
"Antonio, the priests will be here in a short while...they can get through the crowds easy. My father will be creamated immediatly, and then..then I will leave."
He is darkened. He is hurt.
"I could have you thrown in the dungeon...." a slight smile on his face.
I pull out my tongue at him.
"You know we dont have dungeons here." and old joke
"Well, thats what we say anyway," we chorus. Duality. Same time. Jinx.
"you are determined?" he asks?
"I am. More than anything else int he world."
"I cannot help you, Stosia...I do not have the men available to send with you on this foolishness. Please reconsider."
I look at my feet, and think about it. I relaly, really do.I thoink aobut if it is foolish, and decide that it very possibly was. I think about leaving the confines of teh city, about the journey, and about what it would accomplish. Sweet bugger all probably - but it is what he wanted...maybe, jsut maybe, it will help. Maybe.
I think about all of that for about a second or two. I put my hand to the back of my head, and begain nervously fiddling with the small pink hair tie that is holing it up.
"I wont be alone," I realise, speaking as I do so. I know what to do now, I know exactly how it will go...
State sighs, and picks up the phone enxt to him, begins to speak into it, starting some kind of conversation about the airport. I'm standing in fron of him, waiting.
After several seconds, he looks up at me, asks the person on the phone to wait a second, then looks up at me, with an almost surprised face.
"What are you still doing here, Stosia?"
I wonder that myself. I walk around behind my fathers desk to where State is sitting, I bend down next to him, and kiss him lightly on the cheek, then I am walking away - quickly, with tears in my eyes, out of the room, down the hall....
...I have shit to do.
A lot of shit to do.
|Sunday, June 1st, 2003|
He knows one thing - its all about the images.
Not for the first time, he curses his lack of a camera, and for a moment, he almost starts thinking about why he left it behind with everything else. Only for a moment. He milss around the Central Railway station...people ahve begun to get the idea - begun to realise that there will be no trains, no quick and simple way out of the city.
It is mid afternoon, and, holding his fingers up in a frame, he scans the people that are sitting around, luggage and baskets and coasts and anything else able to be grabbed laying around them in heaps. Some of them, are staying put, hoping against hope that somehow, a train will be come available.
Many have left to seek other trasnport. Car. Bus - motorcycle of bicycle. Many walked. Many merely went home, with the thought that "Everything will be fine in the morning, I may as well wait it out....I'll go home,w atch televisions, make a pot of tea, maybe eat some baklava...relax. No ne to get out."
On the bench where he sits, Kai ruminates. He frames the passersby with his fingers, takes mental snapshots of pedistrians with weary faces. Some, have bandanas across their necks, hopeful, and not infrequently, a small group of boys will walk past the soliders, who stand tense and stoic, a light tank nearby, restless and blocked out in tedium, and laugh, sneer, sometimes spit.
Skins? Caucasian. Brown. Yellow. White.
People ahve fled to the city, and some of them see the signs....
"Mind if I sit down?" the voice asks, from the edge of him.
Kai shuffles a little to the side, opening up some room on the bench for the girl to sit down.
He has a shaven head. He wears a flowing dress of some kind of dark green fibre which swishes slightly when she moves. He is attrractive, in the way that a relative is attractive - beautiful but predjudicious. Hes smoking a cigarette containing cloves, and the scent grates on Kai. He considers getting up and walking away.
"That shit stinks" he says instead.
Shavenhead boy coughs a little, and smirks, "This is the good shit, mate. Ya know? You reckon it smells like shit? What about those guys", and he points out several native-attired indiciduals walking away down a sidestreet, one with a bottle of clear metholated spirts in hand, "This stuff is fuckin perfume
compared to how they's stink!"
Amongst the cloves, Kai can smell ganja - shaven head boy starts laughing a little, and waves his hand around.
"Check out the fuckin tanks man! At the train station! Ya know, ya never really get.....oh man, you know, you want some?"
He thrusts the cloce-contaminated joint into Kais face. Kai raises an eyebrow, stares him down. Look deep. Looks deeper.
Shave headed boy "eerrr....ahh"
"Smells like shit, remember?" Kai says...
Shaved head boy: Yeah. Yeah man...no prob....so...yeah.
They sit in silence. A pidgeon, one foot half falling off its mangy feet and a strange grow growing out of the side of its head, stands at their feet. It isnt looking for food, it is merely standing there. Pondering its existance. The three of them form a tablou., Kai - bleeched blonde dreadlocks, distant, remote, unsmiling and with small stains on his fingertips - the shaven headed boy, red eyed and wasted, smile quriking as he makes little cooing noises and occasionally nodding his head as people arrive at the station, stand, point fingers, talk to the soliders, leave, stay, cry, laugh....and the emancipated pidgeon sitting, qiet and resolute. Pondering its frailty.
"I was cooking this really nice meal once..you know?" The shaven headed boy remarks, as if the three of them are already deep in some kind of philosophical convesation, "I did it really nice. Lots of garlic,r ed wine...lamb shanks, coz you know,t hey is real cheap and still good boiled down n...anyway, I had put enough juice in it, or so I thought...left it to broil away for about an hour." He lights another clove-ganja smoke and inhales. Exhales. Leans back into the seat. Kai turns his head, and sighs inaudibly, then decide to take the distraction for what it is.
"So its boiling away. Its gotta boil for like, an ohur or so, yeah? So I leave it covered, on the stove, and go onto my computer..surfin porn, you know -thinking I'll have a whack and play lil miss palmer and her four fingers.....so I leave it cookin, right there."
Another tank moves into into view, and stops, jsut short of the station, down an aleeyway. Kai can see three more troops coming in. The crowd flows around, one minute larger, one minute thinning...always new faces, always disappointment - Kai himself had been caught in the trap...
"So i'm you know, wanking away, when I start ta smelll something..soemthing burning, ya know? I'm about to blow coz I'm like, checkin out this korean chick getting double-p, and then I'm smellin this smoke! Im like, what the fuck, and then remember my fukin shanks are goin!"
THe pidgeon makes a tentative peck at some kind of scrap on the ground. Decides it isnt even worth pretending to go through the motions. Stands, pondering its own purpose.
"So I get into the ktichen, and theres this fukin sjmoke all over the place! I've still got half a bone an Im not even got any fukin dacks on, and there this smoke everywhere and...." he points out towards the crowd. Towards the tank, towards the milling humanity, "....its like, fuck..bad timing, coz my room mate comes in, and theres smoke everywhere, and I'm like, half-barred up and all like 'fuck man! fuck man! Me fuckin shanks me fucking shanks!"
He lapses into silence. THe pidgeon looks up towards Kai, pittifully.
Kai waits a minute. Two minutes. Three or five, after some indeterminable time he cant stand it anymore.
"Did that stupid fucking litanny have a fucking point dickmunch?"
Shaven head boys mouth opens a litt.e He's finished his smoke.
"What do you mean?"
Kasi flicks his dreads back from the side of his face, and looks at the shaven headed guy. He's younger, smaller. Cum filled wonderkind.
"I think you should fuck off now. Right now, in fact." and his face, framed and chiselled, beautiful and harsh, echoes into the shaven headed guys head, and menace appears. THe sahven guy gets up with a start, and looks at him....he points to the metalic armour of the tanks across the way and the red in his eyes does nothing to help his crazed look.
He is about to say something, pointing towards the tanks....then turns and runs away, away into the shadows between the buildings and awnings and cars and even into the sidestepped shadows of individuals.
Kai looks down at the pidgeon and sneers, lashing his foot out towards it, smacking into its already half broken frame with his right foot doc martin, which itself is scuffed and taunt against his foot. Feathers. A pain filled squak. The poor little bastard fluttes away a few meters, out of the way, terror in its small mind.
Kai leans back, and sighs, his hand inside his bag, fingering his notebook, wishing for film and images and purpose.
Waiting for an idea. Wishing for a destination. Wearing his own puzzlement like a crown of circular saws, framing the images before him with his fingertips.
Beneath the squat solid visage of and armoured vehicle, behind its solid wheels, a disfigured and suffering pidgeon preens its tattered feathers .
The Threads We Bleed
Positions are taken up around the city.
Individuals are dispersed.
Around the palace,t he crowd grows, listless and confused. The love is there, and the grief, shining amongst faces both woken and worked, old, young, respectful.
In other areas, there is celebration. These areas, are not so few as the officials imagine.
Shantytowns in drunken festivities, villages in awe - as the news seeps across the isle, reactions are mixed. Alliances begin to be formed, old ones crumble in minutes. Squat militias begin walking the streets, black armbands displayed prominantly.
Scuffles. Misunderstandings. Bndors. A swatth of vehicles on the inter-state, heading for family holdings, farms, land, proerty.
By mid-afternoon, Pasher itself has barely emptied, yet the exodus continues. Tanks are positioned. Police, give up fining un-registered dealers and break out Guard caches. Everywhere,t he bristling of armaments comes to bear. So far, there has been only minor arrests, and bullets few and far bettween...but the small milling crowds begin coagulating, re-inforcing each others, and they all head up the hill, through the distrcit, towards the Palace. Every so often a car burns. Turned on its side. Blackened and born into decreptitude.
The buzz of helicopters can be heard over the diplomatic quarter.
An american lands in a helicopter at the UN block, briefcase in hand, flanked by marines. Inside the briefcase is a piece of paper, signed and countersigned. One, white piece of paper with a presidential letterhead.
Outside the palace, the crowd mourns, and yet still they wait for news.
Others, in the jungles, down the back streets, int he alleways in mansions, across the bay towards Rouge and down to the south - the dealers, the refuse, the common, the elite, the new, the utopic, the Malagi, the doers and shakers, also wait for news....
The king is dead, and the streets echo with the madness of grief and opportunism.
Every so often, they echo with gunshot also..and the swhip-crack smattering of pop-gun bleaching is incresing for no discernable reason.....
....the unravelling of a tapestry takes only as long as it takes. In this case, the tapestry has been unravelling for some time, unknown, unseen, and the threaded tangle is about to collapse in on itself.
|Saturday, May 31st, 2003|
Later, much later, Kai picks himself up from the couch, and ventures outside.
There are too manyt hings happening. Too many dissasociated movemetns throughout the square. Bustling adn running, screaming and turmoil. Troops line the sides of the roads, afraid of the masses of humanity. Outside of a church, its corss lingering in the sky with the sun as its background, and armoured car is parked - weary, rubber bullet laden cannon atop and loaded to the hilt. Masks. Tear gas masks.
Somewhere, is the scent of vinegar, shot and sweet. Someone has spilt it in their bag, the acid leaking thorugh, dissolving, announcing itself through the cafe....someone is prepared - who is prepared? People had know. Not random. Not out of the ordinanry...
People pack their bags, though where they think they are going, Kai does not know.
From the moment the television broadcast announced the assasination, Kai has been dumstruck. Fettered. Tied to the ground. People had looked over at him, sitting, his eyes glued to the small television set above the kitchen-bar.
It was whent he stench of vinegar hit him, that Kai decided it was time to leave.
A half pot of cold coffee. Hours had passed without his knowing - the sediment on the bottom of the pot long since gathered and solidified into a tangle of grounds and perculated refuse. He stands. His bag at his side. He takes one last fleeting glacne at the television set, where footage is being played of the fire amongst the Tolltown shanties - and ventures out into the street.
It is Saturxay morning, and even Kaiu can tell that things are not right. Too many people, and no stalls. Where the vendors would have been st up, they were now dismantling with all the haste that they could muster, throwing things into boxes, wrapping glassware, discarding vegetables that were unsold and unwanted. Packing. Packing...and running. People moving qucikly, a snarl of traffic on the side, where the throguhfare that bypassed the entire market area lurched against the side of humanity. even ins uch strange, ubiquitous confusion the traffic ran, halted and bounced along the roadways - slightly congested - and unlike a nulcear war travesty, each sid equally rushed, each side equally blocked anf flowed - for there were many exits from the city, many ways to make their way away, away, to the hill...
..run for the hills! Flee! Disemble! Migate quickly and retreat from the pain of knowledge!
Kai walked against a tide of humanity, wrestloing his way - elbows, kness, gringins, shoulder to shoulder and almost biting into flesh that mingled with his own flaking cells - towarsd the road, away fromt hepacking,th e fleeing,t he screaming and the broken menagerie of latent personas...
THe road. He reached. He sat and waited. Cars passed, and passed. No taxis. No signs in sight. Ten minutes. Twnety Minutes. HE began to feel a slight tingling in his bones, a weariness. Need. Want. Go wakefulness and exotic rush. Tingles. Standing and swaying at the stop, the sign he leaned upon reading
"Taxi 100-3484am - 3948pm" or so he thought. Numbers eldued him. The meth blazed and ran down. Things made sense and wrangled at his synapses.
"Taxi Rank. 6am - 8pm"
Kai looked at his watch. 1pm. time lost...where had he been, he thought? glued to a television set? It has beent he same when those towers burnt and crashed..when he had gone to get cigarettes from the 7/11 and he had seen some lady balling her stupid fucking eyes out at the - oh tyhe humanity, at the destruction - oh the humanity of it - the falling - oh the fucking humanity! THE HUMANITY!
"Where you fucking going?" she blurted.
Kai sees a face, over-fleshed but remarkable. Beautiful. Attractive to anyone - wondeous and holding a beauty of its own, un-announced, alive and vibrant. He stared for a second. She hailing him from a taxi, it has stopped beside him.
He makes it to the door. Opens it. Slides inside onto the back seat. His incredulity that he has actually aquired a ride in a taxi as the chaos reigns outside nears heights unknown to even him, and he sits back a little as he enters.
The seats are covered in plastic, presumably to stop any vomit from staining the real material beneath. It makes a strange sliding squishing noise. The girl next to him, sexy, attired still in garb fromt he evening before although she has obviously run her dash and ended not too long ago puts a hand on his right leg, the one leaning on her body.
"where you going sweety?", she asks.
"Central." he replies - monotone, unaware.
"We're going straight past there, we'll drop you off..." and Kai realises that also, next to her is another woman - less fleshyed out, less boned. Agile, skinnny, astute.
The cab driver battles traffic.
"You work around the square?" says the girl next to him, her hand still on his thigh, clenching. kneeding - shes on a pill, shes going, shes out and about int he land of seratonin fuck-punch.
"Yeah....sometimes..." Kai replied. Un-commmital, wary. Quiet and subdued.
"We do as well..we've been working...." she looks next to her at thwe other girl, leering. Kai glances out the corner of his eye, "We've been wanting to fuck all night..all morning, we;re going home to fuck right now."
The taxi driver is looking in his rear-view. Checkign it out. He breaks a cardinal sin - he speaks.
"Yoo'is gun go bak n fuk?" he says. Kai cringes. Whatever, he thinks, so they are...
"Yeah mate," Kai mutters, "They've gun go back and fuck because they're gay....yeah?"
THe taxi driver looks away fromt he rea-view, glances at the road. The girl next to him continues to kneed his thigh.
"No nahhh.." she exclaims, "We're not gay...we jsut want to fuck."
Kai nods and looks to his left, outside the window. They make slow progress amongst the traffic. THe girl next to him says soemthing...the cab diver...
"Yah? sose sho' uz eh?"
The girls are kissing. Going for it. Beautifuic hand clenched on his thigh as they do so. They grapple with lips, probe, move and verify each others haste. Invariably, they cannot get back in time. The girls hand brushes Kaiu's cock.
The taxi continues. More words.
"This guy wants to watch!" - she laughs.
"....come back to my place? Have some drinks..."
The girls laugh. The taxi diver is being witty, trying to pick up -d oing the obnoxious "oh yeah, two lesbians in the car, pashing it on, geting it on, of course they want some of THIS action - yeah, they want the dick action! Why would they want to fuck each toher, yah, I'm in, im so in.,.threesome action, break yeah..ahhh"
He doesnt say that, but he thinks it. Kai looks out the window. Girls hand on his cock - semi-erect, thoughtful, uncaring.
The girls continue, the taxi driver asks his lewd questions,a nd, just before they reach a stop, the girl next to him grabs Kais face in her other hand, her left squeezing him tightly, bunched, wrangled.
"You can watch ..if you want..."
The taxi slows. Sign posts, end point, destination.
Central lays before him...the exit point and the train south - he knows,t hat no matter how busy it will be during the chaos and the fleeing,th at he will be able to secure some kind of berth - if indeed the trains are running. He notes lines outside. He sees barriers. He swears.
Looks at the girl. The other one, blonde, has her head resting on beautific, full of flesh's shoulder, disapproving.
Kai smiles. Pats the girls hand.
"You dont need me," he says, bringing the girls hand to his mouth, kissing it gently. A flush of red spreads across her cheeks,a nd Kai wells inside -
- chivalry, plain and clear. "You know that" - and he smiles without a hint of self.
He throws at note at the taxi driver, some color, some denomination. Puts his hand to the door. Clicks open - door ajar -
:Take them home : Dont fuck with them : Hand away : Smiles : Have a goo day : Get some sleep : Are you sure you..: Dont fuck too hard : WAit :Watch :hand on portion : kisses : cheek : moments ...
Kai slams the door behind him, and strides off towards the station entrance, his hopes diminishing as he gets nearer the entrance and he noticed soldiers with autmatics guarding the antrances to the station.
He is on the verge of turning around, and racing back to the the taxi - which has only made it ten meters downt he road in the abysmal traffic, when he stops in his tracks, thinking.
A pocketful of money, and no destination. The trains have already closed down, or are limited. Kai assumes that the airport is the same - and he notes that he hasnt heard any rumble of planes for almost the entire morning.
Kai finds himself in the unique predicament of running away, without a destination.
|Friday, May 30th, 2003|
Passion and Perculation
When Leiutenant Mathers, pilot of AR-X10 landed, he was not smiling.
He pulled off his helmet, wiped his brow, and said a quick prayer. He told himself it was orders, it was self defence, it was all those things. Nothing eased his conscience though - for tthere is little to salve a god fearing mans feelings after having massacred tens of people in cold blood.
Massacre. Not officially. Officially it had been "neutralisation" - words, echoing in his head. Around, over, in through like a seeping hormore holding his head tight like a vice, swishing his emotions this way and that.
"AR-X10, you arew go for neutralisation."
Mathers wiped his brow. Again. Powered down. SWitches. Off. Off. Indications. Rotors spilling to a stop. HE sighed and breathed again - they would all know,t hey knew, yeah...they did.
In the distance, a small tendril of smoke. Growing larger by the minute into a siphon - reversed and spread across the sky. Up, mingling with what was left of the scattered clouds that had rained only seconds after he had fired up the location.
He opened the side of the Sabret short strike 'copter, and swung around, exiting. Landing in a small film of hardening mud. THe sun was beating down already, ain forgotten, peaking into the world.
Morning. Still. Coffee in the air, people moving about, mechanics, fiddlers and checkers, loaders and wipers, guards and mother fuckers all running too and fro on business - but not Mathers, for his business was over.
"Mathers," a tech says, somewhere behind him. Mathers is still in shock. He's looking a little woozy. "Colonel wants to see you pronto." Mathers nods a little, looks down tot he stacks on the side of the 'copter. Empty. Quiet. The scent of chemical still in the air from the oxidised casing.
"Hay man" the tech says, lookign hard at Mathers, "You aint looking too well...ya should go get a cup of coffee and some rest when the colonels done with you..." Mathers nods a little, ignoring the insubordination. He;s a tech, Mathers is a leiutenant,t here are rule sfor that kind of thing, rules of address, rules for speaking, rules to bind them and hold them and control them and all those things that make the military and army and ariforce and nvy and marines and bushwackers and cowboys bond and function as aunit.
His feet are taking him to the C-OP's building, and hes thinking of the fire below. He;s thinking about the fire, the destruction,t he crumppling of the houses he had been ordered to fire into and the melange of children whose lives he had possibly ended.
Entered. Sat for a mandatory five seconds, before the Colonel stood int he doorway, motioning him inwards to his sanctum.
The colonel stood behind his desk. Mathers stoof. saluted. The colonel did not set him at ease.
"Good job, Leiutenant."
"Yes sir." without punctuation, without feeling nor neutralitity and a touch of remorse.
"Yes...good job Leiutenant." The colonel turned around, lookign away for a second. Looking through the windows, out to the airfield where the 'copters were. Where men were loading onto trucks, Armed. Aware. Red bands around their arms. Mathers started slightly at the site behind him. The colonel turned back to Mathers, smiling.
"Who ordered you to fire those missles, son?" he asked.
Mathers is confused. He has had an emotional morning, and he wonders why te question is being asked. After a sconds hesitation -
"Sir, you ordered me to fire on the building, sir."
The colonel smiles. Big smiles. He nods his head, and holds out his hand.
"I did didnt I? your gun, Leiutenant." and Mathers thinks he understands. A scapegoat. They are goingt o blame him for it all, and use him as a scapegoat.
Mathers thinks he has the whole udnerstanding. He's goingt o end up in jail along with the rapists and child fuckers, the thieves and the hackers.
The Colonel is standing next to him, his face in Mathers face.
"....order Leiutenant, give me youg cock sucking firearm!"
Mathers reaches to his side, pulls out his gun, and hands it to the colonel.
THe colonel stands next to Mathers.
"Who ordered you to fire, Leiutenant?"
Mathers is distraught....he knows its a test, he knows the answer, he knows what he should say, and yet he doesnt say it. Instead he repeated.
"Sir,y uo ordered me to fire my misslies, sir."
The colonel smiles again "Thats what I thought you would say..."
When the aide rushes into the room, gun drawn, the colonel is rising from beside Mathers, a clear look of distress and horror on his face. At his feet, the inert form of Mathers is on the ground. Behind him, brain matter forms a mosaic upont he wall along with the red ochred and highly oxygenated blood which has been literally plowed out of his skull through a gaping hole where hair once covered skin and bone. T
he Colonels aide is wide eyed, the Colonel has tears in his eyes and is shaking his head with what appears to be a look of disbelief.
Mathers lays dead on the ground, his gun quiet, inert, a few scant inches from his his lifeless hand, as if it had merely fallen out of his grip as he hit the ground.....
|Wednesday, May 28th, 2003|
Bullets and Old Spice
I'm sitting in the back of a large, long black limosine. Across from me, (yes, it is that fucking big) State sits, eying me intently. Silent. On his lap, is a revolver. Still and metallic, dangerous in the most capable, as well as incapable, hands.
State is very capable.
Also in the car, are two toher guys. Two enforcers. One of them the one that State had whispered to back in the flat. I am not sure what he whsispered, but since that moment, goatie-attired and studded necklace enforcer dude hasnt taken his eyes off me. Watching. If he had of had a note book, I would have seen him taking down evey movement I made, every....
"Fuck off with your fuckigns taring asshole." I threw my finger towards him, thrust like an erect cock right in his face. Well, it would have been right in his face if he wasnt halfway up the cab.
"Stosia..." State began. first words since we'd entered the limosine. Since he had helped me in more like. I was still feeling the rush as I entered, it had washed over me like a realsed tide of wakefulness - and, in my hampered state, my body only just ahving begun to scrubb itself of the previous nights toxins, I had slipped and almost tripped down to the flor until.....
"You fuck off too State." I glare at him. Green eyes pinning dark black brown. Feral and rabid, my teeth bared and my mind diseccted....
He doesnt break eye contact. I do. I look away, out through the bulletproff glass, up to where the first humvee escort is going around some kind of last-years-model japanese import that somehow has mysteriously burst into flames. There are people on the street all around us, milling. some are forming into large groups. I see very litte in the way of police officers, or enforcers, or even military - and I can feel the tension leaking through the sides of the steel in the limosine like a convected emotion, raw and warm.
More people. People looking angry. People looking scared.
People who loved my father.
I think back, to when thngs had been different, and I falter. Things hadnt been different. They had enver been different - it had always been the same in my reality. Life. Love. Family. Union. All with my father at the helm. The same counted for the entire nation, and yes, yes I have read my history, I knoew what came before, the old alliances, the Way Thing Use To Be and the poverty and the third world crime and the narcisstic governments....
No. It had been better. Twenty years of Socialist democracy - three side united into one, three people helped...not hindered, by the one man who could have done it, the one man who ....
My fathers Director of State, Antonio Nigel Boto, sniffs a little. I can feel his own emotions coming through as well - my fathers most trusted friend, his ally, his confidant.
I look back up, and form a half smile - my thoughts roll around again and I know that the loss of my father is hitting him jsut as hard, and even moreso, as it is his responsibility now to maintain what is starting to look like a very difficult new chapter in all of our lives.
"Sorry for snapping..." I half whisper, and I *think* I am almost rewarded with a small smile back from him, for his head if cocked a little, when suddenly the limosine is lurching to a halt, throwing me forward, him back. I hear the sound of a machine gun ripping out of the humvee in front of us. Our escort, launching splices of lead into some kind of fray, and I as I am ducked down inside the limo, I see a small crowd of people, yelling as they run past the vehicle.
A helicopter, bristling with guns and air to surface misslies, is hovering above us - and I realise that whatever had jsut happen had been hidden from its view, down a side alley way, in the narrow street, somehow, something had happened....an attack? A weapon...or merely someone in the way of the small try-hard convey the cars made up had looked the wrong way, reached into the wrong pocket at the wrong time.
State is yelling into a headpiece. I realised that he had been listening to a report from the forward humvee before we had lurched to a halt and the gun had started blaring.
After a second, the humvee in front continues onwards, the crowds dispersed, and I reliase that it is no longer merely my own loss that is important, for as we slowly roll away, I see an inert body laying in the mud by the side of the road - the blood soaking gently into the soil of the city. He doesnt look like much, less like a casuality of civil disturbance than I would have imagined. I feel vaguely sick, and look away quickly - what had that been all about? Was he attacking us? Had we killed him for no reason? Was this my fault..was this anyones fault..was this...that..this that ..antoher that...was..is....yes, no, blame, guilt....this.That. Another....
I think that somewhere, someone has changed the rules of order, and that there is more going on than any of us realise.
The desolation I have felt in the half an hour since State has told me of my fathers death begins to be replaced by another emotion, as after some indeterminable time racing through the streets of Pasher we reach the walls of my fathers residence; and that emotion is fear. I know that even being within the walls of my fathers palace will do nothing to wash away the stench which, I have noticed, is also wafting off of the enforcers who are in the limosine with us.
State's face is stony. He doesnt smell of anything except Old Spice.
|Tuesday, May 27th, 2003|
The Worth Of Paper
Not too long after the had met, Kaijo and Monqie took a trip out to the highlands an hour or two's drive south of Pasher.
The largest of the islands two mountain ranges butted up from the sea in easy view, the hills of Pashers more affluent suburbs merely the feet of the more majestic peaks - the moutains afforded Pasher some respite from the prevailing winds that hammered at the west coast of the isle, leading down to jagged cliffs where they met the ocean.
They had decided to travel up into the hills that afternoon in order to visit a small village that Monique knew to have a good collection of native handicrafts. Weaved bags and strange wooden toys. Small tapestries. Ornaments and jewelry.
An hour or so into the trip, well and truely infalt and mostly desicated tire.
Kai pulled the car to a stop, Monique full of "What the fucks," and "Did we just blow a fucking tire or something? Several times over. Insisting he check. Which he was in the process of doing. For Monique, everything was now now now - whereas Kai took his time. Pondered. Figured. Understood and acted.
The results were almost always satisfactory, in large contrast to Moniques whimsical split second no-thoguht actions, which invarialby led to broken bones, overdoses or too many people trying to cram onto one single bed in order to fuck one another in some kind of debauched mass of flesh and saliva. Bones were broken there too...not the calcium constructed type though...
Monique had flung herself out of the car, she ahdnt been wearing a seat belt. Kaijo, unbucled his belt, then looked in the rear view mirror. Watching her go around to the back of the car.
"Fucking shit!" she screeched, "The fuckin things shredded, how the fuck id that happen!"
"Come here and get the fuck back into the car, Monique." He then swivelled around and scanned the area around where the car had stopped. On one side, where Monique had left the vehicle, a sheer drop. A drop so steep that there would be no stopping one if they fell off the edge - if there had bnot been so much vegetation, that is. Through small portions of the canopy, Kaijo saw lbeats of blue on blue - what he presumed to be the sky and the ocean, meeting somewhere off on the horizon. On the other, a steep incline. The mountains rising.
They had pulled the car to the side on a rather flat area, and where the trees were particularly thick.
Monqique continued to swear at the tire, and kicked the back of the car. Kaijo reached under his seat, and removed the gun he kept strapped in the dark recess beneath. He then stepped out of the car.
As soon as he did so, shapes moved on his peripheral vision, Kaijo had spun around quickly and dropped to one knee, the half sound of "Hay, what the fuck are..." coming from Monique before the scream.
From behind ferns, logs, trees they emerged. Armed, eyes darkened, camofalgue across their skins. Not that they neded it much, for their skins were as brown as mud, dark and resiliant. Barrels pointed at him and heavy accented dutch spat towards him. From behind, he could hear more footsteps, and the sounds of struggling. They had taken Monqie by surprise, and were standing there, guns pointed into the back of his head.
All around him, ten of them. too many. Way too many. Concerted effort. Fear, where he had never really felt much of the emotion previously.
Malagi. "Laat vallen het vuurwapen!
" from one of the larger specimins in front of him. "Laat vallen het!"
, from one of the unseen ones behind him.
Drop the gun. Drop it.
He dropped it."Handen op!"
and he felt the hard surface of a rifle in the square of his back.
He placed his hands above his head, then mvoed them to the back, clasping them together. He had enver before been ina circumstance as dangerous, and yet he knew the art of negotiation. No un-necessary risks. Calm. Exude confidence. Make no sudden moves. Do not piss your pants or defecate within your undewear. Try not to sweat.
There was motion,a nd one of the figures brhind him moved into veiw and grabbed the gun. Others then roughly hurled him to his feet and slammed him none too gently against the boot of the car, bending him over and holding him there - rifles trained. A fist battered into his stoamch, and the air rushed out of him. He could see two men holding on to Monique, one with his hand firmly against her mouth, the other with a revolver pressing into her temple.
Kaijo understood what had happened. Caltrops. Spiked metal across the road. A simple ambush. The Malagi were known to sometimes do it, but it hadnt been allt hat common in such close proximity to Pasher, usually it was deeper in the highlnds, where the roads were less often travelled...though Kaijo realised that perhaps this road was exactly one such as that.
The small, swarthy bodies of the Malagi started ransacking the car, talking with their strange pidgeon dutch/malagi words. One of them went through his pockets, pulled out his wallet. Soemone was in the boot, pulling out a box of flyers, ripping it open and throwing the digitally printed paper all across the road, swearing.
They'd take anything not bolted down, and, if they were lucky, Kaijo and Monique would be able to drive ut of here. If not, they might have to walk, if the Malagi took their car. If very unlucky, they would never walk again, and fertalise the forest that twittereed and creaked around them.
The Malagi who had taken the wallet out of his pocket made a barking noise, startled. Commotion. Words. Kai couldnt follow them. Several of them clustered around, talking fast. Faster. Exclaiming, and then laughing. One of them approached him. Several of them put their guns down towards the ground, grinning.
"Kaijo! Kaijo "he exclaimed loudly, laughing, a hand outstretched, broad grin, gun slung over shoulder. "Mextica!"
Kai realised how young his assailants were, and a smile broke across his lips as the Malagi bandits helped him to his feet, slapping him on the back. Several of the Malagi were picking up the flyers that had been spilt no the ground, placing them back into the box they had been neatly stacked within. Several were water stained, muddy. It didnt matter.
Monique stood there, staring, as the Malagi passed Kai a flask of rum, trying to smooth over things. Fixing the misunderstanding. THe one who had hit Kai in the stomach was there, shaking his hand, looking down, "sorry! sorry! sorry!" blowing from his mouth like a beached whale gasping for breath The smattering of words or praise and respect that came out of their mouths in english confused Monique - still in shock at the sudden events - even more, and yet they had filled Kais ego with sustenance.
Later, Kai and Monique would sit ina village square, drinking rum and laughing with the other Malagi, a Mextica compilation CD blaring out of an ancient stereo system wired to one of the villages small generators, their car wheel fixed and a personal escort to their once-assialnts home having been provided.
Kai made friends ......and Monique made friends as well.
In the highlands, outside of the cities and where the poverty level was so low you could sell a piece of newspaper for toilet paper and make a profit, where marxist bands melted into the forests of the highlands like ice into the ocean and smiles and where smiles were the most precious commodity, Kai was only slightly surprised to discover that the young Malagi knew of him.
He was, after all, somewhat of a celebrity.
Swinging From Frayed Rope
An upwelling from the ocean. Volcanic. Moutainous. Lush. Semi Tropical.
In modern times, a chaotic and turbulent place. Miltary. Coup dd'etat. History. Change, all the things good.
Divided into three, the land mass steams under fragile alliances, old grievances, new hatred - stressed populations and over use of resourcs. Prosperity for some, the lack of decent standards of living for others.
Equality, is a piece of paper, an accord. It is a constitution only jsut over thirty years old. It is Monarchic democracy, where the ruler ran - won, reformed. A slide into disunity, and pot-shots at counterparts, friends and old foes alike.
Pasher. Folterte. Rouge. States. Countryside. Citys. Allegiances - a union on paper. Paper,t he pulp of the trees that have over ytear been denuded in places ....
....Prosperity on paper for all. Democratic socialism.....popular democracy. Religion and State.
- oil. diamonds. Wealth.
The immigrants come in droves, and the social fabric stretches like a hammock with too many children. The days pass, and the money changes hands. The oil tankers leave.
The rich, become more prosperous. The poor, as is their way, become poorer, as all good downtrodded and undeserving beasts deserve (or so say those above, if not in words,t hen actions). The fantatics, as is their ambition, become more fantatical, less patient, greedy for God and Allah and Bhuddha and Nirvana and peace and understanding and splinteres with cells encrusted with bile upon bile of money and gems laid out in rows all for the taking..the gems....the jewels of commerce and the old, old memories of those almost, almost past, of the -
"Back in the old days" ways.
A nation, with too many children in the hammock. when other children come and help to swing the hammock, just a little, and they do not see the rope fraying at one end until it is too late, the children come crashing down to earth, bruised, battered, and crying their own woes to the rest of the world...
...and like their parents, the rest of the world will listen - but only for the time it takes them to calm them down - because later, in the depth of the ngiht, they might want to use the hammock as well....