Green Messiah Instalment Two
Preview
 
 Warning: This work is undergoing a major rewrite, so please only view as a curio.
 
 
William Tarkovsky
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We are part of one another, eye to eye, nose to nose, inextricably linked.
We are part of the great thrusting project of evolution, consciously balanced on the crest of the wave.
Looking back, looking forward, what do we see?
A statement of intent, imprinted in our genes.

 
 
 
June 2009
 
Cult deprogrammer, amateur detective and would-be kidnapper, Graham Dean brings the van to a stop close against the curb. He glances at the television producer sitting beside him – says, ‘You fight the subjugation of the individual with knowledge and information and fact. That’s true of any kind of oppression. The better informed someone is about the motives of their leaders, the background of the organisations of which they are a part or the macabre histories of the faiths into which they are being seduced, the less likely they are to submit to the “group think” being forced upon them.’
Jason is perched on a fold-down seat just behind them. The camera woman, Helen, sits a little further back, nursemaiding the digicam and miscellaneous recording equipment. At his side Sarah, the producer, holds a slim voice recorder in her right hand, tapping it idly against her thigh. Are you recording? Graham wonders. Raising an eyebrow at his anti-cult rant she says, ‘All of which presupposes you have access to the individual in question.’
Graham drags his gaze back to the passing traffic – which is not an easy thing to do.‘We’ll have access to young Marshal soon enough,’ he says. ‘Savantologists are like clockwork. In some strange way timekeeping is central to their pseudo-scientific beliefs. In approximately five minutes, at 11.27 or 11.28, Marshal will walk right past us on his way to the midday conclave at the Holborn Uniquarium – ’
‘Uniquarium?’
‘A church by any other name… – then, at 11.29 or 11.30, Jason will intercept him and invite him to join us.’
‘With minimal force,’ Jason says.
Sarah deactivates the gadget in her hand, twists in her seat to look back at Graham’s hulking colleague. ‘Don’t forget you’ll have an audience,’ she says. ‘Despite our wish to achieve at least a degree of balance, you two are still supposed to be the good guys.’
Jason shrugs massive shoulders. ‘We are the good guys…’
Graham chuckles. ‘Jason’s fearsome on the outside but soft and cuddly within. He’ll give Master Anderson a gentle peck on the cheek, the boy will swoon, and then we’ll nab him.’ He looks back. ‘Anything to add?’
Jason: ‘It all comes down to planning… and intelligent design.’
Sarah scrutinises the passing pedestrians, trying to spot the boy. ‘Intelligent design? I was working on the assumption that you’re both rampant atheists.’
‘Atheism is Graham’s ball game,’ Jason says. ‘In my book the world is too weird to be nothing more than an accident.’
Cars stream past on one side of the van; pedestrians on the other. Graham says, ‘Weird vs. accident is a false dichotomy. It’s not a case of chaos or design. The whole shebang is simply cause and effect – and the incredible impact of survival of the fittest.’
There are miracles, of course. How else could he possibly describe the previous night?
That afternoon he’d called on Sarah at the BBC headquarters in Portland Place. On an impulse he invited her to dinner – an off-the-cuff suggestion with no expectation of success, but Sarah had simply said, ‘That would be lovely,’ kissed him lightly on the lips, then hurried away to meet with the Director of Inherent Programming, or some similarly labelled bureaucrat. Graham watched her walk away in a state of rigid disbelief.
Expecting little or nothing to result from it, he collected Sarah from work three hours later, sat in traffic for forty-five minutes, parked somewhere in the West End and eventually chaperoned her into his favourite restaurant, the Pied à Terre. Over seven ludicrously aesthetic courses they talked and talked, as if neither of them had ever met anyone so easy to talk to before. They discussed the state of their lives and the state of the world. They talked about global warming, the expanding Chinese empire and the financial collapse of the West. They analysed the wars in Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Nepal and Somalia, and contemplated the threat of nuclear conflict in the Middle East. Closer to home, Sarah described the internecine strife at the heart of the BBC and the corporation’s strange fetishism for youth. ‘Apart from a semi-paedophile Executive the whole place is run by teenagers… I keep expecting to be summoned to a meeting by my son.’
‘He works for the BBC?’
‘No – he’s still at school.’
They both laughed at that.
Graham found himself confessing – inexplicably – to his elitist background. He told her about his time at boarding school, his experiences in Oxford, and the circuitous path that led him to a career working with the victims of cults. Then, to his total bafflement, she returned to his apartment, shared out a tiny portion of cocaine which she discovered by accident in her handbag (‘Must be my son’s!’), and sipped vodka while drawing his hand deep between her thighs. Unbelievably aroused, his heart like a lump hammer in his chest, Graham led her to the bedroom, lowered her onto his bed and undressed her with all the caution of an explosives expert disarming live munitions.
What had he hoped for, he wondered? In that moment what could he possibly have asked for? Primed by alcohol, fuelled by cocaine, Sarah exploded beneath him like a landmine. It was roadside ambush, guerrilla insurgency, trench warfare, aerial combat, ground-to-space warfare, military Armageddon – all of that and more. He had no alternative but to fight fire with fire. Did they sleep? Sitting in the van, waiting for the arrival of the novice Savantologist, he doesn’t believe they slept at all. By morning the room had reeked of sex. Even now, 10 a.m. on a busy London high street, and his arms, legs, fingers, tongue feel bruised from ill-use. And are we really sitting here, talking about intelligent design? His eyes feel like grenades, unpinned and waiting to explode. The fragmentary remains of his brain fizz and sputter like the wreckage of war – right and left hemispheres separated by a no-man’s land through which thoughts will never pass.
None of it good… Graham thinks. All of it extraordinary.
The hired van gives a sullen judder as he turns the key and the engine falters and dies.
Exit counsellor, author, academic – and Graham Dean is thinking in terms of air-to-air conflict. He is thinking of tailspins and swallow dives, Spitfires and Messerschmitt, gun barrels flaring, engines screaming, radio static crackling through shattered cockpits… He is thinking of an aerial dogfight towards orgasmic death.
And they died, both of them, and were reborn, time and time again.
 
 
 
 
Molly was the best sister a little boy had ever have had. Marshal was utterly aware of that. He loved her voice, the way she spoke, the clothes she wore, her ash-blond hair, how much more beautiful she was than anyone else’s sister, the glint in her eyes that said to him, ‘This is our secret. No one else’s. Ours alone’. He loved everything about Molly, never felt lonely when his sister was in the house, even if she was in another room and paying no attention to him at all. It felt to Marshal, or he would interpret it that way when he was older, that he had acquired a new kind of meaning in his life, that he was serving a purpose which made everything worthwhile, and that it had everything to do with Molly. Perhaps their father dying had brought them together and made them so close… or perhaps it was even deeper than that, something from before, when they were younger still. Perhaps it was from the days when their father’s dark presence simmered like a pressure cooker in their household and Molly and Marshal both felt a little afraid that one of his moods might at any moment explode…
And it didn’t help at all that they could sense that their mother was terrified too.
 
 
 
Marshal Anderson:                        One sip, Socrates – one sip and you unveil a higher
plane, transcendent and numinous, a place where truth sustains, where meaning fuses like a sorcerer’s staff to the palm of your hand, where questions are an armour that holds you straight and true, where doubt and humility and self-awareness give weak human minds resolution and strength.
 
Tom has left. Mattie stands in the doorway of Marshal’s room. She can hear Marshal’s breathing, little else. Marshal is calmer now, a little more peaceful, after Tom’s visit. She gazes around the room. Every object is weighted by memory, heavy with loss. A young man’s bedroom cluttered with the detritus of happier times.
She steps into the room. Nudges with her toe the radio controlled car upended beneath an amplifier that no longer works. Marshal should have thrown this junk away ages ago.
She rests her hand on a two-foot pile of science fiction magazines. He’d read them eight times over by the time he was seventeen. Has he even looked at them in the last five years?
She pokes the z-box, broken, picks up iSpeakers he still uses. Puts them back where she found them.
Looks at the shelves crammed with books.
Looks at the philosopher on the wall.
All of it so familiar. All of it reflecting a personality she barely understands.
She remembers when Marshal was little. She remembers him playing in this room. She remember taking him to school, in shorts, and smiling at his little white legs. She remembers him making daisy chains as they sat together in the park…
All I want is light.
All I want is a light like the light that shone on us as we sat together on the grass all those years ago, when I taught you how to make daisy chains.
All I want is an explosion of light. An epiphany of light. A tsunami of light.
A light that sears away my worries and cares.
 
The philosopher on the wall is meant to be Socrates – though he’s not as ugly as Socrates was meant to be. Mattie wonders if the picture is actually of Aristotle. Or perhaps it’s Pythagoras or Hippocrates or Xenephon. She tries to remember what she learnt about philosophy at university – can’t even remember what any of the Greeks were supposed to have said.
It doesn’t matter who he is. All that matters is that he’s someone who means something important to Marshal…
She sits on the edge of Marshal’s bed, takes his hand, folds his fingers between hers.
Depression is anger turned inward. I understand that.
Depression is a corrupt form of rage, denied its rightful expression.
But why is Marshal angry? She looks into his sleeping face, worried by the pinching between his eyes, his clamped jaw.
I wish –
She doesn’t know what she wishes…
How can I help you, Marshal? What can I do that I haven’t already done a thousand times over?
She imagines… lowering her night gown to expose her diminishing breasts. Despicable, milkless mother…
As if through Marshal’s eyes she sees herself… she sees herself digging at her breastbone, scrabbling and tearing at her poor, haggard chest, digging and scraping and hacking and clawing with increasing desperation until – at last! – her fingernails penetrate the skin and reach into the flesh.
As if through Marshal’s eyes… as if through Marshal’s eyes she sees her fingers tearing at her own chest, forcing her ribs wide, unfolding ligament and rib and tissue to reveal the small, hissing mouth of a new umbilical cord.
Oh god – oh god, she sees herself – as if – as if through Marshal’s tight-closed eyes – draw loop after loop after loop of nacreous, bloody cord from the cradle of her ribs. She sees herself raise the sucking umbilical mouth to Marshal’s lips.She sees herself ease her new umbilicus across his flaccid tongue, over his gulping epiglottis, into his oesophageal tube. She’s reaching forward. She’s feeling the edge of his teeth on the back of her hand. Bite me. Hurt me. As if this is real.
And thus will her child be healed.
And thus will I redeem you, and offer you this lifeline, and provide you with an exit from the place in which you’re trapped. Here, the knotted, bloody cord up which to climb. Here, pinion, cleat and rope with which to scale the looming valley walls. Here, faith to believe you can succeed…
I see you skirt precipitous overhang and crag!
I see you climb, inch by hazardous inch, from darkness and depression, from rancour and self-loathing, from self-pity and despair, towards a perfect, plangent light. Thus will you overcome the darkness in your soul. Thus will you rise from your self-created hell, from bitter, clinging murk, from cloying, stinging smog to a new and better place, to a world where despair no longer signifies, where all can be rebuilt, where joy has been reborn, where every object upon every surface of every home within every city of every nation of the entire world glimmers and pulses and glitters with the brilliant radiance of hope.
And thus will a mother’s duty be done.
 
 
© 2011 Luke Andreski. All rights reserved.
 

 

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