Chapter twenty four
The Coppice Party
-‘..ripples of pleasure ran up and down my body..’-
-‘Look! A squirrel.. two of them!.’- I pointed.
-‘Where where?’- said Lucy -‘Oh Yes!’-
With dramatic leaps one red squirrel was chasing the other.
Up and down the little trees, chittering loudly and criss crossing the wide track.
Like we weren’t even there.
-‘Oh look they’ve got babies. Look Moonie baby squirrels!’-
-‘It’s so beautiful here, everything’s glowing!’- Lucy gushed.
But now the squirrels were fighting viciously.
-‘Have you ever done conflict management, er, for squirrels?’- I asked her.
Barney and Sol and Maxie had gone rushing away with the Clanners.
Off on bikes to the Air Factory, leaving them to walk to the party,
a beautiful walk, they said.
Lucia had been persuaded to take one of the air rifles, just in case.
Now Moonbeam was off and running down the path. Me and Lucia let her go.
A toddler running. Always just about to fall.
The sandy path was more downhill than up.
Through spectacular spring plants and flowers,
still soaked from the downpour.
Shooting and steaming up into the hot sun.
Running faster, hopping over rotten branches.
Moonie fell headlong, my heart leaped, my baby!
But got up and went on without crying, I saw she was okay.
Me and Lucy came striding behind her, talking fast.
Ducking our heads, as swallows and martins dived round us,
gorging on insects over big open puddles.
Coming to a deep pond, dug into the new drain, now overflowing
and gurgling over the wide track.
All the frogs leaped in planned panic,
plopping together into the water as Moonbeam arrived.
I needed to explain everything to Lucia immediately.
So she could tell me what we were doing wrong.
All about the projects and improvised ideas,
The open conflicts, between the women’s community in the Pools,
and the chaotic collapsing local administration.
-‘Don’t go in the water . Moonie. No!’-
-‘Why not?- said Lucia subversively.
-‘Mama look.’- She’d chased a small frog into the shallows,
and pulled out a round white stone.
-‘A psychedelic dragonfly look! Oh Moonie you’re sopping already.
Off with those pants. C’mon.’-
On the left the first swathe of trees had been cut back near ground level.
Alder and hazel and willow.
And the second layer, thirty meters back, and the next,
taller by one year’s sprouting.
And the fourth a year bigger.
Thickly planted but with access tracks between.
We glimpsed a wider clearing where a pyrolysis lorry and tractors
were processing a huge pile of dried branches.
More little clearings, a golden teepee and a yurt.
And here the first enormous black boulders scattered about.
Moonie was running again, her white bottom flashing like a rabbit’s tail.
We came to a cross-paths, then the track divided, twice, and we went up.
Sniffing the first dog roses, spotting a bullfinch.
Ladybirds, tadpoles, a woodpecker.. long tailed tits.
Round a bend to a little clearing. Moonbeam stopped dead. Petrified.
A wild pig. We were facing a big black long nosed pig on the track.
-‘Oh my god.’- I went to run forward but Lucy held my arm.
-‘No Maggie, no pasa nada, just wait.’-
A mother pig, with a dozen or more fat tits.
A whole gang of little striped piglets trotted out,
learning to root in the muddy ground for shoots and grubs.
Closer, quietly. Moonbeam turned, mouth open and pointing.
The wild sow half snorted in disgust, really a snorted signal,
because her whole stripy tribe followed her off the path.
Vanishing one by one into a hole in the thick coppice.
The littlest one jittering about at the back,
wiggling her little tail like a chopped worm.
And there was Moonbeam trotting after the line.
Trying to be a baby pig as well!
-‘No no you don’t. I’m your mama not her.’- I made that clear, yanking her arm..
-‘Wow Moonie aren’t they gorgeous!’-.
-‘These pigs are not so wild.’- said Lucía.-‘Maybe people don’t eat meat round here.’-
-‘Afraid a lot still do.’- said Maggie. -‘But they say these boars are intelligent.
Sure she knows the difference between hunters and lost solstice tourists.
Now they’re letting back wolves to even things up.’-
-‘Wolves here?’-Lucy glanced behind her.
-‘Well, in the western ranges, but they’ll get here eventually I suppose.
There’s a few bears around here alright.’- I said
-‘Yeah, there’s Barney Maguire and.. ‘-
-‘What about your videos then Lucy, I need copies of everything.
Those are bluebells I think.’-
-‘Moonbeam is eating something. Stop Moonie!’-
-‘Let’s see. They’re blueberries, are they ripe?’-
Moonbeam offered us one, her lips smeared bright purple.
-‘Only the blue ones okay. Not red ones yukky yuk. Only blue ones.’-
Another intersection and we went straight on, uphill
and suddenly steep and grunting.
Twenty minutes, up and slower, now I was carrying Moonbeam.
The conversation was gasped observations, the sun scorched our heads.
Rubbing sun cream on her and on up again.
Then we had arrived in a flat central coppice clearing ,
with big trees on the north side.
A small lake with a diving board ref 20 permaculture
An abandoned looking greenhouse, half sunk in the ground.
-‘Are we lost?’- Lucy swung off her rucksack and the green airgun bag.
I bent to slide Moonie off my shoulders,
and we crouched panting in the spring meadow flowers.
-‘It’s a flower garden!’-
-‘Look Moonie can you pick me some of these daisies?.
Of course we’re lost, but they said just head for those black cliffs and you’ll arrive.’-
Lucia was tying up her afro hair in a bun.
Then did the same to mine, without even asking.
She kissed and embraced me from behind, tickling and thrilling me..
-‘Look half the field’s flooded, underwater flowers!’-
I had pulled off my boots and was paddling in.
-‘Hey it’s really warm water!’-
Moonbeam came running into the shallow water, losing her daisies,
splashing, squealing and falling and rolling. Spitting sand and spluttering. But not crying.
-‘Me too.’- Lucia was undressing.-‘Wait for me. Wait for me!’
-‘Last one in’s a sweaty horse.’-
We splashed over to the diving board to leap off,
but the water was infinitely colder by the actual lake,
and the board was too high, she changed her mind. But I was up behind her.
-‘Now now no going back.’-
-‘Let’s jump together then.’- said Lucia.
-‘Maybe it is dangerous.’-
-‘One two three go..’- And we plunged deep together.
Through a cloud of blue and white bubbles, into the inky depths,
and up and splashing out to find Moonie picking up her flowers.
We lay in the warm meadow puddles after the icy swim.
I was admiring her coppery black body.
-‘Que suerte, Maggie. How lucky to be alive.’-
-‘So first I copy everything and you make me notes in English of what is what.’-
I insisted, rolling onto my back.
-‘I am doing it this week I promise.’-
Lucy straddled my tummy and dabbed suncream on my cheeks ,
then started rubbing it all over. me.
-‘Your tits are wonderful, how deliciosa you are!,
All you need Maggie is more attention for yourself.’-
-‘And more sex! More, tell me more.
Anyway so first we copy the videos of those healing therapy sessions
with kids, okay? We ask some of the Un-school Projects that Barney knows, and Free-Uni as well,
to take on dubbing and translation, er, as part of their courses I bet they’ll be interested when..
A pair of swans were gliding down from way up high,
in a tightening spiral curve, then leveling out,
whistling over us, feet up like water skiers, and landing on the little lake.
Hissing at each other, writhing their serpentine necks, and ignoring us completely.
Moonie was piling up pebbles, while I rolled on my tummy,
and Lucy rubbed my neck and back.
-‘Then we expand the procedure for the family therapy
and conflict resolution videos and, and all the Dynamators training
and.. we need everything you’ve got, dubbed or just explained,
all this is on the Projects curriculum,just no one has the material to.. ‘-
I was turning and urgently entreating.
-‘I’ll copy all our material don’t worry.’-said Lucy, nodding.
I had to do this now. Not miss my chance! Right now while Lucy was here.
But she was silent and smiling, turning me over,
and folding my muddy warm body in her arms..
-‘And of course the women’s and health groups will want them as well so..
so we make loads of copies with the computer.
They’ll go like hot cakes and for sure… And they’ll start making
their own videos, in English and.. Moonbeam! Don’t go so far.. Come back now!.
Umm, what are you doing to me Lucía?.. That feels just great..
I think I’m gonna invite you to the orgasm area.’-
-‘The what?’- she sounded surprised.
-‘Lastyear they had a relax tent that we called the orgasm area
by the waterfall behind the Inipis.’- I explained.
-‘I’m shocked… Okay sounds like fun let’s go, but what about Moonie?’-
-‘In the Adventure Cresh they’ll be queuing up to play with Moonbeam.
Ah there you are!’-
-‘Blow mama blow Lucy.’- Moonbeam had dandelions in seed,
though most had already flown or got wet.
Then she jumped roughly on top of me, hurting my thigh. And went for a nipple.
She still suckled sometimes.
-‘Ow, ow.. Don’t you miss your kids a lot?’- I asked, while cradling Moonbeam.
-‘All the time, but they’re with my sister and all my friends.
And we talk by computer almost every day, or really in the night here you know.
Paco is thirteen and Duna is twelve and a half, more.
They’re both going to the free school in the village which..’-
Lucita explains a little.
Her low melodious voice blending
with a robin in the hawthorn.
Massaging me, very gently, as Moonbeam gets her milk.
I lie back against her in the warm wet grass.
Really relaxing at last.
Lucía and Moonbeam, what more could I want.
Just watching the swallows
diving and soaring and the little high clouds,
forming and dividing.
As I fondle and kiss them both. And sigh again…
-‘Come on’- Lucia whispers, gesturing to the water.
-‘Moonbeam’s asleep. Let’s just put her on this towel, in the shade.
That’s it, gently’-
-‘Last one in’s a stinky bitch!’- says I
And we gallop back into the lake again.-
-‘Piece of piss Georgy, our brave leader Gordon has gone forward to attack the enemy.’-
He was peering out of the crack, that led from the wet and smelly cave.
-‘Thank Christ that sucker’s gone.’- George was already out -‘Hey it’s hot and sunny now!’-
-‘Don’t knock him George, he’s as good as you’ll get.’-
-‘Just cuz Gordon gave it to you, arse-hole!’-
-‘Say that again and you’ll have your balls for lunch.’-
-‘Ah cool off, you pea brained spastic, I’m gonna sit out here in these horrible trees, listen to ma music.’-
-‘I’m sweating blood.’- said Pratson. -‘Some bug is eating me alive, I godda spend the whole day in a cave full of batshit. With no booze and just your smelly ass for company.’-
-‘You had it easy pal. In Colombia we had deadly monster spiders, and mad communists with dogs coming after us.’-
-‘But you got laid, right. They’d line them up later if there were no girls about. Here we’re just Gordon’s fucking porters, I mean, why the fuck are we here?’-
-‘They changed plans at the last minute. But what would you know about chicks.’- George leered. -‘We all know you cut up little boys. Just like Gordon I reckon.’-
-‘Ah well, I ain’t complaining too much, if they wanna pay me seven grand to carry some plastic bombs down a hill.’-
Pratson was shrugging and stamping on some flowers, then sitting down slowly beside his weapon. George smiled, exposing his missing teeth.
-‘Yeah well I ain’t moaning bout that part neither.’- He sat down, squeezing between two young trees and pulled his long razor knife.
Voices again, and laughter far away.
-‘That’s young chicks laughing. Let’s go spread some terror.’- said Pratson, grinning.
-‘We’re supposed to be gentlemen soldiers. Load a crap.’-
-‘Cuz it’s not kicked off here yet, that’s all. They want it like….’- His mind grappled with a concept. -‘Like they started the dirty stuff not us.’-
-‘Makes no difference.’- said George. -‘Everybody gonna just believe what they’re told anyway. I say we got a soldier’s right. And our duty in noble service to our nation, is to kick off this fucking war.’-
-‘You’re spiked man, you’re wasted, look at your eyes.’-
-‘I only took three, c’mon Pratson you pathetic faggot. let’s just have a nosey around.’-
-‘Tell you what. We got four hours. If someone comes down this path we take her or him in the cave for a playmate. Then we bury the body under the mud in the back and no one’s the wiser… That’s common sense for you. Is it a deal?’-
-‘And if nobody comes?’- asked George.
-‘Hard luck for us, we’re professional soldiers.. We get laid later that’s all. Okay?’- as he spoke they heard laughter again.
-‘Not okay no.‘- said George. -‘But I’ll wait a while,. Sounds like these here woods are filling up with pussy. Why not just pick up some on the main track? Or maybe a little boy to play in the cave with you!’-
And he hacked at the delicate ferns with his razor machete.
The media say we didn’t defend the Air Factory properly but it wasn’t as easy as it looked. It was only by a stroke of luck that I got the tipoff and knew the people personally. In fact the south Pools Fed had put in for a Collective Wisdom vote, ‘Wise-mass’ they call it, but it came up after the events and was canceled ref 1 pneumatic and NH3 tech
One problem was the older growth forest, sections growing right up to the line. And another thing, because we didn’t choose to stand in front of it, and get shot down like aliens in a computer-game.
-‘Their technology could be decades ahead, though they’re mental cripples.’- Elizabeth had proclaimed. -‘We must never play Indians to these cowboys.’-
At that time our movement, if you could call it that, was snowballing on a creative buzz, but still on a fragile base. What we really needed was no casualties at all.
I suppose we got a grandstand view all right. It was me and Maxie and Sol, stuck in the bracken. Dodging the bumblebees, that were zooming round the broom and gorse flowers. The rest were Arel and Elizabeth. the coordinators. and four more Clanners, in guard post five.
Sitting back in the thick bracken and heather, one of a dozen posts, on the ridges overlooking the conveyor belt that supplied rock to the Air Factory. Three hours there and the sun was simmering our brains., till we poured our drinking water on each other’s heads.
In fact Maxie was helping me, on the phone, and working with Sol as well, Macker was missing that day, so she was pretty busy in the bushes.
What saved the Air Factory line were the maintenance clamp cables, secured up and down the main cable, plus of course it was stopped and empty. It couldn’t fall.
It couldn’t go crashing four kilometers down like in the comics, destroying the factory, the depot and the village of Duncantry in a ball of flame. Thanks to James Smith’s tipoff it couldn’t. Plus the lucky chance that I was in a position to persuade people it was for real. Or was it luck? How much did James know about me?
Elizabeth had come crawling over to us, sweat dripping from her nose.
-‘The number six lot say they can see two drones, they ask Sol to film them with his good camera, understand?’-
-‘Drones? What is this?’- Sol didn’t know everything after all.
‘A pilotless plane.’- We were all staring at the much too bright sky. Some of the small clouds were puffing up, and getting threatening bottoms.
-‘There it is I can see one!- said Max at once. -‘Between those two clouds, the one that looks like a boat.. See it? Grey and blue.’-
-‘Quite big and quite low..’-
Sol had already adjusted his tripod, deft and fast.
-‘Looks like a 180 degree sweep camera with attached directional mike and aerials, maybe thermals. Pointing more or less, at us. It’s dropping.. they got us big on their screens in Dallas you bet..’-
Okay he did know a lot.
-‘Pathetic bastards.’- Maxie spat. Closing and buttoning her blouse -‘We got peeping dickheads folks.’-
-‘There’s another one. Over there!’-
-‘Don’t we have any drones?’-
-‘They’re coming, maybe. Well, the radio-robots club at the Uni are supposed to be coming up with some kamikaze planes for us.’- says I.
Just then a radio came through loudly.
-‘Post six. Something thrown on cable. Post six suspect bomb on cable.’-
-‘Shit shit shit.’-
-‘Activate trap. Converging on post six. Activate trap now.’-
I saw a dot on the line all right. In fact he’d thrown three packets of explosives tied apart with meter long cords, so they wound round the cable. The man had placed his bomb without even leaving the undergrowth. Later we knew he threw two, the first one missed.
So as planned we closed in to cut his retreat. But the bomb went off immediately with a terrific crack and the two trucks crashed down.
It wasn’t spectacular or exciting, after two days worrying I suppose I expected something more dramatic. A sharp cracking explosion, a screech of cable. Two empty rock containers fell crashing and rolling into each other, and stopped. About a hundred meters up from where we were on watch.
That was it, the clamps held.
Sol was able to swing and zoom his camera to catch unique, two seconds long, footage of the trucks actually falling.
Then Gallant Gordon slipped right through our vigilant lines unseen. A fact that was rarely mentioned afterwards. Luckily for us just minutes later he stood in a bog hole while running down the next little valley, and twisted or fractured an ankle.
Gordon was captured soon after without a fight, hopping painfully along with makeshift crutches.
Later they sifted through the whole slope to pick up his discarded gadgets. His radio detonator, RED, and his FPS of course, and also his drone screen, OHS, with the latest fantastic war games included, absolutely free.
It isn’t a natural waterfall, though water does drip down those cliffs.
When there’s a party Rosana’s friend Dyana always used to redirect
a water pipe from the high fens.
So it would splash against the high rock faces and whirl down in spray and mist,
depending on the wind, onto the little meadow next to where they had the sweat lodges set up.
So Dolli, and a dozen others were spacing to a ‘Love Pump’ hit
inside the waterfall under the black cliff.
Dancing wrapped up in a fine warm spray. Leaping through sudden cool showers.
Drifting to the laid back music. Gliding through impossible shadows and bits of rainbows.
Flickering in and out of the hot sun.
They had three Inipis, one just warm for kids.
A team of volunteers were taking turns to keep them hot and full.
For sessions of Spiritual Awakening.
For me more like body regeneration. And from there for an icy dip in the pond.
Hot herb tea and joints by the little bonfires with our friends.
On to the food kitchen or the chill-out tent. And back to the incredible waterfall.
It was a really brilliant party, as you might easily guess.
But on this occasion there was armed security on the main tracks.
Now you had to carry a gun bag, or go with an armed escort, just to walk down to the main road!
Dolli had fallen to her knees in the sodden grass,
leaning into the hot and cold waterfall.
She had smoked too much but was riding it. Happy to be alone in the crowd.
Gasping for breath and moaning.
As ripples of pure pleasure ran up and down her body.
-‘The moon! Look look, the moon everybody.’-
It was nearly full moon as well.
Rising huge and white from the eastern trees, through a thin white mist.
While the sun still shone strongly on the other side
-‘Wow, how beautiful, this waterfall is unbelievable. Mmm!.. Hi Dolli, great to see you.’-
It was Maggie arriving, jollying with Lucia.-‘Maggie, you’re here! Where’s Moonbeam?’-
-‘In the Adventure Cresh with her best friend Oona.’-
-‘I gotta see her. Hello again good ole Maggie.’-
-‘Yeah sure. Meet my friend, Lucia. My healer.’-
-‘We meet in the sunny rain it’s wonderful.’-
Lucia was kissing and squeezing as she always loved to do.
-‘You got a fantastic suntan Lucy.’- said Dolli.
-‘Well, I’m happy to be a half black and a quarter Indian’-.
-‘Uh oh sorry, did I commit a Shit-On?’-.
-‘Sorry nada I’m glad you like my color. And I love yours.’-
Lucia kissed her twice more to make sure.
-‘Especially I am loving the freckles, look at Maggie all freckles and punky and.. ‘-
She started examining Maggie to see how far the freckles went.
-‘Stoppit Lucy.’- Maggie giggled. -‘People are looking at my freckly bottom.’-
The music had broken into a faster rhythm, though not loud, and they’d all begun to dance.
-‘So, you face the sun with your golden brown body,
and we’ll face the milky white moon.!’- said Dolli.
-‘Serenity and Solstice.. Perfect balance, if we don’t keel over and vomit.‘- Maggie panted.
-‘And a bomb just went off over the mountain.’-
-‘The Air Factory.. we heard it, but they caught the guy.’-
-‘And except for the guards everywhere.. and everyone carrying gun bags.’-
-‘All empty, it’s the fashion this year you know.’- said Dolli.
-‘No no there’s really two more terrorists. Barney, um, Moonbeam’s Dad, is organizing a search.‘-
At that moment the music faded out, and a calm voice invited everyone for refreshments, round the bonfire in the central meadow.
-‘Hi there this is Rosana. We’re just making up a safety list of everyone who’s here, and gone and coming. So please if you’re strolling around make your way back to the coppice center, immediately please. Everyone to the coppice center immediately please.’-
-‘Ah well, let’s get our clothes, shit my towel’s wet. ‘-
-‘The others from our house are on their way up here, Bernie and Josie, and Macker and Jerry.’-
-‘Shit, my friend Merri went for a walk with Gloria, our ex supervisor. Rocket Homes has closed down, finished. We’re unemployed, and we’re rich, though we don’t need money!’
-‘Oh Dolli I’m so glad, that job was killing you! ‘- said Maggie. -‘Please please say you’ll help us out. We’ve got a great impossible financial disaster, oh pretty please just give us advice!’-
Maggie had hugged Dolli again, and the three of them walked arm in arm towards the center, chatting and carrying their clothes.
-‘Actually there is a way we can untangle your financial mess, by cutting all the knots.
Money’s on the way out, we just use wurts, but don’t tell anybody.’-
Dolli whispered mockingly to me.
-‘Coz me and Merri found the magic keys!’-
Previous Episode Serial of The Free. Ch 23. Rocket Homes.. Away!
- Coppicing & Coppice Crafts (kk.org)