–‘Oh Lulu Lululu.’– Barney gurgled, urgently.’-
-‘Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go and find them now!’-
In less than an hour we had cleaned up Maggie’s Kitchen, prepared our picnics, fed all the animals and were all out the door with our bags on our backs. Leaving the neighbours having an assembly.
It was a mistake to all rush off, we needed someone at home working with the phone and computer. It was my fault, I was all shook up. I think I was anguished and elated at the same time.
-‘Let’s stop here and have a pow wow.’- Bernie shouted as we came under the cliffs to the hot springs.
-‘A pow wow! Yes yes we must divide the jobs. We stop here just ten minutes okay kids.’- And everyone was unshouldering their bags.
Next thing I saw Moonie was running up the stone steps. I just about caught her, as she went to jump in the deep end with her clothes on. She’s fearsomely fearless!
Josie was in already. Then all the yunkers were splashing in. Squealing and ducking each other. I shed my pants, held my nose and let myself fall backwards into the cool pool. Just easing through my headache, while Bernie and Lucia got us organized.
Tessa and Paco were to be our media team, helped by Paco’s friends.
Bernie would make info-packs on Maxie and Macker and coordinate everyone.
Duna and Lila, along with Damo who they seemed to have adopted, would organize the demo. We wanted to do it at the Ultimatum ceremony and try and get on stage.
And me and Lucia would go and search for Maxie.
It was a good plan, I thought, and felt better. I got busy copying stuff I had on Maxie and Macker for them, some recent photos, the video of Macker making the Prison Gates disappear.
A classic clip I had entitled ‘Maxie Moon leads a Shit-On shaming attack’..
We were joined by four volunteers from Eagle Park, then we were all on the Cable Car, sliding smoothly down the mountain.
Just then, that -‘Oh Susannah.’- music started up, in the bottom of my little rucksack.
-‘Oh Susannah.’-.. Oh no what next!..
It was James’s special mobile from his spying network, that I carried charged up always. I was cursing myself and panicking again, trying to answer that phone. It was sure to be something incredibly important, I couldn’t even breathe hardly, because it all depended on me, it was just too much I couldn’t even remember how to start the decoding.
I was cursing like fuck. just tipping all the stuff out of my pocket-bag. Coins, a notebook, buttons, clothes. Aspirins, contraceptives, socks.. a toothbrush, Lucy deftly picked out the phone from the debris, in its nifty plastic pocket.
At least I got the passwords right, and I was relieved at the mass of letters and numbers rearranging themselves on the screen. Then I was blocked and desperate, needing Maxie. But the time logged program switched by itself to the next random order, I entered the third password and it was selecting only the relevant letters and numerals from the pile, before starting to decode.
Hi. Raiders from 5 pm. Locations. Occ. Zone.
Hope update. 2 pay guests. Meet Bradmt. 2 pm.
And underneath a jumble of letters and numbers.
Lucia and Bernie and me were puzzling over the message. Whispering up the back of the Car.
-‘Looks like the second part didn’t decode.’– I said.
-‘They’re GPS coordinates.’- said Lucy. –‘You can get aerial and satellite photos on the net of the places they’re going to raid.’-
-‘Holy Baloney!’- says I. Realizing what it was all about.
I was supposed to convince the local defence forces, in all these coded places, to evacuate their populations and resist new special force terrorist attacks, that very evening! What bastards, why would anyone believe me phoning up out of the blue..-‘Hello my name’s Pardy Brown, er, like. I think you should evacuate half the country, um. Jolly good then, bye bye’, I mean, who did they think I was? My headache was pounding back in. I was jittery.
Bernie gripped my shaking hands. Lucia had the portable already on.
-‘Don’t worry we’ll help you. I bet we get a good signal here as well.’-
–‘What is Occ., occupied I suppose, are they going to attack in an area they’ve already taken?’–
The descending Funicular was nearly arriving in Duncantry station.
Hissing and crashing as the little rock-filled wagons slid into the compressed air and ammonia plant, powering turbines.
-‘Terrorists arriving with guests?’- Bernie queried.
-‘Some rich perverts I guess. They pay to cut up alive people, maybe rape somebody in a real war. Then sell the film of it for sick porno and get more rich. Ask Sol he knows.’- said Lucy. While rattling away on the keys.
-‘Here we are already.. That should come up on the screen.’-
Sure enough an aerial photo appeared, very clearly, and she enlarged and it grew and grew.
-‘This is Rossis Farm Permaculture Cooperative. Target marked with an asterisk. Dolphin Hills. About thirty kilometers from the coast. Two entrances. Adjacent woodland connects to forest track. Part of Rossis Pool.’- She was reading.
-‘Rossis! Oh shit yes I know it. One of their lads was murdered last year.’-
-‘They’re activists and.. The Brother-Hood have fingered them for sure.’- Now I understood their disgusting terror scam, but I realized I needn’t have shared that dangerous knowledge with Lucy .Ref..20.Permaculture.
-‘It’s incredibly clear, I can see people, by the barns.’-
-‘Lots of kids and animals. I can see chickens!’-
-‘Time to go. Come on.’- said Damo. Following to the cable car gate.
-‘Here take this memory, it’s photos and videos of Maxie and Macker. Don’t forget.’- I said.
-‘Come on, come on oldies we’re all off!’- Tessa called. With Moonbeam beckoning wildly from her shoulders.
It was a long drive to Bradmount for me and Lucy, but we’d easily arrive in time. Plus it wasn’t so far from Foxmouth, where Maxie had phoned me from.
So our trip in the borrowed little white ammonia-car did make sense, and Lucy turned out to be an expert driver. Seemingly much too fast then slowing just in time for the endless bends. Fishtailing through flooded edges and skirting gigantic puddles.
Thousands of ancient trees had been ripped out of the ground, or simply snapped in two in the latest storms. It would take months more till even the ones in the way were cut up and cleared, while the autumn cyclones were already arriving. Once we had to turn back and try another road.
Passing tractors, and demonstrators waiting for buses. Honking hellos at Earth Clanners, mad yunkers whizzing past on air-bikes. The first hour had been hectic, we had the two mobiles going, getting accredited and calling the meeting of the CLANs near the places on the list.
We had to put everyone on alert, but one step removed, almost casually. -‘Maybe perhaps‘- and -‘Could you possibly’-.
Softly softly catchy monkey!
We got a breakthrough on Maxie and Macker, I contacted a guy from Black Road CLAN, through his parents, he’d actually seen Macker being bundled back, shouting, into an armoured van, the description was him.
Now we were sure he’d been nicked, but more, he told me someone had said a Veera Chimes had taken a casualty to Hankshill village, and after a search and a few calls I was able to get through to her
Veera was friendly and apologetic and shocked to hear that Maxie was missing. -‘Sure she’d show up in someone’s house.’- she said. And she told us the whole story of how Maxie had lost Kazoo and been evacuated from there. Someone had said there was a refugee boat from Foxmouth, but that was all she knew.
Coming through the hills we filled up a newly converted ammonia station by the river. They make it right there from just air and water and store it in the petrol station tanks, powered by a couple of tall windmills. No CO2 or Carbon Monoxide of course, plus they use it to generate electricity when there’s no wind. Ref1a Ammonia NH3, CO2-free hydrofuel
Lucy insisted she was fine and kept on driving, while I dozed off a few times, woken by violent swings, and splashing rain, then shouts and hooting. I was sleeping strangely, and dreaming I was arrested and tortured, in horrible snippets, my head in Lucy’s lap as she drove…
……I can hear my interrogators yelling at each other…… I’m hoping they’ll forget me! …..My cheek is on the concrete floor and I notice I’m crying……. Watching a trickle of blood from my own mouth……… I can’t possibly tell them about Maxie…….. They would torture her as well, for every name she knew……. Then kill her anyway. ……. But I can’t possibly keep quiet any longer……. I would much rather die but no way they’d let me………. They’ll pull out my nails with the pliers……. Drown me, head down in a bucket then pump the water out and start again. …….I can’t possibly resist. So they’ll get Maxie, and Macker, and a few more friends in these cells……. Unless I could bite off my tongue! …….Maybe I can cheat them yet!…..
-‘Wake up Barney. Wake up.’-
Lucy had pulled the car off the road and stopped with a jerk.
I opened my eyes and looked up at her, quickly slipping back, into an infinitely better reality, as she bent and covered my face with wet kisses.
-‘You scared me so much I nearly crashed!.. It’s not your fault my poor darling.’- she said. -‘Just get that clear none of this your fault okay?’- She was stroking my face on her knee.
-‘You’re right.’- I muttered and coughed. –‘Let’s just explain what we know and leave the meeting. Let’s go find Maxie.’-
-‘Okay with me.. We must be in the occupied zone by now. But I haven’t seen any army.’-
I struggled to sit up and look out.
-‘Let’s keep going then.‘- I said.
The defence meeting was in a big cellar under a barn, even so they had music playing and a wave scrambler buzzing in the next room. We didn’t really need to be there, because the first people we met were James and Jerry. Plus Sol was there, they’d picked him up from a clip he was doing for the soap serial Clanners Way in Foxford Bridge. I didn’t even have to vouch for them, it had all been checked out.
We just watched the maps and photos projected up on the screen, I did suggest a good hiding place for an ambush. The good news was the targets had been reduced to just three, apparently our spy, or their traitor, had sent another message.
The Brother-Hood had sold a target list with their personal enemies on it, but an infiltrator had passed it on to us.
Sol had just taken over the meeting, though they knew very little about him. He had made one excellent suggestion, then another, then he was telling the defence teams what to do. because they realized he’d done it all before.
He explained exactly, how to lull the attackers, those little details of lazy normality. They were setting up a baited shooting gallery, where we would just sit tight, and never hit each other in crossfire. The details of mobile clinics, the transport of prisoners strapped to stretchers, an escape thruway and secret decentralized individual cells. How to baffle the electronic drones.
I was following it, more or less, sitting by the wall on fold-up chairs, but now Lucia had dozed off completely, on my shoulder at first, then conking out with her head in my arms.
She’d been up all night with the computer, getting interviewed.
She was snoring slightly under her mop of hair, and I was feeling pretty blotto myself.
I was coming over all emotional, amazed to have this gorgeous brilliant creature sleeping on me, like a big baby.
I felt all tender and protective, believe it or not, just holding her, with tears in my eyes.
Jerry and James were smiling over at me, but we couldn’t speak without interrupting the briefing. They pointed jokily at the sleeping Lucy, silly sexist suggestions.
But I could guess, by their obvious body language, that they’d also got something together between them!
About time, I thought, about time Jerry found a really good friend, and that James finally unlocked his cupboard. Their romance had blossomed while doing a defence course together.
I tried to mime the two of them kissing and gave the thumbs up.
They weren’t offended, on the contrary, and both of them had to start coughing to cover their laughter.
Jerry and James would take part in defending Rossis, but I managed to turn down the offer when they asked me to coordinate one of the teams.
-‘I’m quite sure you’ll do it as well as me.’- I claimed. -‘Me and Lucy here must go to search for our friends who got lost on the border this morning.’-
They all looked at me strangely, since Lucy was unconscious.
I gently tried to shake her back awake.
We were nearing the coast before we even saw our first invading troops, well, a parked tank by the crossroads. The old coast road was busy, buses and bicycles arriving, banners, flags and lots of demonstrators on foot, with traffic honking or whistling in support.
-‘What a bloody nerve they’ve got.’- said Lucy.
She was hooting and flashing the lights, and pretty perky now, after her nap. –
‘They’re coming to do more atrocities while we’re still demonstrating about the first ones.’-
In the village they were putting up a scaffold stage and a big screen in the park, next to the now doubly famous Salmon Bridge, but just past there we came to a new-police road block.
We had to stop and tried to grin and be jokey with them.
But the cops had their orders and made us put our hands through their –‘Prints and Pricks’– machine.
Then they seemed to forget about us. Because they had gotten into an argument with a few protesters, who suddenly became dozens, then more were arriving.
She was edging the car slowly forward, and a little more. Drifting through the brave demonstrators as they shouted and screamed..
-‘Sure those new-police have inherited old files on me.’- I said, worriedly. –‘And they’re in league with the Brother-Hood.’-
-‘And me too, the alarm bells are gonna ring in that magic box.’- Lucy whispered.
-‘Who are the murderers?
YOU are the murderers.
Who are the murderers?
YOU are the murderers…’-
We cruised away slowly as the military police backed off to their armoured vehicles..
-‘They’ll come after us I bet, since they got resources now. ‘– I said.
-‘Maybe not me, they got other problems.’-
-‘But I’m on a death list as an anarchist guerrilla.’-
It’s just three kilometers winding down to Foxmouth, which is tiny, at most a dozen houses and two pubs. One is a Pools Center, near the gurgling river, where we stopped.
This was where Maxie had rung me from, seemingly alone, upset, and about to be caught by the irregulars. Yet saying -‘bye bye’- like she had a suicide plan.
The Center was buzzing, full of people on General Strike. A whole crowd were swilling real Free-ale and preparing for a ‘naked demo’.
We asked everyone but the people were from elsewhere, they knew no ‘Pete’, and nothing about a boat.
We searched the kitchen and toilets, and rummaged in the bins for clues.
-‘If she went by boat the jetty is just down the road, first left, used to be part of Barkly Estate.’- We were told as we left.
(This part is by Lucia. Thanks for all help.)
We got to the tiny harbour in three minutes by a bendy road thru a forest. It was only a little pier with no boats, it’s dry when the tide is out.. It’s a lovely place, calm and sheltered from the wild, foaming sea outside the bay.. But there was nothing much to see. No clues.
-‘This is no good, no ayuda nada.’– I said.
-‘Maybe she’s already home, munching my muesli.’-
-‘Can I jump in for a minute Barney, I’m melting?’–
It was extremely hot, but with low black clouds coming into the bay.
-‘Me too, let’s hide the car in the gateway.’-
There was a big open gate right there under the trees. Like the entrance to some hidden mansion, or haunted house. I drove in and under a tree like a big dark tent. A yew tree, he said
-‘I’m leaving everything in the car, look there’s an old Harley bike parked in here.’-
We were jaunting down to the jetty, swinging our hands together.
-‘Look look Barney a seal. Two of them!’-
They were sniffing at a pile of old shellfish.
-‘They’re tame seals.’– said Barney. Unhooking his Clan-Earth pockets and tassels. –‘I’m going in.’-
-‘Wait, espera, let’s jump together.’-
The animals were staring. Big sad bug eyes staring at me as I undressed.
Shyly I turned aside my bottom. Peeling off my yellow cut-off tights.
Only then did I see the note.
-‘Look Barney there’s a notice.’-
There was a little glass covered board with a lifebelt hanging under it..
-‘FOXMOUTH JETTY‘ it said, and a note pinned underneath.’-
-‘Please leave left hand mooring clear. Christy Peters.’-
Hanging my clothes. Some bell was ringing in my head!
-‘What does that remind me of?’- I asked.
-‘Peters. Peters. Peters! That’s it. Yippee. Maxie said ‘Peters’ in the phone message.’-
-‘You’re right..Good. Good.. Find Christy Peters and we’ll find Maxie.’-
-‘Maybe they came here on that Harley under the yew tree. And left in a boat!’-
-‘That’s it. We’ve found the clue!’-
The spotty grey seals seemed to be nodding gravely in serious agreement.
I shuffled off my shoes and hung up my new yellow bra that set off my semi black skin.. Left on a hook by the lifebelt, the last I ever saw of it.
-‘Let’s jump together. One, two, three.’-
We held hands, naked, on the edge of the high stone pier. Looking down scared at the dark slapping water. Low black clouds racing towards us. The wind whipping at us so we shivered, our long hair flying. Glancing at each other, his eyebrows dancing.
Instead of jumping he grabbed onto me, laughing.
–‘Come on then, One two three.’-
And we leaped together, flapping and squealing off the edge.
Deep. Green. Cool and wonderful. I was pretending to be a seal myself, diving and spinning slowly, pushing off the rocky floor and shooting up. Then pinching Barney’s soft bottom and twisting away, in clouds of rising white jewels. The surface was full of that seaweed with little bubble floats in it, all fresh but in bits, maybe ripped up by the storms.
I came up behind and slid up him, hugged him from behind.
-‘Listen Lucia there’s a helicopter, Lucy, don’t pull me under.’-
-‘Oh dear. And it comes closer. Let’s get out, let’s go ‘– I said, panicking.
We started for the playa. On that side of the jetty it’s just a four meter wide stony cove. Steep and deep in piles of seaweed, and a wall of rock with barnacles on the other side.
We were nearly reaching the shore, I raced him, but the helicopter was coming real close behind the pier. Faster! But they would see us getting out.
-‘No, wait, too late.’– He was pulling my arm.
He was pulling us together, pulling us under a whole raft of seaweed at the water’s edge. Then the chopper seemed right over us, whooshing wind.
I was giggling with terror, but enjoying it as well. Holding his waist with my legs like a wrestler and helping him arrange our seaweed hat.
-‘They’ll see our clothes, maybe they can detect us.’- I said, sliding against him for a perilous, salty kiss.
-‘Mmm nice. We’re still okay, they’re looking at the seals.’- he said, and hugged me tight.
I thought I heard some gun-fire in the surf. Maybe they were killing the tame seals. We were trapped there, waiting, with that killing machine hovering and clattering right near us. Sure they’d seen our gear.
Meanwhile I was sitting totally naked astride this gorgeous guy. Getting lifted and dropped in a heap of slippery sea weed. They were about to blow us both into bits of fish food, while the green swell was sliding us together, oh so erotically.
-‘Oh Lulu, Lululu..’- Barney gurgled, urgently.
He kept on giggling, while my Erosa and his Dumbo were becoming close friends.
You’re not supposed to laugh all the time. It’s un-romantic!
We needed to make a quick dash for the trees when the chopper went out of sight. But we were unmotivated, preferring to groan and slither together, under the seaweed. Kissing him somehow cancelled my terror, and I felt like a teenage lover, hid in a cupboard..
The rising wind was making the waves come faster, throwing us harder and higher as the clouds swept closer. Peeping out, I saw that the chopper was nosing down under the yew tree.
-‘Oh crap. Barney they’ve found the car.‘-
I was trying to see, but he pulled me back down.
–‘Wait till they go Lucy, stay till they go right away.’-
-‘They’re going now, look, sure thing they’ve called the cops.’-
-‘Okay let’s run for it, in. in two minutes.’-
-‘My darling sea monster, estoy loca por ti. I’m crazy for you’-
-‘That’s what’s so lucky! Because I’m mad about you as well.’- says he.
Finally, he‘d let go and just said it, I remembered how he’d changed, during the storm.
And I gripped him hard till he squeaked. –‘Enough, enough.’
-‘My lovely seal, I’m going to take care of you always okay it’s crazy how I love you…..’-
But I chose a fatal moment to start the romantic stuff.
-‘I just saw a blue light. Down the bay. Another. Let’s run for the car!’- he interrupted.
We hauled ourselves out of the seaweed heap, like a weird two headed Medusa.
The black snaky weed swirled down off us, and slithered back into the splashy waves.
-‘My clothes, I need my clothes.’-
I needed my new tights that I left on the pier, my blouse, my Clan Earth sandals and my sexy matching spoon-bra, that I’d picked up just that week in the Free Boutique.
-‘No no.’– says he -‘No no. They blew away.’-
Pulling me by the hand up the steep tiny beach.
Barney looked like one of those obscene Hindu gods. Or a leaping wild salmon!
His legs going like windmills up the flowing pebbles.
Leaps and crabs in the seawrack. Yelps from our delicate feet.
I fell and scrambled, he paused, and heaved me up.
Gasping and flashing, amazing, in the shaft of yellow sun.
My bare feet slapped in blood on the tarmac, past a bloody butchered seal, cursing them. Across the road and he was slamming the metal gates behind us, while I was hopping into the car and starting it up, lucky thing we’d left the keys behind.
-‘There’s another exit road I think. Through this Estate.’- he said, grabbing out the map, as I fishtailed the car on the wet leaves, almost stalled, then zoomed off up the wooded drive-way, ammonia is faster than petrol when you get used to it.
Just three corners and we came on a big square lawn, with a dozen elderly people offering a laid back greeting. They were waving croquet sticks and tea cups, but very unaggressively. I thought of Alice in Wonderland.
These people were having a croquet party on the front lawn of the mansion, overlooking the wooded inlets and islands, dark now against the black approaching clouds. The next shower rushing up the bay.
I stopped with a skid by a purple haired woman, who was striding languidly towards us. I suppose she was sixty by her deep wrinkles, but dressed in a flowing ribbon skirt and stylish spoon-bra, with those nice daisy stick-ons, and rouged nipples.
-‘Oh no no my darlings. The Nude Demonstration is on the Foxmouth road.’- she said, and Barney burst out laughing once again.
-‘The new-police are after us for terrorism.’-
-‘Ha! That’s a fine thing. We don’t have terrorists here!’- She was leaning right into the window.
-‘Can we drive through here madam? Look here.‘-
He’d wrapped his naked bits in the soggy map, now unfolding it carefully despite our haste.
-‘That track is flooded my dears, a tractor might get through.’-
The other players were gathering, nodding.
We all heard a nearby ‘CLANG’ and the roar of an engine.
-‘We’ll try it.’- I crunched into gear. –‘Love your nipples!’-
And sprayed up gravel as we shot down into the wood.
Barney says I just enjoy destroying machines, though that car wreck was never deducted from our credit Levels. Okay it was super dangerous, driving flat out into a forest track we knew didn’t go through. At least an NH3 car can’t explode.
But we nearly did get through. I got us round a huge pond, whacking down young saplings, and nearly got off the ground on the first hump. Slower through a stream, but we kept going, just about. Until we mounted up on a log and stopped, our front wheels spinning uselessly in the air.
The motor screamed and shook.
Like a robot making love.
As the back juddered round, and totally blocked the track.
We jumped out. Barney had been trying to pack up our cosas. While being shaken like a marble in a tin. And I took some seconds to check. Another lucky thing, as I got my camera, my reading glasses and Barney’s cellphone under the seats.
-‘I got no clothes. Oh shit I got no shoes!’-
-‘Doesn’t matter look look.’- Barney whooped –‘Will you look at that now!’-
Through the last trees we could make out the local Ultimatum Demo to Foxford, the naked protest. Families and older people, shouting and shaking their banners and filling the road.
We set off but immediately we were both caught painfully in the brambles at the edge of the wood, as the crashing came closer. They’d catch us after all.
-‘Oh shit ow help me I’m caught!’-
Barney just threw himself through. Good and punky. Rolling through the curtain of briars, and snapping them with his weight, I love him. He was scratched to pieces of course.
I unhooked two vicious bands and tippy toed quickly after him. He leaped across, barely, but I had to slip down, grimacing, into a drain of stinky sucking mud.
I was thigh deep, yuk, I was grabbing for his wrist.
And he yanked me up safe onto the road with his good hand.
The whole demonstration had stopped to gawk at us. People trying to see what was happening and sprouting umbrellas, as we scurried hand in hand into the center.
I was laughing with hysterical embarrassment, panting for air and trying to shake the foul putrid slime off my legs. The rain was just beginning to beat down.
Barney was even worse, all mud and blood. Holding bits of soggy map over his shocking parts, though everyone was semi naked, and still giggling, like he was tickled pink.
I was laughing with nerves and shock but he was enjoying it.
-‘Let’s all continue to go quickly.’- I yelled. -‘The new-cops are persecuting us, for.. for resisting them..’-
-‘Keep moving please everybody..’- Barney shouted. –‘They’re coming out of the forest now.’-
Those military police also had an awesomely bad experience in the wood. The first one appeared from the ditch as we marched away. Hatless and drenched, with a bloody face, kicking at the thorny vegetation and throwing his hands in the air.
We joined in with the protestors, chanting louder as the rain drummed harder..
-‘Justice for Oscar and Mary
Stop The Killings NOW
Justice for Debbie and Sarah
Stop The Killings NOW
Justice for David and Fergal
Stop The Killings NOW………’-
We were being offered water and hot tea from a flask.
They were dabbing our scratches with tissues and camouflaging us behind a bandera, trying anything they could think of to help us.
Barney was explaining to those round us how we’d hidden under the seaweed. Luckily leaving the erotic details in their imaginations..
Then he was telling how they’d killed the tame seals, which seemed to outrage them much more.
I was starting to shiver now with delayed shock, it wasn’t cold, but my scratches were biting me like wasp stings.
A little guy with a square beard had adopted us.
-‘I’m Shoveler’- he said. –‘I was a Primary School Teacher in Foxford.. Geography and Social Science. Now we mostly go out on projects, which is better than the old school. They call me an Explainer now, not a teacher, and we meet in the Gro-Center, sounds like horticulture doesn’t it..’-
-‘Oh really.’- I said. Feeling dizzy. -‘Pardy here is in the De-School Projects, we’re doing an Adventure Learning place in the Lapwing mountains.’- ref 10 deschooling
Suddenly the rain was really splashing down, cleaning some of the blood and mud off us.
Barney would never undress in public, even in a naked demo. He feared people would get shocked, as his willy was much too long and badly bent. Maxie used to tease him and he’d really blush..
A motherly woman had given me a hand towel, which I very generously donated to Barney. I am a saint.
He tore a strip down one side so it went round him and made an apron of it. I imagine the owner was pissed off.
-‘Thanks a million Lucy.’– He beamed happily in his designer pinafore.
We were all marching naked down the middle of the road in a thunder shower. They say the sea is just way too hot, causing these shocking storms.
-‘By the way Mister Shoveler, do you know someone called Christy Peters?’-
-‘What? Of course. Brilliant man. Our free-shop is full of delicacies he catches or trades. Christy is a great sailor as well.’-
-‘I’m glad you think so. It seems like he and our friend Maxie escaped by boat this morning. Escaped from the Death Squads, see she’s wanted for terrorism because, um..’- He had said too much already.
-‘How amazing. You lot sure live dangerously. Lucky she found Christy then!.’-
-‘Where do you.. Do you think she’s safe?’-
-‘Sure she’s safe. Christy has passed through hurricanes in that boat. Not a bother on him he’s a born Orca.’-
When he said that I hugged the little man and swung him right off the ground.
-‘Oh Shoveler que bueno you really think she’s okay.’-
He staggered from the hugging and looked quite shaky.
-‘Of course.. There’s a whole history of Christy the sailor. Sure she’s okay, he’s our good neighbor.’-
-‘How can we find him?’- Barney asked.
-‘His cottage is round the next corner. See up on the hill behind those trees, there, before Foxford. Go up and check if you like. He lives alone but he keeps Open House…’-
I glanced behind, the police were following, in two brand new Mercedes riot vans. A girl was draping another little towel round me and stretching to kiss my cheek, sent by her mother who’d seen me shivering, though the rain was easing off already.
-‘Well yes, we need to slip out of the demo quick, um, those trees look good. Sure the drones will be out in a minute.’- said Barney, peering up at the sky. Shoveler and the others were following his gaze, baffled.
Now a few marble sized hailstones were bouncing as people were trying to get dressed.
-‘L-Let’s just move slowly to this s-side.’– I shivered. -‘Then we can maybe disappear into that wood. Is, is that the cottage?’-
-‘Yes yes, that’s it’-
-‘Maybe we can disguise ourselves and escape them.’-
-‘You stay in the demo, you could be recognized.’– I gave Shoveler another good hug, he was short and hairy and still looked shocked about it. Or he thought I was loca.
-‘Thanks a million for helping us. What about the toalla, and the hot whisky, here..’-
-‘Keep them. Keep them. Take what you need from Christy’s, he’ll be delighted.’- He waved and I sipped a little more.
Then they were all marching round the bend, and me and Barney were slipping off , ducking into the bushes under the trees.
-‘What’s the name of his boat?’- Barney whispered back loudly.
-‘The Yellow Tubmarine.’-
-‘Does he have an old Harley?’-
Shoveler was nodding though I wasn’t sure he heard, and we were scarpering smartly.
We trotted into the shrubbery and jumped blindly into a dark soggy ditch, keeping our heads down, and letting the protesters, and then the police, go slowly past.
No problems. Except that Barney was squeezing me so tight I couldn’t breathe.
I was getting more hooked on him, not less. He was so brilliant, but so vulnerable and friendly as well. He was always ready for a laugh and bashfully sexy.
My vows to stay single were being lost in that squelchy mud.
We stayed there. Both of us knew too much about getting arrested… tedious, tiring, humiliating, infuriating, endless… and Barney knew something about getting tortured as well.
I’m not an innocent baby sheep. But I’m not an international criminal tampoco.
Well, not if you accept that laws made through fraud, coercion and corporate politics are totally invalid.
It’s just that I’ve traveled a lot and did my doctorate in Social Change through Imploding Institutions. Plus I got too well known, doing forums and advice sessions on Net TV. glossary Womens´Rescue
We’re causing incalculable damage, to the personal interests of petty tyrants. Really I’ve been fortunate that I was never ‘disappeared’-or got a long prison sentence yet.
Waiting in that muddy ditch, I stretched and groaned, delighted and relieved to have escaped.
I was filthy, my scrapes would surely get infected, but me and Barney were hot and happy, like a winning mud wrestling team, together..
All seemed quiet, we peered out of the trees, scaring off a couple of crows but nothing more. The demo had got down to Foxford and was filling a grazing field by the river, where we could see flags and banners waving far away.
The house was up on a little hill among plum trees, small and square with a hexagonal glassed in tower on the flat roof. Below it on the other side was another house with sheds and a barn, then just fields and a patch of woods stretching over to Foxford village.
We followed the track behind the hedge, both 100% filthy.
Bloody and limping, dressed in two stinky hand towels and two kit bags between us.
Luckily we met nobody and hopefully there was no one to see us.
In just three minutes we arrived.
-‘Hurrah hurrah this is just great Lucy!’-
The back door was unlocked. We went into Christy Peters’ lovely kitchen.
Our muddy footprints marching in behind us.
Back to the City
-‘Oh my god. An unborn baby! We didn’t know that.’-
All the others, Tessa and Paco, Duna, Damien and Lila, Bernie and Josie with Moonbeam, plus Rafa and his friends, had gone back to town on the coach. We were determined to do everything we could, to find Maxie, and Macker as well.
No invading troops had been visible on the bus trip back to the city. There was a delay, caused by blocked up traffic doing detours, but a decent storm would cause more queues than that.
On arriving in town Duna, Lila and Damo went directly to the Prisoners Aid Center, while the others headed back home to Little Agnes Street.
Moonbeam was crying and had to have her pants changed, but she cheered up instantly when Josie got to zoom her round the Free Depot in the little buggy. One stop to pick up the groceries and fresh fruit on the way.
When we turned into our side-street we heard chanting, a small crowd with placards and banners, was hanging about, right in front of our house.
-‘Freedom for Macker and Maxie…Stop detentions NOW..’-
Lila was holding Duna’s hand, with Damien happily padding along behind.
Happy to watch Duna moving her body, and indulge his tremendous love. They walked round the park a bit before finding the new Prisoners Aid.
He didn’t feel jealous of Lila holding her hand, he thought. Obviously everybody should love her! But maybe he made some body movement, because she turned and offered him her other one. Damo was shy about that, but took it, and the three went on together.
The place was by the Zoo and horseracing track, where the big demo was already gathering. It was being converted, along with the defunct Sports Center next door, into an ‘Adoption Center’ for the invading PIF troops, who were occupying the former barracks, police HQ and adjoining Mount Venus prison.
There was yelling and hammering inside, shifts were working round he clock.
The makeshift prisoners’ support office was a partitioned corner, with a half dozen desks and monitors, being worked mainly by yunkers clad in recent Clan Orca fashion..
They wore red wrist and shoulder bands, some with their hair shaved down the middle, with black and white leather kilts, wild marine type tattoos and chunky tire shoes.
-‘You speak with them Damo. They’re your family.’- said Duna.
-‘Hello there I’m Rita what can we do for you? Are you planning to take a soldier prisoner as well?’– There was a silence.
-‘Tell them what happened Damien, Damien!.’- Duna insisted.
-‘Um er, yes we are. But we came here because my brother was captured this morning, . By the PIF army on the Border.’-
-‘What!? What’s your name. Are you Macker Mucdunna’s family?’- She saw us nodding, Lila didn’t understand too much.
-‘Hey everyone Macker the Magician’s brother is here.’- she yelled. -‘Listen we badly need info on current prisoners the Ultimatum rally is on at six and it’s our big chance to get them out, are you his sisters?’- Duna and Lila shook their heads.
–‘The picket.’– said Duna. Nudging Damo.
-‘We want to organize a picket for him and Maxie. Maxie’s disappeared.’- he said.
-‘We know the story. There aren’t so many prisoners. Have you any new information. Have you got any photos or..’– It was a bloke from another desk..
Duna had passed Damo the memory, marked -‘Maxie and Macker, media images.’- that Barney had given them. He gave it to Rita, the freckled girl.
-‘Good. Good. Good.’-
-‘Was your brother tortured do you know?’-
-‘Yes I’m sure they’re torturing him! Not coz we’re travellers, they don’t know that.. um, the Black field..?’-
-‘The Black Road Clan.’- said Duna. –‘They talked to Macker, in a prison van. He said they destroyed his hands.’-
-‘Oh shit really? This is important. How can we..’-
-‘The number’s in the phone, I have it here.’-
-‘Let’s see, those Yeti Clanners. They’re showing a great video of them escorting the PIF across the border. Claiming they were saving the soldiers lives, they blew up bridges.’-
-‘That was, um, our friends done it.’- said Duna.
-‘You know that? And Maxie was shot by the troops?’-
-‘Oh wow look, look, is that her?’– Rita had found the –‘Catch Yourself On’- campaign video.
Maxie was leading a –‘Spot a Shit-On’- dance around a corpulent banker.
-‘She’s magnificent!’- People were craning t see the screen, and clapping.
-‘She was waiting for a baby who got killed by the army this morning.’- said Duna -‘The baby would be named Kazoo. She was injured by them and, um, miscarried..’-
-‘Oh my god. An unborn baby! We didn’t know that.’-
-‘Maxie left a phone message as well, she’s thinking of suicide.’-
-‘Oh shit, we only knew she was rescued but then disappeared.’– said the guy with the headphones and the file.
-‘Also did you know she’s on the death list, of the Brother-Hood? She did a TV exposé about them.’- Duna whispered.
-‘Oh bloody hell. We gotta find this lady fast.’-
-‘We need to get interviews with you for the TV, I’m copying this memory, but not a circus okay. Let’s all go to the demo center, it’s just next door. Are there more family?’-
-‘Yes but the others have gone home.’- said Damo -‘What about helping us do a picket?’-
-‘Have you got a number for them..’- It was another woman. –‘Little Agnes Street..’–
-‘Listen don’t worry.’- Rita was holding Damo’s hands in hers.. –”There’s not that many prisoners yet. Um, see because your brother is getting tortured and Maxie got hurt and lost her baby, um, we need to say that at the Ultimatum demo. Like, you won’t have to do the picket. You’ll have about a million people shouting for them.’-
-‘They can add an unborn baby to the Ultimatum list.’-
-‘What is that? Maxie wouldn’t want her baby on a list.’- Duna protested.
-‘Sure she would.’- Rita explained.- ‘It’s to stop more getting killed or hurt.. If their General doesn’t stop all this, if he doesn’t announce it at the demo before seven, then our terrorists will start killing their officers. Tit for tat, or soldiers.’-
-‘All the details were decided by questionnaires and Wise-Mass votes. We’re hoping they’ll back down. All the subversion programs depend on that happening.’-
-‘Killing them. But that will be a war.’- said Damo.
Duna and Damien were looking dour and doubtful, then the mobile started buzzing, like a drill. It was Little Agnes Street. Duna took it and turned up the sound.
-‘Hello this is Tessa.’-
-‘Hi Tess, I am Duna. Listen they want to interview everyone and do a big protest for Maxie and Macker to make the army stop.’-
-‘Oh yeah. We just arrived home. There were about fifty people in the street waiting for us.’-
Now Duna was giving Damo the phone.
-‘Damo, ask her for any more stuff on M and M. Be nice to her now okay.’-
-‘Listen Tessa we’re going to the demo center here and they want to interview us all, can you look for any more photos or videos or anything good about Maxie and Macker. They want to put it on the screen at the demo.’-
-‘Ask her to bring it over.’- Duna whispered, gripping his arm.
-‘Er, Duna says can you bring it over.’-
There was no way Tessa would take anything resembling an order from her disgusting little brother. But it wasn’t at all direct, and no one was listening at her end.
-‘Okay I’ll take a bike, we’re all going up to the park later on anyway.’- she said.