Chapter forty seven
-‘They’d finally figured out what wild is’-
‘Hi Jerry. Hi James thanks for coming so early.’-
-‘Hello Macker, are you okay? Hi Duna, you got him out!’-
Jerry and James appeared first, all smiles and poring over a portable. Standing too close to each other, just accidentally jostling, in that obviously affectionate way.
They were waiting in the bar as planned; I’d phoned to say we were coming out. Along with James who’d driven him from Dab Abbey, and had offered to take us out there for breakfast.
Because we were homeless. Our house had been evacuated, after the attacks on Barney and Lucia, and we were all invited to stay with James in this Permaculture Center
I’ve done circus workshops there, okay it was a really good place to stay.
But I was just destroyed. My hands were hurting, and I wished I could just go home to Maxie’s bed.
-‘This is Wain our guard I was telling you about. Plus Emma, Anna, Myra, er, and You-Wan and Suhkia Dykk.’-
-‘Welcome to freedom everyone.’-
-‘I can’t believe they accepted those names!’-
-‘Hi Wain. I’m Jerry from, um, from Gay Rescue, er, in the flesh.’-
-‘Hi Jerry, thanks for coming man.’- said Wain.
-‘I didn’t imagine you so young and healthy looking.’-
-‘Well I expected someone younger!’ They both laughed.
-‘Hey you wanna grab a coffee with me I need to ask you something.’-
-‘Yeah cool, um.’- He turned to Duna who was wearing his cap and shirt, open to her knees.
-‘Don’t lose my shades, I’ll mind your shirt, okay?.’- she said, slapping his shapely bum.
-‘And the handcuffs?’- Suhkia held up his hands. Obliging me and Yoo-Wan Kerr to do the same with one hand each.
Wain turned back, rummaging infructuously in his pockets.
-‘Gentlemen. The keys to freedom!’- says I. Rising with a magician’s flourish,
I produced the handcuff keys.. from out of my mouth.
The reception area was full of people still waiting for prisoners to come out. Like a fog bound airport at daybreak. My cell mates had to resume their normal names. as friends and family hailed and welcomed them. I needed to locate Maxie, but no one could tell me anything new.
Duna’s friend Lila appeared and they were embracing and gabbling enthusiastically in Spanish. I could see the dawn, streaking through the clouds, outside the big windows. The storm had cleared away.
My sister Tessa was waiting there, fair play to her. She was curled asleep on a curved couch, with her boyfriend Paco, who’d been sent by Lucia to bring home the wayward Duna But where was home? Our house had just been emptied. I asked James, taking him aside.
-‘Oh yes I’m terribly sorry we had to evacuate your house, we got a tip off about a raid, looking for Pardy and your , er, partner, which is actually good news.’-
-‘What? They want to murder Maxie and that’s good news?’- I queried.
-‘Yes, relatively speaking, the Special forces are working with the Brother-Hood, it probably means neither organisation has arrested Maxie, or even realizes she’s missing.’-
James has a weird manner, even giving good news came across chilling.
I wandered back to the empty lounge to have a kip.
I’d taken painkillers but I couldn’t sleep for missing Maxie. Of course I knew she wouldn’t be there, but my body expected her, like a mental toothache throbbing right through me. I must have nodded off finally.
-‘Macker. It’s me, Jerry. I’m really sorry to w-wake you up, I need to talk to you in s-secret.’- he whispered, putting an arm around me.
-‘Oh Jahzus I’m only knackered.’- I groaned.
-‘Sorry Macker, we need to know if you’re okay about putting out you and Maxie’s new program, Barney says okay.’-
-‘Who Do You Hate?’- Of course, but it’s not finished. ‘-
-‘It is now, they want to try and trap him. Would Maxie mind?’
´ -‘I was just a camera assistant, but if you want my opinion? Go right ahead. He couldn’t hate us more than he does, and fair play to anyone who tries to stop him.’-
I was pleased. Maxie had really gone for him in that video, and she wanted it to go out.
–‘That’s great then. We’re setting a deadly trap for Killian Bate.’-
The newly converted minibus had bench seats and a windshield, bolted onto the roof in front of the ammonia bottles. I went on top, to wake myself up, with Jerry and Wain, and Duna, who seemed to be some kind of triangle.
Plus Myra who came along with us, without her prisoners, their families had taken them home. She was quite relaxed about being a deserter, and surprised us with another Yeti spliff, and stamping to the heavy road music, that James and Damo put on down below.
She offered me the joint but I was already floating, and I belted myself in tight, to try and enjoy the interesting trip down the country.
Damien stayed downstairs, he said he’d get carsick up on the roof. I felt sorry for my ‘little’ brother, he was bonkers crazy about Duna, but he hadn’t the foggiest how to compete for her attention. He had done well in helping to free me. Even Tessa had reluctantly grunted a ‘Well done Damien.’- before bedding down on the back seat with her boyfriend Paco.
We were zipping smoothly along on NH3, no CO2 or monoxide gases, then stuck in the morning traffic. Horses, carts, skates, air cars, lorries. The bike lanes were flocking with kids, zipping in and out on air-heelies. At the big square stacks of yunkers were milling about, anticipating already the ‘Save the Soldiers’ demo due that morning.
-‘Hurray, hurray, save the soldiers!’-
Myra was up and yelling back, still in her PIF uniform, as we crawled through. And suddenly they were all lining up to clap us, spotting those uniforms. Wain looked guilty but lifted his arms and smiled, while James revved off, as quick as he safely could.
-‘BTW.. Why the hell do they wanna save us?‘- asked Myra.
James was tootling our three tone horn and people were waving back. Though we didn’t know them.
-‘I think they really want to at least stop convoys of troops passing the central square. Because everybody knows it’s mined, and our terrorists have vowed to blow them, and any bystanders, into smithereens. So the pacifists have a pretext to actively resist….Save The Soldiers!’- Jerry explained, leaving us all a lot more baffled..
We swerved into a bus stop lay-by, watching as three PIF armoured carriers, one with smoke billowing out the back, came racing up the wide street, and passed us, sirens screeching.
‘Uh oh, looks like trouble kicking off.’- said Jerry, fiddling with the radio,
He tuned in to a seriously shocking weather forecast. Then Pools Radio went back live to Rainfort Pool, reporting a running riot, at eight o clock in the morning.
It was all sparked off, they said, by a Fux-News crew, embedded in a PIF convoy, who were filming kiddies at a bus stop, and were now being run out of the district, with bricks and tranki-darts and a mass demo..
Marta Burns of Pools radio was on the spot, interviewing locals, outraged by the child porn revelations the night before. The violent mob had multiplied in minutes, a land mine had gone off, cratering the main road, nail bombs were thrown, barricades were being built or reinforced…
-‘They pulled out your colleagues to avoid an all out war.’- Jerry explained to Wain and Myra.
-‘Are all the neighborhoods so, uh, hostile?’- Wainy asked.
-‘Well a lot of wild Yeti’s do live up there.’-
-‘The TV crew was disabled by feathered syringes fired from air-guns, or blow-pipes. The famous ‘tranki-darts..
The soldiers who had gone to their aid went all groggy as well..
Plus the medics who went for them..
Some of them were picked up by fake ambulance teams, the Yetis of Rainfort have gotten their ‘guests’..
And sure thing they’ll befriend, seduce and brainwash their captured visitors.’-
-‘Or in correct language, ‘encourage them to participate in de-toxification.’-
What was happening in Rainfort was a taste of what was imminent elsewhere.
We stopped in Hurlingford village, by the river, to change air bottles, and pick up aspirins, and mosquito balm. Plus fruit, antiseptics and contraceptives. Duna, Myra and Lila swung down from the roof seats, descending on the little Free Supermarket.
Myra was keen to try her Credit Card. While Jerry and Wain nattered on about the Gay Rescue advice programs. And I took my chance to stretch across the seats and rest.
But Maxie came back in my head, pleading me to come and find her quick.
From that car-park I could see the river bridge, and a few kids exploring a new Adventure Park. High spindly lime and beech trees, with walkways, and a scary high swing, across to the fort, on the river island below.. I heard the girls approaching.
-‘..So then we got to the checkout. Nobody there!. Cuz it’s a do-it-yourself checkout, stupid. Look, look at my cool Earth peep-top and tassel pants!.’- Myra was delighted. -‘I left my mili-shirt, that’s fair exchange…’-
-‘You don’t have to exchange. It’s a free shop.’-
We set off. A relief from the blazing sun. I’d gone all morbid, missing Maxie, but Lila anointed and bandaged my damaged wrists, and Duna fed me bites of her apple, while provocatively tickling Wainy on the seat in front. Myra was still talking, behind me and massaging my temples. Rubbing her breasts deliciously on my bare back, hanging on to me as we swayed and shook, and trying out whakka steps to a stink rock hit.
I wasn’t really ill, just sad, and with so many nurses I soon cheered up .
We were flying along, or it seemed fast upstairs. Ducking branches as we skirted coppice circles. Ponds and lakes and permaculture plots. [ref.20 Save The Biosphere]
Lots more people were moving out of town to live on their country workshops.
While gardens and farms were creeping back, into the opening city.
There was an agreed plan, more or less, and I could spot a lot of changes, from when I went out to Dab Abbey for my Circus School.
The whole wide valley was being intensively adapted, more near the city, and less on the sides, blending to wilderness in the Lapwing Mountains to the west.
They’d finally figured out what wild is.
How to integrate and adapt, to benefit both ecosystems and exploitation. All that was already well known.
The big holdup had been the rapacious insanity of capitalist chaos.
Intensive organic may be ten times as productive, but it doesn’t give a fortune to one big rancher.
Biochar and horse shit regenerate the earth, but they don’t boost the nitrogen Corporation.
Local varieties and biodiversity may deal with pests and diseases, but they don’t multiply the dividends of Genetically Modified agribusiness.
Dab Abbey, where we would be staying, had been declared a Permaculture University.
A couple of yunkers in Eagle suits swooped down above us, as we approached along a ridge of the surrounding small hills. Wain and Myra had never seen them before, I’d done the flying classes.
They came close, slip streaming sideways, little by little. The huge glossy black one first. Gliding down just over us as we waved wildly. The red cheeked yunker unclipped his forearm, indicating the apples, and dropped right onto the roof, twisting his huge wings forward into the breeze.
James was slowing down carefully and blowing the horn.
Suddenly he was among us on the roof seats, clad in just a P-belt.
Gasping and grinning and grasping my arm..
Duna popped two apples in his bag and. Went to kiss him but missed.
-‘See you in the Palace.’- he said, floating out of reach.
Gripping his thumbs on the controls, twisting back his wrists, he flapped once.
And vanished, shooting up thirty meters, easily in time for the next bend.
Now the russet condor was whistling in close. Lifting her scarlet crest and tails, spreading her legs to brake. An older woman, golden brown and sexy, in pale purple body tights.
But the wind was at a wrong angle now. The two were planing up, back suddenly out of sight.
James had been hooting below, fearing an accident with cables or trees.
While the rest of us were electrified, like, whooping ecstatically, as the ammonia-van leaned round a corner.
Then freewheeling downhill, past the low greenhouse sheds, and into Dab Abbey.
For our own safety, we had been evacuated to a former colonial Palace, at the behest of our friend James, ex of ‘All The Answers’, who had his mobile office there. It’s a nice place. Half of one lake is reserved for water sports.
Greenhouses and shade houses and the misty Cloud Cafe.
The old estate has been occupied for fifteen years, and become a technical and supply center for intensive organic farms in the county. Plus the biological research faculty, emergency habitat recuperation program, labs and various workshops. As well as the fish-farm, coppice, old forest and marsh reserve, and the student hostel and campsite… and more stuff.
James pulled us into the parking behind the lake restaurant.
-‘Here we are now. Why don’t we just relax and have breakfast on the piers. Then I’ll show you where you’re staying. Our day office is under that awning here, and the others were sleeping in those air tents. I think Lucia took the second one..’-
-‘Oh Wain, I have a message that your chat with your daughter will be at eleven thirty, our time.’-
Duna had slid out of her half of Wain’s shirt, and leaped straight off the ladder. Rolling onto the soft wet grass before we even stopped, and heading for her mother in the tents, while her laconic laid-back brother Paco tagged along behind her.
Then the rest of us were clambering or jumping, off that super NH3 van.
I was better now, just missing Maxie. But I was dried out by the breeze and eyeing the water urgently. The sun was too hot already, sizzling us like pork sausages.
Duna sheds her bag and cap, and dives under the gossamer clad iglu top.
Lucy is lying face down, and rolls groaning up onto an elbow, sunk into the feather bed.
Duna jumps straight in and hugs her tight.
Moonbeam is sleeping with her elephant, on a mini mattress alongside.
-‘Como te he añorado cariño, how I’ve missed you darling.’- they speak in Spanish.
-‘Oh mama que te han hecho… What have they done to you. Moonie is here how good. Oh mama were you fighting with a cat?’
‘I’m okay, Barney’s in hospital.. But we escaped!’-
-‘I love you poor mama, you’re scratched all over.’-
With a pop Lucy uncorks a little pot, and sniffs the rose essence in the calendula balm.
-‘We had to run through thorns, we…Hey Pacito mi amor!.’-
Tall, skinny Paco ducks under the mosquito walls. Kneels to kiss his mother.
Swapping slaps and digs. Like friendly yunkers would..
-‘Hey don’t hit her… no se pega.’- says Duna, shouldering him off jealously.
Lucy dips her fingertips in the cool aloe blend, and touches her temples, spotting Paco’s adolescent spots..
-‘We rescued Macker and we….’-
Moonbeam groans loudly, stirring now, she’s frowning and sweating in a difficult dream. She tosses and grunts without waking, as all watch her. Then her face relaxes visibly, with a little snort. Duna and Paco chuckle.
-‘Oh Duna I hope you didn’t make love with any soldier to get Macker out. You’re too young and they could infect you, with syphilis or Aids or something worse. I wanted to come and get you but..’-
-‘No mama. Now just lean back I’ll do your face.’- Duna orders. -‘I just made eyes at Wainy and it worked.’-
-‘Oh but you’re much too young. I’ll make love to him myself! Why not, where is he? Paco, is she lying to me now?’-
-‘Es la verdad-‘ Paco conceded, gesturing theatrically. –‘ I could admit she tells the truth this time.’-
-‘Where is this boy. I am happy to seduce him.’- says Lucy, licking her lips.
- -‘Sorry Mama no. There is a queue already, see girls and boys both like this funny guy. And maybe he’s gay, who knows?’- Duna explains.
-‘Anyhow he’s on our side now… ‘-
Lucy has struggled to her knees in the air mattress. She lifts her arms dramatically, like a shaman in a cheap movie.
-‘Oh my children, your mother, Lucia Perez, must tell you important news.’-
-‘Oh my god. You’re not pregnant?’- asks Paco.
-‘Que miedo… I’m shaking.’-
Duna is dutifully rubbing in aloe on her mother’s scratches and bruises. Kissing each one better, tasting a nipple.
-‘I’m seriously involved this time. Stoppit Duna. How would you like a new papa? Children of mine. So Duna and Paco are gonna be your sister and brother..’- says Lucy, lifting Moonie who’s woken up.
Biting her lips with nerves.
-‘What! Uncle Barney’s my next papa. Ha!’- says Paco. -‘He’s cool, okay. And he’s not so old!’-
Lucy exhales with relief, Paco says okay.
Her wrinkles smooth out and she’s kissing Moonie’s fat cheeks.
-‘Barney’s my papa too.’- Moonbeam reminds them, unsurprised and snuggling into Lucy.
-‘Yes okay mama I know, that’s great.’- Duna exclaims. -‘But really I’m in love with him as well!’-
-‘Yippee. Hurray. Okay. That’s settled.. Ya está..’-
All of them are hugging in the cool air tent, when James bangs the breakfast gong.
I was still arguing with the group from ‘All The Answers’, gathered round a computer, under the awnings in the outdoor office.
- -‘No Macker. Sorry we can’t do that.’- I was demanding the impossible.
It looked bad. All those searches, mails and phone calls found no trace of Maxie.
Even if she were imprisoned somewhere under a false name they’d surely let her phone, if only to check her story.
Maxie had her own support group looking for her. They’d checked through every boat, arrival and sailing on half a continent, without tracing Maxie, Christy Peters or The Yellow Tubmarine.
The cyclone season was upon us already, planes and commercial ferries were finishing up their runs, shipping insurance would expire the following week.
We had another breakfast with James and his friends In the Cloud Café section, which has a short wooden pier sticking out the front.
Displays of ecology projects.
And sprinklers, a high spray, too high and fine to wet you, but making it lusciously cool.
Damo and Jerry and Myra and Lucy and others went charging off the pier, led by my super sister Tessa, and followed by Moonbeam. She’s only three but wore an air-suit, still she had to be rescued.
I wasn’t in the mood for bathing or partying that day, but others were.
There was a sense of relief and excited celebration. Pools TV, for one, had stopped moaning on and on about the invasion.
Suddenly it was obvious we were winning.
What would twenty thousand coalition troops do, even on a military level, against half a million Clanners who wanted to party?
They made a good deal for Wain and Myra, our guards. They’d be taken back into the prison, later on, if they still wanted to, and chained in the washrooms, with the story that we’d been rescued. I mean we had been publicly amnestied anyway.
If they wanted to stay longer they’d be given ‘proof’ that they’d been kidnapped. The aim was to paralyze the PIF army through mass desertions and insubordination. We also needed friendly contacts, if not spies inside. So Wain and Myra did choose.
I’d sensed an air of daring elation as we came through the city. With the Ultimatum Demo we had won a stand-off game of chicken.
Now they were playing our game.
The radio was playing ‘thrash whakka’, at nine in the morning.
While sitting in the Cloud Café, we saw ourselves appear on a Pools news item, emerging from the tunnel, like in a surreal painting, into the kitsch decoration of the Welcome Bar.
We were blinking, with bemused grins, like rescued miners.
When the welcoming began.. -‘Macker Mucdunna, well known magician.’-. I remembered again in my body that Maxie was gone. That ball of anguish burst again, spreading in my gut like a bleeding ulcer.
Me and Maxie had forgotten to be cynical and self protective. Like as if we had swallowed each other. Losing each other was like cutting conjoined twins, we could hardly survive apart.
A rainbow bubble can’t be chopped in half.
I was ill and irritated, sitting by myself. Everyone else was unwinding and undressing and leaping in the lake. People were nice to me, but I couldn’t eat or sleep, I didn’t queue up for the Wise Mass, collective wisdom online voting. I didn’t go with the others to tour the workshops and farms.
And I didn’t even visit poor Barney, who’d caught a virus in the clinic, with a bucket of snots and the flitters, as Tessa remarked.
I did take a phone call from my friends who had the baby. James just passed it to me, on a new mobile with vision.
-‘Hey Jimi. Hey Janie. Hello Warriors!.. How’s it hanging.?’-
-‘In front of me bollocks. Great to see your ugly pug.’-
-‘Look Macker look.’-
Janie was holding up the wrinkly baby to the camera.
-‘Congratulations! How brilliant!’- I said.
- -‘We’re calling her Macker. Did they find Maxie yet?’- said Janie, still filling the little screen with the fuzzy baby.
-‘What? No we didn’t. Um..She.. escaped by boat..’-
-‘Well tell her to ring me as soon as she gets back.’-
-‘We were so sorry to hear about Kazoo.’- came Jimi’s broad voice. -‘Janie was really upset and me too.’-
-‘Yeah well. What can I say.. I didn’t know myself till last night.’-
-‘Are you okay then, I mean, did they hurt you?’-
-‘Just my hands.. They’re a bit banjaxed all right.’-
-‘Evil bastards!’- Jimi shook his fists.
-‘How was the birth Janie?’- I asked.
-‘Easy Peasy. Well.. It went too fast and I got three stitches.. Look I’ll show you!’-
-‘No no.’- said Jimi. Before realizing she was joking.
-‘Macker Two is enormous and guzzles milk all day long. The sweetest thing in the world.’-
-‘In the Milky Way.’- said Jimi. -‘Listen when can we meet up?’-
-‘We’re out of town. Lying low.. Hey thanks for calling him Macker.’-
-‘You brought us together, remember, in Mart Street Flats.’-
-‘What do you mean ‘him’. Macker is a girl.’-
And she held up the infant again. Undoubtedly she was a girl. Name of Macker.
-‘And she needs a nappy. Yesterday she pissed on me.’-
-‘Bye bye friends. I’ll catcha later. Big kisses. Big hugs.’- I had to break off. The lump in my throat was trying to choke me up.
-‘Yeah All the best Macker One. Bye bye now.’-
-‘Kisses. Huggies. Bye bye.’-
That didn’t cheer me up. That made me worse, I hide my grief to not upset my friends.
-‘Any news about little Agnes Street?’- I still wanted to get home. There was a silence.
-‘It’s this evening, this thing with Killian.’- James whispered.
-‘So maybe we’ll go home tomorrow?’-
-‘Look I’ve brought you a recorder we don’t use. It has a mike and headphones.. Solar batteries.’- He handed me a cloth bag.
-‘Sorry. Why?’- I was surprised.
-‘You said you have a million stories. If you record them I’ll put them on line..’-
He’s a clever fellow James, and thoughtful, I had a plethora of literature cluttering my head. The new stories and plays and stacks of jokes. And all the comments on my Free-Uni course.
Plus all the accounts and legends from my dad and granny. Now transformed and shaped, making sense of it all, by The Idea that Sol had explained to me that night, and from living with the Free.
I had a voice recorder and a death feeling. I was buzzing on near death adrenalin, plus I had the opportunity to pass something on.
So I wandered round, talking and acting for my invisible public, the visitors thought I was well weird. I was unloading my media files, those worlds of words that live inside my head. I ended up in a scrapwood hut, it was a hide for spying on wildlife, with viewing slits, bench and binoculars on a chain. It’s up on the little cliff of the ex quarry, next to the lakeside bar.
On the other side is eco-reserve, marsh and ponds. With shelduck and godwits, and the odd purple heron.
But you could see the bar from there as well. I was recording myself, while idly spying on my friends and family, who were having a session on the shore below.
Myra the guard was singing and strumming enthusiastically. She never went back to the PIF, took a cottage and joined Clan Yeti.
Our guard Wain was getting attention, he was trying to talk to Jerry, while Duna and Lila and Lucy were all around him.
From my position as God looking down, young Duna was the clear seduction winner, clinching the competition by hopping up on his lap. But finally got trumped by her mother, who sent her to bed.
Wainy told me he let Duna flirt with him to avoid any real relations.
-‘She’s a real good kid. Just adores playing sexy games.’- he said.
-‘Some guards arrived, and James and Jerry rushed off with them, looking worried and glancing at their watches. Sure thing they were part of trapping that Killian Bate.
Meanwhile I was telling and cajoling, recalling more and more things, laughing and singing and cursing into the mike.
A plethora of nonsense and genius, no less, though no one could hear me.
I recorded till the batteries ran out. Then found a fresh set and a solar charger in the bag.
Wain went back to the PIF the day after.
They had Troops Out events outside Mount Venus at three p.m. every day. This time they were releasing captured soldiers, welcomed by famous artists here in solidarity. So that the media would show up. They wanted to keep those news sharks biting, before all swimming off, to some bloodier or sexier story.
One of the ‘prisoners’ to be released on the Zoo Park main stage was our ex guard, Wainy. And all his new friends and ex prisoners were invited to get up on stage and pretend a tender farewell. He would act openly as a Relations Coordinator.
I didn’t go but I saw it on TV, everyone hugging the possibly gay soldier Wain, who had heroically refused to be seduced and kept everyone guessing. Playing the last post and acting heartbroken.
That ceremony was so crap it was a classic howler, reeking of vicarious sex. They’d been given back their uniforms, and empty air pistols to wave about. James and Jerry hugged Wainy and kissed his mouth, which Fux News had to ignore, and everyone saluted wrongly.
This guy has everyone drooling, Duna and Lila had orders to keep their hands off him in front of the cameras, being underage.
Duna returned his mili-cap, curtsying, arms stretching out, with infinite sadness, only for him to frisbee it back to her, as a keepsake.
Cheering erupted and they faded the soundtrack into an orgasmic whakka hit.
Glancing back continually and waving, our ex guard Wainy was led away by the Military Police.
For interrogation, debriefing and fumigation..
- Serial of The Free Ch 46. Chained to Wainy (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)