Last Take by M.S. White - HTML preview

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Housed under his sarong, I took to thinking about what a sudden turn my life had taken in only a matter of weeks and just how obvious the law of synchronicity had been operative since my first meeting with Roy, suddenly I became aware of how free and liberated I felt. I was no longer a man treading water while he waited to drown, instead I was in the current and happily going with the flow; and I was wondering what would happen next when I heard a car full of cheering and stoned Noosa bound surfers pull up and order me to get into their vehicle. „Cool umbrella, man. one of them cooed at me, while another cheerily asked, „Wheraya goin? I surfaced from my shroud and beamed a broad grin and told him, „Im going with flow, friend…Im going with the flow.

Chapter 3.
“If angels can be said to wear disguises, then it can be said that we can see through them”…Ann Brooker.

When I walked into the lounge bar of the Noosa Hotel, I saw Roys head of silver hair shinning like a beacon. He was enjoying a conversation with an extremely attractive woman of about thirtyeight. At first I wasnt sure if I should approach for they seemed so intimate with each other, animated and laughing and almost affectionate. Then he saw me and gave a beckoning wave and introduced me to the delicious Margot, who I soon learned was the dear friend hes made while undergoing chemotherapy; in fact it was she who advised him against continuing with such a traumatic procedure and go to Africa. Margot was a mother of two equally attractive teenage daughters, Summer and Spring, whom I met later that evening. Roy planned to spend three days with them before beginning our journey northwards in his Kombi van which Margot had been using while he had been away.

I fell in love with Margot, but then everybody did because she had that kind of energy, that softness and strength personified in a woman of substance and personality. She was surprisingly well travelled, having taken her two girls with her overseas and around Australia. She worked as a psyche nurse and a part time counsellor, and she was an excellent masseuse,and Im glad to say that I was the recipient that night of the most sensuous and energised hands ever to massage my body.

Based upon the understanding of complete honesty between her and me, she combined the relaxation of massage with dialogue in attempt to open up physical, emotional and psychological wounds. And in that one session, using her skills and acute psychology, she drew from me not only my confession that I had been very near to suicide because of the loss of my mother, but also the pain deposits caused that trauma.„Realise that it is you who feel injured. Yet why should you feel injured when you understand where it is that she is, nestled in more love and joy than you could ever have given in a multitude of lifetimes. Instead, rejoice and be happy for her…for to cloud your vision and darken your heart is not only doing yourself a disservice, but her also. Allow your mind and your body the freedom to heal and let go as it is designed to do, naturally and lovingly.

With her hands, her voice, her intent and sincerity, I felt the room grow large around me and my body experienced spasms as blocks of repressed pain dislodged from the tissue of my flesh and sprang loose from deep and jealous moorings within me. Then she laid it on me. „Now, once again and for the last time ever, acknowledge the loss. Let go with love, and mourn and then mournno more, she instructed me, her voice compelling and suggestive.

Ordinarily I would have held back in the presence of another, but she had that gift to allow a person to be themselves without restraint or embarrassment, and so I let loose my anguish through my tears. We both knew that I was not releasing completely, but it was enough to open up the channels and loosen the tightly locked taps of my emotional containment. When the session was over I couldnt move from the bench, and it took a long time before the body aroused itself. When I finally came to life I was famished and so while Roy and Margot played chess in her incense scented living room decorated with all its crystals andBuddhas and bric-a-brac from the beach, I cooked myself scrabbled eggs and a salad and luxuriated in the bliss of another new experience. Later that evening Margot and Roy prepared their stall for tomorrows market at a bush setting not far from Buderim, the ginger growing capital of the north coast area.

The next morning we all drove to the market and set up the large specially designed tent in which Roy and Margot plied their trade; it had open windows on the side and behind, just high enough to not allow people to see in. It was so rigged that the hem furled up which allowed for breezes and light, but also prevented passer byes to see in, unless they dropped to the prone position. While Roy and Margot set up inside the tent, the girls busked outside, one with a classical guitar and the other an acoustic. They were very good and made for a most appealing picture; two beautiful blonde teenage angels. They looked like angels at a celestial fair.

Roy asked if I would mind just sitting in a meditation pose outside the front of the tent to give the appearance of solemnity and peacefulness. I obliged andadopted the „cobblers pose on Margots meditation mat, which Phil had shown me and focused my hearing on the casual ebb of the activity around me the music of intermingling voices. Margot and Roy had a good system working from what I observed. They hung a very artistic and ornate collage-sign outside the front of their tent. It comprised a large painting of the YinYang symbol, earth signs and other esoteric looking symbols which certainly caught the eye, under which was printed in large yellow calligraphy letters,

HELPERS HERE FOR YOU.
Curiosity doesnt always kill your cat.

Please inquire within.
And on either side of the entryway a sign advertised what exactly was available to be had. On the right the one sign read,
You may, discuss a problem
Make a confession
Reveal a fear
Release a burden
Speak of a dream
Or just have an old fashion cry.

And on the left the sign read,
Aromatherapy
Foot and hand massage
Deep tissue search
Light hypnosis suggestion
Hands on healing

And people came and inquired, and some stayed for a consultation and paid by way of a voluntary donation. I expect Margot was quite well known because she had a host of acquaintances popping in just to say hello; and of course word of mouth played its valued part. Margot had earlier explained to me the format of their procedures. Irrespective of what treatment they chose, the prime purpose to subtly delve into the persons feelings, looking for clues, either through talking and listening, or through massage, that might reveal how to probe further their pain body and subsequently to best give counsel. They both relied on their intuition, and Marot said it was quiet amazing how open perfect strangers could be with people with whom they felt trust and affinity.

They worked individually and if a case presented itself, they would collaborate, one doing tissue massage, while the other nurtured dialogue as well as massage. In cases of injured bodies, each would do a variety of combined healing procedures, ranging from massage and manipulation, to the laying on of hands and their own form of hypnosis with which they would insert ideas and beliefs of refreshment and hope. I saw people enter tentatively, some out of sheer curiosity, while others were either dragged in by their spouse or partner, or cajoled into givingit a go…but each left with an obvious degree of some kind of self improvement…I could see it in their body languageand hear it in their voices. Hell, Id experienced it for myself.

After playing around wit my video camera filming Phil surfing and doing Yoga and generally clowning around, I thoroughly enjoyed filming the atmosphere of the market. The stalls, the people, their dress and the sweet cacophony of human voices pitched one against the other made for a pleasant atmosphere. I particularly liked filming the buskers. As an actor myself I admired their courage, because although I could perform rhetorical pieces publicly, it was in the playing and singing department that I had no confidence. Phil had told me I had a voice and that my guitar playing was okay as an accompaniment, but there was still a huge mental block about performing publicly.

I got to chatting with Nina, a female busker who told me she had gone through the same ordeal of facing the public and that it had taken her years to actually get there. I asked her what got her over herfear. „One day, I just put the worry aside and got out there and played, she said…and I recalled a quote by Matti Finn, “from the mouth of babes and in the most unexpected ways, the truth falls at my feet.”…and I knew that was exactly the way I would have to deal with my own reluctance to perform.

Then quite unexpectedly she handed me her guitar and told me to take my time and just muck about a bit. My first impulse was to refuse outright, but then something in me made it clear that this was another of those synchronistic twists that had been appearing in my life of late, and I was compelled to act in the positive. I felt awkward as I stood there with her guitar slung over my shoulder strumming a couple of casual chords as I got the feel of the instrument; it had a wonderful tone and after a couple of well known choruses and bits of broken songs to help my voice loosen up, I attempted to perform the song Seven Spanish Angels.

By imagining myse lf onstage and the audience „not there as I used to do when I was acting, I quickly relaxed and found myself getting into it. I started to feel my voice find its way into the rhythm of the song and I became quite excited. Instead of completing the song, I simple made up a fresh verse as Brother Phil did and just kept it going, impromptu verse after impromptu verse. It was obviously a popular song because before too long a small audience had gathered, which instead of creating a tension my voice, as it usually did, it served to relax me more. Then suddenly Nina joined in for the chorus and her voice combined quite well with mine. My timing was slightly out but she managed to cover that and I had fleetingly recalled how Polly and I would sing together and shed do the same.

It was wonderful and I was overcome with happy embarrassment when some of my audience gave a flattering clap and tossed some coins in the open guitar case at my feet. I must have been the happiest busker they ever saw; I was beaming smiles wide enough to swallow up the day. „After that, youd better do an encore, Nina said giving me an encouraging and congratulatory wink. Okay, I thought, if thats the case then theres only one song to do, Me and Bobby McGee.

Nina supported me in the chorus I was barely into the second verse when the sound of nearby guitars joined in. It was Margots girls playing a nice accompaniment as they sidled up next to me. Spring was doing rhythm and Summer was picking a light lead…it was incredible how well we all blended in. They covered my slow chord changes and when we got to the chorus they joined in with a wonderful backup harmony which just blew everyone listening, away…so much so that when we got to the ending chorus where you sing that La-la-la-la-la-la-la/ La-la-la-la-la-la-la bit, for as long as you like, the small crowd joined in backup and clapping.
In a state of euphoria I did my bow and handed Nina back her guitar with a hug of thanks and merged into the crowd, my feet gliding above the ground because my heart was soaring so high.

Chapter 4.
“It is an inevitable challenge to us all that we should embrace compassion with a fury.”…Ian Allen.

I was still euphoric when Margot found me sitting on a shady patch of turf watching the colourful kaleidoscope of humanity wandering by, and sat beside me. After a while I asked her if she knew about Roys plans. „Lightning man? she smiled knowingly. „Roy believes hes can do it, I told her, curious to know her opinion.
„Thats how itll be then, she said simply.
„You dont believe thats possible, do you?

She chuckled and slapped my shoulder gently. „Marty, if Roy chooses to believe that, then hell believe it into reality…believe me, she said.
„Ill believe it when I see it, I said with disbelief.
„I believe you will, she concurred with a tone of mystery to her voice, „if you see him to his journeys end, she added challengingly.
„You two seem very close, I told her.
„Were soul mates, she replied casually.
„Soul mates? I asked, wondering what makes a soul mate, and how does one know a soul mate when one meets one? What is the criterion for soul mate-ship? She smiled beautifully and as if intuiting my thoughts she explained the theory of soul mate ship.

According to her they were ancient entities of consciousness that had materialised many times in the flesh, through the rich strata of historical periods, who used the earth existence for a multitude of reasons, but primarily to achieve a complete empirical understanding of earthly existence in all its variation and ramifications through a physical, mental and spiritual format, including the negative aspects of life also.
Because free choice permitted error of judgement, there existed the potential for all kinds of erroneous behaviour, which could be either worked out during the course of the present lifetime, or in another.

„So you also believe in the after life, I said, recalling Roys feelings on the matter. She gave a confirming nod and told me that in the after death existence, the entity could realise the errors of its choices and so choose to rectify them by entering into a new earthly existence with the basis of some plan in mind of how to achieve that. It could do so as a sole participant, or in joint participation with other aspects of its Identity.

„Rectification is usually a painful process in the sens e that the personality has to live through the experience of what it had done to another, she said. „The Law of Attraction very much applies in this case. The initial act of negativity on the part of a person requires that person to then experience an equal act of negativity in order to cancel out the original offence. This attempt at rectification can be done slowly and with ease over several lifetimes, or it can have a highly negative experience and get it all over and done with in one fell swoop. It depends upon the nature of the personality involved; some like it cool, some like it hot and heavy. She smiled at her slight lasciviousness and then continued.

„Personalities can gr oup together in one lifetime to assist one another in their overall growth. They do this by agreeing beforehand on the general game plan and the purposes that their co- operative lives will take. That is why it often feels as if we have met or known others before. This is where the soul mate aspect begins, she said scrutinising me and no doubt wondering if I was following her. Theoretically I had no trouble understanding what she was saying. But I was no slouch either, and already my mind had picked up on a few key issues of her dialogue. I particularly wanted to know more about the victim- villain relationship in regard to the working out of bad Karma. But first I wanted to know what her soul mate connection with Roy was all about?

„It has been our overall purpose to awaken in ourselves the spiritual nature and expand our capabilities in the field of healing and empowerment, a goal all of us are destined to achieve by virtue of our connection with the Source. Roy received his gift of spiritual enlightenment late in life, but he has more than made up for that, she said with obvious affection and pride. „I on the other hand, although I have always carried the Spirit within me, I have also in the past, allowed the difficulties of life to shunt aside a deeper acceptance and understanding of it.

„What difficulties in life? I wante d to know. She smiled and her crisp green-grey eyes sprang into life with a thousand degrees of sensuality. She was truly quite beautiful and far too easy to fall in love with. „I had the great burden of being beautiful, she said, with no conceit whatsoever. „I wasted a lifetime being a slave to my vanity, and I used my body and beauty for the gain of material wealth and the control over others. I married for all the wrong reasons and then used my children as a weapon in my efforts to fleece my husband of all his assets and investments, and then I neglected them for a life in the fast lane with other “beautiful” people and got sadly lost in drugs and sex addiction. Finally my self absorption brought me abuse and tragedy. I was brutally gang raped and as a result became anorexic and suicidal and had to behospitalised. I listened, but could not believe the story that she told. This was not the Margot I had come to know. I saw no traces or traits of this impostorthat she described…yet obviously something had caused her to change.

„Due to my emaciated condition I started to hallucinate heavily, she said, brushing a blonde lock from her cheek. „All manner of imaginary things invaded what was left of my normal senses. Then one day I felt myself rise up out of my body and float upwards through the roof of the building to find myself sitting alone in a small darkened room, looking at a softly lit screen that occupied the whole wall in front of me. That room made me feel so painfully alone and abandoned, she said with a quiver in her voice.

„Then the imagery came to life on the screen wall. There appeared a beautiful blonde woman; she was dancing about in bare feet, twirling like a love struck teenager. She was fluidic and free and her abandon evoked in me an excruciating need to fly like a bird and float off like a cloud. She was vital and gay, but she danced in such a way that I could not clearly see her face. And then at some point she collapsed violently to the ground and struggled and squirmed like some creature dying from electrocution. Oh Marty, it was horrible, she groaned agonisingly and scrunched her eyes shut before continuing. „I could so emphatically feel her agony in my own body, convulsing and contorting and doing an altogether different kind of dance, she said, taking a couple of quick relaxing breaths to stabilise her emotions.

„Finally the woman collapsed completely into a motionless heap with her face turned towards me. At first I didnt want to see her face, but the compulsion to stare into that face was overwhelming, and when I did, I saw that it was me. And as I stared, I tuned into the truth of the type of person I had been. I saw clearly the treachery and cunning and duplicitous use of my beauty…and then I began experiencing the pain that I had caused others during my life of falsity. I saw my two beautiful babies suffering and I literally drowned in an ocean of guilt and unrelenting sorrow.

She shook her head as if to caste aside the recall of that event, and that blonde curl fell again with sublime sensuousness across her perfect cheek.„And yet, from the immensity of that self loathing came my liberation and my spiritual enlightenment. It just swept through me in an instant and I was made anew, never to return to any aspect of theformer bitch Id been. It was exquisite, she said, as she closed her eyes and was silent for a few extended moments.

From somewhere a clarinet player started playing an up tempo jazz number and the delicate arrangement of notes floated through the thick accented air of the fair and made me think of a line from a poem by Kram Marky.“I saw phantom forms find mass in the music that I heard.” My poetic moment was snatched away by Margot who continued with her story. „With that realisation, she said earnestly, „was born the motivation to return to the sane world of health and happiness. I took control of my life and began to act with impeccabilityand sought to find my true path.

We were silent for several minutes and I was only vaguely aware of the activity of the market as I recalled Brother Phils story of how he too had changed his world view and behaviour after years of self importance and abuse. And then there was Roy, who also had forsaken the lesser life of his former self, and once again I sensed the synchronicity at work, acquainting me with all this esoterically oriented New Age knowledge. It seemed that iconic figures were popping into my scheme of things, each surreptitiously prising open the lid of a Pandoras philosophical Box. The idea did occur to me that I might also be a candidate for change by subtle degrees, because already there were things about me that were different, new and rearranged.

„Tell me more about the relationship between the villain and the victim, I asked of the Goddess seated beside me, now dappled by sunlight. I basically wanted to know how the process of atonement worked in the so called afterlife.
She explained that once the personality genuinely accepted the consequence of its negative behaviour, then atonement was automatically cancelled out on a metaphysical level by the Soul identities involved. But because the personality has the power of choice, it may insist upon negating its atonement by initiating another physical experience in which it undergoes the experiences its former victim., which then necessitates the need for a villain. Then she asked the question I was about to ask. „But where then does the villain come from?

I told her that I imagined there were villains aplenty who were only too happy to oblige the masochistic tendencies of a villain now turned victim. She agreed that there were indeed villains aplenty who existed only to deepen their karmic history of violence and ill doing, which was terribly unfortunate because they seemingly never sought the freedom of atonement found by acceptance of the their spiritual heritage and the nature of their misdoings. She paused and then locked her perfect eyes onto mine and slowly said. „Could not the villain have an agreement with its victim to swap roles rather than be at the mercy of these other eager inveterate villains? What better form of judicial atonement…to have the villain become the victim of its previous victim? she said seemingly pleased with her delivery.

„But then by doing so, wouldnt the new villain then accumulate a need for its own future atonement?
She smiled, pleased that I was getting her drift. „Not if that were the arrangement made before the next incarnation.
„But why would a victim choose to place itself in the potential horror of villains role? I asked with much interest, as I watched the gold sunlight spotlight her purple cheesecloth blouse and sight of her inviting cleavage sent a ripple through parts of me I thought to be dead.

„If there were a spiritual connection, a soul fa mily relationship between the two personalities, then it would be only natural to help out one of your own, she replied. „Take Roy and I, for instance; as soul personalities our deep connections would necessitate that crucial offer of help to one another, she said, reading my face to ascertain if I had understood her. I had, and I had to admit that theoretically, it did make some kind of sense.

For a few minutes neither of us spoke. Her stare was toward the festivities before her, while I mentally tried to digest the possibility that what she was telling me might actual be so. It was she who renewed our conversion.„I told you I was gang raped, she reminded me, „well suppose that you were one of my attackers, and one day you reached an understanding that what you did was dreadfully wrong, and in order to rectify the fault you chose to enlist me to play the villain to your intended victim.

„But why would you choose to do that, if we are not as connected say, as you and Roy are? I queried.
„One of my reasons may be to help you to spiritually self improve…or it may be my desire to have you suffer as I was made to suffer, which would imply that there were issues of forgiveness on my part which I had not fully resolved, and which could interfere with my own evolution towards spiritual betterment. In any event, by playing the villain, I get to understand your personality and its own circumstances better, without actually accumulating a negative karmic debt myself.

„And what if your forgiveness and subsequent help is not forthcoming? I asked, becoming quite engrossed in the content of our conversation…and I could tell that she also was enjoying our lively rapport.
„That then would leave you open to another means of making good your wish for repentance by your playing the victim role in a carefully arranged incarnation involving others, who for their own karmic and spiritual reasons are happy to oblige…failing that, as we discussed earlier, theres villains aplenty ready to apply, she said eyeballing me, curious to know how I was going with all this. I gave a small nod to assure her that I was more than just a condescending listener.

„According to your rationale then, I said, „the victims of a serial killer like Ted Bundy, who were at the time decent loving people, were previous villains, who for the sake of atonement chose to undergo the horrific experience that they themselves had once vented upon their own victims.
„It would seem to make judicial sense, she said softly.
„But how would that equate w ith thousands or millions of victims as in the case of the holocaustin which there were many more victims than villains? I asked in earnest, knowing of my strong affinity with the Jewish tribe.

„Sometimes individually and collectively , personalities can take on a bit of the negative global and racial karma that has accumulated throughout history, she said, throwing me another curved ball. „In fact at times it is necessary as a safety release from the naturally destructive effects of accumulative bad karma. Every loving or fearful act has a rewarding or retributiveoutcome, she maintained, wagging a feminine finger. Then she said that she personally believed, that the Jewish race as a collective whole, and on a metaphysical level, choose to atone in the eyes of the world, for their supposed historical betrayal of the Messiah personality, while at the same time shedding accumulated human karma on behalf of the world.

It took a few seconds to get my head around that one. Okay, that could be, I thought; but what about the mass victims of Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe, etc? Did the same principle of racial, tribal and global karma apply to those scenarios? She said she believed that they did, but was astute enough to admit that of courseshe didnt have all the answers, so she might well be incorrect in assuming that to be so.„Truth, knowledge and wisdom are continually expanding with our ability to perceiveand understand it, she said in closure. Fair enough, I thought as I quickly danced my eyes over her ample cleavage and fell that little bit more in love with her. By God, she was a beauty, in all ways.

„So in your case with lightning man, whos the victim and whos the villain? I asked with keen interest. She smiled, and teeth and lips danced seductively. „Roy and I are no longer playing that game, she said assuredly, „we have reached a level of enlightenment in which there is no longer a requirement for atonement, and as such we are compelled to act impeccably in everything we do. Her face beamed with amusement as she looked at me directly. „Were here to create love and harmony, to heal and help and sponsor joy in others whenever and whereverwe can, she said with absolute conviction.

Then the question that had been loitering with intent since I had first met her, voiced itself. „Why are you without someone in your life, Margot? I asked.
„Because I choose to be, she said curtly.
„But you can choose any one, I told her frankly.
„Theres not just any one for me, she said. „I still have problems with my attractiveness. Men come to me for the wrong reason. I am therefore waiting for the one who comes for all the right reasons. And because I wait with joy rather than with impatient expectation, I am open to the glory of surprise. I liked the music of her voice as she said all that. It was true to the core and lulling like a mothers coo to her baby. Ah yes, the glory of surprise, I thought, thinking in particular of her.

„And what about you, she asked, „why are you without someone?
„To use your own parlance, probably because my energy level is not evolved enough to attract anyone…but Im working on it, I said glibly. She looked at me intently in the way that Roy had looked whenhe was „reading me, and I was more than happy to get lost in those crisp dreamy bedroom eyes, even if for a moment or to. But then suddenly I also saw in those eyes a hint of secret knowing, and I became a little uncomfortable; but she held my stare a few moments longer before saying, „Marty, if you continue with Roy and follow his lead,your energy will increase in leaps and bounds and your problem will disappear, she said judiciously.

My problem! What problem was she alluding to, I wondered? „And what problem would that be, Margot? I asked with keen interest. She looked at me like a mother would look at a child rolling around in a pool of wet sloppy mud, and a most approving smile lit her face up as she brought her mouth so close to my ear that I could feel her breath. Her voice, when she spoke, was a sensuous whisper.„Follow Roys regimen of living, do you hear…and your problem of impotence, will disappear. Oh shit, here we go again, I hissed mentally to myself.

I needed a few momen ts to accept that she had done a „Roy and intuited my problem correctly, before I asked her if she really thought his way would indeed remedy the situation.
„Such an enterprise would require discipline and sacrifice, but if done accordingly, I can guarantee you your success, she insisted. Of course I was curious to know exactly what kind of sacrifice in particular?
„The surrendering of old ingrained habits, she replied.
„Such as?

„You could make a serious start by refusing right now , in this magical instant, to give up cigarette tobacco, she said challengingly. Go cold turkey, are you joking, I thought. Had she ever smoked? Did she know how powerful an addiction tobacco can be? And I was about to protest when I realised that this challenge was similar to when Roy challenged me to hitch hike to my destination, in order to make a statement of serious intent regarding my quest.
I tried to explain how difficult that would be for me; and while agreeing that getting healthier was indeed a goal of mine, I also had to admit that I simply did not have any real motivating reason to want to quit right now, in this magical instant, as she so eloquently put it.
She smiled and then her hand reach out to mine and she folded her fingers into my fingers, in the way that lovers might lock hands, and with a penetrating look, she said ever so flirtatiously, „Would you do it, for me?
„Give up for you? I asked.
She smiled and her fingers played with mine. „Yes. Let me be the source of your declaration of abstinence, in this magical instant of now, she said grinning warmly. „Please…do this is memory of me, she almost implored as she lifted my hand and kissed my hand and melted me with her beautiful eyes. And in a magical instant I knew I could do it, that I would do it, and with a giggle of sudden delight I told that in memory of her, „I quit!

She smiled and nodded approvingly and slid a hand toward my breast pocket and pulled out my packet of fags. „You wont need these any more then, she said coolly, palming my pouch of tobacco before stating how excited and free I must feel, now that such a harrowing burden had been lifted from my shoulders. And when I thought about it, I guess I did feel free…but then I also remembered just how strong the urge to smoke again would be, and recalled how I enjoyed smoking the occasional cigar with Roy, and I asked her how could I follow his regimen and not smoke, if in fact he did?

She said that if I had the power to give up cigarette tobacco as I just had, then when the time came I could do the same with the cigars. „After all, it wont be long before hell be giving it up for good himself, she said with a warming wink, alluding to his nearing final day. We both laughed at that, and for a few moments the melody of our married voices floated out into eternity, where I imagined they would exist forevermore. And I gave my silent blessings for what had been a gloriously productive day.

The following morning we all went on a picnic to a beautiful place in the hinterland where pockets of lush rainforest teemed with bird life and natural beauty with meandering crystal clear streams and an impressive waterfall which plunged some thirty feet into a deep icy swimming hole. We ate wonderfully prepared vegetarian dishes and drank some very nice South African red wine. The girls insisted upon teaching me a few simple riffs on the guitar that I could use as a break accompaniment with a variety of songs, while Roy and Margot practiced Tai Chi

Chapter 5.
“Our path is like a river, thick with yearning and life that draws downstream the jettisoned ones like us”…Veronica Bill.

After returning home Roy and Margot took off in the Kombi van and left me for the evening with the two seasons, [my term for her daughters]. After a delicious meal prepared jointly by them both, we settled down to watch our respective favourite video film that we each had chosen for the evening. Summer chose The Jerk and we laughed ourselves silly, and Spring chose Excalibur which I had never seen and which I thought was absolutely brilliant, and I picked Bliss which they deemed the best. I didnt tell them that I had seen it nine times before. Margot and Roy arrived home at about seven the next morning and within the hour we had said our farewells and were on the road north. And that is how I got to be an easy rider type character travelling with my road cobber in a VW Kombi van driving to meet his appointment with death, which made me recall that line from Austin Ruperts poem, “So it is that with little steps that the child becomes a giant Roy assured me that I would love the entirety of our drive northward along the eastern seaboard. „A different world altogether awaits us, he said, „a world where Mother Nature shows her endowments with abandon…coconut palms, tropical islands, bejewelled beaches, pulsing rainforests, raw humidity, clean air and roving wild storms. Well fish and camp and do some serious sailing, he promised me. Then he told me to get my camera rolling because he felt the Muse welling within, and when I was ready he broke into a flourish of poetic speech.

„ For this is my intention, began, his head thrown back and merriment plastered to his face like a perfect mask, „to drift like flotsam on a seaof „my last minutes of life discovery…to see and feel and breathe and soak and blend and meld and become one with the core of both dullness and delight. I categorically cast aside any fear, conscious or unconscious that may make of me a prisoner of its folly. A departing soul has naught to lose, but all else to gain. Whatever the pleasure of this adventure, I gift to the world, and embracing pain, I callit „friend…For I am now one without a past, needing no future, existent only in the exploding „now of each moments spontaneous discovery.

„ The mood of my passing shall grace the harbour walls of Valhalla…and those who knew of me in my last charades of dancing, will hold sacred in their hearts, the feeble blaze of my expulsion from this the sweetestillusion of them all…But fear and fret not, dear friends…and heed this my loving threat…to haunt you evermore. In your hearts you will feel my prod, in your brains the prick of my probing, in your souls my soothsaying spirit, in the breath of the wind, the midnight snore of the surf, the creep of the crab, the creak of a storm bent palm, and in the cry of the joyous, and the curse of the damned, will I always be with you.” Then he honked the car horn like a crazy loon and whooped it up like a drunken cowboy and laughed with utter joy, and I felt honoured to be the invited guest.

Our first port of call was Hervey Bay and the Marina at Urangan in particular, because Roy loved sailing boats. I was surprised to learn that he actually had his Captains papers. He considered motor powered craft to be the toys of either lazy sailors, people with too much money or men who had no real love of the sea, claiming that the growl of an engine at sea was, „a mechanised insult to Neptune himself. That same day he bought me a book on basic sailing technique from an OP shop for me to peruse. But firstly I had to learn the sailors terminology, and what a delight to be seduced by the romantic words of the sailor mans world. Words like halyard, hanks, luff, gaff, gooseneck, fairleads, companion way, clew, bollard, bumkin, broaching, diamond stays, Genoa, goose wing, reefing, shy reach, Samson post, telltales, transom, warp, weather helm, etc, etc. And the vessel names themselves, yawl, schooner, ketch, sloop, cutter, and their various sailing rigs, gaff rig, cutter rig, Bermuda sloop rig, lateen rig and Gunter rig. Suddenly a new world of mystery sent me sailing off into imaginative discovery, with the sails of my enthusiasm bursting as I footed a sea of new adventure, heeling with a stiff wind of determination abeam. And I couldnt wait to let the sea flow like a companion through my veins.

The Strand at Hervey Bay is a holiday makers delight. It runs for several kilometres with exotic and modern stores, shop fronts, cafes and pubs hugging the beach front. The ocean is without breakers as such because it lies in the lee of Fraser Island in the Great Sandy Straits, but the swimming is peaceful and easy and there are all manner of small craft for hire. The town is very much on the international backpackers tourist route and they pour in every day from every part of the globe…thus making for a lively meeting place. Despite there being an immense suburbanised sprawl mushrooming behind the beach front and the socially accepted fact that the town is run by the Police and biker groups, the Bay certainly boasts its own unique atmosphere.

Roy found a most idyllic and expensive resort situated near the marina. Regarding any payment from me, he said that it was his pleasure to treat me to such a delightful residence. „You cant take nothing but your soul, he quoted from the Ballad of John and Yoko, as he tossed his credit card onto the reception desk. The Cascade Hotel and Holiday complex at Urangan had for me, an atmosphere of the early fifties with a mix of Africa and a Hollywood set, with its huge central lake and swimming pool, palms, green lawns, open spaces and quaint timber bungalows.

In fact, for some unfathomable reason, I could not stop myself from imaginatively seeing Robert Mitchum, stoned and cheery and independent of anything or anyone, stripped to the waist and picking his way around the compound with that famous gliding sexual lope of his. He was a man who I imagined knew how to live in the moment, which Roy said was a certain „sign that I should follow suit. He loved his „signs…explaining that they were directives from the unconscious and the intuition, which once interpreted, should be monitored and acted upon. From the stat of our stay we began a regimen of playing chess, swimming, cycling, catamaran sailing, canoeing, jogging and yoga, and hired bicycles for the duration of our two week stay. Apart frown the occasional cigars I never touched cigarette tobacco [in memory of Margot] and was surprised how less the craving became when I was busy being mentally and physically active.

True to form, Roy befriended a yachty, one Captain Klaude and his wife Kathie, who were having their fourth honeymoon aboard their yacht Alpha Two, which resulted in several outings for us in the Bay area. Sailing was everything I expected it to be and more. I felt instantly at home and despite some strong off shore seas, I never even faintly felt seasick. Never in my imagination had I suspected what a thrill it would be to sail by the helm and let the sails feed off the wind with clever decisive bites. At one point I caused the sails to swing over to the wrong side of the wind, which in sailing parlance is called, „an unexpected gybe. I felt bloody embarrassed and thought Captain Klaude would make me walk the plank, but instead he said it was all part of learning the. „Its from the mistakes that we learn best, he said, insisting that I stay with the helm and practice a few „intended gybes. Nice guy.
We slept aboard and at night played cards and chess and shared our meals on deck under an affable constellated sky. Roy, Kathie and I would do yoga at dawn on the foredeck and then go for a swim overboard. I particularly liked pulling myself to the sea bed along the anchor chain with a pair of good goggles for improved vision. Another joy was to watch Roy at the helm as he changed tack after tack capturing the best of what the wind had to offer. He was very natural at sea, and to watch him was to see a man who is at one with his craft and the elements.

But it was really the sense of freedom that I so loved about the business of sailing. One no longer belonged to the throng of the land and their quest to strive to the top of the dung heap. On a sailing vessel, even as a subordinate cog in the machine,you knew you werent merely another sheep among the herd, but rather an integral part of the whole where your skill, however menial, was valued and respected. And the unity that I felt with the nature of the sea, humbled my supercilious ego and taught me of my simple worth that Turner Robert had written of in his seafaring novel. “Until you have touched and been touched by such a soulful levelling might as the sea, dont talk of how grand the landlubbers life might be”.

We hired a four wheel drive vehicle and spent a few days touring about Fraser Island, which must be one of the most impressive islands that hug the eastern seaboard; crystal clear lakes and running streams, dense rainforest, magnificent beaches and excellent fishing and whale watching opportunities made it literally a beachcombers paradise. We camped where we chose and sat by driftwood fires and chewed the cud of convivial conversation. And it was there that I discovered Roys penchant for public speaking after completing a long jog. Apparently jogging in silence helped him to clear his mind of internal dialogue. And so he would run in a mental void, but when he came to a halt and was still trying to catch his breath, he would use that tension to speak out loudly on whatever subject he picked in the spontaneity of the moment. „I liken it to speaking without really thinking, he told me after the first time he surprised me with his strange behaviour and picked of all things the subject of emigration into Australia.

„Heres a possible solution to the escalating emigrant levels and the attitudes of those who resent foreigners, especially Asians, coming into our country, he said, his voice swelling above the sound of the incoming surf.„A hard, but fair politician could advocate this, he began, playing the part of a Parliamentary speaker.„Seeing that we are not to be seen as racist, but as lavishly liberal minded and with a genuine desire to help the poor who are coming to this country, we could do this., he said, raising his point with a finger jabbing heavenward.

„W e allow into this country newcomers, under the agreement that they are to settle upon a gifted five acre block of land situated in our more remote and deserted areas, mostly inland Australia. We provide the water and power source and the infrastructure necessary to accommodate an increasingpopulation…schools, library, police, judicial and health services, etc, and these communities will devise within the provided structure, their own means of self employment.
„We will create a private enterprise opportunity within the model, in which the local population may participate to whatever degree they are capable of rising to. We build them cheap, but functional dwellings which we provide rent free for the first five years of their ten year agreement to stay in these designated parts. We provide to these industrious people, who will be selected according to their rural and agricultural background and their capabilities in other fields of expertise, the opportunity to develop for themselves and their community the agricultural and economic structure necessary for their own sustainable products and industries.

„ In short gentlemen, and gentle ladies, we give them the ground and the opportunity to do what the Israelis did; bring the deserts to flower with the bloom of their own making from the sweat of their brow and the astuteness of their intelligence. Long pause while there are murmurs throughout the parliamentary throng during which the right honourable speaker composes his composure. „These new Australians will have the freedom to travel at intervals anywhere in Australia, but they cannot permanently leave the place of their agreement until after their ten year tenancy is completed. After five years they will be required to pay a nominal monthly accommodation rent to the Government. After their full tenurethey are free to travel and live anywhere in Australia…or they may choose to stay on living and working where they are. A system will be devised where those that leave are then replaced by new arrivals from the vast vaults of refugees who seek to make a life with us.

„However , these new settlers must live according to our Laws and be monitored according to the terms of the Agreement. Those who fail to uphold their end of the bargain will be penalised by monetary fines, enforced community service, deportation if possible, or confinement. An imaginary speaker for the Opposition shouts out across the floor. „This is a racist policy and overtly discriminatory and should be laughed off the floor along with its perpetrator.…There is a prolonged pause while Mr. Speaker catches his breath. „It is to be hoped that those who seek better lives on our shores would have both the decency and commonsense not to demonstrate the kind of misbehaviour which will warrant such an incarceration process…but human nature being what it is, the incarceration law must prevail as a protective measure.

„ My point gentle people, is this, that by adopting such measures as outlined in the Agreement, which I shall name OUMA, meaning Our Unilateral Mutual Agreement, we not only save human beings from their world of poverty and political persecution, but we give them the opportunity to enjoy the freedom, the laws and all the benefits with which we ourselves are blessed. And as new citizens, not refugees to this country, they will be bound to honour and respect the heart and soul of OUMA as must any of us…Gentle persons, I thank you. I found these occurrences very enlivening and entered into the practice of it myself. It seemed to me that after a good jog the intellect was at its optimum, while the spontaneity allowed for a direct communication to flow freely and more creatively. In addition it proved to be a relaxing ritual to go through at the end of a gruelling jog. In fact it actually helped to regain a balance of breath control.
And between us we went through a collage of„self debate issues covering abortion, racism, overproduction, consumerism, tree felling, the Green movement, addictions, gay and lesbian issues, euthanasia, capital punishment, birth control, computer technology, moratoriums on fishing, gene splicing, water and pesticide usage, enforcement of compost toilets, ten minute showers, the removal of certain products from our chain of consumerism, the abolition of petroleum powered cars, the introduction of household water tanks, staggered electricity use, mandatory clipping of the claws of all domestic cats and the reduction of household pets, the eradication of cane toads, crime, wood wastage and the word Satan from our language, while at the same time improving our general health and well being.

Hervey Bay was full of interesting overseas travellers with whom we often interacted. It was particularly interesting for me, as an actor, to pick up the exotic tones of foreign accents and languages spilling into the street around us as we sat drinking coffee and watching the world go by. We joined a morning Yoga group on the beach and the circle grew. The town did have a nasty side to it, however. There was a lot of aggro and a strong drug problem with speed and pot and increasing crime rates, and as a result there was a strong undercurrent of violence. Muggings, property invasion and theft were major issues that the authorities seemed unable to deal with effectively.

Chapter 6.
“The simplicity of a castaways life makes complex the city dwellers ruin”…Shane Hogan.

We left the Bay area to drive to an out of the way beach village several hours away situated on one of the last stretches of good surfing beach before the Great Barrier Reef began. Agnes Waters is an isolated and small community where Roy and his wife had vacationed during their married life, and now he was returning to it for the last time. The final few hours of our drive was along the most horrendous dirt road imaginable. More corrugations than Sid James brow, I thought, as I endured every bump, shifting slide and careening bend.

„We stayed in a small fibro beach shack, he said with pride, recounting his last visit to the area where Captain Cook had first sighted Australia. „No power, no hot water, just a rainwater tank full of mosquito larvae…and w e had to take what food we needed, much as were doing now; and once you arrived, there was no going back until your holiday was over or yoursupplies ran out…but thats the beauty of it, he said bumping around in the drivers seat, „the hard road usually leads to a place of worthy rest.

When we finally arrived I understood the meaning of his remark, for I was confronted with a long curving pristine beach fringed with coconut palms and rich vegetated forests. There were several antiquated fibro beach shacks scattered about and some small lagoons and inlets which gave off a euphoric Robinson Crusoe atmosphere. Apparently this whole area was owned by a farming family who decades ago made a substantial living from renting out these fibro bungalows to the more adventurous holiday makers. It was a wonderfully „up place, bristling with an earth energy which made the world at large a very remote affair…and I liked the place immediately.

We managed to secure a suitable corrugated tin shack, no t more than a stones throw from the beach. Our foodstuffs were basic and healthy, vegetables and fruit, rice, oats, soy milk, pasta, condiments and tin goods which we could supplement from the small township store at Round Hill, and three cartons of beer for the ancient but very effective kerosene fridge in our shack.

And t hanks to Roys culinary skills I quickly got used to rice and pasta meals, stir fries and flavoursome soups. Meat was struck from our diet and so I set about becoming a vegetarian, although we both continued to enjoy fish. Roy won me over to the taste of Soy milk blended by hand with a spoonful of blackstrap molasses,a teaspoon of brewers yeast and a mashed banana. He deemed it the tonic drink of Kings and therefore never ate breakfast, preferring a light lunch of fresh fruit salad and a decent main meal in the evening…and he fasted two days of every week, Monday and Thursdays, „Like the pious oldHebrews, he had said pompously.

Our daily exercise regimen consisted of an early dawn walk, followed by a jog and then some yoga on the beach, maybe a small meditation and then a swim. He had determined to teach me the basic of Tai Chi and I found it almost soporific, manoeuvring my body in the warming sun, with my thoughts as free as kites in an unfettered wind. We combed the beach; bush walked, explored the coastline and met some of the feral locals, smoked a little grass and indulged in our beer and Café Cremes at night.

Within a week I was lean, muscular, tanned and feeling mentally alert for the first time in a long time. Roy worked on the journal he had started years ago in Africa, which detailed his travels and the changes that he had undergone, while I played guitar, wrote poor poetry and recorded my own changes in my little hardback journal. And I read the two books that Roy had brought along for me.

The books strangely enough, were works of non fiction which I had seen throughout my life on bookshelves, at op shops and garage sales, and which had even then beckoned me with a strange curiosity, but which I had never bothered to buy…and they turned out to be the most incredible stories whose philosophy truly aroused my interest. The books in question detailed the apprenticeship of their author, Carlos Castaneda, with the Indian sorcerer, Don Juan, whose esoteric knowledge regarding a host of incredible subjects came as an unexpected epiphany for me, and I couldnt wait to read the others in the series.

I loved sleeping in the shack with the sea breezes wafting through like free spirited visitors. And sometimes in the middle of the night I would awake to hear the snore of the sonorous surf play through the wide reaches of my skull and I would be reminded of a line from a poem by Alto Saxby “my marooned soul sleeps soft, in the marrow song that the ancient ocean sings”.
And my dreams started becoming more cohesive, and on occasion I found myself participating almost consciously in these nocturnal dramas. For instance, I might dream of someone from the hospital that I knew, and in that moment of recognition, I would recall that he or she had a sister who was going overseas to live; and I would mentally ask how she was faring. I could also occasionally observe the detail of my dreams with the same clarity that had been the hallmark of that defining dream about my mother.

I had always been an active dreamer as a boy, and particularly while I was at boarding school…but after that I hardly dreamt at all. Of course I had the usual anxiety dreams; the ones where you crave to a particular place, but something is constantly thwarting your attempts to do so… and you can dream the whole night, going around in confused circles , but getting no where nearer your goal, only to wake up exhausted. Then there were the ones where I was being chased by someone or something and had to flee from, but all my movements were made in slow motion and therefore I always felt that I was about to be caught.

There was the recurring dream about opening night at the local theatre, in which I dont know my lines and I am completely lost as to my part in the play, and yet in a few minutes I have to go on; and so I run around telling everyone to cancel the play because I simply have no idea what to say or do. Yet somehow I get on, and the freezing paralysing fear of every actor engulfs me in its hideous jaws. And then there was the horrid dental dream where I would discover quite abruptly that my teeth are sore, loose and starting to fall out. One by one they either crumble in my mouth like honeycomb, or they fall out as I try to talk, and I find myself literally spitting out teeth.

At first I took this change in my stride, but then one night I experienced myself as being a conscious observer, while a part of me struggled to give myself a command upon which I could actually act; andI awoke certain that I couldve taken the experience further had I known how to. This incident certainly required Roys attention and so I brought it up the next evening as we sat atop the grassy knoll and watched shooting stars rake the canvas of the dark sky above. After hearing my account he said that due to my improved health and unconscious psychic awakening, my latent dreaming abilities were feeling their first stirrings.„I will tell you this, he said seriously, „your dreaming pattern suggests that you may be preparing to move into Dreamtime exploration; and I would suggest you stick to your daily regimen of healthy activity and program yourself each night to become aware enough to give yourself a simple command; it can be anything …it could be picking your nose or scratching your arse, he said with a grin.

„When you can do that ,then you will have passed the Egos first gate, he said mysteriously and paused for effect at just the moment a thick bright streaking ball of light slashed its way seaward from out of the black sky in front of us, which he no doubt took that as a „sign of confirmation. „Getting past the Egos second gate is accomplished when the dreamer is able to wake up during the dream and consciously direct himself to act sequentially upon his own volition,and in his usual way, he said intently as he savoured the last of his cigar. I shrugged and the preposterousness of his proposals, and yet I knew he knew what he was talking about. „Oh thank you, oh most venerable one…blessings be upon your silver head and golden treacle tongue, I said, holding my hands in the prayer position and bestowing my reverence upon him; but he remained nonplussed.„If it is to be your fate to accomplish this feat, he said intently, „you will find yourself on the very threshold of a creative powerfrom which all magic arises…and that is all there is to be said about this matter for the time being.

Another impressive shooting star burnt into life and then darkened in its death and I found myself taking it as a „sign…but a sign of what, I wondered? Admittedly, I was extremely excited about the journey that I was on, and grateful for his patronage and I would help in anyway I could, but I was not at all interested in opening up some Pandoras Box of psychic mayhem within myself. In the first place,I wasnt at all convinced that such things were within the realm of reality, as such. And in the second place, I felt he had no real right to insist on drawing me into his supernatural world without my full approval, which I had to date not given…and I vocalised exactly that.

He looked at me askance in the thin starlight and with a probing stare for several seconds before very seriously and almost curtly, telling me some facts.„Our journey has just begun and in no time itwill be over, he said solemnly. „Very soon I shall be gone into my storm and youll be left to your own devices, so it would be wise for you to treat every day as your last, and accept that you are on a path of great change and undreamed of endeavour, whether you like it or not. And it has fallen to me, whether I like it or not, to pass onto you whatever wisdom and wonder I can, by way of the magicthat manifests itself in me. I could vaguely see his eyes; they were not stern, but they burned with an ominous stare. „You have been selected by whatever Fates, to receive with warm welcome, the pearls that are thrown before the swine inyou, he stated categorically. And then in a most serious tone, he admitted that the parallels between Carlos Castaneda the apprentice and Don Juan the Sorcerer were indeed applicable to our own situation and mutual relationship. „The differencebeing that our „association does not have the luxury of time in its favour, therefore it is vital that every day and in every way, you accept and involve yourself willingly in the process of “being and becoming”…irrespective of what might you might fear or consider to bethe norm.

Reality, he insisted, was an ambiguous affair at best and very chameleon like in its appearance,and constantly subject to change according to the reformation of ones belief system. He agreed that much of what he claimed and demonstrated was contrary to my ideas of reality, and that my only sensible course of action was to dispense with the self indulgent practice of trying to rationalise everything in order to make„my kind of sense of it. He reiterated yet again, that I should trust in the process and go happily with the flow…and in closure he told me abruptly that only a fool, or a damaged clown, would allow his folly to play any part in such an impeccable affair as the one in which we were both presently involved.

I was going to protest when he raised a hand to my mouth to hush me and shook his head in disapproval. „I am going to the beach, he said slowly, „you think about whether you wish to continue with our journey on my terms and develop, or if you want to go back to your world and wither away on your terms. Im sorry to be so curt, but there simply is no time for squandering between you and I…every fucking tick tocking tricking second is of incalculable value to us both and therefore rightly deserves its due…Think on it, Sprite, he added as he stood and strode away into the darkness to be swallowed whole by the night.

Sitting alone on that knoll I was impelled to seriously consider what my position regarding my involvement with Roy was. I knew at this stage I could pull out, but the truth of the matter was,I simply didnt wish to. In spite of the fact that I liked him immensely, the crux of it all came down to the fact that I had no desire whatsoever to return tail between my legs, to my lost life in Brisbane. And more to the point, my life had actually become a worthy affair since teaming up with the old codger. My past was no longer an emaciated ghost skulking about in the cold corridors of my emotional self. Instead, my present existence was like that of a young child full of abandonment and play in a Eden of grand opportunities flowering in the tangible moment. And I realised then that there that I had made my decision, for better or worse, the day that I opted to hitch hike to meet up with him in Noosa. The die was caste, and to quote the old poet Kered Naynarbour, „The promise forged with intent had struck, likeDavids stone, the temple of my commitment.

Chapter 7. “Some events just have to be; irrespective of the desiresof either you or me”…Earl John Plunkett.

But for the vagaries of fate or life, things did not go as the old man had planned. Before he and his faithful companion dog motored out to sea that late afternoon, he thought he had it all worked out. The pain was biting more regularly now with vicious little nips deep within his innards and he was getting fucking pissed off with it. Earlier on that day a violent series of painful attacks had wracked him to his core, and in seconds he had made up his mind to deal with it once and for all. By sundown he was well out to sea and well on the way to being quite drunk. The ocean was strangely calm and he was content just to bob about freely in its tranquil jaws while he jabbered aggressively to himself.

His faithful dog, which had an acute sense of their surroundings and the habits of its master, sensed that tonight the old man was definitely not himself; it was not at all like him to put to sea and not fish and it was certainly not like him to get drunk and be so vocal. Also he was being excessively affectionate, and for a long time man and beast sat together sharing a blanket wrapped embrace. Another two majorincongruences registered as unusual with the animal. One, he had been fed a massive feed of raw prime rump steak while out to sea, something that had never happened before. And two, the old man had brought along his old 222 Calibrebolt action rifle, another anomaly…and the dog creature knew well what the rifle thing did. It made loud noises and it scared the hell out of it.

In fact when the old man had fired it for the first time while stopping beside the road to shoot a wild pig, the dog tore off in fear into the bush and would not come when called. The old man waited all day calling for the hound but to no avail; and so finally with much regret he had to leave it behind, but not before letting the locals in the area and at the Mirriamvale pub know that and would they let him know if it turned up; and no, there was a reward. Eventually the hound was found and returned to her master, but thereafter the old man always left the dog out of any of his hunting forays. When the bottle of scotch whiskey was empty he hurled it into the clear starry sky with a wild yahoo and then methodically set to work with the finer details of his intended action.

The old man was sure of what he had to do, and there was no doubt in him that he would do so with the same no nonsense and practical diligence which he had exercised throughout his long life. It was all so simple; feed the dog its last best meal, get roaring drunk and then shoot it and himself through the brain. It was befitting that they would both die together, for they had been together so long, almost a lifetime it seemed, and the old man knew that there was nobody to take responsibility for such a faithful friend, as his dog had been. They had lived together and they would die together…it was the only practical and appropriate thing to do so.

But when the old man raised the rifle and sighted it on the left eye of his faithful companion, he bitterly discovered how quickly his resolve faltered. Angrily he reminded himself not to be so fucking weak…after all, he did know a bit about real killing and this was more an act of mercy than it was for the sake of survival. But when he tried once more to follow through with his intent, his resolve and will to do so turned to jelly and he collapsed into a sobbing fit…something he hadnt done in sixty years. „Fuck it Whitey, he cursed, „fuck it for loving you so much, me oldmate, fuck it, fuck it, fuck it! And in an instant he knew he had failed. Sure he could blow his own brains out, but that would leave his best mate at the mercy of the elements and starvation and was unthinkable. His only remaining hope would be to seriously try and find some decent new owner to take on the responsibility of his dog, for better or for worse, because there was simple no way that he was going to endure the slow and certain ripping apart of his guts by this ferocious pain for much longer.

In defeat, the old man fell back against the stern and just stared vacantly into the enormity of the night. A night not unlike thousands he had seen in his years of living his vagrant free spirited life. „Fuck it Whitey me old mate, look at that sky, its gonna be good fishin off the shore tomorrow…be a cunt of a shame to let those running Tailor get away. And that said, he kicked the old motor into life and begrudgingly motored shoreward. Funnily enough the pain in his gut had ceased to be of any concern to him, and for some unknown reason he felt strangely reprieved.

The late afternoon sky was a patchwork of copper-gold clouds and the horizon was a black blue line, straight as a razor edge, slashed from North to South and distinctly dividing the earth from the sky. Not far out from the shoreline a family of dolphins was knifing through the dark green sea on the hunt for spawning mullet. But they werent the only hunters out and about that afternoon. At the Northerly end of the beach and about a thousand yards from the mouth of the river, a lone fisherman went about his business of searching for sea worms.

The aged fisherman was in his seventies and black as a Pakistani from a lifetime of perpetual tanning. He wore only a pair of black swimming briefs that were threadbare in places and almost indistinguishable from the colour of his skin which gave him the appearance of being stark naked. For a man of his age he was impressively muscular and fit. His hair was shiny grey and cropped very closely to his scalp. He sported an enormous beard and a magnificent handlebar moustache, both silver grey. Several of his teeth were missing in places and his eyes were dark and fierce and alert like a caged animal.

He was a gruff, tough, no nonsense man who spoke sparingly and often by way of grunts. He made it his practice not to associate with any of the locals unless he had to do so in the course of buying or trading. He was a born loner who had taken out a ninety-year lease on some Crown Land in the thick-forested belt just above the beach line where he had lived his Spartan existence as a hermit beachcomber for almost two decades. His camp consisted of a small caravan under a solidly built iron roofed shelter with half walls all around. Running off from the back of the caravan was a small lean to affair made out of thick canvas that could open on all fronts during the hot weather and be closed off during the wetter months; and it was here that he slept on an iron wired single bed under a mosquito net, using the caravan solely for storage of foodstuffs and equipment to protect said materials from the rodents and the weather.

He had an ingenious camp oven made from a forty four-gallon drum which served not only as an all weather purpose cooker, but also as a smoking chamber for his fish. An older model Land Rover was housed alongside the caravan and attached to it was a trailer with a fourteen-foot metal dingy with a powerful outboard motor. Inside the boat were crab pots, a large plastic esky and an assortment of fishing rods and tackle. A large homemade solid wooden beam table stood heavily dug into the ground just off to the left of the caravan, and it was here that the old recluse did everything from eating to making mechanical repairs. Beside the table cum workbench, a single fold up aluminium chair stood testament to the solitary existence of just one old man.

The weathered fisherman was dragging several rotting fish heads on a length of nylon twine across the sand, catching the outgoing drain of the sea. By this method, the smell of the rotten fish attracts the worms to the surface of the sand to feed…and just as their heads break the sandy surface, down goes a hand and with deft forefinger and thumb, pinches the sea worms head and then begins the pull it from its sandy abode. The old man worked tirelessly and methodically, watched by his only companion and friend in the world for the past decade, a black coated Kelpie cross.

The fisherman saw Roy in the distance walking towards his end of the beach and mentally hoped the lone figure would turn back before reaching him. The last thing he wanted was for a curious stranger to stop and make conversation. If that became the case then he would cut him off coldly with a chilly look and a disinterested grunt…a technique tried and proven a thousand times before in a lifetime of antisocial behaviour.

At thirty yards the dog gave three loud barks by way of alerting its master to the approach of a stranger. At thirty feet the dog sprang to its feet and trotted friendly-like towards him with bright friendly eyes of welcome. Roy spoke to it affectionately as he extended his hand to give it a friendly tussle about the mane and then the two of them continued their amble towards the lone fisherman. And it was at this point that the worm hunter noticed his dog trotting at his heels of the approaching stranger. Roy caught his eyes and gave a warm smile and a small a wave, but instead of receiving a nod of courtesy from the fisherman, he got a stern stare of incomprehension and wide eyed question, as if he had seen an alien from another planet. His look seemed too incongruous for the simplicity of the situation at hand, Roy thought, but Roy being Roy, he naturally ventured forth with intended conviviality.

„Nice dog youve got here, Roy said, his smile bringing a sparkle to his eyes. The fishermans wide quizzical gaze shifted from his dog and he answeredwith a „yea grunt without even looking at Roys face, and then he gruffly called his dog over to,„sit. „Getting many sea worms? Roy asked, having done a bit of it himself in the past. „Yea, the other grunted in answer.
„Damn nice time of day for it, Roy acknowledged, throwing his eyes towards the far horizon and then up to the clouds, but there was no response from the blackened worm searcher, and it was obvious he had no desire to communicate and Roy was content to allow him his privacy. He raised a hand and bid the stranger good luck and continued on his afternoon walk. As he did so, the dog sprang lightly to its feet and started after him. Roy had no idea the dog was trailing behind him until he heard the sharp bark from its owner, calling it to heel. Turning around, he saw the dog trotting back to its owner who again was staring towards him with wide-eyed incomprehension.

The following morning while doing the same walk, Roy encountered the fisherman and his dog again. This time the older man was actually fishing thigh deep in the medium surf using an old fibreglass rod with an equally antiquated Alvey beach reel. He had already landed two large bream which he had buried in the wet sand just above the reaching wave line and marked with a piece of driftwood speared into the sand beside it. Naturally the fisherman had seen Roy approaching from a distance and once again determined to pay him no attention. As Roy neared the man and his dog, he wondered if perhaps this meeting might prove to be a bit more productive than their last.

The dog gave its customary barks of alert which its owner ignored and then it trotted over to greet Roy and follow at his heels as he strode towards the fisherman. „Talk about Groundhog day, Roy said to himselfas he shouted out his „gooday, and was quite surprised when the weathered fisher fellow turned and gave a curt and reluctant wave which prompted Roy to approach. Casually he strode out into the low surf and stood close the man with the huge moustache and beard.

„Having any luck? he ventured.
„Couple brim, the other replied with less of a defensive grunt. „Cant beat fresh fish, Roy stated with relish. The other grunted a „yea with a tone of concession and then there was a prolonged silence as the two men minded their own business and countered their weight against the persistent push and pullof the surf. „Do you ever get enough fish to sell? Roy asked.
„Sometimes, the other said almost indifferently as he reeled in a length of his line and felt for the tension of its weight on the seabed. „Im camped down at the old Jeffries place, Roy said, indicating to his right. „If youve ever got a few spare fillets, Id be happy to pay a fair price. The other grunted with a nod and after giving a few turns of slack on the reel asked probingly, „Whatcha doin in these parts?
„Im taking my last look at this area before heading toCape Tribulation, Roy told him nostalgically.
„Been here before? the other asked without taking his gaze from the sea. „About fifteen years ago, Roy said, briefly explaining the circumstances of that time.

Several minutes of silence ensued as each man pondered their own respective musings. Roy was drawn to the realisation that he would never see the beauty of this beach or this moment again, and it pleased him to take careful note of everything around him, savouring every fluctuation of the moment.„My dog likes ya, the fisherman snorted, breaking the silence with a registered fact, rather than an attempt to make conversation.„I like him, Roy admitted.
„Never seen him friendly with a stranger before, the big moustache said flatly and Roy intuited that, like master, like dog…then again a brief thick wall of silence while the surf clawed at the shore and thesea breeze fanned their ears. „I trained him to never to do that kinda caper, the older man said in his monotone way of speaking, his eyes not shifting from the sea in front of him. „Till yesterdayan today when you come along … whaddaya make of that?

„Either Im a helluva nice guy, or your dogs being plain disobedient, Roy said with amusement and then added, „Id like to think its me, and he chuckled softly to himself so as not to be too intrusive. The older man let an unexpected but reserved smile to flash quickly upon his face before plunging into a new round of silence. Then suddenly their attention was diverted to the snapping forward of the rod, followed by the fishermans instant jerk of the rod, and then a quick gauging of the weight of the catch and the possibly the type, although he couldnt always be sure of that, but he generally was, and then a steady reeling in of his prize.

Roy enjoyed watching the competent ease with which the older man worked his catch through the surf and into the grip of his gnarled and weatherworn right hand, after which he waded out of the surf to retrieve his buried catch before walking toward his camp. After twenty paces he stopped and looked back and saw the stranger to whom his dog had shown such uncharacteristic behaviour still standing in the surf and staring out to sea, and inside his head a conflict began to arise.

He was after all by nature a confirmed loner with no need of the company of others. Yet he stood there for the first time in a very long time and felt an alien urge to attach himself to someone in the same way that he was attached to his dog. His natural action in that moment would have been to turn away and walk back to the solitude of his camp and continue with the rituals of his tightly organised life, but a wild thought had crashed through his lifelong armour of protection, and had touched him in an unexpected way; and although he tried to resist involvement, the increasing state of exasperation got the better of him and in an instant he acquiesced.

„Fuck it, he spat into the face of the wind, hed throw in his chips and let em lay the way they fall.„Ya wanna a fillet mate? he yelled above the surf, feeling anxious as he held forth the unfamiliar olive branch of communication. Roy turned around with a face full of smile and answered with an enthusiastic „Thank you, and started wading in from the surf and wondering what the Universe had in mind by bringing to cross the path of this man with his own. Extending his hand Roy introduced himself and the two men locked hands and eyes. For the fisherman, there was something liberating about performing the handshake gesture which had long since ceased to be a part of his behaviour, and as he trudged back to his camp with his dog and stranger in tow, Tommy (machine gun) Mack felt uncharacteristically optimistic for no definable reason at all.

Chapter 8.
“Who is the master and who is the student, when both are teachers learning?”…Bob MacDowell.

The big surprise all round was the unexpected attraction to one another shared by Tom and Marty when they met. Toms affection for the youngster was immediate, and he knew just why. There was something about the young fella that reminded him of his deceased brother Shane, whom if he had lived, might well have born a similar resemblance…and for the first time in sixty years Tom let his feelings express themselves without any guarded restraint.

And in the old man, Marty found the solid grandfather-father figure that a part of him had always sought, for Tom was a true blue type, it was written on his face and threaded thickly through his speech; a man of sound morals and a classical Thoreauvian character who dealt with particulars rather than generalities. And for reasons known only to him, Tom took it upon himself to teach the younger manthe fishermans craft, and under his expert tutelage he steadily became a knowledgeable and skilful fisherman.

Whether fishing in the estuary, along the beach or out to sea, the master was constantly teaching his student every aspect of his specialized art. He gave instruction regarding the moods of the sea, its swell, its combers, its push and pull and leeward drag and described in detail the very character of the ocean and the weather, for both were to be monitored in order to foresee the unexpected. And it was with a great relish that the apprentice learnt with all that was passed onto him, cloud reading, tide telling, current estimations, wind analysis, small craft handling, safety procedures and evasive actions to be deployed in the case of squalls and sea storms.

And then there was the fishing itself and the knowledge of which fish lived where, what food they sought, who their natural predators were, their routines and habits, what their preference of bait was, what kind of weather they shunned, what time was best to fish for them and how they behaved once hooked and how to properly handle them, how to scale and fillet and to store them, and which breed froze better than others and where and how to obtain natural sources of bait, etc, etc. And in addition he was taught about netting and net repairs, crabbing, lobster pots, smoking fish and a variety of cooking techniques. The venerable teacher even threw in his own specialty recipes for making delicious chowder and fish based soups.

A copious knowledge was made available to him regarding rods and reels, lures and hooks and weights and floats and fishing line strengths and rigging styles and knots and the many species of fish that were potential delicacies for the rich table of humble squires. Exotic named fish such as, Albacore and Amberjack, Mahi-Mahi, Mulloway, Wahoo, Rainbow Runner, Tarwhine, Tanguigue, Black-spot Goatfish, Green Jobfish, Mangrove Jack, Milkfish, Coral Trout, Threadfin, Teraglin, Painted and Yellow Spotted Sweetlips, Sergeant Baker, Silver Drummer, and Cobia and Bonito, and so the list rolled on. And from this parent/ protégé type partnership, something akin to love grew within the hard heart of the old man with the wild whiskered face and the black dog he named, Whitey.

And with Roy acting as entrepreneurial go between, they found an increased and steady market in the nearby community for the extra fish and crab load that they were catching from their combined efforts, which enabled Tom to buy his beloved whisky which he was wont to share with his new friends in the evening around a driftwood fire. Although Tom was a reticent talker, their questions were surprisingly well received and answered with nothing short of candour and honesty on the old mans part. And slowly they were able to get a composite picture ofToms life; the hardships of his childhood and the destruction of his family (but not the details of his failure to save his brother from drowning) and his war years (but not the story of his trance like act of bravery) and the long periods of self imposed loneliness which became his way of life. He spoke freely about his adventures in the bush andthe varied jobs hed had and the array of characters he had met, and of the type of Australian who had been the genesis of this land, but for whom there now seemed no room to manoeuvre in order to retain the essence of their true character.

And when asked, he admitted that he had no regrets, (save the deaths of Shane and the German soldiers) and that ultimately a man went with the urgings of his own nature, and that to try and make lamb of mutton was simply counterproductive. „We are what we are, he said with factual force, „and death gets us all. He had no belief whatsoever in anything of a spiritual-religious nature and refused outright to talk about suchmatters. „Bloody stupidity, he grunted through the thickness of his handlebar moustache, „were no different to ants.

Although Tom and Roy came from different worlds, they seemed to share a maturity that commanded mutual respect, and the two of them would sit around the campfire and talk openly into the small hours of the morning about world history and its chequered characters. Obviously Tom at some time had been an avid reader of such documents, because when he spoke of history he was knowledgeable and articulate. By the same token Tom was equally impressed by Roys wide travels and exotic stories. And then one night, with only Roy and Whitey sharing the cast of the fires light, and with whiskey assistance, Tom revealed the truth of Shanes drowning and that he was dying of cancer; and in response Roy explained his own cancer situation and his arrangement with Marty.

One night Marty had a vivid dream about Tom, and he told Roy about it in the early evening as they shared a cigar on the beach front watching the fine sliver of the new moon hanging crisply in a purple sky, looking a fine fingernail clipping which elicited in him an idea for a short story about a heavenly Goddess who, while clipping her immaculate fingernails which were made of a heavenly light, let one sliver fall to the earthly realm where it lodged itself in the stratosphere, and thereafter followed a monthly cycle where it grew from a single sliver to a blazing silver mirror that caste celestial light upon the earth, and around which the tides and the waters of man have danced since time immemorial.

„I d reamt I saw Tom as a young man sailing a beautiful old wooden varnished yacht into an small open bay, and he stripped naked and dived into the azure water and swam towards the tropical vegetated shore, he told Roy. „As he neared the beach, a whole stream of people, adults and children, emerged from the thick growth and made such a fuss of welcoming Tom as he waded through the pristine shallows towards them; and Tom himself was full of smiles as he mingled among them, animated and talkative, shaking hands and hugging and planting kisses on cheeks and lips as they enclosed him a circle of radiant welcome. „I tell you Roy, I felt his happiness as he mingled among all those people, and it was supreme, and yet for some unknown reason I feel a great sadness, Marty said, pausing to listen to the small waves make their music on the seashore and saw that directly below the silver fingernail clipping, a lone bright star shone like a sparkling teardrop spilt from the upturned saucer and was frozen in space. Roy knew very well what the dream meant, but in order to remain faithful to his promise to Tom to not to tell Marty about his sickness, he had to tread carefully.

„I too had such a dream the day before, he said slowly, „and my i ntuition told me that Tom is not going to be with us much longer and thereforewe should enjoy him while we can. „You mean hes going to die? Marty asked reluctantly. Roy nodded solemnly and confirmed his statement by saying, „And we shall leave here when it happens. In the meantime,dont become morbid about it, okay. You in particular have brought him more sense of joy than you might imagine.

„You cant be sure thats what the dream means, the young man stated challengingly. „My dream confirms yours, the older man said coolly. „What else could it possibly mean? „Couldnt it just simply be a pleasant dream and nothing else? Marty insisted. „For the average man, yes…but you are no longer living like the average man…you have opted for a wider understanding of the worlds affairs. You are, to use the parlance of Don Juans Knowledge, learning to live like a Warrior on a path with heart, and a warrior knows that every occurrence has great relevance to the structure of his existence; that every word and act becomes an affair of impeccabilityand wonder.

„But damn it Roy, I am an average man, Marty snapped in argument. Roy laughed genuinely and insisted that to retreat from the brink of suicide, and then to set aside all fear and take on new and exciting challenges and join him in his journey to his death, was not the behaviour of an average man. „You must surely be aware by now that you are on a course of greatchange, he said with a very serious tone. „Youve quit smoking, youve exercised yourself into good health, and your mind is clear enough to have allowed a portion of your psychic abilities to become activated, hence your new dreaming agenda. You are in the process of rearranging your belief system regarding your understanding of reality, which requires the capacity to accept new criteria with a willingness based upon faith....andTom has been a vital part of that magical new adventure.

Chapter 9.
“Before my life ends, I yearn for a miracle by which I may make amends.”…Llewellyn Harris.

It was a blustery day with a strong sea roaring in as Tom and Marty were fishing off the rocky cliff face south of the old Jeffries camp. They were both nestled firmly into the rounded cliff wall; they had been fishing for about an hour and were proud to boast a good catch. Both men enjoyed watching the occasional forceful wave crash into a natural blowhole vent in the lower cliff face and force it to spout forth a cloud of sea spray that fell upon them like a thin liquid shawl.

Marty had become quite engrossed with the regular rise and fall of the sea in the cauldron below where he fished; it reminded him of the lungs of a giant sea creature, breathing in and out, heaving and hefting the sea with the exhalation and inhalation of its mighty breath, when he suddenly got a vicious strike on his line which pulled him forward and off the face cliff and into the heaving cauldron of sea below.

Fortunately he hit the water in a ball formation, but it still gave him a jarring punch to his body, and he felt his face take the brunt of it. After he surfaced he started to swim to what looked like a decent rock to use to heave himself out of the water…but the sea surged and pushed him hard up against the rock face which winded him badly and whacked knee and thigh with enough force to temporarily render his leg inoperable.

He then swallowed a mouthful of seawater and coughed in spasms as he tried to fight the rising fear of panic that he sensed might engulf him. And for some reason his right arm wouldnt obey the commands from his brain it seemed to hang limply in the sea which forced him to turn on his side and try to stay afloat by frantically paddling the left arm and thrusting with his one good leg. He wanted to cry to Tom for help, but his lungs were bursting from over exertion and he was seriously wondering if he was going to be able to take much more of this.

He knew that Tom must have seen him fall, and when the opportunity presented itself he turned to look for his silver headed tutor, who was still fishing from his perch and staring straight towards him with wide eyes that related an acute look of bizarre curiosity. The young man tried to call out for help which made him unintentionally swallow more seawater and as he tried desperately to keep his head above water, he wondered what the hell was wrong with Tom.

Why hadnt he moved to attempt a rescue…surely he could see what was happening? In the course of these perplexing questions, he suddenly felt what seemed to be a living thing beside him in the water. It wasnt living in the sense of being a physically existent creature, but rather as an unseen energy, and he instinctively recognised it as the ogre known as panic, and it heralded the calling card of death; and he knew then that if he gave into this all consuming feeling he would surely drown.

But he didnt want to die, and something archaic and instinctive within him rallied up against this ancient nemesis and his mind shouted his survivalist refusal to die that day. Somehow, something would come to his rescue, be it the sea itself or a hunk of driftwood to which he could cling, or even perhaps a friendly dolphin might appear and nose him into the rocks from where he could maintain a grip while Tom sorted himself out. Between rolls of his head and gasps of air, he could see Tom still standing above him, rod clenched in hands while he struggled for his life in the frothing, surging sea.

By this stage his lungs were now wavering from over exhaustion and his head pounded like a hammer on an anvil; and then the thought of giving up engulfed him completely…and in that moment that he entertained the thought of his death, an incredible sense of blissful resignation overcame him and he felt free to surrender to his fate. Then thought of his beloved mother mushroomed into his awareness and he could palpable feel her presence within his being comforting him as she had done with that first suckle as an infant.

Time then completely stopped, and even the sea, though just as convulsive, seemed still and silent to him as he floated there in the quiet womb of his last living moment; and he marvelled at how easily he could just dip his head below the surface of the sea and draw in the deepest lungful of water and be no more. It was in point of fact, the most peaceful and liberating moment he had ever experienced, for Death was no longer a mysterious monster to be avoided, but a step in a process so natural and so pre ordained that its simplicity defied rational explanation.

But at precisely the moment Marty was acquiescing to his death, something black flashed across the periphery of his water blurred vision. He could not define its shape, but he did feel its impact as it struck the water beside him, and it was enough to snap him out of his death acquiescence and he realised that Tom had at last come to his rescue. And turning his gaze towards the rocky ledge he saw the figure of Tommy Mack standing wide eyed and lost at sea.

But for the vagaries of fate or life, Tommy Mack, for the third time in his life, had fallen victim to an event of such gruesome similarity that it had literally stupefied and paralysed him at the same time. He had watched with frozen horror as Marty, who had now become superimposed with his image of Shane, struggle as best he could in the claws of a dangerous sea; and once again he was locked in the vice like jaws ofhis boyhood nemesis…and his stony heart was breaking because he knew too well what the outcome of his paralysation would be… a missing body and a mountain of guilt to further crucify him to his personal cross of self loathing and shame. And because of the repetition of that particular event, Tommy Mack knew that he was going to go insane at any moment; and ifthat didnt destroy him, then he would destroy himself just as his father had done

Whitey had watched for a few moments as Marty was trashed by the surging sea; and his dog sense had dictated that his master to act appropriately in the circumstances. But upon seeing no response from Tom, the hound started barking furiously in order to alert him as he had done so countless times in moments of threat throughout their relationship…but still it was to no avail. However, when no action was forthcoming, Whitey acted instinctively and hurled himself into the gulf before him and down into the broiling sea below. That same black shape that Marty had vaguely seen streak across the pale blue skyline, was the same black blur that snapped Tommy Mack out of his paralysed stupor, and in an instant he flung his rod aside and leap into the cauldron of sea below.

By the time Tom broke surface after his plunge, he was fully alert and every reflex and instinct was being brought to the fore. He swam with strength and ease to where Shane/Marty floated, scouting the lay of the lower rocks as he did so. He had never felt so committed in his life; even more so than the time of his battle charge upon the German machine gun nest. And then knowing exactly where he would drag Marty, he locked his arm under and around his armpit and shoulder, and using his stronger right arm, he clawed his way to aset of „good to grip rocks…and by timing the surge of the incoming sea, he positioned himself for the best approach and then grabbed a good hold of the best rock he could, and with a superhuman strength born of his intent in that moment, he dragged the younger man up onto a flattish boulder and out of harms way. Unfortunately both men were too exhausted to take note of their surroundings and the doings of the sea, and so neither was fully prepared for the rogue wave that came thundering through the portals of that rock walled cove.

The sound of a dog barking rea ched Martys hearing above the whoosh and slap of the surging sea, and turning his head he saw the rogue wave pressing down upon them with Whitey in its jaws. He attempted a warning cry, but before Tom could respond, the wave was upon them. Gripping to his rocky foothold with all the strength of his operable limbs, Marty braced for the impact which swept a tonnage of seawater over him with a forceful intent to break his hold…and for several full seconds he was compelled to hold his breath in the darkness while he waited for it to wash over him. After it had receded he turned to see how Tom had fared, but his mentor was not beside him; he had been sucked back into the sea with the waves recession and was struggling to get back to the rocks and a lifesaving handhold.

Marty quickly scrambled down towards the old man, and at the seas edge he urged Tom to get to him and reached for his bleeding and numbed arm, and within a few moments Tom had managed to get a firm forearm grip of the younger mans arm, and it seemed a certainty that Tom would be brought to safety. But then something wet and black rolled into Toms face…it was the drowned Whitey which Tom instinctively grabbed at with his free hand and hugged to his chest. Looking into the oldmans eyes, Marty saw a strange sweep of pure resignation mask the old mans weathered face; it was as if he had just realised something innately profound and had made a definite decision in regard to it. And then he did something completely out of character; he smiled quite beatifically.

„Let go of Whitey, Marty shouted commandingly, „I cant hold you both. „I cant cobber, Tom shouted back with eyes that blazed with some strange purposeful intent, „hes me best mate.
„For Christs sakes, Tom, Marty screamed urgently, pulling with all his strength in one superhuman effort to haul both master and pet to some form of reasonable safety before his hold was broken.
„Me times come, Tom yelled, „I been waiting all me life for this, thanks mate for the chance to prove meself, and with that said he shook loose his grip and deliberately sunk beneath the sea and drowned himself…and the last Marty ever saw of man and dog was their being dragged out to sea while he cried like a baby and shivered with horrific remorse.

The body of Tommy Mack was never recovered, possibly as a result of it having never been reported missing in the first place. Both Roy and Marty agreed that he should remain a mystery disappearance, because from one of their many fireside chats, the old hard boiled bastard had informed them in plain language that it was his intention when he knew the end was near, to simply “go bush and disappear the way Ive lived all me life…quietly and alone”. After two full days there still was no concern shown by any of the locals regarding Toms absence from his usual routines. Both menhad expected Toms body would wash up somewhere along the shoreline and that would be the end of the matter. So after a few more days, Roy decided to make a few inquiries within the local community just to get them suspicious, which it did. He spread the word that two days previously he and Tom were to set to go out mud crabbing, but upon arrival at his camp, he had seen no signs of him or his dog.

And he gave much expression to his grave concern, because it was not at all like Tom to not stick to an arrangement. After all, where else could he be? There were no movie theatres or brothels in the area, and even if there were, you wouldnt find Tommy Mack venturing into either. And so he asked that if anyone should spot the old bastard to please let him know and then left them to their own suspicions. Word travelled fast and everyone became eager to be the first to sight the cantankerous old fart of a fisherman. After a further two days the local copper was informed and an alert was put out to local residents to keep an eye out.

A day later someone found his tackle bag at the place of his demise and it was concluded that he had been washed off the rocks and drowned and made a meal of by the sharks. The police sergeant appropriatedToms belongings, but not before some unscrupulous locals had scavenged his camp. Fortunately Roy had got there first and claimed a few valuables for himself and Marty; valuables such as Toms 22 hornet rifle, his best axe, two good rods and fishing gear and three bottles of whiskey. Naturally there was no official funeral proceedings and in their own fashion his two new found friends bid him their fondest farewell him with copious quaffs of his whiskey, while they sat around a ceremonious driftwood fire on the beach and gave praise to their many shared memories of a man who had inadvertently filled their lives with unexpected joy.

Leaving Agnes Waters behind seemed to only enhance my new mood of melancholy brought about bythe incident of Toms death. I kept seeing in my minds eye the scene of his refusing to allow me to haul him to safety; and then there was that look on his face just before he drowned himself when heshouted, “Ive waited for this moment all me life”. What did that mean, and why had he drowned himself? I missed him, I felt confused and I wanted answers. And it was Roy who furnished those answers when he told me what Tom had confided to him regarding the boyhood disaster of his younger brother Shanes death. And it was only then that the incident of his suicide seemed to make some sense to me.

„Dont you see how wonderful the Universe can be? Roy said with force. „How order exi sts within the seeming chaos? I blinked my eyes wearily in question. „You provided a wonderful and liberating service for Tom, he continued. „You gave him the opportunity he had been waiting for all his life…to clear the guilt and shame hed been carrying since that day when he let his brothers life slip through his paralysed fingers. In saving you, he saved Shane and redeemed himself. Believe me Sprite, Tom died a very happy man and we should be grateful. In any event, his time was up and he knew it. Now snap out of this morose mood that youre in…the road ahead beckons us further to adventure.

Chapter 10.
“Enemies tend to linger for a lifetime; friendships however, may last forever”…John Cheeseman.

From Bundaberg the road north led us past an almost endless vista of cane fields. Roy had it in mind to do some sailing at the Whitsunday Islands so we made our destination Shute Harbour and then Airlie Beach which had been or was to be the destination for many of the tourists we had met at Hervey Bay. I for one couldnt wait step getting aboard a sailboat again. From Airlie Beach the plan was to visit some oldfriends of Roys who lived a frugal existence in the hinterland area north-west of Mackay.

Roy was an affable companion, always open and amenable to any suggestions or desires I might have in relation to where we visited or stayed as crawled along the eastern seaboard putting in wherever and whenever we wished in the many small coastal towns and sleepy hamlets where we stayed until the impulse to leave led us to do so. We gave Gladstone a wide berth on Roys say so. „Industrial town with nothing much to boast about, he said somewhat sourly.

Rockhampton was an old sprawling town with just about a pub on every street corner; and in spite of the modern supermarkets and the obligatory fast food franchises that made mockery of its historical atmosphere and character. While Yepoon is the spring board to a few of the first really popular islands, Great Keppel being the jewel in the crown, we chose not to tarry there any more than a night due to our eagerness to get aboard a chartered vessel and act like sailor men.

Shute Harbour must have heard we were coming because it laid on its best sailing weather. In no time at all Roy had made all the arrangements and secured a delightful thirty foot fibre glass sloop which we set to stocking up with supplies. I offered money by way of contribution but he insisted that his last trip was his treat to me and I was not to make any such offer in future. We parked the Kombi in a security storage facility at the boat harbour and promptly set to sailing around the Islands for at least a week.

The fishing wasnt too good , but we got to see a lot of the islands and made many acquaintances with fellow yachties as we did so. One evening several of us sailed to a remote island and spent the whole evening camped on an open beach, where we ate, drank, smoked, spoke poetry, played guitar and sang and danced and drank and danced and then some more. Icouldnt get over the number of islands that populated the area, and looking at a sea chart was like looking at a tablemat over which a toddler had been eating chocolate cake, it made no sense whatsoever with its blips and blots and spots everywhere; but I did find the names of islands and places exotically interesting.

The combination of the ocean and sail boating makes for a heady brew that can distil in the nature of a man a Thoreauvian need to abandon forever the bland and greedy routines of the materialist dollar driven landlubber. Speaking for myself, I had been a prisoner for too long of just such a master as I eked out a tenuous existence as an expendable cog in an assembly line of monotonous routines that only served to grind my noble aspirations piecemeal until I no longer even vaguely knew who I truly was, or what I desperately needed to do in order to reclaim my better self. But now instead, I was experiencing real freedom and it was an opiate to my senses. One aspect of this new life which I found to be of great interest, was meeting different people. The one thing I have always had is good people skills, and after a recent and lengthy term of antisocial behaviour, I was once more at ease with my fellows and determined to make amends. And many were the interesting people with whom I was now coming into contact with.

The resort islands abound with wealthy sailor men, shoe string yachties, a potpourri of crew members, passengers, girlfriends and boyfriends and the salt soaked hitch hikers of the sea lanes, who all share ina common love of the sailor mans existence. And mixed in with this bunch are the international tourists, laid back locals, inveterate travellers and adventurers and starry eyed backpackers, and all collectively representative of the intellects, the showmen, the dullards, the dilettantes, the eccentrics and those of the wanderlust tribe, all meeting and merging to make for a multi faceted creature brimming with a kaleidoscope of psychological and emotional nuances that were wont to set a table on a roar

And bless the kind gods who deign to please brutish men with beautiful women, for there were many an opportunity for such heavenly chases to lead to final conquests, here in these paradise like precincts, where days turned to nights and nights into days in an effortless cycle of eternal repetition. A few lovely ladies made themselves available to me, and one in particular I even allowed to seduce me, although no seduction could ever be complete with my sexual impotence, as she soon found out.

Regrettably all efforts with hands and mouth failed to resurrect my sexual potency for any longer than a minute. However, we both received great satisfaction from our mutual explorations, writhing serpentine like, flesh upon flesh and mouth to mouth; and then the deliciousness of awaking in the morning naked and not alone, and I thought it still a grand way to kill time in the tropics, and I felt compelled to agree with what I chuckled at remembrance of a line from Lekka Meysie had stated in his, „Poem to a maverick sailor… “In every port a girl…andin every girl a storm”.

We berthed the sloop and picked up the Kombi and drove to Airlie Beach where we spent a several days in a caravan park and had a general look around. Although the place had too much of tourist atmosphere, it was a Mecca for boat people and tourists and there was plenty of interaction to be had. I had to purchase several more video cartridges before leaving northward to Mackay and then on to visit the Dutchies, as Roy called his friends from Holland. We called in to Bucasia just outside of Mackay central and camped on the beach there for a few days while Roy picked up some supplies in town in preparation for our trip inland.
The Dutchies lived a Spartan and frugal existence in the semi rainforest ranges in an area populated by scattered farms and the occasional tiny outpost town. Archie and Nikki were retired world travellers who had decided to see out their days living as far from the madding crowd as possible.They were dear friends from the days before Roys wife passed away and I could tell he was very excited to be paying them his visit. I found the drive very scenic, particularly when we climbed the ranges that looked down on the vast sweeping vistas that lay below its base, and by the time we arrived at our destination it was quite late in the afternoon.

I found the Dutchies to be a most compatible couple and a pleasure to spend time with. Archie was a hulking man of about sixty three, who spoke with gusto about everything in a booming cheery voice. Nikki was a lightsome creature of about the same age with lively grey green eyes that danced fecklessly in a deeply tanned face, and with a most alluring voice to match. Even with her grey hair tossed up in a bun, she exuded a youthfulness that belied her years. They greeted us both equally and immediately made us feel as if we were prodigal sons come home at last.

If I liked them both in an instant and felt the same about their property as they enthusiastically showed us around. Their home was a solid affair built of recycled materials, corrugated iron, timber, river driftwood, bottles and jars and rocks and stones and mud bricks all lumped together in a pattern of gay abandon that gave the place an most unusual appeal. The house had verandas on all sides and was decorated with some very interesting orchids and native plants in pots and hollow logs and tree stumps, and everywhere all manner of trivia was displayed. They were obviously devout scavengers who used everything and wasted nothing.

Two huge water tanks just off from the side veranda provided drinking water, while a large pond about twenty feet provided their washing and watering source. Beyond the pond stood a large storage and work shed made of rusting iron, timber bric a brac and an assortment of glass plate windows. An extensive chicken and duck coop resided at one end of the structure and a large pigsty at its other and was home to four adults and a pack of squealing muddied pink piglets. At the back of the house situated in full sunshine was a large and well organised vegetable patch fenced in with wire mesh to keep out omnivores.

With the last of the sunlight lingering in the west, we sat on their checker brick floored porch and progressed to drink some very good home brew and chew hard the fat of conversation. They had retired to build their piece of heaven in the early seventies when it was truly an untouched paradise. Of course by now things had been somewhat updated as a healthy purring generator stood testament to that; a gas fridge kept foodstuffs refrigerated and an extensive twelve volt system ran all the necessary electrical products and supported an inverter appliance when needed.

„The whole of Australia should be running off this type of power, snarled Archie with a strong tone of irritation.
„I dont think the big businesses with investments in the power stations, nor the giant manufacturers of electrical appliances, nor state governments would be too happy to see that, old cock, Roy said teasingly.
„You bloody well know they wouldnt…theyd rather fuck up the ecology and make an astronomical profit at the expense of world pollution, Archie barked back belligerently.

„And can you blame them, dear boy, Roy said teasingly, which I would discover he did quite a bit,just to get the ever reactionary Archie to bite at his bait. „Aaagghh, whats the point of talking to you…youd sooner kiss the hand of your master after hes fed you crumbs, the Dutchman spat back with much distain.
„Oh, so you think to bite the hand that feeds you is an act of supreme intelligence, Roy smirked as he gave Nikki a sharp wink.
„Youve always favoured playing the role of lackey to the bourgeoisie, the man from Holland snapped while refilling all our glasses.
„Better to be lackey than unlucky, Roy punned with much show of aplomb. „Yes, well I suppose thats one way of avoiding a healthy debate from which you may just learn something of value, Archie piped with a thick spread of loathing to his tone.

I found their verbal jousting quite amusing and was doubly pleased when Nikki entered the fray on Roys side, which onlyserved to exasperate him all the more. „You know Archie, Roy has a good point there, she said denouncing him coolly.
„Shouldnt you be in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant and doing something constructive for a change, he said maliciously, but which, because Archie was a surviving hard core communist who still very much relished his beloved dialectic debate, was only meant to challenge her further.

And although I enjoyed listening to the three of them catching up on old times in their own inimitable manner, I wondered what their feelings had been when they discovered a reborn and re invented Roy, after hed returned from his overseas experiences…and did they know that he was dying? But these answers I would garner later. By the time we had eaten and savoured port and homemade goat cheese, it had been a long day, and it was a welcome sleep that overtook me the moment my back hit the bed in the small room off the western side of the veranda.

I awoke late the next morning to the smell of fried eggs and toast snaking into my room from inside the kitchen. After dressing I followed the smell and was promptly told by the lady of the house to „sit and eat. She told me that the boys had arisen early and Archie had taken Roy to see his „crop and talk some „business; and I told her that since I had been hanging out with Roy I had gotten into the habit of not bothering with breakfast. She chuckled and said, that that may well be, but if I wanted to keep in her good books then I had to at least once try her duck egg omelette and homemade bread toasted, and spread with marmalade made from their own fruiting trees. That said, I sat down to a fine breakfast during which I asked her to tell me her story in regard to Roy.

Nikki was very forthcoming with her story of how they had met Roy and his wife all those years ago. „We were living in New Zealand at the time, she said. „Archie was running a fishing trawler and Roy loves boats and water, you know, and they were down at the harbour trying to purchase some fish from the fishermen when he and Archie got into a conversation. Now Archie loves prawns but there arent too many of them in New Zealand waters, but there are plenty of lobsters which is what Roy was after. So, Archie being Archie, he made a deal with Roy, that if he sent a fully refrigerated load of fresh lobsters by air transport to Roy, then Roy would send the equivalent weight in green prawns in return…they swapped addresses and went their separate ways.

She smiled and gave a short giggle. „Roy forgot all about it, until six weeks later a huge refrigerated load of lobsters is dumped on his doorstep. So Roy had to arrange a shipment of prawns to New Zealand in return, and the two of them have kept in touch ever since. He and Catriona came over for another holiday and spent time with us, and then we moved to Australia just before she died. That was when Roy got sick and went to Africa and we didnt see him for quite a few years until his return; the last time he visited was about three years ago. It is good he could come again, she added wistfully, which prompted me to ask my paramount question. Did they know that he was on his last legs?

„Yes, we know he is visiting for the last time, she said, just before giving me a mock hard look and asking, „Any more questions, young man?. Naturally I did have, and I asked her for her impressions about how Africa and Europe had so profoundly changed Roy?

Nikkis face turned introspective and her eyes narrowed as she tumbled back through her memory of the Roy she knew beforehis wifes death, and the Royshe knew now. „After Catrionas death everything changed for him, she said. „The Roy we first met was a quiet and simple man who didnt say much, and certainly didnt demonstrate his feelings like he does now. I dont think he even read books, but he did like nature, the beach, sailing, and fishing, you know, boys stuff. She paused as she sorted the information in her head and I was reminded that I liked her immensely; she was a battler, a strong and independent woman, and the perfect pioneer wife.

„The Roy of then was an atheist and pretty judgemental, she said flatly. „I can remember he had all these righteous opinions about everything, people and religion and politics, which frankly werent his at all, they belonged to the media and the currant attitudes of the day. Archie, who as you can tell was so much more worldly and far better informed because of his socialistic background, tried to expand his intellectual horizons, but Roy just wasnt interested in changing, or couldnt, she said as she pushed another piece of wholesome toast toward me.

She smiled and shook her head disbelievingly and quietly concluded her story . „Then he went overseas and came back a changed man; so changed that it was quite an effort on our part to make the necessary adjustments. It was difficult to understand how someone could so completely reinvent themselves, she said reminiscently, her green eyes dancing with appeal as I watched the sun splash itself on the face of the river which was about two hundred yards from the front of the house, and I became once again inundated by what I had come to call, „the effect; that state of supreme gratitude that enveloped me whenever I was reminded of my present good fortune.„Come and see the main orchard, she suggested as she took my plate and utensils and plopped them into soapy hot water in the sink. The orchard was well cared for and therefore rightly productive and abuzz with bees going about their supremely important business. Several large mango trees proudly sported ripe fruit upon which I was invited to gorge myself. Orange and grapefruit and other citrus trees were equally sportive, as were the lychees, grapes vines, tamarillo, Chinese mulberry, pineapples, guava and avocados.

The vegetable patch was not to be underrated either. It was alive with beetroot, turnip, carrot, tomato, silver beet, capsicum, corn, zucchini and a thriving variety of squash and chilli breeds. A special treat for me was to find that among the growing squashes was a variety from Africa that I had grown up with, called gem squash, and I was promised some seeds for my own future germination. I helped my host pick a variety of fresh foods and thought that surely this was the way the noble savage should live.

Parrots of all varieties screeched their incessant garbled chatter and splashed the trees with colour, while guinea fowl and turkeys and a pair of peacocks exercised their free ranging rights. We paid the hen and duck house and returned to the kitchen well stocked from our food foraging expedition. Then while Nikki pottered about her kitchen like a bower bird in its nest, I ambled down to the river for some contemplative musings. There had been good recent rain and the ruddy river was quite swollen and impressive and I found it very peaceful to just watch it slip towards its inevitable destination downriver; and it reminded me so clearly of what Wayne Jonesy had written in his novella, “Of the Earths innumerable webs, none draw me more to Divinity than that of arunning river… for upon its back and in its essence, I am impelledto let my own waters run free.”

We boys spent a few days exploring the river, fishing and camping out. We caught fresh water bream and perch and even netted fresh water mullet which we cooked on an open fire while getting high on Archies homemade beetroot wine as he enthralled us with his innumerable flamboyant stories of his travels around the world. I was particularly proud to hear that while he had been a trawler man in New Zealand he had been responsible for saving the crew members of a sailboat that had been sunk during a storm. However, I was equally appalled to hear that he had fished extensively for dolphin, which he used for bait when he worked as a shark fisherman. I promptly told him that to commit such slaughter was bad karma, and he readily shook his head remorsefully and rubbed at his savagely arthritic knees and said he quite agreed.

Chapter 11.
“Do we glimpse in dreams a future whereweve been, or a future yet to come, or a present now in motion?”…A Douglas Smith.

Our stoical socialistic Dutchman was reasonably well known among the nearby band of old hippies, who years ago had jumped off the merry go round and founded their own flourishing community; and so as a result we paid a visit and spent a night there with them. I was quite impressed with their setup and amazed at the resiliency and innovation of many of the members who all contributed in some fashion to the upkeep and efficiency of their Utopian principality in which they bore and bred and buried their own.

I also liked the fact that their spirituality reflected a love of the environment which they worshipped like the Pagans of old. They had quaint little festivals and ceremonies for everything from making love, conceiving, birthing, dying, sowing seeds, picking fruits and fishing and gathering. And they revelled in their moon dances, rain dances, seasonal celebrations, star gazing events, christenings and natural baptismal rituals. Everything had its value and its place within the bounds of a gentle reverence. I liked being there very much and I believed that with the right attitude and the right person, I could quite easily have made that a way of life for myself. And true to any group that breaks step with their times and opts to go it alone, this community had a good cross section of interesting people and its fair share of eccentrics. One such character in particular was Professor Aulwyn Colin.

Aulwyn had indeed been a Professor of History at well known Universities in Australia. He and Archie were old mates for a variety of reasons ranging from sharing homemade wine recipes, cannabis seed strains and a mutual experience of having travelled the world. Roy and I spent the following evening going hammer and tongs, debating everything from caveman symbolism and the Knights Templar, to the parallel history of probable realities which all proved quite an education for me. Although there was very little input from me, as I sat semi comatose in a haze of marijuana smoke that threatened to reduce not only our vision, but possibly also our life span.

With strong shades of Brother Phils philosophical outlook, t he Prof and Archie agreed that aliens have always been among us, but according to certain Laws of the Universe they are bound from interfering directly with the choices we humans make in regard to our own evolution. However, their psychic nature and its subsequent powers, those of levitation and sonic creation, alchemy and metal transmutation, telepathy, invisibility, transmigration and matter reconstruction were available to those of us who were, for whatever reasons, able to understand and exercise some of these psychical attributes…hence the geniuses and great mystics throughout the ages.

However in the Professors humble but learned opinion, alien hybrids, the results of grafted cross fertilizations, have for ages existed in secret societies and in one way or another have held great sway in the running and ruling of human history. He mentioned several prominent secret societies, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucian Order, the Great White Fraternity, the Rosy Cross, The Masons and the Illuminati, whose possible syncretism, has them in contemporary times, aligned and jointly acting as the ruling cliques.

He said these power brokers have always held sway over the masses by their control of knowledge and their capacity to exert force, and in one way or another they have stamped their will upon society in general, and world events in particular. And this they have managed through various organs such as the churches, the political powers, the economy, the sciences and the military and the media, by subverting the collective human psyches desire and struggle for universal brotherhood, which according to him is the next great evolutionary step in the species development.

„Consumerism, he contended with utter conviction, „which floods the coffers of the se rich and powerful cliques and keeps the façade of society smiling like a two faced mask, is what will ultimately destroy such large ecological areas, that the earth will have to do what any defending organism must, and destroy the gluttonous parasites that show their host no mercy. Consumerism and overpopulation and global starvation are the tools that will destroy our civilisation, he said, thumping an angry fist on the smooth tree trunk table top which he had unearthed himself decades ago when he first arrived here at this his Utopian outpost.

„And of course this is the truth that no-one wants to know about. Not the mother with her young children to bring up, the young man struggling for his place under the sun, or our elders who should know well enough after two world wars, what absolute human and consumerist folly global hatred is.Lets face it, when youre the prisoner of a $100,000 mortgage or more, who is going to a job you don't like, while trying to feed and fend for your family and retain some sense of dignity, the truth about your enslavement and your masters, is the last thing you want to know about. Yet its the truth that should set you free…but in this case the truth becomes a slap in the face and an admission of your own impoverishment and ineffectiveness. Kennedy was assassinated by his own kind for rocking their collective boat by curtailing the escalation of the war in Vietnam and backing the black civil rights movement with the full force of his position…
„And because he and his brother were gonna gut the mafia, Archie interjected imperiously like a student correcting the great man.
„Because they cant allow the masses to have too much freedom, because freedom is power, power to think and organise and act and changethe status quo…and this is the very thing the ruling cliques are afraid of. From Socrates to John Lennon, they have squashed, silenced, imprisoned and physically and mentally assassinated anyone who probed too deep, or revealed too much or incited the masses to think in a reactionary manner. And because of our self imposed ignorance and the fears that they so effectively fuel, we are naturally reluctant to rebel. And even if we did revolt, and supposing they didnt crush us outright, wed all still end up by starving and turning into anarchic predators fighting for what little food there was left and killing for any bit of pussy we could find… „Id kill for pussy right now, Archie interrupted with intent to diffuse the head lecturer. But the venerable Professorwasnt going to be brow beaten and derailed now that he had the bit between his teeth.

„Spiritual knowledge, the Professor said with the intent of a hell fire lecturer, „will emancipate the individual from his fear. The only successful revolution and it hasnt been attempted yet, is a spiritually organised one; and not until the elements of true brotherly love and reverence for the earth become the tenants of a global movement, can we ever hope for our revolutionary miracle to occur. He took a breather while packed an old Tanganyika Kiko pipe with another bowl of filthy looking sticky marijuana. Roy and Archie had been indulgingin the ritual of the pipes rounds with a relish and seemingly little effect, whereas after my first toke, which left my mouth partially numb and rendered me unable to articulate my words properly, I knew that in order to safeguard my wavering sanity I simple had to refrain from further involvement. I barely stayed focused enough to follow their pontificating as they argued and agreed and badgered each other and laughed and accused and insulted one anothers intelligence while they gobbled whole a plethora of subjects which were far from dull and uninspiring.

„The Universal Spirit is alive and well and doing its damnedest to reach as many souls as possible, the Professor continued as he exhaled a cloud of voluminous cannabis smoke. „Few come and speak in his name…and fewer listen. Sure science could cure us, if it didnt kill us in the process with its lust for recognition as the new God of the New Age. Aaah shit, why bother...the whole frigging thing is one mass illusion anyway, he said sounding suddenly defeated. But he wasnt finished, not by a long shot. „Spiritual knowledge, the Professor said with the intent of a hell fire lecturer, „is the only means of emancipating the individual from his fear, because it is precisely the individual who is creating the fear in the first place. One should take care of Self, and work from within to effect change without. Think globally and act locally and let women run the show…God knows men have fucked it up long enough.

„Anyway, who knows and who cares? But hell, its good to talk about it, is it not? Id rather know myself as a thinking man, than think I know myself…right? Nobody responded, perhaps because they were so stoned and couldnt. Roy had been conspicuously quiet throughout, content to listen rather than partake, andI couldnt help but have a quiet chuckle to myself and recall what Henderson Moclam, the Guru of Grass had written in one of his sporadic essays.
“We talked as we walked, me and my companionable companion; and our intellect left no stone seen unturned. Intelligence praised intelligence and our articulation was superbly precise. We thought ourselves quite the clever ones indeed. And then we noticed how far we had walked--and how much we had failed to observe and feel along our briefest way.”

„Being a thinking man is one thing, a man of action is another, Archie said with a faint hint of sarcasm. „Its all very well your fulminating in detail about the errors of the world at large, but what the hell are you doing about it? I mean what physically are you doing to make valuable amends? Nothing…youve dropped out and opted to do a bunk. „Do a bunk! barked the Professor, alert and indignant. „I am educating a small band of warrior intelligences here in this community, who in their turn will go forth as soldiers and help bring in the new order, or at the least spread the word of Enlightenment to as many as will listen.
„Nobody cares, Archie spat, with sure intent to stir the old coot up more. „You poor cretin, the great orator said sadly, but not without a smirking malice, „the world is crying out for messengers and I am playing my tutorial part in this backwater of spiritual and philosophical progressiveness. How dare you sir, presume me to be „doing a bunk? I never have and never shall do a bunk, and I refute that remark in its entirety. Doing a bunk…indeed! he spluttered indignantly.

„Gentlemen please, may we have some decorum on the floor, interjected Roy in high theatrical fashion. „Far be it for me to sully the moment with negative thought, but do any of us here really believe that mankind can bring itself out of the darkness it has led itself into? Do we have the existing rational toovercome global fear?
„Of course not, Archie said categorically, „the matter will be taken out of our hands and placed in the good, but ruthless hands of Mother Nature, who by way of deluge and ecological disaster and cataclysmic destruction will reduce us to such a degree, that by the time civilisation gets back up on its feet, she will have replenished herself yet again in her never ending cyclic way.'

„Or we may encounter, and I believe this, he said turning to face each of us with his eyes, „we will be saved by the act of anAlien intervention.
„They are obliged by planetary protocol not to interfere, snapped the Prof, whose intellectual feathers were still ruffled by the accusation of „doing a bunk.

„Aha, said Archie, finger held high by way of making a point, „n ot if the planetary system advocates a mandate to interfere.
„Intervene, I think you mean tosay, said his professorial eminence, correcting him with a pious tone.„But why would they, you said yourself the Mother has her meaningful cycles? he queried, and then he understood the thrust of his adversarys statement. „Yes, yes, I see your point;youre referring to the Twilights Last Gleaming Scenario, I expect?

„Twilights Last Gleaming Scenario? I ventured from my hazy world of abortive thought. And it was Roy this time who took the floor. „Its the potential reality that the nuclear systems under the control of an insane military system or madman, or madmen, would decideto unleash their arsenal in one mad suicidal plunge to end to it all. „Also colloquially known as the „Spite Syndrome, the Prof said, his eyes at half mast and radiating a disturbed redness, „we cant have it all, so neither can you.

„Hey fellas, Archie beamed, „wouldnt it be something to be around when the Alien saviours do come, hey?
„Depends what their women look like, I said with a slur to my voice which must have sounded funny because they all laughed.
„How do you like your women anyway, Marty? Green, red, blue or two tone vermilion? the Prof asked having a childlike giggle.„Preferably with a pretty face and three wet weeping eyes, Archie added, falling forward from his chair with laughter. „Speaking of wet eyes, said the Prof, stirring to sexual life, „I wonder where theirserpents nest is situated?
„Where its always been you frustrated old fart, Archie barked as he reached for the homemade wine…and Roy used that moment to caste me a conspiratorial wink before entering into the spirit of humour by telling the other two that regrettably I was something of a novice when it came to sexual matters and appendages, so it was most unlikely that I would know to what they were referring. I got his drift immediately and leapt into the part of the patsy.

„Serpents nest? I queried, wide -eyed and feigning callow perplexity. Roy took his cue like a politician takes a stray vote. „The mouse trap, lad. Dont you know anything? „The mouse trap? I queried, drawing out my confusion.
„Archie help him out will you, Roy snapped impatiently.
„Prickly pie, said Archie, who knew his mate well enough to know what his caper was. „The hole of deep embrace, boy, barked the Prof, getting into step with his two contemporaries.
„The cave of corruption, said Roy.
„The smelly pathway, spat the Prof indignantly before peeling into laughter and dropping his half lit pipe.
„Mammas purse, howled Archie, which set the others into spasms of mirth as my face contorted with the most inane expression of bewildermentthat my humble actors skills could manage. „Mammas what? I asked vaguely.

„Dads delight, Roy said smirking and the Prof slapped his thigh with a loud thwack and retorted, „Fish sandwich, you illiterate dolt. Even I had to choke back my laughter on that one, having never heard it put that way before.
„The bleeding eye, Archie said, painting a rather unkind mental picture for me. „Bushy triangle, said Roy beaming.
„Sounds like a place where they cultivate poppies and make heroin, I said seriously. „The sticky whiskers, the Prof said with much aplomb.
„The tasty tunnel, Archie said, seemingly at last racking his brains to find more flowery definitions for what it was we were all making of ourselves at that moment. „Hairy crumpet, for Christs sakes, bellowed the Dean of ceremonies.
„Twat…was that you said? Roy asked of the Professor and they all bellowed with unbridled laughter at that one.
„I oughtta box your ears for that remark, the Prof countered.
„You cunt talk to me like that, Roy snapped back and that once more sent them into spasms, and I thought it time to bring proceedings to their rightful conclusions. „Ah, now I get it. You pricks mean a pussy, which instantly heralded much, followed by praise for my finally using my nose instead of my brain to solve the issue. Then quite deliberately the Professor rolled on his side let go a thunderous fartwhich I hoped wasnt a single for us to follow suite.

After the putrid message of his fart had assailed our nostrils, the Prof shifted his quid in the engulfing bean bag and set to tell us a story regarding the Alien intervention theory. It was when he was teaching at University, and as part of a study exercise he organised his students to write about ways to save the world. One bright student came forward with a fascinating and detailed account of an Alien Intelligence system contacting earth only to discover that the ruling class with all the organs of its power, were able to globally suppress and subvert any knowledge of an extra terrestrial intelligence making contact.

So in order to make null and void the ruling cartels global suppression, the Alien Intelligence performed a global major miracle on the same day of August 28th in a major city of every country in the world; a miracle whose effect lasted throughout the hours of daylight, and because of computer communications, which to some extent was deliberately caused to crash, the truth of the miraculous occurrences could not be adequately suppressed. The Professor then proudly went on to enumerate the many miracles forwarded by his imaginative student.

In Canberra, Lake Burly Griffin was turned into a lake of homogenised milk, without a single fly buzzing about its creamy surface. The Eiffel Tower in Paris disappeared altogether, as did the Washington Memorial while Lincolns statue wore a broad lascivious smile as if he were privy to this enormous farce. In Jakarta, every motorised vehicle within a twenty-mile radius of the capital failed to start on the hour for a period of thirty minutes. The city populace were astounded by the almost intense and macabre silence that ensued every half hour throughout the day. Lima, in Peru was covered by a vast flat mirror that reflected the city from two thousand feet above. How weird that would be, I thought.

In Kingston, a tree the size of a thirty eight story building appeared in a public park. In Rome, everyone spoke in a voice different from their sex; men spoke like woman and visa versa. In Madrid, the city roads were converted to a polished mirror glass, which even the astronauts in outer space could see reflecting distinctly. In Cape Town, the famous Table Mountain developed ice covered twin peaks that revolved and spewed forth an icy light mist into the atmosphere. In Peking, every half hour every person heard a Chinese interpretation of John Lennons song Imagine playing mentally in their heads. In New Delhi, again every hour fresh fruits of all varieties would drift slowly earthward for several minutes, feeding the many with the magic of the manna from the sky.

In Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro, on the hour became the worlds largest non polluting firework, erupting like a volcanic roman candle for fifteen minutes as it poured forth the most wonderful colours and patterns that wafted across the Great Rift Valley and settled as pure water. Something similar occurred on Mount Fuji in Japan where it belched forth a message in gigantic red Japanese print of global love and unity. In Moscow, blood red snow fell, drenching the city in a crimson blanket. In the United Kingdom, the Stonehenge stone monoliths became television sets which televised the scenes of all the other miracles that were taking place globally at the same time. In Cairo, each of the four surfaces of the great pyramid of Cheops respectively caste a pyramidal light beam of purple, gold, red and green outward into infinity. And so it went on. Even Zambia got its own miracle in Livingstone, where the Victoria Falls poured forth full and spectacular in a Yin-Yang fashion with one half of its cascading volume white with an unknown substance, and the other black. „Hell, said the Prof, „I cant recall it all, but it made smashing reading and it brought home the point that it would take as many varied miracles the world over before that stupid bastard called man would open hiseyes to the facts. There was silence for a while as I think each of us entertained what other type of miracles might have occurred in other major cities. Then the Prof told us that the same student had also submitted a paper detailing how the whole process of alien and human co operation would take place.

This entailed the dissembling of the ruling elite and their wealth, the military systems of every country and a war on crime; the manner in which penal systems would work utilising the inmates in a village type system whereby they learned and earned their way into better living conditions. Also a whole structure of new ethics in law enforcement [which would finally become unnecessary] and in business, social and judicial practices would be applied and monitored. Agriculture would become much more sustainable due to severe rationing of all meat consumption, among a host of other products found detrimental to the earth through the course of their production. Long term bans would be placed on fishing in the oceans and on timber felling and their derivative products. And the whole petroleum based industries would be disbanded with the implementation of cleaner and more efficient power sources made available through scientific research. And of course it would be mandatory to curtail the increase of the population with stringent one child China like policies, as well as make adoption of orphaned and otherwise disenfranchised children much more accessible to not only couples, but single persons the world over. Naturally a staunch monitoring system would be required, but lives would be saved and the population growth reduced. Tough times demand tough measures.

And naturally vast sums of money and effort will be required; but with a world no longer wasting zillions on defence systems and armed forces, and with everyone involved in the collective desire and drive to reverse the system by which so much damage was done, theres little doubt that global needs could be met; and that such an achievement would generate a mood of communal spirituality that would then usher mankind into a golden age enlightenment. And coinciding with these great changes would come great scientific discoveries regarding the fourth dimension, with the sole purpose of spring boarding mankind into an inclusive global doctrine of Universal love, as apposed to the discriminatory exclusiveness of the past religious faiths, thus allowing the churches and the great faiths of our time to disband and amalgamate under the one spiritual faith for the benefit of the collective whole.

The Professors chosen one also explained how a New Age Organisation would suddenly appear, whose members were exceptional psychically gifted and willing to introduce mankind to a smorgasbord of psychic abilities and lifestyle innovations which would serve to not only educate the people in the use of the new tools for advancement, but also speed up the process. „The lad enumerated a variety of these helpful tools and the way they would be implemented, the great man said with pride, but then quickly added remorsefully that his memory of that paper was a little „Swiss cheesed. „I vaguely remember there being some means by which criminals, for example, were hypnotised and taken back to the time of their crimes and the victim/villain roles were reversed so as to illicit true simpatico and prepare a road toward redemption. „Jesus, I wished I hadnt lost that paper, the Prof cursed.„That bastard had some fucking good ideas.

There was a moments silence and then Archie picked up the conversation. „But hes right, hey, the masses need to cut out excessive consumerism and learn to settle for the basic needs only, and then we have a good chance at cutting off the serpents head; because our only way to affect the wealthy tyrants is through their profits. If huge portions of the population went into commune-like systems, like the one operating here, and were given government support to help feed and re-educate themselves, then I have no doubt that the rich would be happy to comply with such a status quo, rather than face outright anarchy and mob rule. And once implemented there would naturally be various positive spin offs, Archie said encouragingly, although Im damned if I know how he could possible string two sentences together after all hed smoked of that Utopian filth. „Such as? queried an almost catatonic Professor.

„For one thing, t here would be a world wide drop in overproduction and therefore also in wastage, environmental carnage and pollution. The planet being a living organism would then begin to replenish itself. Lets face it, said an animated Archie, „if peoples lives and the lives of their children and the life supporting systems of the earths ecosystem depend on such radical changes, theyll do their best to meet the challenge. I know I would. Hell Id be glad to.
„Thats because youve already lived and accepted this life style. The city dwellers havent and theyre not likely to with any good cheer, Roy said patiently.
„But if the government encouraged certain changes, then the people would follow suit, Im sure, Archie retorted. „For example, in the same way that recycling has been encouraged, so could backyard farming, water restrictions, under production and consumerism; and better public transport in conjunction with incentives that would ensure that people drive their cars less.

„ Water tanks at greatly reduced prices could be installed in every home ensuring an adequate supply in tough times; and the same could be said of solar power energy. With a friendly government not afraid to spend money and expertise on its public, people will very quickly support them in return, and possibly even accept the idea of doing without what they think they so badly need. The people of the affluent world need to tighten their belts. Bloody hell, he spat, „like that kid said in his paper, if vegetarianism could be globally encouraged in the same way, just think of the benefits. The world would eat better and behave better and enjoy demanding less.
„And MacDonalds, King Burger and KFC would all go broke, whoopee, whooped the Prof. And so it went on into the wee hours of the morning.

It had been a wonderful night of rich debate and argument, attack and defence, block and parry, dig and divulge, insult and embrace; and it was a treat to be in the company of such interesting men. I retired in the morning and slept till about one in the afternoon when I was awoken by an attractive girl of about twenty who brought me a cup of herbal tea and acting upon directives from the Professor, insisted on giving me a definitive physical explanation of “the serpents nest”. I feigned nausea and so escaped another embarrassing sexual situation before bidding their community goodbye.

The day before our departure for the coast, Archie decided to do some mechanical work on the kombi; and my curiosity was greatly aroused when I saw he had emptied out the back and started doing some vigorous grinding and drilling and sawing of metal, so I decided to investigate. What I found was that a panel piece of the Kombi flooring had been cut out and removed, revealing that there was a secondary floor panel which made for a secret compartment. When I asked a sweaty Archie what he was up to, he told me frankly that Roy was going to deliver some Utopian filth to a friend of his in Cairns. Before I could even voice my interest in seeing the said filth, he opened a nearby suitcase lined with black plastic and proudly showed me the biggest, stinkiest, filthiest top grade marijuana I had ever seen, touched or smelled. It was all tight head and bud and as dry and hard as macaroni. I had bought and smoked something similar during my visit to Zimbabwe many years ago, and the word BEWARE sprang with paranoia to mind. Shit! Now Roy was a drug runner.

The following day we said our farewells to the Dutchies. They knew that this was the last farewell and Nikki rightly wept when she embraced him goodbye. And Archie did something Ive never seen another man do, except on television when I saw Burt Lancaster do it to Kirk Douglas at some Hollywood function. He kissed Roy softly on the mouth and embraced him with such tenderness and love that I had to have a soft obligatory sob. It was wonderful to see such deep affection displayed between two old male friends; and when I was told that I was always welcome, “any time for as long as you like” it made me feel a part of something special also, and I couldnt help but think of what Evets Rathbourne had said in the journal of his travels about fond farewells. “I liked so much the unknown of that first meeting. But so much more did I savour the departure, after having forged the friendship.

Chapter 12.
“Nothing stirs nor satisfies the senses more than that of profound revelation”…Lesley Giggles.

About an hour drive north of Mackay is Cape Hillsborough, a holiday caravan park set right beside the sea and a gem in the crown of Eden, surrounded by coconut palms and some of the best coastal rainforest I had ever seen, with a well stocked kiosk that sold grog and boasted several small catamarans for hire which we immediately made good use of, as Roy was determined to teach me some of the finer points of solo sailing. I got some spectacular video footage of the sunrises and sunsets and the rainforest with its incredible parasitic figs which over decades had killed and completely enveloped their hosts and gone on to become giants of the forest their in own right.

I was anxious to see my video footage played through a video machine and TV set; but as things stood I could only view what footage I had taken through the eye piece in black and white; and I felt that great oxymoronic feeling of happy/sad when I saw scenes of old Tom gunning his tinny through the choppy seas, catching and cleaning fish and drinking whiskey at his camp sight with Whitey in attendance…and again I had to give credit to my father for suggesting I record my journey in this unique way.

The town of Bowen was another jewel among the many baubles of pleasure that I had so far experienced. I liked its layout and its natural earthy atmosphere, and I could imagine myself having lived there in the early twenties, living the life of a beachcomber/fisherman recluse just as Tom had, content to feed myself with fish and thrive in the environment of my own anonymity; and Roy was more than happy to accommodate my desire to spend whatever time I needed to saturate myself before taking to the open road, making our way unfettered and free as savages to Townsville.

Townsville was no less a surprise with its ocean aspect and its many Poinciana and Jacaranda trees standing to attention in the long lazy avenues. Magnetic Island just off the coast was worth spending a handful of days in an expensive hotel where we lived like kings on vacation. I thrived on watching the tourists, the locals and the girls and the dudes doing their thing. Everyone was in a holiday mood and therefore very friendly, and we made quite a few acquaintances, as I put to use some of the interaction skills passed to me by brother Phil. One evening we visited a hotel that was having a talent quest night, and bloody Roy, unbeknown to me, entered my name as an entrant. I thought it was some kind of joke until I saw him standing and applauding and calling out my name like some kind of spruker/manager trying to sell me to the crowd. Soon the whole lounge was urging me on and so I had to relent and get my arse up there. I borrowed a guitar, swallowed my fear and thought ofBrother Phil and Margots girls wishing me well and launched into Kristoffersons, The Pilgrim, which I did pretty well with considering Id never used a microphone, and I came out of the experience with more confidence in myself and my budding talent.

Once back on the mainland we toured about the area for a few days, camping where we chose to and just playing the part of idle tourists. One exceptionally interesting place we visited was, Ravensbourne, North West of Townsville. It had once been a big gold town at the turn of the century and there were many buildings still standing and running from those early gold days. The Hotels in particular were a hive of nostalgia and history and I have never before been so entranced by an atmosphere so valid and palpable. I literally felt myself fall back into historical time and in places I swear I could see and hear the bustle of the towns former existence as if I had been there before; it was quite macabre.

At one point when I was exploring on my own, I looked into the kitchen of the old disused hotel and I fell into an illusory trance like state of reality, and I swear I actually saw two women and a man dressed in the style of the day preparing food. I could even smell it cooking, steak and bacon and I also heard boisterous urgings from where the main bar and lunch room would have been and could not tear my focus from that place for a long time. In fact I didnt want to bring that strange retrospective reverie to an end…it was so beautifully unnerving. Finally I yelledmy „hello to the visible trio, but they evidently couldnt respond because they were not there, and yet they were there. I shot about two minutes of footage of the hotel kitchen, standing where I had been with the hope that a later viewing the footage might invoke the same other worldly reaction.
When I told Roy about my experience he looked fixedly at me, as if what I was saying was preposterous. I was about to tell him that such was not the case when he grinned approvingly and told me that he had seen them also. „Well done, lad, he said fiercely as he clapped me firmly on the shoulder. „This is good news indeed.
„What do you mean you saw them also? I asked demandingly. He laughed a long chortling laugh and finally told me casually that in places like this, and even with his limited psychic abilities, he was able to „look about the town.
„Look about the town?
„Yes, just as you did,but more fully attuned, he said casually as he broke into a hearty chuckle and pointed down the street. „I dont expect you to believe this, he said, „but this street in packed with horses and people going about their business as they did at the turn of the century.

There’s a bunch of kids with a nanny over near the old store there, he said in a matter of fact manner,„and outside the doctors rooms a man sits smoking a pipe with a dog at his feet that seems to be suffering from an injured hind leg. The pub has several horses tied to its rails and outside the hardware store a wagon is being loaded by a bunch of teenagers as a wife and child and new baby sit atop thedrivers seat with umbrellas open.Look out! he yelled as he pulled me forcefully toward him. „That sulky nearly did you in boy, he said breaking into a raucous laugh once again and I could only conclude that he was joking with me…but of course he was not. „But is what I thought I saw, really what you are saying it is? I asked incredulously as I fixed a forceful look onto his eyes. I chuckled and sidled up next to me and wrapped a hugging arm around my shoulder and calmly described their individual attire, right down to the mans suit hat, and the floral print full apron that one women wore, and the blood red one that the other wore only to protect her waist. „Oh, and the fella had a fine full length moustache that streaked to sides of his cheeks, exactly like the cricketer Dennis Lillee. He paused and then teasingly added, „Happy now are we?

I could only stand there with a ringing in my ears and nervousness in my solar plexus as I tried to grapple with his statements. As usual I was dumbfounded, and even if I could have thought of something to say, I doubt I could have voiced it. He sensed my need to sit down and led me to an old bench propped on the sagging floor boards outside what would have been, or according to him, may still be the bakers shop. He opened his tin of cigars and after fetching one to his mouth he offered me the tin which I accepted robot like as my dazed rationale looked down an empty street which he had just described as being full of dead life. Now theres an oxymoron for you, I thought vaguely. Dead life!

„So you really saw what you described…y ou are that psychic? I asked soberly as the cigar smoke bit with much relief into my lungs and settled my nerves. He just gave an amused look and nonchalantly said, „this town like all past events in human history, is alive and well as it once was, but in its own Time location. And because the collective energy of this place is so strong, and probably because of earth and physic co ordinate points, we are more able to tune into it. He savoured his cigar for several moments before continuing. „Electro magnetic energy, which is what memory is comprised of, can never be destroyed. It can however, rearrange itself and merge with the memories of other. Therefore everything that has ever been, still is, because matter cannot be destroyed. Events exist within the space of other events,and so its quite possible that a psychically attuned person in their time zone could also view our timezone… and usually without being intrusive, he added as an afterthought.
„As in an alternative reality?
„Yes, yes. That is precisely it, he said excitedly as if I had found some hidden truth.„My dear Sprite, you have hit upon a subject of immense importance in regard to your evolving philosophy of metaphysical existence, he said gravely.

As far as I could recall he had never mentioned anything about alternative realities before. And to assuage my curiosity he gave me a detailed expose of a system of existences in which all things could be experienced by using the endless probable selves of one singular personality. He insisted that I get hold of some books by an author called Jane Roberts. „Or rather one should say, the books written by her trance statepersonality, Seth. Its an extremely innovative and ground breaking philosophy, he said.

„Seth states that there is a system of alternative realities inter woven within the space of our own corporeal reality and that within this world of endless alternative realities, there are probable futures and pasts, and that the „now, which is the eternal present moment, is the place where we call forth the creation of our reality by virtue of the power of our personal desires andchoice. I could feel my rational having trouble getting around this one and I shook my head in display of exasperation. „I know, I know, he agreed, understanding my dilemma, „something new is always difficult, but of all the philosophical concepts of which Ive come across, Seths postulations make for a profound logic.

„How often have you been placed in a situation where you had more than one choice? he asked as he began his attempt to enlighten me further. „For instance, friend invites you to a birthday party, but then another opportunity arises for you to take a cruise on a yacht for the weekend which is a golden opportunity not to be missed; so naturally you have to make a decision on way or the other, so eventually you choose to drop the party and take the cruise. I could tell he was pleased that this topic of conversation had cropped up and that he was going to make the most of it.

„Okay, so youre on your cruise, he continued, „but you cant help thinking about the party you could have attended and how it might have turned out for you. Now, by thinking that, your psyche immediately creates a duplicate alternative reality in which an alternative „you chooses instead to attend the party and forego the yacht experience. „You mean there is another corporeal „me?
He nodded. „With the same parents, same job, same chipped tooth, etc, etc; an alternative Marty personality who doesnt just go to the party and then ceases to exist, but continues with its own alternative-probable reality existence which is as valid for it, as yours is for you.
It took a few good minutes for me to fully realise the scope for endless explosions of realities in the system that he described. I could easily envisage the continual mushrooming effect of this constant frenetic act of creativity which must surely explode in the endless repercussions and ramifications of every single emotional event. I saw a Cosmos of Idea feeding idea, event connecting with event, and each being affected by the interaction in its own unique way in an instant of variation upon variation of a theme that had to affect the overall mosaic of action, in yet another explosion of endless and eternal interaction in a world of alternative and probable realities…Jesus, it was all but impossible to keep my head from whirring off my shoulders like a spinning top.

And I realised that if that were the case, then that meant that the alternative „me would also have the capacity to create an alternative self in exactly the same way I had, by way of the choices that it made. The concept was totally awesome on an intellectual level and I could not help but feel myself become overwhelmed and dwarfed by so many „other Martys; so much so that I felt myself to be a worthless cog in an endless series of cogs…suddenly my individuality seemed non existent and my existence altogether quite meaningless. What was the fucking point of „being, I wondered as my intellect scooped up fragmented ideas as they sped through my head like comets, some burning out before I could even get a good look at them; while others however presented themselves whole and intact.

One idea that became snared in my mental net was that of a Collective Memory that might belong to the overall „Marty identity, which because of its capacity to recall every single event experienced by its endless alternative selves, would then surely have all the answers. It would know which of the choices worked best in what situation; and therefore somewhere there should exist the perfect existence; in other words a Marty life with no suffering or failure or regrets…a Marty who in one existence was the perfect husband and father living in bliss in Norway, while another would be the consummate bachelor-artist living in an Italian village in the early nineteen twenties.

And physically I could have the perfect build, tall, broad shouldered and Errol Flynn handsome and make love to hundreds of women. And accordingly I could sing and dance and play any instrument and in effect be of any nationality in any historical time zone of my choosing. In fact I could be all of these things in the one lifetime, given I had the power to structure it that way. Hell, I could be a woman and a mother as well, just to get their perspective proper; the variations upon a theme were endless and I felt myself swoon as the conceptual imagery exploded and then imploded upon itself inside my skull and that experience triggered off a forgotten memory of my once having read one of Silla Tsoltons metaphysical poems, which I now in retrospect understood far better.

In the white holes of the mind
dreams expose their inverted meanings. Here in collective memory
everything that is…exists.
all the pasts, all the„nows
allthe dreams and „might have beens all the thoughts and thoughts yet to think all the souls and all the selves
are all forever fused
and always at the mercy…of recall.

That being the case then, everything that could ever be had in fact already happened, and for all intents and purposes was still happening, as Roy had said. I buried my face in my hands as I prepared to pose what would be a completely original hypothesis, on my part; that of simultaneous Time. In such a system all events would be happening at the same time in their respective realities and therefore there was no reason why „I couldnt select from a bank of probabilities that have already occurred, the very events that suited me most in my present lifes circumstances? But by what mechanismcould „I siphon those events into my present persona reality?

Roy smiled proudly when I placed this question upon his intellectual plate and I distinctly got the impression that he was pleased that I had come up with it of my own accord. Solemnly he told me that the„present moment was the „point of power in which we could create and call forth those events born of our desire to have come to fruition. He told me emphatically that belief was the prime tool required, followed by the decisive choice and then rounded off by a complete sense of trust and knowing that your choice will be granted. He said thata „sick Marty in the present, could choose to become a healthy Marty simply by truly believing that somewhere out there in the web work of events at large, there existed the alternative „healthy Marty and that it was simply a matter of believing in it, and feeling it, and being it, to make it a concrete reality.

„You can practice this format in any way you choose. The secret is to have no doubt whatsoever; just like the woman who flips her overturned vehicle onto its side in order to save her trapped child. She knows without a doubt that she will perform the feat, there is no alternative for her…well, there is, but the child dies, so she just does it, right there in the all consuming magic of the moment in which all acts are created. If on the other hand there is a shadow of a doubt, then a conflict arises in what it is that you really want, and that conflict serves to deny the event of your so called choosing, the freedom of ease needed for it to come forth.

Belief is the key… Desire the motivation and Trust the sanction, he said quite solemnly and I knew that he knew what he was talking about. And once again he reminded me that it was important to make whathe called „gestures of belief, by performing simple acts that demonstrate a confidence in ones belief and desire and trust.„And using your imagination is vital; visualisation is the key, my boy, he flatly insisted. „If for example your desire is to get healthier, you must imagine yourself walking, running, swimming, doing yoga and getting strongerand more vital…and feel the joy of that imagined new state of being. Feeling is another powerful tool in the wonderful arsenal of the Soul. You are your own hypnotist who accepts willingly the suggestions that you put forward, he said with authority. And it occurred to me that throughout our relationship he had been the hypnotist and I unconsciously the willing subject, and as a result I had been methodically drawn into a world of phenomena that I would not normally have accepted.

Chapter 13.
“Some see no further than their nose; whileothers see beyond the veil.”… Craig Amos.

When I was more settled I told him that while I thought there may be some real merit in all this alternative and probable reality business, I couldnt possible envisage a human being able to master such a manipulation of probable events with any real dexterity. „There have been and there are masters, people whose understanding and familiarity with the process of creating in the moment are so refined, that they can call forth practically any event they choose, he said.

„Christ did this when he performed his miracles, We have all done it ourselves, but to lesser degrees, the woman with car, the man who survives so long lost at sea and defies all chance of survival and rescue and the child who beats cancer and affects a complete recovery. There is in each of us this power to bend reality in a way which is incomprehensible. The old psychic healers and surgeons and alchemists all knew how…as do you, he said pointedly, while his eyes penetrated my own with that discerning gaze which I had come to know only too well. „Youve done it before in a major way, I know you have, he remarked frankly and with an obvious surety.

His statement made me ask to what it was he was referring? „Something a long time ago when you were a boy, he said knowingly as his eyes searched mine. I felt nervous spasms in my umbilical area, but I could not break away from his probing look, and for several long stretched out moments I felt him drawing something from deep within myself. And then his mouth slowly curled into a brilliant smirk, as if he had found something in me that I had been hiding from him, and turned his head and gazed down the deserted main street. Or for him it was perhaps not deserted.

I tried to understand what it was he was alluding to. Hed said it was something that happened as a boy, and it involved my bending reality to a major degree…but what? After a while of trying to solve the puzzle I became impatient and annoyed and quite brusquely asked him how could he presume to know something about my dim past, when he knew nothing about me in regard to that time? He said that it was not what he knew about my distant past, but what his intuition had revealed to him about that particular time in question.

I became even mo re exasperated. „All right then Roy, what did your intuition reveal to you about me as a boy? I demanded. He still gazed down the length of the supposedly abandoned and empty street and I wondered if he was going to deign to answer my question, or not. „It was a time when you performed a metaphysical manoeuvre and completely rearranged your normal reality, he said casually without relinquishing his stare down the street.I informed him that his statement was of no help to me. „How old was I? I asked.
„About six, he replied.
I scoured my memory but other than recalling geographically my location at that time, I could not come up with anything that struck me as metaphysically outstanding, and I told him, which only made him chuckle like an imperious child.

„Dammit Roy, if you know tell me, I told him impatiently. „Or a t least give me a clue, if you can, I added sarcastically.
„All right, he said, turning to face me again. „Heres the clue. You ready? I nodded eagerly. „A man who always tells the truth is never lyin, he said, putting a strange twist to the word „lying… but I couldnt make the connection.
„What the hells that supposed to mean, I snapped at him, to which he quickly replied, „Youre not growling at me are you? he asked.
„Not at all, I replied, explaining that I was just anxious to work out his meaning. „But you are being catty with me, admit it, he insisted.
„Why would I bother being catty with you, I asked cattishly.
„Probably because you cant make heads or tails out of my clues, and so youve got your fur up and you claws out. Shit, the next thing youll do is pounceon me. For Gods sakes Sprite,whats become of your pride? he asked breaking into a belly laugh and it was then that I knew that he was humorously giving me the clues I required.

Okay, I can follow you now, I thought, as I ran back through his clues. Lets see…lying, growling, catty, heads or tails, pounce. OKAY.WHAM! I GOT IT. Jesus, I couldnt believe it… and for a few minutes I was left completely stunned by his manoeuvre. My God…the incident of the lioness! His intuition had seen, or sensed, a scene from my lost boyhood and now it crashed vividly into my present actuality as it had happened; and I understood what he meant by my having performed a metaphysical feat of reality bending.

The event in question did occurred when I was six years old. My parents, my sister and I were holidaying at the Luambwa Game Reserve at a base camp situated atop a hillock overlooking the flat dry African plains where the confluence of two rivers, the Lufupa and the Luambwa met about two miles away. My father and I had decided to go fishing and after a drive of about five miles, he parked the car near the river and we walked a short distance to the sandy banks. Upon arrival we saw several juvenile crocodile scramble toward the safety of the water. I had been taught early about dangerous animals in the bush, and crocodiles in particular, and I instinctively knew to be very wary of my movements along the riverbank. In addition to these reptilian dangers, the base camp game ranger had told us that there were prides of lion in the area and therefore extreme caution should be exercised.

We were fishing from the bank when I became bored and listless and complaining, which annoyed my father to the point of his telling me, "that if I didn't want to fish and be quiet, then I should go back to the base camp". I don't think he really thought I would leave to walk back, but I did, expecting him to order me back in an instant, but he made no attempt to halt me as I wandered off. As a kid I had always been given the freedom to go off on my own exploring, as long as Ididnt go beyond shouting distance. So perhaps he thought I was just going to go exploring. In any event, he certainly wasn't going to play 'my' game. My determination to get to base camp was carved in stone, and so I followed the dry red dirt road we had driven on towards my destination. After about a half mile of walking I decided to halve my distance by leaving the road and cutting across country as the crow flies. I had branched off for about thirty yards when I noticed that behind me on the far side of the road, a lioness with her two cubs had been stalking me. In a kind of amazed state of transfixion, I watched her as she crouched low and slunk across the road and then skirted around to make her frontal approach upon me. I had been told many times that when one was confronted by a large animal in the bush, the best policy was to stand stock still and not make a run for it, and so I did.

From some fifteen yards I saw the lioness approach menacingly at a slow trot; and then when she was about six feet away from me and I thought I was done for, something quite incredible happened. I experienced a sudden shudder that snapped through my body like an strong electric shock, and I felt as if the real me had jumped out of my body altogether; and I instantly became quite conscious of the fact that there were a second me, a slightly larger body double, who stood superimposed over my smaller boy self that stood in the creatures path, and I fully experienced the sensation of being two people at once.

At the same time that I underwent that shudder of separation, the lioness stopped dead in her tracks, and for several long seconds we eyeballed each other with acute curiosity. I saw what bright yellow eyes she had; they were quite beautiful and for a moment were very alert, but then suddenly that look changed to one of complete bewilderment, and she tilted her head to one side, and her stare of perplexity gave me the distinct impression that she couldn't see me. My entire coherency seemed to come from the larger me who had jumped from my body, and that larger self understood intuitively that by some magic I had become totally invisible to the lioness. Then her look of bewilderment turned to one of complete frustration and with a quick twist of her head she turned and trotted back to where her cubs were. With an intrigue and wonderment I boldly turned my head to watch her round up her cubs, and after giving me a slow backward glance, she trotted away into the heat haze of the open flats. I can't recall if the larger me then submerged into the lesser me or not, but I do recall deciding that it might be best if I stayed on the road.

Several minutes later my father came crawling along in his dusty Volkswagen. As he pulled up he flung open the door without a word, and so I climbed in without saying a word. I had expected him to be angry with me, but he ignored me completely. I wanted desperately to tell him about the lioness, but feared arousing his repressed anger. I did tell my mother that night when she tucked me in, and she was understandingly accepting of my story, but suggested it would be best if I never mentioned it to my father, “unlike us, he doesnt believe in those sort of things” and that was how we left the matter. But I had never forgotten the impact of that event which I considered to be my first real experience with the „magic of the world unknown.

And now in this mystical ghost town I understood just how traumatic it must have been for my father that day as he combed the riverbanks calling out my name and getting no response and having to believe that a crocodile must have taken me, which left him with the horrific ordeal of having to tell his wife, my mother, the dreadful news that her second born was now gone. And it would have been particularly hard for him considering that he was partly responsible for the death of his first son Gavin, who died of cerebral malaria as a one-year-old because of his stubborn decision to his take his wife and her newborn to live in an unroofed house in an area renowned for its malarial mosquitoes. That realisation rendered me with an insight as to why my father and I had always been somewhat out of synch. That day by my defiant behaviour, I had challenged him in such a profound way that I dont think he ever forgave me, and as a result the emotional connection between us, which should have naturally evolved throughout our lives, did not.

I suddenly felt so guilty and regretful that I started to weep while Roy slid his arm around my shoulder and lovingly mothered me. When I was sufficiently composed Roy brought us back to the topic of structuring reality. „So you see, you do know about manipulating reality, he said, sounding like a patient teacher with a slow wittedpupil. „But I was only a boy. I had no say whatsoever in the outcome of that event, I told him edgily. „Perhaps not consciously, he agreed, „but because of your total focus in that moment, and the absolute desire to survive, your psychic powers rallied and created a situation in which you became invisible to the lioness. Your psychic self acted upon your inner command, which in that moment was to somehow escape being mauled and killed…my intuition is like that, it becomes activated, but I dont necessarily know howits going to act. He paused, but I could tell he wasnt quite finished. „You became invisible because as a boy you had been told by your elders that if one stood stock still, then it was possible that the wild animal in question would not see you…and so that was the format through which your psychic self acted. And because everything was fluid in the moment and there were no conflicting commands, your desire and belief merged to make your choice absolute, even though the lioness could still smell and sense you, he said emphatically.

He then shifted the subject to the incident of my having seen the three people earlier on in the old hotel kitchen, saying that for him was proof that my psychic centres had been activated, and that from this point on, my personal powerswould be accelerated. „It seems youre ready for the next stage, he said intriguingly, knowing full well that he was baiting a hook for me.
„What stage is that? I asked, taking the bait and hook in one urgent gulp. He closed his eyes in concentrated deliberation as he consulted with his intuition…an act with which I was more familiar.After the „consultation, he said that he would have to wait until we got to the town of Innisfail where the next stage of my evolving awareness would take place.

Between Townsville and Innisfail is the town of Cardwell which is fronted by Hinchinbrook Island which Roy insisted we had to investigate by way of trekking about and camping out, andit didnt take him long to organise a small catamaran for our purpose. We tied down the necessary camping gear and supplies to her decks in such a way that they would not interfere with the sails and made them waterproof. With the kombi safely parked at the back of the local pub we pushed off into the quiet sea on yet another adventure. If the other island we had previously visited were jewels in my clustered clutch, then Hinchinbrook was the great pearl of price, the authentic article, perfect and pristine and indeed a Thoreauvian delight.
It was really a treat to just sail about this great island in a simple open decked catamaran. When the wind whipped up, and we were footing long distances, it required a nimble dexterity and watchful eye not to get struck viciously by either the boom or flogging sails when we tacked and performed gybes as we cut our way into the many inlets around the shoreline. I can honestly say that my sailing skills were polished during those days of idle investigation. We camped out where and when we wished and lived a simple and Spartan existence as we trekked about the island without caring a fig or a fuck for the outside world with its fickle and feckless ways.

We had only one mishap throughout our adventuring, and that was when and under my captainship I overturn the catamaran. My mistake had been to tighten the mainsail too much against the wind and not take into account the effect of an unexpected squall. It was quite a hairy situation because we had to stay in water while clinging to the craft while we waited out the storm before being able to right the vessel. After clinging for some time to the cat and thinking that the worst might happen, I recalled what Maxine Spencer had said in her poem of survival after a boating mishap.

“all muscles worn sought relief,
cramped limbs sued for sweet surrender, my frayed nerves could fray no more
for my will to fight was dead in sleep
and with the temple down I would have drowned had I not tapped the power source within and set myself a new course
now convinced to live.”

Chapter14.
“Freedom is the blood stuff of the Soul.”…Martin Castaneda.

Roy and I were having a counter lunch at the old hotel in Innisfail and both still bristling with the energy of renewal from our Hinchinbrook island escapade. We had spent the night camped off the road near a railway track and had been woken in the wee hours by the musical grating of a long slow coal train clicking-clacking on its road of rails. Listening to that train song created in me a mood of introspection. So much had happened and was happening to me, much more than I could have anticipated or imagined…and my personality, my core persona was being altered as a result. I was also struck by the orderly manner with which events had come about in support of my desire to change. I had mentioned this to him as we ate our meal, and it was his assertion that the moment one realises the potential for change, and accepts the premise that one can call it forth by virtue of ones desire and choice to do so, then suddenly one need not feel so much a feather at the mercy of the wind.

„Most people unconsciously accept the changes that occur around them, he said. „Instead, one should become aware of the events occurring and the capacity to play a conscious part in their selection. He likened it to experiencing a journey from A to B. One tends to focus upon the arrival at the destination, rather than upon what takes place during the journey to get there. „Thats where the real significance of any journey lies, he said. „Thats why women have a more understanding awareness of the process than men do, he pointed out. „They endure all the subtle nuances of childbirth in order to get to the destination of that birth. In this way they get to understand and experience and involve and assert themselves wholly in the process of the journey…and not just the end result. This is the natural journeying way oflife.

„So you are saying that I am able to consciously welcome change into my life, and in so doing, it will happen? I asked as he picked at his salad. „Its a challenge, he admitted, „but one must trust in the theory in order to prove it, he swallowed slowly and looked at me directly. „There are two primary modes of change, he stated. „That w hich you choose and work toward; or that which happens spontaneously and with which you flow, making fluid choices and decisions as you flow with it. In other words the UM [which was his abbreviated name for the Universal Mind] decides the format of the change based upon your unconscious needs, and then you create from within it.

„But your message must be concise and absolute, like it was with the lioness, he said pointedly. „The UM is the most creative and purely intelligent energy in existence, and it responds to the truthful nature of the request made. There is no duplicity or double standards within its essence and therefore It knows your truth better than even you. And It grants your requests whether they be based in fear or love. So unless you explore your feelings and examine your thoughts, you may fall prey to voicing an ambiguous desire, which he called, a„facade request which the Universe will automatically contrive to grant you.
„Often because of its ambiguous conflicts, the façade request is often denied you, despite your insistent desire for its emergence. Or often you get the opposite of what it is you are asking for. Naturally this causes you to feel disillusioned, which in turn creates an even stronger belief in the inability to create and manifest your own reality in the first place…and so after a while you just give in and accept that its never going to happen for you; and so of course it never does, because now your façade request has become your real request. And that is why I urge that you should be absolutely clear about what you want, and why.

„Its very much like saying youre hungry and you want to be fed, he said. „The universe will answer that request. You will be fed and your hunger allayed, but it might be done with bread and water as opposed to venison andwine. He winked at me and I watched his eyes crinkle with a cheeky amusement. „It is best to know in detail what youre choosing and why. This is, what the intellect is for. We are, after all, creators, and therefore we create after having deliberated seriously, and then having done so, we trust our request to be a statement of fact; and then we wait with joy for the universe to manifest into reality, our veryown creation. He apologised for being so verbose with his answers but he knew of no other way in which to get his philosophy across. In response I told him I rather enjoyed the profuse detail of his explanations, and more often than, I understood him.

„Then which of the t wo ways would be best, that of detailed examination, or simple blind faith? I asked.He sifted through the question appreciatively. „When one knows how the universe works according to our dictates and has developed an appreciable dexterity, he said, „then neither way matters, because either way, you will be in the moment, acting and creating according to the intensity of your belief.
„Which way do you use? I asked.
„Both, he answered.
„And what criterion decides which one youll choose in any particular situation?

„I simply decide which way I would like to go with my request, he said. „Do I choose it to be detailed and spelt out for me as a result of my own precise detailing; or do I choose to have the events occur spontaneously and randomly and then make my choices accordingly?

We were quiet for some time while we finished off our meal. I was mentally evaluating his philosophy and wondering if I could consciously put it into practice, and perhaps make a case study out of it by way of finding empirical substantiation. He must have tuned into my thoughts because he immediately suggested that I should try it as an exercise and see if the theory works. „Why dont you consciously request for a sudden alarming change of events in your life and then simply go acceptingly with the flow and create for yourself as you do so…without caving in and running for cover? he said quite seriously, as if it were like ordering a pizza. I looked at him rather incredulously and with obvious question. „Just voice your desire, he said challengingly, „and wait, and watch, and thenact accordingly.

Okay, I thought, w ell put this issue to the test and I was about to tell him that I would accept his challenge when he stood up from his chair abruptly and said coolly, „Youve chosen for an alarming change to occur in your present, so be it. Meet me in ten days time at noon at the Cairns Yacht Club, and remember this, let the unexpected be your adviser and dont hesitate to act upon your intuition…fear is a wall made of illusion, walk through it with trust. Now I have some prime pot to deliver. Ciao. And with that as his parting shot, he dropped ten dollars on the table to pay for his meal and walked out of the pub door and strolled casually to theparked Kombi…kicked her into life…and drove away.

It took me a few moments to properly register and react to the fact that he had actually deserted me for ten days and left me to my own devices in a strange town. The bastard, I cursed, as I felt my anxiety escalate and realised that I had to take command of my emotions and look at my situation objectively and with an emotionally level head. It took my whirring mind a few minutes to settle down before it became clear to me exactly what his game was. “The next stage, Ill let you know at Innisfail,” he had said in the ghost town, and now here he was throwing me in the deep end of my own private pool of challenge, trusting that I had enough courage and sense to swim.

I ordered a double rum and coke in a ten ounce glass and sat down and analysed my situation. It didnt take me long to realise that a great gift was in the offing, and that the events had engineered themselves almost instantly in response to my declaration to call forth an alarming change in my present situation, and all I had to do was just keep cool and go with flow. That being the case, then the first thing to do was formulate an immediate plan.Okay, I thought…firstId take a wander around the town, organise accommodation, have a cleansing shower, take a nap, have a few drinks and then eat out and take in the night life and maybe meet a few folk and get a little pissed. A piece of cake, I told myself encouragingly.

I decided to book into the hotel in which I was presently relaxing. It had rooms above that fronted onto a wide wooden veranda that overlooked the intersection of the two main streets. In addition to a friendly atmosphere, the hotel sported a particularly friendly barmaid whose vivacity of personality implied an intelligent anarchist at heart, and in part, acting on my „reading of the signs it was her energy that convinced me to book in for a couple of days. My hotel room with its high ceiling and spaciousness was perfect, and after a long and languorous bath I switched on the ceiling fan and snoozed for a few hours, after which I awoke refreshed and ready to do battle with the universe, given that the universe was aware of my presence and my predicament.

Dressed in my only set of clothes, but fortunately still in possession of my video camera gear, I made my way down the old wooden stairs to the central bar where I quickly struck up a bit of chit chat with the sparky barmaid. Jackie Bainne liked people and particularly anyone new in town and she wasnt afraid to ask questions or give answers; and in no time at all I learnt that she was something of a skin artist, that is to say, a tattooist. She and her partner owned and operated their own tattooing business, colloquially known as the Skintilating Emporium, above which they lived in residence. Her working at the pub was a part time affair arranged around her own business hours. „I particularly like working on virgins, she said at some point, referring to a client who had never had a tattoo done. I smiled broadly and told her that I felt the same way about virgins and agreed that it was great work, if you could get it, which caused her to howl spontaneously with an open and infectious laughter.

Between serving other customers she gave me a quick run down of her personal history. She was a New Zealander, part Maori. Her father had been a tribal tattooist at one stage and he had encouraged in her the art. She told me that tattooing had been given a bad name in the past, but that was all changing now and for a variety of reasons which made for plenty of customers, and every dollar was going into the bank to one day buy some decent acreage near the coast on which to settle and have babies. I wished her well and she thanked me in return and asked if perchance I was a virgin. Feigning embarrassment I said that I was which caused her already bright features to and glow with an obvious glee. Naturally I could see her wheels turning, butI wasnt sure I wanted to have anything to do with their machinations. She asked if I wanted to have a tattoo done, but I declined, saying that the idea of another person leaving their mark on my body was tantamount to branding me as a slave or some beast of burden. „Its bad enough getting married and having to wear a wedding ring, I told her by way oftrying to let her down gently…but she was like a dog with a bone.

Between bobbing from one part of the bar to the other, she explained she agreed that the energy of the tattooist had to be conducive with that of the client; and she assured me that her energy was very positive, and that she also had a facility for discerning what kind of tattoo would best reflect the essence of her client. Then she looked me square in the eyes and told me that she had a good feeling about me, and quite frankly would be glad to decorate me for half the full price…quite a saving she assured me. „After all, she said with honesty, „I dont get a virgin everyday. I thanked her for her generous offer and said that I would give it serious thought.

In between the comings and goings of her performing her duties, I told her briefly about myself and my travelling arrangements with Roy, and she seemed genuinely intrigued and I could sense she was computing all I had told her. At one point, still chasing her virgin, she assured me that she did excellent work, and to prove the point, she suggested I look down her blouse at her cleavage as she leaned forward to wipe the bench space between us, and after getting over the initial delight of seeing the makings of a great pair of breasts, I saw an elegantly tattooed corsage of frangipani flowers, nestled neatly between the brown tanned mounds of her bosom.

I must admit, breasts aside, or to be precise, on either side, I found the tattoo very impressive…it was the way the colours had been used. They seemed so lifelike, the soft dominant yellows and the strawberry twist with the soft orange and I could almost smell their odour, the flowers, not her breasts; and I wondered on what other parts of her anatomy her art was to be viewed. Reading my lecherous mind, she answered with an impish grin, „Wouldnt you like to know, and laughed her roaring laugh as she rushed to serve another thirsty customer.

I was wondering just where she might have her hidden tats placed when a young man, himself adorned with some rather impressive tattoos on his bare shoulders and biceps, propped himself against the bar beside me. His eyes caught mine and I gave a courtesy twist of my head by way of greeting. „Gooday mate, he smiled back. Thats synchronicities for you, I thought; talking of tattoos and in walks a human road map.„Hi sexy, she said flirtatiously to the illustrated man, „wanna fuck? He smiled broadly and replied, „Always, as he pressed a note into her open palm. She gave him a sly wink and then smiled at me broadly as she skipped off to get his change. „I dunno what kind of after shave youre wearing, I said to the guy splashed with ink, „but put me down for a carton of the stuff. It sure seems to work for you, I said with an envious smile and he broke into a fair laugh himself.„Marty, meet my man, Steve, said Jackie lasciviously, „Steve, meet my new found virgin, Marty, then she was off pouring beer for someone else.

As it turned Steve was something of an athlete, good at all sports, but particularly fond of tennis. I told him just how much I enjoyed playing the game myself and he suggested that we have a game almost immediately. I had to explain that I had just arrived in town and had no clothing other than what was on my carcass. He assured me that he had spare clean gear in his locker at the Sports Club and if I was up for thrashing, he was only too happy to oblige

Man, it was good to get out on the court again and play competitive tennis. Steve was by far the better player but I enjoyed giving him a good go. I was amazed at my agility and excess of energy and how well my body responded in the circumstances. Several weeks ago I would have exhausted or injured myself had I played a guy like Steve, but from doing Yoga and giving up smoking and changing my diet, I was overly grateful for the renaissance of my physical well being. After game set and match, I showered and dressed (again into my only set of clothes) and with an invitation from Steve to have dinner with them, we ambled back to the pub to pick up Jackie and an armful of beverages and made our way to the Skintilating Emporium to settle down to an evening of talking, drinking and substance abuse. The billy-bong came out but I abstained for reasons of health, happy to sip on rum and coke blended in a highball glass with big chunks of ice. Hmmm…like blood to a vampire.

Chapter 15.
“The lunatic Himmler stamped with Satans mark made vile this ancient inky craft.”…Harry Howard.

It didnt take long before Jackie enthusiastically swung her discussion to the art of „skin design and brought out a colour photograph catalogue depicting most of her work, which was very good indeed. Her designs showed uniqueness I never imagined being a part of tattooing. She said that she did the drawings herself and specialised in playing with colour dyes. „Its her greens and blues that I like, Steve said, emerging from a cloud of pot smoke. „He does all the standard stuff, birds, dragons, dolphins, blah, blah, blah, she said, „but I do the specialising. If someone wants something different, I take their ideas and play around for a while until I come up with something that I think suits their personality. And Marty, I got a special feeling about you.
„Oh-oh, shes onto you sport, better brace yourself, Steve slurred warningly from his state of high.
„In which case, I hopeyou arent a jealous guy, I said, smiling lewdly, and she howled at

my light mirth making and squatted directly in front of me on the floor and looked deliberately into my eyes in an act of assessment that lasted a full minute.

„I get the feeling, Marty, that you are like a brand new arrow standing safely in the archers quiver, she said sizing me up with icy conviction dripping from her voice, „but now the archer is preparing to send you flying into the unknown to find your target, whatever your target might be. She stopped talking and her thoughts turned inward, and then suddenly she started up again, her enthusiasm even more hungry and infectious. „Yes, yes, yes, youre on a journey, thats it, like a comet in flight. Im seeing a lightning bolt, big, bold and blazing against the dark sky of an evening storm, purple clouds fat with the waters of life and new growth.

When she paused and studied me again with her eyes flickering in their sockets, I had to admit that I liked her imagery, although I wasnt quite sure where she was going with it. „You need a mandala of some sort with these depictions in it, thats what I see foryou, she said with absolute conviction. „But you must provide the core symbolism, she added quickly, as if concerned that she might lose the essence of her ideas. „Is there anything in particular that strikes you as comfortable, should you decided to ever be tattooed? she asked. The lounge room was strangely silent. Steve was silently engrossed in his pot motivated euphoria and happy just to be a part of the scene and outside in the street a few cars crawled by.

After seriously contemplating her question I told her that if I were to ever agree to being branded, I felt mysteriously intrigued by the Yin- Yang symbol, although not necessarily with the black and white colour scheme. She was silent for several moments as she digested the information, and then she leapt up and grabbed her catalogue. „Yes, yes, yes, black and white is definitely out, she spat with urgency which made me realise just how hyped up and serious she really was; and now I understood what Steve meant when he said I should brace myself.

„ Perhaps a light emerald green and a blood red, yes, yes, we could run a circular mandala ring around the Yin-Yang symbol with breakaway tails fashioned into arrow heads that represent lightning bolts, she spat in such a staccato like fashion that I expected her to start drooling from the mouth at any moment.„Yes, yes Marty, Im beginning to see it…okaythats it, were gonna do this thing…its new and very innovative just like a virgins gift should be. Whaddaya say, virgin…you want your hymen pierced? she asked almost belligerently while her eyes blazed with a wild spontaneity which I found almost hypnoticand I really didnt know how to respond. But then the clear recollection of Roys parting advice sprang to mind, “wait, and watch, and then act accordingly. and in a secondI found myself agreeing to be „painted.

Her response was immediate. She clutched a fine pointed pen and paper and started to sketch the symbol she had in mind, and in no time she presented me with a rudimentary, but excellent sketch of which I could approve, but it was still not what I had in mind. I explained to her that I liked her reference to arrow heads and lightning, and my being on a journey, and that the Yin-Yang symbol was perfect, but there was something more needed andI wasnt sure what.

She asked me what my interests were; and I told her I liked writing, playing the guitar, doing yoga, filming with my video camera and that I was an actor. She pounced onto that like a cat on a mouse. „An actor! she said suddenly. „Yes, yes, the two masks of course, here lets try this, and again she sketched like a harridan possessed. And the end result was just what was needed, and when she began to roughly colour in the additions, I liked it all the more.

In her final sketch she had cleverly centred the Yin-Yang symbol within the circular embrace of the twin masks of tragedy and comedy, with tragedy on the right side of the design as one faced it. And then she had attached to each mask the sweeping arrowheads which I suggested she turn intothunderbolts. „Yes, yes, yes, this is it Jackie, I hissed, mocking her own manner when she asked me for my final sanction.„My hymen is yours to with what you wish, I said, succumbing to her requesting eyes which blazed with the ecstasy of final conquest.

„But where should I put it? she asked, her face squeezed up as she sucked in the smoke of a freshglowing cone. I had no hesitancy in me whatsoever. „Right here, I said, tapping the centreof my solar plexus. „You got hair growing there? she asked after a long unhealthy exhalation. I nodded „no to which she nodded her approval. „Good, she said, „lets get started.
„Started! I repeated. „What now?

And then in a millisecond I caught stock of myself questioning what I was not supposed to question…the alarming change in my life that I had requested. It was this very questioning of the occurrences that Roy had warned me against. He had said that the moment the everyday logic steps in to question events, the intuitive elements are immediately annulled andthe moment to truly create is lost. I remember his insisting that it was “better to go with the flow and be swept to the sea, than it was to dig in your heels and sink in the mud”. „Lets do it, I snapped with utter conviction and trust.

While I lay upon my back on the tattoo table in the downstairs workshop area with some very pleasant music playing softly in the background, Jackie went to work with a zealousness born of her love of the craft and I thought if the average mechanic, dentist and plastic surgeon took even a fraction of the joy and pride in their work as she did, then the world would be full of beautiful people driving around in healthy cars and with a great smile upon their faces. There was minimal nervousness to begin with, but all in all I felt quite comfortable throughout the whole process. While she worked we held a running conversation and in the two hours that it took to do the “flesh art”, we had all but revealed ourselves to each other and the time just seemed to fly. She would not allow me to view the progress of her work; she was adamant that the right time would be when she was finished.

I asked her why tattooing was becoming so „hip in our society today, where before it was seen as an underground display of violence, vulgarity and disgust? She explained that several reasons had heralded the increase of interest in skin art. Fashion and trend were one reason, but also because tattoos had become a statement of individuality and personal choice, particularly among the younger generation, whom she believed felt they were being deprived of having a real choice pertaining to their security of their future in the world. Socially, tattoos were the unique badges of honour which pigeon holed the youth of this particular genre. They were also a statement of solidarity on one hand, and rebellion and refutation on the other. Not long ago it was believed that tattoos were the mark of Cain; hence only undesirables ever sported them, bikies, sailors, criminals, sluts and tarts and other unsavoury characters.

By her reckoning the angry youth of today viewed the tattoo as identification with the angry elements within their own society; and of course it was consistent with the cosmetic syndrome which has always been paramount in our species throughoutthe ages…the adorning of oneself and public exhibitionism. Then again there was the profound symbolism of it all; the dolphin on a breast which suggested a kinship with the creature, almost like ancient animal totemism, a marijuana leaf representative of the confessed partaker and free thinker, the dragon, the tiger, the sword, the snake, the mermaid, the skull and crossbones, the rainbow, the naked human form, the genitalia, the denizens of hell and the cherubs of heaven, the spiritual icons and the myths and legends of the past, all again representative of the individual identity inked in his or her own flesh. „Personally I think it all stems from young peoples inherent desire to effect a change in society and to announce to the world that they too can make decisions, suffer the consequences and accept their responsibilities, she said just before suggesting I tense my stomach muscles while she detailed me with her second coat of ink.„Hey Marty, this is looking real good, she said approvingly.

It was three in the morning when we completed our mutual mission, and I was quite ecstatic with the „body picture she had created. We hugged one another and expressed our mutual gratitude. „WHEW. Im so high from the work I just gotta go and love that man of mine, she said almost breathlessly as we bid each other goodnight. And before sleep rushed me into its precincts, I took a quick inventory of how quickly and pleasantly change had suddenly erupted in my life since Roys abandonment of me. In the space of several hours I had made new friends, played tennis and been branded by the right energy. What next? I wondered.

Chapter 16.
“Always expect the unexpected: it always has the most to offer…Sandra Robson.

In the morning my abdomen felt tender but by no means uncomfortable. I spent the next two days with my new friends who not only insisted that I lodge with them for the duration of my stay, but took me on a few drives and picnics within the local area. I played more tennis and discovered I was a better chess player than Steve, so I was at least able to get my revenge in that quarter. Then on my third evening I took my friends out to dinner and drinks by way of thanks. After dinner Steve and Jackie settled in behind their favourite poker machine while I lounged at a table and watched the crowd and lost myself in introspective thought.

I wasnt sure how much longer I woul d stay in town. I was enjoying the tennis and company, but I felt I should think about getting up to Cairns to join up with Roy. And I was wondering whether I should accept the challenge of attempting to hitch hike to get there when I spotted two attractive women enter the lounge area. They bought their drinks and then sat down at a high table opposite the television set and started watching the evening news. The news! Shit, that would be the last thing I would want to ever watch under any circumstances. I observed them for several minutes and sure enough they had come in expressly to get the news; they werent even talking between themselves. This fascinated me to the point where I just had to get up and go over to them and break into their company. As I walked over to their table I realised that in this instance, I was the one who was choosing to act within the UM, and not have the UM act upon me.

My opening line was simple. „Excuse me ladies, I said, „I dont mean to be intrusive, but wouldnt talking to me be more interesting than watching world currant affairs. You know that its all bad news, dont you? I smiled my best smile and awaited their response. I had approached them from behind and therefore I was completely taken by surprise when they both turned around nonchalantly and fixed me with their penetrating gaze. They were studying me in a glance and I was immediately struck by the strength of each womans obvious magnetism.

The dark haired woman, who might have been in her early thirties, was exceedingly attractive with the blackest, softest eyes I had ever seen ina womans face, she was quite mesmerising. The other woman, possible a few years younger, had blonde hair and a fair complexion with clear green eyes that were almost doe like. She had a full pouting mouth that gave me the impression that she could not eat or speak without revealing an air of sensuality, and surprisingly she reminded me of Steffi Graff, the tennis champion. They were watching me without appearing to be watching me and I sensed their intelligence immediately. Never before had I been so suddenly assailed by two such opposite and intriguing sets of eyes. I was suddenly halted in my tracks and lost for words, and hoped that I didnt look too incompetent during the lull that existed between us for a dozen seconds.
The dark haired woman spoke first and rescued me from turning an ugly crimson with embarrassment. Her English was clear and concise, although I recognised her accent as being that of a German. „Yes, she said softly and with utter confidence. „I think you would be more interesting than the world news. What do you think, Richone, she asked of her companion, pronouncing her name as Rich-one. Her Steffi Graff look-alike companion locked me with slumbering eyes and slowly nodded her head. „Yes, I think so, she said in a whisper, followed by a coy and lazy smile.

After that the world news ceased to be an issue. The good news was sitting right in front of me drinking white wine and encapsulating me with their native charm and combined personalities. It turned out that Dryva and Richone were sisters and this was their third overseas trip to Australia in the last seven years. As always they had hired a campervan in which they travelled and lived, going wherever the whim might take them. In this particular instance they were planning to leave the following day to meet up with friends at a resort roughly five hours drive North-West of where they were right now. Their plans were to stay there a week, then travel to Cairns and from there to Brisbane to board a flight home to Germany.

Of the two sisters, Dryva was the eldest and certainly the most animated and talkative. She asked the questions and gave the answers. Richone on the other hand was considerably less gregarious, but her interest was no less curtailed. She listened to every word said and watched my face intently. Occasionally she asked questions of her own, and although she was animated when asked a question or spoken to, she was more the classic quiet type which gave her an intriguing sense of presence. They were very interested in who I was, where I was from and what my plans were. Sometimes they would exchange a few sentences of dialogue in German between themselves, always apologising for their rudeness despite my insistence that I found their language very melodious and relaxing. We were fast becoming acquainted when Jackie and Steve sidled up to our table, and after introductions we all set to chewing the fat of conversation.

It didnt take long for Jackie to discover in her overt manner, that both girls were “virgins” to the art of ink and pigment management. She brimmed with excitement as she ordered Steve to roll up his sleeves and display portions of her work. The girls were obviously impressed by the colour, and I suppose to some degree the nature of the work, although Dryva expressed an interest in something less forceful, smaller in design and whose subject matter was more New Age. Gleefully gesticulating, Jackie turned her attention to the discussion of my recent skin acquisition, and she insisted I show my abdominal mandala to the girls by way of snaring their interest even further. Boy, she was like a dog with a bone when it came to virgins.

Somewhat reluctantly I spread my shirt and displayed my new tattoo and I was surprised by the visible surprise that both girls exhibited upon viewing my fleshly badge of honour. Their eyes met with a strange and secret knowing, and Jackie instantly assumed she had them hooked. But the impression I received was that of something almost sinister, as if both girls had been caught doing something underhanded. They attempted to cover their awkwardness with a volley of awed appreciation as soft feminine fingers and eyes traced the mandala on my solar plexus.

Both girls agreed with Jackie that the combination of the symbols with the balanced colour scheme was indeed impressive. Then to everyones surprise, and without sibling discussion, Dryva announced that they would both like to have the same tattoo done early the next morning after, which they would be leaving to continue their journey. Jackie virtually fell over backwards in her seat. What a miracle, three fucking virgins in as many days; she was over the moon and immediately made arrangements for eight oclock the next morning, and by way of thanks she bought the next round of drinks and then dragged her man home to probably work off some of that excess energy that was percolating uncontrollably in her being.„Big day tomorrow girls, she said gleefully as she and Steve parted our company.

After they had left, I profusely thanked the girls for their gesture of generosity regarding having the tattoos done. I expressed that I found it strange that they should decide upon the very symbol that Jackie and I had invented. But Dryva insisted that there was more to that tattoo than just ascetic value, and to prove her point she reached into the dip of her cleavage and extracted the gold pendant that hung upon a golden chain…and what I saw blew me away. The pendant was fashioned after the same design as my tattoo, minus the lightning-like spear heads.

It was just too uncanny and I could feel the UM having a loud laugh at my expense as I shook my head in disbelief only to be doubled whammied when Richone produced a similar, but silver symbol from an equally exquisite cleavage. Then smiling secretly to one another, both girls slipped off their respective necklaces and placed them in the palm of my hand. „You see, Dryva said with a delicious smile of subversive intrigue, „we three are one. I could barely manage a surprised smiled as I burbled something about „sheer coincidence.

Richone smiled slyly and then softly enforced a Royism, by saying that there was no such thing as coincidence. „Coincidence is a dialect of the Psyche, she said rather articulately and just above the range of her usual semi whisper. Dryva then quickly added that everything was happening in the world of our daily lives exactly as it should be, therefore nothing could be ignored and treated merely as an accident or a coincidence, and I felt like I was getting a lesson in metaphysical matters, andso adopting the students role, I asked her what she thought this shared „coincidence of ours was? Without skipping a beat, she told me frankly that it was a directive from the Cosmic Mind to avail myself to its needs through the medium of her and her sister.

„In what way am I to avail myself to thee? I said half mirthfully and giving my question a slight Shakespearean tone. And before answering me, Dryva turned to Richone and they seemed to exchange something telepathically. Richone smiled softly and blinked her large sleepy eyes and then gave an almost imperceptible nod indicating for her sister to continue. „It is a directive to the three of us, she said coolly. „It is telling my sister and I to invite you to visit with our friends at the resort where we are going. And it is saying that you should accept and travel with us. She said in quiet no nonsense manner.
My thoughts froze momentarily as I digested the content of her statement. And then the predominant question broke through the screen of my stalled thought processes. „Why?

Turning to her sister for a brief nod of support, Dryva explained that at this time in the proceedings she did not know why, only that they had been directed to do so. She suggested that this directive pertained more to me than to them, that they were in fact merely the means by which the cosmic force had chosen to reach out to me. Again I had to ask why? „Because it is in the writing, she said.
„The writing? I was further perplexed.

„In the grand scheme of things, she clarified .
„In the cards, Richone said in her soft and sultry voice, while her sparkling green eyes conveyed to me both her sincerity and her pleasure. Then Dryva added that if I were to travel with them, she was sure that the meaning for all this would become clear and acceptable.

Predictably my head was swimming with frenetic thoughts; but then suddenly I got the distinct understanding that this was after all just another part of this whole exercise of change and trust that Roy had thrust upon me only a few days ago. Thankfully clarity raised its welcome head and I knew then that I was compelled to follow this directive and so I agreed immediately, but not before explaining that in seven days I had to be in Cairns to meet up with Roy. They giggled together like conspirators and Dryva quickly assured me that on the seventh day they would drive me to meet my appointment. We shook hands by way of agreement and after another rum or two we arranged to meet at Jackies emporium and after they were deflowered, so to speak, we would all be on our way according the directive of the Cosmic Mind.

As I wandered home through the streets of a turned down town, I questioned the ease with which I had accepted this turn of events; for I knew that I had embarked upon yet another adventure for which there had been no precedent. And once again Id been thrown into the deep end of the pool with only a faint hope that I might dog paddle towards the shallows, where with relief I would safely wade ashore. I spent what remained of a short night sleeping fitfully as the thought of tomorrows journey pressed hard upon me with a strange blend of fascination and uncertainty.

Jackie opened the shop at seven thirty sharp and found the campervan parked across the road. The girls were having a coffee at a nearby café and twenty minutes later they ambled in to begin the process of having their virginity artistically taken away from them. I did a session of Yoga on the upstairs balcony while Jackie and Steve went to work on each of them respectively. Sometime later Steve slipped upstairs for a break and a cigarette and we sat together on the balcony and he told me that the job was going well. Then he punched me softly on the arm. „Lucky bastard, he sneered lasciviously, „Ive never had a threesome. I told him that the thought hadnt even occurred to me. „Bullshit, he spat, „if you dont get your end away with those two then you might as well chop it off, mate. Little did he know how close to the truth he was?
About an hour later I slipped down stairs to see how things were going. Jackie was just putting the finishing touches on Dryvas dark skinned belly and as usual her work was superb. The symbols were identical to mine but differed only in size and choice of colour arrangement.Richone was several minutes behind her sisters completion and was as equally delighted by the results. Jackie was almost in a frenzy of excitation having entranced herself in her work and thanked both her ex virgins.

„Now we are as a trinity complete and the circle of our friendship cannot ever be broken, Dryva said to me.„This is true, is it notRichone? she asked of her sister, who slowly and mischievously nodded her agreement. The sisters insisted on paying well above the currant price for the work that had been done and so everyone was more than happy…and within the hour we bid Steve and Jackie farewell.

Chapter 17.
“There are emissaries who traverse space like stars. Some even travel earth in cars.”…Lesley Ouma.

The three of us sat in the front seat with Dryva behind the wheel, her eyes fixed hard upon the road and the accelerator pedal pressed to the metal. I soon discovered that she loved to drive, and that she did so like a man. She was very good at reading the traffic ahead and the road conditions and she worked her gears like a well oiled truckie; and when her path was clear and open, she made that campervan whistle through the wind like a Ferrari. Richone howevernever drove. „She pays the bills, Dryva said with glee, „thats why shes called Richone.
„And she drives, thats why shes called Dryva, Richone retaliated softly and they both chuckled while I sat between the two of them feeling more like a bud between two roses, than the proverbial meat in the sandwich.

It was a glorious morning and the countryside shone with appeal. Recent rains had brought a soft green glowing verdure to the low growth and in many places where we crossed streams and rivers flowed as freely as did our personal feelings. Our conversation was animated and varied. I learnt that Dryva worked as a social worker for an arm of the Health Care Department of the Government and also worked as a volunteer in what was known as a Crisis Shelter.
She dealt primarily with dysfunctional families in the capacity of a counsellor, and according to Richone, shehad a great talent in organising peoples misdirected energy.

By this she meant that Dryva could asses with great clarity the weaknesses and fault lines inpeoples relationships, and with equal astuteness she could direct her clients towards proper functional integration. Richone laughed softly when she saw a dubious expression worm itself across my face. „She is a good „shrink, my sister, she said proudly, simplifying her adroit explanation. I looked rather sceptically at Dryva as she zoomed intently down the roadway at a speed somewhat opposed to safety and she gave me a wicked grin and wink of amusement and turned back to her beloved road.

Richone, for all her quietude and soft demeanour, worked as a financial investor in a very big German Investments firm that was connected strongly to the world stock exchange and a multitude of corporations. She herself played the market with great success and by Dryvas definition was very rich; therefore she paid all the expenses. „She has a gift for making money, Dryva said proudly, „but she is also very sharing and helps many people in many ways. She is an angel, she said, exploding into a laughter that somehow seemed loaded with ambiguity.

My German girlfriends turned out to be very politically astute. As products of political parents whose radical and rebellious activism had seen them in so many protests and confrontations and even jail sentences, Richone and Dryva had of their own volition, taken up the baton of question and protest and reform. Their forte had been the environmental sector and I was amazed at how much they knew of the political intricacies of so many movements. They had some very brutal information concerning the assassination of Lady Di and the intimidation of many organisations by huge power groups whose desire to control was endemic.

And their description of this vast and highly organised group of power brokers, whose tentacles reached into every country, was detailed to say the least. They spoke of global control by these „merchants of power and how insidiously they operated through the huge organs of their might, using global media and politics as a means of orchestrating outbursts of political, social, religious and economic chaos in order to tighten their own reins of control. Both girls believed the movement was too big and too entrenched to ever be totally defeated as such. However, it could be brought into line with a new model of thinking and living, if enough human energy and effort were brought to bear upon their grasp of power. This of course would require millions of people demonstrating the same ethically spiritual desire for change in order for that change to take place; global enlightenment would be the tool with which to affect such a momentous happening.

And they were insistent that despite all the evidence to the contrary, such a change was possible and forthcoming, simply because the alternative, that of continued pollution and devastation of the earths resources combined with global warming, would certainly spell the destruction of civilisation if it were not collectively recognised and responded to. In addition they both talked at length regarding the potential global destruction caused by the collision of a huge planet into earth; a planet that was well documented and whose trajectory was predictable. They spoke of the repression of certain confirming information by the powers to be, so as not to cause hysteria and anarchy amongst humanity; and the first signs of these kinds of phenomenon will be seen to manifest around the mid and later parts of the first decade of the new millennium. There was also quite a bit of reference to viral outbreaks and new diseases decimating the global population and between the two of them they made it all sound far too pertinent and frightening.

I also learnt a lot about present day Germany and the psyche of its people, who suffered severe guilt as a result of that horrid blight upon theirhistory…that of the Holocaust. „It is a sorrow so deep that we cannot free our national and racial conscience of it, Dryva said pointedly, „and so we therefore unconsciously strive to create a Germany that can stand as a global example of a better way for humanity to live and do business. In addition I was brought up to date in regard to the important strides in environmentalism that had changed a great deal of the pollution laws in their country, and despite the latent tension which had escalated since the fall of the wall, the Government was determined to be optimistic and progressive in this particular respect. I expressed my concern that Esperanto, the language designed to become the global tongue, had failed to do so, particularly in Europe where so many small countries lived side by side and traded and communicated so much. Richone said that Esperanto had been deliberately sabotaged, albeit it so subtly, in order that the ruling powers, basically the West, could allow English to remain in force. And English, she said, would soon enough become the global tongue.

They talked of their hopes for a global faith, as had Brother Phil and Roy, that would gently usher in the necessary dismantling process of orthodox religions in order to dissolve the strong fears of separatism that existed between them and their converts. Both women were of the belief that there was occurring in the world today, the fertile beginnings of what would amount to a massive shift in personal and collective awareness about who we were and what we needed most to do, in order to create a world of peace and unity. And it was for that future that they were both waiting and preparing. I quite frankly suggested that such an event might not occur in their lifetimes, but they very emphatically assured me that it would indeed happen in their lifetimes. And so we talked and talked and listened and learned. I told them all there was to know about me and my business with Roy which seemed to appeal to them immensely. „We should like to meet this, Roy, Dryva said, „would we notRichone?
„Ooh yes, her sister cooed in reply, „we must meet your Roy. And so the miles were clocked onto the odometer as the beautiful countryside moved resolutely past us as we drove towards our destination until eventually trading the open highway for a well worn country road.

About our destination I could learn little. Both girls seemed quite circumspect about who and what lay ahead of us. My questions were answered with short, ambiguous answers, fed me like a small fish to a large seabird. I was told that we would be driving to a large magical property somewhere in the high ranges where rainforests and other natural beauties abounded; and where I would be made most comfortable and meet with some very interesting people…and that our host was a gentleman by name of George who was an Austrian entrepreneur, whose business interests reached into the record, television and film producing industries, among other arenas. He was very wealthy and it was by his invitation that they were going to see him and his friends. Of his friends I could learn even less, save that he had many friends from all walks of life and all were highly intelligent and talented people.

They had met George through other friends who moved within his circle, and had known him many years. He and Richone had business interests and he often deferred to her for financial and investments advice. He was a very busy man, but every now and then he took time off to celebrate with like minded friends who shared in the same special interests. I asked what those interests might be and I was told that George liked to collect talented people around him and develop their collective power of positivism.

The property was by Dryvas account, a very big farm with plenty of accommodation and conveniences, very luxurious and bounded by excellent gardens which boasted highly therapeutic influences. „You must just trust yourself with us, Dryva commanded softly as she rounded a sharp bend of the gravel road and put the arse of the van into a spin which she adeptly handled with expertise. „We are your angels, and whatever is out there is under our care, as are you, she added swinging into another bend and accelerating as she did so just to dig the traction of the wheels in more. Boy, this girl knew how to drive, Ill give her that. Georges forte, I was informed by a bemused

We lunched at a small rural town at the pub where we shocked the waitress by asking for three T bone steaks and salad- minus the T bones. It seemed vegetarians were unheard of in those parts, or more than likely, herded out of the area altogether at some stage. After a further hour on the road Dryva pointed to a range of mountains in the far distance and said that was where Georges place was. We stopped several times during our trip to stretch our legs and take in the feel of the countryside. It was an especially beautiful day, and the air was crisp and clear and the sunlight was a thick yellow with a strange softness to it; and there was a definite sense of surrealism in the atmosphere. The climbed the ranges at a steady pace and when we levelled off, Dryva pointed to a bluish bruised forested area about ten kilometres before us and said, „Thats where George is.

Marty had much to think about sitting wedged between the two attractive German girls as they cruised towards their destination. At times he felt like the proverbial fish which suddenly gets pulled out of its familiar environment and into a world of almost incomprehensible differences. But so far all had panned out well; he had kept his head and managed to go with the flow while also allowing the events their own innate freedom to be. And although there had been times of acute apprehension, he had however managed to remain optimistic and trusting in the process. And he fancied that if he were in fact a leaf at the mercy of the wind, then by some powers beyond his full grasp, the very wind that controlled his flight had an impeccable capacity to do so with precision and purpose. These were his thoughts when he was suddenly brought back into the moment by the sound of Dryvas voice speaking to him.

She assured him that they would soon be entering the precincts of the property. He was working his neck muscles as the vehicle approached a sweeping bend in the road; and although there was nothing unusual about it, something in him was alerted. Dryva slowed down noticeably, almost to give her passenger the benefit of a drawn out viewing of the dog leg bend. When they rounded the bend and straightened up he could see that about a hundred yards ahead there towered two gigantic Bunya nut trees, one on each side of the road, like ancient sentries at their eternal post, with a thick timber pole suspended horizontally between them, resembling a soccer goal post. Then he was struck by an incongruent of vision. In front of each tree trunk, but separated by about twelve feet, two equally gigantic treed poles rose up about ten feet in height and it was they that supported the horizontal crossbeam.

He estimated the three huge timber poles to be at as thick as the girths of the two giant bunyas, and from his place in the vehicle he could see the glint and gleam of metal or stone and colours blinking from the three poled archway. He turned to his companions to express his intrigue and he noticed that they were looking at him askance, almost slyly, as if expecting some kind of premeditated reaction from him…but all he could manage was a shrug of his brows and shoulders.
„We shall rest here, I think, Dryva said, slowing the vehicle to a gentle halt and they all disembarked.

With the warm sunshine playing on his shoulders he took the time to marvel at the revelation before him. It was a work of great proportion and dimension and, carved and tooled with such excruciating detail and complexity that it was almost impossible to believe what he was seeing. Interspersed among all this voluminous and expressive creativity were what looked like various authentic jewels and stones as well as metal attachments, such as chrome, copper, bronze, silver, gold and coloured glass, all of which gave to the structure a sense of throbbing life and intensity; he could feel it drumming through him as his eyes flitted from one spot to the other.

END PART TWO LAST TAKE—BOOK THREE