OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 19
Eric: You scheduled the conference call Vito. Is there a problem?
Vito: This thing, Eric, this pimple in Essex. Southend’s “camp with no money”. Huffington Post reported it yesterday. Should I worry?
Eric: No. Because it’s a storm in a teacup, Vito. Free-riders and fools kidding themselves. Going nowhere.
Frank: Are they nuts? Or dangerous?
Eric: They are a bubble, Frank, that poses no threat.
Frank: Tell me in plain American: are they finally waking up?
Eric: It seems that a number of them do understand how our narratives and tactics drain and mislead humans. Some see right through the 9-5 grind and endless consumption. The dividing and ruling.
Lev: Not so good then Eric. So what intelligence gathering is in place?
Eric: Cameras on every streetlight around the park. Sound bugs in and around the main building.
Ignacio: Do we have assets inside the park?
George: Two infiltrators. Supposedly homeless.
Ignacio: Good. Our cartels always infiltrate.
Zhiqiang: Eric, this could never happen in China. Our society is older. It understands how humans discover their deeper natures under pressure, in crucibles. So, no wild chemistry labs here. Just the one experiment, endlessly repeated, with a burner so standard as to be invisible.
George: I share Eric’s confidence, Zhiqiang. There is no outreach. No spark lighting wider fires. In a year, probably less, the bubble will pop. A group of dropouts, who failed.
Charles: In Hong Kong we look closely at the people. Who is leading? What are the finances?
Eric: Nobodies. Visually, a tall individual stands out. Known as Sal. He commands respect but drinks to excess. No data on him, oddly. Equally strangely, somebody who bears a remarkable resemblance to Mahatma Gandhi.
Mukesh: That fucking bastard? India still groans under his nonsense that hierarchies are false, or that we develop spiritual qualities to take into other lifetimes. Could it be a relative?
Eric: Again, no data to be found. Which does niggle.
Charles: And finances?
Eric: Mainly from a lottery win. Michael Gaze, a former fireman who prefers to live at home. Hardly surprising. Supplemented by a small-time journalist, Daniel Fawkes, who videoed the tsunami.
Vito: Good Catholic surname. But still something odd about this seaside town. How many humans in the park?
Eric: Two hundred or so.
Lev: Eric, George, you need the BBC to work the public. Let them know of the terrible drug abuse afoot, the park’s rapes, its child labour.
Frank: Get the dailies on it. Highlight the people trafficking, money laundering, offshore banking. The world needs to know.
Shimon: I love it. Insisting that these vacant hippies share our business models.
George: Consider it done. Winter will finish them off anyway. Any other business?
Shimon: An update on Britain’s payday loan business would be of interest. Our banks are looking at the gap in Africa.
Mukesh: Our banks also.
Eric: It’s all good Shimon. With potential for better. Our big banks have invested heavily in about two dozen new companies coming in since 2008. Turnover still smallish, approaching a billion pounds.
Mukesh: Let’s divvy it up Shimon. No more arguments.
Lev: I’m interested now. How deeply can the sheep be fleeced?
Eric: Wonga.com is charging interest rates of 4,000 per cent APR or more. When the Archbishop of Canterbury kicks up a fuss, you know things are working. You will all love this one: an £80 loan from a company called Capital Finance One carried charges of over 16 million percent without swift repayment.
Frank: Beautiful. Poetic. You can never charge the degenerates enough. I feel a tear coming.
Lev: I love your love of the details Eric. Any chance of Cameron stopping the fun?
George: He is a good administrator, who toes the line. And we have Chancellor Osborne legally challenging the EU cap on bankers’ bonuses.
Mukesh: Business as usual then, gentlemen. And what about Assad?
Eric: The world is about to be presented with some very compelling evidence of a chemical weapons attack near Damascus. On his own people. How very foolish of him.