255. Whodunnit?

 

OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 31

 

There is no greater power on this earth than story

Libba Bray

 

 

Mary Fawkes winced at the rain knifing the cold caravan. After her husband said goodbye, she donned her long yellow waterproof. Mike Burper gave a muted greeting as she walked past the bright café lights.

Mary had recently quit her job at the psychiatric hospital, after an official reprimand followed her appearance in the BBC documentary about the Southchurch community. She had worked for over 20 years without a blemish.

The £100 in cash from Rose was burning a hole in Mary’s pocket. Giving up new clothes had been her hardest sacrifice in stepping away from money-based consumerism. Mary fancied window shopping, at the very least.

 

***

 

Sitting at his laptop, in a warm bedroom 20 miles away, Ed Fawkes wondered how mass hypnosis worked. Were humans simply conditioned to accept voices of authority? Or were governments and media so skilful in manipulating information that people sleep-walked?

Evening after evening, ignoring his homework, he had been drawn like a moth to a flame – or perhaps a fly to a turd – back to the events of 11 September, 2001. And to what he now saw as the alleged Al-Qaeda conspiracy to attack US buildings with jet planes.

Ed had waded through a rash of Internet hypotheses, written by keyboard warriors attempting to dismiss and disprove the official 9/11 story trotted out by the US government and its allies.

Many were tenuous, or highly speculative, playing into the mainstream notion that anyone who talked about “what really happened” on 9/11 was bat shit insane, to be mocked and ignored.

Ed encountered arguments that the plane crashes in New York were faked with trick photography. That it was all the work of the Israeli government. Or that because the transponders in the four planes involved in the 9/11 attacks had been turned off, they could have been flown by remote control.

Too many ifs, coulds and maybes. Ed had listened to his dad enough to know that solid collaborative evidence was vital to any hypothesis.

One theory that did catch his attention said that strategic steel beams within the Twin Towers in New York were pre-cut and coated with nano-thermite. He read that this released far more energy than any other conventional explosive used in demolition, and would keep burning after exploding.

He noticed that, in the earliest 9/11 reports, police and firefighters described seeing and hearing a series of small explosions that travelled around upper floors of the Twin Towers before their collapses.

As first-hand testimony, this was worth considering. One witness described the soundscape, just before one tower collapsed, as “like the finale of the 4th of July over the East River.” Such descriptions disappeared from later reporting, as did comments from firemen testifying to tremendous explosions heard in the WTC basements.

Ed wondered. Even a schoolboy could see you would need access to stairwells and elevator shafts to plant charges over a period of time, which would mean by-passing security arrangements. The next discovery made him sit up.

According to public records, George W. Bush’s brother Marvin Bush had been on the board of directors of Securacom, a company providing electronic security for the World Trade Center. And also for Dulles International Airport – from where Flight 77 took off – and for United Airlines, two of whose planes were involved in the 9/11 attacks. Wow!

Ed’s dad, Dan, had told him more than once that detectives saw coincidence as a sign they were on track. Working solo, taking several afternoons off school, Ed had no doubt that a huge act of terrorism had occurred. But had the perpetrators been correctly identified?

He texted Dan one evening, asking what to do next. A change of direction was advised.

“You’ve proved to your satisfaction that the 9/11 story is shrouded in doubt, Ed. Above all, two plane hits but three collapsed buildings. Leave it there. Anyone who claims to know what actually happened, with absolute certainty, is full of shit. Instead, know you were lied to. Then see where and what 9/11 led to. Who benefitted? The money trail usually provides excellent clues.”

It was a long text. Ed suddenly realised that car headlights were illuminating the front driveway. Dan had not been home for three weeks.

 

***

 

Olly persuaded Satan and Marie to move on, to a gay pub, The Cliff. The rain had eased off. They passed a house where one front room television looked about six feet long. Marie said Samsung was offering 98 inches for £40,000.

The Cliff’s brightly-lit, multi-coloured exterior suggested Amsterdam. In the warmth, Marie recommended tequila slammers, £3 a time. Satan added straight vodkas to the order. Marie saw his £20 note, and levelled a charge of hypocrisy. “Do your fellow campers know how you operate?”

They licked salt from their wrists, swallowed the tequila and munched fresh lime chunks. Sal knew the pint of no return beckoned; ordered a Guinness to speed its approach. He felt eyes on his leathers. Two men in a corner. Wandering across, holding his vodka and stout, he ransacked his memory. Found an image outside the Crooked Billet. “Marky and …..”

“Frank….surely you remember” chuckled the taller man. “We don’t see Micky anymore. What have you done with Mr Gaze, you rascal?” A stress on ‘have’.

Marie joined them. At the bar, Olly chatted with guys in military uniforms. Soon, he sent across Jägerbombs, then beer chasers. The Devil’s thoughts and memories were fusing, overlaid by nauseous sensations he experienced using the wormhole into Old Leigh. His companions moved down a tunnel, then rushed back, faces millimetres away.

Marie sat beside Sal. Her thigh pressed his. She said a Vietnam banker had been sentenced to death for embezzling $25 million. Sal wanted regular executions, projected on giant screens and replayed for a week. His tongue incapable of movement, he thought fondly of senior financiers’ heads displayed on spikes above their banks, as a precursor to shutting down the bulk of that industry.

Frank cut in. “Why even think about that stuff? You could be run over crossing the road tonight, or one of those poor people whose homes were smashed by typhoon Haiyan. Better to enjoy each day.”

Sal was hallucinating. Dripping from the pub’s speakers was a beautiful song called ‘Buffalo’ by Gaz Coombes. It made him feel less alone. Hair beneath his gloves stood up. Marie was specifying life’s greatest prize. “I’ve been married twice. Now I need the day before me to do as I wish,” she insisted.

Olly introduced himself to Marky and Frank. He told the table he was an undertaker and had 52 grand in personal debt. “I don’t give a fuck about paying back that mafia gang. Any spare money goes on enjoying myself and helping people that are going without,” he said.

Satan felt Marie’s exasperation. “Isn’t it strange how the finance world gets pilloried but we don’t mind the greed of those we happen to like,” she pointed out. “If film stars or footballers were paid less, ticket prices could be lower.”

“Let’s go to Chinnerys,” shouted Marky. On it went.

 

***

 

Christmas without money was testing the Southchurch community. Grumpiness and fragility had grown as darker, colder weather encroached. The more artistic were making their own gifts. Some pledged one-off services to friends. Others vowed to eschew any ceremony, cutting links to the culture they once inhabited.

Hints of an inbound festive comet were liberally sprinkled along Southend High Street. Looking at leather boots in a women’s store window, Mary found herself remembering a shop called Keddies, where she visited Santa’s Grotto as a child. She wanted to buy for Rose and Edward. A part of her could not bear their absence.

 

***

 

Edward was the untidiest individual Rose could imagine. One weekend after Dan and Mary’s departure she found a dozen unwashed plates and some 20 confectionary wrappers and crisp bags among his discarded clothes. She had left him a list.

1.Hoover 2.Dust 3.Clean shower 4.Tidy CDs/DVDs

Ed placed Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’ back in its case. About to throw the list on the floor, he felt the nag of an instinct. He kicked a pair of jeans under the bed and went to the window. The neighbour was rebuilding a garden wall. Dust, said an inner voice. Dust.

Now, sitting with Dan, post-hug, over two hot cups of drinking chocolate, he triumphantly relayed his intuition. “People were covered in dust at the foot of the Twin Towers.” Dan nodded, ecstatic to be in a warm house.

“So I looked again at the videos Dad. With the sound turned off. And I finally got it, got the point where I think everyone was misled.” Dan felt shivers of anticipation. “Those towers didn’t collapse. How many times did the media hammer that word into all of our nuts. But look. They turned into dust!”

Edward pulled up a YouTube clip on his laptop. They watched the shape of explosions mushrooming out, as if steel, aluminium and concrete had puffed out in a thick spray spiralling and exploding sideways and upwards. Edward played it repeatedly. Dan caught a shot where a massive piece of metal seemed to evaporate in mid-air. “This is really interesting Ed. So what did you ask yourself next?”

Edward couldn’t stop grinning.

I googled a few variations of the words ‘Dust’ and ‘Twin Towers’, and found a US scientist called Judy Woods who highlighted something that I missed.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. You could spend a lifetime wading through 9/11 details.” Dan had fretted about his son’s introverted nature for years. He would never make his living as a negotiator, but might already have his first book brewing. “So, Judy Woods?”

“She kept it pretty simple, Dad. She said the whe weight of one and a quarter million tonnes of collapsing rubble, from great heights, would have smashed open the structure in which the World Trade Centre was built, on land reclaimed from the Hudson River, some of it 70 feet below sea level. But the levee somehow withstood the pounding, and the amount of rubble and debris left on the ground was relatively minimal. Where did it all go?”

“Great questions. Anything else?”

“Yeah. How come pools of molten granite lingered at the base of the destroyed buildings for weeks.” Ed hesitated slightly. “Judy Woods reckoned the evidence left room for just one explanation. An unknown military technology was used to ‘deconstitute’ the matter of those buildings.”

Dan said nothing. The theory would be seen as ‘crackpot’, but might explain the lightning speed with which all three New York buildings ‘collapsed’. It was difficult to fault his overall argument that planes could not have caused all three WTC dismemberments. No wonder the rubble was quickly disposed of.

“How’s school then?” Dan groaned inside at the sheer bathos of his question. “It’s shit Dad. What am I doing there? I’m not hoping or intending to be somebody’s good little employee.”

Dan told Ed that it was his reading skills, acquired from school, which had taken him down his investigative road. That his mates were a product of the socialisation skills acquired from school. He told him with complete honesty that he was glad to know precisely where Ed was during the day. “And you do have to work. Maybe I’ll end up training you as a journalist, if you’re not there already.”

Ed couldn’t drop 9/11. “Dad, how could the BBC woman have made that mistake on WTC7? Did they know in advance?” Ed had discovered that the reporter Jane Standley had announced WTC 7’s collapse, on live television, a full 20 minutes before it happened.

Dan scrunched his features. “We’ll never know. But the TV stations take feeds from news agencies. I’ve told you before who owns the big ones.” Ed was only half listening, wondering how many times TV audiences had been persuaded to “see” what wasn’t there.

“So what are you telling me Dad? That puppet masters script mainstream news?”

“Get a sniff of the money trail”, said Dan. “You can make yourself just as relevant as the BBC. Distrust in the mass media is already at an all-time high, so all it takes is a little nudge in the right direction. The finance is where you find truth.”

Ed saved his best for last. He told Dan how, in June 2001, Tatyana Koryagina, a female Russian economist stated in a Pravda news report that the US would be subject to a massive terrorist attack in late August 2001. She said a secret group behind the coming attack was the most powerful force in the world, worth over $300 trillion.

Dan thought immediately of Satan, and his view that ten trillionaires ran the world.

 

***

 

Mary gripped the money in her pocket, eyeing another window display. A bright orange cashmere scarf would suit Rose. Edward wanted Xbox games, but needed gloves. A hand landed on her shoulder, startling her. Satan’s reflection dwarfed hers. Booze plagued his breath.

He found his tongue in the fresh air. “Hello handsome,” he opened. “Before you say anything, I know you have money, so let’s even it up, or perhaps out.” Dark swathes of hair fell across his face. A woman was appraising her, standing with three unthreatening men. “I have a problem, the likes of which you may solve.”

“Sal you’re pissed.”

“I’m just starting. Please help my problem, and I’ll be a ship in the night about your money.”

“Are we going to talk here?”

“No, come with us. To an evening establishment. Where we going again Marky?”

“Chinnerys. Down the hill, twist left along the front. Doors gloriously opened again after the Big Wave. Peter Hook played recently, by all accounts a fantastic gig.”

Mary had nothing planned. Like other park residents, she had long normalised the reality that Satan walked among them. She greeted his new gang. As they walked, Marie began chatting to Sal, so Mary asked Frank what there was to do in Southend at night.

“Not much. Back in the days after the pubs closed most of us would set off for London. A favourite haunt was the White Swan, along the Commercial Road.” Mary thought of Dan’s disappointment that his ‘Black Swan’ theory had yet to transpire. He could be difficult company these days, in their cramoed, chilly caravan.

Frank recalled a favourite club in Southend, to be found every month in the basement of The Palace Hotel before it was renovated. “Nice and seedy. Usually after a few bevies I would have murdered for a cup of tea and a French fancy. His name was Maurice!”

Satan walked next to her, swaying. “Gandhi will do his bloody pieces Mary. I’ve filched and thieved 20 of his tee-shirts, and swapped them for money. So that I could imbibe, though necessarily. Will you censure me, Mary Fawkes, or might you dream me an excuse, a fine cover note.” He belched loudly.

Olly, Marky and Frank knew the band playing in Chinnerys. Sal found a corner spot. His female companions ordered a bottle of wine each. Marie bought Sal a treble vodka and orange. Shouting over the noise, Mary offered him some ideas. Perhaps say that a local family was desperately short of clothing, or that he was promoting the park’s creativity, but had somehow lost the merchandise.

The band launched into a cover version of Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’. Shakily, Satan stood and worked his way into the crowd. Hallucinating as he danced, bumping into others, occasionally looking down from above his body as his long limbs flailed. Enjoying this, Mary decided to disclose Sal’s real identity to Marie. What a kick to see the puzzlement on the other woman’s features. Marie wanted more. So Mary added that his hands were hairy. And he had a tail.

Sal was lost in his rhythms. The band loved it. Punters were grinning. He felt time shake itself apart. Faces were hundreds of yards away. Memory was now. He later remembered a female thigh on each side. Mary, Marie. Maggie? Morgana? Where was Mary Magdalene? He recalled a remark from…..Mary? “When I was a child, I knew that God’s angels mated with women. Even now I wonder how much of the God race remains in us.”

Sal could answer that. But didn’t. Mary bought a round of trebles. She told them she had learned a fundamental adult truth. “Honest talk, with an open heart, no judgement, and a cuddle”, she said, was a better recipe for sustained human happiness than any sexual activity.

To Satan, just one thing mattered: escaping duality. Another round would help. His money was gone. A miracle that he produced a lucid sentence. “My problem is non-compliance, always was.” Olly joined them, threw an arm around Sal. With the other he placed a double vodka before him.

Where did the sequence go? A single memory lingered. An erect nipple in Satan’s mouth, flicked and caressed by his tongue. And a hand around the base of his tail, gripping strongly.

21 thoughts on “255. Whodunnit?

  1. Hi, Kevin!
    Spent the last week proof-reading something for hubby then errands the entire weekend, and now here it is Monday again, and I’ve done no writing, much less any thinking about it. Oh, well. As I always say, my mantra: Tomorrow. Except Kobe Bryant has no more tomorrows, does he? It’s really dumb to say “tomorrow,” but I do it all the time.

    Enough about me.
    It’s no secret that I love your writing. Favorite lines:

    Dripping from the pub’s speakers was a beautiful song
    Dan nodded, ecstatic to be in a warm house. (LOL)
    He felt time shake itself apart.

    And, of course, Satan’s one lingering memory….very erotic. Naughty Sal! Such an all-out hedonist, lol !!

    All the 911 stuff….I just can’t go there. But you already know where I stand. Thinking of that woman whose husband called her from the building as it was collapsing….it’s on her phone–the conversation cuts off, there’s the roaring, shrieking sounds of metal tearing apart and collapsing, and worst of all, the hoarse terror-filled screams as her husband died…… to think about this being not just expected but possibly physically planned…. the nausea and bitterness and rage I feel won’t leave room for anything else. I think your deep meditations keep you grounded and mentally even. I’m never able to go that deep in meditation. So I have to just remain open-minded about 911 but not think about it often. It’s beyond sickening. And if that’s considered the average way the world works, then I’m definitely an out-of-place useless antediluvian dinosaur who’s stupidly naive and doing nothing of any use.

    But, boy, will you stimulate some minds when this book gets out there………………! ! ! !

    Hope the job’s going okay, as well as can be expected, packed with little nuggets of light and discovery, maybe.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Still not sure about the part-time job Stace. Can’t settle. Might blog about it again. Back at the usual job today,
      Big thanks for the praise. Sometimes I dip back into earlier chapters and perceive only a madman having fun at the keyboard. Other times I can say to myself: “Well done Kev, that’s strong and unique.”
      Instinct said that trying to write a full-blown sex scene with Satan was asking for trouble, in multiple (and probably unknown) ways! A hint is often better.
      Not even sure that it will ‘get out there’ as you say. It’s difficult to conceive of that while it’s incomplete.
      Won’t be mentioning 9/11 too much in the remaining chapters. Always wary of overkill. Maybe this link isn’t for you, but perhaps your husband?
      https://off-guardian.org/2020/01/28/ignoring-the-elephant-at-gitmo-yet-another-9-11-crime/
      The meditations can work incredibly well some days, clearing away all upset, doubt and mental fog. On others, they are just a chance to sit down and refresh my tired eyes and brain. 🙂 🙂

      Like

  2. PS: I’m not a basketball fan or even a Kobe Bryant fan. I just assumed he was so famous that you knew of him. But I could be wrong about that. Just sayin’………. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see what you mean about “liking” comments and then leaving a response. It really is SO redundant, isn’t it??! Lol

    Yeah, Kobe was getting as big as Jordan. Not there yet (apparently, no one is) but huge reputation. My husband was furious that they kept eulogizing him all day and there was no other news. “What did he really do for anyone?” he kept saying. “He was a celebrity. Americans worship celebrities. They’re like their gods.”
    He was disgusted! Kobe’s feelings definitely would have been hurt.

    Anyway, yeah, he already knows all about Gitmo and has told ME stuff about it. We’ve created our own monsters out of that place. It’s part and parcel with so many terrible, self-righteous, hypocritical things the US has done, like putting its own citizens, Japanese, into internment caps during WWII, and on and on and on. I know all countries do their own evils and many seem like horror houses of evil, but I guess our problem is professing to be this “shining light” in the darkness…..but the activities that go in on the shadows away from the light are anything but shining.

    I’ve been careful not to America bash with foreigners. Man, they really get into it! But I still live here and have a lot to be thankful for, even amidst whatever I personally don’t agree with, so when people get down in the dirt over the US, I just back away. I don’t blame folks for their anger, for sure. But you’re always very reasonable and 95% fact-based, so I enjoy our conversations.

    As for your story, though, I hope your book DOES see the light of day. There is a lot of uniqueness, truth, and hilarity in it. It would be a waste for it to never get out. But time will tell, right? Also, apparently, time will tell with your part-time job. Time and how the pros and cons weigh out will eventually give you your answer, I guess………
    Ciao, Kev!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kobe. Wouldn’t wish anyone dead…but celebrities do garner undue levels of attention.
      I’m happy to bash the UK and anywhere else that perpetrates evils. But don’t discount the fact that I’ve a roof, clothes on my back, work, food in my belly etc.
      Btw, your book is making me think of From Dusk Until Dawn, with that major character switch for Rea as its key punctuation mark!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha. Thanks, Kevin! I consider that a compliment, ’cause I really enjoyed 3/4 of From Dusk Until Dawn. Tarantino was especially humorous in his role in that one.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ha! I’m impressed that you see a “95% fact-based” approach to my writing! I’ll take that number anytime Stace. I’m sure some would try and argue that it’s far less. I guess my take is that if you offer up factual hooks people can go away and check for themselves.
      Switching to the speculative, I was thinking about the ZRs, or greys. There’s a lot of testimony to their existence. So, if they are here, with their dimension-defying technology, anal probes and stealing of DNA, could it be because they are us returning form the future? So warped and transmuted by AI that they are looking to find ways back to recover their lost souls, discarded down the centuries? 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

      1. About the writing–especially when talking about the US (OR Great Britain, etc.) you don’t just say, you know, “Americans are assholes” or “the French are evil incarnate,” etc. and make generalizations. You lay out the history, the facts, the argument.

        As for the grays….yes! Hubby has a post-apocalyptic love story screenplay based on that very idea!

        And it always DID seem like they were humans, shrunken down, except for their heads, because their brains were bigger at that point, so who knows….

        But if you wear a tin foil hat on your head, Kev, they can’t get into your thoughts.
        Advice of the day! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow. Really hope he can sell that screenplay – or has he already?
        I’ve defied your advice, and tried to leave off the tin foil hat, which may explain all of my brain’s grey matter 🙂
        Re the generalisations….I’m a very occasional contributor to a local Essex website, and threw in a few remarks today about 5G, and its health uncertainties. Jeez, you would have thought I’d marched into Poland, by the reaction. I’ve learned to stay out of debates that get twisted n ugly, and so watched insults thrown back and forth. No benefit in that for anyone.

        Like

  4. The new cell phone possibly causing brain cancer upset some people, huh? No discussion available, eh?
    Yeah, it’s back-off time when that happens, for sure! You can’t burst those bubbles! They need those bubbles to remain sane and purposeful on planet earth.

    I’m at work right now.
    I think I need to go make a BIG pot of coffee before I pass out…….

    See ya, Kev!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. PS: As for hubby’s screenplay, he’s giving it the old college try. Hollywood is an evil bitch, that’s for sure. But unfortunately (or not) you can literally go from rags to riches overnight. That’s why there’s a hundred gazillion frigging screenwriters out here all trying to do the same thing. It’s stupid, and it’s insane.

    Liked by 1 person

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