284. Racing to nowhere

OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 44

 

Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be.

Jane Austen

 

 

 

Joseph Conrad had compared his fictional character Marlow to “a Buddha preaching in European clothes and without a lotus flower.” The real Buddha sat in Canary Wharf, the heart of London’s new financial hub, observing suited humans scurrying from their karma. Postponing it, racing to nowhere, for hundreds of thousands of lives. Anchored in the temporary dot of the five-sense world, chasing money, not flowing in the stream of the Tao.

In this moment, which was all one ever had, he had no concerns.

Whether or not Jesus had a plan, all was well. Sid continued to hold the siddhi in place, halving the height of himself, Gandhi, Dawn and Yesh within the visual field of any outside observer. He observed the crosses and triangular shapes filling the sky over central London, as strange planes emitted trails. Deep inside was where such observation began. An unbeknown process to the scurrying ones.

Walking the last mile, passing Tower Hamlets College, Dawn had asked him for practical spiritual advice. “I want something to remember you by, Sid,” she said. Students chatted in the spring sunshine. He replied that if she were serious, she needed a master. “A true master will destroy your peace.” That puzzled her. “A master will help you expose your whole being to yourself. That guarantees a revolution of the inner kingdom.”

“I haven’t got time for all that. How about something simple?”

“Kiss people on their third eye,” said Sid. He gently placed his lips just below the centre of her forehead. “It will bring them compassion, and help their pineal gland decalcify.” He explained that the pineal gland – sometimes called the third eye – sat within the pranic tube, sometimes known as the Middle Vein. This stretched from the crown to the perineum. It allowed sacred energy and light to flow within a body.

“That’s lovely Sid, I like that”. He explained more. “In its calcified state, the pineal gland is a crystal throne for the ball of light that is you. When finally opened, the crown chakra bursts, and the white light of truth floods your head.” The Bible was hardly Buddha’s territory, but he quoted Matthew 6:22. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”.

As Dawn chatted with the woman in red clothes, Sid could see their auras combine in the soft evening sunshine. It was a propitious time. Following the appearance of the astrological Grand Cross, he had called a powerful sound emanation from the Buddhic realms into play. Sound codes of new creation were flowing. He observed that Jesus had stood up.

 

***

 

“That’s him,” said Dawn to Susan, who felt very comfortable, despite the Christian leanings of her new companion, and the group’s odd garb. “That’s who?” said Susan. Dawn pointed to the Arabic-looking guy in football kit. Sitting the furthest away of the four, he was twice the height of his friends. He noticed her looking. Susan could not hear Dawn anymore.

The man walked to Dawn, and bent down, winking at Susan. He slowly removed Dawn’s pouch, unzipped it with his gentle hands, extracting the squeegees and water bottles. Susan touched his sleeve, felt her hand somehow move much higher, as he tipped the pouch’s contents. About 50 gold bars littered the marble seat, several falling to the concrete.

Without a plan, he had laid first bricks in his mother’s new house on four separate occasions this day. Each, alone, enough to build the new edifice on Earth. Through his own trust in touch, and Mary Magdalene’s teachings on contagion.

He announced it was time to go. Sid cleaned the square, sprucing and dusting the unwholesomeness with a flick of his mind. Yesh watched Dawn hug the woman in red, kiss her above her eyebrows.

 

***

 

God twigged, and Buddha got it. Satan and Gandhi were still looking for a shining, defining moment. Maggie was feeling like Alice in Wonderland. She needed to talk with God about her future.

George giggled when he finally discovered the Prince of Peace was tipping out snack bars. Up at high windowsills, fingers had tightened on triggers when Jesus made his move. At ground level, immobilisation darts were still ready.

Immediately after the group moved out of sight the area was cordoned, and the bars rushed away for forensic analysis. George sneered. “Chocolate covered biscuits! Is that the best your boy can do?” He stared at the ceiling, casually flipping God the middle digit.

All along, he now saw, there had not existed the sliver of an opportunity, not the ghost of a bloody chance, for Jesus and his companions to change a single thing. The wacky-looking gang were being followed, every move monitored. But they had shot their bolt. Jesus had no clue just how deeply programmed humans had become since his last visit.

After any British child was born, they had three years at most with their parents before a timetable kicked in. Then countless exams, depleting their creativity, building the programming, producing competition where winners told the system exactly what it wanted to hear. Subsequently they would specialise, absorbing more rules about what was acceptable. Exposure to the clans’ one-over-another economies buttressed these messages.

Any slipping through the enforcement net encountered peer groups that derided failure to accept the programming. How beautiful was this ‘crab bucket’? People brainwashed to fight tooth and nail to protect a system that imprisoned them. Those who pointed out the madness were labelled insane.

Jesus had clearly seen the tragi-comedy for himself, tipping out their meagre rations in frustration.

 

***

 

In Leigh, Sally had the entire ashram engaged in remote viewing.

Sid’s instructions were that he would send pictures if ever he went missing. Stan picked up the first transmission, of four travellers on a long road, encapsulated in a large bubble. Jess got the next, an image of three very high, very close towers, with a capstone on the second. They all recognised Canary Wharf. Pound, euro and dollar signs were swirling darkly around and towards the towers.

Two other group members received transmissions, later that evening. The first appeared to be a black woman shaking hands with an archbishop, fag poking sideways from her mouth. The Buddha’s final message showed a map of Great Britain, with a monument jutting out, somewhere in the Midlands.

They never saw Sid again.

 

***

 

Gandhi asked Jesus where they were heading. He was hoping they would insert themselves into the City’s Square Mile by nightfall, readying for action the next day.

“Food and drink. Sunset by the river, in celebration” said Jesus.

The travellers walked west, beneath the elevated DLR station at Westferry. New housing along Limehouse Causeway covered up old docks. Mahatma knew it was here that the East India Company, which administered the early British Empire in India, had been headquartered. It had eventually controlled large areas of his country with private armies.

By a pub, on the roadside, a blanketed figure sat forlornly. Nothing stirred his gaze. Coins rested in a cap. Drawing alongside, Jesus sat beside him. The man’s eyes sank back in a grimed face. The pub sign said: The Grapes. Dawn pulled out a gold bar. Passed it to Yesh, who asked the man for his story, peeling back shiny paper.

The man slowly looked up. “Been homeless for six months now.” His voice was local, but expressionless. “Worked all me life, until the factory over in Canning Town closed down. Then me old mum died. I relied on her.”

People walked by.

“Didn’t know how to fill in forms without mum. Squatted in her place, just down the road, for nine months til other people moved in.” Jesus gave him the gold bar. The man said he had been forced to use food banks. “Council said I’d made meself intentionally homeless, stopped me benefits cos I had no address. The DWP don’t do crisis loans anymore, so you can’t get no extra money for food when your benefits run out.”

Dawn wanted to hug him while he nibbled.

“I’m out on me feet. Told the Council I was in danger of diabetic coma cos I been starvin. Been up the ‘ospital for me heart. Priest down the food bank said a prayer for me. Council don’t care. Say, yeah, I’m in priority need but they don’t house me. I don’t drink, never done drugs. The system just wants me gone, quietly.”

Jesus placed his arm around the man. “Dunno how much longer I can go on like this. Maybe mum was right. As a kid, she’d tell me that them that ask don’t get, and them that don’t ask don’t want. Either way, you couldn’t have nothin’.”

Yesh spoke: “Come with us, to break bread and slake thirst.”

A weak light came through his eyes. “They won’t serve me in there when I want a sandwich”. He slowly waved his thumb, pointing behind him. “They reckon I stink.”

Gandhi was beside himself. “This is why after World War Two the British people said their thanks to Mr Churchill but decided to vote in a Labour government. To build a new nation. One where a reasonable wage could be earned, and the sick, weak and destitute would be taken care of.”

Jesus helped the man up. Arthur, as he introduced himself, said if they ate outside, at the next pub, down by Limehouse Ship Lock, “me smell won’t be so bad for the other punters”. He struggled to walk, so Sid and Dawn supported him, the former ceasing his silent mantra. “Gordon Bennett, you’re bloody huge mate,” Arthur croaked to Jesus.

The Narrow, as the pub was named, had a comfortable outside seating area, with a view across to Rotherhithe housing estate. All used the loos, except Jesus, who found a table overlooking the water. The breeze would take Arthur’s fumes downwind. Dawn disliked the price of the fish and chips they were ordering, eight quid more than The Grapes, where she’d scanned the outside menu. She fretted when Yesh ordered a bottle of Chassagne Montrachet, Bernard Moreau, priced £65. But it tasted lovely, chilled and rich. She could feel the staff scrutiny; saw Gandhi spoiling for an argument if anyone questioned their use of this ‘gastro-pub’. Wondered how they would pay.

A few others sat outside: a lesbian couple in black leather; two guys in their fifties talking animatedly on high seats next to the Thames Path; and two younger men trying to impress a female companion. Everyone looked discreetly at Jesus.

Drinking fresh orange juice, Arthur found a tiny smile. He demolished a dish of olives and bread. Talked of a friend who had suffered with mental illness and psychosis. “DWP forced him into a job he couldn’t cope with. Lost his benefits for 6 months.” Another acquaintance, he said, did part-time voluntary work in a MIND shop, before his job seekers allowance was stopped for eight weeks, for signing a letter one day late.

Gandhi chipped in with a well-publicised case. Mark Wood, a highly vulnerable man in Oxfordshire, had benefits cut after being wrongly assessed by ATOS as fit for work. Age 24, he had starved to death, weighing 5 stone 8 lbs.

They watched the river, awaiting food.

The two males by the Thames Path talked animatedly. “It was my own fault, but those fuckers encouraged me every step,” said the baldest. “It got to the stage where my credit repayments alone were £2,500 a month. My total monthly income was something like two grand. Thought about killing myself, but my wife and kids wouldn’t have got the insurance.”

Police boats passed along the otherwise deserted river.

Dawn went inside, reappearing with a woollen blanket for Mahatma, who was shivering. He kissed her forehead. She went away, returning with a wet, warm flannel for Arthur to wash his face, and a towel. He was trying to process what was happening.

Food arrived. Gandhi preferred the side salad, offering the fish to Arthur, who was eating like a ravenous animal. “What are you lot – the four bloody horsemen? Why you helping me? It’s bloody marvellous, but who are you?”

Dawn said she tried to help everyone. She sipped her wine. Jesus requested they look across the river to its far grey bank, below twinkling domestic lights. He turned to Dawn and asked her to describe what she saw. “Smelly old mud,” she laughed.

“Or perhaps primeval ooze, washed from the creeks of Benfleet?”

He grinned, then asked if Arthur had listened to Goa trance. Dawn looked sad for the first time. “Where are you guys headed? It’ll soon be time for me to go.” She picked at her last few chips.

“Ourselves also,” smiled Jesus. “We head north, to an inn entitled ‘The Bricklayers’, in Haringey.” Seeing Gandhi’s confusion, Yesh explained he had always wanted to see White Hart Lane for himself. A brief view of the Tottenham Hotspur ground from outside, then the pub, where six flicks of the light switch activated a portal in the toilets.

For the next five minutes Gandhi used every last ounce of his formidable persuasive powers to attempt a change of plan. He argued that the City of London’s plutocratic mafia needed “cleansing”. He proceeded to detail chicanery that had stolen and cheated its way to land, property and riches beyond avarice for eight centuries.

He stood, to advance his arguments, holding his blanket tightly to his shoulders. “The City of London’s history goes back to before the Magna Carta. It has always stood apart from the rest of the country, intermarrying with royalty, but retaining its independence. Its roots encompass the Knights Templar Church, and the Inns of Courts, which still have no charter to rein them in.”

Belly full, Arthur began to listen. The Indian man certainly had an education. The mention of a church triggered memories in the Londoner of his favourite nursery rhyme. Thinking back to the words, he began to hum the tune.

 

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement’s.

 

Sid smiled at how Arthur had tapped into his subconscious. Other drinkers listened in silence, some wondering if they were watching amateur drama as Gandhi attested passionately that the individuals controlling the City of London were “ruthlessly sociopathic”. He said their DNA was so twisted that they would like nothing better than to organise the world into a large medieval plantation.

The key structure, and the most unfathomable, he said, was what some termed as the Crown Temple Syndicate that quietly steered the City of London Corporation. “Nobody knows its real name for sure.” He said this was linked to the Vatican – and the Mafia – though a masonic lodge in Italy. “Some call that the P2 lodge.” Gandhi said a fixed split of ill-gotten profits existed between the two city-states. Jesus recalled Karen Hudes making similar statements.

 

You owe me five farthings, say the bells of St. Martin’s.

Gandhi recommenced. “The Crown was never the monarch. It is the City of London inner circle, this cartel of banking families which hides its true power, and rules by proxy,” he said. “The same degenerates that unconstitutionally created the US Federal Reserve,” he jeered. “These wrongdoers also control the world’s oil, and profit from its arms and drugs trades.”

Were they listening to conjecture? Gandhi was adamant an unelected authority was operating far beyond the pale of democracy to maintain and protect the interests of the most powerful. He called them “insidious hoarders”. He quoted Clement Attlee: “Over and over again we have seen that there is in this country another power than that which has its seat at Westminster.”

 

When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey.

 

Jesus listened, never taking his eyes from Mahatma as he described the hoarders’ influence over US policy through the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission. “This is where world wars originate,” he said. He cited Britain’s obscure Privy Council system, and its influence over the Treasury Board, Select Committees, and key Civil Service appointments. He said agents of the Crown who sat on the Privy Council were unelected, and unaccountable.

 

When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.

 

Gandhi traced back, highlighting that ‘special rights’ accorded to the City in the twelfth century were reaffirmed in the 1690 Statute of William and Mary.  He talked of the Bank of England, which, from the arrival of William of Orange and the Amsterdam banks, had been allowed to create money out of thin air at interest for the profit of secret shareholders, whose anonymity was still enshrined in British law. “That side of the wrongdoers’ lineage goes back beyond Amsterdam: to Venice, Rome and ultimately Babylon,” he said.

 

When will that be? Say the bells of Stepney.

He noted the Remembrancer in the House of Commons, ensuring City rights and privileges were protected. He alleged the money scam even stretched to include ownership of the birth certificates of people yet unborn, which had been surrendered as surety for further borrowing, so that national debt interest repayments were in effect guaranteed by human chattels. “The City has never shown anything but contempt for the common person. One of London’s Mayors killed Wat Tyler during the Peasants Revolt. Should children not be taught all of this in schools, when dealing with the great, wonderful City of London?”

 

I do not know, says the great bell of Bow.

He talked of the Square Mile’s central role within a web of tax havens, capturing and filtering dirty cash from dictators, and the arms and drugs industries. “No government has dared challenge its power”, he added. “New Labour had its chance, but instead it fell to its knees, unzipping the bankers, and receiving a festering member in its throat, and rancid sperm in its stomach.” He told how Tony Blair had persuaded the party to replace its pledge to abolish the City of London Corporation with a promise merely to “reform” it.

 

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

Chip chop, chip chop, the last man’s dead

 

***

 

In Heaven, Maggie loudly applauded Arthur. “I am beginning to understand the meaning of hidden in plain sight,” she told God, animatedly. “Every British child learns that nursery rhyme at a young age.”

 

***

 

Jesus stepped in. “Our work here is done,” he said, confidently. “Let us depart quietly, thinking of words from Socrates: ‘The secret of change is not to focus your energy on fighting the old, but on building the new’.” Immensely frustrated, Gandhi deferred.

Plates were cleared. Jesus asked Dawn to empty the pouch one last time. Out tumbled the squeegees, water bottles, a few remaining gold bars. Best of all, a wad of £20 notes. The bill was settled, leaving £200 on the table. Jesus gave £40 to Dawn to get home, and the rest to Arthur, who frowned.

“Stay at a comfortable hotel, Arthur, then board a train to Southend tomorrow. Our friends at Southchurch Park will care for you.”

“I don’t want to be on my own again. Please stay with me.”

Yesh’s eyes filled with compassion. “Would this suit? Come with us now to northeast London. Then onto the Place. My mother welcomes humility. A sleepover, then down to Essex tomorrow, through the Leigh portal.”

Arthur’s eyes welled with gratitude. Jesus neglected to say that only two individuals had made the same journey while alive. Arthur’s worthiness entitled him a place beside Elijah and Enoch.

Dawn insisted that Essex called. “I can be at Fenchurch Street in 30 minutes, back at Leigh station in another 30. Might get Steve to pick me up, and a quick drink at the Billet.” Sid chuckled at the cyclicality of all things.

Dawn asked Gandhi for a favour. “I can see banking sucks, literally, but I want to start explaining that clearly to people. Can you sum it up in a way my poor brain can remember?”

“My dear Dawn.” The scar on his thigh peeked through the blanket. “Let us think of three crimes, existing in parallel. The first is usury. Instead of providing the world with efficient units of exchange, banks strip assets away from the least economically capable borrowers via interest.” He looked to be past his disappointment. “Credit does not decay and return to the soil, like all nature. It grows forever, due to interest.”

Darkness coagulated around The Narrow. A couple were videoing the ridiculously tall man.

“Of course, governments with independence and courage would stop this fraud,” Gandhi continued. “They would cease paying debts and print their own, interest-free money for their citizens, who they are supposed to represent. But they are in the grip of the powers which issue the money.” His arm swept upriver, where bright lights hid gloomier buildings.

Part two of the criminality, he said, had manifested during recent decades, as deregulation opened suicidal levels of risk-taking by banks chasing more profit. “Hence you have the toilet paper trading I described, and the liabilities that can never be fully addressed without a horrendous series of insolvencies.”

If this was not enough, part three of the equation involved banks rigging numerous markets and cheating their customers in various ways. “Hundreds of thousands of pounds can be made in an afternoon by colluding to manipulate foreign exchange rates.”

Gandhi summed it all up as “wealth extraction, irresponsible greed and deceit”, conjecturing that the two likeliest outcomes of banking were both extreme: the collapse of major western currencies, accompanied by war, or a complete forgiveness of all debt. Dawn thought the second option sounded OK. Mahatma gave a small bow.

“Any last advice?” she asked Jesus. “When your cup fills, stop pouring,” he advocated. “Be kind, tell your truth; and meet all problems with love.”

Sid offered his suggestion. “Think of karma as a game of snakes and ladders.”

Dawn beamed, recalling one of her favourite childhood games. “So if I do well in this life, I get to climb the ladders? That’s hard these days. Less ladders around.”

Sid smiled. “To climb both in this life and in subsequent lives. But the ladders rarely represent financial gain. You came here with nothing and will leave that way.”

She thought aloud. “The snakes must be temptation. Fall for the serpents, and you undo the good work.”

She hugged them each for some time.

“It’s been emotional,” she laughed, before bounding away, orange top receding like a Dutch footballer entering the tunnel. She headed north to Limehouse DLR station, then west, along the A13, known as the Commercial Road.

A lad no older than 12 came flying past on a small bike, tuned rapturously into his earplug, oblivious to the traffic. Her legs ached, but it was in her heart now. The feel of paradise.

8 thoughts on “284. Racing to nowhere

  1. So I had no idea London is basically the equivalent of Vegas–or worse. I also thought Masons were sorta/kinda the good guys…?
    I love how Jesus is so tall.
    It’s fantastic how you’ve got the nursery song interweaving between the paragraphs.
    I love the last two lines.
    Re: Socrates, on a related note, my husband read somewhere that Plato was autistic, and his black and white declarations and sort of rigid *philosophical* offerings (lacking “normal” empathy and elasticity) have resulted in coloring the world in not the most flattering of hues, paving the way for Western man to bloom (as much as a not-quite-alive thing CAN bloom) and leading the majority of us in a kind of robotic existence lacking real depth or deep understanding.
    I’ve never before even contemplated how the “great thinkers” of our time may have actually, possibly, led us down the path of that motto: the road to hell is paved by good intentions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Greeks paved the way for logical thinking, to the best of my knowledge. I guess that has segued into an increasingly robotic global culture. It’s perhaps why Asian philosophies remain so alluring to many Westerners.
      Obviously my brief snapshot of London is loaded with artistic licence Stace. But there is topographical veracity…I met my mate Alan in Canary Wharf in June 2014 and we watched the crowds around the tube station entrance. Then we walked to Limehouse, beneath the railway, past the Grapes pub, and onto The Narrow. Where we sat and drank and talked.
      In fact the whole journey from Southend to London was similarly observed and mapped. I took the car along the Arterial Road, stopping in laybys to jot down notes. Then Maureen joined me for the final 10 miles into London, where my eyes were needed for the road.
      To have transposed Dawn, Sid, Yesh and Mahatma onto that route was an enormous joy. I’m particularly proud of this part of the story.
      Now, gotta see if I can finish it in style. 😃😎😃😎

      Like

  2. Yeah, the “exotic, mysterious” Eastern cultures. Ooh, why is “nature” so important to them? Ooh, how can God be in everything, even a rock?! Ooh, ooh! Of course that’s mystifying and mysterious to Westerns, hahaha.

    I love it when I can use something perfectly from real life in writing–that journey came across very clearly, even without knowing the areas–and I’d be proud of it too! It sounds nice also. I wish I could do it with you guys. I haven’t been out strolling around and stopping for a leisurely drink in a long, long time.

    Is there really, actually only one chapter left, Kev? The end has come!
    I wait. With bated breath. Do us proud.

    Trying something different today–what my dad used to do before he discovered the emojis:

    smile
    smile
    smile
    smile
    smile
    smile

    Liked by 1 person

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