263. Daughter poetry

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In its own, slow way, my dad Eric’s house is becoming a museum. As his routines become ever more restricted and reined in, his past seems to tower over his present. His memories of childhood and youth remain sharp, but his recollection of conversations held 20 seconds ago are generally non-existent.  Like Dad, the house is becoming worn out. The electric appliances are outdated, the curtain rail of nearly 40 years had to be replaced by Maureen and I a couple of days ago. Yesterday, his washing machine entered a cycle which would not end.

A beautiful fox uses his garden as a toilet.

Adorning the wall of his downstairs utility room, where the Hotpoint machine wants to spin forever, are framed poems written 22 years ago by our daughters Lauren and Josie.

Lauren composed hers while watching Eric, then 70, asleep after a Sunday roast dinner.

 

Grandad asleep on the sofa

 

A silent something spread out over a burgundy sofa

Sometimes small noises come out of its mouth

Striped and motionless,

It grunts, as if dreaming of horrid things

But who knows what things are going on in that still head,

As silent as a ripple in the water

Fists clenching, and sometimes slightly stirring

And still a silent something is spread out over a burgundy sofa

But suddenly eyes open in a split second

Shuffles over on its side and falls asleep again

This time, legs scrunched up and arms outstretched

When will this silent something wake up,

And move from the burgundy sofa?

Who knows?

By Lauren Godier

Aged 10 years

 

 

 

Josie dipped into her young imagination, to produce her own version of Genesis.

 

 

The Creation

A sparkly egg was floating in the darkness

It grew and grew and suddenly

CRACK!

The egg fell into two – a God fell out

One half of the egg formed the sun,

The other half formed the moon

Tiny bits of the egg formed stars

His hair made the trees

His teeth made the mountains

His fingers and toes made the people and the children

That is how the world was made

By Josie Godier

Aged 7 years

 

 

What a pair of poets. Creating, then preserving time in their snapshots. Very proud.

262. Presumption

OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 35

 

I’m always unsure about people who are so sure of themselves.
Joyce Rachelle

 

 

They entered a corridor. Through the next door, old and oaken, five stone steps descended to a mezzanine level. “A long list of the great and good have taken this route,” said Eric. “One such soul, now deceased, was a ‘disc jockey’ by profession.”

They sat on carved seats overlooking a stone floor, where candelabra illuminated a reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards. “My favourite room – I often come here to think,” said Eric. “There are tunnels extending from here to other City safe holdings.”

Sal detected smells, embedded in the walls. He asked about Jimmy Savile’s visits.

“Certain people bring an ability to unravel the discipline in others,” said Eric.

Sal was more precise: “He tipped others into behaviour that left them open to blackmail.”

“Oh yes. And he procured many of the children involved.” Something lightened in Eric’s eyes. “I read recently that 140,000 go missing each year in Britain. Most of them find their way home, but what of the others?”

Sal let him talk, feeling sick again. “Well, some are trafficked overseas, for the astounding profits. Some are kept, brainwashed and thoroughly used for sexual and blackmail purposes. Others are slaughtered.” Completely matter of fact, his hand pulled his lip again.

“For their blood?” Sal knew the answer.

Eric looked disdainful. “Ask merely why Hollywood makes films about vampires. Again, the real information is there, in open view. Rituals are a fundamental practice of our clans.” He referred to April 15, marking the ancient Festival of Bastet, a cat-headed Egyptian goddess. “Deities require sacrifices. Did you know that the Titanic went down that day, exactly 101 years before the Boston Marathon bombs? Almost a round number.”

Satan knew what was next. But waited to hear the old man say it. “Also, the secretions from a teenager’s pineal gland can extend adult human life. Think of the Pigna statue – the Pine Cone – at the Vatican. More tangible, visible information. Why on earth do you think Savile received a Papal Knighthood?”

Sal didn’t even ask about the other organs that were harvested and sold. His next question was uncomfortably close to home. “Who and what do you summon in that pentagram?”

For the second time that evening, Eric smiled. “Well, we have tried to invite you to our soirees, as you must remember.”

“I gradually learned to ignore that shit, like a fly in my ear,” said Sal. “I prefer a single malt and a joust on the dojo mat these days. When I do come to your world, the portal is more mundane. Through toilets and sewers.”

Despite his complete loathing of the old man, Satan couldn’t help himself. “As I think you know, I’ve accompanied and observed mankind’s journey since time immemorial. You also know that magic works, and spirits are real. But…….They do not go away easily, once solicited.”

Eric’s face showed zero concern, in the flickering candlelight. “If one wants to be near a Great White shark, one climbs into a cage,” said the old man. “We observe the protective spells available in the Lesser Key of Solomon and other grimoires. And follow the optimal timings indicated by the planets.”

“You’re stupidly naive,” said Satan. “Spirits lie, often because they are bullied to show up. You are playing with hostile beings, some of whom were previously Gods. Look through the Old Testament and you’ll find over 30 demi-Gods. Give them your attention and they always want more. Always. What point is there to your insane blood sacrifices if the recipients insist that only a nuclear or environmental holocaust will sate them?”

Eric was quiet, so Sal continued. “Angels and demons are not so dissimilar, whatever Dan Brown might say. The Watcher Angels taught humans metallurgy and farming, but also impregnated women, both against God’s will.”

“Angels helped the Elizabethan magician John Dee envision a British empire,” said Eric. “Consequently, you are sitting at the very heart of the most civilised social structures the world has ever known.”

“That’s debatable. You brought into your rituals a man who had sex with corpses. The bigger point is that those entities will play you, in a long-term game stretching way beyond your lifespan. And yet you trust them?” asked Sal, genuinely astonished. “Having rattled on about how deceptive holograms are!”

 

***

 

Sid’s students were remote viewing the encounter. Mary had called the Leigh centre shortly after Satan roared away to London.

Stan’s pencil captured the long table, with two lone diners. Sally drew a tall figure with a tail, bursting with anger. Towering over a white-haired man standing on top of a pyramid. A third figure featured at the margins, in an army uniform. Sid was reassured by the lack of violence.

 

***

Information was the only thing of any value to Sal from this worthless human being. Given the earlier mention of the SEC investigation, Satan asked about 9/11. To cajole, he traded the reality of the Akashic files, while elaborating their inability to access certain individuals and locations, and particular ceremonies.

“What do you know about that awful day in September 2001? Much of the information was inaccessible from my home dimension.”

“Well, it was handled at the US end. Frank went very quiet for months beforehand. He volunteered no information, and I have never asked him for the details, for one compelling reason.”

“The money that your families generated.”

“What else counts? The subsequent profit made by the armaments industry in blowing Afghanistan and Iraq back to the Stone Age was beyond belief. All Frank’s business. Then our Israeli colleague Shimon, he oversaw businesses that engaged in the almost endless installation of homeland security equipment at airports and other transport terminals in the USA and around the entire world, to counter this dastardly new Islamic enemy lurking around every corner.”

Eric pulled at his lip. “And here, in London. Well, it pleased me deeply that the governments of the Allied forces borrowed themselves silly for their military campaigns. Believe me, that money did not come cheap. So you see how sizeable business opportunities emerged after those towers fell. Conflict breeds commerce, and the richest never spurn those options.”

“So who exactly was responsible for the 9/11 attacks?”

Eric shook his head. “Honestly, I never asked. Seriously, I didn’t care. 3,000 dead on Frank’s patch. So what? Stock markets were out of control, and we benefitted from the volatility. We always do. Too busy to dwell on unprofitable detective matters.”

Eric relented. “But I can see you want to know whether I believe the farcical fairy-tale. This laughable lunacy that 19 Muslims, who couldn’t fly planes, and lacked any overt government or intelligence service support, outwitted not only all 16 US intelligence agencies, and airport security, but also the NATO and Mossad intelligence services? Marshalled and overseen by a man in a cave. I was blessed with a brain, so I think not.”

Satan was quiet. Listening hard, trying to shrug off the sleepiness induced by the wine.

“Look, Edward Snowden clearly demonstrated the breadth and depth of surveillance by the NSA. So let us be very clear. Every Arabic fart and burp would have been monitored, and these supposed ‘terrorists’ taken out without a second thought, had they been operating as reported. As it was, 8 of the 19 alleged hijackers who died in plane crashes later turned up alive and well, in their own countries, minding their own business. Our wonderful media somehow neglected to explain that magical impossibility, while jerking themselves off about Bin Laden’s ludicrous monochrome ‘videos’ that somehow emerged from the hills of Afghanistan.”

“And how strange that just 14 airforce fighter jets were left to cover the entire USA due to ‘drills’ and war games,” said Eric. “Always ask the old question of who benefits. Qui bono? On that note, I watched, not unhappily, the destruction of whole WTC floors that contained Enron prosecution papers and other financial information best not examined. Documents from the SEC, CIA, IRS and Salomon Smith Barney.”

A minor pause. “Actually, Frank did tell me one thing. A massive gold bullion haul was taken from the WTC 4 and 6 basements as the commotion broke. I was never told the value.”

Using the phrase that Sal was coming to despise, Eric pointed out more “real information”. That the FBI had publicly admitted they had no evidence on ex-CIA operative Osama Bin Laden; while Dick Cheney himself, in March 2006, had acknowledged that evidence that the Saudi was directly involved in 9/11 “has never been forthcoming.”

“But by that time the West had of course flattened a country rejecting the petro-dollar, seized control of its oil, and fastened its grip on the Afghan opium trade. That last point was a priority for Ignacio and his family. Come on, how much more obvious does anyone want their information?”

“I mean, consider the Patriot Act, swiftly signed into law in October 2001, but written and ready to go long before 9/11. Further stripping away US constitutional rights. Surveillance of citizens stepping up towards a point where every move can and will soon be second guessed. Coming soon, in your town.”

 

***

Maggie was anxious. She could not see Sal, and his conversational partner. Might she know the individual? She fell into a deep reverie.

Her martial arts learning curve had soared, then hit a stout brick wall. She could now take on and often beat Satan’s boys on the mats: even Beelzebub. But the next step, the minotaur, petrified her. Whenever she tried to imagine the beast, the Levantine face of Jesus appeared to her.

 

***

Sal pressed on. “In your honest opinion, could there have been an inside plot behind 9/11?”

“Jesus, why would I even care? Can I tell you how I enjoy my days?” Receiving no reply, the old man proceeded. “Naomi is one of ten girls employed here. All stunningly beautiful, all paid exorbitantly to service my needs. Aside from maintaining the house, and cooking, they are my playthings. My medication permits phenomenal activity. Let us do the maths. 30 penetrable orifices to choose from…no, 32 holes and a hefty penis, if you count Jamil, who participates if asked.”

Satan couldn’t resist. “34 and two dicks if you count Hoskyns. Do you ravage and sully him as well?”

Eric’s answer surprised Sal. “No, he is probably my best friend. We have played each other at chess for nearly 50 years.”

The old man scratched his ear, looking comfortably around the cold underground room, where death sat in the air. “But as you want my opinion on September the eleventh so badly, then here it is.”

He paused. “I would speculate, looking back, that it was a huge sacrificial death ritual, a quid pro quo to placate whatever dark spirits Frank is engaged with.”

The notion was horrific and outrageous enough to qualify as a valid explanation, as Satan mulled over how the families operated.

Eric was picking his words very carefully. “Again, in my retrospective opinion, the events of that day were also designed to open the military floodgates to the Middle East. It may well be that a flimsy terrorist plot was discovered and allowed to go ahead, and then significantly added to,” he argued. “The WTC7 collapse is there, documented, unignorable, unhit by planes, but in plain sight.”

Eric chuckled. “Now was George W Bush involved? In my opinion, the poor man could not organise a piss up in brewery, as my dear departed dad was wont to say.”

Eric nonetheless suggested that it was “nothing” for Western powers to plan attacks on their own citizens. He cited Operation Northwoods, an early 1960s CIA plot, which – but for JFK’s veto – would have seen attacks on American civilians and military targets. And then blame dished out to Cuba, to justify a war against Fidel Castro. All on public record.

Satan calmed himself by remembering Gandhi’s words: “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love. It is the prerogative of the brave.” To stay wholesome, Sal flipped to the memory of Dave Dawson, whose spectrum of talents encased human artistry at its fullest. And clearly an irreplaceable father and husband. The sack of shit beside him, by contrast, viewed the world as a giant chess board. With human pieces.

“It’s the profits that matter,” emphasised Eric. “Eventually over $50 billion of work came to Western companies to rebuild Iraq’s bombed out remains. A cornucopia: $12 billion worth to Dick Cheney’s Halliburton alone. In the smashed-up oil sector, awards for ExxonMobil, and our companies: Royal Dutch Shell and BP

Satan couldn’t think past the multiple birth defects that riddled Iraq, linked to Allied forces using chemical weapons and depleted uranium. Women in some regions were advised not to become pregnant. But this was of no consequence to the old man. Sal’s thoughts drifted to the child sacrifices undertaken yards away. And then the youngsters abused and murdered by Britain’s elite while Maggie was in power, ignoring the vile perversions under her nose. The Firm had made a drunken mistake in recruiting her.

Satan was decades away, revisiting Elm Guest House in Barnes, South East London, where 1970s and 1980s guest-lists united spies, politicians, aristocrats, police and celebrities. All intent on abusing and sometimes killing children before covering each other’s backs.

Eric was underlining how the “whole Iraqi state” was dismantled after the invasion. New laws allowed foreign investors to own Iraqi businesses, 100%, and send their entire profits home. Sal recalled how, when Blackwater contractors killed 17 unarmed civilians in 2007, they were deemed beyond Iraqi law.

“Enough!” Sal raised his arm. He related his comprehensive torture, and total evisceration, of Jimmy Savile. He watched the Old Controller quieten.

Sal ordered that they return for dessert. As a prelude, he walked into the pentagram, and relieved himself. Only tiredness and the excess of alcohol were preventing him from killing the old man. It could wait.

 

***

The dining room lights were dimmed, candles lit. Apricot & cointreau soufflé awaited, alongside Chateau d’Yquem, the gold standard of dessert wines. The label said 1847. Silently, Jamil and Naomi watched.

Satan opened another boasting opportunity. “What is the City of London? The Files cannot fathom it.” He let the wine soar through him, while the Old Controller painted a heavy picture, suitable for his walls.

“If Goldman Sachs is a ‘vampire squid’, as some say, the City is a shoal of such creatures – M15, M16……The Bank of England, Lloyds, the Stock Exchange – all overseen by George and I, operating invisibly behind fronts and agents.”

Eric chose words more carefully than ever. “It may be better conceptualised as the Crown, the corporate Crown, which Hansard struggles to define, and yet which holds the bonded indebtedness of much of the world. How many people know that?”

“Its juristic arm is the Temple Bar, but this goes beyond British entities. The Crown’s tentacles stretch offshore to many institutions, including the Federal Reserve, IMF, World Bank, Mossad and the UN, and almost all tax havens. Those tentacles reach into the governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Yet you must never lose sight of the Vatican’s gravitational pull on the Crown, steered by our colleague Vito, in Italy. It can cause ferocious tilt.”

Sal had to ask. “And the British Royal Family?” Pleasured only by soufflé, he listened to the answer. “No more than a token power now. All royals lost their wealth and fortunes by indebting themselves. Wars, always wars. And then insemination by some of our families. Carry out DNA tests, and you would find banking blood running deep.”

At least the apricot and cointreau was soothing.

The Crown Corporation was a commercial company, yet sitting outside of UK law, specified the old man, thus able to ignore any claptrap about capping bonuses within the entities it controlled. “The lip-service to democracy known as Parliament is convenient, convincing and efficient in representing our families’ interest by proxy. The Remembrancer spots the truly dangerous dissent. We deal with it, accordingly.”

It was difficult for Sal to think beyond the astonishing power of the amber-gold wine. Raisin flavours, intensely sweet and long. Concluding with an incredible finish.

“Please peer through the miasma.” The old man allowed himself another chuckle. “Tell me when the UK parliament last pulled rank on the City. We are talking immunity on the level of the Vatican. What happened in the 2008 crisis? We dictated to Prime Minister Brown how it would unfold. We grabbed the taxpayers’ money, after the token slap. Who was in charge?”

Satan wondered just how far genes could twist inward, as Eric’s hand fondled his mouth. “Think of a pyramid, power flowing down. Those holding key positions within the important City structures are mentally anaesthetised by excellent salaries.”

Satan recalled chatting at Southchurch with the lawyer who helped found the moneyless community. Clifford De Ricardo had worked in London extensively, and swore that greed, rather than organised conspiracy, was the root of City behaviour. “I know an ex Lord Mayor and the recent CEO of the City Corporation pretty well,” he had told Satan, in September sunshine. “They are not bad men, involved in secret hand shaking societies trying to make the lives of the underprivileged any worse than they are already.”

Eric explained what happened to dissenters. “Those whose eyes insist on opening are blackmailed, brainwashed or just eliminated.” The old man spoke slowly and carefully.

Too many questions flashed through Satan’s head. Eric explained the City was originally the Knights Templar Church, also known as the ‘Crown Temple’ or ‘Crown Templar’. He said the British author Ian Fleming was accurate in his depiction of the almost boundless power of M16.

 

***

The first remote viewing image that came to Jess frightened her. Her hand drew a dragon tearing apart a child. Sid laid his hand on her shoulder, reassuringly, bidding her to continue. The second one puzzled her. A set of scales, in perfect balance.

 

***

“Who controls the Bank of England,” asked Satan. He poured a second glass, almost too drunk to care about the answer.

“After tugs of war, centuries ago, it became our private bank, to scam with as we liked. It lent money that it created out of nothing to the English government and was paid back with interest. In 1946, our bank was nationalised, due to the exceptional political climate, but there was a complexity to that transaction.” Satan listened, almost inured. The wine seemed to change flavour as it breathed.

“Because the British government was completely broke after World War 2, it was unable to buy out the shareholders. A complicated-looking arrangement ensued whereby our families continued to take profits, but the bolshie lefties didn’t like this.”

In 1977, said Eric, “we buried things a little deeper, by setting up a wholly-owned subsidiary called Bank Of England Nominees Limited, a private limited company. This company, bless its blue cotton socks, is protected by the Official Secrets act, and its Royal Charter status, and so exempt from the normal disclosure requirements that other companies comply with to meet section 27 of the Companies Act 1976.”

Sal was fully aware how this complex-sounding language deterred ordinary men and women from nosing around in finance and law. He despised the use of the Official Secrets act, akin to treating British adults as children. “Trust uncle that it doesn’t concern you. Go back to sleep, little sheep.”

As he considered the contempt that this utter legal bollocks would receive in Iceland, more information was forthcoming. “You may ask what that all means. Well, I’ll crown things, metaphorically, by telling you that major financial players, including our families, use this company to purchase shares and remain anonymous.”

To Satan’s drunken eyes, the body language of Jamil and Naomi, who brought a cheese board and coffee, contained something more active. The wine serving was finished, and so was much of humanity, according to Eric.

His next admission riveted Satan’s attention. “All our clans have done well. The Pope and his Jesuits have run the equivalent of a Stalinist bootcamp for centuries, swelling the riches in the Vatican Bank beyond avarice and imagination. But most humans and governments are on a runaway debt train. The track is running out, yet everybody still argues over seats.”

He referred to the UN’s Agenda 21, unveiled in 1992 at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, facilitated by “one of Frank’s generals”. George Bush senior. The old man underlined the sprinkling of compassionate-sounding, politically correct terms like “population stabilisation” contained in the 40 chapter document. “Dig down to the real information,” he entreated. Eric described a coming cull of global populations, through various methods, leading to a subservient remainder, mostly micro-chipped.

Standing up, he asked Satan what the clans genuinely had to fear. “What does God have up her sleeve? We own Western money, politicians, military, intelligence agencies, police and courts. We rig economies, unemployment, inflation and Libor. We have been doing this for a very long time and we are not fucking around.”

Satan recalled a moment from the previous evening. Cheese bubbling on top of a fish pie, as residents trooped happily into the cafe from the cold darkness. He did his best to tell Eric how Southchurch Park was evolving, how a coherence was emerging, with goods and services being freely exchanged. despite the park’s fair share of hiccups, and the horrible death.

“It sounds ……bucolic,” said Eric.

“What you don’t realise, never will,” Satan retorted, “is that it’s all inside. Call it love, the God gene, whatever. You might have a zillion quid, a million tanks at your disposal, but you lack it. It ranges from simple acts of gratitude, of caring, sharing and humility, up to the higher spiritual levels, where the human imagination can manifest results in the physical plane. And you will never overcome it, however many sick ceremonies and rituals you hold.”

“Anything else?”

“In addition to Gandhi, the Buddha is helping our experiment accelerate.”

“Disappointing answers. The time of Holy men is long gone.”

The evening’s final phase had arrived. Eric suggested they might entertain themselves. Satan proposed a hand of Uno. “Winner ends with absolutely nothing. The individual left with the most loses.”

Eric ignored that. “Let’s forget our differences. Jamil and Naomi will offer you a range of physical comforts.” Sal said nothing.

As he stood, he noticed the woman who was clearing the table move behind Eric, wrap her left arm tightly around his throat, kick his legs away, and snap his neck.

 

***

Any movement in the old man’s body ceased in 10 seconds. The woman let his body fall to the floor. She was trembling, as she looked across at Satan.

“Am I next?” he asked.

“Are you really….Satan,” she said. He nodded. “Call me Sal. Why did you do that?”

“It is the first time that I have ever heard him talk at any length. His comments about black South Africa disgusted and appalled me. Amongst so many other things.” She was sweating profusely. Satan pushed across his wine. “Drink the rest of that, it will steady you.”

As she gulped down the dessert wine, he pieced together a plan. “Can you drive a motorbike?”

“Yes. I learned many things in the Nigerian army.”

“Aha. OK, where is Hoskyns?”

“Jamil has tied him up downstairs. Jamil and I will both leave tonight.”

“Will the other girls wake up?”

“I doubt it. Our accommodation in any case has its own, self-contained facilities. No need to come over here.”

“Will you drive me back to Southend? Too much alcohol in my blood.”

“I feel too unhinged to drive. Would you first fuck me, hard, to calm me down?”

 

***

Afterwards, as they donned their crash helmets, he asked Naomi whether she had enough money to get by. “I have saved up enormous amounts. In different accounts and currencies and names. On top of our salaries, Eric paid us eight thousand pounds per fuck.”

“I hope you charged for any extras.” She grinned.

“You might want to lay low with our community for awhile,” he offered. Maybe make up your mind in the morning?”

“I do not know that such caution will be necessary,” she said. “He told me once that he does not officially exist. That he quit the world at large when shedding his surname.”

As the Diavel pulled away, Sal looked up. Never-ending reptile heads were gazing down from old buildings at the unregistered number plates.

 

261. When Eric met Sal

OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 34

 

We live in ..that time when everything had already changed, only people were too scared, too ignorant or too arrogant to understand and they pretended and acted as if everything was still normal and it wasn’t.

Libbe HaLevy

 

 

Maggie was immensely frustrated. Satan and the old man sat in comfortable silence, sealed away from all Akashic scrutiny. The Place had no way to track and record images and conversations from this location, where oil paintings of racehorses, courtesans and chateaux adorned the dark red walls. At the end of the room an arched door frame possessed unusual proportions.

 

***

Satan went first. “I should kill you.”

Across the table, Eric blinked. Satan re-appraised him. White shirt, top button undone, above dark, belted trousers. Symmetrical facial features, white hair, thinning but worn with extra length. Suggesting he remained in the mating game. Brown eyes. Healthy skin, glowing under the middle chandelier. Roughly six feet tall. Satan began to think of him as the Old Controller.

A young man and woman stood at each end of the long table, completing a human cross. White shirted. Black trousered. Presumably they would serve. “Let me introduce Jamil and Naomi,” Eric said, finally. The male was Arabic, maybe Lebanese. The young woman looked West African. Satan guessed Nigeria.

“Both outstanding martial artists.” Eric smiled faintly at a memory. “And even old Hoskyns can produce a mean kick.”

Satan considered for three seconds. “I would be the last one standing. But let’s wait. My terms next time.”

Hoskyns brought the white burgundy, offering Satan the testing sip. “Just fill the thing,” he snapped. Sal let the wine work, with no idea of how this would play out. “Can we start by confirming that my friend Dave Dawson was murdered, brutally, on your orders?”

Almost a minute passed before Eric responded. “Before that, I must welcome you. If you are who I imagine you to be, can I suggest we both speak with absolute honesty, all cards visible?”

He spoke quietly, accustomed to attentiveness. Satan knew bottles bearing the Montrachet label fetched astronomical prices. The concentrated flavours were producing a lengthy finish.

The chance to learn about the clan operations was too good to spurn. But Sal adored foreplay. “Why would you be truthful? By its very nature your operation – in fact the modus operandi of all trillionaire families – is secretive.”

Eric looked at Satan’s gloved hands. “Incorrect. Our code of conduct mandates that facts are laid out starkly for those able to peer past the many smokescreens. I think you know this: that the real information is always there, often hidden in plain sight.”

Satan knew, but wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth. He asked for examples. “When has the empire given public notice of its skulduggery?” The burgundy was exquisite.

The Old Controller speared a queen olive. “That’s extremely easy, and rather local. Think about how my proxy mouthpiece, Prime Minister Cameron, recently said Britain needs to operate with a smaller state “permanently”. Let me translate. Austerity, like diamonds, is forever. Rather apposite, coming from the Guildhall.”

“The Lord Mayor’s bloody banquet,” said Satan. “Sycophants and numbskulls in tiaras and bow ties listening to talk of rolling back the advances made by working people.”

“A little unfair, given the charitable work involved, and rather unrealistic,” smiled Eric, wanly. “Asia’s poor do the world’s dirty work. Advanced robotics govern Britain’s remaining factories. So why grub up money for irrelevant working classes?” He pulled out a mobile, examining a message.

Leaning back, arms behind his head, Satan responded: “For the record, God loathes charity. In a world of abundance, she thinks it stinks.” The wine was releasing his tensions.

Eric looked puzzled, for just a moment, before continuing. “As I was saying, the information sits availably. In this case, that there will be no surrender by the super-rich in a financial war to thin out the world’s lower echelons.”

Satan asked if he could begin to imagine how this would affect the globe’s poorest. The old man’s eyes glazed. “That disinterests me.” His fingers rose to his lower lip in an odd way. “Now let us consider how else we tip our hand. Let’s look at real information, let’s examine JP Morgan.” Satan groaned at the name, feeling slightly ill.

“Yes, one of our mightiest banking players,” said the old man. “Which sold over $30 billion worth of worthless mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the 2007-08 crash. Media, our loyal media, sternly tell the world that the naughty boys at JPM will have to pay $9 billion in fines and provide relief to consumers worth $4 billion. Serves them right, they say.”

Eric tutted quietly. Satan didn’t have his measure yet.

The old man waited again before speaking: “Our media back it up by claiming an “overhaul” of the broader banking culture. Much safer now, more onus on risk and compliance monitoring, they trumpet. Distracting from the reality that JP Morgan obtained a blanket amnesty for illegal actions that involved countless thousands of Americans losing their homes.”

Satan detected no emotion except confidence as Eric spoke. “Do not underestimate our grip on senior politicians. In setting the fine, the Obama administration calculated the bank could absorb the loss with minimal damage. $13 billion is nothing in the scheme of things. The Justice Department’s abundant evidence of illegal activity resulted in, what shall we say, the equivalent of a very hefty parking fine. There it is, for those with eyes. Most will not make the effort to see.”

While Eric sipped his burgundy, Satan ruminated. The sub-prime mortgage probe had been just one investigation into JP Morgan. Others delved into allegations of credit card fraud, illegal debt collection practices, rigging of energy markets, complicity in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, illegal home foreclosures, bribing Chinese officials, and involvement in Libor-rigging. Yet, incredibly, the Obama administration had refrained from indicting any high-ranking JPMorgan executive, or the bank itself.

“Quite an enjoyable Saturday evening,” said Eric, neutrally. “Again, ask what information all of that conveys. Quite unambiguously, that the financial elite sits comfortably above laws applying to lower orders, who receive long prison sentences for petty crimes involving hundreds of dollars.” His right hand went to his lip again.

Eric added that Obama had a “useful track record”, quickly touching his mouth once more. He praised the US President’s 2010 decision to kill the findings of a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into financial collusion linked to 9/11 events. He spoke of the days preceding the WTC attacks, when an extraordinary number of trades had bet the stock price of American Airlines and United Airlines would fall. “Unfortunately, for enquiring minds, relevant records were destroyed,” he said.

“Observe, clearly, the real information. That politicians are puppets. The Americas are ultimately controlled by two men. One, in New York, calls the shots over the Pentagon, NASA and, of course, Congress. Frank works closely with his peer, Ignacio, who controls much of the global drugs trade, and with it the CIA, from New Mexico.”

“Why no mention of Wall Street?”

“Well that is merely a front for the Federal Reserve. Which is itself an extension of the City of London.”

Sal nodded. He was thinking about political puppetry. How, in 2008, when many of his own party wanted to have hearings on the pre-emptive attack and occupation of Iraq, President Obama said it was time to “move forward”, instead. Obama was fundamentally a decent man, yet the number of murderous overseas US drone assaults had subsequently increased, exponentially, and US weaponry has been used to pulverise Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Sal asked a simple question. “And so here, in London, you steer Cameron, Clegg and whatever other jokers kid the public that they are in charge?”

“The City is King. Orders are quietly passed down. My colleague George and I pull the strings. But never directly. The other families work similarly.”

The old man was smiling. “By the way, those jokers, as you term them, have been told that Britain must leave the European Union by the end of the decade. Watch that space carefully.”

“Why?”

“The Euro is doomed. We want the City at a distance from that.”

Nothing he said surprised Satan.

“And here is more real information,” added Eric. “We started our ascent to untold wealth long ago when creating the scam that governments need to borrow, mainly to fight wars. Utter genius.”

Satan lost himself in misery. At how war, the worst thing in the world, was so tightly tied to finance. War was worse than economic injustice; worse than racism; than sexism and homophobia. In terms of death, destruction and suffering caused to human beings, nothing came within a country mile. Mountains of human corpses, bodies ripped apart, homes torn asunder, minds permanently destroyed by psychological trauma, extremist factions rising to power and inflicting unspeakable new violence on people. While bankers salivated over the huge profits.

 

***

When Sal emerged from his reverie, Eric was still talking, unabated. “This is the only real game in town.” His pupils were dilating. “Credit produced out of thin air; generations of tax cattle paying back the principal; while governments borrow even more to pay the interest, and the crippling compound interest.”

Satan recalled the Scotsman William Paterson, who in 1694 created the Bank of England, spelling the scam out clearly. “The bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.”

Eric elaborated. “Ad infinitum, we receive an endless cash supply, based on a financing model which is little more than a valueless fiction. All property is theft. All money is debt. From cradle to grave the mass global populace are debtors who the usurer class extract surplus labour from – even in their bloody sleep. It’s a delightful system made in heaven, my heaven. There is your information, stark as daylight. Interest, and taxes, enable us to keep whole populations in servitude. Even more importantly, indebted governments obey our directives. Our clans run the Western world.”

“The world extends beyond the West,” said Satan.

Rising, Eric flexed his shoulders and neck. “There are indeed frictions with those who run Asia and other regions. Nonetheless, you will have noticed how anyone opposing the governments we control around the entire world is increasingly labelled as a terrorist. Here in Britain, to help flush away the few remnants of free speech, a so-called ‘Gagging Bill’ will be passed in January, to silence political drivel from charities. By the way, how is your wine?”

Satan nodded. He thought of the campaign gradually building to make it illegal for London Underground workers to strike, quietly edging Britain closer to 1930s Germany. “And yes,” said Eric, re-seating himself. “Dawson’s death was a shot across the bows. If these communities continue to be a nuisance, expect worse.”

Satan responded in a flash. “You don’t seem to get it. Alternative communities, full of kind-hearted people like Dave Dawson, will continue to quit your ghastly social paradigm, which is slowly killing the planet. By resisting, and creating their own narrative, they open their eyes and build their souls. And, if people like you chose to make peaceful revolution impossible, then, as JFK said, violent revolution becomes inevitable.”

Eric sniffed. “And look what happened to Kennedy. We kept control.”

The starters arrived. Marinated var salmon with lemon and vodka jelly, according to Eric, who filled Sal’s glass. With a minor frown, he asked: “You mentioned God. When we discovered you operating in Essex, I have to admit I was intrigued. Dawson’s death was partially intended to bring you here. Good tactic, eh?”

Satan pictured the Old Controller’s head smashed to fuck by a nearby candelabra. “You could have just invited me, instead of killing a man arbitrarily.”

“He was expendable.” Then a pause as astonishment slowly blanketed Eric’s face. “Are you allied with God?” Satan winked.

Again, the Old Controller was speechless for over a minute. “Have you forgotten who you are?” He shook his head. “Let me guess what that insane lunatic does all day? Based on many of his….her creations, she rages at a TV screen, buoyed by alcohol, from a big chair.”

“I’m told it’s distilled water these days,” said Satan. “Here’s a piece of real information. We’ve had ups, and many downs, but I’ve been with God’s Firm for hundreds of years now.”

For the first time that evening, Eric laughed. “So you pitch in with a God who sits for thousands of years, passively, hoping people will do the ‘right thing’ and bring about her loving paradise. If he….she has the power to create, and intervene, then why not solve the world’s so-called ‘spiritual problem’, whatever that is?”

He shook his head, truly flabbergasted. “Any chance she once held has been annexed by our Biblically censorious friends in the Vatican. They don’t dwell in hope there. They, we, any sensible being, uses free will to sew things up and nail them down: financially, politically, militarily and legally.”

The salmon was seasoned to Satan’s taste. The jelly’s vodka redolent of his Russian escapades.

“Do you really think we gained power by hoping?” asked the old man. “In our case, it required deep planning, in order to bribe, manipulate and control people, opinion and press across Europe, and then centuries following the plan. And removing thousands of individuals who stood up to us.”

Satan’s recording device, confiscated by Hoskyns, could have captured everything. Sal had to control himself, by drinking slowly, and listening keenly. “By sticking to the plan, we have brought into mass acceptability war, terror, genocide, drug- and slave-running, all of which stack up more profit. An Italian mafia capo di tutti capi occasionally advises me. That’s between you and I.”

“Congratulations for being a murderer and a twisted fuck,” said Sal. “You’ll find out how God will prevail, but only after I enjoy more of your hospitality.” His green eyes flashed. “And let’s nail down more real information. You killed somebody worth you and your degenerate associates put together. If you caught fire, I wouldn’t piss on you.”

Eric shrugged. “Let your anger out, it’s good. Then come join us. While we crank out war, terror and debt, our clans get free and unlimited access to all our civilisation has to offer; free to exercise their power without responsibility or restraint.” His hand flicked Naomi’s rump as she collected plates. Satan wondered how far up his anus a candelabrum could be hammered.

“Autonomy is us,” said Eric. “Free to create phantom enemies out of minor players – Bin Laden, Saddam, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-un, Assange, Assad – to scare people into doing what we tell them. Free to lecture the slave classes about the virtues of personal responsibility and austerity, while we rub the moral incontinence of the rich and celebrated in their faces. And free to practice our ceremonies.” The old man nodded towards the arched doorway.

***

 

Eric described a classic economic cycle.

“We are told the world economic system is inherently and increasingly crisis prone. The real information, the obvious, unhidden truth, is that financial implosions are caused by central banks, our central banks. Who else has that power?”

A nano-smile, but no light in the eyes. Satan saw how medieval kings must have felt.

“Whenever our clans decide to shrink credit to industry and to government, under some official-sounding theory, millions of people are laid off globally. Individuals and businesses borrow harder against their best equity and property collateral. Stock prices drop. People starve, lose houses, die in droves.”

He was expressionless again. “Then the chattering classes complain. Wring their lilywhite hands and tear their remaining hair over whether business red tape should be trimmed. The super-rich top up their tans, take new lovers, buy up the cheap assets. Time to extend central bank credit again. To sighs of relief, unemployment drops. Stock prices rise. Yet again we enrich ourselves, far past the point where money could ever matter.”

His insouciance had Satan riled. “Tell that to a mother watching her child die for lack of food. To the people living in their cars or on the streets.”

Sal reflected on how these bastards were prone to boasting about their descent from Pharoahs. Their older line was Sumerian DNA. An obsession with genealogy permeated Europe’s royal and aristocratic families, which interbred compulsively, as did the Eastern Establishment families of the United States which produced America’s leaders. The candidate with the most European royal genes had won every presidential election since and including George Washington in 1789. A telling and very real piece of information.

Naomi and Jamil brought plates laden with veal, mashed potatoes and a creamy mushroom sauce. Eric poured claret from a bottle whose label read: Ch Cheval Blanc, 1er Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion 2003.

Then he touched upon a recent Credit Suisse study, indicating that the world’s richest 85 people owned as much as its poorest 3.5 billion. Sal returned it nimbly. “As Mahatma Gandhi said, this world has enough to meet the needs of everyone, but not enough to satisfy the greed of even one man.”

Eric’s eyes narrowed when Satan confirmed that Gandhi was indeed back in the game, in Southend. To keep the advantage, Sal complimented the old man’s cellar. The fruity Bordeaux rolled with almost zero friction from the tongue, leaving hits of cherries, herbs, smoke and oak.

“My point remains,” said Eric. “Oxfam has estimated the net income of the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to end global poverty 4 times over.” His eyes challenged Satan again. “Collectively, the super-rich may harm the world more than Hitler could ever have.”

It got worse. Eric lauded his clan associates for running rings around black South Africans. “So much loud and unsavoury cheering when Mandela was released and the ANC won the 1994 elections,” he sneered. “Well we both know that those who suck in newspaper and televised news may as well stare at a hologram.”

“It’s an effective hologram, developed over centuries,” Sal agreed.

“So effective that it shrouded the key piece of information,” smiled Eric. “Under the power-sharing, the control of the central bank was placed into the hands of “technicians”. And who did those technicians work for?”

Satan recalled. “The white-owned banking system and the IMF.” Gandhi had followed every nuance of the ANC story, relating details on cold park nights.

Eric stared fixedly at Sal. “Those fledgling ANC politicians walked around, punching the air naively, while we kept control of the nation’s money. When Mandela walked out of prison, rich countries and banks handed the people of South Africa a bill for tens of billions of dollars of debt run up by the previous apartheid system. Instead of defaulting, and giving our financial structures a robust middle finger, they were conquered by debt before they even began.” His eyes were moistening. With amusement.

Gandhi boiled over when discussing this. In 1996 alone, South Africa had paid a whopping $2,300 million in interest and debt repayments. Taken from reconstruction funds, that sum would have provided free health care and countless new homes and schools. Instead it repaid the costs of bullets and tanks used to oppress and murder black South Africans. This, above all, was why their society had not improved as their leaders had promised.

 

***

After a protracted silence, Satan stepped in. “You’ve talked sufficiently. Now listen.” He asked Eric what came to mind when he said the word ‘Guernsey’.

“A nuisance of a rock in the English Channel.”

“A rock indeed, an island which dug itself out of financial shit by rejecting your draconian system.”

Sal described how, in 1816, after the Napoleonic Wars, Guernsey’s roads were muddy and narrow; and its coastal crumbling, leading to land loss. Guernsey’s debt to banks was about £19,000. Its annual income was around £3,000, of which some £2,400 was required to pay interest on its debt, leaving just £600 a year to run the entire island.

As part of his “penance”, following his November night of theft and debauchery, Sal had researched these numbers. “In short, interest paid to banks was reducing the populace to near-serfdom,” he said. “Employment opportunities were declining. Sound like anywhere we know?”

Eric gazed across, implacably.

Now Sal moved to the front foot. “Fortunately, it had people who realised, logically, that continuing to borrow debt-bearing bank notes from the Bank of England or any commercial bank was akin to cutting their own throats. Taking America’s example, which so riled King George, they began to print their own treasury notes, debt and interest free. A new public market and sea wall repairs were paid for this way. People agreed to accept and trade the notes. By 1821, some £10,000 of Guernsey notes were circulating. The improvements brought visitors, and new prosperity.”

Satan knew there was no denying his arguments. And that Eric lacked the spontaneity to respond. A trait of inbreeding.

“The eventual result, now evident to anyone, was a high living standard. Guernsey has one of the world’s top 10 per capita incomes. No unemployment, modern infrastructure, no government debt. And low taxes, because no debt interest to repay. Also negligible inflation, a critical test of how well an interest-free money system can work.”

“What I say,” said Satan, lifting his glass, “is that Guernsey is a model for governments everywhere on how to escape your clans’ debt strictures. Yes, commercial banks are still there, lending privately, but the Guernsey government never borrows. Never.”

Flickers of vulnerability were detectable in the Old Controller. Around his mouth.

“Here’s a statistic for you to chew on,” said Sal. “In 1937 Guernsey’s debt-free money in circulation, worth about £175,000, cost just £450 for printing and handling. A similarly-sized loan would have cost almost £11,500 annually.”

One mouthful of mash and Morel mushroom later, Satan resumed. “Implement this system in Britain, and the monetary and tax systems would be more efficient. Booms and busts would pale into insignificance. Best of all, banks’ control of industry and political life would end. A British debt default would kick start this very nicely.” Eric was pursing his lips.

“We’re touching a nerve,” grinned Satan, half his attention riveted by the incredible wine. “No surprise that the banking community didn’t appreciate Guernsey’s experiment. In 1826, a complaint was lodged with the British Privy Council – unsuccessfully – that Guernsey had no right to issue debt-free notes. In 1827, a new commercial bank, Guernsey Old Bank, began printing private notes in large quantities, so that inflation became a genuine concern.”

“We made every effort,” said Eric. “But small size and geographical isolation played in Guernsey’s favour.”

Satan recapped how a compromise persisted until World War One, when – in the typical financial sector model – all mainland bank money was directed towards the war effort. Guernsey lacked such restriction. “Today, fiscal calculations are transparent, run by a citizens’ committee, and viewable online. As also happens in Iceland.”

Eric poked at his plate. Satan rammed it in hard, to the hilt, no grease. “There is no rocket science here. When the Guernsey government wants to create some private work or service, it simply issues the money required. Over the course of almost two centuries, Guernsey has remained prosperous and stable, fostering such a favourable tax climate that hordes of offshore fund managers and insurance companies have set up, many doubtless owned by your clans.”

Across the table, Eric bit forcefully into tender young meat. Satan smacked his lips as he finished his glass. “Another good example, in the US, is North Dakota, where a public-owned state bank recycles its profits back into the state and the community.”

Sal was fully aware of the problems in establishing more of these models: the near-absence of education and clear information; the disinterest of a general public dumbed down by all manner of junk screen entertainment; and the sheer power of the trillionaire families. But he kept punching, to irritate the old man. “The world has to follow these financial prototypes, instead of private banks deploying money and influence to create financial, political and military emergencies that maintain their monopoly on money issuance. Your murdering proclivities will not stop our Southend experiment in nudging that trend forward ”

Eric took a large slug of wine. After Jamil collected their plates, feet noiseless on the thick carpet, the old man sighed. “Come, let’s walk through my archway.”

 

260. Bad company

index

 

I’m always trying to pull as many memories as possible from my dad Eric, before his dementia obliterates them. When Maureen and I were chatting with him in midweek, he acknowledged that he had “kept bad company” as a younger man.

I recorded lots of it in Blog 19, but teased a few more nuggets from him this last week. His keenest memories of the ‘scrap metal mafia’ concern the notorious Richardson gang, which ruled South London in the 1960s. Dad had played football with Charlie Richardson, and afterwards began to buy metal from the Richardsons, much of which was probably stolen, according to the mix of legend and journalism which has accrued.

I asked whether Charlie was a terror and a thug on the football field, but apparently not so. Quite an anonymous player, Eric reckoned. In ‘business’, if you can call it that, things were wildly different. Those who crossed the gang were tortured at a scrap yard in Camberwell. Victims were reportedly subjected to electric shock, cigarette burning, whipping and being pinned to the floor with 6-inch nails or having toes removed with bolt cutters. Dad remembered Eddie Richardson as being the menacing brother, although he saw very little of him.

He reiterated past comments that if you dealt with them in a straightforward manner there was no question of coming to any harm. He reckoned there was a second London yard south of the Thames, bolted onto the empire as it grew bigger, but couldn’t recall where.

He has said before that he also traded with the Krays, the Richardsons’ equally notorious rivals in North London, but now he doesn’t think he did. Who knows?

But he told me again that one of his other football mates from the same East End team rose high in the police and was thrown out of the force for taking bribes from Ronnie and Reggie Kray.

The only time that any of this darkness impacted me directly was in 1968, in my first year at high school. I arrived home from school one afternoon, to find a strange car sitting in the driveway. It contained two men in suits, who wound down the window.

“When does you dad get home son?”

I hadn’t a clue, but asked them to wait, and went out back to kick a football around. Eric told me later that, when he returned, they asked him for the profit that they had been expecting, from a metals deal that he had brokered between London and Irish-Birmingham gangs. It all fell through, but the Brummie boys still wanted their cut, and had come looking for him.

Shades of Peaky Blinders? When I asked him again today, he thought it might be Bermondsey, not Birmingham. That didn’t detract from the fix he was in.

As a serious incentive, the men let him know they had clocked which routes brother Neil and I took home from school. They gave him a short period of time to find the dough.

On the day that they returned, waiting again in the driveway, he parked the van. But didn’t get out. They left their car, strolled across, and asked if he had the money. He said it was in the back of the van. He jumped out, opened the sliding side door, and went across to a sack. Extracted the contents, turned around, and poked the shotgun in their faces. “If you ever come near me or any of my family again, I will kill both of you.”

That evening, Mum, Dad, Neil and I took a sudden two-week family holiday in Brixham, Devon. Eric drove us overnight, as if the Devil himself were in pursuit. Decades later, he told me all the details. The gang never returned, proving perhaps that some bullies can be stood up to. He said he had been terrified. But he knew that any capitulation might forever mark him for further exploitation.

He got the gun from his mate Arthur in West London, who I had never heard of. Another guy involved in the collapsed deal was Eric’s mate Leslie, also from that same football team. (What the hell was the team name? Crime Athletic? Bad Company FC?)

Adding to the symmetry, it was Leslie’s place in Devon that we fled to. Which has in turn reminded me that Dad and Leslie managed to jointly buy a house in Islington, but then Leslie used the house as collateral on another failed venture.

Because Dad wanted some of his money back, he took Neil and I one afternoon to Leslie’s shop in Upminster. It sold high-end women’s clothing, and the clientele and staff were appalled to see three males clad in old garments shrouded with the soot and grime produced by burning the rubber away from copper wire. Fresh from Pitsea refuse tip, we sat doggedly until Leslie drove down to the shop and gave Dad a brown envelope.

Most of this is told from the safe vantage of a future from which I can look back and think ‘rather him than me’. Dad’s version is that he led a “colourful life”. I had a brave (but intimidating) man as a father.

Back in 2012-13, when I got into Buddhism, it stuck with me how the Buddha is said to have recommended people make a ‘right livelihood’. By pursuing ethical and compassionate work. It’s advice worth considering.

And occasionally I wonder about the possible negativity that may have trickled down the years for himself, Mum, Neil and I, as a result of the scrap metal profession. ‘Bad karma’, intangible and impossible to measure.

 

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259. Nanny Godier

 

Some of the elderly clients I encountered on the care job have jogged my memories about the last years of my long-gone grandmother, Violet Godier.

She is the bride at the centre of this photo. (Which I love. What a bunch of twisted, roguish, possibly inbred Cockneys I descend from!).

 

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I mentioned her back in Blog 160, and her view that UFOs could regularly be seen over Hackney Marshes.

Today, I dipped into a parallel realm, by talking to her as I sat in a beautifully warm bath. I did so on the basis that if spirits can live on, past death, then they may be hanging out in dimensions right next to us. I thanked her for all the love and generosity she dished out to me as a child, youth and young man. And praised the tenacity and courage she showed in her life, notably after the death of her husband Harold when my dad was in only his second year, and also in her last decade. Told her that I missed her.

It somehow felt like she heard. I wonder.

Blighted by dementia, Dad now remembers very little about his mum’s later years and demise. I told him the other day how, when the tower block she inhabited in Homerton, East London became intimidating and dangerous for its residents in the late 1980s, Maureen and I cajoled a Chelmsford councillor into helping Violet gain a place in a warden-run housing complex just a few miles from us.

Having lived in the East End all her life, Nanny took a while to fit in. She would often phone us for advice, or just a reassuring chat. She hesitated in the effort to find new friends. But would walk half a mile to the local supermarket. Or come across on the bus to visit us. Gradually she acclimatised.

Then, tragically, just a few weeks after our first child Lauren was born, Violet broke her hip. As happens with many elderly hip-breakers, she never fully recovered; never regained full mobility. There were later complications with her bowels. Unable to get out, her mind began to deteriorate.

I had forgotten, but Maureen remembers Violet calling us in the middle of the night with shopping lists. Sometimes, I would finish the next day’s milk round, get the shopping and call round. More than once, I found her stranded in her hallway, leaning on her walking frame, with excrement plastered to her legs. I would clean her as best I could; and find her new clothes.

To keep her spirits buoyed, I would try and visit with Lauren (whose favourite part of the visit was banging hard on the piano keys in the large downstairs events room), but Violet’s growing incontinence started to make it difficult to take a young child. Eventually, her condition meant that she had to live in a care home over at Brentwood, near my parents.

Her condition slowly worsened. As Alzheimers set in, she did not recognise her grandchildren, or really comprehend that she had any. The dementia may have been a blessing: I hope that it took the edge off the utter loneliness that she would have felt in a place full of strangers. I think her stay lasted around 4 years, until her death in 1994. I try not to think about it.

Memories. When we were just kids, my brother Neil and I would make an impolite beeline for her shopping bag whenever she came out to Essex. There would be bars of Galaxy chocolate, and other sweets. Followed by coins for our money-boxes. She called us “a right pair of little monkeys”. When she babysat, we loved to run around naked before bed, chancing that she would laugh, rather than chastise.

Violet liked to take Neil and I on the bus to Southend, when she visited. There was a boat trip from the pier, where she gashed her shin stepping aboard. Typically, she didn’t fuss. 15 or so years later, as we stood together on the platform at Stratford tube station, she saw two lads picking on a younger boy and marched across, flourishing her umbrella at the bullies like a medieval sword.

Boxing Day visits to Hackney stay in my head. The roaring coal fire, lifting the kitchen and dining room temperatures to sometimes unbearable heights. Contrasting with the cold back rooms and hallway. Uncle Arthur, her ‘lodger’/lover. Roast potatoes and chicken, dripping with fat, and quickly followed by dessert in amounts so vast that fullness was guaranteed. Dad falling asleep in the armchair. The outside toilet, traversed across a dark yard, lit by a small battery lamp. Her sisters Lil and Flo lived upstairs. Dad’s cousin Terry and his wife Maureen next door. Old-fashioned family arrangements.

Violet was chirpy, outspoken, good-natured and brave. He sing-song East London voice remains in my head.

There is voluminous evidence concerning near-death experiences (NDEs). Enough to let me at least consider that this life may not be all. If – as so many NDEs testify – there is a tunnel, with light at the far end, I’ve often felt she will be waiting for me.

258. The City of Corruption

OUT OF ESSEX – Chapter 33

 

The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?

Virginia Woolf

 

 

As he had run across the park to fetch his leathers and helmet, his first thought was murder, a heart for a heart. Emerging from Southend, Satan gunned the Ducatti Diavel down the Arterial Road, as the A127 was known, for 30 seconds. Then he eased back the throttle, remembering about speed limits. He lacked a driving license, and his emotions were all over the place.

By Basildon he was calmer. When he reached Romford’s outskirts, at the Gallows Corner roundabout, gusts of fresh rain smoothed his thinking. The fact remained. He had failed. In protecting the park residents from the darkness.

Sal drove through a last stretch of Essex greenery before the Moby Dick pub began London’s conurbation. Dave was dead. None had been so loved at the park. How to handle this?

Several weeks ago, Buddha’s team had supplied the London address, using remote viewing techniques, combined with all the pictorial options on Google maps to locate their target. It had not been easy, but Sid had tutored his team past a block of virtual trap doors and blind alleyways inserted into the ether.

The motorbike transited the Gants Hill and Wanstead roundabouts, then the massive underpass at Leytonstone. Sal wondered if Micky Gaze could step up. The rain increased along the M11 link road, maintaining its force until the Bow Road roundabout. In the Mile End Road, heading west, he halted by a group of teenagers crossing at a red light opposite the Blind Beggar, the Whitechapel pub where Ronnie Kray shot one of the Richardson gang, in 1966.

Sal thought about that year. The Church of Satan had been formed in San Francisco, and the first foundations of the World Trade Centre were laid. His thoughts were broken when the tallest youth walked up to him, shoved his shoulder and demanded money. Satan pulled up his visor and looked at him. He held the lad’s gaze while the lights went green, and hooters erupted from behind. When the kids moved away, Sal knew no plan was the best plan.

***

 

As Satan penetrated the City of Corruption, a plane took off from Southend airport, flying in the opposite direction. Ravenous-Glutton asked his Arabic-looking stewardess if in-flight pornography was available on the 1,427-mile flight to Marrakesh. His tensions required easing.

***

 

Satan’s nostrils worked keenly. Above the exhaust of the road, familiar smells emerged, dominated by Jesuit and Knights of Malta. Rank, debased smells.

Now, in the moment, Sal remembered himself, the utter glory of what he had been, and his fall and punishment. Stripped of his wings. Then the choice offered by God, to be part and parcel of all-pervading Goodness, God-guaranteed for time and eternity but able to operate on his own terms. No looking back, no more self-recriminating.

Grateful for his enduring vitality, strength, and intellect, he pulled the bike into a side lane off Gresham Street, slowing into a dark back alley. He locked the Diavel by an overflowing wheelie bin. Removing his gloves, he rapped on what looked like a stable door.

***

 

Hoskyns had set his master’s table for 47 years. Eric had intimated, tongue-in-cheek, that Satan himself would dine with them one evening, so a spare place must always be laid. Eyes twinkling, he stressed Satan would be very beautiful and instantly recognisable by his hooves. When the Devil appeared, Hoskyns was immediately to place on ice a Montrachet Grand Cru 2008, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, the Master specified.

The knock at the back door surprised Hoskyns. The extraordinarily tall stranger at the threshold certainly had a handsome face. He gestured to be allowed in. Glancing at the hands, Hoskyns knew this was ordained, but insisted he remove his boots. After body-scanning the gentleman, he fetched the white burgundy.

 

 

257. Enduring January

 

I’ve found that it’s worth paying attention to any blog from Mark Bickerton, on his website at https://markbickerton.com.

Mark blogs sparingly, making any new post stand out more clearly. His latest, on the death of his old friend and Coronation Street actor Neville Buswell, argued that if you live in Britain, January is the best month to turn your toes north.

Mark wrote: “It only feels right for death to be announced in January, when everybody already seems miserable. Much better is it not that if we’re to snuff it, we do so this month, when the streets are never quite aired and everything and everybody looks and feels like punctured mistletoe…..get the mourning out of the way and leave the rest of the year for kicks.”

Terrific writing that poetically nails a grim British reality. January is (generally) dull, cold, wet, shite, grey and anti-climactic. To be endured, mostly. If it wasn’t for the cluster of birthdays in the Godier family (11th, 13th, 22nd and 27th), I would willingly hibernate through the whole bleak month.

This time around the new care work has drained me. My back aches, as chunks of the work have involved bending over beds, pulling and pushing elderly bodies that require their continence pads changed. Mentally, it has been a challenge to accept being ‘carried’ by young, female partners that are energetic, can multi-task and have the experience to make quick decisions as I procrastinate.

I mentioned the neglect of one of the clients (I called him Keith) in a previous blog. It breaks me every time we leave him, alone, propped up on a settee, for four hours. It isn’t right. “Please don’t go,” he says, oxygen tube hanging from his nostrils. The girls tell me that you have little choice but to harden against these things, that others are in a worse condition, that our care “makes a difference”. But it doesn’t. Because he lacks company, or hope, and because his COPD and crumbling skeleton are irreversible, because the money for deeper care is unavailable, Keith wants to pass on. Our care keeps him in agony.

For sure is that the novelty has soon worn off. There was initially an adrenaline charge, driving from one client to the next. Now, because a choice had to be made, I’ve chosen to hand in my notice.

Every February/March I work for an insurance company in Belgium. They want me to start next week, and often need stuff at very short notice. Which means it could not be combined with the carefully scheduled care work.

I knew the choice was coming. Wasn’t sure which way I would swing. In the end, it was easy. I expressed my gratitude to the care company for the opportunity to learn and earn. Will look again at care options in April. Maybe personal assistant work.

The feeling of temporary freedom was palpable. I took a stroll late yesterday afternoon around the village. The light is seeping back. Buds are doing their thing. Gardening and cycling will beckon in a month or two. Lots of the darkness has been traversed.

 

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