Sjoe’s!

I can’t believe it! They fired me!.

“Well, not fired. Retrenched,” someone said.

“The difference is?” She asked with tears, snot and sound effects.

Mr Frans was not available for comment. His elderly doberman-fierce secretary’s spectacles glazed into ice rinks. One had to be slick-sharp to get through the icey security beams extending from her glare on a good day.

Damn it to hell, she thought, as she headed for the train.

Caroline wore high heels. She mastered the art of walking like a cat on the sidewalk as if it were a six-foot wall, out of reach of the dogs, stepped to, and sometimes hummed, “Fur Elise” by Beethoven.

“Not ‘Bait hoven’! It is Bea-t-hove-n!” Her proper English mentor-friend corrected her. She smiled remembering how Joy, the Germaine Monteil Cosmetic consultant, (yes, her name was Joy) had this passionate fight about classical music with the manager of the music department about the importance of melody. Joy, a true connoisseur, became most agitated. Caroline agreed with Joy over tea in their break, but she knew nothing about the science of sound.

She was, however, still a hopeless romantic who believed in fairies, according to some, and who stepped out in fine imported fabric dresses made for models, donated by fashion factories because they were “too small for anyone else, “alive,” apparently, to a love song written in 1810 by Bea-t-hove-n.

But, that was then. She did not dance that day. Being model sized thin, wearing the finest fabrics did not matter. It was a drudging-in-boots day, through thick mud, in Siberia, with iced rain blowing from the front, cutting lines into her face, with precision, to Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ album.

“It’s going to get harder…”

She thought she would die of heartbreak. This loss was what Ayn Rand called, grey and ugly.

She no longer went on cat walks. What for? Who for, was the more appropriate question. She had been dumbfounded by love lost and then, more devastated than by divorce, she discovered, a job lost. And it wasn’t even about the money. She shrugged her twenty-something skinny shoulders.

Years later she was in the secret service, still in high heels and, according to Garp, hadn’t aged a day. Caroline became more like a busy, almost late for class, nun; her bangles rattled about as much as rosary beads, a comforting throwback from her school days. Jingling bangles comforted her as much as chocolate.

I march, she thought. That was it. No more cat walks, though her brown, curled hair still fell well below her shoulders. Her dresses were longer, a bit more flouncy, hardly secret service material, although black enough. The fabric was fine, soft and pliable, falling about her frame, which was no longer stick insect thin. Protests were sometimes put forward about her casual attire, but she was quite unaware of her impact on others.

“She’s our Mary Poppins. Let her be,” the grey-haired man, the division head, said, dismissing the drooling league, achingly like the characters in Anthem, with a sequence of numbers for names.

Alberto Bruno West had hired Caroline Brusky on a blue-sky day. She was not vaguely interested in his opinion of her experience, which was zero. She stared out of the window of his high rise office at the city. An innocent, he thought. She had walked off the street and asked if he could use her at all.

“I am without encumbrances and almost invisible already. I was thinking I could be good for something in the secret service. I need a job too, but more than that, if you know what I mean. I want to be paid fairly well – I will earn it – and I want to do something that matters. I don’t see the point in charity work. I have expensive tastes too. I have taken to food a little more of late.”

“What did you take to before?”

“Books,”she said.

“Want to learn to shoot?” He asked her.

“I already learned to shoot. I need to learn to hit something,” she said.

“We can teach you that here,” he said smiling. “You do realise that if you fail at your job here, you die. Well, most of the time you die. Sometimes you get caught and tortured and then you die,” he said expecting some sort of reaction.

“Of course. Best I learn to hit something soonest then, Sir.”

He didn’t exactly know whether she would or could do the job, he just liked the look of her. Besides her direct honesty was so rare it melted his innards. He felt it go, like warm honey runs off toast down one”s fingers. She didn’t seem to change over the years. She still came to his office and stared out at the city with the same intensity seeming to fill her very being with effervescent light

Caroline had no idea she had an ally or even antagonists. Her work was small in the grand scheme of things. She felt fortunate. She really didn’t care what it demanded of her. At least she had her own office and it wasn’t glass. It was stuck in a corner out of everyone’s way. It had a small window that looked onto the building next door, into an apartment where there was a man and a woman. Mostly a woman.

She was given crazy jobs watching dangerous people, and she did it well. She was a tad older, wore wedding rings, read books in all sorts of places, some of which were dangerous places, drank gin and smoked cigarettes too much, but there wasn’t much to preserve herself for. She didn’t mind dying on the job. She didn’t know enough to be tortured for anything, so, she thought, how hard could it be?

Her latest target was a rogue who wore soft cotton shirts that ballooned at the back from the belted waist of his suit pants. He always wore a suit. He had an ample body, not fat, just sufficient. Not hard, but upright.

“His face, she said, pausing while recording, “What’s to say? Smouldering with anonymity, sexual danger and a glint of evil dabbed on high cheekbones like powder. Light flicks on and off his one time broken nose, which only adds to the mystery of his past, unknown to most, and on his lips, which always seem to be just finished or about to begin a smile. And, as if one needs more, he wears a pleasant aftershave that leaves a faint trace on the palms of those who shake his hand. I shook his hand at a wine tasting after it became apparent he left a smell on the hands he shook. It was a hot day. I wore a hat and sunglasses. I wore a beige suit.” she paused again and then added, ” I bet he refreshes his perfumed hands every now and again.”

“Target is violent, but subtle about it. Like a cat that keeps the mouse alive, enjoying its attempts to escape, even though there are deep bleeding holes in its tiny body and its light wanes. The mouse is obliged to fight for its life. The mouse, however, is not confused. The cat is trying to kill it.

“The human being, on the other hand, is somehow easily confused by his enemies. He can’t seem to stand the idea, in the face of evidence, hard evidence, that the man is likely to murder him.”

“The target makes contact with his marks (men and women) and seduces them with dinners and long meaningful (on the surface) conversations over drinks in the bar. He has cultivated and mastered the voice of what we all imagine is a good, kind man. Once they all but love him, he ignores them.

It should be noted that the target does not actually speak much. He is an able listener and mostly asks questions that require long answers. Ignoring his new mark/s only make them more interested in him. No matter how rude he may be to them, they will hear nothing bad said about him. Although these traits are for personal use and for no apparent gain, the ability to foster loyalty in spite of obvious unpleasantness benefits the target in supplying illegal weapons to various groups with nefarious ambitions.”

She concluded the initial report with her signature. “Request a meeting to discuss further.”

Alberto dictated a time and date. He smiled a little. His Mary Poppins had done her job, again, as promised, without detection. He did not ask how.

One of Caroline’s skills was to befriend a person closest to the target. It so happened that from her office she could observe this person closely from behind her desk. It did not take too long to figure out her routine and her inclinations. Once they became coffee shop friends, she discovered a rare being that the rogue could not at once figure out.

His long deliberate absences aimed at isolating her did not work. She busied herself. She believed that she could prove him wrong about joy and love, by loving him, and giving evidence for joy.

“He keeps saying, “You are just like everyone else,” Miranda told her. “I said that I had, at our first meeting, conceded that. I am quite ordinary,” she said and then sipped her hot coffee as if she had said nothing out of the ordinary. There was no opposition. Not a shred of vanity to attack. She did not realise how that kept her safe, so far.

The rogue never hides his goal or his distorted view of man. He believes that man is incapable of true love, that all fail and deserve to be punished for their lie, for pretending to love him. The victim usually protests. Miranda was no different.

“It will never be like that!”

In this she was strong. She knew she could love him forever and that she would, if he allowed her, change his mind.

“Prove it!” He demanded.

Trying to prove one loves a rogue is futile, but it successfully halts escape.

“Okay,” Miranda said before putting some medium rare fillet into her mouth and chewing with smiling eyes.

She could not have foreseen the arrival of a dashing friend from school and her hometown who happened to be a male and who happened to want to spend time with her.

“I have a boyfriend, but he is always working. He’s very busy,” she said clearing that up at once.

She could not know that the rogue had her watched and that the hugs and cheek kisses were reported back to the boss of things.

One Saturday night she accepted a dinner date with the dashing Douglas. They went to a place on the beach front, talked all night, it seemed, drank too much and walked back to her apartment in the early hours of the morning. Miranda did not give it a thought. The man had told her he would be home, probably, just before dawn. There was nothing unusual in that.

It became unusual when they arrived in the lobby. He sat on the couch, waiting for her, with a thunderous frown and thin lips.

“Hi! This is my school friend, Douglas,” Miranda said.

“I’m sure,” he said.

If Miranda didn’t get it, Douglass did.

“Well I will say goodnight then,” Douglas said. “Thanks, Miranda. It was great catching up.”

Caroline was already up to speed. She raced to her office to see them enter Miranda’s apartment and witness the accusations and defences.

He destructed her sparkle with insane accusations, at first, then as the nights rolled on, he delivered the odd crack to her face. After some months he used his fist. Miranda refused to react. She took the blows like a fellow combatant.

“What happened to your face?” Caroline asked

“Ag, a huge misunderstanding I can’t seem to straighten out. It’s nothing,” she said.

It is always “nothing” until it becomes something. One night he hit her hard enough to make her scream.

“I can’t stand it anymore,” Miranda said and began to cry in the coffee shop the next evening. Caroline hugged her. “Come home with me,” she said. “Take a little time out.”

Miranda was exhausted. She obeyed and fell asleep on Caroline’s couch very quickly. Caroline slipped out quietly. It took very little time to position herself at the window of her office.

She had learned to shoot and hit something. When he moved into her sights, his attention captured by Miranda’s briefcase left on her desk, Caroline aimed and then squeezed the trigger. The glass gave way, the bullet entered his heart, he dropped like a fly, still smelling of fine after shave lotion.

Had her heart not been filled with light, the light of the Divine, even though she would never have thought that it was, at the time, Miranda would not have begun to walk slowly and quietly back into her life.

Peace took back the building like a tree unchecked will grow in the middle of the room, through concrete foundations, because it is a tree’s natural inclination to grow up and out of darkness, emerging as a tender soft thing.

She got life. Hard time. Time.

“The debt must paid!” The antagonists bayed.

Miranda was safe. The target was terminated and she didn’t much care about doing time for that. But, just like in the movies, once the noise died down she was driven out of the prison yard in a black secret service vehicle with a new identity.

Thanks, Sir,” she said. Her long hair was short, a different colour and she wore the standard secret service trousers and jacket.

“Bruce, try not to shoot anyone from this building,” Alberto said.

“I do believe I will be working in another building from now on. Media is my brief,” she said.

“I am sure you will do fine, Bruce,” Alberto said savouring her new name.

“Will certainly do fine, Sir.”

She stared out at the buildings. Alberto saw again the effect, fleeting but intense, of light that comes of seeing great and marvellous things. He could hardly believe how she transformed herself.

“Did you always have short hair?” He asked.

“Sjoes! I’d never cut my hair, Sir?” She answered.

“So it’s like that?”

It’s extremely dangerous to ask people stupid questions.

They may not even think about those things until they get asked. If you had just allowed them to just keep walking/scrolling we would have been safe.

Abortion, Brexit, Iran and the existence of aliens and short prison sentences for the unvaccinated are not questions for busy, going somewhere at a gallop, somewhat confused, population while under pressure to just keep breathing while presently freezing or melting in a heat wave and possibly dehydrated and hungry with low blood sugar.

Stupid questions can change a country. That’s how we got Brexit!

Everyone knows the right answer. But then, ask a yes/no answer question, and the heretofore law abiding sensible human will let the rebel out. “Yeah! Let’s do that!

Add alcohol at the end of a long day of sword fighting on common ground with an uncommonly aggressive, crowd who are like fur seals, on a patch of beach whose business it is to defend a bit of sand, with their teeth. They have a lot of weight behind them, and they will use it, to discourage standing too long, breathing, in the wrong garden, with or without a beer. They will fling their heavy bodies at suspect usurpers. Fur seals don’t care what you think. Do it somewhere else.

Wounds resulting from these encounters demand cauterising, with alcohol, to help one forget the ejits one surrounds oneself with in order to get ahead. It is not as if one can avoid them. They are everywhere!

Don’t ask them if they would support short prison sentences for those who believe that freedom is an inalienable right.

Ask them if they would support temporary detention. It sounds better. Our Trevor Noah is no longer funny. He defends women’s right to a Personal Choice. Sounds better than abortion: the right to terminate a human when he’s completely helpless and unable to speak.

I am yet to hear someone to call it as it is: the right of women to fornicate with noncommittal men, one at a time.

Women are empowered to terminate life because they are weak, vulnerable, sensitive and victims of accepting invitations to… you know, get fucked, at parties, for instance, dressed in victim outfits, drinking brews that numb the last thinking brain cell while dancing. Pure victims. And these abused orgasmic pioneers demand that personal choice.

We don’t want to change. It’s so fun to be permanently drunk and behave badly. We, the women, have, after all, been abused by kings, princes and others. We should be allowed to …

But, you may not, however, under any circumstances choose not to be injected with some brew which may or may not make you infertile or mad in 10 years or so. No one knows the long term effects because we have not lived long enough. And it is not unreasonable to say, “I’d rather die than take the brew.” That’s a personal choice. At least the only life that you are terminating is your own. That’s something.

I am fully jabbed. BUT I AM 71. I can risk infertility and I am already quite mad. If I were a young woman I would worry that said brew may be genetically transferred to my babies who may be affected in all sorts of unexpected ways in 10 (or more) years time.

China is now murdering hamsters. These are children’s pets! I believe they eat cats, bats and dogs so… There being limited pet choice, hamsters. Humans gave them covid. Their sentence? Death.

We do want to be seen to reject China’s right to have re-education programs for those who grew up with stupid ideas about the divine in facilities which may be mistaken for concentration camps. In the West it is okay to say that we think that is just horrible, between beers, and a song you love dancing to. But, regarding matters in the west, where the government still says it allows free thinking, citizens disassociate (traumatised as we are) and respond: “Yes! Let’s support a bit of prison time for the unvaccinated.”

And, ” Play nice. Don’t insult China at the winter games. Don’t talk about organ harvesting, uygers and killing hamsters.” It is after all, just temporary and detention doesn’t actually mean prison, which happily resolves the problem of insulting China. That, after all, is what China does. Glass houses and all that.

Oh, you have a miniture Yorkshire Terrier? A poodle? A horse? Shame. You gave your pet covid. Shame on you! Let’s protect our hamsters. Cruelty to animals is, after all, something we don’t stand for.

I keep telling myself, don’t watch the bloody news!

However, forget all that.

Granny called. “Sasha, we are living in that day. It is in the Bible!” Indeed. “As in the days of Noah.” We demand the right to party, lie, randomly fornicate, imprison anti-vaxers and now finally, a new low, to kill hamsters.

Adele… bless her heart. If she gave her concert, and it wasn’t good enough, they would rip her to pieces. Cancelling a show she wasn’t happy with (Covid and all that) earned her “disappointment” which zoomed in from so called big, big fan. The BBC is being kinder this morning. I am sure someone with fur seal weight said, “That’s just not cricket!”

Meanwhile, Tonga is dealing with volcanic ash and there are still children in Yemen who are fighting for the right to live.

A little bit of trivia. “Do you know why they called them match box cars?” “Ha Ha. No. Actually I don’t.” “They originally came in match boxes. If you had the original match box …”

Of course we kept the match box it came in! We were kids! We just knew that in 2022 someone would give us more money if we kept those cars in the match box, in pristine condition, just for a time like this.

Keep the faith. Keep the faith. Keep the faith.

LOVE AND LIGHT

139 Wednesday.

Gibbs (NCIS) quoted Butch Cassidy. “Next time I say let’s go to Bolivia, kid, let’s go to Bolivia.” A personal favourite.

I am looking forward to, Munich – The Edge of War, on Netflix next Friday.

Kimberley Jones. Activist and author.

“They are lucky that black people are looking for equality, and not revenge.”

LOVE AND LIGHT.

Time travelling Tuesday 138

I am winding down. I am comfortable and without complaint, and can now feel the effects. Causes piled up. It is time to absorb them now.

I have chosen feeling as opposed to medicated. I still control anxiety. That’s enough. I go cautiously, but I am hopeful that this time I will manage my feelings without medication. I have a happy place to risk it.

The old piano left. It was too old to tune. I had to terminate our collective sentimentality. I bought it in the “far north” and it has ventured with us from abode to abode, symbol of a time that was lovely. My musical children.

Fe’ would be practicing in the afternoon. I thought it was all just beautiful. Our tenant on the other side of the wall loved it and I couldn’t hear the wrong note her sister noticed.

Ambivalent warning. I heard (while knitting) that the Americans are considering shorter sentences for those convicted of a crime. I did hear Biden say drunk driving is not an arrestable offence. And I heard that Britain is considering longer sentences to clear the backlog? I only noticed this bit of news because I am aware of the negative energy effect of prisons on inmates, their families and the community the prison sits in. I live in fairyland. There must be a better way.

In defence of Biden: I met and got to know a man who went to prison for driving drunk and killing someone in the process. He lived on the street. I saw him age rapidly from a 40 something to a 60 something in appearance. He died on my watch, of death. Slow death. Execution may have been kinder. One cannot get a job with a prison record in South Africa unless you are Nelson Mandela.

A bit on the increase in traffic accidents in the UK. The opinion seems to be the absence of traffic police because they have a lower number of those. The camera captures show the risky moves drivers make.

When I lived in England my observation was that drivers were courtious and they observed the rules of the road. I became a relaxed driver there and for my trouble I was nearly crashed out in the far north when we came back. We are not a patient lot. We do all sorts of mad stuff on the road. The difference is, here you drive expecting someone to be impatient and we are prepared for some insane person to come over the blind rise on the wrong side of the road and subconsciously prepared to evade hurtling steel on wheels. When we are preoccupied with some other life threatening thing, we have an accident.

Dominic Raab, Deputy Prime Minister is a nice man who is regularly delivered for public torture by Kay Burly. The word, “frustration” is at the core of all responses.

Covid has frustrated everyone and we may be hyper sensitive; getting drunk and pushing the envelope in traffic is an effect. Stuff is going to happen.

Covid has made us all mad. Mad that we are poorer and we still have to grow our children up and and and And! If we no longer stop at traffic lights we will be a self regulating society, like Kenya, where the code of the road is not the same as the rule of the road.

One aspect that has my attention in all this party partying hoo-hah – storm in a wine glass thing that the poor prime minister is dealing with is, Who is Susan Gray? The last person on earth whose reputation for ethics and fearlessness is notable. Do not die, Sue Gray! We need you. Apparently. Britain needs someone to think straight.

I am not a fan of Boris Johnson or Trump, but I do hate betrayal and kicking a man when he is down. And even though I am not a fan, not that my opinion is even informed, I am sympathetic. Keeping your head when everyone is losing theirs is no small feat.

Kindness is required. The benefit of the doubt. Peace to piece the country back together again. Our leaders are human. They need to focus on the priorities of the day. This, Kay Burley, says is how the government seeks to distract “us” from the party partying. I know. I live in fairyland. My fairyland is not giving Ms. Burley a visa.

LOVE AND LIGHT.