Chapter forty four
-‘Have you ever heard of Shari Paba?’-
-‘Hey, hey Tessa, leave my friend in peace.’- said Duna. -‘You found us finally now just forget it.’-
-‘Your friend! This useless pile of pus and pigshit!’- She was pointing at the disheveled Damo. -‘How could you choose this for your friend!?’-
-‘Shut your fat mouth you stupid… .’-
-‘No no no stop it now Damo that’s finished. Stop it Tessa and Damo don’t provoke her. Show them the artwork, come on.’-
Damo opened the red file obediently. Dour and glowering
-‘Okay not bad.’- Rafa was having a look as well.
-‘Don’t get it dirty, it’ll be an A5 leaflet, Maxie and Macker on one side, and the Prisoners Campaign on the other. Two little photos, details of the next demo, where to send your protest..’-
-‘It’s perfect’- said Rafa -‘How many will they print?’-
-‘We have to decide now. It’s through here. Damien can you ring Bernie and say they’ve arrived.’-
-‘No wonder we didn’t find it.’- said Tessa as they entered the complex.
Rafa and Lila began chatting in rapid Spanish, waving their arms at random.
The ex sports club was turning into a maze of bars, restaurants, balconies, stages and semicircular spaces, lit by wide skylights, and even retaining some healthy sports facilities. They were threading their way through the volunteers and builders, to the already finished part adjoining the Zoo-Pools Center.
-‘It’s the other door you go in, really.’- said Duna.
-‘Oh yes and they said they need more helpers for painting, tonight. We said at least three of us will come.’-
-‘You can count on me, claro que si.’- said Rafa. And the others nodded.
-‘As long as I don’t have to work with Damo!’- said Tessa. Shrugging darkly.
-‘Don’t start that again, please please.’-
-‘What CLAN are you lot then?- asked Travis. Lounging down with Bradley under the boardwalk.
-‘Sunshine of course.’- said Sanny, pointing at the smiling sun, radiating from her navel, swiveling her tray and her hips, so her seedpods crackled.
-‘Now who here wants cold beer?’-
-‘Everybody I reckon.’- said Willis who was passing.
Stopping to stare at her, he unclipped his sweaty helmet and ducked into the makeshift bar, followed by two more bored soldiers.
-‘Really we’re a Clan support group, not real Sunshiners.’-
-‘Hey wow I think I saw you on Clanners Way!’-
-‘Cool gear kids. Are those real tattoos?’-
-‘Three fours, I win!’– said Brydi. -‘Anyone else playing?’-
-‘I’ve got six beers here.’-
-‘Yeah let’s play then. We could be stuck here for hours.’- said Travis, and Sanny sat in beside him.
glossary: Clan Fashions/Sunshine
-‘I said, militarily irrelevant.’-
-‘Sorry Sir?’- said Joshua the interviewer. -‘Could you explain that Sir?’-
-‘It’s not about winning militarily. We could crush them like ants. It’s about faith in money and business. These people are like a virus, our investors got zero faith right now.’-
He leaned back, perilously bending the plastic chair.
-‘They say they’re harmless family type CoOps, getting beaten up on by our special troops.’-
-‘That’s so so wrong Joshua. They’re experts at media manipulation. While we don’t even have censorship.’-
-‘We got memos saying we gotta pull together as our boys are in danger. What does that mean, Sir?’-
-‘Right now we are being slandered by bleeding heart intellectuals, on hundreds of Free-Net TV channels. Channels that have zero credibility. All these programs about World Hunger and Debt Traps and, and even Climate Extinctions and Saving the goddamn Cockroach. They want to blame everything on our boys.’-
He paused to burp and proudly pat his bellies. –
-‘Racist, sexist, anything ‘ist’ they can think of. Pumping it out twenty four seven non-stop! These unreliable sources need to be eliminated for the sake of Democracy.’-
-‘But we don’t agree with censorship, sir.’-
He finally looked down at Joshua, a dangerous looking look. Josh was nervously chewing his tongue.
-‘We need to look hard at our sources son. If during this emergency, we take our information only from our trusted journalists, embedded with our boys. Er, so we can be sure not to get twisted by evil propaganda, and follow the path of truth and justice, set down by our Lord in the Holy Bible… You got that, sonny?….. Now get lost.’-
-‘Yes Sir. Thank you Sir. Good night.’- said Josh.
-‘Hey Wiply did they check this boy’s papers properly.’-
Lila, Duna and Damo were leafleting at the main park gates. Having split up to better cover the throng of people flooding in. But they reached just a fraction of the people, and the leaflets were getting low. The crowds seemed nervous and angry, excited and would-be festive, but with a raw, violent edge.
-‘Here’s a leaflet about our friends who got arrested.’- Lila spoke in English with perfect intonation, she could do lots more phrases besides.
Damo was trying not to be gruff and unfriendly, trying not to stare at his shoes.
The clouds had evaporated, it was late but still sunny, windy and very hot.
Duna saw a familiar face, a couple.. hard to place.. then her memory clicked.. On the quay when they had first arrived. Janie was young and jolly and even more pregnant than then.. Janie and Jimmy.. Macker and Maxie’s friends. Yes, they had met on the pier, getting off the boat.
Then she remembered herself saying -‘Congratulations señora Maxie.‘- ..on Kazoo, of course!
Duna was quick and clever, and she dropped her gaze casually as she turned away unseen. But Janie and Jimmy had spotted Damien in the throng and remembered he was Macker’s brother, beaming, kissing and greeting him.
Jimmy and Damo were slapping shoulders, partly blocking the heaving crowd.
Janie was looking at the leaflet, suddenly clutching at her enormous tummy, slapping her own face hard.
-‘Oh Damo is this true oh no no no it can’t be true!’- she cried.
-‘Yes but we’ll get them back, everybody’s er, helping.’-
-‘They got Kazoo. The bastards got Kazoo!’– she yelled. As people turned and gaped.
-‘Yes, well she..’-
But Janie was starting to wail, shouting –‘Fucking Bastards.’- and comforting made her worse. Then Jimmy started raging and roaring as well, and the whole section of the mob was stopping, pushing and dangerously blocking.
Damo and Duna squeezed Janie through the gates and turned sideways, out of the crush of people coming through. Everybody was staring and craning to see.
Jimmy was yelling that the killers got his friend.
But Janie really was taking a bad turn. Now she’d bitten her tongue. With scarlet blood all down her turquoise blouse.
-‘Damo run over to that flag with the red cross and get a doctor over here now.-‘ said Duna, hugging Janie tight..
-‘Don’t be sad Janie. Please don’t be sad, come on. Maybe you’ll have your wonderful baby today!’-
-‘Ladies and Laddies.. Goodies and Baddies!.. I give you!.. Exclusively here today!.. The right Horrible!.. GENERAL.. TOOTSY.. COOPERS!.. ‘-
Curiosity and the excellent sound system gradually won out, shushing the hubbub of the gigantic protest meeting.
-‘General. Is it true what they’re saying? Shut up back there and listen now.. General Tootsy, is it true that civilian casualties aren’t counted? Aren’t we human beings as well?’-
-‘Now listen you all here. There’s good and bad all over. I reckon it’s your viewers who are racists.’-
-‘But would any decent person join the army of the Evil Empire?’-
-‘Our only goal is to spread happiness, prosperity and Our Western Values around the globe.’-
-‘Lovely, er General. Do you know that our young CLAN friends here have united to accuse you of collaborating in the murder of five hundred million people?’-
-‘Now that’s what we call poppycock, son!’-
A group of Clan Eagles had appeared, swooping and looping over the vast crowd, disregarding safety precautions, and dividing attention from Tootsy’s fake interview.
-‘It’s a detailed report. Endorsed by world famous historians and economists.’-
-‘Is there a person still alive., remembers nineteen forty five?’-
-‘They say you put gangsters and mercenaries in power in dozens of countries. Printed up a lot of dollars and lent it to them.’-
-‘That was the banks..’-
-‘You won the war sir, many thanks. So then you could control the banks.’-
-‘This report says these countries still can’t pay back even the ever expanding interest on their dubious debts.’-
-‘Well, they borrowed the money.’-
-‘General Tootsy Coopers, are you aware that more than twenty five thousand people die every single day in these same countries of hunger, main cause? Fifteen thousand of them children? Every day Tootsy.’-
-‘Oh come on man, gimme a break.’-
-‘Did you know it’s difficult to die of hunger, General?’-
-‘To die of hunger, main cause, usually takes over two years of degrading, miserable, painful, soul destroying suffering. Did you know that?’-
-‘Well actually I haven’t tried it recently. Ha ha.’-
-‘Which, according to the calculation of our CLAN friends, adds up to well over a thousand million years of intense human suffering. You boys are responsible for the biggest crime in history.’-
-‘I’m glad you say ‘you boys’, I’m not the only general who.. .’-
-‘Did you read that you could stop this horror with just a few days a year off your military budget?’-
-‘That’s a job for charities. A lot of wonderful folks back home are.. ‘-
-‘But you couldn’t stop it could you. You couldn’t. You wouldn’t dream of stopping it. Because they wouldn’t obey and pay anymore, would they?’-
-‘That’s wrong as well..’-
-‘If you abolished their debt they wouldn’t be so keen to sign away anything they got, or might ever get, for a new line of credit. Would they?’-
-‘Monetary discipline does play a fundamental part in the maintenance of law and order.’-
-‘And that’s what you’re doing here isn’t it? Showing the rest that nobody can escape your money system.’-
-‘I’m sorry boy but the law is the law. We can’t just make an exception for you wonderful folks.’-
–‘If you won’t play they’ll get you back. They got a million in Iraq.’-
-‘Hey quit with the one liners will ya.’-
-‘Oh by the way General Tootsy, have you ever heard of Shari Paba?’-
-‘Maybe so. Is she a singer?’-
-‘Well, yes, she was a singer. Um, Shari was one of the fifteen thousand children you killed last Wednesday.’-
-‘I’m sorry I was golfing on Wednesday.’
Tootsy had raised his arms and slowly turned, his profile glinting on the giant screen.
Acknowledging massive imaginary applause. Deigning to share slight dignified bows.
-‘They chose her as their symbol because an aid worker knew her and included a photo and a few lines in her blog.’-
-‘That’s really not my problem You can’t just.. ‘-
-‘Wednesday 25th. Shari Paba. Aged about four. A few days dead.
Mother died last year. Dehydration. Diarrhea, stank.
Old aunty can’t carry water, men don’t help much.
Big black eyes. Gifted singer.’
That’s what she wrote, you wanna see the photo? Can we just put Shari’s photo on the big screen please.’-
-‘Awwww.’- Came a murmur from the multitude. Shari had been a sweet looking kid.
-‘Okay we need to imagine this girl Shari, but fifteen thousand times over. Dying after long disgraceful suffering, every single day for the last seventy years. Just so that these criminals can keep their power and wasteful lifestyle…got it?..’-
-‘You really can’t accuse us, how dare you.. ‘
-‘It’s the CLANs accusing Sir, not me. They’re organizing a new Ultimatum. Worldwide voting next Saturday. Just put CLAN Ultimatum in a search engine. Next Saturday will be that vote folks..’-
-‘More mindless violence from those naked perverts and degenerates!’- Tootsy was mock scandalized.
-‘The leading suggestion as of now is Violent Pacifism. They want to destroy the monetary system. Shut down CO2 power stations and industry. Abolish debt. Introduce the Peace and Plenty system we’re working on over here.’-
-‘That’s just superstition. Hocus Pocus Bunkum, you’ll see.’-
-‘Thank you General for your time. Now…Three Two One Disappear!’-
The trumpets hooted and blared.
And the false General Tootsy Coopers vanished in a puff of pink smoke.
Through a trapdoor in the stage, we supposed.
Only to reappear in another cloud, waving his arms and coughing, amid general clapping and jeers. He was clapping himself, relieved as he’d feared that as a comedian we wouldn’t understand a serious message.
Everyone had understood, now if only the real General would appear..
ref 21. Resistance. Saboitage. Insurrection.
They were flashing up Sol’s clip of the burning helicopter, in silhouette with subtitles about arrests and demos, and a big digital clock, counting down.
The Ultimatum to the occupying army had only fourteen minutes and some seconds left to run.
-‘We do have a safety warning.. Watch out for falling airplanes. This is serious now, there’s a battle going on above our heads where the Eagle CLAN are getting rid of some drone spy planes. But some of them are big and heavy so watch out, see that smoke trail now, that could be a robot falling out of the sky.’
As he spoke the trapdoor had reopened and a priest with a video camera rose slowly through the hole. His arms uplifted, pope-wise, to embrace the world. It was Tootsy Coopers again, of course.
The big screen melted and faded up to the logo and flashy music of Fux News International.
-‘Let’s just see how the world media are treating this massive protest, here in nearly forty degree temperatures this evening. First Fux News.. You imagine they are analyzing the implications? Teasing out the truth on why the hell we’re being invaded?
Well no no no Ladies and Gents. We now present the embedded Reverend Paulson, with the third program in the series -‘Why must they show their Tits and Asses?’- The only programs they’ve shown about us, so far.
Here we see some kids they’ve found. And yes, oh wow, you can see that girl’s boobs. What a shocker. And can it be true. I blame the parents! Look at those obscene degenerates, I saw his bottom. Look at that…’-
Tootsy was getting laughs with these clips, but abruptly the screen flashed over to a golden Eagle, spiraling down over the demo, trailing confetti.
The clock kept ticking away.
-‘Don’t laugh too much folks. Because we heard people are editing all that innocent footage of half dressed kids, and flogging it as child porn. Our children are a market niche and an investment opportunity.’-.. The logo and music blared -‘I’ll keep my pepper spray handy in case they come filming in Rayton.. Dora, get your pants on this minute!’-
The screen had melted again to a grinning boy, squinting into the glare, zooming back out we saw he was a black and yellow Eagle, drifting into the breeze. Then suddenly there were dozens!
In Foxbridge, and many other towns, local demonstrators cheered as the cloud of Eagles came spiraling down on screen, Lucia and Barney, on the rug in front of Christy’s TV, Bernie bouncing Moonbeam on her knee, on Pools and FreeNet stations round the globe.
-‘Now let’s get quiet, quieten down. These are some of the victims gonna come on the screen in a minute. We want a big cheer for each one of them and.. and some of their families are here and maybe want to say something.
According to our decisions last week on the Wise-Mass we are going to start killing them back, tit for tat and starting with their officers. Unless of course they call it off in the next few minutes. We have a message here that our terrorists will start at midnight, and they say they have hundreds of murders, lined up and ready to go..
Now.. er, um yes just a minute is this real? Well I’m told we do now have a video call on the line, a General Makyntosh hey .
Sorry..Are you sure?.. Yes they claim he’s their top man.. This is real now. Shut up everybody. This is for real. We have their top General on line. Can we get him up on the screen? Hang on five seconds let’s get him on the screen.’-
A fat bald general with medals appeared, looking false with a plastic smile.
Clasping and unclasping his hands.
A lot of people started laughing and had to be shushed.
-‘Mr. real General Makyntosh, Sir, have you got the concessions we’re demanding then. And can you prove it’s for real?’-
-‘I read a statement from the High Command
1.Our Mission here was never intended as a war and we do not wish it to become one.
2.We can therefore apologize for any untoward incidents which were not programmed, and are already being investigated.
3.Punishment measures will be taken according to our legal code.
4.We hereby order our troops to open fire only as a last resort and to avoid arrests wherever possible
5.All prisoners will be processed as quickly as possible
6.As a confidence building opportunity we now authorize the immediate release of two hundred men without blood crimes and we communicate our willingness to negotiate for a reciprocal agreement.
7.Our Command also agrees to restrict patrols for the present and allow cultural exchange and entertainment as requested.
8.Copies of this signed statement will be made available to our troops, and to the Federation of Cooperative Pools through our legal representatives..’-
General E.K.Makyntosh. Pacification Intervention Force’-
The sound system couldn’t cope, excellent though it was, because as Makyntosh got into the details of the statement everyone was realizing already that the Ultimatum had actually worked.
This could really be enough to stop or at least delay the real war beginning!
The screen flashed to an army camp. A small crowd were being herded through a door, looking disheveled, confused and half blinded by the light.
-‘There’s Macker. Is that Macker?’-
-‘I’m not sure I can believe this.’-
-‘Macker is being freed!’-
That was it. The stage had lost it’s attraction as everybody embraced each other and a massive party began.
There were four minutes left on the clock.
The escalation was canceled, though the prisoners were not released as promised.
Some of the PIF soldiers had already been arrested, or abducted, depending on your point of view others went AWOL or fell in love, and more just got into partying with the locals and doing their job really badly..
All sorts of wild initiatives were being set in motion.
We detonated our plan.
Our crazy hydra-headed subversion campaign
- Serial of The Free Ch 43 ‘Clanners Way’ (thefreeonline.wordpress.com)
3 thoughts on “Serial of The Free Ch 44. The Ultimatum”