Saturday, 11 January 2020


'Wait a minute! I remember!' I cried.  'I remember the First Law! The First Law says: You exist. That's it, that's the First Law. You exist! '
As I might have expected if I'd been at least half sober, this idiotic outburst of mine brought the house down. Aklo was literally bent over in raucous laughter. Of course the jokes kept coming. So if I exist, where does that leave you? or, If I don't exist, do I break the Law? or, Everything changes except Law Six, and other such puerile inanities.                                                                       
Believe me, it's funnier when you've had a few drinks in you. I laughed as much as they did.  In fact, I hadn't actually laughed as much for as long as I could remember.  What would Zol think of me now? Xendo? Solari?  I felt so ashamed of myself and yet I was laughing my head off. No wonder the Lemurians couldn't trust the wheelies. I was as ridiculous as any of them.                               
As the merriment died down, a deep, soft gong rang out, followed by an announcement that our shuttle was waiting to transport us to our island airport.  As I stood to leave with the group, in the distance I could hear someone singing that song again. Solari's song. Where was it coming from? I started to weep quietly as the tears welled up and before I knew it, the sobbing became uncontrollable. Jordan? queried Sanshi, staring into my eyes through her huge, black spectacles, holding my arm, are you all right?  I hadn't noticed how beautiful those large green eyes of hers were...Sanshi...Jordan?...Jordan?....                                                 
It's Lucy's voice.                                                                                
'Lazarus!' she laughs. 'Are you OK?  I'm sorry, I had to wake you. I thought you were choking, your whole body was trembling. One minute you're laughing your head off, then the next minute you're shaking all over and crying. That trip must have been quite a roller-coaster!  So sorry to have to wake you, but I was getting a little worried. You were really out long enough for one day. Cup of tea before we do the recording?'
Long Time Sun is playing in the background. 
I wipe the tears from my face and try to remember the Six Laws. 
Lucy returns with a tray of tea and a slice of her delicious apple and blackberry pie. 
As she goes over her notes after my recording, she remarks that the Jainists, who go back to the time of the Buddha, are also very conscientious about the life-forms under their feet. They use brooms to sweep the insects away in front of them as they walk.  She tells me that the term merkaba has captured her interest. She took a course once which included a module on Egyptology she says. When she was a student. In another life, as she puts it jokingly.  The ba and the ka terms also appear in ancient Egyptian culture. The ba was the personality; the ka the spirit, or vital spark, that kept the person alive. In Egyptian hieroglyphs, the ba was represented as a bird with a man's head. Or was it a man with a bird's head?
I'm exhausted.  And to be honest, far too tired to be bothered by any of this right now. I need some air. Mercifully, Lucy's phone rings and she answers it.  I point urgently at my watch, grab my phone, wave at her and dash for the door, feeling relieved to be out of there at last. I look forward to a cool beer and a normal chat at home with Cathy.  In the breeze, on the way to the bus-stop, I can still feel the tears on my face. 
Lucy rings me on my mobile while I'm on the bus. She's wondering if I'd ever heard of the I Ching, pronounced Ih Ging. No, no I don't believe I have. Can I remember anything else about the chessboard design on the wall, the squares of straight and broken lines of silver and lapis lazuli?  Oh, yes, of course. Yes. What about it?  She asks me to Google the I Ching as soon as I get home and to contact her if I can make any connections. She spells it out for me. I try to show some interest and tell her I'll do it first thing.  I take out my biro and write I Ching on my fist.
As I get off the bus and cross the road, I look around for the guy in the wheelchair.  I wonder where he is now.

Saturday, 4 January 2020


Image result for silver envelope images

I slowly opened envelope and removed the single page inside. Sure enough, written in gold on the exquisitely smooth, silvery liquid surface of the page, were the Six Laws - alas, in a language none of us could read or understand. Had I been patient and waited until we got back, would the Six Laws have mysteriously appeared in Atlantean?  I asked myself aloud and despondently.
Nonsense! they argued. The old man tricked you. He knew you'd open it here in the hotel or on the plane. To think that the writing would have magically transformed into Atlantean is the stuff of fantasy, they laughed. Fantasy!
'Do you think he was testing you?' asked Sanshi.
'Well if he was, I failed the test.'
'Why all this smoke and mirrors stuff, I wonder?'
'I don't know, ' I answered.  'Maybe he was allowing me to test myself. I don't know. I really don't know.'
'It's all a load of bull!' said someone from the back who hadn't spoken before, fortified by the drink. It was Marpl. Indoor Entertainment.
'And yes, it is fantasy!' he continued.  'The whole bloody thing is a fantasy! Just the kind of stuff you'd see in a kid's movie... heroes and treasure-hunts and what have you. Lemuria my arse! It's pure fantasy-land and we're here in the middle of it all being told that the whole goddamn thing is supposed to be real! It's a hoax, for God's sake! A scam! Not just the envelope but the whole setting, all their crazy fairy-stories. Do they think we were born yesterday?'
'Hear, hear!' came a few cries.
Foolishly, I took the bait. I was losing my equanimity and I'm sure I must have been showing signs of inebriation.
'Would you mind...explaining what you mean by that, Marble... Marpl?'
'So you think the meeting you had with that weird couple at the bench was an accident? Eh? A coincidence? The whole damn thing was a setup!  Do you not get it?'
Marpl seemed well able to hold his drink so I had to keep on my toes. I took a deep breath and asked him to give me an example of how he thought it was a setup and why.
'Politics, my friend! It's all politics! They want us to believe they have something to trade with us. They obviously want something from us which they haven't got. Has that occurred to you?  Oh, those holograms you saw are good, sure, I'll give them that. But why do you think they didn't invite you to their homes?  Isn't that the first thing a host would do for his guest? Why did you have to stay in a hotel? Why did they reveal so little to you about their family life? You speak of belief. How much of your positive experience here in Lemuria is based on belief? And how can you be so sure you weren't drugged?'
'Well, Marpl, to be honest, I can't prove a single thing of what I experienced this weekend. All I have to show for proof are those white shoes there, for what they're worth. And of course, the page with the illegible Six Laws. I can't prove that any of it was true or even real. That's the truth. In fact, the whole experience just seems like a dream to me now. An extraordinary dream. I'm sorry to disappoint you.'
'Well, Jordan, so am I. So am I! But it's hardly a disappointment. It's a revelation!'
'Hear, hear!' cried Salpo, clapping.
They all cheered and applauded. I raised my hands to command attention.
'Having said that, ladies and gentlemen, I defy anybody here to prove that anything, anything in the world around you is real. You, Marpl, can you prove that your life has been real up to now? Of course not. As the Lemurians themselves suggested, even if I could prove anything to you... even if I could project a film on the wall here of my experiences over the past twenty-four hours still wouldn't believe it! You'd still have to prove it to yourselves. I'm not going to waste any more time explaining the taste of chocolate to you.  You'll just have to go and taste it yourself. That is to say, if you have the curiosity, the will, or even the courage to do so!'
I sat. There was a moment's silence. Then Sanshi clapped and everyone joined in, some coming up to me, shaking my hand or patting me on the back.
'Would you have any idea at all what the Six Laws were about, Jordan?'
It was Bilba. Cosmetics and Toiletries. 'Or is it the wrong time to ask? Maybe you're a little tired right now?'
'No, not at all, Bilba.  Zol told me, he told me. The Master told me. He actually did tell me what they were. But my head is swimming. I'll just need to get my act together. Maybe I need another drink! Ha-ha!'
I had my eyes shut tight, as I tried to recall the Master's Laws. The drink was taking its toll. I was also very tired, as I'm sure Bilba could see. I could have slept for a week. Sanshi asked me if I was OK.
'Ah, thanks Sanshi. You're very sweet. Thank you. I just need to remember those, those Laws.'
I yawned noisily.
'Excuse me, Sanshi! Sorry!... I'm knackered. Yes, the Laws...they were simple enough, you know.  Very straightforward, so they were.  You can see yourself from the single page here how short they are. Concise.  Thing is... They're probably too simple. Ha-ha!  J'know whad I mean? No? Oh. Well, you see, I'm actually more concerned about getting the rationale, the explanation right... Once I remember the rationale... I'm worried about not getting the explanation right... That's the tricky part... Look at it! Ss beautiful idn't it?.. And the paper, or whatever material it is. So unique!  Exotic. Exotic is the word for it.  Shit, shit, shit!... What a pity, what a pity we can't read it!... shouldn't have opened it, Jordan...bad boy... shouldn't have opened the envelope...should've done as you were told!'
'Close your eyes and I'll massage your shoulders. You're exhausted, you poor man. It might help you to remember if you're a little more relaxed. Just sit back on the chair and let yourself go. That's it.'
'How very lovely of you, Sashi...Sanshi!...Thank you! I'm very grateful!' 
She began to massage my shoulders to the sound of a few wolf-whistles and bawdy comments.
'Hold on!' I suddenly piped up, eyes still shut, holding my half-empty bottle in the air, with Sanshi's hands still pressing on my shoulders.
'I remember! I remember ze sixs...the Sixth Law! The easiest one.... So we'll start...we'll start at the end and work backwards....Ready everybody?'
'We're ready!' some of them called out in unison.
The rumble of voices eased down to a hushed silence in the room.
I stood, a little unsteadily, in front of all the blurred faces before me.
'The Six Law...The Sixth Law... is that everything changes...!'
'Is that it?' asked someone.
'No! Really?'  came a voice to interrupt me, followed by a burst of laughter from the crowd
'Everything changes,' I insisted, looking over my shoulder, only to see not two, but three or four window-reflecting lenses of Sanshi's glasses staring back at me. I shut my eyes again and the afterimage of the glasses began to float in front of me. Sanshi whispered at me to take a deep breath. I took a deep breath.
'The Sixth Law says that everything changes... that is to say...everything except the first five laws!'
There was a spontaneous outburst of laughter.
I couldn't help myself laughing along with them, fool that I am.  One of them joked that the Fifth Law must be that everything changes except the first four laws. And so on all the way up to the top.
Peals of laughter all around. So tired now. Should never have opened my mouth.  Hopefully, I'll remember them tomorrow. I'll have to. Yes, I'm sure I will. Will I?  Maybe. After a good night's sleep. That's all I need, yes, that's it, a good night's sleep. 
Then I said something very stupid indeed and suddenly everything spiralled rapidly out of control. 
I said: Wait a minute! I remember! I remember the First Law!

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