Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Chapter 19 & 20

Ok, it's the home stretch, by any home of the imagination, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. Came to talk about La-di-da. I'm still waiting for Jim. Where is he?!

Chapter 19: The South under threat


         Sarah heads south again. Just as well, for when she insists on entering the household of her chosen man, Alejandro, she finds Joanne entirely befuddled by his oh-so-smooth attentions proving that not every Ali should be rated as an ally, deserving of unstinting allegiance.  Anyway, Ventura’s vindictive curiosity has led to meddlesome questioning about the whereabouts and motivation of her son, Jim.

         So, Sandy wisely decides to ignore both lovers’ pleas and willy-nilly snatches Joanne from her man and his menagerie and makes good Joanne’s escape before Ventura is informed and has any chance to pester her with any further questions.


         As their response to outrage at Goni’s persistent misgovernment, the hitherto obedient mass of servants, the chauffeurs and gardeners who had always tended to the extravagant needs of the bosses, those who,  after all, paid their admittedly meagre wages, rose as one to discomfort the residents of the Zona Sewer in such ways as they could invent. This started as a type of diversion - leaving the trash stinking and unemptied at the back of the garage - but rapidly turned nasty, dangerous and threatening. Not feeding pampered pets is one thing, but poisoning them is another matter. And when precious vehicles are stolen and ransacked, then abandoned to burn in the wastes beyond Achumani, ye gods we’re talking about sacred property rights.

         Meanwhile in the Ventura enclave, Waldo was preparing a rearguard action to defend his chattels; indirectly because he wasn’t going to bloody his own hands. But as a ranking Colonel, and still enthused by the memory of his valiant role in organizing the February massacres, Ventura gave the orders to ensure that the army reserves were alerted and positioned to avert the danger.

         Inevitably, Waldo’s grand mansion had come under threat, if only to reinforce his feelings of paranoia. What he suspected was a perverse vengeance applied from Jim’s perspective. What he never imagined in his wildest fantasies, was that his entire personal staff, from the cook to the maid to his valet had been recruited from a single community on the Island of the Sun. No-one is claiming this connection owed anything to Jim, but certainly they formed one clan or maybe even a family and were united in their repugnance against Waldo’s estate and all it implied.

       So this network sent subtle signals to those from the outlying communities who were marching on the rich suburbs to indicate that this residence was worth taking; moreover it was well worthy of the honour. Now, I can’t say if Waldo dreamt of the imminent threat or whether some residual subconscious knowledge still operating within his numbskull alerted him, but, anyway, he called out the army in time to prevent the advance of the hordes and thus saved his property and that of his neighbours from being ransacked.

      So, on Waldo’s shoulders lay the responsibility for the infamous Ovejuyo massacre, which is where the army trapped/ confronted the marchers, mercilessly killing many of their number, thereby adding another millstone/albatross round Goni’s dismal neck/record and thereby hastening the inevitability of his departure.





Chapter 20:  Ignatz Buries His Dead


       When the news of the killings at Ovejuyo filtered through to the Alto, the population of the overspill city on the heights were intensely aware that their turn to face the government killers was fast approaching. Maravillas roused- Mario  has finally abandoned that Hotel – thrown in his cards, taken his chances where he belongs,  up in the Alto; the irony of assuming a position in the heights to gauge the true depth of the problem


       Likewise appalled, in his own way, at the prospect of the impending massacres, Ignatz called his flock to a prayer session outdoors by the Round Square under the gaze of his mammoth statue of a flayed, bleeding Christ. The wedding-cake style Alpine church (those damned churches!) that Ignatz had constructed also witnessed this religious procession. Jovial witnesses or spies?


     “All true believers, on your knees,” hollered Ignatz. But the Alto was having none of that; they were on their feet (alert, ready for action) and what Ignatz had programmed as an occasion for the Catholic faithful turned instead into a key march which chose as its destination the exit from the Alto at Rio Seco. The purpose of the enraged alteƱos was to impede any fuel or food supplies reaching downtown, whose recalcitrant population, or at least those foolish few who still persisted in viewing Goni’s administration as legitimate, were going to be starved into submission.


      But the army recruits were on site before the marchers arrived and obeying explicit orders from the defence minister Berzain himself (last gasp- final macabre apparition of banshee) opened fire indiscriminately on the defenceless masses. The blood spattered dead and dying splayed on the Rio Seco highway presented  testimony of yet another massacre to crush Goni’s already tarnished reputation.


          At which point, having headed the deadly (potentially fatal) march, Ignatz insisted on reverting to his role of priest and administering last rites and the Christian rituals of burial for the victims. Of course he was within his rites, as he saw them, but an enraged Sandy exploded at his sanctimonious pretensions. “You hypocrite,” she yelled, “why can’t you take the blame for the march you organized? You represent a religion that glorifies death and in no way is the crucifixion life affirming. You are as answerable as Goni for what’s happening.”  After which outburst, Sandy stormed off, leaving the holy Ignatz to bury his dead, with a fantasmal reappearance of Jim smirking among the shoe-shiners, issuing instructions into his mobile phone.                                                                       


Saturday, 23 January 2010

Chapter 17 & 18

Alrighty, back in Blighty. Words fail, snow didn't. But after December's huge events involving Bo Nesto, it's good to get back to this. I now have in my possession the whole of the rest of GGG, as well as the third book, and will be posting regularly. Last I heard, Bo is playing catch with Douglas Adams and working on volume four of the trilogy. That leaves a fifth one before he has to stop catching up, ya hear me, Bo? (btw: whoever you are, dear reader, if you're reading this, and you haven't heard from me in December, I'd like to hear from you! you can post a comment, or just email me. please.)

Chapter 17: Back in the Alto-– trench warfare

Meanwhile Geordie and krew have settled down unobtrusively, have taken advantage of the altered circumstances to disappear into practical invisibility.
There are plenty of tasks to hand. They set to work and it seems that no-one considers their presence an intrusion. Everybody is too busy, piling stones to block the strategic Senkata depot from where the essential supplies of fuel are distributed to the city below. Fortunately, the roads leading to Senkata are as yet unasphalted, readily yielding their cache of rubble, ranging from pebbles to boulders, to the diggers. Inexorably, Senkata is isolated, no matter how the troops on the orders of their officers unwillingly labour to clear a path through. Spare a thought for these reserve army recruits – but not too many- they deserve whatever opprobrium is heaped upon them for their mindless docility. Anyhow , the piles they had set aside by day, would mysteriously reappear during the night.

For our krew, the physical exercise and the adrenalin rush of defying the authorities, compensate for the lack of other stimulants, such as their favourite stand-by, grass, which stock is also running short. The company and the shared risk provides its own high and permits them to blend in, inviolate.

Not that Geordie and Koff are totally dependent on their stash of illegal narcotics, but a quick smoke does ensure a security and distance from the restraining pull of reality. But in this case, the screen was quite unnecessary. The inherent danger of their involvement was a buzz in itself.
Beyond the trenching, another routine activity in which the krew participated was the essential matter of providing food for the general population. No routes open to the countryside; nevertheless people still have to eat. The effort of ferrying sacks of fruit and veg to the markets takes up much of their time and energy. Conversation piece. Unlike the forced labour of the Potato Fields episode, Koff and Geordie managed to reconcile themselves to the thrill of common effort.
Of course, the laughter and insight provided by las Maravillas help pass the time. Koff even manages to gain an insight into Jim’s contribution to the ongoing workshop cycle. If only Jim had trusted the krew earlier,and brought them fully into his confidence, they could have avoided all that pretence at being tourists. Jim would probably point to all the experiences being a valid learning process in Bolivian reality. Ayahuascar trip freak-outs in Rurrenabaque, experiencing the Flying Fox’s brand of persuasive hospitality in Warisata... there’s no answer to Jim’s argument. If he wants to assume the role of resident guru, the krew know they must perforce submit to his decisions. But, even so, it rankles. Especially for Sandy, the independent soul.

Chapter 18 : the Flea Market

And, yes, this is Jim calling in, at last, with every intention of reclaiming my rightful role in this chronicle. I could claim that I have no idea who has been relating this story so far, but I strongly suspect the work of my timorous friend, Koff. So move over noble narrator and give me an opportunity to explain my point of view and in return I will extend my hand to you , as well as trying to clarify some reasons for my reticence that you and the other members of the krew have so debated.

As you may have already guessed, the contribution of las Maravillas has been crucial, especially in the effects of the workshops on their development. In these, we entered into a detailed, at times painful, analysis of our sexual dependencies which inevitably led onto the topic of the subjugation of women in this society. Unfortunately at this point rumours of the workshop’s contents reached the overeager and bigoted ears of Padre Ignatz, who promptly reported us to the ecclesiastical authorities (foolishly we had rented an old church hall for the proceedings).
The accusations ranged from subverting the morals of society, which charge I won’t deny, to the usual charge of foreign interference in Bolivian affairs. But I would rather see my role as deepening the participants’ awareness of their mission to change current attitudes, an enhancement of their essential quest. Anyway, since then, we have broadened dimensions of the workshops to include other instructors and also found safer premises. But on the subject of safety, I must warn you, dear companions, that you must take great care. The situation is growing dangerous, especially for outsiders; Goni is on the look-out for so-called terrorists and the army recruits are untrained and trigger-happy. Mark my words, these troops will inevitably over-react and cause yet another bloody disaster.
So this very morning I was wandering through the Flea Market, only too aware of close observation. Unfortunately I was distracted by memories of my true love, Tzipi the Khazari princess, (you won’t be aware of our fateful liason after Yod’s death because it doesn’t occur in your copy of tha’ book, but later in the epilogue which you haven’t got - look for it in the five additional chapters posted on the bonesto blogsite). Anyway, being totally distracted – one must always be occupied devising ways of how to amuse your Muse, while at the same time keeping a close watch on the ever-present dangers - I almost missed the scrutiny of one of the informers that abound in the Flea Market. Almost but not quite. Whilst pretending to attract customers to his array of computer accessories, the vendor halted for a split-second to examine my features, despite the hat flung low over my face. Warning enough and I scooted off , only to discover you and Geordie, sweaty and red-faced, hard at it trenching and busily piling stones by the Senkata depot. Not wanting to attract undue attention, I immediately withdrew.

But allow me to repeat my warning; matters are coming to a head. Goni will not be allowed to escape unpunished. A time will arrive when I shall be forced to abandon my present position and I have plans to seek out my Khazari princess wherever she may be. I actually believe she could be on another dimension. I don’t expect you to accept this conviction, and despite my earlier assurance that I will deal plainly with you, please accept that right now I feel confused by the scale of my responsibilities and the fate that is beckoning. Having said which, as a precautionary measure you must be aware of the need of also being ready to leave and put yourselves out of immediate danger. I jest not! Please advise Geordie and Sandy of this and thank them for their steadfast, though at times, foolhardy backing. Be prepared to find a secure place at a moment’s notice and do not misplace any confidence in your respective embassies. They are not interested in our welfare; they move to a different agenda.
Hasta la vista and back to your account, noble Koff.
Meanwhile back into the turmoil