What if the sinister conspiracies of the world are real? The perpetrators don’t care because public scepticism of conspiracies, supported by a nefarious press, gives a shield of invisibility to the devastating realities of the conspiracies. And so the world in general is living in denial.
What if a new political party (OWL, One World League) arises, baptised in fire, exploiting global internet capability, unravels the conspiracies? What if this novel’s author as a narrator is part of the conspiracy? What if a hero of OWL, finds out by using a literary trick she can become a narrator also? She assails the readers’ conscience, facilitates global support through the internet, and saves the world.
My name is not Ishmael; nor is it Daedelas. It is d’ettut. Pronounce this ‘day 2’. Reverse ‘tutte’ and add the ‘d’ to make ‘de’ and then you get ‘of every man’. Note the lower case ‘d’. That’s deliberate too. I want people to feel the equality between us. So I am not a proper noun; just common.
This story is about everyone, and is a means to an end. But you will need to understand what the end is. Well, we will do that closer to the end. Not now. Some farmers love to fuck sheep. That is a means to an end. But that is nothing compared to what I will reveal to you.
Please see me as your friend. What I am about to tell you is a caution. As a friend, with that caution in mind you might well embark upon a course of action you might never have taken without reading this story. There are things everyone should know about. But they don’t.
There are things in this harsh world that are hidden from us in a variety of ways.
Some might say this is a beneficial thing. The shepherd looks after the sheep. Supposedly. But the sheep don’t have to know everything. Many would consider citizens of the world, or most of them, to be sheep.
As our story unfolds I will introduce characters and let you be the judge of the revelations that befall them. But there are lots of other things to consider, things you must know about … unless you are a sheep.
One thing I am going to ask you is please believe what I tell you through this story. And yes I am calling it a ‘story’; but it is all based on the truth. So the story is didactic. You will actually learn!
‘And there you go, Sebastian,’ his father said. ‘The goodies win again. The baddies are done for.’
Sebastian knew this always happened. His Eagle comic told him that PC 49, an honest hard-working policeman, like a cheerful uncle who was frightfully clever, always caught the crooks. And Dan Dare – he always beat the Treens, those horrible green things from outer space. Yes, Dad was right. Good always won. Bad always lost.
‘Why do the baddies always lose?’ asked Sebastian. ‘Because of the Nemesis,’ his father replied.
Sebastian felt secure with the weight of Dad pressing down on the end of the bed. ‘What's a nemesis?’ he demanded.
‘Ahh,’ his father started in a distant tone.
Sebastian wondered whether his Dad really knew what he was talking about. ‘Even when the baddies think they have gotten away with it, they haven't. There is something in the universe that dumps on the bad guys but not the good.’
‘Oh,’ said Sebastian.
Sebastian thought about King Arthur and Merlin and the knights. Good knights, the ones in white, always seemed to win. Black knights, well, they won a few fights, but not always.
‘At the end of the story, the goodies always win, don't they Dad?’ He said this again to comfort himself as the weight on the bed disappeared.
‘Of course,’ his father reassured him. 'Good night, son.’
The room was plunged into the darkness of desolation as the bedroom light was switched off and the door closed. Alien territory now. Sebastian shivered. ‘Good night, Dad,’ he called out into the void.
Sebastian tugged at his pillow with both hands, burrowing his head into its protective field. Thoughts flooded in. Grownups seem to forget so much. Mummy said ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It was true. They said one thing. Weeks later they forgot they had said it. But Sebastian didn't. He knew the truth. He had seen things. And when he saw something, in his mind, he would never let it go. He would explore it. Think about it. Add it to other things he knew. Build up, bit by bit, a bigger truth.
One of his friends, who talked to him in the night, told him, ‘Man's greatest failing is his forgetfulness. Sebastian, you mustn't forget, you must create awareness from all the little truths.’
‘What's a truth?’ Sebastian asked his friend.
His friend whispered, ‘The super-rich are like aliens, like the Treens. They have everything. They govern this world in secrecy.’
‘Wow,’ Sebastian said. ‘Does Dad know that?’
‘He keeps forgetting,’ his friend said, ‘he has thought about it, but his awareness crumbles quickly with time. These aliens rely on you not seeing the whole picture.’ Sebastian pondered on this then and thereafter.
The afternoon in Adelaide turned to dusk. And there was the surprise as promised. Eleanor invited Sebastian to a party that night. She had said it was with a bunch of ex-Adelaide University political types. Sebastian might remember some of them. As it turned out he didn’t … except for one!
It was one of those typical outdoor Adelaide barbeque parties. A lot of cold beer. Cold white wine, slightly chilled red wine. A gleaming new mega barbeque replete with kitchen sink shimmered in the dark, bouncing back the coloured fairy lights in a magic mushroom vortex. Here was five metres of stainless steel with every contrivance known to the cooking world standing on it, hanging off it, pulling against it. Eleanor’s guests all sat at a long wooden table that seated twenty. There was a touch of Italian alfresco dining here. The only light came from the barbeque itself, the fairy lights, and a few flares that burnt and stank of citronella. But at least the mosquitoes were pacified. Sebastian looked around the table in the flickering light and recognised, or thought he recognised, some of the faces. A faint recognition, yes. Remembering or knowing them, no. Albeit it had been four decades or more since he had seen any of them. The faintly recognisable ones were the ones who were still wearing those sorts of clothes or the style of clothes (if not the very same clothes) they wore at University so long ago. They hadn’t done anything to change their hairstyles either, apart from the men with receding hairlines that made their ponytails look like a giant question mark that had slid backwards on the top of their skulls … except for David.
He immediately recognised him. He hadn’t noticeably aged. Even after decades, his baby face shone through the very few creases of four decades of decadence. He was like that. It was highly unlikely he would have moderated his unabated hard living, punctuated by frequent bouts of mass consumption of good South Australian red wine. And his hair was still blonde and boyishly styled. No slipped ponytail here. He looked straight at Sebastian. Was there a flickering of recognition? Maybe. But certainly no overt response of familiarity.
This bunch was still as boisterous as they were eons ago in student days. They were all politically active, at least from a cognisance point of view. Left leaning, of course, with quite a few moving to the centre. Probably a function of mortgage repayments or paying alimony.
It didn’t take long for the inebriated ramblings to turn to the serious topic of politics and political parties. ‘Yes, what a great idea to start a new political party.’ Somebody shouted out of the darkness. ‘Here, here.’ David responded, now looking more intently at Sebastian.
Sebastian was sure they were all looking at him. He suspected Eleanor had had a chat with this crew before he had arrived at this soiree. David suddenly gave him a thumbs up and called out ‘How are ya, ya old fart. It was you Eleanor was talking about. Jesus, I wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years.’
Sebastian had a rush of memories as he returned the thumbs up but said nothing. David and he had hung out together in the first year at university. Then they fell out over something Sebastian couldn’t even fully remember. He thought it was when they had been sparring at karate and he had broken David’s arm when he blocked a punch with a sharp kick. Nothing intentional. But with his arm in plaster, David couldn’t sit his chemistry exam; failed that year; never returning to university as far as Sebastian knew; and blamed Sebastian for all his failings ever after. But, Sebastian remembered, this didn’t dent David’s enthusiasm for attending anti-Vietnam protest marches. Until the police grabbed him and deliberately slammed the police car door on his left hand, breaking a few fingers. But life moved on.
To Sebastian, the flickering flares of the flames reminded him, just for a moment, of a Nazi night time rally. He knew this vicariously. He had seen all the right movies and accepted that to make a strong social statement people needed bold rituals, like bonfire meetings. Juxtaposing the brightness of flames against night time darkness.
Sebastian looked at Eleanor and saw the ultimate temptation. The copious amounts of wine started his head spinning. He looked at her in the flickering light. She was political and sexual seduction all in one.
She sidled up to Sebastian and whispered, ‘I will paint greatness into history. I will paint you into history.’
Sebastian’s ego was stoked white-hot like a blacksmith’s furnace. Sebastian liked Eleanor one hell of a lot. She was a prominent painter and artist of the seventies. An Archibald Prize winner no less, and all at a very tender age. She had always been flirtatious.
Eleanor rubbed her hands up and down his thighs. She mumbled: ‘There are two sorts of people in the advice (hiccup …) department. The first of those want to be directors of others. These are the so-called coaches in life. Ha! … they have no fucking idea about anything. But they still tell you what to do and how to do it. Then there is the second type (hiccup …). The evangelical type. They see the light. But they always see it through somebody else. Their role is to elicit support from other people for the ones who direct.’ Sebastian could see that she was definitely feeling the effects of the wine.
‘If you want to do something revolutionary, get rid of the most political, the most divisive fuckwits in your organisation. The ones who never listen to anybody else but tell everybody else what to do (long pause …). Get rid of your human resources department! They are evangelical directors. The worst of the lot.’ She sounded triumphant in this self-evident revelation. ‘Everybody hates HR departments.’
‘The same applies to your new political party or whatever you might call it. We can’t have divisive demagogues in this organisation. Our advisors, our policy makers must be the people themselves. We only want people within the party, initially, who will help us achieve this (hiccup, long pause again …). Ultimately the party will be the people.’
Sebastian loved the way she was saying we. But she was definitely losing it.
Virginia has an innate poetic streak that underlies her artistic sensitivity. Almost as a premonition she wrote some words last night. This was on a business flight with Sebastian to London via Athens. She had an uneasy feeling that something was gnawing at the smooth sailing so far. For her, and Sebastian, their now half articulated journey into politics had come too easily. Something didn’t add up. So read her words!
Silently, as a treacle-black sea heaves on a sticky summer’s night
Silently, as a comet explodes onto an airless moon in deep space
Silently, as a rapturous plague slices soft tissue from an unsuspecting body
Silently, as the whole of humanity is consumed by a conspiring elite.
But stay with me reader! The plot will unwind, eventually. But first certain notions, further characters and perspectives need to be put into place. Ah, peace. Everybody likes the notion of peace, don’t they! Perhaps there are some exceptions. The families of the privately owned companies that sustain the industrial military complex wouldn’t be too keen on peace. No, consumption of their product is important for profit.
Perhaps we really don’t like peace.
We don’t like infanticide or homicide. We tacitly accept suicide. We live with it. (Is that because some of us are intuitively insightful, such that we look at the mess we call humanity and ask ‘what’s the point?’) We have done so as sentient beings ever since we moved into civilised communities. And we will probably be like this for hundreds of thousands more years. If we survive. Perhaps we have to consider terracide. The death of the planet and homosapiens (or whatever replaces it) and all other life. Sooner or later the weapons will be so powerful, the exploitation of the planet so immense and so vast that planet earth simply won’t exist.
So let us see where this notion of peace could possibly fit into a new political party. Let’s see who champions it. Let’s see if it is realistic. (Sebastian had frequently spoken of Solon and had a tendency to highlight him as one of the greatest leaders democracy ever had. And now here we are in Greece, the cradle of democracy!)
Virginia, who has a great capacity for appearing to not be listening, suddenly raised her voice at the same time as she modestly held her bikini top to her chest.
‘Look Randall,’ she said. ‘The political party we are forming is called One World League or OWL. The symbolism is obvious. The convergence of an organisation like your own, or at least the forming of some sort of link, with our new political party could indeed be a differentiator. There is absolutely no reason why peace wouldn’t sell to the public right now. If it’s packaged the right way, we’ll be on a winner.
Sebastian abruptly changed the topic.
‘I’m looking forward to your wedding ceremony tonight. See you tonight. We will talk more then.’
Virginia was already clipping back her bikini top and seductively, yes always seductively, flowing to her feet and wrapping a towel around her waist.
As they walked back over the cobblestone courtyard area Sebastian said to her: ‘Were you listening to all that stuff?’
‘Yes I was. He has got something, linking us to the peace movement. Perhaps we shouldn’t call it that as it does have some very left wing and 1960s’ type connotations. Let’s just say we link peace industries to the political party. It definitely needs more thought.’
They moved back to the apartment and settled in on the patio which was just so Greek. Startling white tiled floor, icing sugar rendered cement balustrades. A beautiful view over the sea. Chilled white Retsina sitting in an ice bucket. Dolmades stacked on a porcelain plate; a plate ready to be thrown against the wall or the floor in jubilation. Virginia actually liked Retsina. She was the only other person Sebastian knew who liked Retsina. All the other Australians he knew compared it to some sort of toilet cleaning fluid. However, there was something about its bitter taste, probably because of the resination, that appealed to him and obviously her.
They sat in the sun indulgently chewing dolmades and washing them down with crisp wine. The one thing that seemed to be missing was seagulls. But that was no great loss. All that was needed was a little Greek music to create the perfect atmosphere. That would have to wait until the evening. It was on the second bottle of Retsina when Virginia started on her totally predictable quixotic tilt at Sebastian’s alcoholic behaviour.
‘I sometimes think you live on the brink of self-destruction, Sebastian,’ she said while casually throwing back her fourth glass of Retsina.
At 3.15pm the following day Sebastian and Virginia were seated together in an A380. It was business class. Sauvignon blanc for him. She was sipping a champagne.
Virginia looked at Sebastian. ‘Well, you got us on the A380 but it is not Qantas. It’s Emirates. We are stopping in Dubai. Haven’t been there since the new terminal was constructed. It should be interesting … When we arrive in London, where do we go?’
Sebastian paused. He looked at the rapidly darkening sky outside. ‘We are taking the fast train to Chester. Then I believe we are being picked up and taken to this library place. I told you it is an old country manor. He has a huge private and very old library with over 250,000 books. Very unusual. We have to drive for another half an hour or so from Chester, over the river Dee. Should be English village cutesy. Low ceilinged pubs. Ducks on the devilishly narrow roads. Crunching gravel driveways. All that sort of stuff. Anyway I have booked us in as B&B guests at this manor. I have forgotten the name for the moment. But as far as anybody there is concerned, especially the host, we are just Australian tourists who uncharacteristically, read a lot.’
‘Ok, who is the host?’ Virginia queried.
‘Some Lord or Duke. He is supposedly sympathetic to OWL. He was actually introduced to me by Randall; not Richard. You know, Richard just does the financial thing, albeit very well. But Randall has contacts everywhere through his international peace brigade. Evidently, Randall, at one of his global meetings, told him about you and the Library of Congress. He now knows of your WOW discoveries. While you were asleep at the hotel I made a couple of overseas calls.
‘Anyway, he is the one who invited you to meet him, not me. But I thought I had better tag along to make sure you were okay. He has got a name. All he said was ‘Peter’. And all will be explained when he picks us up at the Chester station, so he said.’
Sebastian turned to Virginia. ‘You look exhausted, have a nap. You need it.’
Virginia hit the recline button and slipped backwards a few inches into oblivion.
She let out a gentle sigh and closed her eyes. It was all catching up with her.
Of course, Sebastian believed he had to get himself involved in the plot. But I can tell you he is going to become an obstacle. He was manageable when he was delusional and completely self-engrossed. Now he is, well, dangerous. He is starting to reach out. Starting to understand there are forces beyond his ken. Intuitively he feels this, but he can’t interpret the signs. This is dangerous to me of course. How can I have one of my beings, one of my characters, starting to think for themselves. Let’s see where his Don Quixote quest will take him.
Sebastian, clearly affected by the wine and lager he had consumed in quite copious amounts, prepared himself mentally. He was the master of bonhomie. When he was warm with the camaraderie induced by a good Cabernet Sauvignon, others would melt.
‘Your ticket, please.’ The request was deadpan, made by a tall, gangly, almost consumptive-looking figure. He had a short black moustache with a clear parting that tapered downwards at the ends, creating a perpetual grimace.
He looked directly at Sebastian with lashless reptilian eyes.
‘My ticket. My ticket. Of course, my ticket,’ Sebastian fumbled in his right suit pocket and then his right trouser pocket. Then his left suit pocket and his left trouser pocket. He rose; half levitated and grasped the window for support (avoiding Virginia who was comatose). He squeezed himself into the aisle and unsuccessfully searched in his back trouser pockets. He then pulled his leather briefcase across the table and started rummaging through that.
‘Had a little bit to drink, have we, Sir?’ said the ticket inspector.
‘No, not really, I've had a lot to drink.’ He felt proud of his prodigious consumption. ‘Would you like a sip? There's just a little of the crusty stuff left on the bottom of the bottle. A good Australian red.’
‘We're from the southern parts, are we, Sir?’ Condescending little shit, thought Sebastian. Still no ticket. ‘You don't seem to have a ticket, Sir.’
‘Well, it was here, I had it in my hand,’ said Sebastian. He wondered if his words sounded as clear in the ear of the receiver as they did in the mind of the creator.
Perhaps there was a slur but surely it was not detectable. ‘Ah well, just have a drink, will you, while I look.’
‘No, of course I can't drink, Sir, it is against the rules. The rules are very important, Sir. You must have a ticket otherwise I will have to charge you, plus a fine.’
‘I know where it is now,’ said Sebastian.
‘Where was that, Sir?’
Sebastian’s mind raced. He didn't like the man, he didn't like the situation. Too belittling for one who had just made a serious cosmological discovery. Despite his conviction that wine, the elixir of angels, is a tranquilliser, his aggression level rose. Just as he was about to unleash a torrent of abuse he stumbled upon his ticket.
He looked at a papier-mache sludge on the table. The ticket was part of the sludge. He carefully prised it from the table so as not to disassemble it and passed it gingerly to the inspector who looked ready to kill.
‘There we are – ticket intact.’
Without a word the inspector threw the remains of the ticket on the table and walked out. As he whooshed through the exit, in whooshed the voluptuous one.
As the train slowed on entry into Chester station, Sebastian looked up at her and said, ‘You're right, he's a prat.’