Fire in the Sky! Repeated booms, the ground shakes so much that according to news reports 5.2 registered on the Richter scale. It stops. I look around the garden and down in my lap feeling wetness. These 63 years and bladder control is not what it once was. Nope not that. Just the iced Kopi shaken itself off the shelf next to the hammock, with half the liquid now firmly entrenched in my shorts, trickling down and sticking to the legs. A few leaves fluttering to ground, 8-10 youngish coconuts rolling on the ground that takes my full stunned attention until they stop. So much for the regular 2.30 read and siesta. Was in the middle of reading a not so long ago post called “Fragments “. Seriously wondering if anything will change from the Trumpers, haters, deniers and conspiracy nutters. Going on the few months since the post, truth had become further away from our daily reality. All my checks on the ‘alternative’ truth websites and feeds confirmed this. Maybe the world was ending as the prophesying doomsayers were claiming. Maybe what just happened was the start.
Head inside to be incredulous with the wife about what was just witnessed. As per usual she is immersed in translation world, scrolling through files, Tridos program in action, her music pumping through the most expensive noise cancelling ear buds that money can buy. She looks up – “Hi honey”, smiles, head back to screen and goes on with it. I tap the shoulder. Interrupt at your own peril is the facial expression. Ear buds are out. I cannot contain it any longer – “ What was that? Biggest bang, brighter than the sun, almost thrown from the hammock and the Kopi threw itself at me”. Scowl it is in response – “what are you talking about”? “You didn’t notice”? Notice what?, I’m really busy, this deadline is so tight”. Head starts swiveling to the screen and then notices the Kopi stained shorts and legs. Stops and looks again- “why are you wearing Kopi?” Deep breath taken, a small sigh on my part that really wasn’t appreciated, her impatience accelerating. “The fireball, sonic booms, mini earthquake?” Didn’t notice? Puzzled mixed with impatience comes back at me. “Nope”. “It just happened”, I blurt out. “You doze off pretty quickly when you hit the hammock, you must have been dreaming. I really have to get on with this.” Head turns, ear buds back in and into digital translate World she goes, not to re-touch Planet Earth again for several hours.
Back outside I go, smiling quietly at the dedication and focus of my other half to never notice sonic booms and earthquakes. Look up to the sky – blue with a few building thunder clouds just as it should be. A few fleeting thoughts about what was obviously a meteor or asteroid that had hit our atmosphere, wondering where it hit the planet as the booms and ground shaking surely indicated that it must have impacted somewhere nearby my home in the foothills of Kuching Sarawak.
Late afternoon rain and caught down the back of the Mango orchard. Oh well, doesn’t matter as the wet stuff is always warm. Only 50 metres to dry clothes and get on with checking the new grafts which all appear to have taken well. Not the garden variety thunderstorm but more a drizzle Tasmanian style. For such small drops, the skin reacts with tickles almost bordering on irritation. A rough brush of the arm and of droplets hanging off the ear lobe. A slight oddness to the drops that appeared to roll off, rather than splatter under the hand and between the fingers. A pin prick itch is felt but dissipates quickly. Wet hand must be dry for graft tape wrapping and use the t shirt to do so. The vaguest grey smear on the shirt. “Huh? How come?
Memory comes to mind of recent Palm Oil plantation burn-off smoke pollution that had millions of us stuck indoors. “Must be some lingering ash in the atmosphere”, the inner voice suggests. An inner curse goes out to the Plantation operators who affected the lives of millions with their gross environmental irresponsibility. An equal curse goes out to our Government that always appears hamstrung to do anything year in year out and always appears to conceal the truth.
That local night news feeds checked. Just the obligatory fireball in the sky and no damage reported. They obviously didn’t know about the Ice Kopi disaster earlier. A small item mentioning the grey rainfall with the Met advising still atmospheric ash floating about. Grrrr. Useless we are to do anything but suffer. At least I was able to show my other half the truth. “Yeh ok love”, head back to screen again focused on deadline.
Off to bed, 10.30pm is about it these days. So absorbed I had been in local crazy events of the mid-afternoon, my daily surf of foreign news sites had been ignored, but checked now for the event from the heavens news. ABC Australia – Item about sonic booms over Newscorp, the home of Alan Jones (2GB) and Sky News headquarters in Sydney around 4.30 in the afternoon. Some brief information of melted computer terminals and broadcast equipment. Localised it was. Sporadic reports came in from many outer suburbs, but weirdly one house heard the booms and the neighbour did not. Again damage to communication lines, but always localised to one house and not the neighbour. This pattern repeated time and again across all States. “Maybe all those households that didn’t hear a thing were all engrossed in translation with noise cancelling earbuds”, I chuckled to myself. BBC News had some breaking news of sonic booms and light in the sky across much of Europe. In the USA, CNN and Fox similarly announcing people shaken in bed lightning and thunder waking many. Office of the President (Trump) communications were fried. Again the damage pattern reported in Australia. Yet again, not all people hearing, seeing or feeling the event.
Dawn breaks as per usual with a mild salmon pink. A strange tang, almost bitter pervades the senses. Not enough to really define. Grey drizzle of day before gone from sight and almost memory. News outlets across the Globe interviewing witnesses, meteorologists, astronomers and astrophysicists. Varying opinions but mainly centred on unusually large meteor shower with some bigger pieces making it through the atmosphere to planetfall below. A temporary thought – “why no on ground reports, if it happened across the globe”? It disappeared just as quickly. Fried computers and communication systems caused by unusually high atmospheric static electricity activity combined with major sunspot action. See, for everything there is always an explanation. Absent of thought, smile creasing up the aging face.
I wander to the front gate to check mail. Hear a motorbike at high speed, look up to see the neighbour (call him Simon for confidentiality) skidding to a halt in front of the gate. He almost tripped over the exhaust in his hurry to get in my face before I headed back up to the house. Screaming at me – “Roundy, you arsehole, you destroyed my internet again. You fried my computer, All my links to favourite sites are wiped. I’m going to f*^king rip you and your family apart into tiny pieces if I find you even one step inside my property again….“. Gave me the obligatory middle finger, still cursing and swearing, back on the bike, a shower of gravel and back up the hill to his place.
We are on acreage, luckily so. We had bought the property five years earlier at a bargain basement price. Even the Real Estate agent had a word of caution about our neighbour up the hill. “Try not to get too close to the boundary fence. If he sees you, he will insist you have trespassed overnight and let his cattle out or even crazier stuff like poisoned the air that he breathes. Pretty sad really with his wife moving out taking the three children away some years ago. No one knows where she went. He loves guns and conspiracies. Common knowledge he has built an end of days underground shelter. So, just be careful. Are you still interested?” The answer was always going to be yes no matter how nutty the nutter up the hill might be. Stunning country backing onto National Park, fresh water stream, wildlife, already started orchard and basic plant nursery, previous owner loved their plants with a slightly neglected mini botanical gardens awaiting my horticultural touch. Yes, we have had our run ins, but none so serious as today.
Off to the Police station for the obligatory police report about yet another Simon threat. At least I tried. A queue stretched down the street. Many mumbling in the line about insurance claim for melted computers, damaged land lines, support poles collapsed as if termites or Woody woodpecker had seriously good times. Simon was spotted further along, flushed and twitchy, always pulling on the left ear, head shakes, mouth opening and closing consistently but no words. Many others in similar fashion all tugging away on the left ear, head shakes and mouths of no sound.
They did not appear to be aware of their actions. Shocked realisation that I was doing the same, but not quite as violent in movement. Left eye did not appear to want to focus as the right. What can only be described as a shadow of light flickered in and out on the cornea periphery. Touch the eye – nothing. Almost like grit in the corner not that uncomfortable, but something was there. Dreamlike, words are being formed across the cornea, static sounds of them forming on the inner ear. The desire to tug and pull the earlobe, shake the head and rub the eyeball are intensifying. Still the mouth works like a Goldfish feeding. Nothing else matters.
Most others in line are almost rocking and swaying in sync to my now severe discomfort. Letters coming to the lips, words fragmenting across the eyeball like ticket tape, T tr T tru T..sounds breaking up and down. Rhythmic it becomes the letters formed, sounds heard, synchronised we become, the non mobile snake chain, swaying, tugging, pulling, head shaking and mouthing in unison.
The word grunted and spat out of many as if giving birth after the most difficult and painful 20 hour labour. From me just a whisper. Easy said. There is no more. I am now still, hands fallen to sides, shadow of light stills and then fades, no longer. Am back in the now, look around me and nothing makes sense……
Grunters of TRUTH are almost ripping their ears off, bleeding from lobes, own eyeballs hanging by sinew, belting their mouths to bloody pulps against light poles, window ledges, on their knees head banging the pavement and always the word TRUTH being gargled or screamed. One time, many times. Across the street some pedestrians doing the same, vehicles collide, doors spilling open and disgorging the self mutilating TRUTH TRUTH TRUTH screamers. Many like me are just staring, not really drinking in what has unfolded. The cacophony of dull thuds of bloodied flesh belting objects, flying ripped out eyeballs, gargled screaming the single word TRUTH. Cannon shot from the Heavens rings out much like the sonic booms of the previous day. One last agonising, gut wrenching gasp of “TRUTH” rings out and then silence. Overwhelming silence. Nature has disappeared in the mad moment of the word TRUTH.
Left ear still intact is itchy on the inside. I tilt the head, little finger goes in for an explore. It feels something, a bit a flick and out drops to the pavement a large lump of ear wax, or so I thought until it moved. Bending down I realised I must have had a cattle tick in the ear. A common hazard living in the foothills. I touched it, melting into the wax as I did. Startling me, I jumped back when shimmering mini stars of blue and white rose from the wax, dissipating into the daylight. Now a standard lump of ear wax hardening to the pavement. I stared at it for as long as possible, eyes reluctant to re-focus on the human grizzly carnage moaning nearby.
Still dazed and confused, I look around. The TRUTH screamers are on the ground, still alive, messy in blood and gurgles. Tiny objects spotted coming out of the ears followed by a gossamer stream of fragmented words and phrases – Fa.e .ews, Najib innoc..t, Only Is..m can be in .harg.e, China Vi..s, Fla. E.rth, Anti-Va..ce., New Wo..d O.der, St.p .he Steal, Trump is Gods en..y, End of times are near, Chi..se ama..ing on US bord..s, Soverign Citi..ens, Whit. Lives Mat.er, Clim..e Ch..ge is a H.ax…..and many more floating up like feathers on the breeze to the ether above until no more.
Bugs are coalescing over each body and cannot really see until they move to the next. Transfixed I watch. Ripped up ears repaired, eyeballs in correct locations, damaged lips and faces repaired. On they go until the last TRUTH screamer is repaired and then fade to shimmering mini stars of blue and white, rise and disappear. People pick themselves up, car damage inspected. Talking starts. Simon spots me and nods, a smile! What? A smile from the potential Jack the Ripper! The now raggedy line are all wondering what they are doing lining up at the Police station. Confused, but for some a look of serenity and lightness abounds as if dark brooding and thoughts have gone.
Looking at Simon smiling, I have to talk. “You okay?”. Bit of a scowl, is as if his face is fixed this way. “Yeh I am. Feel really good in fact.” I mention about the morning verbal barrage. He is clear that it wasn’t him. I must have been imagining. “Maybe early dementia setting in”, he jokes. “Come up for a beer later on. The view from my porch is out of this world. I have some new Mango grafts you might be interested in.” He wanders away. My jaw slack from surprise. What had I witnessed? Was it a dream? No, there are blood stains on the pathway, tow truck operators on the street, but all these people are repaired and walking away as if nothing happened. I leave as well. Dissipating words and phrases being sorted in the mind. It appears they were cherry picked from all the anti-truth sites I so love to read and get dismayed at. Something other wordly happened. No doubt. No other explanation is remotely plausible. Cattle ticks don’t repair human bodies or float off in blue white shimmers.
The skies above are doing their normal daily thunderstorm brewing. Home and in the door to relate the crazy out of this world events. The body is shaking and am overwhelmingly exhausted. Shakirah, at her desk, ear buds in and pounding away. I stand there so deeply in love at this sensible smart person before me. She notices me there. A quick appraisal and the question asked – “are you okay love?” Hesitant I am to reply, but truth and honesty are the hallmarks of us. “Well….no and yes. You have time for a coffee? It has been a strange day.”
Coffee made, Sunset going down over the back orchard and hills beyond. Thunderstorm just finished and the fresh tang of washed nature seeps down the hill and I start my story. I talked, she talked and believed. She had been doing her normal daily check of twitter feeds and instagram posts. Unexplained events of people all over the World screaming the word TRUTH and tearing themselves apart, to observation of disintegrating words and phrases disappearing into the ether. People miraculously being repaired by tiny tick like bugs. She had not really believed until my story. I recalled the Simon conversation and invitation and said I had nothing to lose by going and will be careful. But I just had to go.
Opening his gate, a bonfire is noticed – Simon the shadow nearby, much paper feeding the fire. The Ice Cooler (Esky) opened with chilling Beers. “Hi Roundy, grab one and park up on the verandah while I finish off.” He disappears inside coming out moments later with another box – newspaper clippings, flow charts catch my eye before the fire toss. “What are you burning?” You know it’s really wierd. I got home and someone must have been here and dumped all this conspiracy garbage stuff in my living room. Boxes of it, stuff pinned to the walls. A crazy book collection about end of times, Flat Earth Society posters, Tucker Carlson CD’s, a pin up of some weird lady – Anita Rivera, Sovereign citizens book of law, TRUMP 2020 paraphernalia. Massive list of contact details – John Birch Society, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, Alan Jones, Newsmax, Epoch Times, Breitbart, Infowars, Anatoly Formenko, even that crazy Yankee Pillow Guy. How did all this crazy conspiracy stuff end up here? Look over in the corner – I have a brand new computer as well. Its wonderful, but I didn’t buy it.” Am smiling, bemused but smiling. It is as if Simon’s previous life of paranoia and conspiracy had been erased completely. “What a dick that guy Trump is. What a conman to tell lies like he has about the election. What is it with people who can’t accept the truth? They are all living in alternate reality, the lot of em. Absolutely useless they are trying to help the planet when they are so selfish. They are mad.” I cannot fail to agree. It takes a few hours before the last words spoken, bonfire embers are stared to their end and final beers are downed. Simon leads me via his secret path to the Mango orchard and unsteadily in the door to the lounge I go. Turn on the telly for late night news, vaguely watching something about Trump and Biden playing pairs at Golf that I couldn’t compute. The Dead sleep of a drunken man embraced the couch.
Wake up 5 hours later with dawn rays directly in the eyeballs – ouch, the head hurts. Did yesterday exist? Was it a dream? The gore, the screamed TRUTH word, streaming conspiracy words and passages, little bugs crawling from ears and repairing people before disappearing in shimmering blue and white, more than anything else – having a new best drinking buddy Simon up the hill. He is the most normal and a rational person you could ever meet. Shakirah puts paid to any thoughts of a dream. Crabby she is – “ I was going to call the police. You didn’t come back for hours. I thought he had chopped you up into tiny pieces and here you are stinking of stale hops and barley!” Straight away though she comes over, we hug, say sweet forever words that only people deeply in love say.
She has already checked the news and yes, strange, terrible events happened all over the World, but now normal times have resumed. No one can explain. The Apocalyptic prophesisers have disappeared not just from the airways, truly disappeared. My checking of the extreme right news services – “what tha?” what is this Happy Times?” Two days ago it was Epoch Times, Newsmax feed is now Newstruth to the Max. A mouthful, but not as surreal as live feed of Proud Boys leading a Coming Together March of all in Washington. 2 Million and more streaming in of all colours and creeds. Big banner at the front – Love not hate, Truth is the only way. “Whaaaat?” Fox and Friends with Biden on the Couch joking about the apparent fact he has lived for 270 years at least. Everyone trying on his Aviator sunglasses.
Paula White entering stage left rapping in tongues a Biden/God we trust groovy tune. Overnight, it has become the most downloaded song of the year. Music critics raving about fresh directions for rap! Checked Australian headlines – Alan Jones to head this years Sydney Mardi Gras, Craig Kelly and Clive Palmer announced a funding drive for alternative fossil fuel research and development including Climate Science Uni scholarships programs.
Here in Malaysia, Jho Low has donated upwards of 1 Billion ringgit to fund the Covid vaccine program and running around all over the Country organising logistics. Ex PM Najib Razak, Jail sentence suspended, is embarking on his big apology for the Losses tour around the Country into every Kampung over the terrible wastage of 1 MDB funds. His wife donating her designer bags and bling for auction, fundraising towards Schools re-building and solar power programs. PAS leadership are attending DAP led Chinese New Year functions. Papagomo and Jamal Yunos are getting down and dirty organising working bees repairing dilapidated Indian and Chinese Malaysian low income housing. A “Dignity for all Malaysians” conference is being organised by Tun M, Lim Guan Eng, Anwar Ibrahim, UMNO and PAS connected NGO’s. ICERD was signed overnight. Tommy Thomas is being lauded by all sides of the political spectrum for his bold, take no prisoners memoirs of his life in Law and as Attorney General. Strange, but good days indeed.
The events of three days ago and consequent news revealed a disappearance of truth is fake, black is white, denial, upside down schism of Conspiracy, self serving politicians lies versus the rest of us peaceful but questioning truth accepting citizens. Almost as if it never existed. It appears that it is only us truth seekers and believers that remember before. Agro has disappeared among Supremacist groups who were now actively promoting Club memberships for all. Their flags now sporting Love and Peace motifs. News reports inform of overwhelming smell of Ganja at their events. Had the 1960’s just get reprised? Climate change getting the combined attention of all with the science accepted. Love is in the Air!!
As with any news cycle these days – 48 to 72 hours after the event and TRUTH Day almost relegated to Old News dustbin. So quickly and easily we forget. Who am I to complain apart from not getting my hit of daily dark amusement and despair of these people existing in some non-truth parallel society . Smartphone reminds me that my screen time is down 40% on previous week. No wonder. Maybe make more time for writing about these crazy days. Am musing about those new Mango grafts from Simon while reading. He reckons guaranteed Mango in two years, much better than the five with current grafts.
Noise from the phone interrupts – FB Messanger pings, standard message pings, whattsap pings. Across the front screen scrolling – “Remember the Truth. Separate fact from fiction, what you see is real. Believe in Science, Never forget history. Do not re-write history. Be kind, Love thy neighbour – all. You are not alone, we are the TRUTH watchers. Always have been and will be. Do not dismiss us. Next time we come, the fireballs will crash to earth, earthquakes will break the Mango Orchard and much more, Coconuts will fall and will kill. Humans will tear themselves apart and our Word mites will eat you.”
Shakirah runs screaming to me, crying and distressed. The message bounced through the not expensive enough noise cancelling earbuds. It scrolled across the screen of the translation Files. In her case – the message slightly different with a disaster comment about all her personal journals on fire and kindness to me. TV turned on, radio on, live streams and feeds checked. The message had gone out to everyone everywhere and tailored to the individual. Mind almost explodes at the complexity of this. God? Could be. This aging Agnostic and avid Science Fiction reader is leaning more towards Benevolent Galactic overarching Truth and Justice authority? Could be.
Do we really want to test them again? Never. A New World Order it must be, just not the one envisaged by those now almost forgotten Conspiracy believers. We are not alone.
Coming soon: Edge of Truth