Welcome to the seventh chapter of Johny Browns, Straight Road …how long will Susan’s horror show walk through the valley darkness continue ???? read on ….FEBRUARY
Susan shambled out the car park and staggered down the high street until she saw the church at the end of the street and oh how resplendent it seemed, it’s spire bathed in a sudden ray of sun shine that burst from beyond the dark cloud, the dream as vision, the light after the dark, and this her destiny to be saved, to be welcomed into the bosom of Christ at last.
It was a beautiful church a composite of different era’s pre and post reformation, Norman and Tudor, red brick brown beam with gargoyles under eaves from which swallows flew, a clean English flag flying from the steeple and old weathered graves under a Yew tree from time out of hand, and oh how she felt at home here already. God was in his place.
Susan knocked timidly on the door with her forehead. Cecil was determined to ignore the knocks, but one of his guests was insistent he should answer the door. Reluctantly he crossed the
‘We have a perfectly good foodbank operating at the church hall every Friday so if you wait until then, you will be provided with a jolly good feed’. The man of God pushed the armless mendicant backwards off the step and Susan lost her balance falling heavily and painfully on already hurting bruises. The big heavy door was slammed firmly in Susan’s face.
Susan tilted her head back and looked up at the steeple, the bursting sun had vanished, the dark clouds were regrouping around the spire, and before another thought had processed, it had begun to rain. She shuddered and cried a bit, then with great difficulty picked herself up from the ground and turned away and walked into the town.
The buildings on the High Street were as ancient and beautiful as the church but the street itself was run down and shabby with most of it’s shops boarded up. If she’d had her mind about her Susan might have thought she’d wandered on to the set of a film about a ghost town but her senses were derailed as were and it all seemed practically normal.
She stood in a doorway for six hours blankly gazing at the rain coming down hard on the uneven cobbled pavement and running off to fill the potholes in the unfixed tarmac of the High Street. Locals passed by and most of them turned away. The Priest himself passed, nose in the air, as he strode to the Royal Stag for his afternoon fortifier of French Red Wine.
Eventually a young woman with dreadlocks and a hand scratched to her forehead stopped to engage Susan in conversation. She stared a moment at Susan’s arms glued behind her back and empathised with her situation. She disappeared and came back with a cardboard beaker of tea, which she fed into Susan’s mouth before escorting her to another storefront.
This storefront was a luxurious goods shop that dominated the fine end of the High Street. The dreadlock girl told her this would be the best place to ponce to live and so in the rain Susan stood and shivered and begged for arms, and if not arms then alms, and if not alms then at least fifty pence towards another cup of tea or a sausage roll to ease the pain in her soul.
Now the man who owned this shop that sold the luxury goods, he had a son, a single child, Samuel, who if not a spoilt brat was certainly the apple of his father’s eye. Sam saw something in the armless beggar girl that no one else had yet seen. He saw the beauty in the tragedy of her situation but he also he fancied he saw through to a soul that was burning inside.
Sam began talking at Susan. ‘I would give you money but what I’m thinking right now is that it’s time to evolve to a moneyless society, so everyone can live in abundance. The current system thrives on scarcity, disease, crimes and environmental destruction and all in the name of profit.’ Susan blinked and tugged at her arms. Her back hurt, the kidneys were strained.
David’s aggression needled every bit of the body and her bladder was in need of relief. Deprivation of sleep and the after glow of a hallucination also affected Susan. She felt oddly content. Like one of the martyrs or saints that she had read about in her bare room in the luxury tower. And now this boy was stood talking at her.
Sam was on a flow. He had so many ideas but never anyone to share them with. ‘Look, we’ve got the technology and the resources to house, feed, and clothe each and every single human on the planet, without money, barter, or any kind of servitude. This system would eliminate the need for war, violence, poverty, etc’. Susan nodded graciously and asked his name.
‘My name is Sam and I am anti-austerity, I am pro nationalisation of trains. I am anti monarchy. I am anti nukes and Pro public services. I am Pro rent control. I am Pro Living Wage. I am not pro Hezbollah/Hamas perse but would like to include them in negotiations. I want to live in a better world. Is that too much to ask, my father owns this shop by the way, who are you?
Susan whispered her name. She hoarsely told him her story, of her own father dying, the move to the city, her discovery of the Essenes and the search for a simple and pure life rejecting all material trappings, the need to give, Keisha’s arrival and departure, her brothers betrayal, the glueing of the arms, the priest’s rejection of her at the door in the hour of need.
Before Sam could speak she described her vision in the wood and tried to explain some of what she saw and felt, some of what she, sensed. She jerked her head upwards and pointed to the sky with her nose. The sky was still dark and it was raining harder than ever. ‘This is it, isn’t it? This is where our pleasures have brought us’.
They both looked down to where the drains had begun overflowing and they moved to the highest step on the shop doorway. The overflow became a stream, indeed almost a river, as refuse bins and bicycles swept past them. A raging torrent followed by an equally swift subsidence. They both looked at each other and nodded. This was the harbinger of the end of days.
Sam was smitten. He stood in the street and stared at Susan. She stared back. After an hour of rapturous gazing and talking he darted back into the shop and approached his mother and father. He articulated his smittening. The mother and father were shocked. No girl in this town was good enough for their son and besides further education and qualifications beckoned.
Samuel was insistent: he wanted to live with the young woman who was stood in the doorway of the store that had made them so rich and almost genteel all these years. The parents peered out and were horrified. This scrap of a girl who looked to be wasting away, as she stood in the rain, with her arms glued behind her back, that one? Samuel nodded, smiled, yes.
‘But son, there are young women on our side, all with good deportment, magazine looks, mansion style manners, affluent parentage, why go for some scrut?’ ‘Because she is scrut beautiful father and that scrut beauty far transcends the usual inbred class styling’s that pass for merely existing these days, by God, she is truth and freedom and she is beautiful.’
‘Beautiful, what’s beautiful about her? Hair all greasy, skin all dusted with dirt and the likes, wearing that filthy donkey jacket over her shoulders, no Royal beauty her, no Middleton aspirant there, in fact no representation of aspiring class at all that we can see. She is an insult to this town and the families who have preserved its noble character all these years.’
‘Father I spit on the familial noble character preserved in aspic and bile all these years, I puke on Royal beauty for the staid degenerate charade it truly is and don’t get me started on the mediocre Masonic Mail bait that are the Middleton sisters, one nice arse does not a decent summer make Father, not for myself anyway, I who aspire to nothing less than pure Class War’.
The father wanted to pound the walls with despair. His blood pressure rose to such a degree that his veins throbbed and his skin turned the colour of port wine, his eyes bulged and his legs shook, he began to cough and filled the room with fetid air. He composed himself however. He had always been able to compose himself. He now turned to his son and calmly explained.
‘We are the last of the Surrey People son, don’t you understand that, the old bloodlines are running out and our kind all but nearly extinct, forced even from the pages of the Daily Mail, our bakers crowded out by Greggs and our butchers suffocated by EU restrictions, our pure sports of bloody lust all banned, our politicians castigated for perversions I know not of, oh dear’.
‘And you son, with your student politics to grow out of and your tatty clothing but a phase, we have always exhorted you, indulged you even, to enjoy your young life as you must, as a learning curve, for one day soon you will rightfully take up the family business, and with it the connections such a business entails, and with business handshakes you must make’.
And with handshakes comes progress, oh yes, the kind of progress that establishes you in this world, you do want to progress don’t you, to grow and evolve, to earn your corn and gain the respect and trust of your neighbours and peers, to make something of yourself, to be someone in this world, to establish yourself and yourself be part of the establishment?
There are fields waiting to be fracked, new nuclear buildings blooming, industry booming like never before, and our shares in the privatised fossil fuel and power industries blossom, son we have money invested in abattoirs in the East that flourish advantageously due to current employment conditions, I want you to manage one of these great institutions for the family sooner rather than later.
I’m a fucking vegan father, I pay subscriptions to the Animal Liberation Front though you would not know them in that name or form or guise anymore because they, like everyone else I am associated with, are underground, deep, deep underground, and I myself am underground, anonymous, hacktivist, just waiting for my moment of anarchy to arrive…
And you can’t comprehend that can you, you don’t understand that at all, you’ve never been able to understand me or what I’m about, the new way I think and my nailed on worldview that blinds you with it’s crucial perceptions of a world that is so far gone messed up and by God if you want to treat me like an animal then I’ll be an animal and see what happens then.
You’ve never connected with how I dress, you don’t care at all for these bold clothes I wear, well, just wait until I revert to my natural state and walk naked down the high street and scarify myself in a tribal manner so spurts of plasma explode and I in all my primitive glory will cover myself in my own blood and snot and sick and excrement and won’t that be for real.
But son, the mother fair wailed, why can’t you just be like all your school chums and wear a nice pair of red chino’s and a good blazer, your collar raised, a pair of loafers with no socks, or a solid pair of wellington’s and hair pushed up rather anarchically if you must. Why can’t you wear expensive sunglasses and bray enthusiastically knowing the world is yours to have?
And all of it too son, not just Eton and Ascot and Glastonbury festival, not just the Fulham Road and the Square Mile, but a world beyond that, Cornwall, Verbiers and Balmoral and what remains of the colonies. Jersey will be yours son, and Mustique too, we still have a foothold in Hong Kong and a presence in Canada, it is yours to have and to hold, to work with.
And don’t you see son, that when the establishment embraces you, then will you take up the gun, and the horse, and you will have your own beater, your own huntsman and you will drink port and eat cheese, you will flourish and fatten and then you must think of your responsibility towards heritage, our great heritage of privilege it is there to be upheld son.
Samuel laughed: it was his intention to destabilise that heritage, to rail at that establishment, they could keep their gout giving ports and their cruel barbaric blood sports, keep them, no… they couldn’t… all that would be a thing of the past, consigned to history with the useless royals and the predatory politicians and the stupid celebrities the day he had his way.
Samuel cried: what a world it is where we plough all our money into bombing innocent countries whilst our own folk are resigned to food banks and the likes. There was a better world he knew and he had been mapping it out night after night waiting for the moment when he could put his plans into practice. Just wait…
The father came back at him and then the mother too. Any further congress with this beastly young woman was strictly out of the question. He had university to see through yet, and an induction into modern farming methods waiting, and a place on the rugby team beckoning if only he would man up, but this burgeoning no good relationship. OUT OF THE QUESTION
Samuel sighed: it was like didn’t they want him to have a relationship with a woman: one that might bear them a child and would carry the line on through other generations? Not that a child mattered of course because this was the final age of man and climate change, mass migration, corporate fascism and corrupt politicians would do for the world soon enough.
Samuel’s father pointed out the window, ‘Look son, do you see evidence of this so called climate change, it rains, the rain makes the grass grow greener, our cows are fatter than ever, we have more choice at our table, wines from all parts of the world, I see no apocalypse, and I fully expect the leaves to start falling from the trees in time for the hunt, all is as should be’.
‘As for migration, our armies will take care of that should it ever be any kind of nuisance. Scaremongering by parties of the worst kind, I see no swarthy faces in the village as of yet, though I concede, I hear the inner cities do have their problems but come, come, indeed, all we could ask for is a child to carry on the bloodline of the clear skinned fair minded Surrey People.
So you agree then mother and father, that it is down to me to carry on the bloodline and therefore if I am to undertake such a genetically minded mission then I think the responsibility of choosing the child bearing vessel lies with me does it not, and you must at least take a chance on bestowing me the choice and my choice stands waiting outside, she loves me already.
The mother and father threw their hands up in defeat and conceded to a whim of their precious son again. This was just a phase he was going through so why not humour him, and who knows, if he didn’t change, then maybe in the right environment, the girl herself would change to their way of life and wouldn’t that be a victory for right-minded thinking.
We don’t care how you arrive at where you must arrive and all told if it must be some scrut bit of gothic crust then so be it but just do it son and put your mother out of her misery and let’s get back to enjoying ourselves and taking the world purely as it is, besides these are the best years of our lives, so let’s live them to the full, we’re off down the Stag…