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April 12, 2013

Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book I: The Novel — A book by Robert Sheppard

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See on Scoop.itWorld Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard is now available on Smashwords!—–Check it Out Now!

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BUY SPIRITUS MUNDI BOOK II ONLINE NOW!

April 12, 2013

Smashwords — Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance — A book by Robert Sheppard

 

CLICK HERE TO BUY SPIRITUS MUNDI NOW! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303798

 

See on Scoop.itWorld Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard’s thriller novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey bringing to life the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War…

Robert Sheppard‘s insight:

Spiritus Mundi–Book II: The Romance is now Available on Smashwords!—-Check It Out Now!

See on www.smashwords.com

Excerpts from the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy, from the Novel Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard

May 30, 2011
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Note:  The following are excerpts from the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy, Principal Character of the novel, Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For more background on the novel and the characters click on the following links:

Related Links and Websites:  Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

For Introduction and Overview of the Novel:  http://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/

For Author’s Blog:  https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/

To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundisamplechapters.wordpress.com/

To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundifantasymythandmagicalrealism.wordpress.com/

To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience:  https://spiritusmundivarietiesofsexualexperience.wordpress.com/

To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:   http://spiritusmundispyespionagecounterterrorism.wordpress.com/

To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundigeopoliticalworldwar3.wordpress.com/

To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundionspiritualityandreligion.wordpress.com/

To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundihttps://spiritusmundiunitednationsparliamentaryassembly.wordpress.com/

To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundihttps://spiritusmundipoetry.wordpress.com/

For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi:   http://worldliteratureandliterarycriticism.wordpress.com/

For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi:  https://worldhistoryandcivilizationspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus Mundi: https://evasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi: http://sartoriusblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

Andreas’ Blog Journal:

You do not
know how long you are in a river when the current moves swiftly. It may seem to
be a long time and be very short—–or sometimes it is a long time but
shortened in your memory when the one and only one thought thinking in your
mind is getting out alive on the other shore. The river was cold and in flood
from the week of rains and many things floated by that were floated off the
banks when the river rose. I was lucky to have a large section of a tree-trunk
to hold on to with the leafy out-branches sticking up above out of the water,
torn off a river-bank tree in the fighting and flooding upstream……which
provided me cover as well as keeping me afloat in the turbulent current racing
into the rapids, and I held onto the smaller of its branches with my chin on
the wood, holding as easily as I could with both hands. I was afraid of cramps
from the cold water, still pelted with the downcoming cold rain, and I hoped we
would move towards the shore. I looked back and saw Joaquim’s head about a
hundred meters back, holding onto the bloated carcasse of a dead water buffalo
bobbing and rushing with the current into mid-river. We went down the long
river in a slow curve. It was beginning to get light enough so I could see the
bushes along the shore-line. There was a brush-island ahead and the current
shifted towards the shore. I wondered if I should take off my boots and clothes
and try to swim it across to the shore-bank, but I decided not to. I never
thought of anything but that I would get to that shore someway and then I would
be in a mess if I landed barefoot. I knew I had to go at least fifty kilometers
through thick brush to get out alive and I would never make it barefoot.

I watched the shore come close, then swing away and then come closer again. We were
floating more slowly now and the river was deepening and smoothing out. The
shore was very close now. I could see the twigs of brush hanging down into the
swollen flood-waters. Then the trunk swung around and I was facing out to mid-river
again and I knew we were in an eddy.. We went slowly around in a circle and
then I saw the bank again, very close now, and I was holding on with one arm
and kicking and swimming the branch towards the shore with the other, but I did
not bring it any closer. I was afraid the branch would move out of the eddy and
back into the middle of the Zambezi, so I drew my legs and feet up against the
solid part of the tree-trunk and shoved as hard as I could towards the bank.

I could see the brush along the shore-line but even with my momentum and swimming as hard as I could the current was drawing me slowly away from the shore. I felt
the heaviness grow in my arms and legs and I was afraid of drowning with the
weight of the wet uniform and boots, but I thrashed and fought through the
muddy-brown water, and when I looked up the bank was coming towards me and
along the bank was the outward branch of a fallen tree sticking out and I
frantically surged myself forward thrashing and swimming in a heavy-footed panic
and grabbed one last time at the up-jutting branch, cutting my palm badly as I slid
along its length coming to a halt against the lower side of the trunk. I hung
onto the bobbing branch for a long time, not having the strength to pull myself
up, but I knew I would not drown now. It had never occurred to me floating
down-river on the first branch that I would drown, but swimming the final ten meters
was a leap in the dark. I felt a sick hollow in my stomach and chest from the
effort and I held onto the branch and waited. When the sick feeling was gone I
edged myself up onto the lower limb and a bit out of the water and rested
again, my arms around the leafy part and holding tight with my hands onto the
larger ends of the branches. Then I crawled out, inching myself forward along
the submerged tree and finally gaining enough footing to crawl up and onto the
bank. It was half-daylight by now but I saw no one. I lay on the bank and heard
nothin g but the river and the rain.

When I could move again I looked around upstream and downstream for Joaquim. For along while I could see nothing and I thought he must be dead. A young boy, I
doubted if he was a strong enough swimmer to have made it. Then circling up
around the bend I looked across the water and saw something indistinct along
the inner side of the brush-island.—It big and black and bloated and I could
tell it was the body of the water buffalo with one leg snared in the brush
hanging into the swollen river. . As the light of morning grew I could see
Joaquim’s head and arm still clinging to the animal’s carcasse, and he looked
as if he might still be alive. I looked further upstream and I could see an
upturned fishing canoe pulled far up the bank. I limped towards it, righted it
and pushed it into the water, steering with it’s long paddle. When I got up to
the brush-island and pulled alongside the carcasse I called out to Joaquim but
there was no answer. I tied the canoe to a branch and pulled Joaaquim’s limp
body out of the water onto the bank, starting to give him CPR, pushing down on
his chest, pinching his nostrils and blowing into his lungs. After about three
minutes he started to vomit up water and began to come around. I got him into
the canoe and made for the opposite shore, pulling the canoe out into some
brush where we would not be seen. Then I carried him away from the river and
into the thicker wood and brush around a small stream, where I waited until the
rain stopped.

Then I began to think out what I should do. Ahead there was a ditch running into the
river. I went towards it. So far I had seen no one and I sat down by some
bushes alongside the edge of the ditch where I could not be seen and I took off
my coat, took out my wallet with my papers and my money all wet hidden in the
secret inside pocket of it, and set them onto the ground. I took off my boots
and poured the water out of them, draining and drying them and wringing out my
clothes a small bit. I slapped and rubbed myself and then dressed again. There
was nothing to do but try to evade capture and get back cross-country towards Chimoio along the Rhodesian border where we could hope to contact South African support groups.

When Joaquim was strong enough we made our way through the brush alongside a small dirt road, keeping a sharp eye out for Frelimo patrols until we came to a
deserted Portugese farmhouse and workstation—an abandoned outwork of one of
the larger praziero holdings once run by the Zambezia Company, a
British-controlled investment-paramilitary company which had taken over many of
the smaller Portugese landholdings, consolidating them into a larger
enterprise, and which also supplied workers to the plantations and mines in
Rhodesia and South Africa. The building was evidently hastily abandoned in the
recent fighting and a search through the basement yielded up some European
clothing and some canned food. I changed out of my South African uniform and we
both gorged our hollow bellies with canned peaches and spam.

Joaquim was only sixteen years old but he was more of a veteran than I was, having seen hundreds of people, combatants and innocents, killed in his service of over
four years with the Renamo unit I was assigned to as a communications liaison officer
in the bloody irregular war of insurgency against the semi-Marxist Machel
government of Frelimo in post-Portugese Mozambique. I had seen three years of
service with the South African army, but mostly as a communications officer far
behind the front line action—–technically my term of service was up but I
was serving extra optional time as a volunteer in exchange for a double-pay
bonus.  After both his parents had been
killed he had been forced into service with a Renamo aligned local warlord from
his Macua tribe. Though he had killed on numerous occasions he still wore his
father’s crucifix around his neck, the only possession and remembrance of his
family he retained, in the fashion of the Zionist Christian Church—-I had
talked to Joaquim about his church around the campfire one night and learned
that the Zionist Church had nothing to do with Zionism in Israel but was named
after the fundamentalist missionaries who came from Zion, Missouri in the
United States to found a powerful chain of black churches across South Africa
and its neighboring countries. His father and mother had been members until
almost all of the congregation were killed in the fighting, and it was from the
church school that he had learned his English. When I was assigned to
coordinate communications between our special operations groups and the Renamo
forces he was assigned to me to assist with the radios and act as interpreter
into the local Portugese dialect and local tribal languages.

After I had been in Mozanbique three months I found out that the local warlord we were assisting, Afanso of the Shona tribe—our supposed ally—-was a psychotic
butcher who forced his men, often forcibly-recruited teenage child soldiers, to
engage in indiscriminate shootings of innocent civilians, bayonettings,
burnings alive including igniting gasoline soaked auto tires pushed over the
arms of victims, mutilations and amputations of limbs, beatings to death and
forced asphysiations, theft of civilian valuables, rape and abduction of girls
and women, and a generalized and unrestricted use of brutality and terror. He
also forced numerous of the teenaged soldiers, male and female into sexual
subservience to himself and his inner guard. Joaquim had escaped these outrages
only because his education made him too useful to lose, and he was treated
relatively decently and we shared a residual bond of cigarettes, chocolate,
music, conversation and human sympathy in our private world of the
communications shack. Even before our compound was overrun by the Frelimo
forces and their Cuban advisors I was determined if I could, to get Joaquim out
of the clutches of Afanso, possibly back to South Africa or civilization in
some way.

Twelve hours before a large battalion of Frelimo infantry backed by Cuban advisors had run a successful search-and-destroy mission against Afanso, a reprisal mission
against years of terror and brutality inflicted by his forces against the
populace of the countryside. The Frelimo however were little more civilized and
engaged in the arbitrary torture and execution of many of Afanso’s fighters,
supporters and civilian sympathizers. Afanso and his Shona chief thugs and henchmen
had themselves escaped in the only Land Rovers, along with most of the spare
ammunition and booty, causing Frelimo’s wrath to fall upon those left behind.

Joaquim and I were in the Communications hut monitoring the radio when we took a break for our evening meal. Koto the assistant cook had just come in bearing a tray full of a kind of Mozambiquan tamale, covered with a red pepper and tomato sauce and
was ladeling out our portions into our mess kits when a burst of machine-gun
fire sounded through the night’s darkness. I doused the light and shoved the
tamales in my mess kit into the baggy side pocket of my camouflage fatigues. Then
I scrambled with the radio, drawing the microphone down and sitting on the
floor to plead desperately that we were taking fire and to send air support
immediately. Then another burst of fire rang out close to us and over the guttural
sounds of the racing of truck engines and clashing gears down the gulley and
roadway, I could hear the whizzing and ping of the tracers cutting through the
underbrush around us. I dove for the ground and bursts of fire, heavy machine
gun and small arms intensified and drew closer to us through the darkness,
moving towards us down the slope of the hill, moving along from the direction
of the dirt roadway. As a string of tracer bullets cut through the shed at
waist height I picked up my automatic rifle and peered out a crack in the wall
and saw two Frelimo irregulars moving down the path towards us, raking every shed
and building with their sub-maching guns. As one scurried down the path towards
us I locked and loaded, sighted on him, released the safety to full automatic
and drew back the trigger, releasing a short burst of three shots. He dropped,
writhing on the ground and moaning into the darkness. His buddy returned fire
from behind the well-head and we shut our eyes as the parts from the radio
equipment on the table began to fly apart and spray, bouncing and ricocheting
in every direction. The radio went dead. I threw a rifle to Joaquim who was
crouching beneath the window opposite. His shots rang out and I saw the shadow
of another irregular fall as he tried to scramble with a grenade from the cover
of the well to within throwing distance from the clump of trees in front of our
hut. There was a loud explosion as the grenade went off beneath him—then
silence. Three minutes later we saw two more following on their heels. One
stopped to give first aid to the one I had shot. Then the bullets began to
whirr through the thin siding of our hut again. The new fighters tried to work
their way around our backside. I threw the spare carbine to Koto and told him
to cover the back window.

Koto lay huddled up under the table, hiding his head and trembling. I yelled at him
again, kicking his foot with my boot and motioning him to get to the back
window. Terror invaded him by way of his feet, surged up through him and filled
him entirely; then it flowed back down again, but was unable to escape, perhaps
because of the thick –treaded rubber-soled shoes he always wore to avoid
slipping on the greasy floors while cooking and serving, and it rebounded
invading his stomach, his spleen, his liver and rising to his head and
expanding so mightily that his black eyes stood out from their sockets and the
whites disclosed a network of blood vessels I had never seen before. His legs
spasmed and shook such that I feared he was epileptic. I returned fire at the
pair of irregulars firing at us from in front of the hut. Tracers whined in
both directions. Joaquim alternately crouched up to let loose a burst of fire
and then dove for the ground as the return fire whizzed over our heads. Then I
heard fire coming from the side of the hut and I knew again they had somebody
working further around to our backs. I rolled over to Koto’s side and shoved
him towards the back window, along with the carbine. Koto took so realistic a
view of war that it was hard, in fact impossible for him to be brave. Instead
of surveying his field of vision beneath the window-flap and picking out a
worthwhile target as Joaquim was doing, he crouched down as far as he could
towards the floor and blindly held the carbine out, fearing to show his head,
and tilting the carbine so that it pointed upwards towards the treetops and
stars; he blindly emptied the magazine and then again crawled away from the
window empty-handed on the floor, leaving the carbine propped against the
window-pane. When he finally turned his face from the wall and looked again
towards me the sheepish look on his face made me think of a schoolboy trying to
confess that he has not done his homework.

As the hot rounds came whinging through the thin wall I gnashed my teeth in rage and then screamed at him.  When I had had enough of that I lurched over to him, intent on kicking the shit out of him. But whenI got a look at his face I burst out laughing as though I would never stop. Then with a terrifying suddenness the laughter stopped and I gave Koto a kick in the ribs and pushed the carbine into his hands. He rolled himself up onto a fetal position on the floor, moaning. Finally I had to give up on Koto,
realizing that somehow it just wasn’t in him. Then as the automatic fire raked
the front of the hut I threw myself at my window and began to return fire with
a morose haste, as if to make up for the time I had wasted on Koto, who could
still not bring himself to raise his head above the window sill. Disgusted I
shimmied across the room and pushed him aside, myself returning fire from the
back window, scurrying back and forth from front to back, firing, as Koto lay
crying and whimpering on the floor, his legs shaking. Joaquim and I would take
turns, rushing from window to window to keep the Frelimo from daring to get
close enough to throw grenades

Then, all of a sudden when a burst of rounds smacked into the wall just above his head
wailing, something seized Koto uncontrollably and he got up and rushed to open
the door and run out, directly into the enemy fire. I jumped up into the
doorway to stop him, tackling him before he could get out. But we must have
made a sweet target silouetted against the open door and a burst of three AK-47
rounds rang out from behind the well-head. One caught Koto full in the chest as
I pulled him down. I felt a burning tear in my crotch and thigh. Joaquim
slammed the door shut and dragged me from the doorway.

“Son of a fucking bitch!” I was screaming uncontrollably as I gripped my crotch, the warm redness oozing out onto my hand. I felt myself beginning to black out from the
shock of it and then pulled myself back. Joaquim had unbuckled my belt and
pulled down at my fatigue pants to get at the wound. He tore off a piece of
bedsheet to make a compress and a bandage to wrap around my thigh. I felf the
hot trickling sopping my underpants and looked down to see them stained red. I
looked up at Joaquim as he tied off the bandage around my left thigh just below
the crotch.

“Is it all
there?” I asked, gritting my teeth.

Joaquim reached down into the sopping red underwear between my legs and grabbed a handful. I shrieked just about passed out from shock as he lifted a gooey
bloody red mess from the pouch, holding it up dripping red, hanging between his
thumb and forefinger. It was a tamale. The bullet had smashed my mess kit and
ricocheted through my thigh, leaving just a shallow creasing leg wound and a
mush of tomales, red peppers and tomato mash. I thrust my hand down between my
legs and found what I was looking for, clutching my intact cock with a heave of
relief, hyperventilating.  Then we both burst into a laughter that wouldn’t stop, mine only turning into weeping tears at the end.

“I’ll beat the shit out of you if you tell anyone” I warned Joaquim with a poke in the
ribs. Joaquim however, only continued to roll on the floor laughing his guts
out. Then we heard something in the distance. From above we heard the screeching
of four South African jet fighters diving towards our position. A second later
we heard the burst and impact of 20mm shells strafing the Frelimo positions.
They began to scatter and run. We knew we only had a short chance to get out of
the hut and the camp. We checked Koto. He got it bad in the chest but was still
alive. I hefted him up on my shoulder and we started to run into the underbrush
as the aircraft passed for a second strafing run. Though losing more blood Koto
was getting steadily heavier. After a while I couldn’t carry him any further
and set him down in the bushes. Joaquim lifted him eyelids and took his pulse.

“Dead” he pronounced, and we made a plan to try to hide and escape along the riverbank. By this time our ammunition was almost completely gone, and an hour later we used the last cartridges and threw the rifles away, hoping to hide in the
underbrush.

Luck was not with us however as by morning our firebase had been overrun and about a hundred survivors, including Joaquim and myself were taken prisoner. After
torture and questioning the Frelimo had already summarily executed over thirty
when a follow-up strafing attack by an armed South African propeller aircraft
caused them to disperse and take cover. Seizing that momentary chance I slapped
Joaquim on the shoulder and we ran through the brush diving into the Zambezi
river, now overflooding its banks in the heavy rains. As we dove into the
fast-running current we heard the whine of the machine-gunned AK-47 tracers
spraying the water around us, and only the rain and darkness saved us from
being hunted down and shot.

We then set out on the long treck back to Chimoio. As we walked wearily down the road westward that might take us back to Chimoio I stopped and stared in the
opposite direction eastwards and saw the massive peak of Marrumbala Mountain.
Marrumbala Mountain stands at the crux of the long, languid Y that Mozambique
describes along the southeastern coast of Africa. The great mountain rises
perhaps 4000 feet above the low-lying coastal plains about 125 miles from the
mouth of the Zambezi. During the five months that I spent traveling around
Mozambique Marrumbala Mountain became a kind of lodestar, or persistent mirage
at the heart of the country. I kept seeing it from different angles and
perspectives, first from the west, then from the north, and later from the air
from the south and from the sea to the east. In retrospect it seems appropriate
that I never reached or climbed the mountain itself, but had to content myself
with contemplating it from a distance, seeing its various profiles and faces,
like Africa itself, an overwhelming presence not to be surmounted or conquered
in a mere linear ascent above its manifold and primordial perplexities.

We had to evade Frelimo patrols and blend into the countryside. For the first two days
the Frelimo columns were so heavy on the road that we had to hide in the
underbrush and sleep during the day and only travel at night. We took a canteen
from a dead soldier and had water to drink on the dust-choked road. Every time
we heard vehicles approaching we had to run for it into the sidebrush. On the
second night as we walked things got quieter. Joaquim had hurt his foot diving
into a gulley at the approach of a Frelimo armoured car and he was lagging
behind me. Suddenly a burst of heavy machine-gun fire flared out of the
darkness and a spray of dust and rocks flew up around our feet shooting grit up
into my eyes. I ran instinctively into the brush in the gulley to the right and
dove. Squinting backwards I saw that Joaquim had done the same diving towards
the left about twenty yards behind me. I got down behind a fallen tree and
pulled a loose branch-end over my body. I lay barely breathing in the heavy
night air as a flatbed bruck with a heavy machine gun rolled by followed by two
land rovers full of uniformed and ununiformed men with guns pointing out rolled
past, their muzzles pointing towards the searchlight beam that penetrated the
darkness from the truck. The sound of vehicles moved again and again along the
road, alternating with the crunch of footsteps, six or eight heavy boots moving
together in the gravel, then the sounds of men beating the brush alongside the
road, and occasionally firing. I felt my heart beating sick and frantic inside
me as I forced myself to keep silent and still as I sweated into the heavy
moist night air. After an hour things became quiet again and I went back to
find Joaquim, first looking then when it seemed quiet softly calling out for
him in the underbrush where I last saw him dive. In the darkness there was no
sign of him. I searched for about twenty minutes and then decided it was too
dangerous to stay there so I moved along the road in the direction we were
heading hoping to meet him up later if he were still alive.

I came to
a small village about five kilometers down the road and saw the ground strewn
with the dead bodies of cows, sheep, dogs and dozens of old men, women and
children. There was not a soul alive, escept for the chickens who scampered
from hut to hut pecking at spilled bags and overturned dishes. The night air
had turned raw and I turned up my collar against a cold wind and drizzle. I
kept walking along the night road trying to make good time while the night
lasted to get out of the combat zone. In the next village everyting was dark
and only a few shadows scampered from hut to hut. I saw a small boy walking
sullenly along a side-path naked but for a rag across his groin, barefoot and
his arms and legs thin as sticks. He looked back at me frightened with his eyes
bulging big in the dark, moving away.
His face was ashen and sad. His feet made grisly, soft, sucking sounds
in the rain puddles along the path as he passed. I was seized with an impulse
to smash his drab, sad, sickly face with my fist and knock him out of existence
because he brought to my sickened mind all the grimy, sad, sickly children
starving in that night and in that miserable place and all the miserable places
around the goddamed world.  I hated him
for that moment because he forced into my mind the the images of all the cold
and hungry men and women, and all the dumb, passive, devout mothers with
catatonic eyes nursing infants outdoors that same night with chilled animal
udders bared insensibly into that same raw drizzle. Almost on cue, a nursing
mother padded past in the shadows in the opposite direction holding an infant
in black rags and I had an impulse to smash her too, because she reminded me
again of the starveling barefoot boy shivering in the rain in his rags and of
all the stupefying misery in a nauseating world that never yet had provided
enough heat and food and justice for all but an ingenious, brutal or
unscrupulous handful. What a sickening and shitty world—-how many people were
destitute this same night even in the prosperous countries, how many homes were
shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives beaten insensate, socked and
moaning, and how many children were bullied, abused, or abandoned? How many
families hungered for food they could not afford to buy or that was stolen away
by thugs sneering in tawdry uniforms? How many hearts were broken? How many
suicides would take place this same night, how many people would go insane in
the darkness? How many cockroaches and greedy landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes headed for certain failure, rich men squalid and
empty in heart and destiny? How many wise guys were dumb and how many happy
endings were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars, brave men
cowards, loyal men traitors, how many holy men corrupt, how many people in
positions of trust had sold their souls to chislers for petty cash, and how
many never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were crooked paths?
When you added them all up and then subtracted you were only left with the
shivering children and idiots and the dead boys in ditches.

I walked
on for another kilometer and I couldn’t get the image of the barefoot emaciated
boy with the sickly cheeks wiped from my mind until I came across another stand
of huts, the roadway littered with bodies, the food and belongings of the huts
nearest the road looted and smashed apart and a few huts on fire burning down
to a smoulder in the night wind. The only living thing I found along the road was
a young boy having convulsions on the ground, the tribal soldiers pressganged
by the Frelimo apparently not killing him because it was against their superstition
to kill anyone “possessed by a spirit.” I wiped his brow and then shoved a
stick between his teeth, freeing his bleeding tongue which he had half bitten
through. Then I had to run for cover when I heard the approach of the
low-geared shifting growl of another column of vehicles grinding up the hill
towards us.

Scrambling
into a small missionary church overlooking the village I hid behind the altar.
Then when I heard a truck grinding its low-gears climbing the hill towards the
church I made my way up a ladder which led to the crawlspace for the bell in
the steeple and I pulled the ladder up behind me before the soldiers got into
the church, closing the hatch-door.  I
looked down over the bell as the column of 4 X 4’s, pickups and flatbed trucks
jammed full with gun-toting irregulars emptied out, many hard-faced teenagers
with cheap jewelry around their knecks, a few with “boom-box” tape and radio
players.  They fanned out from the
roadside and made their way through the village huts farther from the road
where they pulled the owners out of their hiding places and forced them at
gunpoint to turn over any valuables or food that remained. A clutch of the
senior leaders, in their mid to late twenties and apparently sergeants pushed a
handful of the better-looking younger girls into a hut with a bed.

“Please
don’t….” squealed out from within the hut as a half-dozen men with guns at the
ready watched over the remaining girls cowering outside on the ground.

Then
another girl was pushed in. An older woman, probably her mother or aunt ran after
her and threw herself on the feet of the sergeant within. “Pleshe don’t……..take
me………Pleshe don’t……” I could make out from the smattering of the local dialect
which Joaquim had taught me.

Another
sergeant holding a bottle of cheap local liquor pushed the older woman to the
ground and pushed the younger girl against the wall snarling at her “Come on
baby, its my turn now.” The wailing of both women came from inside.

In the
clearing in front of the missionary church was parked a large flatbed truck on
which a dozen restrained prisoners were seated, their arms bound behind them. The
soldiers forced the remaining villagers out of their huts and into a massed
crowd about the truck. On the bed of the truck were pools of blood and a litter
of teeth. The mouths of several of the prisoners ran with blood as one of their
captors finished forcibly pulling the teeth from them. A stifled shriek rang
out from atop the bed of the flatbed truck, echoed by a gasp and groan rolling
through the crowd. Looking downward over the bell I saw dozens of bloody teeth
in a pool of blood and slime. Then in the pool I made out what was a severed
hand and the end of a severed tongue. A boy in his late teens bled in a silent
stupor from the stump of his tourniqueted arm and from his twitching mouth. A
sign hung about his neck with the word “Informer.” A mob of teenaged soldiers
gathered around and taunted him, many hardly in their teens. Mobs of soldiers
were everywhere—mobs, mobs, mobs, mobs—everything was in the hands of mobs.
I couldn’t look anymore and hid my face in my hands crouching behing the silent
steeple bell. When two hours later I heard the column of trucks move away into
the night with the shouts of the soldiers and the firing of weapons into the
air growing dimmer I scouted my chance and made my way out of the church and
through the backbrush towards the road to Chimoio.

I ran down
the road with my head sick and aching and pulled down with a nausea that kept
me from thinking. My body covered with sweat I didn’t want to stop but
continued in a slackening jog, onward….on……anywhere, but just on. I welcomed
the shelter of the drizzling, drifting, lightless, nearly opaque gloom. The
night was filled with horrors and I thought I knew how Christ must have felt as
he walked through the world, like a psychiatrist through a world full of
crazies, like a victim through a prison full of thugs and thieves, What a
welcome sight a leper must have been! Hearing a noise and a wailing I ducked
again into the roadside underbrush. On the other side of the roadway a man was
beating a dog with a heavy stick. A boy tried to shield the dog but the man
began to beat the boy and he fell down, the blood beginning to trickle down his
nose. A crowd gathered around as the man continued to beat the dog and the boy.
A woman moved to speak to the man to get him to stop but she retreated after he
raised his stick in her direction. He continued to beat both of them. Nobody
tried to stop him.

Finally I
was too exhausted to go on anymore and I lay down in the deep brush in a
concealed gulley to sleep. I slept through most of the day and awakened towards
sunset. I still had a little water in the canteen and I desperately gulped it
down and wiped the caked sweat from my face. The next night I walked in peace,
only occasionally passing a shepherd with a clutch of sheep or stray stragglers
on the roadway. I got water from the stream and looted some fruit and stale
bread from some abandoned huts. A stray dog began to follow me and I gave him
some scraps and water. Under the full moon I walked down the road until I came
to a small stream and began to fill my canteen. The light plashed brightly
across the cool flowing waters. Suddenly from the brush on the opposite bank of
the stream I head a voice calling out: “Andreas………..Andreas!………..”

I stood up
staring across the water and two clumps of brush spread apart, followed by two
arms and a smiling face. It was Joaquim. We splashed across the water and
embraced arm-in-arm in mid-stream. He had escaped the Frelimo column and hid in
a village for two days, finally hitching a ride on the back of a truck. He had
been searching up and down the Chimoio road hoping against hope to find me.

Walking all that day taught me
how long a hot afternoon could be, how the heat could slow time down. I sat
down on the stones along the side of the roadway and listened to the flies.
Flying ants were all over the place. Lizards ran up and down the wall and
stonefaces, sunning themselves, nodding. Joaquim went to buy some beans from an
itinerant trader of cooked food. She had a constant trail of flies in tow. And
she had the most amazing signs tattooed to the sides of her mouth. When she
smiled the tattoos looked queer, but when she looked serious they made her look
beautiful. She sold us a few bowlfuls of beans and offered to sell us Kokoro at
a discount.

“What is
Kokoro?” I asked Joaquim.

“They are
the ants that feed off the beans.” he replied.

“Ants?”

“They are
good for you!” insisted the woman, “……….They will make you brilliant and help
you grow strong fast!”

We bought
some fried ants and went and sat in the shade. We ate the ants and beans and
drank some water. Then we got drowsy and slept hidden in the underbrush under
the shade. When we got up the sun had shifted and had burnt our faces. When I
awoke I couldn’t see for almost three minutes. I was quite blind and everyting
was composed of blue and red and yellow whorls. Then I shifted into the shade
and my sight came back, with all the world’s variety of colours.

Then we
started to walk again along the road. My stomach began to ache and I felt sure
the fried ants were crawling around inside my belly. Suddenly a powerful stench
invaded the air. Everywhere I turned the stench was there, unbearable,
unavoidable. Then we saw the nightsoil man coming towards us staggering under
his heavy load. I didn’t want to offend him so I didn’t move off or run away as
some did, but held my breath as he passed. Hooded and masked, his face was
covered with a filthy blue rag. After he passed me, feeling the full pressure
of airlessness I ran to get away from it. As I ran I felt very ill. So did
others around me. Finally, I could bear it no more and heaved up the beans and
the fried ants, propping myself against the trunk of a leaning tree. I washed
out my mouth with the last water in the canteen and spat it onto the
ground.  Later in the night we found a
stream and washed the grime off and lay down, covering ourselves with brush to
sleep.

By the next day, finally by-passing the outer
checkpoint of government control we got a lift in the back of a flat-bed truck
hauling a tractor and some farm equipment.  The flat-bed was heading to a local praziero
plantation center to the west and we paid to ride on the back. We got onto the
wooden-bed of the truck and seated ourselves on the floor against the back of
the cab. I looked backward to the east and saw the massive upwelling of
Morrumbala Mountain as we lumbered away from it, silhouetted against the
bleeding redness of the African sky at sunrise. Hard as the wooden floor of the
flatbed was to sit there not thinking, only feeling, having been away too long,
and knowing you can’t go home again, that whatever it was that was home when
you left it is gone or changed, or you have changed, or both have been washed
down the river of time and that you don’t belong there anymore. Looking at the
sunrise over Morrumbala I knew I was going west but I was never going back. You
were out of it now. You had no more obligation. Anger was washed away in that
river along with any obligation. It was no point of honour and no point of
conscience. I would have a conscience, in the bigger sense that is, but that
would come much later. No, it wasn’t that kind of a decision. Looking east at
Morrumbala having been washed down the Zambezi seaward I realized that my war was
over. I was not against them, either side…… I was through……For the South
Africans there were the good ones and the brave ones, the ugly ones and the bad
ones, the calm and the sensible ones, and I wished them all well, black and
white alike. But I knew that this was not my show. You were out of it now. I
just wished this goddamned truck would get to where I could eat and stop
thinking….. It would have to stop somewhere……. I would get to the border at
Chimoio and settle Joaquim in the United Nations Refugee Center and cross over
into Zimbabwe, I would go to the South African embassy and resign my commission
and wire my mother in Hamburg to wire some money and an air ticket to Germany
where I still had citizenship through her….…..whatever happened I had crossed a
border in my mind……….I was through…….

Along the
long dusty road the driver stopped to pick up hitchhikers and travelers who
waved him down, charging whatever pittance they could afford to ride on the
hard bed of the back of flatbed truck. We picked up over a dozen of locals and
refugees with bundles of all their worldly goods on their backs, probably
trying to make it to the UN refugee camps at the border at Chimoio or possibly
to cross over into Zimbabwe.

As we neared
the market town a young girl of the Sena tribe stood up in the flatbed of the
pickup and pointed up into the sky.

“Calamidades!”
she shouted with a smile of expectancy on her face.

I looked
up into the sky. I saw nothing. Then other children in the pick-up began to
stand up, pointing excitedly into the sky, each one shouting and shouting
louder and louder “Calamidades, Calamidades!”

The little
girl looked at me smilingly with a front tooth missing and a red string around
her neck. Other than that she wore only a formless piece of brown burlap. She
had a beautiful face but was thin and emaciated through her limbs and torso. She
looked away from me and then sure enough a twin engine aircraft became more and
more audible and visible across the skyline. The flatbed acclerated
precipitously as it turned down an access road towards the landing strip,
knocking all the children to the bed of the truck and banging out heads against
the back of the cab as we raced helter-skelter bouncing over the potholes.

“Calamidades”
Joaquim explained between bounces and jolts to me was Mozambique shorthand for
the ponderously titled ‘Department for the Prevention and Combat of Natural
Calamities.’  “Calamidades” in the local
dialect had come to mean not only that Department but also the food and
clothing which were distributed in the Department’s name, mostly by
international relief agencies such as the Red Cross and CARE International. It
was the expectation of such largesse that made the children exuberant at the
approach of the vintage Dakota twin-engined DC-3, and that made the driver
shift into the driving-style of a world-class moto-cross race driver.
First-come-first-serve would dictate the dispersal of the bulk of the supplies.

The
“calamidades” of the title of the government department usually referred to
such banes as earthquake, drought, famine, epidemic, typhoon and other
overwhelming forces of nature against which humanity have struggled since time
immorial. In the case of Mozambique, however the ‘calamity’ of primary concern
was of human making, namely the ‘emergency’ or in short the civil war between
the Marxist Frelimo government and the Resistencia Nacional Mozambiquiana, or
Renamo. At that time I was not politically aware of the wider context, but
later in my life, particularly after my university studies in Germany, I was to
learn that the civil war was an extended episode of both the Cold War between
the forces of Capitalism and Marxism and of the struggle against colonialism
and apartheid. South Africa extended its economic, military and technical
support to the Renamo resistance against the Marxist Frelimo regime and the
resulting conflict cost over one million lives, and destroyed most of
Mozambique’s economy, transportation and communications systems along with most
of its rural society. By 1990-2 when I was involved the war had made over
3,000,000 homeless and precipitated over 8,000,000 into famine and health
extremity. This was in relation to a total population of Mozambique of only
16,000,000. The collapse of the national transportation system made travel
difficult. Mozambique is twice the size of California—Portugul would fit
inside the single province of Niassa. The destruction of the railroads and
roads made much of the country accessible only by air.

In the end
I got out of the war zone in Zambezia by hitching a ride on that Dakota
twin-engined DC-3 that was hauling food to isolated areas as part of an
emergency airlift. Millions of Mozambiquans were surviving only by the
enervating grace of international relief. The airlift in Zambezia was being
paid for this month by the Swedish government. Next month it was hoped the
Italian government would pick up the tab—but there were no guarantees.

The
charter company that owned the DC-3 was a good measure of the desperation of
the Mozambiqan government. The company, called Inter-World, was registered in
Guernsey but  contracting its services to
the Mozambiquan national airline on paper, was clearly South African.

The
pilots, who were Afrikaners, lived, as they said, in the only place there was
to live—namely South Africa. Their names were Hennie and Ferdie and they
looked and talked like something out of a working-class comic strip—–Hennie,
in his mid-thirties flew unshaven in swim trunks, sandals, and a torn t-shirt
he hadn’t changed for three months. Ferdie—who was the older and senior of the
two wore aviator glasses, mustachioed with long sideburns and a with an
affected histrionic brio accented by an overlong white aviator’s scarf. They
made no bones about their motivation for being here. “Were in it for the money”
they said pointedly. According to their contract with CARE International and
the Mozambiquan airlines they got paid for the amount of time the plane was in
the air, so they were constantly in motion to the most isolated outback
airstrips, and didn’t waste a lot of time on maintenance and safety repairs
either. Hennie and Ferdie didn’t care where they flew so it wasn’t hard to
persuade them to change their flight plans to set us down in Chimoio. The
relief workers constantly bummed cigarettes from them and treated them as
little gods. Joaquim and I couldn’t stop laughing at them, but were grateful
that they helped us out. Probably they saved our lives as making it on foot or
by thumb was a pretty iffy proposition. They were good chaps, probably because
I was a white man in black circumstances. They didn’t even talk to the black
relief workers who took the cargo off the plane, and they curtly refused the
incessant pleas of local blacks for transportation on their hops. For a white
man it was a different question, and luckily they made an exception for Joaquim
on my say-so. After a swarming crowd of hundreds emptied out the plane of its
Care packages like a swarm of locusts stripping a jungle carcasse to the very
bone I was able to schmooze Hennie and Ferdie into lifting us out over a treat
of ice lager and cigarettes……..

……………After
we got back to Chimoio I left Joaquim in the United Nations refugee camp along
the border and went on into Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, reporting my arrival at the
South African embassy, then resigning my commission—my service time being up,
and wiring my mother for money and an airline ticket to join her in Germany.
Before I flew out I went back to Chimoio and visited Joaquim in the UN camp to
give him some money and say good-bye. I found him in a tent with about twenty
other boys of his own age—not overly comfortable but safe and with a UN
school. He was sitting on his folding bed, and his only possession, a small bag
with some clothes, stuck out from under the blanket next to his bare feet.

“Looks
like you’ve got a home for the time being, Joaquim!” I joked with him, giving
him a handshake and a small hug.

“Sheeit!
Ain’t got no home—but its safe here, so I’m not complaining……No matter where
I live my bag’s always sticking out from under the bed; I’m always ready to
leave or get thrown out. I decided to leave everything out of my hands.” he
spoke back.

I treated
him to lunch at the staff canteen where the food was much better than the daily
rations in camp and slipped him some cash to keep him going, urging him to keep
with the UN school and I would write him there from Germany when I got there.

Then he
said to me: “What’s your road man? Holyboy road, normie road, madman road,
rainbow road, guppy road, any road?……It’s an anywhere road for anybody
anyhow. Where body how?” ………..I smiled back at him…………….

……………It
was ten years before I went back to Africa, though I saw Joaquim happily in
Berlin before that after I had written letters sponsoring him for a European
Union scholarship program studying at Warrick University in the UK and he came across
the Channel to visit me. He was able to complete his high school diploma in the
UN refugee camp school in Chimoio and his English was good enough to get him a
place at the British university through a special EU aid program. When we
finally saw each other again for the first time in a decade on his visit one
Friday at the student kneipe and embracing arm across arm I couldn’t keep down
a stray tear that got away at the corner of my eye but which I wiped away
feigning to straighten the bang of my hair—-it was noticed nonetheless by the
other international law doctoral students I was with———we two were
strangers here———–brother survivors from another world———a world
they would never know……..

3

Andreas’ Blog:

A London walk in the glorious nubile streets! Back again! Kensington, West End, Hyde
Park and down the Strand next to the glorious Thames. The flow of vulvas,
enticing breasts, mincing walks and coyish eyes is more constant and gushing
and onflowing than even the flow of the river itself! I try to think about the
Committee work but it is a thorough no-go—–no sooner begun than diverted up
the seams of a pair of netted stockings ranging their way up those glorious
thighs——–and God what luck!——-she bends over to pick up her carkeys
that have fallen to the ground before the Citroen’s door, and…………glimpse of
Heaven!……I’m popeyed with awe!……..Honeythighs!  She pretends not to notice me smiling……….was
it all intentional?………..life’s little mysteries and conspiracies!  Ten seconds later another set of hips and
thighs!

Hips and thighs, hips and thighs, and the sweet realm of future bliss that
doth between them lie!……Beseeching at the portals of the soft source!….Glorious,
glorious!—–delirious Madrabbiting!……To die the sweet deaths of complete
love!…Rickitykrikity, Rickitykrickity!………She Comes! She Comes!………BlickityBlickity,
Teroo! Teroo!………Sloppy days and hinckey sweets!…..….but after the
hundredth time in an hour I am conscious of my own complete idiocy……………I am
whitewater rafting down a gushing river of pure liquid libido…………I am drowning
in a glorious whitewater rapids of mind benumbing tumescence on the verge……………yet another she—another waiting world of endless possibility—-flippity-flip-flipping
my rubber raft over and plunging my head and my sanity beneath the roiling surface
waters………Aqua Vitae!……Uissce Beathe!……Give me a Whiskey, for God’s
sake!………..I feel my mind eroding, eroding into a washed away nothingness
and a latent painful depression……then exaltation…..then depression again……………Help, God! I’m drowning in sex!

Christ! Hips and thighs, hips and thighs, bellys and breasts and the faces,
the faces ……..the heavenly and hellish faces! Glorious…….but the idiocy of it
all catches up with you…..when you look between her legs splayed naked on the
bed after its all over and the moment of revulsion kicks in……I swing from star
to star in my mad balloon but the gushing gasbag won’t sustain me much longer……..the shear idiocy and absurdity that your whole brain is tied to this thing……………..your brain utterly enslaved to its necessity……and the urge to recover one’s freedom from it all after its over………..like the absurdity of the salmon fighting rapids and predation and an utterly hostile current to implacably return to its place
of spawning to begin the idiotic cycle anew and then the urge to get back to
the freedom of the open youthful sea………….

Oh God the glory and the pain of it!…….I am crucified upon a cross of
sex!………….Just the absurdity of it!  Just think of it………the heaven and the hell of
it………for seven million years of human evolution all the power of man’s brain
has been shackled and tethered and constrained to the female pelvis and the
inescapable imperative to return to it forever like an anadromous fish or a
biological yo-yo! In childbirth the very size of the human brain is literally
limited by the conundrum of getting it out from between her legs! Then forever
after the productivity of that brain is short circuited when every third
thought is diverted back to a woman’s breasts, or thighs, or up her panties and
crotch! The diameter of the vagina is the limiting factor of the powers of the
race! Who could tell how many thousands of cc’s of brain capacity might have
been added but for the impossibility of wriggling through the vaginal strait of
birth? Two million years ago we made the great leap forward by standing erect
after eons on all fours, and once again the limiting factor——the woman’s
hips!—–if they were too wide she couldn’t make it on two legs out of the
trees and across the savannah—but too narrow and the human race’s one
competitive advantage—the human brain—couldn’t make it out of the womb!
Solution? The child had to postpone most of its brain-growing and ripening til after
birth in a prolonged infant dependency on the mother—trading a slavery to the
vulva for a slavery to the breast! Then?……..a man spends nine months trying
to solve the problem of how to get through that portal and out into the world
and then the next ninety years figuring out how to get back in!…And that is his
bondage until he dies!  …..What Newtons
or Einstins might have walked the earth if even fifty percent of a man’s thoughts
were directed to anything at all above the level of a woman’s hips or bosoms! Every
third thought is but sexual anticipation or sexual frustration. The sex mania
is like the binding band around the head of Sun Wu Kong the Chinese genius
Monkey King except that it keeps men enslaved to the world rather than in
service of the spirit! And that binding band is seared and branded on a man’s
forehead when he passes through his mother’s taut labia and out into the world,
never to be wholly free again! The seal of bondage to the vagina in on his brow
forever—the measure, limit and mark of the thralldom and servitude of all his
future life! Then after the briefest interval of unconscious infantile peace
and innocence we spend a lifetime as the prisoners of sex! Let my people go!—or
cum, or there’s the hell of it! The soul of man no sooner sets eyes on the
stars and takes wing towards the heavens and the freedom of the clouds and sky
than he is dragged back by the sexual gravity of woman—back to the surly
bonds of mother earth. She converts the euphoric and orgasmic energies of sex
and freedom into the pregnant gravitational mass with a downward pull greater
than the earth. She, with the unthinking genius of a sexual Einstein converts
libidinal energy into the binding chains of gravitational mass: How can a
man reach escape velocity and be free?…………but what’s the use?………….Might
as well revel in the exquisite joys of  of it all while the freedom lasts!…OOOh! that one is so lovely—-and the tits!…….For every sadist a masochist!…….this must be heaven!……but can hell be far behind?

Here I am in London, free and surrounded by voluptuous possibilities. I
have my two regular girls, Noreen and Eva, both of whom want to marry me, but I
can’t stand being caged and owned. Then I have my sexual flings and
adventures—my jousts with the stars! ……Noreen Moritz was the first girl I had
in London. She was a knockout and fantastic in bed, and a total fashionista.
How could I describe her?—-I would say she is the ultimate modern and
material girl—-I would say like a jet plane she is streamlined. She has
jettisoned the nostalgic accessories of the past as well as the needless bother
of an interior life as if they were so much excess baggage, focusing instead on
“the relevant”—-the “keys to success.” She is the ultimate go-go girl on the
make in the modern world. She is supremely indifferent to the conventional
concerns of the common people as to their pasts and their futures—–her
existence is radically rooted in the present tense, and in what one has to
offer in the here and now. As such she is ideally suited to survival in this
contemporary world.

Eva on the other hand is a dinosaur.
She is at heart a more traditional loving, feeling homemaking and nurturing
woman——an endangered species. It is funny—-I like Eva the best but it is
Noreen who excites me more sexually. I am living with Eva but she bores me in
bed oftentimes. I guess the naked truth is that I am not worthy of her—–I  love my freedom and pleasures more than her…..I
can live with Eva but I couldn’t live with Noreen, though she asked me to a
hundred times——I couldn’t stand her empty head—and her empty-headed possessiveness—but I keep coming back to the thrill of her. I don’t know where I will end up.

3

Andreas’ Blog Journal:

What a preponderance of energy in my life I have expended escaping from women!
Even my army service was motivated in no small part by the desire to avoid
being prodded and bundled off to our town church and incipient domestic slavery
by my high school sweetheart in South Africa. Looking back though, my first
true affair was Marlene Sorensen, the Swedish film actress I took up with and
who so to speak adopted me in Berlin after I emigrated from South Africa. I was
at that time a penniless student and she was already internationally famous.
She was twice my age.

I am not sure if she was “in love”with me. A furious mutual desire for possession dominated the whole affair. At one stage she desperately wanted to marry me while I never had the slightest intention of havng her, except for enjoying the rush and attention and the money she ladled out on me—and, oh Yes, the sex. In the end I ran away even from that. Later, after I had left her and she came after me to get me back I
discovered the invisible wounds and hooks which she had in her cunning and
female way left inside my body and soul. I had left my wounds inside of her
undoubtedly as well. If I have left a wound inside you, it is not just your
wound but it is my wound as well.

For a long time, she being an international actress and myself a raw youth, I imagined her quite deep. Then I saw that I was mistaking confusion with depth. Like the canvas that gives the illusion of depth but is made up of layers patently shallow. She can’t concentrate, unless forced, on anything more than a day. Her egotism was so complete that she could see nothing beyond her next romantic adventure. She was living on
borrowed time.

At the beginning of course I found her irresistible, that was before I lost much time learning the rule that desire always fades. Her irresistibility filled the day, leaving little time for thought. No sooner would one of us be over the doorstep than she was
lifting her skirts, or reaching for my penis or simply lying back, eyes steely
and wet, holding my gaze in a grip I knew no way out of, while she caressed
herself, until, without needing to decide I came to her, Always me to her, I
noted to myself, that was the pattern, best to keep that in mind………..Another
broken-hearted amateur was left to founder in the erotic swamp.

One day she had given me the silent treatment for a whole weekend and I walked into her bedroom to find her staring into blank space, ignoring me.

“What are you thinking of?” I
asked, with an edge of provocative sarcasm.

“You haven’t the vaguest idea of
what I am thinking of.” she retorted.

“You mean who you are thinking
of——-You’re utterly incapable of thinking of a What——–your mind, if
you may call it that can only reach so far as a Who.”

“Shut up—You’re horrid!”

As we went on in the next years we shared those wounds, hooks and taughtened fishlines of incipient possession with a tortured intimacy. We knew now that we would never marry and we knew that we could most assuredly make each other suffer, yet beyond that we each in our own distinct way schemed for our happiness, we used our joint intelligence on that problem. I was a little cruel to her always, cutting her off for
younger women and keeping her “on the bounce.”—-Perhaps in self-defence.
Perhaps after the novelty and rush of her and her public persona wore itself
off I was afraid of “being swallowed.” I left her again and again and yet
allowed myself to come back to her. Perhaps I never really revealed to her how
much she really meant to me. In a way she made a man of me—at least as far as
women are concerned. If we had been closer in age it might have been different
and our affections or even possible love evolved in a different turn. Perhaps
in that way it was fated. As her body dried up with oncreeping age a sense of
repulsion began to arise in me and an increasing distance intervened as we
drifted apart in mind and soul. I think as we were together we came to love
each other in some true but bent sense, but as much as she clung to me in a
desperate attempt to fend off her increasingly depressive feelings of age and
decline, so desperately did I struggle away with the innate energy of my youth
and freedom.  I was her hobby and plaything. She kept me because of her sense of possession and prideful refusal to give me up, however much she might come to not love or even any longer want me.  Love you say?—what was that
compared to a woman’s sense of ownership of a man!—a woman’s pride of
ownership and fear of loss, her sense of innate superiority to those other
women who did not own! A man’s body, dependence and soul becomes her most
treasured property, in which she trades, hoardes and speculates as any stock
market manipulator or monopolist. In her tangling to keep and control me she
proved as much a bitch as a reptile, using her womanhood to lay one bare then
leaving her wounds and poison at one’s vulnerable moments. Like a narcotics
pusher she got you hooked and then drew you up cold turkey to exact her most
ferocious price. When I had become addicted to her and the public spotlight and
the petty luxuries that came with her and she sensed my moment of weakness she
left me for another “pretty boy,” reveling in my torment. I quickly got over my
boyish innocent disbelief that such a hot little bosom couldn’t play such a
cold-blooded trick. Envy and Schadenfreude and invidiousness—these were
Marlene. They arose from poor character but also from vulnerability—-the fear
of desertion and humiliation.  Ours was
an ecumenical communion of pain, pain of all faiths and denominations.  She preyed on weakness, being herself
weak.  Weakness will get you where you
are weakest. Weakness will be strong an bold and leap on your weak spot with
bared fangs.  If in the head then in the
head. If in the groin then in the groin. If in the face then in the face. If in
the loins then in the loins. If in the eyes then in the eyes. If in the mouth
then in the mouth. The laws of sexual engagement were as savage and atavistic
as the laws of jungle survival, retribution and of war: an I for an I. Then
somehow we would find our ways back to each other. It went on and on in its
dreary, sometimes delightful way yet each of us in our different ways wanted a
showdown, a denoument. We both wanted an end to the situation which would
relieve our minds—-which would release our minds from the pain of indirection
in which we hopelessly wallowed. Yes, I said she made a man of me, especially
in the early days—adopting me as a raw youth, nurturing my tentative
masculinity and sexual presence, building and supporting my self confidence as
a man, especially as a man with women, but then so addicting and then tormenting
me, playing me like a hooked fish on a line, cutting me off at the knees when
she wanted to reassert her power and control over me—-she made me a man, but
by no means a better man—the inevitable failure and final betrayal ruined me
morally. When I turned my back on her I also turned my back on the good and the
true in my relations with the women I sought and met, and on any but a
meretricious beauty. I buried myself in my more important work for the world
and took a superficial solace in the tittilations of a string of shallow and
cheap affairs. Ever since I have limped on in too much love of freedom and too
much fear of pain, sublimating any better self I might have into my work,
pretending there at least to some shreds of idealism and self-respect. Possibly
this is why I have shied away from marriage or other too deep attachments. With
Eva I find myself again a stylus stuck in a broken groove of a scratched record,
endlessly and mindlessly repeating old wounds and old pains. I feel trapped.
Damn! Sex always comes with strings attached. There is no such thing as free
sex, free love or safe sex. You always will have to pay for it, one way or the
other, sooner or later. —In truth, in my inner self even as I complain I have
a great deal of unspoken sympathy for Eva’s concerns.  Intellectually, it does occur to me that
because it touches the core of our being and the core of our human relatedness
sex is never free of consequences. Life and its very energy itself is its
principal cause as well as consequence. As for women, I have to sheepishly
thank God for not making me one. Any fool can see that women, because of their
bearing the direct burden of bodily reproduction, and the burden of care for
the infant thereafter, their vulnerability and dependence must needs be all the
greater, and the number of strings attached necessarily greater than with us of
the “slam-bam-and-thank-you-ma’am” sex. I can take all of that in
intellectually, but in real life and emotionally I find it impossible to hand
over my freedom.  She makes me want to be
a better man—to recover something good and true but lost inside, but I am so
far unable to be so. Video meliora
proboque, deteriora seqor,
as Ovid would have it. Every human life is
marked with the chasms of might-have-beens—arising from choices made, largely
blindly, which leave lasting consequences, lasting scars, lasting barriers. Freedom
is exile, and I am condemned to be free.

After Marlene I had the pleasure of the open road and and the open future,
sexually speaking until my engagement with my ex-fiancée Simone.  She was in love with me and I fond of her,
though more fond of my freedom. Both of our families pressured us to marry and
to them it seemed but a matter of course that we should.  The element that rescued her from a mere saccharine and youth-dependent prettiness and perhaps attracted me was the appetite for dissoluteness and disobedience that came from being rich and
spoiled.  It put depth in her eyes and
made them humorous, it complicated her mouth, her teeth and the lay of her
hair. She was hurt, she was sorry. That was how she was. Her voice was
arrestingly lovely—her voice was full of money.  I have to be honest in saying that the key factor that converted this possibility into a strong temptation was not merely
the pleasure of her devotion and of her lovely body but the fact that she was,
or would be immensely rich, the heiress of a world-class auto manufacturer in
Bavaria. Thus I yielded to the pressures from her and from all around me and my
own ulterior acquisitive instincts to pop the question on Corfu one summer and
we became “a thing.” I was however Byronic enough of a hero to persist in my
many other sexual playmates and bedfriends of those “liberated” years, much to
her annoyance and suffering. She, however was raised with the instinct of her
family, an sort of German incarnation of the “Forsyte spirit,” to get and hold
inexorably the thing she set out to possess, and the more she sought to tighten
her grip on me the more my instincts of male liberty recoiled and we grew apart……Beware that grip!….. I escaped happily into the world-roving work of the UN
Parliamentary Assembly, happy to repeatedly get away from her stifling presence
and the re-posting to London was a blessing. Love is a possible strength in an
actual weakness. Marriage transforms a distraction into a support, the power of
which should be, and often is, in direct proportion to the degree of imbecility
it supplants.

I would go out regularly with Simone—at first quite happily. Then little
by little I felt the growing weight of her eyes upon me. And by eyes, I mean
the possessive eyes of a fiancée rather than the eyes of a lover. In every café
or restaurant I could feel her eyes ever following mine, never leaving even a
tenth of a second of freedom for my own to rove about the faces and bodies of
the women surrounding us. Men hunt foxes by aid of dogs and are aware they do
so by aid of the canine organ of smell, though they have little comprehension
of how such a sense may work with such uncanny acuteness. But God! The organ by
which women instinctively, as it were, know and instantaneously feel how other
women are regarded by men is equally strong and equally inescapable on the
spoor!

Finally, too much being too much, I paid her a visit breaking it all off and turned my back on an outbreak of tears and pleading. Inwardly I hurt myself also by hurting her in the leaving. In some ways she was a good girl. Love might have expanded her. But we are not all of us going to get love, or if we did we were sure to do our perverse best to destroy it. That was the way of the world and she was of this world. Her grief
proved short-lived, however as I learned from friends that she married on the
rebound five months later to another of the industrial princelings in Munich,
and the wedding photos made a loud splash on the cover of “Stern” Magazine.
Later she and her new husband visited London and I had a lunch with her for old
times sake. Eva and I discussed her over dinner:

“What does
she think of her marriage?” she asked.

“She doesn’t think anything. She’s brainwashed.” I retorted.

“Marriage is brainwashing….” Eva shot back, “…..Not necessarily a bad
thing. Some brains need washing. Some are filthy with grime and some are musty
from never being used.” I laughed out loud as the glare of her eyes fell on me
in mock accusation.

“Is that a personal reference?” I
teased her back.

“As you lawyers put it, Res Ipsa
Loquitur
—-the thing speaks for itself!” and we both burst out laughing,
she having scored a point against me, but good it was as we ended up in bed
tickling and kidding and reconciling to each other in good sport.

Andreas’ Blog Journal:

Call me Andreas. You do not know how long you are in a river when the current moves swiftly. It may seem to be a long time and be very short—–or sometimes it is a long time but shortened in your memory. In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry, swelling with the hunger of the whale, aspiring to grow to devour the limitlessness of the sea of its origin. The paths and roads and
streets take you waterward. Take almost any path that you please, and ten to
one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there in a pool in the stream,
and that stream flows with you through a forest or a field or a steppe past
farms and the lights of cities in the night ever onward towards a greater
tributary and from thence into a greater river. And all rivers great and small
lead you on to the sea. Take any dry path you like, and in a fit or reverie of
unthinking, putting foot before unthinking foot, it will lead you onward to
some water’s edge. There is magic in it. Some years ago, never mind how long,
walking downwards a soldier along a pathway I followed such a dust road which
led me onwards towards the watery part of the world. A soldier became a sailor.
A journey became an odyssey. It is said that the great white whale once walked
on legs upon land and then returned to the element of his origins, fluent in
his comings and fluent in his goings—-strong in the lungs of life. It is said
that a great whale swallowed once a man and the man was not devoured but
emerged again into the world and the light of day, and was delivered from
darkness.

Once upon a time there was a soldier
who became a sailor. He followed his Captain down to forbidden seas and
barbarous coasts. He followed his Captain on a questing quest—to squeeze a
world into a ball——followed that great white whale across the wide seas.
Alone he returned, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee……….. O Captain my
Captain!

There was once a man who became a
soldier and fought in a senseless war until he made a separate peace. He walked
away from dubious battle and took a boy his brother with him out of the jungle
and slaughter into the region of life. There once was a man who chose life over
death and strode out over the wide world to find it, but when he found it in a
woman ran away from it and found it not. There once was a soldier who took off
the clothes of war and put on the clothing of peace. There once was a man who
took off the clothing of peacemaking to make love naked to a woman but peace
made he not, neither made he love. Blessed are the peacemakers, for peace shall
be given unto them.

There was once a professor, his name
was Sartorius. He led young men into their future, pointing to a dream too
beautiful for words. He gave up his life following a dream. The dream chewed
him up and spat him out. It led him to a promised land, but allowed him no
entry. There once was a man who followed a professor, his Captain, on a
questing quest as long as life and as long as death. They loved the same woman
and mirrored themselves both in the convex mirror of her soul and and in the
concave mirror of her body. There once was a man who loved a woman and possessed
her, body and soul and heart, and then died. There once was a man unworthy who
had a woman and lost her to a better man, and possessed only his freedom and
the emptiness of his hands and heart. He followed his better, his Captain, who
took what he had loved and whom he should have hated, but instead loved him the
more. He followed his Captain, and would have died for him, and should have
died, but his Captain died for him instead, and I only am escaped alone to tell
thee.

There was once a woman, her name was
Eva. She was there at the beginning of the world. She was there when Paradise
was lost. Long searched she for love in this wide world and found it not. She
took a man unworthy of herself until he fretted her peace away. She loved a man
unworthy of her until he fretted her Paradise away, and ran away from her to
find a freer Hell. A better man came and redeemed her love and restored her
paradise but another world took him away from her and left her alone again, but
with the seeds of a future growing in her womb.

There was once a father who lost his
son. Long searched they for each other across the wide world longing. Long the
many seas parted them, longing for son and home, longing for father, longing
for the place where their lives belonged and merged into each other, searched
they this world. Long were they lost to each other. Long was their longing
unfulfilled. At long last found they eachother across the many seas, the
prodigal father and the prodigal son, embraced and traveled many worlds
together and dreamed a dream together and fought for a world together until
they were together no more, and death parted them.

Once upon a time there was a dreamer
who dreamed a dream of a better world. For short years he walked on this earth
and shared his dream with others and asked them to believe and and follow him
in his dream. But they believed not and mocked him. He asked them to make peace
and instead they made war and dragged him away. And so he went forth from love
of this world into another and returned with the seeds of a greater love, but
death took him still in its folds and carried him away. But he left behind him
a book and a faith, a house, and a dream to be lived.

There once was a spy who loved his
country. So did he love his country that he made love to women to learn what
his country needed to learn. So made he love to a woman in a far land, but the
woman loved him not. The woman loved one, another woman, who loved him but whom
he loved but a little, but loved on, for the love of love, and the love of his
country’s sake. So the woman loved another, who loved her not but loved on for
the sake of her love of a man, who loved his country.

There once was a lover who loved a
spy, her name was Yoriko. She loved a man who was a spy but she knew it not. He
left her alone with her love and married another. Long searched she for love
but found it not. She followed him to another land, ready to die and lose all
rather than lose him. For her love’s sake she allowed herself to be loved by
another, not him but a woman, who loved her but not him. She followed him ready
to die for her love. But she died not. She for his sake made love to a woman,
but the woman who loved her died for his and his country’s sake, and she knew
it not.

There was once a woman who killed
herself. She was called The General. The General killed herself rather than
suffer the dishonor of others killing her. She loved another who was a woman,
and she loved her honour her dignity. She loved the honour of the code of
Bushido, though the country of Bushido was not her home, but only the home of
her heart.  Out of her love she betrayed
her country’s secrets, but knew it not. Out of her dignity she killed herself,
though her captors knew it not.

There once was a story of Three
Messiahs who came to earth to save the people of the world. But their dream was
too heavy for the people to bear, and out of their great love they departed the
world silently, to ease their sufferings in this world.

There once was a Supreme Leader who
had a dream of an Angel. The angel’s name was Gibreel. The Angel Gibreel came
to the Supreme Leader in a dream and told him he had a message from heaven. The
Angel Gibreel bore a message from heaven to open the doors—to open the Gates
of Ijtihad. To open the sluice gates of the soul and the heart and the mind,
doors that had been sealed by centuries of rote unthinking, to open them, and
the eyes and the hearts and the minds of the people, to open them to the living
light and spirit of God, whose name was Allah in his country.

Once there was a world that longed
for a savior.

There were once Three Messiahs who
longed for a world.

He’s coming, He’s coming! Who is
coming? The Christ child, the Mahdi, the Maitreya, the Savior? Or is it the
world’s executioner with the mechanism of detonation under his arm, that always
goes ticktock? And he says: I am the Savior of the world. And an incredulous
world believes, there’s faith for you—in Santa Claus, in the Revolution, in
the Great Leader, in a Utopia, in a Promised Land, a Heaven, in anything that
takes the pain and the reality away and replaces it with a dream and the peace
of unthinking.

For my part, I don’t know. I don’t
know.

There was once a world.

There was once a world that dreamed.

There was once a world that dreamed
of an end.

There was once a world that dreamed
of a beginning.

There was once a world that dreamed
of a Savior.

There once was a world that lived in
a dream.

There once was a world that dreamed
itself.

For my part, I don’t know. I don’t
know.

There once was a world that lived in
a dream. And the people of the world fell into that dream as a man falls into
the sea. They began to hope that soon it would be over, so they might begin
afresh or continue, hoping after or even during the finale that the end would
soon be over. The end of what? They still did not know. They only hoped that it
would soon be over, over tomorrow, but not today; for what were they to do if
the end came so suddenly? And then when the end came, they quickly turned it
into a hopeful beginning; for in their countries the end is always the beginning
and there is hope in every, even in the most final, end. And so too it is
written: As long as a man hopes, he will go on turning out hopeful finales.

For my part, I don’t know

For my part, I don’t know. I don’t
know if I can believe in angels, or messiahs, or revolutions or progress or a
better world. I don’t know if I can believe in love of the truth setting us
free. I don’t know if this thing, this Parliamentary Assembly, will make the
world any better or worse, bring our suffering souls together in heart and mind
in peace or become but another arena of human pretence, delusion, conflict, selfish
manipulation and hypocrisy. All there is is the trying and the living forward,
which some people call faith.

Another thing I don’t know: I don’t
know how nuclear detonations can be unexploded and the means and the motive of
man’s self-suicide or self-destruction uninvented. I don’t know how the human
heart can be purged of its weakness and excesses of millennia of war and
persecution and exploitation. I don’t know if I can believe the Advent, the
time of longing for a Redeemer, is flowing again, or flowing still, I do not
know. I don’t know, nor know whether the time of day matters; for love and life
know no time of day, and hope is without end, and faith knows no limits, only
knowing and not knowing are subject to times and limits and usually end before
their time.

There once was a father who lost and
found his son.

There once was a woman who was there
at the beginning of the world.

There once was a son who lost and
found his father.

There once was a soldier who found
himself swimming.

There once was a soldier who found
himself swimming in the rain in a river at full flood.

There once was a soldier who found
himself swimming.

Copyright Robert Sheppard 2011 All Rights Reserved

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May 30, 2011

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