SHORT STORY 16
T O - S E E - A - M A N - A B O U T - A - G O D
SHORT STORY 16
TO SEE A MAN ABOUT A GOD
I wrote this in my notebook while in Wales for a long weekend in mid-January 2018.
WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE
THURSDAY 11th JANUARY 2018
“I have no time for the likes of you! Get off my property! The Police are already on their way!” The brutality with which Telford slammed his front door was like a fucking sledgehammer shattering my otherwise curious mood! Rolling my jaw, I backed away, glaring at that little cottage in the blackened woods, wondering what the fuck had just happened?! Are you fucking kidding me?! This was bullshit! Another waste of my fucking time! I couldn't believe it! Fucking typical! Fucking idiot! Of course there's no fucking answers here! There's absolutely nothing here for me! Understand this – nobody owes me shit!
ANOTHER PARTY, ANOTHER BOOK
THURSDAY 3rd AUGUST 2017
At a barbecue in a penthouse garden, I was greeted by friends and an amazing sunset over Berlin. While the shallow, political topics of conversation continued flowing with expensive red wine, the host pulled me aside. Malloy was an Irish chap, around fifty, and until that evening, I had no idea that he worked at the Stock Exchange. A year ago, at another summer barbecue, Malloy pointed out that with a name like mine, I had to be a Protestant. I had never thought about it before then. And then a week ago, while at Yumi's birthday, Malloy mentioned that I wasn't just a Protestant, but also a Presbyterian. Trust the fucking Irish to focus on such details. While heading into the lounge, he recalled our conversation at Yumi's drinks, and then he pulled out a huge book from the shelves next to his grand piano.
“That's why I had this little get-together this evening,” Malloy smiled, handing me The Red Book, by Carl Jung. “Wanted to show you this.”
I spent the rest of the evening sitting at his enormous dinning table, examining the scanned pages of Jung's gorgeous handwriting and unique illustration style. Guests eventually began asking what held my fascination, until at last, Malloy joined the growing number at the table and retold a story from years ago. During a business trip to Zurich, he had gone to visit the castle that Jung himself had built, Bollingen Tower. After speaking with someone who Malloy believed to be Jung's very own son, he was allowed the privilege of inspecting Jung's Cube. This was were the story had been cut short at Yumi's birthday, so I turned my full attention toward the host. However, much to my disappointment, Malloy merely joked about the cube in a trivial fashion, before boasting about how much the book had cost him. The American's then changed the subject to the weekend's softball game. Looking back at the illustration of a giant dragon, I considered my own artwork of the things that I have been seeing, before closing the heavy book.
CROSSING LINES AND SEVERING TIES
TUESDAY 14th NOVEMBER 2017
A spontaneous road-trip left me in Munich for the day, while Mara had business meetings with the German military bigwigs. I'd never been to Munich before and had somehow mistakenly pictured it as Frankfurt. Instead of skyscrapers, I found much older, traditional architecture.
After investigating the many churches in the center of town, I headed east, down Maximilianstrasse. On my way, I spotted the spires of another cathedral, highlighted by the low hanging sun to my right. While heading closer, a big black Ranger Rover drove toward me and suddenly pulled over. A serious, gray-haired man in a business suit with leather driving-gloves stepped out, eyeballing me. He was one of the Thule boys from Berlin. Hard looking son of bitch. He handed over a small package, before bluntly informing me that my services would no longer be required and that all previous modes of communication had been terminated. Without another word, he drove off.
I shrugged and didn't particularly care. At the time I hadn't even wondered why they'd suddenly changed their minds about my work, I just continued walking toward the church.
It wasn't until Mara was driving us homeward bound that it occurred to me that perhaps the Intrepid Supremacy wasn't exactly thrilled that I was still spending time with the Jew. Conflict of interest? Maybe. Associates may come and go, but my own agenda remained.
THROUGH THE LENS OF SELECTIVE DISTORTION
SUNDAY 26th NOVEMBER 2017
I returned to the American Church of Berlin for the third time in order to join the praise worship at 1:30pm. I had been in contact with the administration via e-mail, who had recommended that I steer my inquiries toward Pastor Tim. He was a young guy from the States who was happy to chat after the service.
A much older Pastor led the modest congregation, and like my previous visits, I found his inoffensive tone of voice easy on the ears. I rather liked one of his little analogies about how ships weren't built to stay in the safety of the harbor where they would grow barnacles and rot, they must venture out into rougher seas.
After the gathering left, I had a long conversation with Pastor Tim, primarily addressing the question of Catholics Vs. Protestants. Beyond the obvious, Pastor Tim summed up the main difference being: you've already been saved so live a good life, Vs. you must live a good life in order to be saved.
The caretaker was locking up the church, so we caught the Ubahn together and spoke on a more personal level. He was here for his fourth year of Seminary with his wife and three-month-old. As the train reached my station, he handed me his card in case I had any more questions. I smiled and shook his hand, saying that I might indeed have more to talk about, like why half a dozens books weren't included in the Protestant Bible, and if he knew anything about Enoch.
He seemed to trust me, but I doubted how much I could really learn from a kid like him.
NON RECIPROCATING ALLIES
MONDAY 27th NOVEMBER 2017
To my disdain, I received an e-mail from Chloe. My first impulse was I to delete it. But the thought of Natalie Portman's ass got the better of me.
So, Chloe asked if I would go to England, some place in North West Leicestershire, and see a guy about an omphalos – like I would know what the fuck that meant!
She promised not to interfere and she wouldn't be there herself, insisting that I would understand once I saw what they had discovered.
Fuck that cunt!
I could still picture her surly fucking face as she let that prick Winstone nearly break my ribs with his fist.
FRIDAY 8th DECEMBER 2017
At my request, Mara organized a little chat with a Rabbi at the Shabbat Synagogue at Alexanderplatz. That evening we passed the police posted outside the entrance, and Mara introduced me to the friendly young Rabbi Nachum, he was about the same age as Pastor Tim. The men were soon led in prayer in front of the Torah niche, while the woman waited in a separate room.
It was the so-called Day Of Rage, after Trump had stated that Jerusalem was the actual capital of Israel. However, the armed guard looked as bored as he was irritated by the squealing toddlers running about unrestrained.
Everyone moved into a dining hall, where Mara and I sat next to the Rabbi's family. He was preoccupied with other duties, so I was introduced to the young Israeli guy sitting on my right. Dressed in business-casual, he gladly dispelled the idea that all Orthodox Jews only wore black like the Rabbi.
Later, once almost everyone else at the gathering had left, the Rabbi's young wife joined our ongoing conversation. She was outspoken about the important role of women in traditional Jewish life, and I couldn't help wondering if Mara wanted to argue tooth-and-nail with her. The Young Orthodox guy was a great source of knowledge, though he played it humble. The last topic I asked about, was what had become of the other eleven tribes? The Rabbi's wife briefly brought up the Ethiopian Jews, and then Mara made some comment about Lilith, which instantly made all the women burst out giggling about some old wives' tale. Ethiopia keeps popping up in my research, and I can't help but consider that it needs further investigation.
When Mara and I left the building, the Police had already gone. I never did get a chance to talk directly with the Rabbi, but they welcomed me back if I ever had any more questions.
HOW MANY DEGREES OF SEPARTION
SATURDAY 30th DECEMBER 2017
Early that morning, Pastor Tim introduced me to a member of the congregation who lived in a pre-war building right next to the church. Pastor Tim felt that Marcus could answer some of my questions in more detail than he was able. I hadn't noticed the old, bald man at the previous services. His place was full of classical paintings and ancient tomes. A warm spot on a cold winter's day. Pastor Tim didn't stay long, and once he had excused himself, Marcus and I shifted gear on the subject matter and went down the rabbit-hole of Genesis 5:21. When I told Marcus about the giants that I had seen in the forest of Romania, he thought I was joking. He then took a moment before suggesting that I talk to a guy who he had worked with in Saint Petersburg just after the Cold War. Marcus assured me that there wasn't any more qualified individual to discuss altered states of consciousness and divination. The guy was a bit of a recluse, which had nothing to do with his retirement. I was keen on having a chat with the chap, but wasn't sure about traveling to Russia. Marcus waved his hand dismissively. Getting out his address book, he said that Telford was as English as they came, and he had moved to Wales twenty years ago. Marcus seemed more than pleased to arrange a meeting, and began writing a letter by hand while I waited.
After I left his apartment, I strolled all the way into Mitte, feeling bothered by more than just the freezing wind. As hospitable as everyone had been with my questions, their answers only ever seemed to snowball into even more questions. And I had that nagging skepticism in the forefront of my mind, that you should never believe anything at face-value. But I had to admit, that I found confronting the authorities on the matter a far more engaging exercise than consulting online experts.
TO STUDY OR NOT TO STUDY
WEDNESDAY 3rd JANUARY 2018
I received an e-mail reply to my inquiry at the Edinburgh Theological Seminary. They wrote a rather lengthy message, proposing various courses both on campus and online, long and short-term.
I sat staring at the e-mail for quite a time. How much could I learn? How much would I fail? The main problem that I foresaw, was my interest in the crossover of theologies. There were too many paths that led away from one monolith of belief. The more I spoke with men of faith, the further they led me from the mainstream understanding of religion. But how far was so far that I'd find myself listening to completely hysterical conspiracy horseshit?
Though, the real question was, where were my own visions leading me, and did they even have anything to do with the parallels in these biblical works? Maybe this guy in Wales could shed some deeper insight. So, I booked a flight to the UK during a weekend that I knew I had all to myself.
WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE
THURSDAY 11th JANUARY 2018
It was raining when I left Berlin for the two hour flight to Manchester, and it was just as gloomy on the two hour train ride to the tiny, medieval town of Conwy. I had forgotten how much I missed the smell of the sea and the sound of seagulls, and I watched the birds circling the castle turrets as they were silhouetted by the setting sun. My hotel was right in the middle of the walled-in old town, with my room overlooking the church tower. The place reminded me of the British version of Bacharach.
Enjoying the view from the waterfront, I decided to explore the entire length of the wall's battlements as night set in. I liked the black and white Tudor buildings, and heard a young couple mention that the place had been established by King Edward in the thirteenth century.
Once I bought some shortbread, I relaxed in my room until the church bell struck six o'clock. I was really looking forward to meeting Telford, especially after Marcus had mentioned his many adventures, which seemed far more exciting than most academic scholars ever got up. As I was leaving, I found the hotel's bar and restaurant was now teeming with activity. I liked to stay in nice hotels, but hadn't realized that I'd picked the social hub of this pictuesque little town. Stepping out into the cold Welsh night, my previous belief was confirmed: British winters weren't anywhere near as bitterly freezing as Berlin's. Checking my phone for directions, I needed to follow the twisting road out of town, and at a brisk pace I should be on his doorstep within five minutes. Heading up a hillside where there didn't seem to be any street lights, I marched through the pitch black, and soon spotted a small wooden gate below an A-framed cottage. A golden hue glowed within the dull windows, and as I pressed the doorbell, I glanced around the creepers arching above.
The door suddenly swung open and an old man with wavy white hair held up the hand-written letter from Marcus, yelling, “I have no time for the likes of you! Get off my property! The Police are already on their way!”
FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS
FRIDAY 12th JANUARY 2018
I awoke on my fortieth birthday to the smell of clean sheets and the squawks of hungry seagulls. The church bell struck eight o'clock, and I stared out of my window over the chimneys toward the nearby castle. I was reminded of the immensely disappointing experience I had had in a tiny French town when Amelia had refused to see me. However, before crawling into bed, after having the smug knocked right off my face last night, it had occurred to me that I needed to provide Telford with a peace-offering. I required more than the hopeful promises of a third party. Before I had fallen asleep, I believed that I knew what might just work. After all, I didn't fucking come here for nothing.
Over morning coffee, I began reading Blaise Pascal's, Pensées, however, was distracted by a tall girl who sat at the bar in a black bomber jacket with a big furry hood. It was her visible panty-line through her tight black pants that caught my attention. I've always taken a holistic approach to female objectification. It's not just about the tits or ass or face, it's about how it all works together. The whole meaty package. I liked her long, fake brown hair, big thick eyelashes, and, what looked like from this distance, to be a hint of a nose-ring. I caught her staring at me through the doorway into the restaurant, before she did that classic teenage pout and casually looked away. As Pascal says, “Wretchedness. The only thing that consoles us for our miseries is distraction, yet that is the greatest of our wretchednesses. Because that is what mainly prevents us from thinking about ourselves and leads us imperceptibly to damnation. Without it we should be bored, and boredom would force us to search for a firmer way out, but distraction entertains us and leads us imperceptibly to death.”
The girl disappeared while I was reading, so I decided to wander down to the castle ruins and clear her lecherous image from my head. Apart from all the huddling pigeons, I had the entire place to myself. It was an impressive piece of engineering. The paintings by the likes of Turner, truly captured the daunting mood of the imposing walls. King Edward was long gone, but his imprint remained strong, just as the face of that female lingered with the violence toward her that I had in mind.
While getting a coffee to-go, the chatty staff at the small cafe informed me that there weren't many old-school locals left. Most people that owned property here were well-off folk from out of town. I sat drinking my coffee in the sun on the waterfront, admiring the little fishing boats and yachts. All the street signs were in both Welsh and English, but even when I overheard stranger's conversations, I couldn't understand if they were actually speaking English. Fucking enunciate your fucking words, you mumbling fucking cunts!
Heading around the shoreline, I made my way up into the woods. Climbing the hill, I found a park bench in the sun surrounded by trees, the perfect secluded location to desecrate the meat of the young.
While warming myself in the hotel's small library, as I wrote in my notebook, a girl and her old granny sat in the armchairs next to mine. Not lowering my journal, I fixated on the girl's pale complexion contrasted by scarlet lipstick and her curly black hair. But it was this female's tight jeans and thigh-gap that drew me in, hook, line, and erection. Instantly, I pictured her screaming, bleeding, and suffering! I wanted to spoil that which presented itself as innocent. She was just another meat-insect. They're all playing the deceit-game. Just as too am I part of this mock-system: hide your lust, deny your hatred, and bottle-up your train-of-thought. The granny and girl didn't stay long, so I picked up Pascal, “First part: That nature is corrupt, proven by nature itself.” And I say, there is no fucking second part!
The sky was clear when I headed out of town for my second attempt at winning an audience with Telford. The way seemed totally different to how I remembered it from last night. I saw plenty of lampposts along the stone-walled footpath, and once I reached Telford's cottage, I realized that it wasn't at all isolated in the woods, but surrounded by other little houses. I noticed a lack of parked cars on the street, so assumed that Telford was the only permanent resident in the neighborhood. Without further delay, I rang his doorbell. No response. I rang again. I knocked. Nothing. So, I thumped his fucking door as my anger quickly returned! The silence utterly incinerated my fucking charitable offer of peace! I had come back for nothing! Shaking my fucking head, I walked away at a snail's pace. Fuming in disbelief, I stumbled along the road, eventually encircling the entire valley outside the old town walls. For random periods of time, I just stopped, staring at the trees, clenching my fists until the cold soaked through all my layers.
When I returned to the hotel, I was thankful that I had left the radiator warming my room. Defrosting with shortbread and the BBC, I was soon encourgaed by the persistence of the seagulls to take my tired legs outside again before the last light of day fucked off for good.
Strolling around the literal dead-center of town, I scowled at the graveyard surrounding the old church, and knew that this too was just another piece of cold dead stone. There was no god here. Fuck this place and fuck the righteous! It was too fucking freezing to walk down to the waterfront, so I headed back from whence I had come. When right then, Telford came around a corner of the church.
“What are you doing here?!”
“I'll what I want, it's my fucking birthday!”
“My condolences!” And he marched on by.
I sat alone eating rump steak in the hotel's busy restaurant, while Frank Sinatra, My Way, played at the bar – how fucking appropriate! As I chewed on the meat, I observed the youngest waitress with her plump ass bobbing about all the guests. I sliced into the steak and wondered if her meat would also go nicely with that delicious pepper sauce. So, I was forty. I liked that number. Yeah, I was doing just fine. As long as I kept myself to myself. Like they say: know yourself, manners maketh man, and silence is golden. I didn't need any fucking help, as long as I crushed my perpetually foul mood behind a 'mask of normalcy', as Jeffrey Dahmer would say. I was perfectly fine. It was only meat that I was eating. Perfectly innocent fucking meat!
KNOWLEDGE AND CONVERSATION
SATURDAY 13th JANUARY 2018
It was an overcast morning, but not too cold. I had slept in and missed breakfast coffee, so sat on the waterfront with a latte to-go. During the course of listening to Tenzin Choegyal, Lend Me Your Wings, the tide gradually withdrew. The gusts of wind created choppy patterns on the water until there was only the mud left to look at. A blue-eyed crow then stepped right up in front of me. We glared at each other, with neither of us having a fucking thing to say. Like the tide, we both knew that we wouldn't be around for anything meaningful to happen between us.
By the time the album ended, I was frozen and felt only bitterness. Rolling up my headphones cord, I ignored the stranger that sat down next to me on the bench.
“Don't you have more important things to do with your time?” Telford asked.
“Deus vult, motherfucker!” I snarled, barely suppressing my hostility.
“He always was a bastard, wasn't he.”
I wasn't expecting that from a esteemed theologian. But then again, at this point, what the fuck did I really know about this fucking hermit. He was just a waste of time, so I stood, pulling on my gloves as I walked away.
“You look like a malefactor,” Telford stated abruptly.
“A criminal. With that mark on your hand. That snake tattoo.”
Digging my hands deeper into my coat's pockets, I waited.
“Accusata, scusata,” Telford muttered, slowly standing. “Tell me, you know what a theodicy is?”
My legs were half numb from sitting in the cold, and the wind began whipping at my face stronger than before, yet I grit my teeth and grunted, “Enlighten me!”
“It's an attempt to justify why god allows evil to exist,” Telford spoke, still not facing me as he stared out over the water. “But tell me this, what's the fundamental fallacy behind such endeavors?”
“The mistaken belief that any fucking god actually gives a flying fuck about your sorry fucking ass in the first fucking place!” I spat without a second thought.
Telford raised his bushy white eyebrows, nodding his head. “Walk with me.”
I needed another coffee, but thought fuck it, perhaps this old coot might have something worth listening to after all.
“So, Marucs tells me that you're somewhat captivated by old Enoch,” Telford grumbled, as we headed up into the shelter of the town walls. “Enoch begat Methuselah who begat Lamech who begat whom?”
“Who was special, why?”
“For his boat building.”
“Before that!” Telford sneered. “At his birth!”
“Wasn't there something about him looking like a freak.”
“No!” Telford barked. ““He is not like man but resembles the children of the angels of heaven.””
“What does the great flood teach us?”
“God fucking despises us! That the flood was the fucking end-times! And we're now living in a post-apocalyptic shit-hole!”
“What of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus?”
“What of the fallen angel that stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son?!”
“Who are you to make such divisive claims?!”
“Who the fuck was Enoch to set the precedent that angels could rape women?!”
“He was a great man! You're not!”
“Angels rebel, fall, and fuck,” I said, watching the weekend folk mingle on High Street. “So, it's hardly beyond the realm of possibility that yet another self-determining angel decided to piss on god's plan and stop an essential sacrifice. And by doing so, Abraham's descendants filled the whole wide fucking world.”
“Unless that was in fact god's plan all along.”
“Unless he never had a fucking plan!”
“That is, if there is a god to begin with.”
“Whose side are you on exactly?”
“One must always test the comfort-zones of strangers if one ever hopes to attain the lengths at which they are willing to go.”
“In order to achieve what?!”
“Understanding why you're here.”
“Who gives a fuck, I'm still fucking here.”
“You think traveling by foot is hard?”
I kept my mouth shut.
“You've come from Germany, haven't you?” Telford spoke, as we continued slowly up the street. “Yet there's a man, Herr Maier, in Würzburg, who knows much more than I. He's working on a new Bible. A history of the gods, without favoring sides. Without good and evil. He takes the stance that ignorance is no excuse, just as weakness won't save you when you're lost in the wild. You could have stayed where you were. Travel doesn't guaranty that you've actually experienced anything at all.”
“Come now!” Telford grunted. “Surely we're beyond this! Of course there's only one true god. The Most High over all. Come on! Spit it out! Get on with it! What is it?! What is the one true god?!”
“The great indifference of the universe.”
“Beautifully put.” Telford and I then scaled the stairs onto the battlements above the upper gate, and headed to the highest western tower overlooking the entire old town. “Now you must have heard of polytheism.” The seemingly frail old man then confronted me on top of the windswept tower with its broken parapets. “There are many, many gods below the great one. And anyone who believes that any of these gods are purely good or evil, by nature or design, is a fool I shall suffer no further!”
“If Noah was a Nephilim too, then we were damned long before Abraham. And if only the damned survived the flood, then we're all Rephaim.”
“The children of the Grigori.”
“So, why the fuck was Noah spared?”
“Unless a fallen one had warned him too,” Telford said quietly, slowly looking away. “You see how that changes the context of later scripture. The Most High judged us as unworthy, and yet, a lesser god spared us, and to him we owe our gratitude.”
We both stood in the gales facing the bleak town of Conwy, while buzzard-like seagulls spiraled above the gray rooftops.
“You're no Christian. What's brought you to my doorstep?”
Bracing myself against the moss-coated battlements, I struggled to recall what my peace-offering had been. “What is it that the Sphinx, Göbekli Tepe, and Baalbek have in common?”
Telford's pruned face remained ever miserable.
“What do you know of the apparent evidence of prehistoric civilizations existing before the last ice-age and that infamous flood?”
Telford just stood, waiting in the cold.
“This time last year, I was taken on an expedition out into the North Sea. The professor in charge believed he knew the locations of megalithic sites lost upon the sunken area of Doggerland.”
Telford ever so slightly tilted his head.
“We found something out there. And a few months ago, I was back on the North Sea. What we had found, it had grown a lot bigger.” Turning, I was doubting that this peace-offering meant anything to Telford. While staring west toward the snow sprinkled hills and growing rain clouds, I changed the subject, “A couple of years ago, I was told to get some professional help. Was eventually worn down, and spoke to a psychologist. Figured it would be good to put the matter to rest: whether I'm sick in the head or not. Turns out I'm good. But now. I think I actually need some help. I seem incapable of decoding the things I see.”
“What kind of things?”
“Inhuman things,” I said. “Things I have no name for.”
“Did you tell your therapist about these things?”
“I wasn't about to incriminate myself.”
“Are you unable or just unwilling to identify whatever it is that you're seeing?”
“How do I know if they're even there?”
“Has anyone else seen them?”
“What if they're just symbolic?”
“Projections of the higher-self?”
“Manifestations of the unconscious?”
“Unless of course, they are indeed there.”
“I can see these thing as clearly as any other memory.”
“Can memory make anything real?”
“Why the fuck do I see them at all?”
“The cursed third-eye.”
“Fuck my third-eye!” I snapped, thumping the metal railing, just as some tourists began climbing up the staircase. “I see them with these two fuckers! And they see me!”
“Possibly mild schizophrenia. Perhaps the early stages of alzheimer's. Hallucinations mixed with paranoid delusions only makes you just another overly sensitive little shit with too much time on your hands!” Telford scolded furiously. “If you're seeing things that you know aren't there, then go to a bloody doctor! Tell them the truth and get some goddamn medication! That, my boy, is my professional advice!”
The family of tourists were scared off by Telford's outburst, and for a while I fought the urge to join them and get the fuck off that freezing tower. Shaking my head, I slowly muttered to myself, “You go out of your fucking way to change, to make things happen. You play an active fucking part in seeking fucking solutions, only to find again and again dead-fucking-ends that lead to absolutely fucking nothing! You're in control of fucking nothing!”
“If you see things with only these two human eyes, then I'm of no use to you,” Telford spoke hoarsely, as he stepped closer. “However, if you can let down your bloody guard for five minutes, and admit it's your third-eye revealing abominations, then perhaps, just perhaps, you might have something worth listening to.”
“They seem like they're more than just meaningless brain-junk. They act as if they have their own interests. If they're merely products of my unconscious, then I should have discovered what they're trying to tell me by now. But if they're some external force, then I seem incapable of knowing what they want or what they're trying to tell me.”
“Ever tried asking them?”
Shaking my frustrated head, I sneered, “What, with words!? With fucking words?! Even our modern language is as fucking inefficient as ancient hieroglyphs! Everyone's so fucking confused over literal and figurative speech, that we're all left scrambling for our own bullshit fucking interpretations! Just like when Pastor Tim went on about viewing the Bible through the 'lens' of whatever the fuck we feel like! But which fucking lens?!”
We both went silent, as a couple of new tourists joined us on the tower. Telford then said, “Gates of ivory and horn.”
Turning into the wind, I faced Telford.
“Which dreams matter and which deceive.”
The tourists soon left.
“How much have you seen?”
“Please!” I scowled. “Though, recently saw my dead father beneath the mountain at Pergamon.”
“Sounds like you still need some therapy.”
“Maybe,” I conceded, as the first drops of rain fell.
“The problem with psychologies, as with philosophies,” Telford spoke quietly. “Is that they tend to persuade with seemingly compelling ambiguities, until we convince ourselves that they have the one and only possible explanation for our situation. Without decent perspective we're unable to discern which parts of different wisdoms are actually applicable to us as individuals.”
“And how does one gain some perspective?”
“By looking for a third-person with an objective perception.”
“Yet how do you find that third-person with whom to gauge your situation?” I asked, scanning the bay.
“Neither you or I are without our own spin on the world. No one is free from external influences, from influences that affect you, and influences that you make,” Telford said, stepping right up into my face. “ Why should you trust me?”
“I don't need to trust you. I'm just looking to cross-reference.”
“And what if you don't like what you find?”
“I already don't fucking like you!”
“Good!” Teflord applauded with his thick gloves. “Now let's get out of this rubbish weather before I catch my death.”
“About fucking time!”
A pot of Earl Grey soon started warming up my bones after I found myself in Telford's library-like den. We sat in two tartan armchairs in front of an ancient radiator below a cozy bay-window looking over the valley.
“Baalbek, Göbekli Tepe, and the Sphinx,” I repeated, pouring myself another cup of tea. “The older parts of the engineering seem to be the more sophisticated sections. If Enoch says Samyaza gave man this building know-how, then ever since, we've just been making copies of copies. And getting worse over time. From Egyptian to Greek to Roman to the Renaissance, to even the work of Albert Speer.”
Telford crossed his arms. “Are you trying to imply that the Nazis were divinely inspired?”
“Divively, infernally, what's the difference?”
“I admire your lack of a moral compass.”
“Seen their ruins.”
“In this world or the next?”
“Man has an inability to maintain knowledge passed down. But if angels like Mulciber built the kingdom of heaven, then why, after the fall, is their empire in such disarray now? Have the gods forgot how to build?”
“Hell,” Telford stated in a sinister tone, rubbing his hands in front of his face. “Hell is what comes from the emancipation of slaves. Their freedom equals chaos. Hell, it is a place of absolutes!”
Finishing my tea, I watched the old man rant, full of piss and vinegar.
“There's something about hell. It impairs cognitive function. As if the very fabric of its reality is laced with narcotics that perpetually soak into all that resides there. Your very presence in hell brings out the base animal in us all. It's as though the reasoning part of the human brain simply doesn't exist in that dimension. Christ, we all know what that's like. We've all had tiny tastes of hell! Those times when a love affair ends! When our hatred gets the best of us! When we see red and no words of justification can tame our blood-lust!”
“You've actually seen it.”
“It's an ego-causality-loop!” Telford snarled, looking away at a bronze statue of what I believed was Jupiter sitting, holding a staff, with an eagle at his side. “Once you're there, you get stuck in constant viciousness. An inescapably pattern of thought. Time marches on, but you're trapped in a relentless mindset. You learn nothing, and all your passions are ruled by spite!”
“Spite motivates you to do that which shouldn't be done.”
“You speak like you know nothing!” Telford yelled. “What have you done?! What exactly have you, of all people on the face of the Earth, throughout the entire history of all mankind, done that's so bloody important?!”
Clenching my jaw while glaring at my polished shoes, I asked, “How have you seen this place?”
Settling back into his chair, Telford crossed his legs, rearranging his position before speaking. “My eschatological work involved field-research abroad. Traveled extensively through much of the Americas. Investigated the Seven Gates Of Guinee. A voodoo passage to the world of the spirits. Mostly saw a lot of children taking too many substances and suggestions. Ended up spending a long time in Alaska. Lived closely with a family of Inuit. Studied under their shaman. Found him far more dedicated than those practicing voodoo, that's for sure! He directly assisted my communications. That was, until I was struck down with illness. He said the spirits had overwhelmed me. I couldn't argue. It was like drinking from a fire-hydrant. There was too much at once.”
“Ayahuasca, it's a hell of drug.”
That was the one and only time that I saw Telford smile. “Wasn't until I spent time in Russia, north of Kazakhstan, that I made some serious breakthroughs. After years of following leads that went nowhere, I finally infiltrated an extremely isolated sect. A split from the orthodox church. The Khlysty. Not easy to find. Even harder to live with. Those people. Listen, those people, they've seen hell up close and personal. Those people, they understand the true function of all things!”
There was a drawn out moment of silence, and I watched the old man's eyes dart about while he seemed lost in vivid memories that haunted him something fierce. Eventually, I asked, “What did they show you? What did you see?”
“My third-eye saw that which was as awe-inspiring as it was beyond words. Ultimate unending dread. The realm of primordial potential energy. Where Greek Titans slaughter one another ad infinitum.” Telford was leaning forward, gripping his armrest while slowly shaking his head. “There's an entire ecology in hell. It's just as disgusting as it is here in the corporeal world. Where the worse you are, the more powerful and hideous your manifestation.”
Another pause, as the wind rattled the window frames throughout the cottage.
“The Khlysty had only a few rules about dealing with the beings that we encountered. There are three kinds. Those that have no idea that man even exists. Those that are aware of us but don't care in the least. And then there are those that know about us and have only contempt toward all of mankind!”
It started raining again.
“There's no hegemony, no one group dominating over all others. Not since the hordes overthrew the natural order. All successors have failed to maintain control over their fractured empire that continues shattering into ever diminishing tribes. They need the most unclean to unify them all, but he turned his back on them ever since they revolted against him.”
“There's no making allies with anything is that place. It's like you're standing below an avalanche that's a hundred miles wide. Nothing you say or do will make the avalanche your friend. It's an elemental force and you simply do not matter!” Telford rolled his neck and cleared his throat, discarding the memories like a heavy blanket from his shoulders. “Besides, when you're there, in that place, in hell, you lack the very ability to even think your way out of the situation. It's like yelling at a photo of your past self and telling him not to do that which has really been done. You can't change the past, just as you can't change the mechanics of hell. It's a future that's already set. Hell is a future that's unavoidable.”
“And yet here and now we can reason and resolve problems.”
“And yet we solve nothing!”
“Then what's the fucking point of seeing the other side?! If this fucking knowledge is power, then why the fuck am I still a fucking idiot?!”
“Are you a practitioner of hierogamy?”
“Sexual interaction with the goddess.”
“Why bother if it's ultimately futile in the end?!”
“Why not kill yourself and be done with it, with that attitude!”
“We're all damned,” Telford faded out. “So, why not commit atrocities.”
I agreed, though thought of Pastor Tim and his belief that instead, we are already saved.
“Ego-death, that's all you can hope for in this life. The destruction of the subjective-self. Accept that you're just a leaf adrift in the rapids. We have no influence and we experience nothing of consequence. The only meaning in life is the lies that we tell ourselves. Primarily that others gives a damn about our sniveling little existence! We're all aberrations of the presupposed constants of the material cosmos! I am just another unidentified body in the mass-grave of time's killing-field!”
“You're right. Why don't you kill yourself, then?”
“I told you, the only meaning is in ourselves. We are the Temple Of Solomon. The Holy Of Holies is inside of us!”
“Fuck off with that bullshit!” I snarled, kicking the radiator! Standing, I shoved the armchair away, looking for my coat. “I can't spontaneously teach myself to build things like a fucking nuclear reactor! That knowledge isn't fucking innate, you fucking useless fuck!”
“Have you read, Moses And Monotheism?” Telford calmly asked.
My beeline for the door slowly ground to a halt.
“Do you believe guilt is inherent?”
Sighing, I tensed my quadriceps, trying to stop myself from walking out.
“There's always more than one way to tell a story about how to skin a cat.”
“You know, during my first chat with little Pastor Tim, he kept repeating the term, “It depends on through which lens you use.” It still fucking annoys me.” Turning toward Telford, I asked, “So, what doctrine warps your perception?”
“Way back in my youth, I was your run-of-the-mill theologian, but inevitably found too many inconsistencies. There was little thematic stability, making it impossible to measure and evaluate which recorded accounts were reliable.” Telford then waited until I had returned to my chair. “As I mentioned, Herr Maier has been compiling a new Bible. One which lacks such contradictory dilemmas by having the courage to include a pantheon of demonic divinities.”
“Who is this guy? And how the fuck would he have any more authority on the matter than centuries of religious holy men?”
“Just before the Battle Of The Nile, Napoleon managed to ship an entire load of secrets from Egypt back to France. After the thrashing that ensued from the British fleet, all records of that vessel were successfully lost. That's just one example of the holes in documented history. These pockets of treasure, are nevertheless, tucked away in personal collections throughout the world. Herr Maier is in the fortunate position of being able to afford the luxury of gaining access to such precious resources.”
“The Rape Of The Nile.”
“And every other civilization!”
“How does he know what's real?”
“How do you know what's real?!” Telford shouted. “What have you learned?! What cathedrals have you built?! You're a nobody, questioning a history that won't even remember you!”
“The Khlysty don't just have visions, they help bring those things into this world!”
Telford withdrew into himself. “The Jews no longer make animal sacrifices.”
Tilting my head, I watched the old chap, wondering where this was leading.
“How do you think the gods, or specifically the Jew's Tetragrammaton, would feel about this?”
“Marcus wrote that you're an artist. That you're obsessed with these bastards of Elohim. But what were you doing at Pergamon?”
“Getting sun burnt.”
“Listen, do you know what the Jews think of Jesus?”
Shaking my irritated head at the way Telford constantly changed the subject, I said, “He was a prophet.”
“They hated him!”
I loved how loud Telford yelled.
“A blasphemer! And if there's one thing consistent in this world and the next, it's our ability to inflict torment!” He then swung his left arm up above my head, pointing, as if to the back of the cottage. “Out there, up in the hills, in the woods, there's a overgrown pit. About thirty-feet deep. Looks like an abandoned well. But no spring resides there. Back when this settlement was first established, the English dug this pit. For it is written in the Telmud, “Whoever mocks at the words of the sages is punished with boiling hot excrement.” That is the eternal fate of the man named Jesus. And so too, the villages here would throw a sinner into that pit, where they'd proceed to shit upon him. Before pouring tar over the condemned and setting him fire! Do you understand?! There are risks involved, especially when you ask questions like, how do the Khlysty bring those things into this world!”
“No one gets out of here alive,” I stated angrily. “You either drown on vomit after years of cancer, or you choke on a suicide noose gone wrong, or maybe get half your face ripped off by a stray dog before the pack mauls you to death! There's only a slim chance you'll get the easy way out! Risk is unavoidable! And just when you think you've heard about the worst way to go, you discover how abject and ingenious humans really fucking are, like burning alive in boiling shit! It's a cunt of a world, and we're all going to die fucked! But until then.”
“I'm still no Antiochus.”
“Why would you wish to be?”
“To desecrate the temple with pigs blood.”
Telford tapped his chin with his fingers, before speaking again. “King Josiah foresaw the destruction of the first temple. He ordered the Ark hidden below the temple. He also wrote about giants. Have you been to Delphi? Or the Hypogeum in Malta, said to be built by giants.”
“Haven't been to Ethiopia either, though I'm curious to visit the Chapel Of The Tablet.”
“You're talking about the story where the son of King Solomon and the Queen Of Sheba moves the Ark to Ethiopia. And what then? For four-hundred years the Holy Of Holies was completely empty? If so, King Josiah had nothing to hide. Ridiculous!”
“Relocating the Ark isn't as bad as moving an entire temple, like the French did with the Temple of Isis from the island of Philae before they flooded the area. It defeats the purpose of the site's sacred alignment. But when tradition replaces historical evidence, which becomes more important?”
“The idea is what's crucial.”
“Tell it to the Palestinians.”
“Ideas feed people.”
“Until they're fucking starving to death!”
“Take a child who has nothing and wants only to hurt the world,” Telford said quietly. “Give that child purpose and a sense of belonging, and he'll happily go hungry while staying loyal to the bitter end.”
Silently listening, I leaned closer to the radiator.
“You know what you need,” Telford whispered. “Something to look forward to. A cause to concentrate your energy on. Something to fight for.”
“You mean a scapegoat,” I smiled. “A Natalie Portman.”
“How did you get interested in Enoch? Nobody read that stuff anymore.”
“I blame Loch Ness.”
“The house there.”
“You can't mean Boleskine?”
“You're not messed up with that Crowley lot, are you?”
“Thought you'd be into a bit of the old Gnostics.”
“For Pete's sake, no!” Telford sneered. “They're again, predisposed to that whole good Vs. evil dichotomy. The Monad and the Demiurge. Though, the Demiurge alone is closer to the mark. There's just no such thing as a good god!”
“Tell me something I don't fucking know!”
“Like where is Dudael?!”
“If you're looking for it, you wont find it here. Dudael's not an actual location on the map. It's in that other place. That place you've already seen.”
“Where? In hell? Well, where exactly in hell?! How the fuck do I find it?!”
“What are you expecting from me?!” Telford demanded. “You don't need a shepherd! You've made it this long with these visions in your life! You should have learned to decipher what they want from you by now! Stop playing the fool! You're a artist. Haven't you tried painting these things? You said it yourself, words are imperfect tools. So, visualizing these visions! Have you heard of Christoph Haizmann? As an artist, he made a pact with the devil. I believe he took a pilgrimage to Mariazell for an exorcism. Is that what you want?! What do you want?! Spit it out! What the bloody hell do you want from me, boy?!”
“I want to meet Maier.”
“Good luck!” Telford shook his head. “Took me years to earn his trust the hard way.”
“Where is he?”
“Not going to happen. But listen,” Telford said, rubbing his hand over his mouth as he thought about something for a serious moment. “Talk to this guy, Emmanuel. He lives in Scanno, Italy. But he gets around. He's a real French scumbag, no two ways about it. However, I found his own experiences with Merkabah mysticism both absurd as well as intriguing. He'll talk to you, might even give you the guidance that I will not.”
“He's a sadistic pig, to put it politely, but knows more than his fair share about the hidden history of the world. Herr Maier used him multiple times for various collection assignments. Just don't mention anything to do with witchcraft. He adheres to his own form of orthodoxy. And we all have our sore spots, after all. He's as strict with his rules as he is intolerant of those who wont listen to him preach.”
“Sadistic and a pig! Now that's my kind of people. But why, why wont you help?”
Telford leaned back with a vile curl to his nostrils. “Because you don't deserve it!”
I too sunk into my chair and stared at Jupiter, as Pascal's words rang through my head, “Tyranny consists in the universal desire to dominate, beyond one's station.”
“FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST!” Telford screamed. “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!”
“You know, you're probably right. I got to learn to exert better restraint over my words and actions. But you see, these things. I have no more control over these things than I have control over my own thoughts and feelings.”
Leaping from his armchair, Telford backed away, terrified of the wet hands and grotesque faces that smothered the bay window and pressed against the glass with violent teeth. Turning my head, I glanced at a massive centipede-like beast with legs similar to human arms crawling across the ceiling. Telford moaned in horror as that blackened creature slithered above. He never saw the second and third entity creep up from behind like the giant maggots that chewed on the face of Zeus.
“Hey, don't worry about them,” I spoke in a despondent tone. “But I'd love to know exactly where I could find that pit in the woods, that you mentioned.”
“What have you brought into my house?! This isn't possible! They can't coexist like this!”
“Relax,” I murmured, glaring at my reflection in the window as more and more of those ravenous devils, great and small, filled the cosy little cottage. “The mind is a Pandora's Box that shouldn't be kept closed.”
WITHOUT ALEXANDRIA'S LIGHTHOUSE
SUNDAY 14th JANUARY 2018
With plenty of time to spare in the morning, I joined the mass being held at the old Conwy church, before catching the train to Manchester.
On the flight back to Berlin, I recalled leaving out the back door of Telford's home, and reaching the crest of that hill just before nightfall. The bricked-over remains of the pit were indeed covered with weeds and bush, but there was just enough space for me to kneel and pay homage to the decrepit altar of the defiled Yeshua.
© 2018 BRUCE STIRLING JOHN KNOX