Myth, Mystery and Magic


 

The new one.

..........

 

 

 

 

 

1. Todd. Everything will change.

It was quiet as Todd shifted the pages of his book, the light from his angle lamp shining like a halo upon his desk.

The chart in front of him was covered with scribbles. He sat with a pencil in one hand the other propping his chin up. He could feel the stubble on his chin rasping against the palm of his hand whilst his fingers sat on his upper lip. The back of his legs were cold from the draft from the open window. The breeze in Scotland is always cold at this time of the year and the fact that he didn't have the heating on did not help at all.

He thought of rising and crossing to the window and pulling it closed but did not as he needed his wits about him and it was only the chill air that was keeping him awake at this late hour. Jassie had went to bed hours ago, leaving him with just a peck on the cheek he was so distracted.

She always made a point of kissing him goodnight no matter whither he was working or watching television or lying beside her in bed.

But he was so far away on this particular night that the best she could do was kiss his cheek. He did not even acknowledge it at the time he was so far away staring at a star chart that was spread out upon the desk in front of him. When she got to the door she turned and said "goodnight, love you".

"What? he said, finally looking up and then realizing what she had said smiled in his distracted way and said, "I love you, sleep well" and with that she had closed the door and headed though to a rather cold bedroom and a much colder bed.

 

 

What he was looking at could not be right. He must have made a mistake somewhere in his calculations but he just could not see where that mistake lay.

There were indigo blue star charts spread on the desk in front of him, a large computer monitor towered over them and it too had overlapping star charts visible. occasionally he would drop the pencil and reach down to take hold of the mouse that sat in a little slide out compartment below the desk. He shook the mouse about every time that he reached for it even though the computer had not gone into hibernation mode, a habit he had gained and never lost so though the screen in front of him was on each time he would still shake the mouse from side to side. It would have gone blank otherwise yet it had not, It was still blue with star constellations highlighted in white and yellow.

When he left the mouse alone and collected his pencil staring down rather than in front of him, paper instead of screen but no matter what he did, no matter wither it was the computer screen or his own calculations that he looked at the answer remained the same.

And the answer was unbelievable.

 

Unbelievable yes but every calculation said it was right, every variable he included changed nothing and just confirmed Robs hypothesis.

Oh for fuck's sake where am I going wrong here he thought to himself. What am I missing? I must be missing something this really cannot be right.

With a sigh Todd throws the pencil down upon the desk and stands. He can feel his knees creaking. Just how long have I sat at that desk he thinks as he walks over to the window and pulls it closed. Shit, he shivers, the plan was the cold air should keep me awake not give me pneumonia.

All he wants to do is go through into the bedroom and strip get in beside Jassie and curl up in a cocoon of warmth with her pressed against him.

I just cant do that he thinks to himself and the reasons why he cannot pile upon him as he stands there. I need to find the answer, I need to be able to tell her the truth, He tilts his head back, his neck muscles grinding as he has sat in the same position for so long. Back slumped against his chair, neck stretched staring at his monitor. His feet feel like blocks of ice, his eyes are a little sore and his very tired his legs hurt a little and his brain is tumbling like the Rolling Stones dice.

I need to know is the first thing that jumps into his mind as he considers just going to bed and all the comfort and warmth that it would bring.

I cannot be right is the next. I am right, no matter how improbable it seems is the third.

Rob is pretty nifty with mathematics and astronomy though he is just an amateur. How can I have discovered this he thinks and none of the great brains have?

Its just not possible. He slumps back into the chair facing his computer monitor and stares at the screen, the star maps vivid before him printed in silver and blue. There is another pile of rolled star maps on a dining table behind him as well as the open ones in front of him and those upon the oversized computer monitor. The small black dining table has been taken over by them as has the desk in front of him. He shakes his head from side to side as though he were trying to divine an answer yet all through this Todd knows that he is right.

Oh like anyone he can make a miscalculation, there are flaws in everything but he has rechecked every calculation a dozen times now and Todd does not get things wrong a dozen times. It is rare that Todd gets a calculation wrong even once it is just something that he has a facility for.

Todd knows who he is, he is old enough to mainly understand himself and he knows that there are some things that he is good at. Actually there are some thing's that he is very good at and some things that he is not so good at.

The some thing's that he is not very good at are vast, there are oceans of things that Todd is not good at but math's and physics are not on that list. He is not very careful and often you see him with bruises or burns. He has set his skin on fire with a bad electrical connection trying to trim a hedge. He has piled pain upon pain from trying to exercise too much, too quickly, he has set his face on fire during an experiment and had to walk around for weeks with no hair and no eye brows.

But The things Todd does know are physics and mathematics and knowing physics, he knows that all the formulas are correct and knowing mathematics he knows that all of his calculations are right.

He knows why no bigger mind than his has discovered this before him for why would they. Only lowly little Todd would have noticed.

Only he would have thought to check, idiot, as he is. But he checked and double checked and Todd realized, eventually, that he was right.

Astronomy and astrophysics as well as mathematics are well respected fields of science and had Todd's discovery been made within the normal boundaries of these subjects then as he had already thought someone of a greater intellect would have made the discovery far earlier.

But it seemed that only he had thought to do it, to measure possibilities and see if the oldest science of all, long discredited, could actually be true after all knowing all that we did now about astrophysics.

It was not that Todd was stupid, the opposite was true, he had two degrees one of them a masters, the first in mathematics the second in astrophysics but he had never gained a doctorate. He had studied for it, done the research, hung out in student pubs and talked shit about Descartes and Sartre with the rest of them but his doctoral thesis was roundly declaimed as stupid most notably by himself.

In his own way he also thought it was stupid but he thought that anything measurable can be proved but he had been wrong and been made to feel an idiot because of it.

This idiot was about to change the world forever.

Todd had worked for year upon year on his thesis which had been considered not equal to a doctorate student by the examining panel.

They generally derided his thoughts and proofs as without basis in fact, and to a great extent Todd agreed with them. It had never been his intention to submit his thesis as he had. In fact he considered it academic suicide to submit the one that he eventually did and as it turns out he was quite right to think so. It was his academic suicide, he had to leave the world of academia and face the normal world, a thing that he dreaded at the time.

There is an old saying in Scotland and that is "What is for you will not go by you" and this saying proved to be true in Todd's case as not long after being almost slung out from the corridors and halls of academia he found himself in a decent job with a reasonable standard of living. In fact he had never been so well off. The job was not too taxing, it seemed that his failures in academia were successes in the business world and he settled into his new post rather easily considering it rather jolly after the cut throat world that he had once lived in. The extra money went a long way as well but most of all the reason that Todd thought that his fortune had changed was meeting Jasmine.

As time went on it caught up with him and eventually knowing what he knew and knowing that there was no escaping their destiny he put the lights and the computer off and walking along the hall to the bedroom checked that the front door was locked and then going into their bedroom dragged his clothes off and crept quietly in beside her. He did not wish to wake her nor did he want to worry her. He did not want to wake her nor chill her with his cold feet and so he crept under the covers and lay on his back staring at the ceiling for what seemed like hours.

The heat radiated from her even though he could not see her in the late nights gloom yet he could imagine her as he lay there. She was turned away from him towards the wall but he could see her front and back in his minds eye. The front slim yet with wide hips that just made her seem so much more womanly to him, small breasts, with ripe nipples. Her back as comfortable though slim with all her bones to be seen as she moved, but sleek and stunning as an artists rendition. He found it difficult before he fell asleep not to mirror her body with his own and soak up the heat that she provided. But he knew that this is something that she would not appreciate as she liked her warmth and he would just disturb her. He could see her face as well in his mind as he tried to sleep, she had a long narrow face framed by dark brown hair. Her hair she kept long as a rule and though she tried to make it do many things from time to time it was always straight as a ruler after a short while. She had deep set sapphire blue eyes that stared at you rather myopically. Her vanity prevented her from wearing her glasses all the time and though she pretended most of the time that she did not need them. Both of them knew that she definitely did.

He conjured her face in his minds eye much as he had conjured a vision of her body minutes before hand and found her lovely.

It was easy for Todd to see someone's face that he had once met even years ago never mind one that he knew as well as hers. If it was in his memory then it was a part of him. People wondered why he so rarely took photographs yet could tell you in detail of something that had happened so many years again remarkable detail. And he could. He could see it in his minds eye, he rarely needed photographs to remember something or to relive a past experience, merely the thought of it brought it to Todd's mind and then it remained crystalline and clear for many, many years.

Rob dreaded the day when old age would fade those memories and force him to regret not having taken pictures of family events, of times past, relations and friends but that time, hopefully, was far off and in the meantime he had his memory to rely upon.

2. Todd. Sleep

 

I do not have a eidetic memory nor anything even close to that but I have a memory and a pretty good one.

Would it do Todd any good to have a good camera, I doubt it.

But ten minutes later having been unable to sleep I was back up and puzzling over the inevitable. My discovery.

This cannot be true surely? I kept thinking to myself as Jassie slept on alone.

Many men and women tell of their partners snoring and how it ruined their marriage or relationship and I suppose that the same could have been said of us but that was certainly not the case as far as we were concerned. Oh there were times when she snored (and she could do so with the best of them) that my earth quaked and the bed shuddered and no matter how drunken the sleep I had achieved that road worker's vibration slipped through.

I cannot say that I did not mind it for I did but not so much as many people would have. I slept much less than most people for a start, sometimes not for days though things had improved since I met Jassie and I now slept more than ever. More than ever to me though meant hopefully four hours in a night five if I was lucky. I had a safety valve as I suppose most insomniacs do and I am sure there are many different ways to cope with it.

I have tried them all at some time or another. Sleeping pills that never helped me to sleep but made me groggy and suppressed thought or at least rational thought. I tried smoking cannabis for a time and again it made me sleepy but I rarely slept deeply whilst using it rather just dozed and woke groggy.

I entered a program to measure my sleep and was given lots of advice on what to do and what not to do but that did not work either though to be honest it helped a little.

But I found my own medication after a while and still doze myself with it. Red wine is the answer. No other alcohol will do, at least to my knowledge, or perhaps it works only for me and we all have our own trigger for sleep, I know not other than it works for me.

So when I have not slept for a time and the tiredness grows so great that I enter that strange but great netherworld that consists of the fragmented thoughts of the tired and weary I buy myself a couple of bottles of red wine and consume them taking to my bed for a mainly good sleep.

Nights where I have imbibed deeply Jassie tells me that I who do not snore reverses the roles and so become the snorer rather than the snoree keeping her awake. I do not know if this is true or just a joke of hers but I suspect that when I am so relaxed I can imagine it to be so. The other thing that takes effect when you drink to much is that you seem to have developed over the case or term of your imbibing a slight nasal cold. I have no idea why this is the case but it certainly seems to happen with me rather regularly.

3. Ken. The meeting of Todd and Jasmine and the demise of his last love.

Todd and Jasmine met over the internet which is quite common these days. But they had met many years ago when it seemed that the only people that did meet partners on the net were wealthy western men who had bought young brides from an Asian country. Western men wishing that women would be subservient as they were perhaps in their fathers or grandfathers day. Perhaps because they would get someone younger or better looking than what they could expect here, I have no idea nor do I think it necessarily a bad thing depending upon the people involved. I suspect that for every horror story you hear about these things that there is a happy marriage that goes unremarked.

In a way, I suppose the same thing happened to Todd. At the time he first spoke to Jasmine he was married though his marriage was slowly but surely breaking down. He and Mary, his ex wife had been drifting apart for sometime though I think, from all that I could see, that neither of them knew it until it was to late. Life's circumstances I call it but others would have different words for it, like fate or destiny.

To fill in all the times that his wife was out he started speaking to other people on the internet and he enjoyed it. Some of them had more in common with him than his wife ever did, others he just had a few laughs with and as time went by he became more and more to enjoy his talks at night when he put the kids to bed and got peace to sit there and discuss things that he wished to discuss. Mary was a good woman and smart he told me, smarter than she ever thought that she was but she had little interest out with her family group and so he thought it was good that had other people to talk to, others to fill that gap that was left.

I think it had never mattered before to him as he had his books and they gave him the intellectual stimulation that he needed and Mary was always there.

I am sure in fact that had it not been for the family tragedy then all would still have been ok.

As a couple they spent most of their time together or as a family. The only times really that they did not was when he was working or when she was working.

As luck had it it was almost like a nineteen seventies text of the way that things would work for he began to climb the ranks in his work. Earning much more than she did despite the fact that she held down a pretty good job for herself. I would have taken it just as Mary building up her part and trying to seem better but Todd sang her praises as a great medical secretary and Todd like me seemed to see through the ribbon and what people thought of themselves and saw the real person behind their facade or mask if you wish.

He was a gentleman and could at times be a liar but was never vicious nor vindictive and so I believe that she was as he had said.

When he left Mary for this woman he had met on the internet I could not believe it. It was just not the kind of thing that he would have done. I know that he's a man and well for a beautiful woman we can all be turned but that was just not Todd. I could not believe it yet it was true.

 

He thought of them as nothing more than friends and not even important friends for that for he had never met them nor was he ever likely to. As a matter of habit and to cause no serious detrimental effect to his marriage Todd talked only with people on the other side of the world. On the odd time that someone from Scotland would contact him he avoided it completely. It was his way i think of ensuring that everything would be alright.

You have to remember that Todd is really smart sometimes astonishingly so. Unusually for most people who often have a keen insight into other people Todd had that as well as a keen insight into himself. He knew that things between Mary and he were not what they once were. He knew that given his own nature were things to continue the way that they had been going recently that at one point or another he would be tempted to seek solace somewhere else.

He had told me so many times, though never directly of his worries over their relationship. He was a rather reserved person though he would be slightly more open after having a drink. We had met many years ago as neighbours and we got on well from the start though we were never close friends but i think that is because Todd is incapable of having close friends. The more that I have grown to know him the more I have seen that to be true but in a lesser way I am of the same sort myself and so i understood and so we became compatriots.

As time passed Mary spent more time out at nights and weekends and so Todd spent more time chatting with his virtual friends.

I should point out at this time that Mary was not out gallivanting every night but doing all the things that someone with responsibilities had to do.

She was shopping to keep the family supplied with all that they needed, she was visiting her mother who had recently lost her husband, she was taking their children to their various activities. This effort made by Mary coincided with Todd gaining a promotion in his job which meant that he had to spend three and four nights away every week because of his work. This is not really a contributing factor as many people spend time away from their loved ones but do nothing to cause them pain. This was true of Todd as well he was away working and when away spent most of his days driving or working.

The problem was sitting in the hotels at night where there was little to do other than either sit in the bar and drink, go to the room and watch television or chat to people on the internet.

Todd liked to drink, I know, he could always out drink me, said that it helped him sleep but even he said that when you are in the same hotel for two or three nights running and you know nobody; sitting in the bar by yourself grows very stale. And he would always say; If you were to do that all the time then you would become an alky, me I like my drink to much to ever wish to have to avoid it he would say.

I'm a Scotsman after all.

He told me often of chatting to people on the net. He did it rather than sit in the bar for days on end or watch the crap Television that many of the hotels he stayed in offered. He could plug in his laptop, surf the net and talk to people. He would always phone Mary each night he was away but more and more of his time was spent talking with people on line. He met many cool and not so cool people online. I did the same myself at times and so knew what he was talking about.

I think he felt that he could confide in me and to a certain extent he could.

I saw the way things were going long before everyone else did. I saw his dissatisfaction with his life growing and could;d understand it more than most others as I was already experiencing a growing sense of the same thing happening in my own life.

As time passed the number of people he was talking to online grew fewer as he grew more friendly with certain of them and the last time I spoke to him before the schism there were only four people that he talked to regularly. There were three women and one fellow.

As we spoke I realised that he spoke to me more of what the fellow had said than of the women.

They had talked of convergence's and Hinduism and recurring cycles that had names (though I forget them now) But he mentioned little of what the women had to say other than in generalities. Todd may have a greater vocabulary than I and a greater knowledge of history but when it comes to other things then I know much myself. I realised that when he was not talking about the women especially in front of his wife that was for a reason.

Otherwise he would have been completely open about it.

I was not sure what the reason was but I could imagine. And imagine I did and thinking that he had perhaps connected with one of these women then I knew for sure. Todd was surprisingly open about it and that is what foxed me and us all it seems.

You see Todd and Mary me and Sheila used to get together most Friday or Saturday nights when Todd was home and I was home and we would have a few drinks and a dance , listen to some music or just have a laugh together.

Oh you had to put up with Todd's diatribes on history or the effect of Latin in the modern world or which general remarked about whose campaign was brilliantly executed.

He was a smart fellow and I enjoyed listening to his tales. He was enthusiastic about them and sometimes they would go on for ages.

He would stop himself every so often and say some thing like.

I am sorry for going on so much. But let me hit my subject then I tend to rattle on for ages until someone stops me.

It is difficult to stop him in full flow as he has such a passion for his subject and throws in little tales and asides that they rarely tell you in any history but sometimes (I will not say always) it was fascinating to listen to him.

I can understand women falling for him though he was not good looking in any conventional way but then nor was he ugly. But his passion for what he talked of was exhilarating, and made you want to know more even on a subject that you cared little for.

So as you can imagine in his own way Todd was rather charismatic. I do not mean in the good looking command a room type of charismatic though there was a little of that as well.

I mean someone who could talk and pontificate and then give the opposing argument to his own as a matter of course and could be quite charming on occasion. He was able to quote Voltaire, Dylan Thomas, Shelley, and a few others without thinking, his general knowledge was amazing yet there was something missing in him.

I did not know what it was nor did he it transpired when I brought it up but he agreed that he had had something missing. A great hollow hole in the centre of his being that it was impossible to fill or so he told me and I am sure that he meant it. He assured me that he did and that hole would never be filled. He stood by his theory until he met Jasmine.

4. Ken. Of Todd Himself.

It seemed that she filled that hole.

She was one of the people that he talked with online, there were others and he seemed to think that they also gave him more than Mary did.

Mary was a good woman, Todd always told me so and I thought her so as well. She was good looking if a little over weight, pretty and occasionally confident. Perhaps not the smartest of people but nor was she stupid in any way and I thought Todd stupid to get involved with someone that he hardly knew. He also was reluctant to do so but he realised that he felt more in common with these people on the net than he did with his wife.

He told me that, that was not important that love was and that he still loved Mary and so it was simply a case of satisfying his ego and making friends for he rarely went out and apart from me and a couple of others he no longer had any friends other than work colleagues.

That is something that happens, it seems natural and anything but unusual yet it is always the woman who retains her friends and the man leaves his at the wayside, so it was for Todd and Mary for that matter the same applies to me and Belinda. I luckily am from a large family and so I have relatives now more than I have friends but luckily many of my relatives are friends. The same could not be said to apply to Todd as the marriage fell apart.

He found himself completely alone and it was difficult even for his friends for we had been friends with Mary as well. I personally found it difficult to support him and well in the end I betrayed him completely. I am to this day unsure of my reasons for doing so but I did.

Mary, Todd always admitted was a good woman, she was not perfect yet what woman was. What man was? he remarked to me at the same time.

Apart from me he said, but said it with a self deprecating smile on his face and a look of disbelief coupled with it.

But he was always an odd one, looking for goodness where it did not exist, it was part of his credo he said at one time, nothing so silly or naive as "pay it forward" even though he rather liked the idea but rather following the thoughts of Confucius (kung fu tse) that we have a moral imperative to improve the lives of those that we can. Please understand me here, he was not religious rather he was a confirmed atheist who believed that the human brain was as close to god as something was possible to be. Despite this he rarely argued against the existence of god but rather argued for it as he so often did on many subjects. He liked to play devils advocate and argue against his own beliefs. It is only then that we grow to know ourselves he would say. Rather pompous I thought at the time but since then I have been doing the same things with myself.

Like the age old question, what makes you human? I just knew that he would say; empathy for I already knew that is what he thought from an earlier discussion, trying to put yourself in someone else's place. He seemed to be able to do that easily and simply. He could change his argument in a second as new information was offered and change his stance against any argument. When we had first met I thought him smart but obtuse but really he is just processing everything that he hears assessing it and analyzing it and deciding on what he believes to be the right answer.

I remember arguing with him upon a subject that I do not now recall and how he ripped my argument apart to be back in the same place two weeks later he having reformulated my own argument using it against me.

And so he would perpetrate random acts of kindness regularly, just silly things he would say and he meant it, for they meant nothing really to him and he knew that, yet he would be the one that would nurse a bird with a broken wing. When asked by a tramp on the street for a cigarette, he would say I have a full pack and give them half the pack, I always remember when being with him he did this and the tramp said that I have nothing to light it with and he said; oh no worries I have two lighters, have this one. The tramp pulled a cigarette from the pack and with trembling hands tried to light the cigarette with the lighter Todd had given him. The wind was gusty that day and he could not get it to light despite the fact Todd had cupped his hands round the tramps to minimise the wind interference. yet it was just not going to light.

Todd took the cigarette from the tamps mouth and went into the lea of a building nearby and lit it for him returning the cigarette and lighter to the grateful tramp.

I asked him why he had done that and he said "empathy" as we walked along, "there but for the grace of the god I don't believe in walks me and you.

One wrong turn, one unconsidered thought, one mistake and we could easily be in the same position he said.

I told him not to be stupid or silly. We are not the kind of people to end up in the gutter I said but I was beginning to think in my mind that he was right already.

I remembered coming back from a party one night drunk as a skunk at two in the morning. I was never stupid enough to drink and drive and so I walked home staggering from one side of the road to another. Had a car passed and knocked me down then the driver would not have been to blame rather it would have been I who needed a three metre wide path to walk upon and even then fell over a hedge into someone's garden the thorns from the hawthorn bushes scratching my cheeks and neck. I jumped up once I had come to my senses and said nothing just continued my weaving way back home to my bed having thrown up a couple of times on the way. I woke in the morning and my daughter needed a run to her ballet class. I could hardly walk yet I drove her pretending to myself that I was sober. In actual fact I must have been two or three times the limit. Had the police at that point caught me I would have lost the car and as a sales rep, my job, I suspect that the hardship that that would have caused would have lost me my wife and perhaps even my children. Had I hit someone then I could have ended up incarcerated.

I know I am making him sound like a bit of an angel at this point but he was most certainly not an angel in any way. Thoughtful, yes, always, caring, mainly, and he always had a mind that I appreciated. His knowledge was massive and I would often tell him that he was amazing in the huge basin of knowledge that he had.

He would laugh at this point and tell me that he wished he had. He would say that what he really had was a memory and he had read a lot. He called himself a book bound wit and not an original intelligence. I have gathered all my knowledge, he would say, from other peoples writings and imaginings and so I have thought vicariously through them and I could see from his face as he said this that he meant it, he was earnest.

I suppose now that everyone knows that he really is a genius but I really don't think that even he knew that at the time i am talking of.

I am sorry I got carried away there when I should still have been telling you of the demise of Todd and Mary.

Where was I? Oh yes a woman he had met online had filled that hole.

 

5. Ken. Edinburgh.

He told me that there was not another woman involved yet I was to find out that there was though he often will still deny that to this day. One of the girls he had been talking with online had visited this country and he had met her. He told Mary about it and Mary in her feigned innocence gave him permission to take her out upon a sight seeing tour for a day of the west highlands. I suspect that she was worried about it and she told me later that she had been though I think Mary had been more worried about him being unfaithful rather than him leaving her. It was something that she often worried about though up until this point i would have told her that it was a silly thing to worry about as Todd was the most faithful guy that you would meet hear about.

He had to rise early, an easy job for an insomniac and drive to Edinburgh to collect her.

If you wish to see the sights of Scotland and of course she was a tourist then Edinburgh is one of the greatest cities in the world even now and so it was the obvious place for her to be.

It was the site of the great enlightenment, the new renaissance and the beginnings of medicine in the way that it is practiced today. People forget sometimes the importance of Scotland in that resurgence. They do not call Edinburgh "The Athens of the North" for nothing. It is still a wonderful city to see and though small by modern standards it has low cost transport by bus to almost anywhere and many wonderful sights to see there are there.

6. Todd. Collecting Jasmine from Edinburgh

She threw herself together quite quickly he thought. He had not imagined that she would do having seen the many pictures that she had sent him over the months, or years it must be now, he realised. She always seemed too perfect in many of the pictures, though not all he had to admit to himself. He had assumed when he found that she was not quite ready that she would take ages applying her make up and arranging her long auburn hair. As it turned out this was exactly the opposite of the truth as she just towelled dry her hair and flattened it down a little and pulling on a jumper she announced that she was ready. She had been out the night before she said and had drank too much and was really tired but to me she looked wonderful. She has a natural beauty that needs very little work he was thinking as they got out out of the guest house and headed to his car which he was lucky enough to have close by a very unusual thing in central Edinburgh but it was rather early and she was not quite in the city centre.

So having talked to her online for months or even years by this time. He had seen pictures and found her attractive in them but assured himself that he was not looking for an affair or a lover. The thought of leaving Mary though it was something he had often considered was not something at this time that really was on the agenda. In his own way he still loved Mary but of course having been married for so long there had been many times that they had argued, many times when things had not worked out for them and perhaps we were just a little tired of each other but had it not been for meeting Jasmine I think that we would have been together even now, though who can tell really apart from me and i am unwilling to do the calculations for that nor do I even really wish to know.

She looked wonderful. Her hair, long was thrown artfully across her head and though untouched looked like she had spent hours in a salon to him. her lips that wore no lipstick looked so pink, her skin felt so soft when he eventually touched her and was pale olive.

She kissed him on both cheeks when they met that morning in the French style of greeting. He had held out his hand in the traditional British style of greeting to shake hers but he was so glad that she was braver than he. He enjoyed the touch of her lips upon his cheeks and thought of that feeling as they left.

They walked to get the car and headed out towards the west of Scotland. She wished to know of the places I had seen and learn of the ancient places of Scotland, the history that lies seeping through the land. He had told her much of these things being a scholar of sorts on such things, when he had talked to her on the net. There were many things that they had talked of not the least of which was the history of Scotland and history being a hobby of mine I was quite knowledgeable in that area though I remember her asking me a question on recent history and I had to explain to her that though I had a very general knowledge of recent history really what I knew most about was ancient history. The place that I was taking her exuded ancient history and I knew that there though I may not be able to answer of of the questions that she may ask that I would be able to field the majority of them.

 

7 Todd, Kilmartin.

She was tired and was ready to sleep In the car on the way to Kilmartin. It was not too long a drive lasting for about two hours, It takes a little while to get to the outskirts of Glasgow and then to smoky Dumbarton with its factories and distilleries (it is somewhere many tourists go if they like the uisge beatha- scotch whisky) but that was not our destination rather we were heading for the ancient village of Kilmartin with its tombs and relics, standing stones and crypts, she smelled musky and without perfume good, wholesome and warm. I know it does not seem to be the place to take a girl and that you would be better with the cinema or pub but that was me, the places i liked to go and she said that she felt the same and so that was where we were going. I imagined even when driving as she drifted off to sleep and she began to faintly snore how nice it would be to hold her. Apart from the earlier kiss on the cheek and her French greeting I had never touched her before yet even in this short period of time I knew that I wished to.

I was to find later that she never wore perfume though she would use lightly scented moisturizers most of the time as she had sensitive and sometimes very itchy skin. Often this is a sign of eczema or dermatitis of some sort though I saw no evidence of either upon her either now or in the future. Rather her skin was beautifully soft and impossibly pure and one of the many wonderful things about her.

The drive went without incident and though a pretty drive on this blustery Scots day she missed most of it, though she did get to see the "Rest and be thankful" as she woke with the decrease in pressure as we rose into the mountains. Wow was all she said and she looked out the car, at first.

 

We reached Kilmartin in the late morning and I told her about the standing stones there in mid Argyll.

Their age shocked her, for they were older than many of the pyramids, older than most things that we consider ancient and wonderful yet situated in this pretty little backwater called Scotland

She was a very smart girl, well educated and a thinker at times but then coming from a land that shows true civilisation so many hundred years later than those that we have here in Europe she was amazed by the standing stones or at least I thought so at the time. Both their age and the energy that must have gone into the completion of the cysts and circles. The stones themselves and the mounds and burial places made us think, wonder and imagine and I think what we imagined was a love for ourselves. A love for each other that both of us knew would not live as long as these rocks but would for us till one of us died. For us humans that is all we can wish for for our bodies are fragile and wither and then die. I think on that day that we both wished for such.

As things turn out I think the standing stones were both our understanding and our nemesis.

Many things combined on that day, many coincidences came into play, many patterns that were hazy defined themselves and a romance was born of little other than friendship. Had Mary and I not argued more often than usual recently. Had I not already had bad thoughts about our future together for Mary and I wanted very different things. Had Jasmine not been braver than I would ever have been then none of this would have come to pass or so I thought at the time.

It was a moment of pure unadulterated luck that we had come together. A cosmic throw of a dice and despite my natural reticence and misgivings we had sat on a small hillock in Ardgowan forest, in mid Argyll on a sunny day that was beset by scudding dark clouds and the occasional light rain shower and there she took my hand as we sat in the sunshine talking of the trees and forest, the birds and the animals of Scotland.

We talked of the rain that plagues this land and of the abundance that this rain brings. This abundance was plain to see all around her in the lush greenery of the forest, the sound of myriad bird calls from all around us and the earthy smells that rose from the ground. We sat on a bed of prickly forest grass suffused with sand and ants nests and the beginnings of prickly gorse bushes. I took off my Jacket and laid it on the ground for us to sit upon though this was no feat of gallantry but only that it had grown warm and as most Scots do I had dressed for the weather. I was worried that I would start to sweat as my still very serviceable but long past its best "poachers" coat was growing rather warm before I removed it.

I still have that coat even now and even after all these years it still smells as much as it did then. I suppose some smells become ingrained in the fabric and never go away. I had already had that old coat for years. It bought it for going fishing when I still had the time to go fishing.

Fishing was something that I tried and liked when I was young but my teenage years changed all that as I was too interested in girls, going out, drinking, socialising and even reading to bother going fishing. Yet it was always something that I remembered enjoying and years later I took it up again and found I had a real passion for it. My first few tries after starting again had been mishmash and foolhardy for I had forgotten the art of it. The joy of peace, the pleasure of taking your time with nothing to worry about, the enjoyment of nature for natures sake. If you are in a hurry fishing is not for you. If you have a day that you wish to throw away then fishing is one of the best things in the world, at least for us it is, the fish I am sure would tell you a different story.

There are many times however, that I have gone for a days fishing and thoroughly enjoyed it without even a bite from a fish. There are few better ways to spend a day than watching the sunlight sparkling upon the waves when you are completely relaxed and at one with nature left with your own thoughts.

Again I have digressed but this time it is so easy to put right for if you remember she took my hand as we sat in a rather uncomfortable but beautiful forest glade full of Norway pines, beech trees and silver birch that seemed ghostly, standing straight and tall amidst the miasmic smell of the forest.

She took my hand and looked up into my eyes, hers deeply lidded because of the sunshine and her slightly myopic nut brown eyes and holding it with my palm facing upwards said that she would tell my fortune. I moved into a sitting position cross legged, to make it easier for her but also because the the small sprigs of gorse that had grown from seed were prickling me through the legs of my jeans. I think that she she thought I did that purely for her and to a small extent I did so. It made it easier for her so that she could hold my hand and she held my left hand flat in the palm of her right hand, she stroked her short nailed finger over the palm of my hand and said....

This worried me though I suspected it nothing other than a farce or for fun but what if she really believed that she could tell my future? Then I would smile and make the right noises and escort her back to the car more quickly than expected. I really did not think that of her after all I had spoken to her in the form of emails for ages and we had even shared the odd telephone call. I never thought for a second that she was going to turn out to be a fool or simpleton that actually believed that you could read palms and it meant something. I thought also that she should have known for all that I have said, for all that I have told her she would never be so silly. For that matter I was so busy thinking of my own self and my own worries that I was not thinking straight.

After all I had never done this before; taken another woman to see the country, its monuments and its beauty. I was still married and though there were problems with Mary I still did not think at this time that those problems were irreconcilable or fatal. I suspected that such was the case but was not yet willing to admit that to myself. I began to think myself foolish for even coming upon this trip, for taking this girl that I thought of as a friend away for the day for I was thinking to myself that she was obviously a flake....

 

I can see many things about you she said as she held my hand flat in hers palm upwards.

She noticed my smile as she knew already that I believed not even a little of these things. She averted her eyes to my palm and continued, though I am sure that she had already seen my surprised and dubious expression. I can see many things in your hand she said and then looking up and directly at me with those big brown eyes "I can see that someday you will break my heart", she said and then she looked up again into my eyes and kissed me. It took me a second or two to realise what was happening and I was surprised but at the same time I realised to myself that I was pleased and happy that this had happened. Her lips were soft and clever, she knew the sensation of skin drawn across skin and I think that I learned quickly enough how to kiss her as she wished to be kissed but I cannot say so now for sure but I hope that I did not displease her. We kissed together holding each other tightly in the spring light for some time. I think that she felt it good, I know that I did. After a while we had to move and made our way back to the car to move on to another place, I felt good with her I realised better than I had felt in ages. I wondered if it was simply escaping from my ties, from my dull life, from the future that I could see laid out before me and leaving myself open to the wild again.

There was a little of all these things in my decision but they did not make that decision for me. My decision was made by me.

I am a male and wanted her, but never was I so stupid to just let my libido run wild and spoil my life. Many men (and women) for that matter have made that grave error of judgement but I was not going to be one of them. In fact....

Later I was to think that I could not believe that I had kissed her and shocked at myself that I had yet I did and had very much enjoyed doing so.

I wonder if these things be naught but imaginings now but in my mind I still hold them true for these things happened many many years ago now.

When my mind or memory looks back on them even now so many years later I still find them good and true and right.

For the first time in my life I fell in love. Not then and there but later when she had returned home. I pretend to myself now that it was love at first sight but it was not and so I cannot claim that such an epiphany occurred yet I see it as such now. At the time I thought it but the normal actions of two friends brought together of opposite sexes and opposing views that found a friendly connection. I realise now that it was certainly not that for me and I like to think that she loved me as well. As time came to pass she would tell me so and I wish to believe that she did. I wonder now if that is also one of my imaginings but, and perhaps I am deluding myself, I still think that she did love me.

Later I was to find that it was foolish to worry but people in love worry, worry more than everyone else for they cannot face life without the other and I knew that did not wish for life without Jasmine.

It was a romance doomed to die from the very first day it was conceived, the old saying goes born in fire and doomed to die. The romance was born in fire and was doomed to die. I knew that from the first. There were too many obstacles, too many problems and an ocean between us.

But in the end it was I who sundered us and split us apart with out chance of redemption. But only because I loved her.

I took her unto the the depths of historic Scotland and she I think appreciated her journey though she was very tired but she liked loch Lomond where we stopped first on one of the off shoots onto the old road that once led you round the loch.

There is a name for the car park that we drew into near the loch but I cannot now recall its name. It may be called "Firkin point" We walked along the old road, cracked and broken, beset with fissures that hand in hand we stepped across, It has not been maintained for a while now the old road. There is no need to maintain it for it is the haunt of tourists only rather than those on their way to somewhere.

For those that have not been there the shores of loch Lomond are indeed as pretty and as picturesque as those that are told of in the song. The waters are not always calm but mostly and at times even colder than the seas that surround Scotland. The seas are warmed by the gulf stream, inland fresh water lochs of course are not. In the winters that play across this still wild land at the edge of civilisation the fresh water can freeze in the winter though in my life time that has been long now I cannot remember loch Lomond ever freezing over except in the bays and even then only very occasionally. Parts of it have but I think by its sheer size it never fully has. It is the largest loch in Britain, though I think if you include Ireland then the Shannon is bigger. I cannot say that this is true but my memory tells me that someone smarter or better educated than I told me so and with no reason to disbelieve them I have always accepted it then as truth.

I remember walking along the old road round loch Lomond the tarmac raised and warped with the heat and rain telling her to avoid the potholes that had inevitably appeared over the years. This road, not available to the traffic these days had become rather the worse for wear but of course that was not important then for it was fun avoiding the pot holes and fissures. We were not together but got on rather well and so we could save one another by grabbing onto each other holding the other to stop them stumbling. I remember her being quite able for a girl which I know sounds rather sexist but is not meant to be as most of the girls I had known unto this time had been more concerned with their looks than their abilities. She was a welcome change. a welcome change and a beautiful woman as well.

We went onto the shingle beach at one point and went towards the loch itself. It was far too cold but she asked me if I wished to go for a swim. Oh it really was far to cold for I had swam there before and even in the high summer sun even so rare as we have it here I had done so and come out a shivering wreck. Loch Lomond is not so deep as loch ness or loch dubh but it is deep enough to stay cold all year round.

It has its own species of fish as well, I remember telling her of a species of mackerel that had swam in during the ice age when it was still a sea loch but that had adapted and become freshwater fish when the world changed and the receding ice changed the nature of the loch and they still survive apparently but only in this loch. I cannot remember their name but I remember checking this out and finding out that it was true though in all the times that I had fished there I do not think i ever caught any any.

An epiphany; they may be called pollen (the fish involved) though I cannot say for sure and though I caught a silver fish one dreech day sitting on a shingle beach on loch Lomond side I really cannot say that it was one of them. I really doubt that it was.

She chided me for not being willing to go swimming with her and I made a joke of it but I really did not wish to there for the water is very cold indeed even in summer and this was April. As yet we were still nothing more than friends and I am pretty sure we would have remained so was the thought in my mind but had we gone swimming in the freezing cold waters of loch Lomond. In fact I am pretty sure that my manhood would have disappeared completely within seconds. I remember going for a swim in loch Lomond in mid summer on a lovely sunny day and though I did not swim far I came out of the water shivering.

I told her a story. A true story as far as I had heard it, and that is that there was every possibility of there being the equivalent of a fresh water shark in there (Loch Lomond). The rumour is that the there may be a pike of eighty five pounds in there. There have even been documentaries made on the subject. I have no personal knowledge towards the truth of such a beast existing but I can easily see it as possible, it is such a huge loch but anyway I used this as an excuse not to go swimming but really it was the chill that worried me for though we were nothing more than friends she had hinted a couple of times that she could have been interested in something more.

Much happened on that day not the least of which was the change in my feelings toward her. I considered her a friend as I have said but I had already started thinking of her as more than a friend. She was beautiful, of that there was no doubt. She was also a challenge for she was awkward and defiant and she had a thought style like a man even though she was so obviously a woman. Still I liked her very much. I think that she may have intimidated some men though not because she was tough but rather that despite her beauty she was not lady like but rather a different beast altogether. That was just my opinion and there is every chance that I could be wrong. Still no matter what the truth of the matter, I found myself falling in love with this beautiful wonderful and exciting girl.

8. Ken. Jasmine flies home.

But the time came as times must and Jasmine had to return to her home to her daughter and her other life. The long flight to Canada awaited her. Todd must return to his life of hard work and trial, he must return to Mary and he did so with nothing upon his conscience other than a kiss.

But Todd knows that this is not true for all he has told himself that it is, for though nothing did happen other than a kiss Todd knew that deep down that he wished it had went further. He suspected that Jasmine wished the same though having married young Todd was unsure of the ways of women.

And so guilt swept through him though he had little to feel guilty about, yet it did in a way that consumed him as thoughts do that are unwelcome or unexpected and he worked all his thoughts out, analysed them again and again and he knew that he was falling in love.

Sheila and I went round to his house one Friday night for a drink or two or ten and unusually the girls went out into the garden. Later I was to find out from Shiela that they had wished to be alone so they could discuss Todd and his trip away for the day with this unusual girl. It was lucky in a way for it gave me the chance to ask him freely and not in front of his wife what he really had thought of her. I am a good listener much as Todd himself is until he gets caught up in his subject. When he does there is no stopping him, he will interrupt anyone and anything clinging tenaciously to his story no matter how much sidetracking that you have to go through until he has got his message across.

He started talking about the girl straight away with little urging which is really not like him as Todd knows exactly what he is like and that he can monopolise a conversation for hours lecturing you on a subject he knows of. Knowing this he is usually quiet until prodded into getting going but once he starts, there is really no stopping him until at some point or another in his narrative he sees the faces of the others gathered there and there is a spark of recognition when he realises that he has just overridden everyone else to tell them all about the campaigns of Hannibal or the merits of Melville's "Moby Dick" or something equally as dull to most people other than him.

As he realises though that he has just been rattling on he always apologises and then shuts up and rarely says anything of note there after. He somehow seems always embarrassed to have taken over the conversation. It is true that occasionally it would be dull but usually his enthusiasm for the subject would carry the day and most people did not mind as much as he thought that they did.

Even when they knew little of the subject or for that matter if the subject was of little interest to them his sheer exuberance in explaining it usually carried the day. Additionally he would throw in a few small facts that had since entered every day parlance that started when his story was taking place.

Occasionally I would know them but mostly the origins came as news to me and I loved these wee facts and often memorised them for later use.

But this time as I said he just launched into telling me about the girl and their day together without the usual prompting and prodding. He was telling me of where they had gone and seeing the standing stones at Kilmartin a place that I knew he had always loved and he spoke so longingly and descriptively about the place though I personally had never been there.

To me a standing stone is simply that, a stone that someone in the past has stuck in the ground for whatever reason and yes they are old but i see them as nothing other than rocks stood on end. Todd saw them as markers to the past and would think of why they were put there and the peoples that put them there, in a strange way they brought the very ancient past alive for him.

He told me of their walk round loch Lomond side and of stopping at the top of the "Rest and be Thankful. He told me of the views down the valley from the stopping point and how impressed the girl had been. He told me of the mist on the mountains and the drizzle at Kilmartin but there was so much about the girl, Jasmine that I realised very quickly what was happening.

Todd might be the genius but I am not so stupid myself and am relatively good at reading people. I could tell that he was besotted with the girl. I don't think that he was in love with her at this time, or perhaps I should say that I don't think that he knew that he was in love with her at this time. And perhaps I thought to myself that it didn't matter for she would soon be flying home to Canada, back to her own life and at that point perhaps he would forget her or with absence his feelings would change but I already suspected that they would not. I knew what Todd was like and some things he would obsess upon until he knew everything about them, anything that caught his attention or imagination would then become something that was of paramount importance to him to learn about, to know inside out. It was just the way that he was made.

 

I did not know it at the time but while Todd and I were discussing jasmines visit, Mary and shiela were also discussing her, sitting on an a-frame bench round the side of the house. I also had a bench at the back door but Todd would go out there to sit when his nicotine craving grew to much for him and I suppose that they did not want to be overhead. This does not surprise me as I can imagine what they were saying. Men, after all can be bitchy too when the occasion arises.

9. Mary and Shiela. A warm spring night.

We are going to take advantage of the warmer night air, Mary said with a flourish as both she and Shiela stood, anyway I want a cigarette.

Todd stood also, I'll come with you, if you don't mind I could do with a puff anyway. You don't mind he said turning back to look at Ken. Ken just shrugged and stood also; I could do with checking my mail anyway. I'll just be two minutes Todd said as he closed the door behind him. Partially to avoid the house getting chilly but also to keep the smoke out as Ken hated it. Ken headed out and up to his bedroom where his computer was to check his mail.

Todd sat on the bench at the back door and pulling his cigarettes from his pocket lit one with a petrol lighter that he closed with a flourish as he hit it against his leg snapping it shut and extinguishing the flame.

Oh don't worry, I will just finish my fag and go back inside and leave you girls to what you really want to talk about. Its probably a sex thing knowing you two.

Don't worry you don't have to look so surprised, he continued, ix know that when you need to talk alone its probably about Ken or me. well or sex or the relative merits of contemporary opera against classical opera he said with a big smile knowing that what either of knew about opera you could write on the back of a postage stamp. and still have room for lots of other stuff

The latter of course Mary said with a grimace and then a sweet smile. We always discuss opera when you two are not around, the only reason we never do in your presence is that you would think that we are too good for you and we would not like to disappoint you in that way.

 

 

Aye that's what I would have guessed, said Todd, well you just have to put up with me for three or four minutes till I have my fag and then I'll retire to the house and leave you ladies discussing the relative merits of Puccini and well someone else more modern, you know I know nothing about opera.

Well neither do we as you well know you snob so bugger off and let us have our girly chat Shiela said with a smile and a dismissive wave of her hand.

So what is it tonight girls? who has the better six pack? who has the cutest dimples, which actor or pop star turns you on the most?

Oh you are so right Mary said with a smile and so fuck off Todd, go and talk to Ken about science or black holes or something.

Oh I see what you are doing there, trying to pretend that you want me to go away. Todd laughs, well Hint taken I shall return to the house but do keep it quiet as I don't wish to come out for a cigarette later and be greeted with argument between you to as to who has the tightest buns. Ok OK I get it, I am pissing off now. I really could do with a pee anyway.

They watch Todd walk back round the side of the house and hear the door shutting behind him before the inevitable question came.

Shiela got things started with well what happened?

Well I don't think anything happened but I am worried that something did, something bad.

He shagged her? shiela blurted out before she could stop herself, the bastard, you should wait till he's sleeping and cut his balls off.

 

 

No I don't think that, he can be a little ropy that way, what man isn't but he is really not the kind. He believes in fidelity even if I am not sure that he has always practiced it. I think though that mainly he has and maybe he always has. Maybe I am stupid to think so and maybe I am, and I am not sure but I think that he is faithful and that's what worries me.

It worries you that he's faithful? shiela asked I don't get it. It worries me with Ken when he's away working that he's unfaithful and i am pretty sure that he has been though I really don't know anything for sure.

I know what you mean, said Mary, and it worries me sometimes when Todd is away with work but you know Todd nearly as well as I do. On the odd time when I don't hear from him he'll being sitting in the pub pissed, and that's what scares me.

Mary you are being silly and I don't really understand what are you worried about.

Mary; well its the fidelity thing with Todd.

What you mean that you really don't think that he is?

No the opposite, Mary says her face reddening, I really do think that he does not get up to anything when he's away. I don't know wither he tries to but nobody wants him or he just doesn't try but I believe him when he says he is faithful.

So what's the problem then?

Well that's the scary thing with her.

Who the French girl? shiela looks confused.

Canadian, not French, French Canadian to be exact. but yes, that's what worries me. I have seen pictures of her she is a beautiful girl and if he was to shag her I would hate him for it but forgive him but I really don't want him to.

You cant mean that, Shiela asks surprised at what she is hearing.

I do, I mean every little bit of it, things would be crap for a while then we would just be back to normal and I like normal. But he is so fucking perfect that he doesn't shag around on me, he comes from the moral high ground with everything that he does and says. This to him will be another win. He will have been faithful, he will have followed all the rules but I can already tell that she has fucked with his mind.

If he wasn't so bloody perfect, if he had just shagged her he might have got it out of his system but if she goes back to Canada then all will grow worse, I am sure that he will fall in love with her I think that he already has.

Don't be stupid Mary, it really could just be a friends thing, he says that it is. There is no way that he will fall in love with her, he already loves you. I get what you mean about men and sex but Todd doesn't seem to be as bad as most.

If she goes back then I have lost him. I think that I have already. Shiela leaned over the table and taking Mary's shoulders held her.

Maybe that is a good thing, if I lose him Mary said tears on her face, we see so little of each other anymore anyway.

 

 

10. Ken. Todd is falling in love.

 

I realise now that from all that he had told me and I am sure that he did not tell me everything that Todd was falling in love with this girl, Jasmine.

Falling in love in a way that he never had with Mary, falling in love with passion, jealousy, hope and an enrichment that he knew he had wanted and hoped for. He realised that everything up until this time had been nothing other than a prelude to his love of Jasmine, perhaps even his life with jasmine.

He knew that she liked him and had fallen for him to a certain extent, I could tell, by the kiss on the grassy knoll in Ardgowan forest and yet despite all that he suspected and all that he hoped; he could not be sure that she really cared for him at all.

Did she lie awake at night thinking of him as he did of her. He doubted it, he really was not the kind of fellow to inspire girls in that way. He had never been good looking though he was not hideous, he would always have been the second choice for a woman and though he hated that fact he also quite understood it.

At the same time he knew that in a strange way things would change over time. Todd read a lot, in all genres, and had come to understand, he thought, the female species through his reading though he had little experience with them in actual fact until his late teens.

Until then it had been nothing other than groping in the cinema and extended kissing somewhere no one else would see. He, as he had told me and others, had never been good looking or attractive to the opposite sex.

Nor am I now, he would also say though he would tell us occasionally of a time long past in his teens where he was and that women were available for him. Even as he told me or us these things there was something slightly unbelievable about it though he did not tend to lie that much as far as I could tell. Yet there were things that gnawed at me for this to be true. For one he was not tactile in the slightest, he would draw away from hugs and kisses and would rather shake hands rather than any other more personal greeting. That is something I thought to myself that would not attract girls except perhaps in the old cliche, the strong silent type but then he was neither strong nor silent. Sullen perhaps and even moody sometimes but even then not silent and as far as strong goes well he was not particularly unfit and though he had a little belly I had always assumed that that was the prodigious amounts of beer that he drank. Certainly he was never sedentary in fact he was involved in something all the time. Wither it be an experiment, or reading or doing something in his garden or someone else's he never stopped even out of work. Additionally he worked long hours and often worked hard hardly stopping after he came home before getting involved with something else.

I have no real taste in men myself and so I cannot verify if he was good looking to women but I certainly know that to some he was or at least his charm made up for his looks. I do not really know what it was but I know that some women really liked him. A few even that I saw as we were at the pub during quiz nights or just for a night out were very attracted to him. I could not tell you why but it was obvious that they were. He always encouraged their attentions but it never came to more than that as far as I knew. I really suspect though that it did not come to anything more as though he would love the attention and revel in it in a way he was always wanting to get onto another topic of conversation. He would never be intentionally rude but sometimes during a girls play for him he would just start talking about something that excluded her from the conversation. The merits of Islamic architecture, the humour of mark twain, the phases of the moon or something equally as interesting to a young woman. The reason, I brought up the phases of the moon is that I remember one night a young girl, blond and pretty though not much older than half his age coming up to the bar to buy a drink. We were in a huddle at the bar as usual trying to work out the answer to a quiz question that we had three possibilities for. Todd moved aside to give her room to reach the bar with a smile and a welcoming wave of his hand directing her to the bar.

The girl stood there for a while as we talked over her head about whatever it was the question had been and Todd not knowing the answer for a change had called out to the barmaid and let the girl get served. She said thanks with a smile just as the quiz started again and the first question was what are the four phases of the moon. As Todd rhymed them off the girl stopped still holding three drinks in a triangle with her fingers. She turned very slightly and looked at him for a second or two. He had not noticed being too focused on the questions and writing in the answers on a small slip of paper that always seemed very full to me when Todd had finished. I think that he always had to offer additional information to prove that he was correct rather than just the simple answer. The girl looked up at him adoringly and said, I knew that too. He smiled down on her, perhaps it was one of the things that women found attractive; the fact that when he was enjoying something his enthusiasm would shine through. He was focused upon it, the very item and I suspect that as he spoke to her that he was imagining those phases in his mind as he talked. Cool, he said, there are so few people these days interested in astronomy. I suppose the great resurgence will come when we first set foot on Mars. Are you an Astronomy student? Physics? or even Philosophy?

The girl laughed jiggling the drinks in her hands and spilling a little over her fingers. None of the above she said with a smile in fact I am doing sociology, last year in fact.

Are you going to pass he asked with a school masters stare. I am she replied and with honours I hope. Honours no less, and what do you wish to do then. Politics (the obvious answer for a sociology student) or are you going to tag on mathematics? She started to answer and he held up his hand palm out. Tell me of Rousseau and what he means to you?

Well which she asked calmly, Jean-Jacques or Henri?

The obvious one, I don't wish for the attributes of a painter. The girl I remember beamed at him her smile luminous in the pub. I think that she fell in love with him then and there. Perhaps he would have noticed but the next question came and without even consulting us Todd scribbled down the answer.

When he looked up lifting his pint at the same time he seemed surprised to see the girl still standing there. He smiled at her, his mind now free of the question that was asked. He knew the answer and did not need to consult and so had moved on until the next question arrived.

The way I have put this, it sounds as though he was winning the quiz all by himself. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. Todd knew things that Todd knew about and he knew them well. On his own subjects he was king but move even a little away from what he knows and he became useless. He knew nothing of sport. I do not mean that he knew very little here but he knew nothing, he knew nothing of soap operas which are a big thing here, in fact Coronation street and Eastenders I think (though I maybe wrong) are the most watched programs on television here. Anyway Todd was only one of the team that won us those quizzes though who the fuck wants to know about astrology, astronomy and the classics?

So how does a sociology student know the phases of the moon? he asked her. It really is not that, he seemed to search for a word and then said, Hip? almost as a question. He had a small frown on his face as though he should know the right word but did not. Oh my dad told me all about astronomy. Cool, he said, all credit to your father. He would love to hear you say that she said still beaming up at him and she was a pretty girl.

He just seemed embarrassed and went back to answering the next question. I think you met him once she said. I did? he replied with a quizzical expression on his face still trying to answer the pub quiz question; who was the goddess of retribution.

Nemesis, he said and wrote it down and returned his attention to the girl.

I think that he was trying to remember what they were taking about as he is just focused on the thought that is in his head and he misses all hints and nuances, your father? Yes he is the one in charge of Airdrie observatory. You were there and gave a talk. I could see that he looked lost for a second then it came back to him. Are you Paulo's daughter? Paulo Clark?

She beamed ever more brightly and said I am. So your father taught you about astronomy?

We had no choice she said. Astronomy or bed and you know how little kids hate to go to bed at night.

I was little at the time, she continued and so we wanted to stay up as late as possible even at three or four it made us feel like grown ups.

Todd was not the kind to take advantage of such a thing, nor do I even know if he noticed it but I saw in the girls eyes, she was there for his taking had he wished to. It was a thing that he never noticed at all he just continued on with his questions about Paulo.

Perhaps Jasmine was the same

 

11. Todd. My late teens

As a young man, or an older boy, I suppose really, I had learned to play the guitar. I was never that great at it I knew, having met a number of people in the course of my years with bands that were far better musicians than I. I started playing the guitar probably at about the age of eleven or twelve though I cannot say now for sure. With a lot of practice I improved slowly from basic chord structures and simple melodies that were mainly from the country and western genre to some more complex stuff but never was good enough to play really difficult stuff. The only reason for this is I was able to pick up a rather bad steel stringed guitar from woolworths in Campbeltown and when I went to martins, the book shop in Campbeltown looking for a book to tutor me the only one they had was a country and western songbook.

This was a small west highland town in Scotland of course and so the bookshop was small but stacked with books. Many of the authors that I first read and many that influence me still , their books came from this small and rather dank almost Dickensian bookshop in Campbeltown.

As you can imagine in a small west highland town they had many music books, the west highlands of Scotland is famed for its music and so the shop had sheave upon sheave of sheet music but all for bag pipes or accordion. I at that time could not read music except in its most basic forms, I had been taught to play the recorder, badly, at school and do not know to this day why I failed so miserably at it as I now find it easy to play as I do most instruments. Anyway, I could barely read the music never mind convert the notes used in a bagpipe or accordion into guitar notes and so I took the only guitar tutor I found there.

As luck would have it, it was a really good tutor to start on and I practiced and practiced these songs that I had never even heard night after night progressing from the easiest of them to the more difficult over time. In the end it made no difference that I never actually had listened to them as I became proficient with them in my own mind. I was aware that there was every chance that if I ever heard the actual recordings that they could well be very different from the way I was playing them. In a way this was probably the best thing that could have happened though it certainly did not seem so at the time. As i did not know the songs i learned early to improvise adding an extra beat where it may be needed or adjusting the key to suit the way i thought that the song should go.

When my friends and I got together my ten pound guitar from woolworths was rather tinny compared to their better instruments but at the time I could afford no more and my mother and father were struggling just to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table never mind buying me a new guitar. Anyway my dad thought that I was really bad, He asked me to stop playing chords and play a piece of classical music.

I remember being quite ashamed that I could not but then all I had was my country and western chords (and country and western guitar) and that is all I had learned. I disappointed him again but I think that as men of his time would do he still had a thought in his head that a guitar would not save your life. He had been to war and his father had died of wounds gained in the first world war. I cannot say this for sure but I think I was told that his grandfather had died in yet another, earlier, war.

I, however was not dismayed in the way that I might have been for I practiced more and more and I had that basic country and western chords down pat. I can still play some of those songs nearly forty years later and still play them well. Anyway as I was growing better and better at the guitar but still not that good if you see what I mean I miserably failed all of my prelims. Prelims are mock exams that are held in Scotland to prepare you for the actual exams that are your O'levels and allow you entry to college, university, et al. I was to busy learning my guitar, i was to busy earning money doing my milk run in the morning and working in a freezer shop in the afternoon after school to work that hard at school and it showed. of the seven prelims that I sat I had passed only two; English and modern studies (politics and sociology).

Oh yes I wanted to be a rock star at this time, what young boy of my didn't wish for that, I was fifteen, fit, healthy and knew my wee bit of country and western but I also knew that to fail my O'levels would consign me to a job in the shipyard or the clothing factory, both of which have long since closed down. When I think back on this now it was such a good thing that I had made an arse of everything as it shook me from my malaise. At the time it seemed such a disaster but knowing that I could not just cruise my way through life was a good lesson learned and i learned it earlier than most.

I started paying attention in class and started studying. I was struggling with mathematics in particular. Anyway I had made changes and started studying for real by the time that I found that almost everyone in the math's class was failing. The teacher was moved else where or to do something else I know not which and another teacher brought in.

Normally you could never imagine such a thing as possible but i am here to attest that it is, however, true. That a complete class that was pretty much failing as a group suddenly did great in their exams, myself included. Just the removal of a bad teacher and the addition of a good one along with a little studying turned the tide. It makes you wonder if it was the teacher and not just me that was too busy enjoying life, meeting girls, learning the guitar.

I know that I went from bottom marks for math's in my prelim to top marks at my O'levels. I think a little of both is the answer. I was accepted into college and though still fifteen (though only for a month) I left the relative security of my family for the thundering halls of Edinburgh. I do not deny that it was difficult but in my own way I grew to love it. At first it was incredibly lonely, I knew no one in the whole city.

Imagine then a boy from earlier years whose hormones are about ready to kick in and his face erupts with spots, though he was not as bad as some still he was not a treat to look at. Imagine the same boy also hesitant for he was neither tough nor self assured.

He now lived in the country when he had been brought up near the city as his father and mother moved to Campbeltown, the small seaside town I mentioned earlier to give them a better lifestyle, a promotion for my father and a change was as good as a rest as the old saying goes for my mother.

Despite the bullying or perhaps because of it I began to read more and more.

It was rare that I slept the authors thoughts unravelling in my mind. I learned through the words of greater minds than mine to forgive, though I never really did so, I understood the advantage of doing so. I visited the small Campbeltown bookshop I mentioned more and more and it became almost a place of pilgrimage for me. I can still smell it now, the dustiness of the books crammed in floor to ceiling in the small shop, a slight smell of dampness over that. The brilliance of the covers on the paperbacks assaulting my senses, their covers depicting monsters and daemons, lovers, stars, and every place that you could imagine and some that you could not. I found the place intoxicating in all ways and my passion for books grew and grew.

By the time my exams had arrived I was better read than many adults and so I should have done well at my prelims but my wish to be a rock star, working too hard at my part time jobs and bad teachers had taken their toll, but I made up for it and headed to the bright lights and college.

 

12. Todd. returning home and thinking.

And so he returned home and recommenced his former life, a life that was already jaded for him. A life of work and more work and his friends on the net, going to Ken and Sheila's on a Friday night for a drink and a chat. Occasionally some astronomy but even that was growing less frequent now. His children were growing older and though they still depended upon him to a certain extent they were beginning to form their own lives and understand their own places in the world and so had less need for him anymore. Mary really had no need for him anymore other than being a provider of money. This was not her fault, he always knew just a thing where they through necessity and circumstance spent so much time apart that they were getting used to the idea.

Jasmine had gone home to her own life, her own daughter and work and though he would not admit to himself yet that he loved her the seed was there and with only a little cultivation it would grow into something more. But his days passed far from home and were centred around a girl on the other side of the world, much of his happiness derived from the odd email or phone call he would get from her yet he still continued on with his life. He went home when he could and still saw little of Mary who had worked out her own routine for all the times that he was gone. He missed Jasmine far more than he had imagined that he would and missed Mary less than he remembered.

Even his own children had little need of him anymore. He had worked long and hard to provide for Mary and them and he loved them but he knew himself he was becoming worn out. There was something missing not just in their relationship but in him.

A change was coming.

13. Ken and shiela. Poor fools.

I am just nipping to the toilet. You jump into bed and get it warmed up before I come back. I am bloody exhausted. You know what he's like you can hardly get him to shut up at the best of times. And this, this is the worst of times; he is ten times worse. Just be thankful that we don't have the same problems.

The bedroom door opens and shiela is startled by the brightness of the hall light. Perhaps i have had a little to much to drink she thinks as he pulls the covers back and flops into the bed his pale skin blotted in the the moonlight.

I fucking hate the bastard she thinks as she lies back staring at the ceiling. She glimpsed his pale and mottled back, studded here and there with melanomas as he passed through the door. His waist had grown even thicker than it once was his skin riddled with curves where they should not have been, His flabby buttocks as he walked away made her want to be sick. He wasn't so bad she tried to think to herself but could not bring herself to think this to be so no matter how much she tried. He disgusted her.

 

I heard the running water and the toilet flushing as I lay there the duvet pulled up to my neck dreaming though awake, of love. I had never loved Ken but I was glad that he loved me when he said that he did and asked to marry me, or so I thought at the time but I should have known better he wanted some one available for sex when he wished it. Had it not been me then it would have been some other poor soul. Though I suspect that it rarely happened for him with others.

Ken still had a full head of hair, something that seemed to run in his family but he rarely exercised and would not work on the house or garden and so had become something awful to me when I saw him naked, I felt abused yet he would still expect me to indulge him in his strange sexual games.

I always accommodated him, I was older than him and knew that he was the bread winner and so I had to do all that he asked. I never enjoyed it. I had grown to dislike sex though I always remembered a time when I had enjoyed it, looked forward to it, anticipated it. I had been younger then and nothing had seemed as painful or forbidding as it seemed to involve now. I suppose that for everyone it becomes everyday and less than it once was. I understand that but yearn for the days when it was just kissing and fumbling foreplay before he spilled his seed into me. Along the way he gave me a daughter, Rhona. She is an echo of me though luckily her father supplied her ears for mine stick out horrendously and I was made fun of in school for so long over them that I hate them so much and even now often think of slicing them off.

Rhona is high strung and difficult but I love her and so in a way I got what I wanted.

I did not really want children but Ken did. He came from a large family and was happy being from such. I think he expected me to produce a brood of children but I am older and frailer than he is. I have something wrong with me, I do not know what it is but I feel bad most of the time. unwell, but other than feeling bad there is no diagnosis for it.

My mother was taken in to care when she tried to commit suicide. I say taken in but what I really mean is sectioned under the mental health act, she was a danger to herself they said and I think I have a bit of that in me. Actually there are times when I think that I have a lot of her in me. I wished for some of the things that Ken saw in life but I could not see them for myself. I was desperate to gain that, a bit of real life, a bit of happiness. I could not find it for myself.

Until I heard the news of Todd and Mary splitting up, this was the slice of luck that had always evaded me and now I could gain it.

Get a little piece of heaven for myself. I had always wished for what they had, that easy love where nothing was disputed, or little was.

I wished it was me that would be the one to share his bed on a night even growing older and a little thicker around the middle as he is I still saw him as so handsome and athletic. Mary just didn't know what she had, foolish bitch, I would have committed murder for a decent man, someone that was good and kind and did not hurt me.

He was more than just that, he was smart and thoughtful, he cared even about things that mattered little and for that I just loved him more. For him I would have done anything, Anything, I would have killed children, sentenced people to die or would have killed myself. Once I wished that he asked me to kill myself to prove my love to him and I would have followed his every instruction.

I would have hurt or maimed myself or someone else had he only asked me to but he did not.

I am not sure that he even really noticed me.

13. (part 2) Ken and shiela. Poor Fools.

She seemed immune to his charms, The bitch. Didn't she realise that he is important, doesn't she know that peoples lives stand and fall by his ideas, by his decision and his action. I do not think that she ever realised that despite the stories that he told. I don't think that she listened silly bitch.

He would tell us tales of having to sack people and about his worries over that, his worries of them and their lives afterwards. You could tell that he hated it, one fellow that he gave a warning to tried to take his own life and he hated himself for that.

I could tell at times that he just hated himself full stop.

Mary just listened as he said these things and never cared. I don't think that she knew him at all. I did, even when I had not seen him in weeks I could feel him, taste him and feel his touch inside of me.

I cannot believe that for someone so good that he could hate himself. You know she was the luckiest bitch and was fucking stupid for even allowing him to go. I would have killed her. I would have killed my children. I would have killed the world just to have him but he was not mine to have.

 

I flushed the toilet and picked up the air freshener can and gave it a spray before I went out. I wandered back through to the bedroom. I did not have to cover myself as my daughter was away at a sleep over. I wandered in naked and knew that she must be impressed. Yes I have put on a little weight and am thick round the middle but I am not too bad for my age. In fact she's a lucky bitch to have me, she knows it but pretends not to just to heat me up. I pull back the duvet and climb in beside her.

Oh Todd make me drink to much talking about all his shit, I am not getting so hard, it will have to be the back way. Lube yourself up girl. I will just wank till I am hard enough and shoot it up your arse, if I get hard enough. If I don't you'll just have to suck me off till I fall asleep.

He's a bastard, Todd. He is going to leave her you know. What a cunt he is. Turn round The stupid bitch thinks I want her cunny when I am pissed, "Its tighter in your arse"

I watch her smear the lubricant over her hole before I enter her. I have had to much to drink and have to force it into her but she moves with me her pale skin looks like an eel at midnight but I feel myself becoming rigid and after what seems quite a long time spill my seed into her. I cant understand why Todd has left Mary. She is Such a great girl what the fuck is he playing at? Much better looking than this insipid eel that I have just fucked. I hope she is grateful, lucky bitch that I could be bothered to stick my cock into her.

I fall sleep naked and on top of the covers for though it is late in the year it is warmer than expected. I dream of Mary. Her breasts lie large and heavy upon her ribcage as I enter her and she starts to moan as my cock fills her, stretches her and makes her feel good. She moans beneath me as I push in to her. She whimpers like a child as she pushes her nails into my back. she wants me and only me. She will have me no matter what she has to do to get me.

 

Ken. Stars. 14

What the fuck is going on with you Todd?

the problem is fucking obvious, its all going to go to shit.

What?

Look at this and keep an open mind.

He pushed his arm out and swept everything that was on our kitchen table onto the floor. It was not such a big deal, a couple of candle holders and a bowl of fruit, that had only one rather brown spotted banana in it and a rather dimpled peach that burst when it hit the floor.

He produced a star chart covered with constellations on a blue background with orange high lighters marked here and there.

Look for fuck sake he almost shouted and when I stood back he said, sorry, my apologies but I cant believe it either.

I know as much as most people do about the stars, horoscopes, black holes and astronomical terms but I was never going to be in his ball park.

He had been studying the stars since he was a teenager and for that matter for a long time he had mainlined on science fiction and being Todd he had to know what every term meant, had to know how each hypothesis worked, had to know fucking everything. Whereas I had done the little that you did in school about the planets and stars and I occasionally read the new scientist on line.

But just to generally keep up with events and advances in the science world. Never did I come close to having his monstrous knowledge of mathematics and astrophysics plus though I was fine with astronomy, astrology to me was just rubbish made up for weak minded fools. To a certain extent Todd agreed with me there but also thought that we were just missing the key that would solve the equation, the astronomical Rosetta stone.

He had explained to me one night how there had to be something to it. He did not understand exactly what yet but told me of convergence's that had occurred that foretold of events that had come to pass. He explained in rather long winded terms about how the heavens worked and how earlier civilisations had studied the stars and what they had meant to them. This took ages and though mildly interesting as I say it was rather long winded and came to no conclusion other than there must be something. But all the evidence that he presented to prove that "something" was all circumstantial as far as I could tell though i am a lightweight scientist compared to him.

Todd was a nice guy and could often be fascinating to listen to. Sometimes and I could not tell you what it was but there was something in him that just cut through the fluff around a problem so he could see to the heart of it and reason it out.

But sometimes like that night many months ago you just wanted him to shut up so you could get onto something that he was not the only person in the room that was interested in.

Yes despite all I have said on his good points at other times he could be a boring bugger and bloody annoying.

It looked as though tonight was going to be one of those nights but I could tell that his blood was up and he thought he had found a revelation.

This was obvious not just in his manner but in the fact I had poured him a large glass of a very tasty and rich red wine (that tended to be his favourite) but he had barely sipped before slipping into his tirade. I had to keep my own mind about me otherwise I would struggle to see what his meanings were.

He never ever said it but I could tell that Todd just did not like his intellectual inferiors. Which i suppose to him meant almost everyone. I told shiela that I thought that one night but she shot me down in flames. Well he still loves Mary she had said and do you think she is his intellectual equal?

No, I thought I know why he likes Mary, beautiful, big tits, sexy. Who cares if she thinks at all.

Todd had since our first meeting always looked upon me intellectually as an equal and I was glad that such was the case however I personally doubted it. So often even when I was struggling to follow his reasoning he assumed I was being modest and so would not wait for me to catch up- something I needed time for quite badly on occasion. I sat my own wine glass down, making sure I placed it upon the kitchen work top so that it also did not get swept onto the floor and resolved to pay attention to whatever he was saying. He was excited, animated and full of what ever he was full of. It was usually red wine or lager but tonight he was supplying himself with stimulants and needed nothing else. He had still not touched his glass.

At this point on another couple of lucky nights when he had found something that he just had to inform us of I was always grateful that Mary and Shiela had been there both to calm him down for he was rarely as demonstrative around women and to make things easier to understand. For some reason he always thought that I understood without an explanation but needed to add it for the girls sake. Often I needed the explanation as much as they did.

His upbringing I think had made him calmer around women but of course now that they had split up Mary was not there and Shiela had gone out to the pub with her friends that night. I don't think it was to avoid Todd, I think it was only coincidence but I may have been wrong. She seemed to have a real downer on him since the break up but then Mary was her friend.

Look he said pointing to a small blip on his chart of the solar system.

Yes?

You know what this is don't you?

I did not, but I suppose that was one of the things about Todd that he always thought that everyone was as smart as him, knew all the things that he would know. He never ever thought you were stupid even when you knew that you were. That is 200324 one of the plutoids that has not been given a name yet .

plutoids?

Well yes, remember I told you about the large rock masses that still orbit the sun but come from the belt that sits just to the outer edge of the solar system. Well to be honest we don't know that it is the edge of the system but it seems likely. Well some of them are really large and should be classified as planets under what was our definition of a planet up until a couple of years ago.

I think that you did tell me about it.

Well you know that when they started to discover all the planetoid masses astronomers had to reclassify the nature of a planet. They did so last year when we realised that there were so many big rocks out there after Neptune. Some were moons and others asteroids and by our definition of a planet as it then stood some were planets. But really they were mainly just big icy rocks floating in emptiness.

So they reclassified what made up a planet. The other large rocks were renamed plutoids though there are also likely to be another one or two gas giants out there, that would be the obvious answer to why there is another and much larger asteroid belt even farther out there. There should be at least one other large gas giant exerting quite a large gravitational force to stop the larger asteroids spinning away though the force that the sun exerts is really rather strong in the way of things. But remember at that distance the sun is pretty far away and so the gravitational force is lessened but still able to hold them in orbit.

Yes they are way out there, though we cannot say for sure yet, there could be another closer to the edge of the solar system probably a pretty large gas giant the size of Neptune or Saturn. Though it has not been discovered yet we are still arguing over a name for it.

We?

Ah sorry, he said looking up from the charts at at me for a change. Every word he had so far uttered apart from a quick sideways glance had been directed at the charts in front of him. I know I am not a real astronomer or a real Astro physicist for that matter but look at this.

He pulled out another map of the solar system with the plutoids marked on it and looked directly at me. He had drawn the phases of the zodiac upon it.

You see he said and continued and I am sure that you are doubting everything that you have ever learned at the moment but don't be worried as I was too.

Actually at this moment I was not doubting anything for I had barely understood a word of what he was talking about. The only thing that I was possibly doubting was his sanity.

But now look at this and he pulled out another astrological map and he added the plutoids into it. He had plotted their trajectory of orbit round the sun with a faint yellow line but he had added in a large red line father from the sun than the plutoids and he said "if this is where that other gas giant is" and he plotted this possibly non existent planets path round the sun and through the heavens. To be perfectly honest with you I had no idea what he was talking about by this time having been overwhelmed both by to much information and a lack of relevant information that he just expected me to know as usual.

This lasted until he produced a large tracery With all of the planets trajectories plotted as well as those of the plutoids and this unknown and undiscovered gas giant that he had theorised. He had even given it a trajectory and orbital phase though we do not even know if it exists.

There are many marks upon this star glyph small white crosses with writing beside them far to small to see. I see that every pattern comes close to them but does not really intersect. But this proves nothing I say, I can see everything comes close to a line or intersection but few are right on it anyway what does the little white writing say.

Well those are the astrological signs for great events that have happened and if they intersected with the conjunctions lines and patterns it would really show us that the stars do predict our future.

But obviously they do not I sputtered and tried to stop myself laughing. Is that what you have come to me with that there is a possible but random correlation between great events and star patterns but that they are all wrong? He beams at me. It is rare that I have seen a smile so broad upon his face even though as he states these days he is desperately in love. Weirdly the last time I can recall such a broad and open smile upon his face was when he was telling me of his new found love. Jasmine.

Todd, tell if I'm wrong here? but from what I see this proves nothing at all as far as astrology goes. You have put on these major events yet none of them even seem to mach with the conjunctions that you present, yes I said pointing at one, some of them are close, but others are miles away.

Todd bursts out laughing and says. "Well yes some are miles away but many others are millions of miles out.

So what here are you proving to me that astrology even with new information added in is rubbish well then you are preaching to the converted.

And so I thought too said Todd still with the smile plastered across his face. When I have looked at astrological maps I have always used those first produced by John Dee the astronomer, visionary and very learned man who was the first queen Elizabeth's astronomer and scientist. I have always been fascinated with him and his ideas. I have read a great deal about him though much of it has been fiction. The possibility of alchemy oh and lots of other things about him are just things that amaze me and for his time he seemed such a visionary. I always always thought as well that his "Magic", that he considered science came from many sources but particularly one Hermes Trisgamesestus who was.....

 

I have always been a fan of Dee who I thought had rarely got at the truth but had tried. My thoughts being that I always thought that astrology is shit, we have to look again for enlightenment. I am always drawn back from that by the charlatans that purport to know our futures. I swallow this rubbish too easily I think to myself. I am a man of science but my love of history perverts me and such applied with Dr Dee who I now know to be a fool at least in this respect though I do not doubt him still a seeker for knowledge.

So that's it? I asked pissed off that I still have not got a piece of kitchen roll to scoop up the over ripe peach that lies at the side of the table whilst I wait upon a revelation. All you have to tell me with all this drama is that astrology is not true. Something that pretty much every kid in the land over the age of nine knows.

Ah That is the assumption I made and I am now going to tell you now that I am a fool he said and performed a full bow before me. I am going to tell you, he said with a flourish that astronomy and the telling of the future is not only possible but it is a fact and more than that.

I looked at him amazed thinking that he had drank to much but my gaze drew in the half finished glass of red wine and the almost full bottle.

That I can foretell the future.