Hi! Thanks for visiting! For fun and for the sake of motivating myself to revisit and complete this project I am releasing chapters of my book The Stiletto Code and The Book of the Siamese Crocodile as part of my blog that I have completed. I will place into the category list to the right of this page for any readers who would like to catch an early glimpse of the work. A lot of editing would be needed still but in the meantime this may be just what I need to finish! Best wishes and hope you enjoy this rough draft!
Please note: The 5 chapters uploaded so far can be found by clicking on the link in the blog categories on the right of this page or click this link
The Book of the Siamese Crocodile
By Lawrence Clarke Hilton All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
Lay our ashes in the ship
And now be it ten thousand thousand thousand strides
To reach the shore.
The day will come.
The ship will float.
We with the sea arisen.
The universe abounds in magic
And buckets of nuclear fission
Source: Preserved ancient digital CD
Locations Recovered: Cape City - Green Point dig - Ancient Cape Town
Geographical Area: Southern United States of Africa
Date of origin: Lec 25 (Sans Calendar) Dec 25 (Old Roman Calendar)
Year created: 2006 AD
Age: 1005 years 10 Hours and 46 minutes
Chapter 01 ~ Manners Maketh the Man
“No, after you!”
“No, after you!”
The grace with which the Sans Brothers argued as they made their way to the stage was impeccable.
“No!" Rene Sans insisted and with a mockingly low bow and broad sweep of his hand indicated to his brother to go up the stairs first, “No, my dearest brother, after you. I insist!”
Having just made their way down the center aisle, the almost identical twin brothers had arrived at the steps leading up and onto the stage. Both were brothers were now in full view of the many eager faces in the huge audience. The podium that awaited them had been set center stage.
Thousands had gathered for the turn of the millennium party. The room was abuzz with excitement as the word was out that the Sans corporation was about to make an announcement of enormous importance.
Various news broadcasts had put the figures in the audience at anywhere between ten and fifteen thousand. Both estimates were absurd as only 3000 guests could be crammed into the main auditorium of the International Cape Town Convention Centre. However this exaggeration could be forgiven in light of the momentousness of the occasion. It was not just another year that was about to be rung in. Not even just another turn of another century. We were talking here of the once in a thousand rollover of a millennium.
The party crowd in the audience was breathless with expectation. It had been advertised as “The Millennium Mother of all parties.” And many had hopes of making this one the one to end all parties. No doubt they intended to be motherless by the end of it.
"No after you!" said Robin, the older brother now trying to pull rank. They were still arguing as to who should climb the stairs to the stage first.
Whenever Robin was described as older of the two, he was always quick to point out that he was only older by 30 seconds. But if the truth be told those 30 seconds had seemed like a lifetime to their mother for it had not been an easy birth for her. In fact it had not been easy on any of them. Robin's umbilical cord had wrapped around his twin brother Rene's neck as their mother's pelvic muscles compressed them down and through the birth canal. It had caused him to drag the baby Rene behind him. Although the surgeon had managed to save the latter twin baby, it was a stranglehold that Rene would feel that Robin had on him throughout almost his entire life
Sadly according to the reports these labour pains were to be their mother’s last experience on earth.
According to other family legends the almost identical twins would later be told that their mother had loved them so much, that in spite of the Doctor’s warning that carrying the twins to full term could cost her life, she had paid the ultimate price to ensure their survival.
In the heat of the brother’s life long explosions of rivalry and bickering, Robin would often scream that Rene had killed their mother. Rene would shout back that Robin had nearly killed both of them.
Although both boys were born with the most extraordinary proverbial golden spoons in their little mouths, Robin had started his life off by moaning. Not crying, nor wailing, just moaning. Even when the nurse took the baby Robin from the surgeon and slapped Robin lightly on his little bum, Robin did not cry. He just let out a little moan and gave his first of the many dirty looks that would follow.
Rene, on the other hand, once the shock of the near suffocation had passed, when given the little slap by the midwife, just cocked his head and stretched his little body out like a kitten. He then simply chose to mewl and force a little grin.
As much as Robin’s moaning and scowling became habitual and he did go on to complain incessantly throughout his life, Rene’s obsequious little grin became his signature expression.
As Robin grew older, his face had set into layers of frowns that no amount of Shocktox (STX)- the latest non-surgical cosmetic craze - could quite dissolve.
After the biological disasters that followed the previous millennium’s alternative non-surgical cosmetic procedures, Shocktox had been hailed as a major breakthrough. It was a conveniently self-administered treatment that injected no poisons nor deadly bacteria into the patient’s bloodstream.
The STX system delivered tiny electrical charges to the skin’s epidermis. Although these were at very low levels of voltage, the impact at a cellular level was the equivalent of administering the most extreme of shock treatments.
Standard shock therapy was still prescribed and even encouraged for the treatment of psychiatric illnesses. It had over the last 10 centuries continued to show amazing results in terms of the lifting of chronic depressions. And this after only a few treatments. Research, however, had never quite shown whether the substantial improvements in the patient’s mood was as a result of the shock therapy itself. It could also have been derived from the fact that the patient had become so terrified of ever being strapped onto the table again, that they found themselves lying to the doctors and euphorically stating that everything was all now suddenly “A-OK”. They were perhaps filled with the elation and terror that only surviving a near death experience could bring.
Robin’s wrinkles would lead Rene, the slightly prettier, freckled and plumper, to call him 'old meringue puss' behind his back. Never to his face of course, and only when the combination of recreational barbiturates and alcohol had raised his levels of courage to the giddy heights where he no longer had a care anymore as to what Robin thought.
“Robin I insist. As it was in the beginning, after you!”
The orchestra had gone into a repeat of the event overture to cover the delay in the proceedings. Rene's hazel eyes twinkled as he noted that that he was really starting to irritate his brother.
Having lived his life in his older brother's shadow led Rene to develop an over-polite, ingratiating manner. As he grew up he had cultivated it, for he knew that it worked on Robin’s nerves. His unfailing ability to unsettle Robin had become one his main passions, if not the very reasons for his existence. Rene's jealousy of his older brother festered like a boil which as he reached puberty burst into full blown spite. He shammed and hid this bitterness behind a flamboyant “devil may care” outward persona.
“Oh, butter would never melt in your mouth!” Robin would often shout sarcastically during their arguments. Rene would then act dismayed at the reaction he provoked in Robin.
The applause and whooping that had accompanied them ever since they had entered the room started to peter out as those at the back became confused by the delay occurring at the front.
"No after you" urged Robin slightly edgily. He knew his younger brother was starting to play up again.
Rene thought 'what the hell' and stood his ground,
"No Robin, after you! Age before beauty!"
“You are so…” hissed a furious Robin who was so overcome with anger that he did not hear the shot ring out. He could not believe it as Rene lunged at him. Thinking that Rene was attacking him, Robin lost it and went into a defensive stance. He shook with fury as he tried to fist Rene in the face. Rene’s momentum however threw them both to the floor before any blows could land.
Rene was shouting "They're after us!"
After a few screams and shouts from the crowd, the auditorium unexpectedly and suddenly became deathly quite. Everyone waited to see what would next occur. Was their a sniper on the balcony? No second shot came.
Those in the audience who had thrown themselves into positions of safety, peered over the backs of the seats and gingerly began to stand up. They slowly began to resume their applause. Relief fed their enthusiasm as they realized that what they all had thought was a gunshot was merely one of the balloons escaping early from the drop and being popped as it was hit by an on-stage pyrotechnic. These had been accidentally triggered and the fireworks were now exploding and zigzagging around the brothers who were now cowering at the foot of the stage.
As the penny dropped Robin ignored the fact that Rene had been trying to protect him and kicked out as he shoved Rene off of him.
The shock of it all forced the Sans brothers into a compromise. The explosions silhouetted them as they slowly recovered their poise, and began to walk arm in arm up the stairs. They held their free arms high to protect their faces from the ricocheting rockets that zoomed around their heads.
As they navigated their way between the exploding Roman candles that had been over-enthusiastically loaded with powder, they were forced to crouch again. A second batch of pyrotechnics triggered by the first began to explode around the podium.
The audience was now screaming with laughter. Finally with one last fizzle the explosions stopped. The audience clapped and laughed as the visibly shaken brothers slowly stood up.
Kieron Legacy, Head of Sans Security and Public Relations, sighed and ordered the other security women to stand down.
Recovering quicker than Robin, Rene seized the initiative. He threw his head back, laughed and then announced that Robin would be addressing the audience first. He giggled for the benefit of Robin and then cackled. He knew his brother would want to lash out at him again but could not be seen to react in full view of the audience.
Keeping up appearances was very important to Robin. He just managed to contain his anger. Robin glanced upstage and sneered at Rene. Rene held a fixed ridiculous smile on his face as Robin mouthed, “Fuck you!”
He turned back to face the crowd and was about to start when he heard Rene cackle again. Robin smiled at the front row and then looked upstage. With his eyes creased he nodded and indicated that Rene should look down at his hands where Robin carefully concealed from audience view an upright middle finger.
Rene feigned confusion with a wide-eyed look of innocence. Robin turned back to face the crowd and waved for them to settle down. When they ignored him, he decided to push on though.
'Okay let’s get to it shall we?' he paused and then began, “The Sans Corporation Africa Division…..”
Finally the crowd fell silent.
'Ah, that's better' Robin thought and was just about to continue when he was surprised by a slow hand clap that had begun at the back of the room. Robin was a powerful man but extremely unpopular.
Rene stepped forward and leaned into the mike, “Guys, you are going to want to hear this.”
The clapping stopped immediately.
“Thank you Rene, but I have this under control.”
He clearly did not and the beads of sweat began to trickle down his forehead.
“The Sans Corporation of Africa is pleased to announce, that to mark the turn of the New Millennium, they will be erecting a monument on top of Sans Lion's Head. This will also be in honour of those who came …”
He paused and looked like he was going to vomit.
Rene quickly stepped forward and pinched Robin on the back. Robin jerked and just managed to stop himself from slapping Rene in the face.
Taking a sip of water he haltingly went on.
“This monument is to be erected in honour of those who came before us. Those who have now been accredited with having had some hand…” Robin stumbled through this part of his script. Some in the crowd laughed. '...um has been accredited with perhaps... having had some hand in bringing some of us …'
The crowd began to really laugh now.
'All of us!' a woman shouted from the front row.
Robin grimaced and continued, 'Has been accredited by some,” he emphasized the “some” part, “..accredited by SOME of bringing all of us to this planet of ours - Sans Earth.”
He had to stop his eyes from rolling backwards in sardonic disbelief as the audience rose to its feet and erupted in cheers.
This time he would have to wait for them.
“Oh please,” he said under his breathe with sarcastic disbelief as the crowd went wild. His upper lip and his left nostril pulled up into his trademark sneer as he watched the back-slapping hugs and shouts of joy amongst the crowd who were all now standing.
'Oh for God sake' he moaned and glared back at Rene. Rene slipped past him to the front of the stage, and began to jump up and down with delight. He was now at that exuberant stage where he was wonderfully beyond caring what Robin thought. The monument was to be built.
“Don’t forget the news about the Paradise Hotel Robin!”
Robin reluctantly turned back and “In so far as the Paradise Hotel. This development will now be …”
The crowd knew what was coming and the applause became stronger. Robin realized that he would not be able to continue and turned to leave the stage.
A live shot of the bell tower of the Green Point Catholic Church appeared on the screen. It gave its first chime of the hour signaling 12 seconds to the New Year. Rene rushed up grabbed the mike and began the count down. “11, 10, 9, and 8, 7….”
Robin grimaced as Rene really started to really wind it up.
“5, 4, 3...,” The crowd erupted and shouted along. Thousands of silver balloons began to float down onto the crowd.
As the countdown finished, Rene shouted "Happy 3000!"
Rene called to Robin who was trying to find his way offstage through the black curtains of the wings. He walked towards his brother with open arms.
“At least just for the camera’s Robin”
Robin turned and saw Rene coming to hug him.
“Don't even think about it,” he warned.
Rene shrugged his shoulders, backed off and ran to join some of the crowd who had climbed onto the stage and were dancing frenetically across the front.
Robin steadied himself against the side curtain, and began to stagger as he made his way into the sudden darkness of the backstage.
“What a way to welcome in the third millennium,” he thought and looked like he was about to have an aneurism.
In fact he was.
Give Me Hope Suzanna!
Suzanna lay in the gutter of the convention centre.
She had been drinking all day. Alcohol had become her way to block out the horror of her situation. Shocking waves of despair sometimes overcame her. These terrifying moments of consciousness of the all that she had lost had begun to decline in frequency over the years spent living on the street, but they never lost their intensity.
Thankfully, she had gained a moment to moment span of attention. It protected her from the overwhelming and devastating memories that would have left her feeling so very lost and alone. She had learnt that any reverie of the past was to be avoided. It was simply too painful. So she wandered the streets in a dreamlike state, that blocked out the nightmare of her reality.
The 'papsaks' of wine or if they ran out, then the glue would help to blot out the huge distances that lay between her and her earlier irretrievable happier times.
For Suzanne this was a good thing for to be fully aware would have brought levels of anguish too deep for her to bear.
But still on occasion these memories would cut through her mind like shooting stars that disappeared quickly into the darkness of her confusion. They would be gone before she could quite grasp them.
On certain days she could find herself transported to a place where her past family and friends seemed to lie just around the next corner. She would have to steady as images flashed in her mind. She would then begin to walk and chase these mirages that flickered ahead of her. Suzanna would then march around the entire block, shouting at the people from her past who kept disappearing around the bends in the road ahead of her.
The whole morning would be spent chasing them. She would trudge up the hill, round the corner, past the park and back down the stairs of the lane. Then slowly turn and proceed to shuffle the route the other way. “I’ll catch you now,” she would shout as she slowly turned and began to shuffle as quickly as she could in the other direction.
“You're chasing rainbows!” the others would shout from the park as they shared the dagga zol or whatever any of the others had managed to beg enough money for that day.
"Ah Voetzak! Get away!” Suzanna would shout without looking at them, her focus firmly ahead.
In those moments she would truly believe that all that she had lost was just around the next corner. If she could just make it to the corner, all her friends and family would be waiting there to take her home to her babies.
Her babies had been taken from her at birth. She never saw them again. Her father had banished her from the house for falling pregnant at 14 and threatened to do the same to any family member who dared to have contact with her.
Over the years she had met some who had tried to help. Mrs. Jones was one of them. Sometimes she would believe that Mrs. Jones still lived in number 9. Mrs. Jones had always been kind to her. She had become Mrs. Jones' drinking partner. In those good old days Mrs. Jones would send her down to the bottle store every morning to buy the daily supply of a bottle of gin or vodka. If it was payday, then both were ordered.
Suzanna would spend the morning calling outside the security gate of the block, waiting for Mrs. Jones to appear. On sadder days she would just stand outside forlornly, knowing Mrs. Jones could not come back even if she had wanted to. On those days the wine really did help.
The empty "papsak" of wine that lay next to Suzanne looked very similar to one of the silver balloons that had exploded inside the centre. Suddenly she felt nauseas. .
‘I am not feeling very well!’ she called out to the throng of guests who were trying to step past her as they exited the convention centre. She tried to get up. Some of the older guests who were the first to leave the party attempted to ignore her pleas for help by turning back to chat to friends as they came close to her.
‘I am not feeling right’, she called out more urgently, "I need some water"
A little girl stepped out from the crowd with a bottle of water she had taken for the trip home.
"Here!" she said offering it to the haggard woman staggering in front of her. Her father quickly grabbed his daughter's hand and pulled her away.
‘Honey, I am sorry, but she is not well. You don't know what you could pick up.’
At that moment Suzanna's arms froze outstretched. She fell, hitting her head against the pavement as she went into the convulsions of a fit.
The father was right. Suzanne was indeed not well. She needed more than just water. Having passed out for eight hours in the street earlier that day, she was extremely dehydrated and in the grip of symptoms of severe alcohol poisoning.
In another time or another place Suzanna should have been in a home that offered permanent sanctuary and psychiatric treatment. However the year 3000 saw proper medical care reserved almost exclusively for the rich. The poor had to be thankful for whatever the non-private hospitals could offer. Someone so far out on the outskirts of society as Suzanne was, could expect little if any care.
It was strange to some, that in what could be seen as a society gone mad, psychiatry and mental health were the most ignored of the medical disciplines. Any possibilities of care for mental health patients were further undermined by savage cost cutting exercises that were deemed necessary by the public and private health systems.
The father took his daughter’s hand and edged her on. “Come on lets race Mom to the car”
The Sans security women who had just arrived were busy cordoning off the area around Suzanna. Two others were putting on protective bio-suits and one had already begun spraying disinfectant on the pavement where Suzanne had just vomited.
The young girl looked out the back window of the car as her father slowly drove past the entrance as they exited from the parkade. They had to stop to wait to join the cue of cars that were attempting to exit onto the freeway.
Suzanna seemed to recognize her though the tinted glass of the back window and shouted, "Thank you my darling!" Thank you for trying!”
The young girl turned away quickly and faced forward. She could not believe that the drunk lady had recovered so quickly.
Have lovely day!" Suzanne shouted, as she was hustled away from the entrance towards the parking lot.
“You are going to win the lotto tonight! You'll see, don’t you dance too much, hey?” she called out after the girl.
‘What will happen to her?’ the little girl asked.
Her father looked briefly in the rear-view mirror. He didn't answer her question; instead he turned to his wife and said 'Was that a great party or what?'
Seeing a gap in the traffic ahead, he accelerated as the light turned green. As they drove off, the little girl could hear Suzanne as she began to scream abuse at the security woman who was now signaling that she better move on.
To be fair the security woman could not have known that Suzanna had just had a stroke. Neither could Suzanna have known.
“So Very Last Millennium!”
Robin Sans cut a lonely figure as he lurched though the backstage area to the stage door exit. His normal carefully poised and erect posture had given way to the weight of the world that he now felt he carried on his shoulders. He was crestfallen. He felt utterly exposed and vulnerable at every level. He stared at the floor as he pushed past the fire doors and entered the lift.
‘Going?’ asked the electronic voice of the elevator.
‘Down!’ groaned Robin and then repeated with a dark irony, “We're all going …” Before he could finish the thought he was startled by another voice.
“We’re all going down!” the voice completed the thought.
He froze as he realized he was not alone in the lift. He fell screaming to the floor, winded by the weight of the other as they fell upon him.
‘Happy New Year my lovely!’ There was foul breath close to his ear.
It was Suzanna. After her episode outside she had somehow staggered past the busy security team at the delivery entrance and had made her way to the back stage lift.
Robin's blood pressure beeper began to give out shrill warning tones. “Oh Hell!” he thought as he dropped to his knees and began to pass out. “I'm dying!” he gasped.
The reading on his monitor did seem to indicate that he would be lucky to reach his 130th birthday. He was on his 5th bypass and 3rd heart transplant and currently would not be considered a great candidate for a 4th.
“I'm dying!” mimicked Suzanna as she too began to pass out again.
“Happy Fuck all!” thought Robin as he gazed at the exaggerated reflection of his nose in the marble tiled floors, against which his head now lay paralyzed.
Rene had so carefully insisted upon on marble when they constructed the building. “Carpets are so last millennium!” he had commented.
Robin so hoped that his last thought would not be that of Rene. But as he lay there dying, all he could hear was Rene's voice repeating over and over, “Carpets are so last millennium, Robin. So very last millennium.”
Within minutes a Sans Medical Chopper landed at the stage door helipad.
Two of the show's dancers had come across the two bodies locked in a frozen embrace lying on the lift floor. “Disgusting drunks!' one said as she stepped over them and out of the lift. Fortunately for Robin, the dancer's boyfriends noticed Robin’s ID badge and had alerted the security women.
The paramedics worked on stabilizing Robin for 15 minutes before signaling that they were now ready to fly him to the gleaming Sans Medical Center. The centre was literally across the road from the convention centre, but this was Robin Sans they were dealing with and needed to pull out all the stops.
Throughout this period Suzanna slept under the gurney on which Robin's currently dead body lay. Now and then she would go into a fit, but this was ignored by the team who were feverishly attending to Robin.
The surgery at the medical centre had been placed on the highest alert for the imminent arrival of possibly the wealthiest man on earth. The theatre staff was already making their way though to the disinfection pre-op facility.
‘We're trying to stabilize him,’ an impatient Rene was told as he arrived and asked, 'What's up?'
Rene was exasperated by having to be called off the dance floor during his favourite song of the moment.
'He looks pretty stable to me' Rene chuckled to himself as they strapped Robin onto the gurney and wheeled him away.
'Do you want to accompany your brother to the hospital in the chopper?'
“Oh sure!” Rene’s answered them sarcastically and waived them on.
“I'll see you tomorrow Robin. Don't worry!” Rene shouted as the chopper lifted. He had been through this drama with Robin before and was numbed to any urgency as far as his brother’s health wobbles went.
Rene turned and loped back to the building, the heels of his boots tapped as they as hit the tiles.
“Nice,” Rene thought as he strutted and stamped his way down the stairs back to the hall in time to the music.
He could hear the DJ had just started playing the latest re-mix of the hit, ‘I will survive!’
The song was over a thousand years old, but with the remix, it could still fill a dance floor. Rene sang along with the chorus and pushed his way though the heaving crowd.
As he sang he pumped the air with his fists. “As long as I know how to give, I know I will survive!”
“Lift your chest and breathe”, a voice told Suzanna as she managed to regain some level of consciousness.
“What?” she asked as she came round. But the voice had gone. She managed to raise herself onto one elbow.
“You get better soon, hey?” she called after Robin as he was carried out to the waiting chopper. She had been utterly ignored by the Sans Medical evacuation unit.
“I am going to have to ask you to move on now, please.” It was the same security woman who had dealt with her earlier.
“You know, you look so familiar,” Suzanna glanced up as she was led shuffling down the loading ramp towards the security gate. “How is Mrs. Jones? She had a beautiful daughter. You look just like her. You give your Mom my regards hey?”
‘Yes I will,’ the security woman answered gently. It was easier to just play along. “It's okay”, the security woman spoke into her head mike, “You can let her pass.” Almost immediately the boom was raised.
As Suzanna walked out into the street below the highway, she could feel the distant music thumping though the walls of the convention centre. She tried to stagger in time to the beat as she made her way into the warm Cape summer ‘Eerste Nuwe Jaar.’
Legend had it that the New Years Eve parties were so good in Cape Town, that in the distant past a second or ‘tweede nuwe jaar’ party was held on January second. ( Old Roman Calendar)
“I will survive!” she shouted and lifted one hand in farewell without looking back. At that moment the first of the sun's rays hit the road in front of her.
“Another day!” This one clear thought slipped though the fog of her mind in her one of her irregular moments of early morning clarity. “Thank God we see the light!”
She quite clearly knew for that instant that she had survived another day. After that things would start to getting cloudy for her again. Her thoughts began the desperately chase around the maze that her mind had become.
The sound of the party still thundered though the early morning haze.
The first of the Marching Bands’ buses had arrived. They would be parading though the streets of the city in a few hours. The members of the teams yawned and stretched as they exited the bus. Sea Gulls swirled around the square in search of scraps of food as Suzanna joined them and began her methodical search of the bins that lined the square.
A trumpeter sat down on the bench and blew a few notes. He paused for a moment wiping his mouth and then began to play a slow tempo melody. It was a now timeless jazz standard.
He played beautifully and his clear notes floated out across the Cape Town foreshore.
As Suzanna staggered up to the trumpeter and swayed in front of him she began to sing along, “What a difference a day makes..”
The Church bell chimed out that it was 6 in the morning and that the Catholic Church had also survived another day and that it too was making its way into the third millennium.
Little did Suzanna know nor could she ever have imagined that on that very day, the first of January in the year of their Lord 3000, Suzanna would be meeting none other than the Pope.
All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
The Book of the Siamese Crocodile
By Lawrence Clarke Hilton All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
Chapter Two ~ The World was little changed
The world had little changed over the last one thousand years. To be more specific - humans were little changed over the last one thousand years.
If anything over the second millennium many remained mere exaggerated distortions of themselves like the reflections in the fairground Hall of Mirrors that previous generations had laughed at when they saw themselves. It would perhaps be too easy to just say that greed was at the root of their inability to evolve, but greed was certainly one of the symptoms of whatever it was that caused the human race to remain a little less than what it could have been by then.
Such concerns were the last of Robin's worries as his lanky body was placed on the conveyor belt that would slowly carry it through the various medical robotic systems responsible for the operation. Two surgeons and a nurse sat in chairs against the wall and looked bored as they flicked through their $ans magazine pads. They were only there as a back up in the event of a technical glitch or severe power outage.
In those early hours of the third millennium as Robin lay under the robot's knife for his 4th heart transplant in less than 25 years, he was a perfect example of how the old adage 'time is money' still rang true. Even truer was the modern updated version 'money is time!' For one's time on earth had become very much dependent on one's wealth.
There was only a small club of earth’s inhabitants who could get the kind of medical aid procedural authorization granted as quickly and as extensively, as that which was granted to Robin’s body as it arrived at the emergency theatre in early hours of the morning of first of January 3000.
Robin had the over and above fully comprehensive Super Triple Diamond membership.
It basically gave the hospital a blank cheque to do whatever procedure and whatever it took to ensure Robin’s survival. Medical ethics had become far more flexible as to the means with which it was able to find suitable transplant donors for one so high up on the social ladder as Robin Sans.
His case was immediately prioritized.
One or was it two other patients with far lower levels of coverage found themselves not only confused as they were brought round from the anesthetic, but also surprised that they felt no post-operative pain and no evidence of any surgery having taken place. This was to be expected - as none had.
Robin’s case had bumped them out of the cue and right out of the theatre.
Their operations were busy being re-scheduled for sometime in the very near future or so their weeping relatives were told.
The fact that his Robin’s life took priority over anyone else's at the hospital was perhaps understandable and not too surprising. You see Robin Sans did own the medical aid company and the hospital. He also had the majority 51% ownership of the company that developed the advanced respirator that now assisted him to breathe.
So had he now been conscious, Robin would have found nothing wrong with the fact that he had jumped the cue. After all that majority percentage did give him the controlling interest in the machine and as he would not be able to breathe without it - it really was in his best and vested interests to assert his veto for patient usage of this life saving machine to ensure his own survival. Evolutionary theories, those which claimed a system of survival of the fittest had themselves evolved and had been accepted by the majority as a matter of course, as it was now described a system of survival of the richest. And this development of human logic, held true no matter how these riches had been accrued. The winner without conscience could now quite literally take it all.
By the year 3000, studies had shown that one’s longevity on Sans Earth could be directly related to the number of digits one found next to the 'available balance' icon on one's on-line bank statements.
Granted there had been some extraordinary technological developments. But whilst digital and subatomic quantum technology had made everything smaller and smaller, the gap between the rich and the poor had gotten bigger and bigger.
However for most this gap, which by this time was a canyon really, was a small price to pay for the amazing and diverse range of products that modern technology brought to the table.
It had according to the commercials, ‘revolutionized the revolution' which basically meant that it was a cyclical market according to economists of the time which would just keep on rolling along and on.
They had never been able to revolutionize that fact that most people on $ans earth could not afford to eat, let alone make a calls to tell anyone of their plight.
The latest version of what had previously been known as mobile phones, now implanted the microchips and processors of the ear piece and microphone into the thumb and little finger of the user.
Restaurants were now filled with people, who on 'making that call' looked like they were in some mad mime class, as they spoke into their hands with their thumbs pressed firmly into their ears.
Perhaps even more absurd were those who had managed to get their hands on the latest LMNH 'Look Ma No Hands' hands-free models.
These saw the transmitter being implanted into the jaw of the recipient. The phone's receiver was then delicately positioned into the cochlear of the ear. The $ans marketing campaign emphasized and played on the convenience of the fact that you would have to 'lose your head to lose your phone.'
All this could be done during a simple lunchtime surgical procedure which $ans Medical Aid would cover as a minimum benefit. The scheme would pay for it, but only if and only if you took out your mobile contract with $ans Cell.
The rise in violent crime over the last two hundred years or so, had led many clients to take up the surgical cellular option despite the 14 days of mild discomfort new users might experience following the operation.
This led to even more bizarre scenes at coffee shops with scenes of people seemingly talking to themselves as if they were on some bad drug trip.
Although a huge success, this next generation of cellular technology was not without it’s teething problems. Schizophrenia was often misdiagnosed in some of the customers.
‘Crossed lines' would eventually be found to be the cause of their distress and explain all the 'voices in their heads' that they were experiencing.
Robin and Rene were thrilled. It had been their Sans' Empire's telecommunication division that had been the first to offer these procedures.
With the profits that were forecast to soon be accrued as the idea caught on and became fashionable, the two brothers overcome with corporate joy.
And then when Sans Cell won the bid for the much sought after entire global telecommunications market - well they were ecstatic!
To celebrate - that which was a really just a further entrenchment and extension of the giant monopoly they already held with a few others at the core of the system - Sans Telkom had launched a major global sponsorship campaign.
Although every year more service providers would appear with names running from A-cell all the way through to Zee-cell, it was still in the end a monopoly.
It was all really a giant convoluted pyramid of ownership that saw A-Cell owning 49% of B cell and C cell owning 49% of Dcom. And so on.
The other 51% of these 26 companies were all administered and owned by the Sans corporation which incorporated Robin and Rene Sans.
These new providers who in all their commercials claimed to ‘really care’ gave the illusion of a free market but the pricing wars were carefully negotiated between the top level holding companies.
In the end the technology that Alexander Graham Bell had given to the people over 1200 years ago had been stolen from them. Customers could only gain access to the network if they tacitly agreed to be subjected to extensive exploitation over the period of their contracts.
None of this stopped Sans Corporation from scoring another incredible marketing coup though.
The Sans legal teams working in close conjunction with Sans Marketing Department had worked long and hard to achieve the ultimate advertising achievement of all time.
From there on the Earth would be forever be known as Sans Earth, or at the very least until the period of their sponsorship contract ran out. No-one had better advertise otherwise or even allude to 'earth' without the Sans branding or they would face massive law suits for any such infringements.
It was never made quite clear what they planned to do in return for the right to hold the copyright on the name of our globe as it spun and floated round the Sun. Thankfully our closest star was still known as just the 'sun', not that the company was not working on that golden marketing opportunity.
None of this mattered to Robin as his new heart received electrical impulses from the tiny probes to kick it off in its new body. Suddenly the surgeons and nurse were on their feet as the emergency buzzer flashed and the robot's voice droned, 'Emergency - donor heart malfunction - donor heart unresponsive...'
Imagine Life without Us
David Diggs leaned on the bars of the balcony of the patio of the VIP lounge where the News Year Eve Party raged on. His handsome profile and dark curly hair gave him a striking silhouette as he arched and stretched out his arms to take in the cool breeze that came off the sea and gazed down on the lights of the ships reflected in the
in the waters of the harbour of the Sans Waterfront Development.
The darkness was pierced with the elector magnetic colours of the laser billboards that appeared in view across the sky
"What on Sans Earth we are doing?" the question asked hypothetically as it sketched itself out in gigantic copy on one of the Sans' billboard holograms that now covered the night sky.
Beamed down from via satellites these corporate messages appeared at night and hung like the tablecloth of clouds that had once fallen over the Sans Table Mountain that embraced the city. With the rise in temperature Cape Town’s climate had switched from Mediterranean to desert, so it was rare day to ever see clouds low enough to cover the mountain.
“Why do we do it?” another appeared in pink neon laser script. David chucked and thought that these certainly were some questions that would need to be answered at some stage.
David Diggs had watched as the suggestion to “Imagine life without us!” slowly scrolled across the early morning sky. He grunted at the irony of the message and turned his attention back to the after party.
David watched bemused as many of the guests greeted distant loved ones using the “latest…latest” handsets.
Many were shouting, “Happy New Year!' and seemed to hug the air as they tried to hold holographic 3D full size live images of relatives that magically appeared in front of them.
A woman rushed up to David. She blinked twice, screamed “Cheese!”, blinked again and then ran off.
David heard her yell to her partner that she had just got a picture of that guy on TV.
Obviously she must have gone for the option that placed a tiny camera lens and recorder in the top right hand corner of her retina. It would explain the wild flashing of her eyelashes to scroll through the focus options that would have appeared over her field of vision.
As David Diggs wandered around the party, he could not believe that it was only a year ago since he had first heard of the extraordinary artifact that had been found.
As one of the most credible and famous television anthropologists of the time, he had put his considerable reputation on the line, and not for the first time, when he had first given the story coverage and credence in his popular documentary series, ‘The Lost Worlds of Diggs.’
He could still recall, word for word, the opening on-camera link that he had delivered in early 2999.
"I am standing here on the beach of the Sandy Bay. For many years this beautiful spot has been thought of by some archaeologists as perhaps the birth places of mankind. And now perhaps confirmation based on a recent discovery it may now be confirmed it is here that man may have first walked across the sands of this time."
The director had shouted “Cut!” David stopped mid sentence and turned away from the camera.
“You don't want to rather try walked naked across the sands of time?” the director had asked.
“No, I think we might already be pushing it.” David answered.
The only reason why they thought Sandy Bay may have been the first place that man had walked naked, had been the fact that unlike other beaches that had been excavated, very few items of clothing had ever been found there.
The cameraman looked at the director who nodded. He was still rolling and David continued,” A recent discovery could be about to throw new light on early man. Could our forefathers and fore-mothers have reached levels of sophistication far sooner than they have thus far been given credit? Recently well known archaeologist Dr Grace Grant, the former wife of Robin Sans, quite literally stumbled across something that could forever change the landscape of our understanding of prehistoric times.
It was not difficult to remember the script as he had watched a recording of the program almost every day over the last year as he grappled to make sense of the uproar that followed its first broadcast.
Although now it all had all come to pass in the last millenium, it was only year ago really, but the last 12 months since the discovery now felt like a lifetime ago .
All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
The Book of the Siamese Crocodile
By Lawrence Clarke Hilton All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
Chapter 03 ~ What a difference a day makes
That summer morning 12 months ago to the day was going to be a scorcher.
Grace Grant groaned as her mind tried to find its way back to consciousness. The 9.30 AM sun was still struggling to break through the fog that enveloped the Sandy Bay beach. Twelve hours of exposure to the elements had left Grace dehydrated and very groggy. Grace's short blonde hair was matted with blood from the gash where her head had struck the rock the night before.
The silver sea heaved under the wall of white fog that enveloped the rocks and floated over the beach. Sandy Bay remained one of the most exquisite and somewhat isolated beach just a half an hour's drive from Cape Town Central.
The rising waters of the Atlantic Ocean had caused the once smile of a beach to retreat further up the mountain into just a little grin of white sands that curled up the face of the mountains.
It still took visitors a good 15 minutes to clamber along the mountain path and over the rocks to reach the beach.
Surprisingly it had remained undeveloped over the last 10 centuries. Although this could have been about to change with the plans being laid by the Sans brothers.
The full tide sighed as it rolled up the steep slope of the shore. Short waves -dumpers- slapped down thunderously as they flat-handed the beach and burst up the shore. The sands of the beach were left steaming after each wave as the cold waters receded.
In an hour or so when the sun finally broke through the fog, the sea would become the most translucent green blue and like a giant mirror it would reflect the huge boulders that had been strewn across the shores eons ago.
On the opposite side of the beach to where Grace lay, a helicopter swooped in low as the pilot completed one leg of a search grid pattern. Under the chopper a team of rescue workers and some holiday makers who had volunteered to assist, had formed a line and were now slowly walking across the paths between the rocks and boulders as they attempted to locate Grace.
Grace gasped as she felt cold water hit her and then moaned as she tried to prop herself up. Her tanned feet struggled to find a footing and her arms although defined from years of working outdoors could not find the strength to bring her to fully sit up.
'What the hell.....?" she mumbled and looked into the dune forest. She thought she might have just glimpsed the back of someone pushing there way into the bushes as they retreated, but she was not sure.
She was not sure of anything anymore.
Her head throbbed and a sudden overwhelming pain caused her to lapse back into semi-consciousness.
Her thoughts became jumbled and disconnected as they rolled around her mind.
Grace had always felt that one day she would discover something really important. She'd had a couple of false starts already.
As an archaeologist Grace had preferred to throw her focus further back in time than the modern academia seemed to encourage.
From her point of view, recent history say for the last one thousand years had been somewhat uniform, a pretty much of a muchness, with one ancient shopping mall being found beneath the foundations of the earlier one.
This had led to a slew of new malls and casinos being named after their ancient fore-runners. Their names were easy to work out as they were found everywhere on the signage that had survived the 33rd World War. And so it was that North Gate Mall, Caesars palace and even a place called 'The Lost City' were no longer lost and now again rose from the ashes, sometimes built on the very foundations of their predecessors.
Many new developments found themselves briefly stalled as archaeologists did a quick cursory once over before the construction could continue. To show at least the minimal respect, developers were forced to commission statues or build memorial gardens and these would take pride of place at the opening ceremonies in the center courts to pay some homage to the long gone shoppers of ancient times.
Some development excavations had discovered rows of corpses like those that had been uncovered like in Pompeii -their final moments were forever frozen in time following the volcanic eruptions that had caught them off guard.
But in these cases, it was long cues of the solidified remains of shoppers who still stood almost a thousand years later at the ancient tills where they had perished. They had been not even been able to shout out as whatever disaster had engulfed them. They had stood still for hundreds of years still waiting to ‘buy now’ and now without ever having the opportunity to ‘pay later.’
Some had been frozen in their cars during the Great Freeze of 2200 with their mobile phones stuck to their ears, as they waited to drive out of parking lots in traffic jams that had lasted 800 years. Next to them giant billboards where you could still make out the slogans like, ‘You can take your number with you if you ever change service providers!'
Sadly these shoppers would never be able to do the switch as they were no longer in an area where there that sort of signal coverage was available.
Grace often would comment to her students that over the last one thousand years archaeology had become an academic faberge' egg that just revealed mere copies of itself as one dug deeper into the past.
One could now gain a degree in Consumer Historical Studies. The course would take as one of its main considerations that ancient Rome had reached the pinnacle of its societal development with the invention of the credit card. Anthropology had now taken as its main thrust - the study of the evolution of man from human to 'consumans.'
Grace was not alone in her view as a few still found it absurd that modern society had come to set this ability to consume as the bench mark of human existence.
Some of her peers had been shocked when they listened in to her lectures after complaints by some parents had been laid. She delighted many of her students who would whoop and applaud as Grace would pour scorn on the modern world more specifically the Sans Corporation.
Miss Grant's end of first term lecture had become legendary on campus and many students who were not studying her course would still cram into the full lecture hall to hear it.
'The very fabric of society,' Grace's green eyes would flash as she wrapped her first term lecture course. 'Yes, the very fabric of our society has been now treaded by the needles of marketing and advertising which now pierce our very souls.'
Her first year students would now look in shock and then glee at the outspokenness of it all. By this time to say anything against the system or to even suggest improvements was viewed as highly subversive activity.
'This constant bombardment is nothing short of corporate brainwashing in which we are forced to lose sight of ourselves - our true human natures - as we are moulded into 'consumans' who tacitly accept the giant ball of elephant dung being pushed up and down our throats by those at the Sans Corporation.'
Most of her students would be standing by now and cheering - not all - but most of them.
Grace would grab her bag and make her way towards the exit then turn and shout 'And its your responsibility to change it. Have a happy holiday!'
Many of the students could not believe that this was the same Grace who had once been married to Robin Sans who she had met while studying at the University of the Cape City. If ever any student tried to bring this up Grace would just say, 'I was young and foolish!'
Grace had initially fallen for Robin's dry humour and thought at the time that opposites may be able to maintain their attraction. But it was not too be. As she became more outspoken against the Sans business model, Robins initial need to have a beautiful woman on his arm to prop up his confidence quickly dissolved, as she was to his mind a PR disaster. The final straw was when she was quoted as saying in his own Sans News feed that
'By the year 2998 this advertising onslaught has become essential to big business - not only as a exercise in marketing to encourage consumption, but also as a distraction from the true awfulness of the concurrent destruction of the planet and many of its life forms that is inevitable with these extraordinary levels of usage of the earth’s resources. This Sans ethos of creating a perpetual sense of need for often frivolous items has been adopted as the pivotal meaning of life on earth as most work involved trying to keep all the Sans balls in the air to ensure that their game could continue to be played.'
To Robin's mind this was the ultimate betrayal. The divorce was bitter as one can imagine and Robin in private referred to Grace as 'that treacherous bitch' At the press conference he played it down and described their partings of ways as merely 'putting a healthy distance between their inherent differences of opinion.'
Grace then slowly began to go out as a single woman again but would often bring a cocktail party to a standstill when she would find herself arguing loudly to anyone who would listen and state that she was 'against a system being accepted just for an archaic and unfair economic system to survive which wish to maintain an equally unfair status quo that made it essential for consumans to keep on consuming.'
Grace would sometimes wake up and think, 'Oh not again' as she remembered that the night before she had upset the hostess by screaming that she no longer be part of this capitalistic cannibalism that was literally eating itself to death.
Grace has completed her masters with a paper that dealt with how for individuals this constant need to keep up with the Jones had left most in a state of perpetual anguish.
Even for the fortunate small upper stratosphere of society who knew how to play the game, enough was never going to be enough, and there was never going to be enough to be enough.
Consumans had been sadly born to shop.
Grace had been mentored by one of her beloved lecturer who had been the dean at her first university. Miss P Eaton although always flatly sardonic had opened her eyes to the difference between a human need - essential things like water and oxygen and consuman's often addictive wants - fizzy pop and nicotine.
She believed that psychoanalytical evaluations of the problem had became an entire separate industry as people were asked to lie on the couch and go though self-inflicted mental torture as they tried to deal with the existential crisis that living with this limited rationale to exist had brought upon them.
The process of psychiatry could be now be likened - as Grace used to love to explain to those who had not yet moved away from her, still caught up by her captivating manner and beauty at parties - it could be likened to people on a sinking ship completely ignoring the urgent problem of the water pouring though the portals.
Instead of doing things that were required to survive and using the time that could have saved them as a call to action, they ended up rather using this time to rather call their psychologist who would start asking questions about how they felt about death as opposed to screaming down the phone that they should live in the 'now' more and head for the closest life raft and change the system.
It was with all these thoughts swirling in her mind that Grace groaned as she again tried to gain full consciousness.
She could hear the threshing sound and felt the strong draught of the chopper blades blowing down on her. Those in the search and rescue helicopter had yet to spot her as she lay in the shadows of the Port Jackson bushes that tangled their way along the dunes.
“Water!” she mouthed and winced as her parched lips cracked with the effort. She was delirious and her thoughts scrambled again as she slipped in and out of consciousness.
Earlier two hikers had made their way past Grace as she lay unconscious.
Unfortunately for Grace they presumed that she was just suffering the after effects of the party that welcomed in 2999. They perhaps could have made more of an effort to investigate her plight but respect for other’s privacy overrode real concern for others. Had Grace be able to witness this side-step of conscience by the walkers she would have quickly identified it as another perfect example of how the more terribly convenient the modern world had become so some basic concern for others became an uncomfortable inconvenience.
Suddenly Grace's mind took her to one night when she was arguing with Robin.
Robin had listened to Grace so often rail against the civilization that was about to summit again and like mountaineers of old - once in the stratosphere it was every man or woman for him or herself.
Initially he had found the discussions stimulating as no-one had ever stood up to him like this.
But when she would go on and on about the fact that, 'The responsibility for the state of the planet had over the years been placed firmly at the door of the individual whilst at the same time they were encouraged to lounge round on some of the last pine wood settees in a vague state of concerned lethargy as they watching the television or gazed at their laptops in a state of moral frigidity!' Robin knew he was going to have to extricate himself from this marriage.
To Robin, Grace had become a fanatic. Grace would follow him into the shower shouting above the noise of the water that 'Governments were fine with it. Passing on the responsibility had become a government's ultimate survival tactic.'
Okay he would have to grant Grace that one, as he recalled that children's party games now included a variation on the ancient game of ‘pass the parcel.’ In the modern game 'Pass the buck' the loser was the last person left holding the buck when the music was switched off.
But all the laying blame on him and his corporation had became the national past time.
To Robin humanity had become a species of couch potatoes who would pass comment on the ills of the world but were to lazy to do anything. They were lucky they had someone like him to try and hold it all together. Grace would argue that they had been made to feel powerless against the scope and extent of the problems that life on earth now faced.
Previous governments had been fine with this because it helped keep everyone's attention away from the real problems that lay behind the catastrophes that were to inevitably occur. There was a universal hankering to previous simpler times and this was reflected in modern architecture plans calling for extensions of the budget as fortunes were be spent trying to make new monstrous developments look as if coming from the past for their inspiration.
Grace too had sought relief from her disgust at modern historical studies that she had begun to try and spread her attention further into the past to look at the origins of man. Grace had concentrated her energies towards the belief that man had not climbed down from the trees but had first found habitat close to the coasts.
She believed that our bodies were far closer adapted to life in the water as opposed to our ever having been tree-dwellers. Our body fat composition, the possibility of webbed fingers, and our natural ability to swim and feed from the ocean swayed her opinion.
But even these alternative theories of our origins were thrown into disarray as she stared at the curved rock that had injured her forehead as it made hard contact with the ground.
The sound of the Christmas beetles buzzed in her head as she wiped the blood from the rocks sharp point.
It was about twice the size of an Ostrich’s egg, with a crack that had over the centuries become a fissure that had recently reached a degree of separation that with just the knock from Grace's head as she fallen, had been enough to break into two almost perfect halves.
As Grace looked at the rock which lay now open and as she wiped the mucous from her eyes and tried to focus that it looked like it had formed a mould in which two diametrically identical shapes had formed in the centre of each.
She picked up the one half and was too dazed to be startled when the centre section fell in front of her. She reached over to the other piece of the rock and gave it a light tap.
Again now the other centre of the stone fell out.
Grace had initially thought that perhaps it was just another flint stone used for fire making in prehistoric times.
She slowly turned over the two pieces in her hand.
Vaguely remembering that this was not exactly the correct archaeological dig procedure - tampering with artifacts whilst concussed - she noted the indentations of what seemed to have one been holes lying in pairs up the arch of the stone. But what were the rope-like ridges that had once been intertwined as if laced across the top? Although now fossilized these still seemed to hold the stone together. Five hollowed out marks spread around the broader ends of the stone.
She was aware that her disorientation might stem from the cut on her head, but she was almost sure that she had seen a group of tall figures standing around her as she came to. And why did she feel wet as if someone had just poured ice cold water in her face.
Her foot itched where a beach ant had just bitten her. She idly scratched it with the point of the stone, still warm from the sun. It was then she realized in a glimpse of clarity. This looked like it could have been some sort of ancient foot ware. The five hollows were almost a perfect fit with her sun burnt toes. She winced vaguely realizing that she might be severely concussed. Her head stopped throbbing for a moment.
She stared at the two rocks, her eyes slowly gaining better focus and pressed the halves together. In fact, she thought this was beginning to look like ...
'No it couldn't be...' her mind rejected the idea
But then again she thought the sharp point and length of the heel does look like a ....
'It's a prehistoric shoe or sandal' she thought she realized.
Grace had seen similar at other digs but not with this extended heel.
But the more she gazed at it even with her vision blurring, it looked to her more like a prehistoric stiletto.
Grace groaned as the sun's rays broke through the trees and glinted through the half-opened lashes of her eyes.
She was able to realize that her mind might be some in hallucinatory over-drive, but she looked at the rock again and then let out a pathetic giggle as it still looked like a high heeled shoe.
Finally the chopper made a sweep over the forest where she lay and at last she was spotted. They found her still giggling and incoherent.
'Its a prehistoric stiletto!' she mumbled to the paramedics that first attended to her.
He quickly noted to his colleagues, 'She's seriously delirious!'
'What was she doing at Sandy Bay last night anyway?' his assistant shouted over the sound of the chopper now waiting on the beach as he inserted the drip into Grace's arm. The other just shrugged and waved the two carrying a stretcher to come forward.
Grace has not yet been able to notice that the 'shoe' - if that was what it was - was imprinted with the fossils of some of the earliest life known to humans.
Tiny fossilized spirals of early life on the heel showed that at some stage in history it had been encrusted with early sea life. It was a small mercy that she hadn't noticed this as these would indicate that the 'shoe' would predate human life on earth. That thought would have been too much for Grace's current fragile hold onto reality to bear.
Her fingers tightly gripped the stone as the paramedics strapped her to the stretcher and carried her to the waiting medical chopper that was churning up a small sandstorm on the beach.
As it took off, many of the holiday makers were left scrambling to catch their umbrella's that were being flung across the beach by the propeller’s downdraft. By this time the sun was approaching midday the point where UV levels now became life-threatening.
Umbrellas really were a matter of life and death. This added to the tourist's urgency as they chased after the brollies, with T shirts thrown over their heads as they tried to shield themselves from the harsh sun.
It was so bright that it gave the beach and the sea a near nuclear ultra-violet after glow.
"Oh God!” she thought as her stomach lurched as the chopper lifted and swung back into the direction of Cape Town, “Here we go again!”
At the same time as the sedative took hold and Grace’s body went limp, over a thousand miles from Sandy Bay, an elderly woman was lifting a heavy book onto her lap and turning the first page which she then began to read aloud to those who gathered and knelt at her feet.
All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
Thanks for visiting!
For fun and for the sake of motivating myself to revisit and complete this project I am releasing chapters of my book The Stiletto Code introducing The Book of the Siamese Crocodile as part of my blog on a weekly basis.
Previous chapters can be found on this blog - just check out category lists on right panel to catch an early glimpse of this work in progress. A lot of editing would be needed still but in the meantime this may be just what I need to finish it!
Best wishes and hope you enjoy this rough draft!
The Book of the Siamese Crocodile
By Lawrence Clarke Hilton All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
Chapter 04 ~ The Book
Her hands had remained elegant in spite of the eighty years she had spent on earth. She stared at the book that had been placed on the small table in front of her.
She closed her eyes and her fingers followed the edges of the deep lines of the pattern that had been engraved in the gold sheet of the cover.
Her eyes flickered beneath the lids until finally she opened them looked down at perfectly symmetrical pattern that had been laid out in black onyx blocks pressed deep into the metal.
In the middle a simple geometric motif of a diagonal square forming the body and four triangles formed the heads and the tails, as if two crocodiles were laid across each other.
She raised her hand and the 12 woman who had gathered in a semi-circle around her feet fell silent.
They quickly knelt at her feet and as they settled she made the sign to the heavens. The cover was heavy and she needed both hands to carefully lift it and lay it down on the table.
She began to read aloud from the book, 'This is the Book Of the Siamese Crocodile. My name is Valerian - I have spent many years translating what follows from that which has been carved into the walls and caves of the mountain upon which I stood for the time of my life and gazed with wonder and puzzled at the shapes that I have been witness to.'
Outside a lion roared from across the broad brown river that rolled and twisted like a python as it flowed past the enormous white dome of the City of Saints Church that had been built on the banks of the river Congo.
The others bowed their heads and mumbled inaudible prayers.
“We, the Amazilli floated on a universe of stars.
The Lion roared again.
She paused and began to read again from the beginning.
“We, the Amazilli floated on a universe of stars.
Our ship had bypassed a million galaxies and then finally stopped for a moment at the red planet.
We, The Amazilly had used every means at our disposal to get to the place that Hugh had created for us in space for to all intents and purposes, it was said to be 'The Paradise.'
As the Amazilli scribe I this write this according to which I have been told and that which I have been witness to, so that our precious cargo should know from where they came and to where they go.
To lose such knowledge would leave them lost and without hope.
And so I write this record - my truth to be told.
Our ship was extraordinarily beautiful. The suns that hung across its masts and bows left a trail of neon rainbows in their wake as we sailed across the galaxies for what seemed to be the longest time.
The lights served not as a warning to others of our presence for as far as we know there were no others - not in this time .
We -The Amazilli - were tall or at least some of them were some of them were. Future accounts would set us as tall as the mountain carved into a table. Others would say we were as tall as the camelhorse whose long neck could reach the highest sweetest leaves. All of which is relative. We all can be giants not matter how big or small.
We had been given an inherent sense of joy and we were able to create our own amusements.
We needed this talent for the voyage we were on had lasted longer than the whole of this time.
Time, as we moved through the millennia at the speed of the light of suns , had slowed and in that instant, moments became eternities as if without end.
On board we carried with us the most precious cargo ever to have been transported in this or any other time.
12 sets of almost identical twins were carried in states of 'to be', present but not yet here until the paradise was ready for their arrival.
We, in orientation as Amazilli - loved.
Hugh or ‘one who travels within’ was this Vacuum's architect and had sent the Amazilli upon this odyssey of delivery.
Hugh had given Hector, our Captain a bejewelled mirror map.
It hung from the wall of the ship's mess so that everyone could see it and know that the long journey would have an end, even if the beginning had been almost forgotten.
It was the most beautiful mirror and set within its perfect reflection were such precious jewels.
A ring of tiny pearls circled the aquamarine. This pattern spiralled outwards and encircled at its centre the most translucent diamonds set apart from a rough golden nugget.
A green blue aquamarine was encircled by a tiny pearl again circling as if both went round the golden orb.
Hugh who travels within had told Hector that Aqua was the paradise.
That day our journey had at last reached the end of this beginning.
"Aqua Ahoy!" The elegant voice of the Amazilli watch yelled out as he spied the glimpse of the blue jewel set against the darkness of the Vacuum.
Below Hernia stretched out her hand and called to her lover and began to ring the bell. Hector immediately rose from his bunk gently waking Rocco his partner.
Lifting his scope he peered out into the Vacuum he immediately recognized the view before him as being the solar system portrayed on the bejewelled mirror map.
He lovingly touched the hand of 'Drew who was breathless with excitement.
The rest of the Amazilli rose almost as one and moved to whatever vantage they could find on the deck. On seeing the perfect symmetry of the system that lay ahead they gave a collective gasp.
Chrys gushed at the beauty of it all, "Hugh! You really have outdone yourself!"
The others clapped and laughed on hearing Chrys' typical understated humour in the face of such cosmic extravagance
Hector gave the order to set course for Aqua.
Slowly the ship turned towards the blue planet that hung so perfectly in space and that had waited so long for them.
A teardrop fell onto the page as the woman paused. The fingers that had just turned the page, quickly wiped the tear away and for the first time since she had begun to read from the book, she looked up at the others.
They were silent, their heads still bowed.
“How long has this been kept from me?” she whispered.
Their heads remained bowed and they remained silent.
All rights reserved © 2004 De Villiers Hilton Partnership
Lawrence is a former award-winning TV presenter from SA currently based in the UK.
He has worked as stand-up & comedy host presenter, actor and producer. Lawrence has also worked as a motivational language performance coach & writer providing language learning & teaching workshops and resources.
He has an opinion on everything! Check out some of the other articles listed below, & you'll see what we mean!
For more on Lawrence please see rest of this website.
To subscribe to blog
please use link below
Read more by Lawrence
Support the South African
Theatre Benevolent Fund
More by Lawrence
Should've been a sufer!
Round the sun
click pic to visit links
Pierre - A South African Boy
Starring Johan Englebrecht
KKNK Festival South Africa