Monday 24 June 2019

How Soon Is Now? A novel by Gary Walton: Chapter 14: Wars And Rumours Of Wars

Chapter 14: Wars And Rumours Of Wars

Boy & Bear

"A Moment's Grace"

Through a crack in the road, it sprung
The seedling warm and young
Stretching out for the sun
It's August and I'm grinnin'

For this time I might be winnin'
As the moving lights, that time of year lay still
And as my body changes a pace I seem to know again
That I am not gonna die this way

And I'll hold my missis
In a bed of kisses
Like I should
Cause I am not
Gonna die this way

The rain had stopped and it was pleasantly warm.
"Wow, what a day, another near miss," said Maggie.
"Yeah, crazy day," I answered.
I downed the brandy in one gulp, "that hit the spot," I said to Maggie.
I poured my self another brandy.

"When did all this terrorist killing start," Maggie asked?
"The original terrorists were the Assyrians, thousands of years BC and modern-day IS is supposed to have descended from the Assyrians," I said.
"But this modern version of terrorism kind of started in the 70s with the Grand Mosque, seizure, in Mecca, with around 250 deaths, I think, that was in 1970, then, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, a Palestinian terrorist group called Black September took eleven Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them along with a West German police officer.," I said.
"The attacks began to accelerate through the decades, in 1998, the United States embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi killed 224," I said.
I went on, "probably the most famous of all was 9/11, a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks supposedly by al-Qaeda involving the hijacking and crashing of passenger jet airliners that killed 2,996 people, and injured over 6,000 others, causing around $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage, we all remember that one, I said.
"In 2002, we had the Bali bombings in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people and injuring 240," I explained.
"In 2004, we had the Madrid bombings which killed nearly 200 people."
"In 2005, the London underground bombings, by now terrorist attacks had exploded, pardon the pun, since the two in the 70s, terrorist attacks have now become big business, rising to something like 50 for the whole year, nearly one a week, in 2023," I said.
"And of course, in 2010, a Tunisian street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi refused to pay a bribe to local officials, he set himself on fire which triggered a seismic shift Islamic politics, causing the Arab Spring which brought down the Tunisian, Egyptian, Yemen, and Libyan governments and throwing Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Syria into a deadly civil war and sparking a refugee exodus in Europe bigger than the one in WWII, which has since brought the troubles to the streets of Europe and increasing the terrorist attacks," explained Maggie.
"And Iran has recently threatened to step up terrorist attacks around the world after the recent attack by Israel," Maggie added.

"Maggie, are you a creationist or an evolutionist," I asked?
"Well let me say, Darwin's theory of evolution is just that, a theory, nothing more nothing less," she said.
She went on, "in my opinion, for over one hundred and fifty years the deception of evolution has prevented billions of people from knowing the truth about who they are and where they came from and why they are here."
"And Darwin fought with himself over his beliefs especially near the end of his life, apparently."
"You see, the lie here is, with the evolution theory, death must have always been here on earth but God himself says," she looked at me fiercely, "Satan confined Adam and Eve to death when they listened to his lie and eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and bad, introducing sin into the world, before this had happened in Genesis 1:31 God himself had said everything here on the Earth was good," said Maggie.
"Ok, that is how I understand it to be but, I do have a problem, is the world less than 7,000 years old or is it billions of years old," I asked?
"Well, I myself believe less than 7,000 years but, the mystery comes from the opening verses of the Bible, Genesis 1:1-2: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep, and God’s active force was moving about over the surface of the waters., now, some people read this as proof the Earth was here a very long time ago and had become formless and desolate, or always had been, the people who believe this are called Gap creationists (known as ruin-restoration creationism, restoration creationism, or "The Gap Theory"), explained Maggie.
"Some Bible scholars even believe the Earth was originally made for the Angels and the wonderful Lucifer was sent to govern the Angels but he became corrupt, thinking he could become God himself, and turned into Satan, corrupting a third of God's Angels at the same time," said Maggie.
"But you don't believe that do you," I said.
"I believe, if Satan had destroyed an earlier Earth he would have been cast out from heaven millions of years ago, maybe even Billion of years ago," said Maggie.
She went on, but Satan speaks to Jehovah in heaven, in Job, Chapter 1:6-7; 6 Now the day came when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah and Satan also entered among them. 7 Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Where have you come from?” Satan answered Jehovah: “From roving about on the earth and from walking about in it.” And Jehovah said to Satan: “Have you taken note of my servant Job?"
Maggie went on, "Many Bible scholars believe Job lived after Joseph but before Moses (after 1650 BC and before 1500 BC) which is a long time ago but certainly after the flood when Satan was still allowed into Heaven."

The heavy conversation and the crazy day we had just experienced took its toll and Maggie and I had an early night, skipping dinner, we were both exhausted.

I awoke early, I had been tossing and turning all night, I could not get the terror attack in Brussels out of my mind, and sleep had been hard to find. I made some coffee and told the house-port to turn on the news on the wall monitor, I decided to let Maggie sleep.
During the night the two Iranian satellites had fallen back to Earth and burned up entering the Earth's atmosphere. In a further development, Israel confirmed it launched a major bombing attack targeting Iranian troops in Syria with air strikes, killing four Iranian soldiers and injuring ten more.  According to Israel TV, the Syrian military fired dozens of missiles at Israeli warplanes near Damascus. The Israeli strike followed the launch of a missile towards Israel from Syria earlier. The missile was successfully intercepted by the Isreali Iron Dome defence system.
Meanwhile, in retaliation, Iran had issued a chilling message to Israel, warning, it is “impatient” to confront and destroy the nation in a statement issued just hours after Israel launched air raids on various targets in Syria. The Israeli Prime Minister hit back, warning he will hit back against "anyone who tries to harm Israel". Satellite images were now showing a build-up of Iranian, Russian and Syrian troops south of Damascus. American weapons, tanks and troops were arriving in Israel.

I stepped onto the balcony with my coffee, it was cool and raining again, the boulevard below was deserted, a council truck was on the beach emptying the trash bins into the truck, an army of seagulls followed the truck skwarking like banshees. Out at sea, I could see where the grey clouds stop and blue skies begin, the rain would clear in an hour or so.

I went back inside to watch the news, as the Gulf Coast continued to real from the mighty impacts of hurricane Harold experts were bracing themselves as another tropical threat was gathering strength out in the Atlantic, namely hurricane Ian. Ian had strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane, which had since weakened to a Category 2 hurricane, but restrengthening was expected. With the unusually warm waters in the Atlantic acting as rocket fuel for the hurricane, Ian was expected to reach category 5 next week. The American models forecasted it would smash into the Carolinas by next Sunday.  The European models had it heading to Cuba and possibly threatening South Florida.

In an update to the terrorist attack in Brussels, yesterday morning twenty-four people had died including the three suicide bombers, the terror group IS had claimed responsibility for the attack, Brussels intelligence were not giving out information while they were investigating the attack. 
Meanwhile, a new terror attack had unfolded late last night in one of Barcelona's main tourist streets in the middle of the tourist season. A black truck jumped the sidewalk in this city's historic Las Ramblas district and crashed into a summer crowd of residents and tourists, killing at least 6 and injuring dozens of people, police said, almost copying a similar attack in August of 2017. Some reports claimed the terrorists targeted a popular Jewish kosher restaurant.

I woke Maggie with a kiss and handed her a coffee.
"Hmm, good morning darling," she said.
"How did you sleep," I asked.
"Beautiful, and, just another day and I'm officially on holiday," she said, stretching.
"You go jump in the shower and I'll make you some breakfast," I said.

I started cooking the eggs and bacon with half an eye on the news. 
Temperatures once again had hit 50 deg C (122 deg F) in parts of Morocco as a deadly heatwave hit them for the second time this summer.

Hundreds of endangered olive ridley sea turtles had been found dead off the coast of Mexico.
Local fishermen in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca have found about 500 dead sea turtles.
The find came just days after another 175 olive ridley turtles were found dead in neighbouring Chiapas state. The Olive Ridley turtles are a struggling species and are considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, meanwhile, the BBC announced they would be showing a documentary that evening of the true state of America's coastal and waterways as thousands of tons of dead marine life was impacting the US every month and was getting worse.

I called Maggie to come and eat, she had a big towel covering her wet hair and my white bathrobe on.
I filled her in on the latest news.
"I was told yesterday by a French European MP that Israel will attack Tehran if Iran continues to attack Tel Aviv with its proxy terrorists, Hamas, which will be the prelude to WWIII," said Maggie.
"He told you that," I said almost choking on my bacon.
"Yes he did, he also told me Iran had devasting new missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv from Tehran but, the French MP was an Arab," Maggie said, smiling.
"The British have also offered their help to Israel if it's needed," I said.
"Egypt and Jordan have kept quiet so far," said Maggie but they will fall into place when it kicks off," explained Maggie.
"And that is a question of when and not if," I added.
"What are you doing today," I asked Maggie?
"I will be gone all day, I will be clearing all my paperwork before my well deserved holiday with the new man of my life," she said, smiling.

A half an hour later she was gone, I cleaned the dishes, the news monitor was telling me record temperatures were shattered in San Francisco in the last couple of days, which had caused a lot of issues on public transit for commuters. The heat wreaked havoc on the evening commute for many BART and Muni riders.
Muni says the oldest vehicles in its fleet had the toughest time and Saturday's heat could cause another day of delays. When asked how hot it was on one of the BART trains, a rider replied, "I don't have a thermometer, but probably 122 degrees F 50 deg C.

I sat on the balcony with coffee and my laptop, the clouds had lifted and the sky was now a wonderful fresh blue, it was going to be a lovely day again.
I opened my email account and set to work on my blog. A shocking report had arrived in my tray from The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 1624 manatees, 989 sea turtles 527 bottlenose dolphins and billions of fish along with countless birdlife, had been reported dead from the red tide algae in Florida in the summer of 2025, which had now just reached its peak. peoples throat and eyes were being burned from the aerosolized red tide toxins carried miles by the sea spray. Many pets had reportedly died from the algae bloom and the stench of the carnage hung on the summer humidity.
It was being described as just horrible. Everywhere people stepped was lined all the way to the shore with dead fish. ... The bugs were even worse than the smell.

An event on our Sun had NOAA and NASA extremely excited as a sunspot, numbered AR3766 had been just an unremarkable speck largely ignored by forecasters just a couple of days ago but in twenty-four hours had undergone a furious transformation. The tiny sunspot AR3766 had expanded more than 10-fold in a single day, suddenly becoming one of the largest sunspots of the year. The behemoth sunspot had continued to grow and now, had developed into a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field harbouring energy for substantial X-class solar flares. Any such explosion today would be geoeffective as the active region is directly facing Earth. Possible outcomes include strong shortwave radio blackouts, Earth-directed CMEs and geomagnetic storms later this week. Not if but when I thought...

The Indian, Japanese, South Korean and Australian governments had jointly released a very chilling warning claiming the remarkable rise of China as a military power which could lead to an Indo-Pacific war of unprecedented consequences, and the Chinese expansion in the Indian and the Pacific Ocean should be a huge concern to the world at the moment.

I decided to take a walk, I left the house and walked along the boulevard past the restaurants and bars and onto the main shopping street, the weather although warm and sunny, was much more pleasant than it had been in recent weeks, the hot sun had been replaced by the warm sun. The main shopping street was busy with tourists, lovers, holding hands, looking in shop windows for a souvenir or a new t-shirt, the holiday mood was still here, I thought. Kids and parents stood outside the ice cream parlour, eagerly licking cornets and ice lollies, others were enjoying chips, fish or other savoury snacks, the terraces were full with people enjoying a beer or a glass of wine, this is how life should be, not bombing the crap out of each other, I thought.

I turned onto the local square, a group of teenagers were hanging around a bench, it was only when I got closer I realised what was happening, one teenager was sat on the ground but he wasn't aware of his surroundings, another teenager stood on the spot, swaying slightly, unable to move his legs, a wet patch on his trousers suggested he had pissed himself, two other kids had passed out on the bench, and another teenager was bent double, his legs firmly planted on the pavement, his head hanging by his knees, his hands nearly touching the ground, vomit was on his legs and shoes, he too, was motionless and unaware of his surroundings, the kids had obviously overdosed on the new zombie drug, Agent Beelzebub. Within seconds two Police drones had arrived, I decided to move on.

I thought of my own past problems with drugs, my one-time addiction to cocaine, a time when my life had no rhyme or reason, a time when white powder became more important to me than love itself.

I sat down on a bench outside the supermarket and just watched the world go by and I was exhausted from lack of sleep the night before.
I must have drifted off, Maggie was shaking me awake, "hey darling, what's wrong, wake up," she said gently.
"Oh Maggie, honey, I'm sorry, I must have fallen asleep," I explained.
"Why didn't you take your telephone with you, I have been worried sick," said Maggie, trying to look annoyed, "what are you doing out here?"
"I just came down for a stroll, I must have left my phone in the apartment," I said.
She sat down next to me and grabbed my hand, "the terror attack yesterday has whacked you sideways hasn't it darling," asked Maggie.
"I guess, how was your day," I asked.
"Just fine, let's get you home," said Maggie.
"No, let us go sit on a terrace and get drunk," I offered.
Maggie looked at me concerned.
"C' mon, we can get something to eat too and you're on holiday by the way," I offered.

We managed to find a table on one of the terraces along the boulevard, all the bars and restaurants were packed to the rafters.
We ordered two cold beers.
"Have you been worrying about everything," Maggie asked me lovingly?
"Oh you know, I'm fine now your home, I missed you," I told Maggie.
"Well falling asleep in the street isn't going to help, I only managed to find you because a friend had seen you," said Maggie.

A drone dropped from the sky and hovered above the terrace.
"Who is he looking for," asked Maggie?
"Agent Beelzebub," I said, laughing.
Maggie looked at me shocked, "who?"
I told her about the stoned kids in the square this afternoon.
I ordered another two beers.
It was going to be a long night.

How Soon Is Now? Previous Chapters

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