Trapping Notes

(I wrote this a good few years ago, it was meant as a bit of fun and exploration, not as any hint towards what was known as the battle between the sexes. I had never heard of identity politics then, so  I was not aiming at that either!)

 

Trapping Notes.

Image result for two old men by river art

Daniel Xonedu.  71.206.373.672.

The Global Record.        Friday, September 25, 2128

Summer has skipped town like a fickle debutante grown weary of her beau, and the Fall has blown into my farm on the cool easterly winds. The leaves on the maples burn scarlet in the woods my father planted behind the barns before I was born, and the leather-skinned pumpkins that my wife tends so carefully have begun to swell on the vines. My neighbour, Giles, a wiry soul, who once coached our state baseball team, is busy harvesting the crop of apples that he will brew with the devotion of the alchemist into the cider that the two of us will share, as we have done for these great many years, on one of our south-facing porches.

 

We will chew the fat over the short wintry afternoons to come, before the first of the heavy snows fall, and drive us happily into our caves.

 

On fine, God-sent mornings such as this one, with the suns rays slanting benignly through my windows, I find it difficult to believe that such turmoil brews in the torrid Sahara.

 

When one cannot possibly hear the high buzz of the fighter jets as they duck and dive, maintaining the perimeters; when one can only imagine the rivers of sweat trickling down limber bodies that are loaded with ordinance; when one cannot hope to see the dust devils being whipped up on the far shimmer of the horizon; it is very easy to dismiss entirely that such turmoil exists.

 

It is far more comforting to believe that stacking high the walls of the wood shed, and oiling the tools for storage are the most pressing needs of the day.

 

But then again, I am an old man. That is my excuse.

 

Were I younger I would undoubtedly be called upon again to serve my time as necessary in the trenches, to protect those installations that benefit each and every part of our lives.

 

We must not engage once more in the near perpetual state of warfare that so blighted the last hundred years. Short sighted acts of attrition will leave all of us blind. It is blatantly clear, at least to this withered man, that The Guardians of The Committee must seize upon all means to enter into negotiations with The Masters Of The Jihad. A solution has to be found, so that the resources of the Fission Facilities can be harnessed for the benefit of all citizens on the planet.

 

Surely the old men of the East wish for the comfort and peace that would enable them to sit undisturbed among their families and brethren? Surely they too wish to pursue their studies of their Holy books and practise their contemplations, just as this creaking old-timer covets the cool afternoons of as many more winters as he can decently lay claim to?

 

I wish only to idle on my porch. As I am certain do they.

 

Daniel Xonedu. 71.206.373.672

Retired Colonel of the Northern Armies

Retired Professor of Divinities, Princeton University

 

Trapping Notes.

Daniel Xonedu.  71.206.373.672.

The Global Record.        Friday, October 2, 2128

It has been one of those weeks. Seven days that have sorely tested my patience.

My darling wife has been working herself into quite the tizzy, (though I do find that the resulting enervation has bestowed a comely blush to her cheeks.) The Laundry Machine, the Refrigerator, and the Vacuum Cleaner have all been on the blink these past seven days. And, as usual, it is extraordinarily difficult to track down the correct person with the correct know-how, who will actually present themselves at a mutually agreeable time and fix the dratted things!

 

When did all our bright young folk decide to abandon the art of the electrician for the nobler glories of atomic science?

 

No amount of paging will pin these mechanical moths to their place.  Poor Eunice. She took on quite the dunce when she agreed to hitch her star to the wagon of your humble correspondent; I am of no use to her when our domestic appliances creak.

 

It occurs to me, from time to time, that a great many of the esteemed members of The Committee could benefit from a lengthy spell in a mechanical workshop, where they could learn and practise the very basic disciplines of assembly. It would serve them better than being allowed to spend so much of their time in futile speculation. So many convoluted motions to be drafted, debated, amended and inevitably set aside for lack of agreement. So many impotent words to be teased apart. So very little progress at the end of their games!

And yet we, the citizens, must forbear to sit idly by, while this elite snarl themselves in their ideologies. They refuse to chisel some solution to the dangerous situation in which we once more find ourselves. Some day soon, and mark my words, the bombs and lasers will migrate once more beyond the empty yellow sands and they will wreak their havoc upon us all.

 

The time for debate at chamber is past. This is not, nor has it ever been, a war that any can hope to win.

 

I speak, as you know, from bitter experience. A pair of finely crafted titanium legs, wonderful in their bio-technical capacity no doubt, but still bereft of the living warmth of the flesh.

 

But no. I have spoken once more out of turn, and so I desist. Eunice, splendid girl that she is, is stewing some early pumpkin for the first pie of the season tonight. Can there be anything more comforting to the angst-ridden soul that the caramelised toffee of a good pumpkin pie?

 

I hope, dear reader, that wherever life finds you at this particular time, someone is looking after you even half so well.

 

Daniel Xonedu. 71.206.373.672

Retired Colonel of the Northern Armies

Retired Professor of Divinities, Princeton University

 

Trapping Notes.

Daniel Xonedu.  71.206.373.672.

The Global Record.        Friday, October 9, 2128

First credible chills of the coming season to be felt this morning on the skittish breeze. I have been out and about to the river with Giles, casting some lines. The reportage from the Saharan front, the infinite ferocity of the kamikaze teams hurling themselves like moronic lemmings across the desert, and the unthinkable consequences that may ensue, have infected our fishing jaunts.

The splendid isolation of our river bank has been invaded, once more, by the threat of war. We make our vows as we lumber through the wilting pastures, that since we are old men, we must enjoy the time we have left before the slumber that waits us. We must leave behind the upheavals of the world. But this war, indeed all the wars that ever have been, are like sharp and spiteful pebbles that have wormed their ways to lodge in the sole of a favourite shoe.

 

The Masters Of The Jihad have kept their promise. They have dispatched high level envoys to neutral territory on the Aran Islands in order to discuss mutual interests in the Fission Facilities. The Guardians of The Committee, however, saw fit to respond with low-level bureaucrats; toothless, clawless, whey-faced eunuchs, their every movement controlled by their superiors. How can one expect to slap a neighbour so rudely in the face and then sit down and debate control over shared hedging?

 

I stare out over the flashing river, patiently waiting for a fish to bite, endeavouring to train my ears to listen only to the raw empty silences of the spaces in which I am. I choose to attend for the far cry of the eagle, or the sough of the hare. I close my eyes and concentrate on the moving air caressing the hollows of my cheeks, or playing against the thin skin of my eyes—but always the image of carnage returns. The men and women, children really, whose bodies I have tried in vain to hold together, like big bloody broken jigsaw puzzles, while I waited for medical teams to land out of darkened skies. Other children in sterile suits who will lift the pieces out of my sopping arms; others who will pronounce them dead.

Dead.

Dead.

 

There are so very many of us. My great-grandfather would have gasped in disbelief at the vast numbers of us that swarm across the crust of the earth, like as many maggots over a haunch of meat. Endless millions and billions of beating hearts. Perhaps, after all, it is not natural. I do not know.

 

Giles informed me yesterday of an extraordinary communication that he happened upon while perusing the web. I laughed aloud when at first he told me and refused to believe him. Last evening, however, I did a bit of delving myself, and, to my enormous surprise, my neighbour was correct! Recently, medical personnel have reported to the Central Therapeutic Authority in Helsinki of strange medical phenomena that have begun to turn up in surgeries across the globe. What is quite extraordinary, in this age when we have grown accustomed to unusual plagues, is that exactly the same symptoms are replicating themselves almost instantly in places as far asunder as the Americas, New Zealand and Japan. The condition afflicts exclusively the male, and in the sincere hope that you are not presently at table, I shall briefly describe it. The patients, poor chaps, report blood-loss through the aperture of the penis, then the gradual shrinking of that member back into the body over the course of four or five days, whereupon the bleeding ceases.  Thereafter the penis regenerates to its normal dimensions, again over the course of four or five days. The patient then reports himself to be feeling perfectly well and healthy on a physical level, though naturally, there is significant psychological disruption. Physicians have been quite unable to explain what could possibly be causing these similar pathologies to be occurring simultaneously in such disparate regions. The first reported incident was logged to the Central Therapeutic Bureau on Friday September 18th. The Guardians of The Committee have not as yet issued any statement. Once again, I find reason to be consoled by my being securely in my elder years. .

 

Daniel Xonedu. 71.206.373.672

Retired Colonel of the Northern Armies

Retired Professor of Divinities, Princeton University

 

Trapping Notes.

Daniel Xonedu.  71.206.373.672.

The Global Record.        Friday, October 16, 2128

Methinks I smell the stench of a bureaucratic rat. A genetically modified monster of a beast. All through the early days of last week the web was ablaze with a frenzied to and fro of official documents as one after another, medical facilities logged their reports about the extraordinary phenomenon that appears to be spreading in the manner of  a bush-fire across the globe. From Houston to St. Petersburg to Christchurch physicians have been recording a rash, if you will pardon the pun, of identical symptoms afflicting their male patients. Tens of thousands of cases, all displaying indistinguishable pathologies. I described the symptoms in this column last week and you will excuse me if I cannot bring myself to do so again. The traffic on the web had built to a veritable crescendo and then, all of a sudden, by last Wednesday evening, the deluge had drained away. Literally, not one trace left. No rogue bits or bytes to be scavenged that might give evidence to the lie. All searches resulted in nothing. Nada. A great inexplicable void. No subterranean blogs. No hacks. No interference. Lo! The great delete button had been pushed in the sky . Next thing they will be playing rousing marching tunes over the airwaves. Cheerful images of ruddy-cheeked workers will be broadcast nightly into our living rooms to stir the blood. (Or is blood even a permissible word any more?)

 

Meanwhile all channels of global information have filled with the disturbing news from the Mediterranean front where the bombardment continues. Muter noises are emerging from the barren fronts in the Middle Eastern enclaves, perhaps because that area continues to be largely uninhabitable since the time of the Second Holocaust and journalists are loathe to be assigned there. Nevertheless, the hardy tribesmen who roam those wastelands spend themselves just as easily as the next man.  No advance in technology has yet rendered flesh and bones immortal.

 

My neighbour recently took the shuttle flight to New York, to sign off on some tricky unfinished business with a former wife. He tells me that life in the old metropolis appears to be surging along in its normal fashion . The tubes, the streets, the airspace – all continue to be a seething colony of commerce. Apart, that is, from one decidedly unusual sight. Stretched along the sidewalks outside clinics and hospitals, he tells me, are lengthy queues of men, young and old, mute and slump-shouldered, waiting to be admitted into those halls of knowledge, hoping for some cure, some explanation for what ails them. They are protected by heavily armed platoons of the National Guard, as are all plague carriers. Giles tells me that the thing has even been named, and the name whispered in lobbies, and stores and cafés. The Dissolution and The Rememberment. Don’t forget where you heard it first!

 

Daniel Xonedu. 71.206.373.672

Retired Colonel of the Northern Armies

Retired Professor of Divinities, Princeton University

 

 

Trapping Notes.

Francesca Inspyx. 71.206.491.610

The Global Record.        Friday, October 23, 2128

I walked alone to the theatre for the first time in many, many years last night. The moon was almost full, in all its regal splendour despite the street-lights.  The air was crisp but dry. The sidewalks, can you believe it!, were utterly pleasant. People greeted me as I passed them by and I replied with my own salutations. New York city was civilised last night, at least that portion of it through which I journeyed. Extraordinary!

 

The play itself was no great shakes, I have to report. A maudlin thing called ‘I And I’ that has come from the East. Physically spectacular of course ~ these young oriental actors are so acrobatic ~ but nonetheless the overall effect of the performance left me disquieted.

 

But to stroll about on my streets! To lay claim once more to the sidewalks of this metropolis has been such a pleasure. A young man sold me a single-stemmed rose as I ambled past him, brought in, he claimed, on a slab of ice from Europe. The last time I saw a rose I was a very small child, and that was a long time ago. It sits now, slowly unfolding, in a vase before me.

 

Hostilities have ceased along the Mediterranean, although too late unfortunately for the poor burghers and relics of Tunis, Ismir, Rome and Cannes. There have been no further sorties through northern Africa, nor through the Middle Eastern enclaves. A strange and unexpected silence has bloomed where so recently there had been such unstoppable rage. Peace, perhaps, shows signs of dropping slow.

 

It is inexplicable, just as the sudden calm on the city streets is inexplicable. No treaties. No negotiations. No bartering of arrangements. Merely a spontaneous laying aside of arms. As though a delirious mist of forgetfulness has encircled the globe.

 

The Guardians of The Committee have not given any explanation for this departure, although why their reserve should surprise anyone is beyond me. Their plenary sessions, over the past week, have been poorly attended, and a formal summit due to convene yesterday in Anchorage to implement further global tax and excise measures was cancelled at the last minute.

 

Despite this the globe keeps spinning, and I, I shall walk out tonight to dine with a couple of long time companions in a bijou Ethiopian restaurant that is two blocks away from my apartment. Yes Darlings. I did say walk. Can you believe it? What larks!

 

Francesca Inspyx 71.206.491.610

First Violin (Maestro)

New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Daniel Xonedu 71.206.373.272 is on temporary leave

 

 

Trapping Notes.

Francesca Inspyx. 71.206.491.610

The Global Record.        Friday, October 30, 2128

The leaves in Central Park, that sole remaining bastion of a natural world among hundreds of miles of concrete, are falling; gathering in knee-high amber drifts along the sides of the paths. This beautiful time of the year always makes me feel tearful. Is it because the trees are to be robbed so decisively of their glorious raiment? Is it because nature appears to be laid to waste? Is it because this dame does not know how many more times she will be fit enough to come out and see those leaves return? I am fully aware that this is sentimental clap-trap, and that we are all supposed to have been educated beyond such things, but indulge this old bird.

 

The streets, the wonderful streets of my native city, continue to be safe. I can wander unmolested by weapon of any kind whither I wish. Children have reappeared. Imagine! Skipping on the sidewalks, pale little urchins jumping rope now, and rolling hoops. Even the city fowl linger to peck at discarded crumbs on the kerbs. Busmen laugh, yes laugh! People are conversing on the Tube, there is a hum. The splendid natural throb of vocal chords, the melodious lilt of that unique instrument ~ the human voice. The unmatched thrill of sound. It is as if our memories have been snatched from us and replaced by those from a deeper cortex. From before we had raised buildings to bruise the sky. I can almost picture, in my minds eye, the rugged little ponies that once raced across these plains to the distant ocean, the tangle of corn and beans in sun-warmed nooks.

 

It has finally been announced ~ officially ~ that every living male has by now experienced at least one full cycle of Dissolution and Rememberment. Even those tribes that have managed to sustain themselves in relative isolation have reported the condition, (although of course such tribes are few and far between.) From pole to pole the condition appears to have established itself. (I know, I’m being somewhat cruel.) Thus far, no definitive conclusion has been reached as to the cause of the condition, even though I have no doubt that the research is exhaustive. It would appear that the condition has established a firm cycle with all males experiencing the Dissolution at roughly the same time, and likewise simultaneously undergoing the

Rememberment.

 

Theories abound, of course. Everyone who lays claim to a bench in Central Park, or a stool in my local coffee house has their own strongly held notion as to what is the cause. Viral, spores, water-borne, air-borne, genetic, terrorist, divine intervention, bio-electrical, electro-magnetic, telepathic, soma-psychotic, psycho-somatic, placebic, cosmic interruption—my ears have been quite buzzing with the endless variety of ideas expounded. None has been settled upon officially, or at least we, the people, have not been appraised.

Never Mind! Whatever has led to this strange androgynous phenomenon, has not, in this writer’s opinion, been in any way detrimental to the species as a whole. Quite the contrary, in fact!

 

I am off out to the Park now, to feed grain to the ducks. Could I possibly have hoped for such an outing less than one short month ago?

 

Francesca Inspx. 71.206.491.610

First Violin (Maestro)

New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Daniel Xonedu 71.206.373.672 is on temporary leave.

 

Trapping Notes.

Daniel Xonedu   71.206.373.672

The Global Record.        Friday,  November 6,  2128

It has been quite an extraordinary time. Not simply for myself alone, of course, but how can one truly experience the world from beyond the confines of one’s own fragile skin? How can one possibly witness life other than from behind one’s own eyes? This is the natural order of things—if such a natural order can be said to exist any more. We are limited beings, designed that way, for better or for worse. And yet, 35 billion souls like myself, all males, perhaps less if one allows for the pre-pubescents, have entered upon and survived the same rigours that have prevailed in the last two weeks upon my mortal flesh.

An extraordinary season indeed.

 

I came upon Giles last week and he was sitting on the long-fallen trunk of a grandfather elm, and he was weeping. His old grey head was buried in the cave of his hands and he was bereft. Thirty five years I have known this man, he is closer to me than any brother, and yet that day was the first time I had seen the man cry. I sat down beside him onto the damp skin of the tree, and I confess to shedding a few tears myself. ‘All changed, changed utterly. A terrible beauty is born.’ Those old lines from an almost forgotten poet sprung to my mind.

 

Eunice carried out two mugs of camomile tea and a plate of shortbread cookies. We blubbed, Giles and I, for well over an hour at what has come to pass. Over dinner, that evening, Eunice delivered what I have always termed one of her ’bracing lectures’. She was kind but firm. No use in bemoaning spilt milk. Things could be a hell of a lot worse. Chin up, best foot forward. Regret is a bottomless pit. That sort of thing. She remarked that the race had marched forward for millennia despite the female half shedding monthly blood and that she could see no earthly reason why the race could not continue its onward march with men doing likewise. The Dissolution and Rememberment, she predicted, could in time be classified as quite a trifling event.

 

And look how well you are now, she said. See how strong and vigorous you feel. I have to admit, that at least on this last point, she is correct. At the conclusion of the trauma I did experience an intoxicating surge of renewal. ‘A beast in the spring-time’ sort of pep. To be whole and complete once more! And yet somehow tempered.

 

This thing is having its effect on the global stage. Levels of crime and warfare have dropped away dramatically. A global pause for introspection seems to have occurred.

Scientists continue to be undecided as to what exactly has caused the condition, but it seems the most likely thesis is an inbuilt genetic cascade. One that has remained dormant throughout the aeons, but that for some reason, be it environmental or somehow inherent in the superstructure, has kicked in at this particular time.

 

My neighbour and I are to trek out tomorrow morning to the top of our mountain, packed lunches in our knapsacks, wending our way through the leafless trees, following the maple-wood stream to its source on the plateau. We do so, that we might gaze about us from those lofty heights at the geography that surrounds us. We have intended to make this trip for years, but some piffle has always delayed it. Tomorrow, however, we will accomplish the task, before the snows of winter fall and blanket us in.

 

Daniel Xonedu. 71.206.373.672

Retired Colonel of the Northern Armies

Retired Professor of Divinities, Princeton University

(Francesca Inspyx  71.206.491.610 is busy feeding the ducks in Central Park.)

 

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Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

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