August 30, 2008

Crumpled by Catherine’s attack and abandonment, Joel sought the distraction of a more familiar foe.

He paged down though his Stream library and selected Archy Carson’s sickening statement. The one he spewed after that terrifying meeting in Manhattan.

[Archy Carson, World Fed PR, Melbourne, Australia]:
“Just over three hours ago, in response to increasing and credible evidence and with due consideration to the significant risks involved, our colleagues at the Office of World Security in New York ordered a Special Response team to secure the assets of Mr Mark McGuire and McGuire Management Corporation. This was a necessary prerequisite to a detailed investigation concerning the so-called Layla repository.

This operation required extensive planning and was, I am proud to say, successfully executed at sites in Manhattan and Southampton. A number of people have been requested to assist with the investigation which is currently underway.

The highly trained Special Response team conducted their business as effectively and efficiently as possible. However, as many people would now be aware, there was some resistance on the part of Mr McGuire. As a result of this he did sustain some injuries that have unfortunately left him in a coma. He is receiving the very best medical care that Mount Sinai can offer. Whilst he has a very important role to play in the investigation, the OWS will defer to the expertise of the medical staff on the question of his availability.

Now, we don’t usually get involved in hearsay but, due to the high visibility of this matter, we feel it necessary to address certain rumours that are circulating on the Stream. Namely a) that this operation was an attempt by World Fed to somehow silence Layla and b) McGuire’s injuries were intentional.

These are completely untrue and without basis. In respect of McGuire… we desperately need his input for the investigation… his current incapacitation in no way benefits us. It’s a preposterous allegation. This is simply not the way we do business at World Fed and our track record bears this out.

As for suppressing the Layla repository… well, we can’t go through the evidence in detail out of respect for the ongoing investigation, but we can present some facts for the consideration of those tempted by the Stream innuendos.

McGuire, as he admitted himself, does have links to known terrorists. QBP, the company providing technical expertise on the repository, have refuted McGuire’s sensationalist claims. There’s nothing especially miraculous about this Stream feed.  And QBP have proven that the repository feed was tampered with. Why did McGuire publicize these fabrications? Who knows… but what can’t be argued against is that McGuire was deeply involved in the development of a bidding war to secure a vast price for himself and his still secret client.

We don’t even know if the original repository feed is an authentic record of real life events or just someone’s fiction. Either way, World Fed is committed to transparency and fundamentally believes in the capability of this world’s citizens to make up their own minds… we have retained the independent services of QBP and will provide free access to the Layla repository to everyone… once all traces of corruption have been removed.

Maybe one good thing has come out of this. We have been reminded how powerful and positive was Layla’s role in bringing unity to our world. We can announce that we will be funding the development of a number of initiatives in order to keep her foremost in our minds. In particular, World Fed is designating her birthday, the 25th of January, as Layla Day. We intend to make this first one very special indeed.

Her disappearance remains a mystery. We all hope that someday she will reappear but it’s not something we have control over. In the meantime, rather than chasing shadows and clasping at straws, however well-meaning the intentions, let us honour her in the best manner possible… by demonstrating and further implementing the oneness of humankind… by protecting what we have achieved and by investing in our future possibilities. Thank you and best wishes.”

“Lying bastards.”

Joel’s anger spread out from his sternum with the fiery warmth of a whiskey tsunami… comforting, numbing and debilitating. Ah, that’s better. For a bit.

The moan. Back on the street where he used to live. In Victoria but not victor. Yes, sixty five, and stuck in his late parent’s house. Cold and sterile but the only option he had. It does the job, provides the basic amenities, but is sad to the touch. Dab, dab, sad but addictive. Every pale painted room echoed with memories of his momma and her mild-mannered, unfulfilled yearnings. No grandkids to nurture.

Her perplexed, unspoken disappointment lingers. Out with it momma… do you want to know why I cast aside every decent thing to elope with that foreign religion? You should have held firmer when I demanded you and dad send your permission to marry. You’d probably have appreciated an invite. I heard you cried with Layla. I’d join you two right now. Maggoty Cath was responsible for the scattering. I had my guard down and she tunneled her way in. I’ve been much too acquiescent with that fucking papilloma.

Take a peek at Joel. Do you think if he stays calm in silhouette his dignity might return? Bless him. He’s not calm but frozen and hoping T-Rex doesn’t notice. It’s a long time since he showed any initiative. Last time was humiliating.

After his interrogation World Fed let him go. Speaking to the media, hard-faced and beating his chest, he demanded to see the repository because he, and only he, could uncover the truth about Layla. Word Fed said ‘yes, absolutely, anything that might help’. They broadcast the event live on the Stream. Kooky, discredited Joel saw nothing. World Fed had summed him up and let him hang himself. He was no match for them.

This is just bad luck. I am an extraordinary person with exceptional skills. Why else did Layla fall into my lap? And when I grew beyond my obsession for the miraculous La Parkin and then her company and then her bumps and juices I was called forth to Haifa to sit on the House of Justice… the Universal House of Justice… to direct the Baha’is in a Cause even more important than Layla’s endeavours… that the people on this earth would embrace Baha’u’llah and usher in a wonderful new era of humanity that finally resonated to God’s frequency. That’s the task I was entrusted with. And God never asks of a person more than they can bear.

I can’t keep it up. Somebody somewhere got it wrong. Very wrong. Gave me false hope. I was a good prospect but was never meant to be a leader. And I didn’t get training. Now I have nothing. Here, holed up in this house with that ungrateful wench. She’s not a patch on my Layla… in any sense. I want her back but I can’t because I’m too fucking useless to sort out that World Fed mafia. Scatty Cath holds me back. Fish face.

For such an incompetent idiot, I’ve been up there with the best of them. My election onto the Universal House of Justice was revolutionary. I was one of the few people who had made it on to the Supreme Body through the elected National route and not via membership of a UHJ appointed committee. They all loved me. Yeah, I, Joel, had a mandate to bring my fresh Layla-smelling breath to bear. We’d tackle it from both sides. I’d enthrall the world with the best spirituality and afterwards, when Layla had sorted out the heavy politics, we would get together again and be feted. That was my idea. Spikey headed Cath had a free ride and milked it.

I can’t keep it up. I spoke side-saddle. I capitulated to every idea articulated by Enayati. Starting with the living arrangements. Somehow Enayati got to handling them. I never questioned why just an esteemed House member would be performing such a mundane function. ‘Joel, how many bedrooms do you need? You don’t have children right. Just you and Catherine is it?”. “Absolutely Omid”.

And listen to this… I broke it to Layla that I needed to make a difference in Haifa… and, in order to achieve that, she couldn’t come. And better still… “If it wasn’t for you Layla I’d have been forced to make my OWN way and would have grown in my OWN way. We can still be friends. I’ll see you in the end.” Now, this is Layla I’m talking about… that most fascinating and gorgeous girl that grabbed a fucked-up world by the walls and rebuilt it. I decreed that, er, it was my prerogative to address her in that scathing fashion. Mortifying. Layla, now there’s someone who never took a backward step. That’s my claim to fame… I knocked her back… with blusto.

I can’t keep it up. In Haifa, hhmmm lost myself in the comfy coattails of the seasoned members. Me and Cath were the pin-ups of the Haifa set. Me, mostly. I had lovely blond locks, she was always a dog. We got the biggest turn-out at speeches and Cath found a large, fawning audience for her marriage guidance and self-help pamphlets. Hah, who would have listened to her for a moment if she wasn’t married to me? She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. She’s lived a seriously sheltered life. Silly, naïve woman… they gave her a round of applause when she swallowed the wrong way and coughed.

I can’t believe how Cath is behaving after all I’ve done for her? She really was nothing. She should be grateful. Fucking selfish bitch never listens to me. She treats me with contempt. I mean, I’ve tried to get close to her and share my thoughts but all she’s ever done is talk trite.

Like the first, and only, time I watched this Carson clip with her… I was letting her know how things really are:
“You know Cath, I look at Carson and, although I loathe his lies, I admire his skill. I think if only Layla had met someone like him instead of me. He wouldn’t have treated her so badly and when push came to shove he’d be able to do something to help her.

Maybe the end does justify any means of getting there. Maybe you have to have those street smarts to get anything done. Enayati is like that too. I never trusted him but he knew how to get his own way. He always persuaded me.

I tell ya I was so stoked when McGuire came on the scene. He was an even better bullduster than Carson. I thought ‘yeah, he’ll do the dirty work, clear the mine field and leave me with a clear run’. But these people play for keeps Cath. They probably have to… to keep order.”

Cath comes back with:
“I’m glad you didn’t resort to their tactics Joel. You still have your integrity.”

“Look around you Cath. We don’t have Layla. I’d live with spreading a bit of misinformation, some white lies, if it meant we three could go down town and have a meal together. Wouldn’t you?”

“Aw look Joel, you might be right… there might be some hidden agenda. But at their level it’s never as simple as a couple of people telling a few white lies to smooth over the wrinkles. There has to be a culture of ‘light why’s too.”

“’light why’ s?”

“Yeah, I think World Fed isn’t being held as accountable as it should be. The media all wrap round them… particularly in Melbourne… they are all buddies. They rely on each other. Remember those repository scenes that were conveniently leaked to silence the rebel groups in China and Germany?”

“That’s just stupid Cath. You have no idea how global politics works. I might have been burned but at least my life in the real world has trained me to recognize the plays. Listen up good… you can’t get to the truth by switching letters around. It doesn’t magically give you both sides of the story.

And you prove my point anyway. After those scenes came out there was a lot less difficulty. It was a perfect play… World Fed ‘deplored’ the leak and wouldn’t comment on whether the feed was the corrupt one or the cleaned-up one. It was worth it. It saved lives. That’s real black ops. See, ‘lack bops’ is nonsense.”

“Yeah, but I would have gone with ‘block aberrations’. We’re allowed to be imaginative. [Catherine sees Joel’s disdain] But don’t mind me. I’m just joking. I’ve always had a good sense of humour haven’t I love?”

Well, everyone gets something and believe me, that’s all she got. There’s nothing for me here now. I’m not going to stick around with this hag. I’m going to leave the bitch. She can fuck off back to her ‘gobshite’ Irish family in Magee Court and they can tell each other jokes. Fuck her. She’s a crap shag anyway… with her short, spikey head. It’s about time I did what I want with people I want. I’ll grow a beard and travel around Australia. It’ll be warm and undemanding. I’ll make friends. I’ll tell them all about Layla.


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