Scrambled transmissions from Planet Cod (4): earmarked for Destruction
We met by chance…A wet dreary afternoon in Manchester, several hours into a vodka binge and plagued by the determination to find a solution to the problem of Routine which had been troubling me for a while, growing in potency and urgency every day. Something had to change. And soon…I needed experience wholly different to everything I knew, a melting pot of strange colours, tastes and aromas which would either revitalize my sagging spirits or send me under the ground…In short, I wasn’t happy with my Lot. So I rolled the dice and Her name came up…The decision was made.
I knew my mother would be upset. To her mind my plan made no sense. Two years into a BA Economics degree, I was, in her eyes, on a stable path. But where it was heading didn’t interest me in the slightest. Which was a weak Defence against her maternal concerns…’You are throwing your life away, Daniel…too much green stuff has muddled your brain…why are you doing this to me…’ etc etc…Fortunately, I was moving with such haste that my dear mother had only a few days to berate me for my worrying inability to notice or accept reality…It was Time to catch a plane, travel a few thousand miles through the clouds then embrace my destiny.
…I remember when we landed. The heat was intense, the air an invisible asphyxiating gas. The sweat pouring off my brow, puddles forming by my feet…As expected, but still, impossible to prepare for, Delhi airport, in comparison to the hi-tech wizardry of Heathrow, appeared dangerously dilapidated, dirty as the sewers, at best, rustic.
Despite the obvious lack of sanitation and comfort, there was something other-worldly, preternaturally blissful, invigorating, about the utter chaos which permeated every orifice of the Arrivals Hall and it’s occupants..
Once rucksacks had been retrieved and Immigration successfully negotiated we stepped out of the shade of the airport and followed a sign to TAXIS…Before we had the chance to get out bearings, we were mobbed by a few hundred rickshaw operators all vying for the White Mans Money, in exchange for passage through the haphazard maze-like capital city of the vast area known as INDIA….I was taken by surprise, but fortunately, my female companion in grime, had hit the ground running, a true veteran of Traveling in Regions which Seem Weird.
He is the scruffy chap who rarely shaves,
The ranting lunatic who spends his life searching for rainbows,
In subterranean caves,
The hedonist who drinks and drugs,
But still behaves,
The straight hippy,
Who despite the trouble it causes,
Point blank refuses to become one of the slaves,
With no desire for material riches,
Love, Beauty and Solidarity with decent creatures,
Is all that he craves…
In a situation where he is compelled by bullshit decorum to say something he doesn’t mean, he says nothing. That is his stance, his position, rooted firmly in the soil of a rich realism which can make people uneasy not with John, but with themselves.
‘its kicking off outside’ Sam whispered from a solemn mouth. I hadn’t seen much of Grant when I had arrived at the pub, but I knew instinctively that he was involved in whatever was about to erupt outside. For many a moon I have had a boyish desire to see my gladiator brother in Action on the Battlefield. This was the chance…
Turning to Richy, I implored the gargantuan beast to accompany me into the fray. But he wasn’t interested. Not because he was nervous of physical conflict. Far from it…He simply surmised that if they wanted to fight, better to just let them get on with it. He knew they would be OK…As the more boisterous of the crowd can handle themselves against all but the most brutal of adversaries…Had he thought for a second that one of his brethren was about to get done, he would have been out the door, cleaning up the mess. Through pacification of the crisis, a paternal peacemaker role, unless the situation had grown severe enough to warrant an all out assault on anyone appearing to cause grievous harm to those close to him.
Without big Richy, I strode outside to find Grant standing alone, smoking a rollie, his eyes glancing towards a crowd of lads who were in the street nearby. Tried to ask him what was what, but I only got grunts in response…Suddenly, as Sam had predicted, it all kicked off. Grant was gone, diving fist first into the sea of vermin he had earmarked for destruction. Before I could gather my senses, mad Mike and Jaime the mercenary flew into attack…Soon enough I caught sight of Grant, who had momentarily extricated himself from the competition whilst his pugilist comrades continued to trade punches with The Enemy…
I ran to Grant, trying, in vain, to persuade him to Leave Things Be. I wasn’t at all worried about his well being, but I was mildly concerned of the possibility of arrest and also the very real danger of my own body getting drawn into the bloodlust, and Grant having to alter his aims to rescue me…His eyes were locked onto one face in the crowd. Every word I shouted into his skull was absorbed and ignored. He had tunnel vision. Following his prey like a hyena in the Sahara stalking a wilder beast, he stood motionless, unflinching as the war raged on around him. The window of opportunity arrived. Striding in, raising his right fist like a hammer, he hit home with a crunching blow which knocked the target to the floor…By this point, Richy the Peacemaker had arrived on the Scene. Mike and Jaime pulled back, having given a lot more than they had received, and I was swept away in a human wave of friendly giants…
Despite the wounds sustained by the opposition, they were baying for more. And More is what they will get the next time they cross paths with General Grant and his loyal troops. He isn’t looking for Trouble. But the tool who had upset the balance of Grant’s head and heart was not amongst those who got stomped. His time will come. Of that I am sure…I have known a few rugged brawlers over the years, most of whom adopted a berserker routine when words had failed and Beating someone to a pulp seemed the best way forward. Grant, from this one fight I have witnessed, is a calculating fighter. Choosing and delivering his moves with a certain élan which offers the spectator much delight, unless that is, the spectator is an ally of the dazed and bloody mess left in Grant’s wake…
I have always respected rough justice artists. There is very little Justice available through the legal system in this country and the world as a whole. People literally get away with murder and other cold blooded callous abuses of the liberty of the Innocent constantly go unpunished…So I offer heavy reverence to those characters who take matters into their own hands and deal with Trouble when it comes, in their own way. The Warrior Spirit. It rages wildly in Grant.
I am no tough guy. And during the brief altercation which took place last Friday, my behaviour was closer to that of an excitable Mother Theresa than Muhammed Ali, as is often the case when I am not personally threatened but remain loosely involved due to friends…Though, I do have the inclination towards Spitefulness, without doubt, when forced into a corner, but my record as a scrapper stands, thus far, as wretchedly inglorious. Won one by fluke at primary school then got miserably pasted in the following six…Neither a coward nor the kind of chap you need in times of savage need. The best I can offer is Loyalty. I have often pondered that it is a Good thing that I am not handy with my knuckles because the Sicilian blood which courses through my veins becomes hot at the mildest hint of irritation. If I was like Grant, built of granite and fearless, by now I would be in prison or dead…