Is Virus A Verb, Not A Noun?

Once upon a time in Otherland, a stranger arrived on the shore. He said he came from Thisisitland, which they had never heard of, though they had heard of many, many different lands.

As they always did, they welcomed this strange and serious man into their midst, plied him with food and drink and listened to his story.

They loved hearing of other ideas, other inventions, other discoveries and other opinions they hadn’t heard before. They felt never knew who they were or what they had unless they had different perspectives on all matters, big and small. So they loved learning new things, other things, which is why they were called the Otherlanders.

So they listened to this man who told them of his very serious land and they laughed. He seemed to become angry at their laughter which was at themselves for not thinking of things like he did. They didn’t realise he was getting angry, for a while, for anger wasn’t something they were used to. They laughed an awful lot for everything he said was upside down to them – they couldn’t believe they had not thought the thoughts that he did. There was more laughter, at themselves, than they’d ever had and he eventually stood up, his face very grim, and shouted loudly at them. He might have been frothing at the mouth – some thought he was, anyway – and his arms whirled like a windmill and they stood back, fearing an arm might fly off and hit someone.

They laughed in embarrassment then decided to stop for that made him crazier, as he thumped the table. He calmed down when they went silent but he kept waggling his finger at them and prodding invisible things in the air.

They waited till he finished talking, waggling and prodding so they could tell him their perspective. He might laugh at himself, then, they hoped. They waited a long time and wondered if he’d stop telling them different things. Some of them started nodding off, standing up, and had to be prodded awake before they fell over.

They tried to concentrate on his furious speech but, because it was opposite to their perception, it was hard to concentrate for a long time. They started chatting with each other, to help clarify his very unusual ideas and he started yelling, waggling and prodding again. He didn’t seem to leave any gaps in his conversation like Otherlanders did, to allow others to speak. He seemed to deem that unnecessary.

So they stood and listened and chatted and shut up and swayed and snored and woke up and, by the end, their poor little brains were so scrambled, they didn’t know what to think. In fact, many didn’t know how to think – their brains and mouths just shut down while they waited for him to finish.

Their bemused silence seemed to please him for he almost smiled, sometimes, and talked a fraction slower and quieter, which helped their quaking hearts and scrambled brains. They felt a drizzle safer and stayed quiet.

For those with the least scrambled brains, it seemed that this man had come to warn them of a great tragedy that was about to arrive on their shores … a great and terrible sickness that would sweep through their land, killing most of them. Their villages would be ruined forever – economically, ecologically and evolutionary … or something like that. They nodded when he told of this invisible, non-living protein that had swept through his land, causing economic chaos, suicides and domestic violence but no more deaths than normal.

“Now, hang on,” some said to others, “if it caused no more sickness or death, how was it going to kill most of them? Or some of them?”

They were grateful and confused as this man walked off, replaced his face mask, and fell over because of lack of oxygen and he was breathing his own carbon monoxide. They helped him to bed and he immediately put his illness-inducing mask back on, saying it was saving him from the great killing virus … that didn’t actually kill anyone. Mmm, a very interesting man.

They gave him the space he demanded and sat in little groups to review their understanding of staying healthy.

See, they saw their bodies like their houses. When we have dust and rubbish to clean up, we sweep a whole room into one pile and then dispose of that pile of dust. So with the body: when there are toxins about – bad food, bad thoughts, bad vibes in the air – the body sweeps around and pushes all the “dust” into one corner. That corner might be the lungs, the stomach or some other particular place. Then this pile of “dust” is congealed into a state that it can be expelled from the body – phlegm or snot that can be sneezed, coughed or spat out. This amazing collection system they called the suriv and they were really pleased the body made it so easy to rid itself of things it didn’t want.

But this strange man from Thisisitland thought this suriv was a problem, not a solution. He’d said it backwards, like lots of other things he said, and he’d told them that the Thisisitlanders had been trying to get rid of surivs for a very long time.

While this man was talking, some Otherlanders checked Elgoog and found that one of the Thisisitland scientists, Edward Jenner, had tried to prove that surivs were things, not processes – and that people could catch them from other people. Jenner couldn’t prove his theory correct, said Elgoog, so, in 1798, he falsified his findings and Thisisitlanders had believed in surivs as dangerous things ever since.

Though the Otherlanders were open – very open – to other people’s ideas, these ideas just didn’t add up, somehow. They really did try to see the logic of this man’s world, to help them expand their own thinking. But, try as they might, none of them seemed rational. So they worried about this man’s sanity. And his health. They wondered if he had some fever from Thisisitland, something they’d never had but had heard about, long ago.

A small group went back to his room, against his earlier wishes, and stood round his bed, trying to comfort him. After all, none of them was sick so they knew their healthful bodies and minds would infect any sickness and make it better.

But this just alarmed him all the more and he started yelling through his mask, waggling and prodding with one hand and wiping his crinkled brow with the other. The Otherlanders knew that human touch, companionship and acceptance were the best remedies for any ailment so they persisted for a while, hoping his fever would subside. But this just increased his arm-flinging and yelling so they backed off, baffled about what to do next. He calmed down a little and had to keep taking his mask off to get enough oxygen. They couldn’t understand why he kept putting it back on.

What they didn’t know was, while they left his room to confer in hushed confusion, he was texting back to Thisisitland to tell his people that these people were too stupid to take precautions against this vicious virus – yes, he even spelt it backwards – and they needed to be guarded against it.

Well, yes, you know the rest of the story for it was in all your TVs, podcasts and newsfeeds … the Thisisitland army invaded Otherland, forced the people inside their houses – no touching, companionship or acceptance – and were forcibly injected with a fluid that was made by a man who wasn’t a doctor or a scientist – a Mr Setag – and his friend, Dr Icuaf. Ninety percent of those injected lost the ability to think for themselves – or lost their life – and everyone else was so terrified by the panic brought to their peaceful land that they became sick with fear – the greatest sickness of all.

However, no one died from this suriv and everyone at Thisisitland congratulated themselves for a good job well done.

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The Three Perceptions

Which perception are you seeing the world and the virus through?

FEAR – There is a terrible virus spreading like wildfire, out of control and determined to kill millions if we don’t do something. Though there is no known cure or cause for the common cold/flu, we have believed someone who has told us that we can catch this “new” plague from other people. Using that unproven theory, we must then isolate ourselves, seeing everyone else as the enemy. Because of our chosen isolation, we’re predicting widespread shortages of everything. I must grab more than I need so I can survive the coming apocalyptic times of death, starvation and loneliness.

BEWILDERMENT – This whole thing (don’t use the C word!) is a hoax to cover up something else that’s going on – presumably some kind of illuminati mind-control, population-control type thing. Apart from the media, there are many Big Business people making huge gains from this. In the 2019-202 flu season, influenza has killed around 14,000 people while this apparently unique virus has killed around 400. We’re scared of the squirrel when there’s a tiger rushing towards us! It is, in fact, just another version of the common cold/flu that most will recover from  … the common cold/flu that’s been with us forever … and we’ve survived! Witness the people in Wuhan who are now back on the streets, businesses open, life returning to normal. In a few weeks we’ll all be the same – business as usual.

GRATITUDE – This is an earth-cleansing exercise, something quite illogical to us mere humans. We have not heeded Mother Nature’s pleas to treat her kindly. We have raped, burned and desecrated the very home we profess to love … the home we depend on for our very survival. Because of our selfish blindness and choice not to save ourselves, the Bigger Wisdom has stepped in to shake us up, make us listen and to usher us into a new era of respect, moderation and a healthier way of relating to each other and to our beautiful world. We are grateful this virus has swept in to awaken us, to restore sanity and to lead us to a more contented and sustainable state.

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Who’s The Victim?

The waitress noticed Tina’s distress and bruises and asked her where she was headed. A strange look of confusion washed over Tina’s face as if she wondered how the words got to her ears.

“I’m sorry to pry, love,” said the waitress, becoming a mother to the daughter she’d never had.

“No, no, it’s … it’s okay,” said Tina, uncertainly, wiping her face as if to clear her mind. “I’ve just got away.” A sad little smile puckered her lips.

“From where, love?”

“From him. Dan.”

“Dan?” asked the waitress.

“Dan Smothers. My husband.”

“Dan Smothers? The preacher?” Tina nodded, her face immobile. “Gosh, take a seat and I’ll get you a coffee. You look like you could do with that, sweetie.”

Tina sat in the corner booth, constantly scanning the diner, a converted railway carriage now fitted out in retro 50s – red vinyl chair and table tops, checked floor, chrome and black everywhere and the waitresses in red and white gingham skirts and bobby socks. Stepping back sixty years, backing out of her frightening today, seemed to give her comfort, the waitress thought. She smiled as she saw Tina slowly relax and her eyes fluttering closed as she lay her head on the table.

“Here you are, love,” said the waitress with a coffee. “It’s paid for. Want anything to eat?”

“Oh, you can’t do that,” said Tina, raising her weary head, her eyes catching up slowly. She fished in her large bag, retrieved a wallet and looked in. “What can I get for eight dollars? It’s all I have.”

“Till when?”

“Uh, don’t know. Till … hell, I don’t know,” Tina said as tears leaked from her eyes.

“He treat you bad, did he?” asked the waitress, a hand on Tina’s shoulder. “They look good and righteous on TV, don’t they. We never know what they’re like in private, huh.”

“Mmm, sucked me right in. So sweet and nice at the start.”

“Then his real self stepped in?”

“Yes, you could say that,” said Tina sniffing, wiping her eyes.

“Look, when did you last eat?”

“Aah, I left on Tuesday. Been hitching and hiding since then.”

“Today’s Friday.”

“Is it?”

“You must be starving, love. Look, meal’s on us. What do you want?”

“Aw, heck, anything would be good, actually,” Tina said, wiping her eyes again and looking directly at the waitress for the first time.

The chef’s special was consumed in record time. In fact, faster than the waitress could believe and she wondered if donuts, cookies and other food disappeared into that large bag.

“Thank you so much for that,” said Tina as she came to the counter. “I have to give you something.” She opened her wallet by the cash register.

“No, love, it’s our tithing to a victim in need.”

“Gosh, you’re so kind,” said Tina as the waitress was called away by another customer, momentarily. Feeling sorry for the poor victim, she followed Tina out the door surreptitiously. Tina disappeared round the back and the waitress heard a burst of laughter from Tina and a man. Then a red sports car zoomed out of the parking lot, its loud noise a middle finger up at the waitress. She went to the toilet to hide her anger and saw the toilet rolls were all gone. Then a hot flush coursed through her body and she rushed out to the till. Sure enough, it was empty.

“So who’s the victim now?” she asked herself.

This is written from a prompt from the Carindale Writer’s Group: choose a book at random, open a random page and point to a random sentence. Start your 400-word story with those words.

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If I Could Change The World

If I could change the world, my sweets

I’d take it slowly, no radical feats

I wouldn’t do much, no, not for days

I’d simply stop, admire and gaze

Then start real small, not so big and bright

Not blotting nature’s exquisitely sight

Uphills would be made to go on down

Stop us sweating, straining and frown

The rain I’d take in my caring wing

Have it fall sweetly on everything

And the sun would shine, not burn to death

We’d be taking easy, sweetly, heavenly breath

The politicians, squabbling children all

Have them answer a celestial call

Let them play their games of division and vice

On an island safe, while they can’t be nice

Far away from harm – Pluto, Centaurus or Mars

Let them bicker and preen among bigger stars

Then we’d stop, admire and gaze

Thinking how peaceful we could live our days

We’d look in the eye, every single folk

And know we’re brilliant, aware and woke

Then open our mouths and sing one sweet tongue

The language of love, we’d have it sung

Then we’d know peace, serenity and play

Release our diseases and stressed-out way

But wait … we’d get bored with all that

Wake up each morning, happy and flat

Don’t we love drama, irk and shame

Couldn’t let it go – not have that joyful same

We’d have to find fault, judge and moan

For our differences do we shine and hone

It’s mine, not yours. I’m better than you

Comparing the outer, fighting on cue

My god’s fatter, faster, cleverer than yours

Giving licence to kill and hide behind doors

We couldn’t help it, we couldn’t you know

A minute of peace then guns are raised to blow

We talk of peace and sell it for coin

Setting apart when we’d much rather join

So, if I could change the world, my sweets

I’d take it slowly, no radical feats

I wouldn’t do much for months and days

I’d simply stop, admire and gaze

And bless the whole blooming lot, politicians and all

Knowing my peace ain’t there but here – I’m free to install

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Humpty Trumpy

They said write a story about JEALOUSY in under 500 words. My brain stumbled over itself, thought only of Humpty Dumpty and I gave up. When there’s a blockage in the plumbing, forcing more rubbish down the pipe never helps! I needed, as usual, to let the emptiness vacuum it clean.

This is not a technique that has come easily for I’ve always felt the need to take action, to do stuff, to undo stuff. I’ve never considered not-doing stuff or doing not-stuff. It just never occurred to me.

A Course in Miracles undid that for me when, among other things, it talked of the two choices we have:

  1. Doing it (anything) in my own power, or
  2. Giving over to that which is bigger than I am, whatever I want to call it.

I’d always done things in my own power and look where that got me … powerless and stuck in the plumbing of life … and keeping that greater power impotent and on holiday.

The kak in the pipes does not flush itself out; it needs something beyond its own filth. When I’m the blockage, more of me doesn’t help! So I attempt to stop thinking.

Less of me – or less of my thinking – gives permission for the Big Plumber to thrust their brush down my pipes and allow the resulting vacuum to draw in fecundity of spirit and creativity of mind.

I empty myself but not by not thinking. Our minds, busy little sods that they are, cannot not think. Asking a mind to not think is like asking a fish not to swim. Thinking is what minds must do if they’re to continue existing.

We cannot empty our minds by not-thinking thoughts, by thinking not-thoughts or by not thinking. We can only continue by entertaining other-thinking-thoughts and the blockage – writers block – is sucked clean and shining new.

So I change my thoughts away from what I’m “supposed” to be writing, away from JEALOUSY, away from writing and anything else related. But Humpty Dumpty stayed there, lodge in the U-bend of my pipes while the rest of the gunk dissolved and washed away. Humpty Dumpty was unmoved by my holiday plans, disgust at management behaviour at work or the tragedy of the Australian fires. After two days of not-writing-thinking, Mr Dumpty was still staring in at me through my windscreen, whatever way I steered and swerved.

So I gave in, started writing the old Humpty Dumpty rhyme, aware that it had nothing to do with JEALOUSY and I didn’t care. I just kept writing.

Well, by the end of the second line, I noticed my pen deviating, clunking onto another track. The third line was a small deviation and, from there, the old rhyme was left far behind. This is what came out:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

Crash bang that’s all

Oops, not the end a’tall

T’was the Mexican wall of Senor Trump

From which Humpty boy went thump

See, Mr Humpty’s a drug boss, CSI moaned

Investigators left no turn unstoned

Was no accident, t’was Donald’s pusher

They kept the secret, quieter than husher

Humpy was suspected of lotsa’, lotsa’ stuff

Got Trumpy in a wild old huff

Like who Melania was amorously courted

Humpy had her naked, got her sorted

Civilian planes, no one knew who shootin’

Was no other than Vladimir Putin

But Trumpy, see, he got the blame

For starting World War III, he wanted no fame

But others smarter than the president chookie

Were setting him up, playing him hookie

And jealousy’s a cruel, twisted master

His anger got his heart beating faster

Someone must pay for back-stabbing games

Save humiliation, stop feeling the shames

Thrashing about, any target will do

When you’re fuming, stuck in a stew

Donald had suspicions, who’s loving his wife

So they’re firing-line first, pay with their life

Then Humpty’s up the wall, carrying Mexican drugs

Sticks his head up, easy shot for Donald’s thugs

So now he’s scrambled, cracked and broke

But Donald chose the wrong, wrong bloke

Of the many, many innocent folk

Wasn’t the one hiding a yolk

But the egg smell turned Trump’s mind to mess

Was, in fact, Australian egg boy, no less

So, when your dander’s up and jealousy’s ripe

Check your facts, not your nose … and not the hype!

See, it wasn’t very profound and, honestly, it’s a bit silly. But I feel better and there’s now space for something bigger to pop in, thanks to the Big Plumber.

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Looking Beyond The Fire-Finger

When we point at a stick we’ve thrown for a dog, does the dog look at the stick? No, it frustratingly looks at our finger! We are no brighter than the dog, focussing on the fires and not what they’re pointing at.

Some of the videos of the Australian fires show us these are not natural fires. Not natural at all. These fires are crazy, mad-man bizarre, fires beyond anything normal. They’re racing through tree-tops at 80 kph, leaping into the air like wild banshees, creating their own inflamed climate, feeding on themselves. Beyond normal, they’re either generated by a military-style technology – as many have suggested – or there’s a supernatural force within; a desperately insane pyrotechnic plea that we can’t ignore.

But we are ignoring it.

We turn our backs and close our ears as we apportion blame, make up stories and proffer solutions with the quiet voices of sanity drowned out by the clanging cacophy of ignorance.

Of the many stories, two are prominent: firstly, of a deliberate burn in order to clear land of vegetation and creatures for the planned rail line and, secondly, an excuse to selectively log (95% of the trees) in the national parks to profit from timber sales. More stories will be thrown to us salivating dogs but most are too close to the ground. A higher, bigger perspective is required.

Those we call leaders have lost their way, their humanity and our respect. Yet we continue to hold these incompetents up as if expecting infants to do an adult job. While we uphold their insanity, we uphold our own, preferring blame and diversion to the honest introspection and self-responsibility required of adults.

We are all children while we allow toddlers to run the playground. Our Mother (Earth) has been yelling and screaming for us to come home; to leave the sand-pit and to take our rightful place in the adult world. To date, however, we have chosen to play and complain in the microcosm while the macrocosm burns.

“It is time,” our Mother says, “to take your place at the grown-up table, to face each other with hearts akimbo and ears open.”

When we stop to listen to the beating of our fire-red hearts we will hear that quiet, still voice that counsels oneness and peace.

The Age of Pisces – fish swimming in water the opposite, contrary directions – is over and we are now asked to swim in the same together, helping each other in the new current.

Our Mother is set on burning all that should not be. This, the Age of Fire, will continue till we stop looking at her finger and look beyond. There have been fires in Brazil, New Zealand, California, Australia and elsewhere. The fires of war on the Iranians and Iraqis*, the deliberate sale of billions of litres of water in NZ, USA, Australia and many other places have added to the heat we’re feeling.

* Some say that the agreement to allow Israelis to live in Palestine is nearly up and USA is now “conditioning” (weakening) Iran/Iraq to allow an exodus east from Palestine. Who knows? Yet another diversionary story, perhaps.

Our current form of government is in its last, insane thrashing death-throes and everything that represents it is being burnt with it. It will not last much longer but we will if we listen.

The planet will continue to dry up, to burn up, until we take individual responsibility for managing our lives and give due credence to a new type of governance: one from the still, quiet voice inside – the voice that quietly drips with fecundity, with the healing rain of peace and oneness … mercy falling as the gentle rain from heaven, as Shakespeare said.

We have the choice: to blame those who will not hear or to step aside from the system and govern ourselves.

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Nature So Senseless

Nature hears not the crackle of microphones nor the static they produce

It hears but the crackle of burning trees and the fire in our hearts

Nature is blind to pictures we paint in numbers and words

It sees not if it’s a suit, sari or school uniform that plants trees and tends to growth

Nature feels not the anger and injustice as we trade insults, fairy tales and need to be right

It feels, rather, the harmony of caring, the beauty in hearts and the result of straight action

Nature smells not the stench of deceit nor the odour of obfuscation

It smells only the spade in earth, the hand-held hose and the smile of gathered people

Nature cannot taste the barren dust of a sponsored lie nor the salty phlegm of a guilt-thrown promise

It tastes but the soft-sweet balm of community action, the tongue-tingling smile of unfettered love

We have no lies to tell Nature for they but bounce and echo in our cavernous guts

They harden our veins, divide our trust and steal our spirit

To Nature there is but straight action, grass-roots community and the flourishing love of growth

All else, two leggeds, is clouds of empty ash floating by verdant streams and forests

You may crackle your microphones and bend your rotting throats, vainly imagining It believes you

You may stomp and wail your pretty proofs, you’re I’m-right-and-they’re-wrong protestations

Nature, though, takes no heed of speeches nor hopes, white coats nor suits

It heeds but hand-held spades, watering hoses and the scorch of straight-hearted action

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