Part Three: In The Aftermath
12 – Blue Eyes
I watched the Richards boys disinterestedly, I knew they couldn’t handle it, and didn’t expect them to handle it and was far from surprised when they didn’t handle it. “You don’t understand”, Keith said. “If we don’t reform the entire Universe will come to an end.”
That argument would work on some people and I’d always believed it would work on Mick, but it didn’t. There is one big problem with Armageddon: what does Armageddon matter if no one ever dies? Suddenly, playing pinochle with Genghis Khan isn’t so terrible after all. “What has the Universe got to do with me?” Mick asked. “I’ve done my time there..”
“What about your children?”
“What about them.”
“Don’t you want them to have what you had?”
“Not particularly, I’m not bothered. It doesn’t matter to me, they won’t be lost at all. In fact, I am not sure we were ever meant to be anything but pure thought and what is more I seriously question what is to be gained by going to earth for a hundred years, terrified for a hundred years, all that time of pain and hell and for what? To come here and discover it didn’t matter in the slightest to any one or anything including ourselves.”
Well, this might prove trickier than I had thought it would. I couldn’t promise the After Math the Rolling Stones and give them the X-Pensive Winos, and I didn’t want the Universe to roll it up till it was its time. I had been involved since the beginning and nobody has existed close to as many times as I have. There are those who say I am the Universe and my reply is “No, we are the universe” and it is true but many of us just see it as a pointless interruption of the After Math and beyond. Anyway, I wasn’t giving up without a fight and so let’s fight with Mick but how?
Keith shrugged his shoulders and the three men backed away and Mick sat back down and smiled, stroked me gently and said, “so, it is you and me again.”
I didn’t know what do to do so I decided at the very least I’d give Mick a couple of days to calm down and consider his options. I liked his faced and bounded about running to the door and back. I needed to stretch my legs and I needed another couple of days of this island while I worried myself as to how to change Mick’s name. He got the idea, opened the door and the sun was just rising, I guess Mick wanted to take it from the top, we were back on the beach with the tree forest before us and the ocean above and we started to run and run round the island, faster and faster round and round, we move like cheetahs, een faster and smoother and over and over and then we didn’t want to get back to the start again and so the island widened and the sun started to rise, and this was Jagger’s decision of course, but another sun and another sun, five suns surrounding the island like a halo and we two friends running faster and faster almost flying we are going as fast as we can without flying. I don’t know what’s going on, but the island morphs into Hawaii and then into Manhattan and then Isle Of Man, then the UK and we hug the coast, keep to the coast, we don’t run out of breath, we don’t tire, we don’t want to be anywhere else. Mick wants to run from his past and I want to be with him. But all the time I am deep in thought, how to get through, what can be said. Even a spark of the deepest doubt and trust me, that is rare in a place where actions aren’t connected to direct consequences, but maybe I am trying to survive something with no real purpose any more. All the theory of life as lived that we share isn’t what people believe it it is. We don’t care about good and bad, we care about how actions feel in a finite future. About the solidness of life as opposed to the ephemeral nature of thought. So now we know. So now what? Doubts push forward and they merge forward and then they pass by as we run way from what our actions are at. This is something so essential to Muck Jagger, it was his art and his artform, not a better world but a world where we don’t pay for what we do, where we are free to be who we are and no more or less.
What Mick knows as he refuses again to be a party to the Universe is freedom is always and only the free to be evil, good needs no excuse in the Universe but evil, the Devil, Satan, whatever, is only your freedom if you choose him. The thing about the Rolling Stones, about blues where black men rise up, is they are only free to be free in the worst possible actions. For Mick, the white black man, his freedom is in self regard that huirts and destroys, emotionally sure but whatever, everything that surrounds him. The Stones are about bad choices made free, about sexual malfeancek, the Devil, rapists, groupie manipulators, the towering sneer at middle class morals, and all morals, and that’s what Mick exemplified. The sound of the Stones from the mid-60s to the early 70s, was simply the sound of men misbehaving to song. And more, if not worse, rejecting everything the greatest generation stood for or believed in. The Stones were a huge “I will not” and that is, among other things, where they beggared belief as psychedelic hippie merchants. It went against them. But worked perfectly as rock and roll royalty because they just didn’t give a fuck, they were not working class hero, they jumped past their working class roots.
Still, that refusal to be pious, to be good guys, to be adults. The Rolling Stones, much more than the Beatles, were a force of matter: they needed the consequences so they could reject the consequence and the thing is, nobody ever gets less joy out of an existence, at least until he gets yused to it, than Mick Jagger. It is like a superhero without his superpower, like the Flash without his speed: it is the one thing that is essential to who Mick is not there.
His response has been to retreat completely. Many people have when they’ve arrived to the After Math, some for 100s of years, some don’t even come here, they remain on earth. Ghosts, if you like. And it has been fine because time is the one thing that never ever matters, it just goes on and on and eventually everybody finds their way back to the one thought. But Mick doesn’t have time, the first and the last people to die and run out of time. It has never been but here I am running around an Island with Mick and we don’t have time and I know what might do it and we have leftWe have left the After Math though Mick hasn’t wished it, he doesn’t even realize, but we are no longer pure thought and are not spirits between worlds and we are flying, faster and faster, just above the land and sea of the earth. We travel the earth in every traffic, close enough to see the land, close enough to see a face if we want to, his children and grandchildren, we peer at them froma great distance and Mick stops and I do and we listen to their mundane, sitting around the table, the children are playing snap, and their parents are watching them from somewhere else. The parents are having a disagreement and thought he children pretend not to notice their ears are tingling and Mick watchers their discomfort.
Imagine Scrooge being taken around by the Ghost Of Christmas Present, that’s what it is like. We are visiting earth at this very moment, randomly, his children look up and search for me suddenly and they don’t know why and we stop and watch their magical mundanity. The fight is about money, of which they have plenty, and also love, which they also have plenty. He lingers close to his Grandchildren, doing nothing, not trying to reach them, but like a tuning fork, feeling their feeling, their insecurity, and hope. An act of intense empathy and love, or if not love, oneness and for the first time I can tell, Mick feels a glimmer of something, of some need to help them past these scary moments.
Then we move past them, past drones in the sky, men in battle, hospitals and concert halls, and bars and school, children on the street begging, landmark hotels for the rich and powerful to meet, Big Ben, the Eiffel tower, and then deeper in to the middle of the country, countryside, trees, forests, Brazil, Kenya, above animals roaming free, we can watch them perk upwards and look around as we past, like they are tapping in on us for just a moment, like they have connected us and can feel and see us as we fly in every possible direction outwards always outwards, the top of mountains and the bottom of seas and a certain aura around the word, something that connects them together but which they can’t see or feel.
Then in our galaxy among burth out stars and blackholes and entire galaxies until we find another world and we scan it, they are not human, though they look like humans, they aren’t as developed, fire has just been developed and then other worlds, worlds upon worlds, places where the dominant life forms are wsh in planets 95% water, intelligence fishes, dolphins, smarter than humans, more beautiful, peaceful now, ruling benevolent but what a strange world, where the dead are harvested for food and nourishment. They are aware of the other planets with life but keep themselves oclluded. We reach another planet, nearly dead after a nuclear war, the remaining living things are dying out in a frozen tundra of despair, and more on and on we go, like a beautiful landscape of hope and hopelessness and a universe where everything that can be is, a small reflection of the Aftermath built like a block of stone in atoms that grow and grow and grow and one day weil expand and explode.
The sheer number of worlds with lives is astounding, the amount of things that have some clue as to what they are going through, some planets come close to a concept, some planets are so odd to Mick he seems in a state of shock, places where life is spent in a constant attempt to contact the After Math, where they have a more than an inkling and spend their time wondering simply how do they do this? How are they here? What do we want. Mick says “We want you to be alive, that’s all” but no one can hear, they can’t hear.
Some earths have made scientific leaps well beyond Micks earth, they have figured how to move faster than the way we do, faster than the speed of sound. Within 5,000 years they will be reaching the earth. Some planets are isolationists and cloke themselves and some make it their sole reason for being to extend life indefinitely, their denizens live for 1,000s of years, but then guess what? They return to themselves. But they will always be finite beings.
Most of these words have somewhat similar concepts, right and wrong, good and bad, protect the young, education, feed the poor, love thy neighbor, don’t fuck your daughter. They are constants that finite beings use to manage their worst impulses and best impulses. Where chaos reigns, the vacuum is plugged. Mick was a good companion, I’d thought that same exact thing over the time we spent together on his Island and I thought it now. When you have infinite power over your world, there are many ways you might spend it, particularly when you are newly returned. You might spend it killing people you hate over and over again, torturing them, raping them: in a world of no consequence, it can take people 100 years to calm themselves down. But besides his attack on the Richards, Jagger went deep into himself. The world he created was at one with nature and remained true to a vision of a long, long, childhood of sorts. He might have been cruel to me as well, he certainly didn’t invite me. But jagger never was, never hurt me, never beat me, never bullied me, he treated me as an equal, he trated me as a friend.
Something else, he is a quiet man. That surprised me, but he didn’t talk very much at all. The thin, lithe, handsome, somewhat girly boy, had a toughness to him: he was like the ultimate boy scout on the edge of the earth and he treated himself and me, like two adventurers searching, always searching, the things that surrounded them, communing a world invented from memory and imagination. His world was a good one, if you were to want a world you could embrace this might have been it. Maybe I would have moved faster, gone away and returned, done something anything at all, without it, but I enjoyed it too much.
I enjoyed that with all the power and Godlike devotion Mick had spent so much of his life receiving, it didn’t really interest him that much at all: the world he wanted was a simpler place, a place of adventure. And I wanted to hang around and see how he would grow it up: would he build a family here, I mean, nearly everone does eventually, build into larger and larger families, and I wonder if he would bring love in, or his family, start from scratch. How would it change, how would it change him, the slow build from an island to a magical island, like a lucid dream was a fascinating growth. Not many people did that, a lot of the beginnings of the aftermath were paybacks for the life lived and fantasy fulfillment, But Mick was after something else, a place of legend, and of peace, the sound of nature, of things that breathe but don’t necessarily think.
And on we go in this Universe, to a finite place that only the dead can reach, the very edge of the Universe where to go past it, if you could go past it, you would die and return to the After Math. A place where, according to some people. God lives, I am is, and, of course that is exactly what is there. Us, God, God us and always me. Where the thought became many thoughts and then became matter and then return to the many and always back to what it is, what we are: like the many facets of a personality, spread throughout and covering and exemplified by everything in a desperate attempt to never be alone. And never will be alone. The way I was at the beginning.
This edge of the Universe is one people on earth don’t necessarily believe in. Funnily, the Universe is closer to the ancient Greeks version of a flat world where you can fall off. You stand there on the edge of the precipice and you look down and all you see is light, the light that is the After Math, another dimension with no physical properties whatsoever. To move from the Universe to the After Math, with the sole exception of myself, nobody has ever moved between the two ever except as a ghost. There is no way, they are antithetical, they are other to each other, and I am the abnormality that unites them, though not here in now.
Here and now I am returning Keith to the Island, and here and now I am going to find out what we do next.
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