PROJECT FEAR CHAPTER SEVEN DRAFT TWO

I need to tell you that I am not the same as I used to be. I have a gift and this is why I have the attention of Her Majesty and Her Government. And I have Black Hole. And Star Wars.

People don’t know this about Black Hole but it is A.I. now. There are two of them to ride piggy-back and keep each other company for their real use, exploration of the deep space, so they will mutually oblige and not run down. Programmed by Stephen Hawking in old A.N.C. code for me and patched by myself, it is tuned to my voice pattern where ever I am and mine alone as guarantee of my safety.

I am a programmer you see and I work in a most exotic fashion.

In the meantime, I have strayed a little bit from my time scheduling of this story so I shall return now to September 2002 and the beginning of my Ph.D. after my assault/attempted murder when I got an e-mail from an old acquaintance from Wits who was new to Britain, Rosie Fiore.

She said she wanted to see me so I said “Come down to Bath cos I do not have a car.”

Now Rosie I had met at a party at the students union at Wits in ‘86. We met and made out by the pool. Strictly speaking this shouldn’t have happened as I should have been at home mourning yet another break-up with Sarah Raisin, a girl I had met in the canteen who I introduced to student union life and later stood for S.R.C. Rosie and I saw each other for about three weeks and then I went back to Sarah.

Campus life!

I was surprised to hear from Rosie but invited her down to Bath and showed her into my bedsit and made her a cup of tea. I had made it good practise ever since leaving South Africa in ‘89 to avoid white South Africans abroad. I remember her looking out of my second floor window at her black Ford Ka parked there in the street below illegally, asking me about money and then saying, rather oddly: “You are english really!”

It stood out in my mind, after the comment at the assault, but I could not ask. My tongue was locked and the moment gone.

We stayed in touch by e-mail for a while…until I went back to South Africa on my first visit in seven years. She asked me to tell her what I thought of it and boy I brought home some impressions that carried through to the football world cup bid, opposing Sir Alex Ferguson and others as well as the Spanish bid which had the King of Spain up in arms. Then I broke contact with Fiore, suspecting her of the reception I received at Wits when I went there to pick up some old posters from the William Cullen library, which are now on my wall.

Back to my Ph.D., I was working in an office in the new extension to the mechanical engineering department on the ground floor facing out onto the parking lot with four other post-grad students an average of 16 years younger than me. It was the faculty’s pride and joy with card-locks and smoked blue glass everywhere. Biomimetics had its own lab with a shower next door which I used instead of the poorly lit bath back home at the bedsit.

I found Vincent disagreeable as a person for there was something odd in the offhand things he said to me like he was revealing to me that he knew more about me than I thought possible. Things that I was uncomfortable like details of my medical history and schoolfriends of the past shadows. So I asked for Adrian Bowyer, the only other option presented to me, while I puzzled it out. I asked Patrick Keogh the post-grad supervisor and he said yes.

This is when I started to have the bad dreams. I remember waking up one morning in the Spring with the words: “We’ve left you alone for four years!” and I felt spooked by the accuracy of the event to the treatment I had been receiving in the press by Steve Bell of the Guardian and other cartoonists. I searched my bedsit high and low for a source of the sound but could find no sign of a hidden speaker, just the normal bedclothes and radio.

And my laptop, my pride and joy at the time, expensive and good, I still have, carefully kept for its hard drive and record of my work which I lay on a wooden table I used as a desk under the window, tall and Georgian, leaky and damp too, of my bedsit. It disturbed me that I wold keep finding my bluetooth switched on when I kept it off and it was clear that my work was being monitored by outsiders. This put me further on edge. The bedsit was white but I had painted it peach-orange and it suited my South African mood of repression. At only £46 a week it was a poverty trap of its own but it opened onto a quaint square of British Georgian chiq called Catherine Place.

I walked through St Margaret’s Passage, took a left on Brock Street to The Circus, a wide traffic circle where druids met under the huge plane trees in the centre surrounded by beautiful Georgian buildings that make perfect postcards, to walk down the hills of Gay Street and Milsom Street to the bus stop up to the campus.

Bath was like a film set in those days and there is a green ring on the map, I learned, considered the boundaries by the coppers of the C.B.D. which is denoted by camera’s and I later learned, microphones.

The bus would take me over the Pultenay bridge along Pultenay street and around two corners and up Bathwick Hill where all the retired sailors used to build their homes to the Bath University Claverton Down campus, home to 7 000 students and staff, a technical university without Arts nor Law and Medicine, concentrating predominantly on the sciences and engineering with a Management School too.

And a large new Sport Department with training for Olympic Athletes ongoing including bobsleigh, swimming and track and field. Numerous British stars trained there and Mike Catt the ex South African played for the City rugby club as well as Neal Back and other.

There is a playing field and I am the quarterback. Who is running?

* * * * * * * * * * *

As I write this you will not detect me for I live on the State in a council flat after a breakdown I had from all of the pressure and post traumatic stress disorder from being in battle. You won’t see any payments and They want it like that, to have me controllable and on Their estate, not mine.

South Africa is here in my flat where I live listening to James Phillips from all those years ago, with my old End Conscription Campaign posters and my expensive framed photo’s of Nelson Mandela on the wall of my livingroom by my best friend in the world, most loved and trusted Rodger Bosch, ace photographer and friend who never ever complains.

I have not signed the official secrets act by hand though I have made oaths of secrecy as you may or may not see, electronically.

I have to be careful. I have had rysin and botulism in my flat as well as TPD for the words are about the route to drue and not the right to win as some see it. And I have had numerous signs of being watched day and night by the security of the City and they are linked up to the campus which few know about.

* * * * * * * * * *

I was in receipt of £16 000 spaced out over two years with the promise of a third payment for my final year from the university. With this money I knew I could return to South Africa to see my father and a few friends after a seven year absence, as I said before.

In 2003, May, I flew Air France which was peculiar because they treated me like a star. That trip was a strange event. I was followed.

I flew with a 40 litre rucksack and trekked lowkey, staying with my father for a few days before embarking upon a coach journey from Braamfontein in Johannesburg all the way down to Port Elizabeth where I was picked up by my sister Claire. I stayed with her in Jeffrey’s Bay for a few days thinking nothing unusual and flew to Cape Town where Rodger picked me up at the airport.

In Johannesburg I had stopped off at my old university, scene of so much turmoil, the University of the Witswatersrand and I walked around. I was approached by six young women, pharmacy students they said, and the asked me why I had left South Africa but I said nothing. Bath already proving a misery for me I was looking around for the possibility of moving my research to Wits and explored the Biology Department for a supervisor. There I met Gabriel Byrne’s twin brother thanks to Guy Richie, or Byurne himself, posing as a researcher. This I did not like. Afterwards I made a mental note.

For the previous year the City of Bath had been full of actors, bit players, extras and stars, for the shooting of the movie Vanity Fair and it was an unwelcome distraction. Gabriel Byrne had been one of the stars and to see him at Wits was unnerving.

After my stop with Rodger I caught a train back up to my father’s place in Clovelly Road, Greenside, Johannesburg and the plane home. The train ride was disturbing too for the train stooped at a station at Oudshoorn on the edge of the Karoo and a stranger was ushered into my compartment in which I slept alone. I was already wrapped up in my sleeping bag and pretended to sleep while the light was switched and this new passenger settled in.

I met him in the morning, a pleasant fellow of chinese extraction who had a polystyrene box with him labelled “biohazard” full of he said, ostrich blood samples. The tape reminded me of my mother at the S.A.I.M.R. and it was supposed to. As a warning. I know it was an attempt upon my life and I never found what was really in the box.

I tidied up my beer cans from the previous night and left him to pray while I smoked in the corridor. Then we sat together and chatted all the way to Johannesburg.

I flew back to Heathrow with all the samples I had collected on the way.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Marion was doing a massage course at College and used me as a guinea pig for practise and I am not made of stone. The massage released all built up tension from the trip and I had a freak out on her table, bursting into tears.

I had met a dealer named Jeremy Williams he said, but really Jeremy Evans, who also ran a small business selling soaps that he handmade himself called the Lotus Emporium. He sold weed generally and not much else that I knew at the time. It washrough Jeremy I met Marion, his shop assistant three days a week who won my heart with her warm smile.

As I knew at the time, that attempted murder in Bath left me psychologically weak. I craved warmth and sympathy and Marion offered it to me after a long desert trip. It was a mistake I knew to take advantage of her but I had a trail to follow which I will come to.

There was also something magical starting, a period if time such as I have never known, as if the plants and animals were in rhythm with me. For example, one of my key reference papers was on the dragonfly head-arresting mechanism as a form of natural attachment. I had a fantastic experience of catching two dragonflies, each in a separate head position in Marion’s conservatory. One I found dead on her vine and the other flew in allowing me to close the door and capture it. This was only time I have ever been near a dragonfly and it happened twice. Another time I was walking out of the North Road from campus at around two in the morning and I saw what looked like a honey badger in the road ahead. It looked at me then sauntered off down the road, leading me down the hill to the City before disappearing off the road and crashing through the bushes to the side of me out of view. Leading me to the honey-trap? Perhaps.

It took a long time to adjust to my gift and it came in a way that could not be channelled to the world’s natural fears and that is what I took – a lot of trouble and time to develop and now I am able to way up the chance of being in the wrong and see that it takes long-timed root cause analysis to see what is good and what is bad in the world.

COPYRIGHT BRUCE E SAUNDERS 2019

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