The world , we must assume, has been fashioned in accordance with the wishes of the people who live in it. Thats not to say that people are happy, but in the absence of protest it must be the case they are not unhappy enough to change the world into something else.
It is the world of things that keeps us happy and occupied.The world of things makes purpose for us. Structures out time. Presents a now of compelling reasons to action. Roads must be travelled, buildings entered, work completed, deals done. improvements must be made, progress attained. crops harvested, trees felled, fires lit, production lines manned. After all things do not make themselves.
See the gleaming towers of cities, faced with glass forged from sand that once played beach to the sea. Speed along endless highways paved with mountains that once drew our eyes to an imagined distant land. Bustle through metropolitan centres, shuffle in and out of mass transportation systems. planes trains, buses cars , subways, disgorging undigested occupants like avian parents. Bringing fresh fuel to an always hungry nests of things.
Surely this is what we wish for, surely our world is made real from our most wondrous imaginings, surely this is our glory , our insides outside, our dreams made real.
Now , Such is our genius and mastery over the material world, That one day we will reach out beyond our small nurturing earth, taking things to other worlds. Great things, borne in ships or on rays or beams, shot from great devices raised into space, we will explore. First our galaxy , then ultimately the rest of the universe.
This is our future – to re make the fabric of universe into things as we propagate our way and form of life. This is our chosen path our goal and our meaning. Perhaps even beyond our choosing , perhaps it is our very nature. perhaps we manifest the will of the universe in ourselves as we imagine ourselves spreading out , pervading and re shaping the universe from its formless plasma and simply interacting rocks and gases. Into something else, something useful , desirable, wanted.
Without us trees would remain trees and no one would have chairs or tables,. Without us mud would remain mud and not bricks to wrap us in our houses. Rocks would never reveal their potential as coal, iron, gold, aluminium. The air would be breathed in and out without having supplied oxygen to our machines.
Without us things would only exist in the imagination of the imaginer. Without us only unguided nature would fabricate reality, build a set for the dramas of life to unfold against. We have become the hand of god. We shape the world, create its objects and move across the deep. Our minds bring about the new, the future, the divine. Our hands craft the earth wind fire and water.
As with all gods , what we want must be for the best. God must be right, god doesn’t make mistakes. God is good!
Chapter 1 – In the beginning
Kelly screwed his eyes up and squinted through the glass case in front of him. Sunlight invaded through gaps in various parasols shading the vendors and their wares in the market. A warm wind jostled drapes, cloth and bunting, moving the light so it danced across the cabinet . He hovered his hand over the glass top to create a shadow and see more clearly the object of his eye.
Smart phone. A mobile or cell as americans would say , he knew which model it was from a boy on the school bus who had one.
“I bet you wish you had a penknife “ the boy had said, while he showed it off. opening a blade out and describing its function with enthusiasm.
“its awesome , its got a screwdriver, a file for fixing things, a bottle opener and scissors and a toothpick for parties”
The boy was about Kellys age 9 or 10 but not in his class. Like the other children on the bus Kelly attended a school for the children of western families, working and living on Bahrien , a small island in the persian gulf . Part of the Saudi sphere of influence ,home to the us 7th fleet and the british naval base of Jufair.
He was transported from living quarters to school each day by bus. The bus, like the boy was American and the driver a local man. The unnamed boy was sitting across from Kelly , now surrounded by impressed onlookers, he wielded the knife and enjoyed the attention of the other kids.
They could all have been related, young, white , skinny , tanned, all the ages of grade school. Their hair bleached blonde by Persian Gulf sunshine and plenty of outdoor play. Only their shirts, shoes and haircuts made them appear individual.
“The blades really sharp go on touch it!” said the grinning holder of the pocket knife.
Kelly had reached out to gently stroke the blade , but the bus banged into a pothole causing him to jolt forward cutting the pad of his index finger.
“Hahah i told you it was sharp …look he’s bleeding”
The boy pointed at Kelly while holding up the knife. Some of the other kids crowded round to see the cut others ooed at the power of the blade. It was true what the taunting American boy said. The blade was really sharp and he did wish he had one. One exactly like the knife he was looking at now in the case of a Manama market stall .
“Dad can I have a knife?” said Kelly turning to look at his parents.
His dad was talking to the stall holder, buying lighter fuel or gas. he was holding up the bottom of his lighter and they were pointing back and forth at possible purchases.
“Dad can I have a knife?” Louder this time and directed towards his dad. No answer.
“Mum can I have knife?” Kelly swivelled to address his mother . On the stall next to him a man was thrusting handbags at her and shouting prices. She was shaking her head. To save time Kelly now shouted hopefully as loud as the people around him.
“Mum Dad can i have knife?”
Before either could answer the stall holder noticing interest in his knives began yammering encouragement –
“Oh I have a good knife for a boy like yours, good price for too. Let me show you what great knife it is for boy”
“Certainly not “ said his mother frowning and rushing over from a handbag stall to the dismay of its owner wielding a clutch of bags in each hand.
“come away from there Kelly, your far too young to have knife , definitely not!”
Kelly thought about appealing to his Dad but the thought disappeared when he saw his dads hand thumbing at him to move along. In the next moment His mother grabbed him by the hand and he was pulled through the market like a reluctant dog.
Images of the knives in the display case replayed inside Kellys head. There were lots of multi bladed knives, any of which he would have been happy to own. The one that caught his eye however was not the most fully featured or multi bladed. It was a red one, a blade, a file, scissors and a screwdriver at one end. Awesome thought Kelly, awesome.
Shortly after reaching home, Kelly was fed and tucked into bed. He and his family lived in a gated compound , on the east of the island . Part of a large Naval base and its sprawling accommodation compounds. The part they lived in was called the married quarters for obvious reasons. Rows of neat bungalows surrounded a square of dirt that was part play area , part drill square, part desert.
All through his meal and bath and changing into pyjamas, he could think of nothing but the knife. The knife on the bus had sparked a fantasy about knives, but in his mind it seemed the only pen knife in the world, was the knife that boy had. That was until he visited the market . It never occurred to Kelly there were shops full of knives, boxes of them , so many knives. so many shapes , types colours. Their were sheath knives , daggers, machetes, flick knives, lock knives.
This amazing panoply might have overwhelmed him , igniting a wild dreams of being the shop owner and putting all the knives in his pockets , in his school bag, hanging on his belt. till he would surely be the most interesting boy on the bus, but. The knife Kelly wanted was special, it was meant for him. His knife was just what he needed for adventures. Adventures where he would explore uninhabited islands, be shipwrecked and have to live off the land, survive a plane crash and need to salvage parts of the plane to survive – Yes there was only one knife for Kelly.
His mother read little from a book of stories and kissed him good night, but before she left and turned out the light he said.
“Mum..do dreams come true?”
“if you really want them too” She replied casually
“what if they don’t?” said Kelly heading of disappointment from his own imagination.
“well my love “ purred his mother sensing something vexing him.
“all dreams come true somewhere” with that she turned off the light and parted with.
Kelly could never remember his dreams for long. As soon as he opened his eyes they were gone, the world drowned them or lit the shadows they were formed from obliterating them in a sea of photons.
He swore to himself he would dream a dream of such detail and earnest desire that it would become real, a dream whgere the object of his longing became real.