With the dolphins?
‘Hi Marc! How’re you?’
‘Hi Mike. Come on in – I’ve got a pot of tea brewing. Didn’t sleep last night – couldn’t stop thinking. Ewan and all.’
‘Yes, I heard. It’d be a tragic thing to happen to anyone at any age, but to a young bloke in the prime of his life… I’m really sorry for your loss.’
‘Yeah. Wrong place, wrong time… He was standing with another officer on the prow of a barge being towed by a tanker. The cable snapped, whipped back and catapulted them both into the sea. The tanker circled until nightfall, found the other guy’s body but not Ewan’s. Missing, presumed dead. But what if he isn’t?’
‘What if he isn’t dead? He might still be alive, swimming around in the sea, making friends with the dolphins, the jellyfish and all…’
Mike laughs a genuine, non-mocking laugh and gives me a huge bear-hug. ‘What are you doing today, Marc?’
‘I want to go back to some scientific thinking I’ve been doing. I find it a good distraction.’
‘Sounds interesting. Do you mind telling me a bit more?’
‘Sure. I’m contemplating computer models of real-life systems, like the human body and traffic on the country’s roads… as well as new ways of locating and transporting water and preventing damage to spacecraft from high-speed space-debris and all sorts of other stuff.’
‘That’s quite a broad spread. You’re very creative.’
‘Yes, it’s true… original ideas do tumble out of me… all the time. One often leads straight into another. One day they’ll bring in income which will go to people who need it more than me. But why are there so few original thinkers around? Is it just me?’
I sip my tea.
‘Marc, I have to ask you this. Please don’t be offended. How are you feeling? Some of what you’ve been saying is a little off the wall, shall we say. Do you think you’re falling ill again? I can easily take you to hospital if you need me to.’
Am I OK?
‘Thanks, Mike, but I’ll be OK.’
‘Well, whatever you do, do it carefully.’
‘Yes. You know, more than anything, I have to be the light that Ewan can’t be any more…’
‘OK mate. Take it easy.’
I’m devastated by the loss of my friend, but somehow, underneath the sense of loss is a sense of joy. He’s gone through a door and is now in Paradise. He’s not suffering, it’s those who are left behind who are, his family and friends.
The Salvation Army often say at funerals that the departed has been ‘promoted to glory.’ To me, that’s what’s happened to Ewan.
I have duties to perform and I’m going to go out and do them. I head out of my front door and aim for the canal towpath. It’s a beautiful day and my mood rises. I look at my watch, which seems to have stopped. Clearly I don’t need it any more. I take it off and throw it into the canal. Like Ewan I’m in eternity, living forever and I’m not going to experience death.
I sing, “Fame, I’m gonna live forever.’
I’m still singing when I arrive at Coventry’s canal basin. I haven’t been here before. I like it – the untended thrusting vegetation makes it a patch of countryside in the heart of the city. Suddenly a stone structure catches my eye. I push through the undergrowth and encounter a superb vaulted building, fronted by two magnificent arches. It’s old, isn’t in use but is tidy, clean, empty and cavernously large. It’s a treasure, sitting there asking to be turned into a wine bar. It’ll be the city’s best. People will come from miles around… and I’m the man to bring it about.
I sing ‘When the Saints’ to see how sound resonates around it. The acoustics are wonderful. This place will be a wine bar with continuous music – jazz bands, R + B bands, big bands, flamenco guitarists. The Admiral Codrington pub is very close, so this place will be known as the Admiral’s Warehouse. It’s going to be a big name in the buzzing night life of the city.
It’s the first of many. All over the country, Admiral Codrington wine bars will spring up alongside canals. Each one will be a nerve centre: computer controlled; sampling the air, sampling local traffic, monitoring everything….
The world model
But what will we do with this information? Of course! We’ll model our planet – the rocks, the movement of the tectonic plates, the rise of mountains and volcanoes, the atmosphere, the winds, the tides, the seasons, the growth of plants, beasts and birds. It will be so complete that we’ll be able to explore it, locating mineral deposits, oil, gold, water and everything else that humanity and the world itself needs.
The next step, pinpointing their locations in the real world will be child’s play.
My body, mind and soul bubble like champagne… I’m heading for euphoria. What a joy to be alive! But I’m more than alive, I’m alive and living eternally…
Walk on, with hope in your heart
Yes, I have hope. But I own something more powerful; I have absolute knowledge that I can do amazing things.
Oh, to build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land!