48. Of parrots, trees and Landrovers
It may sound strange to the reader that my difficulty was not in finding the clues and living this complex theophany. It was deciding what was worth reporting, what to leave out and then finding the time to write it all down. Occasionally I questioned myself, if readers were bored or cross with me, for hinting at certain serious issues and not coming forth. Friends, the agony of it all!
Following hours of deep heart searching, especially after some further super-extraordinary circumstances, I woke on Tuesday 19th October 04 in a light-hearted mood, ready for some fun. I sent a bunch of fun emails, all of which were the result of media reporting. I had noticed a few bizarre details and jotted them down. The only thing about it that made sense, was the fact – it didn’t make sense. The first one was triggered by a radio interview while doing the dishes.
Just before 6 am, after a song, I heard the host talk to a lady in the United Kingdom. She told listeners about their unique funerals business, using Landrovers as means of transporting the deceased. As I listened I got more amused with every new piece of information, e.g. people now want a choice, funerals don’t have to be boring etc. I always thought that inside a coffin people have other things in mind, than what vehicle they are driving in. Even road safety wouldn’t bother them any more.
Well before anybody was awake in our household, I had found the website in Google and composed the following email to the company in Bedford, U.K:
Finally someone speaks out and tells it how it is! Funerals - the word starts with fun and how boring they are!
I agree with Jacky (5.55am 19/10/04 ABC 891Adelaide). Something should have been done years ago to give people a choice, how they would like the ride to the graveside. In a 130 Long Defender Landrover!
I would go further than that. Don't drive straight to the final resting place, but take a little detour, to the favourite places the deceased used to visit. To invent a coffin with a little window on the side shouldn't be too hard.
In one thought I just created two new industries, 'new look' coffins (or shall we call them last look?) and 'Hearse tourism". Would go well with ECO tourism. Hearse tourists would never trample down the fragile ecology, never complain, (no sound at all) and would require no services to meet their needs. (The drivers won't mind doing a wee behind a tree).
Jacky mentioned that your company doesn't mind traveling. Well, is Australia too far? I know someone in Manchester, he likes Landrovers, has been to Australia many times and is about to cark it. I'll ring him and let him know about 4x4 fun. If he can't afford the Hearse tourist trip to Australia, perhaps his four granddaughters will call on your services to get married in a 4x4. Nearly said, hearse - Hey, there's another outside the box idea!
Dieter R. Fischer
PS Definitely outside the box – getting married inside a hearse is as far as I'd go. Inside a box would take things a little too far.
The night before (Mon 18th Oct. 04) a peculiar item on the TV had grabbed my attention. Because a falling branch in a small New South Wales town had killed a man, the Council decided to cut down all Eucalyptus trees. The risk of it recurring was too great, and insurance payouts were astronomical. The report, showing actual footage of the town, sounded very genuine. A reporter, standing next to a tree with a V-shaped base, prompted my mind to question the whole story. I quickly took note of a few details, knowing I’d be googling the next morning.
As soon as I saw the Shire Council's web page - two parrots prominently perched on a tree branch, right on the entry page, I figured it was a set up. It made it easier to come up with a funny plot. Here is the second email I sent that Tuesday morning, addressed to the Council Chief, who I had seen on the TV News:
Hello Mr. P,
The report on ABC News last night was a bit like a breath of fresh air for me. You see, I am hopeless at playing golf and those darn trees always get in the way. Be sure to put in a golf course in place of the trees, so when I tee's off, the tees, sorry trees, don't get in the way of the gold ball.
On your website you may have to change the slogan – ‘Parrot Country’. If you cut the Eucalyptus' down, they will disappear. I suggest a new slogan: "Come to Boorowa, try for a birdie"!
Your second-hand trees you could sent to a place near here, called One Tree Hill. They could do with some more. I once was going to start a branch of my driving school up there. Then I thought of the poor tree. I cut the branch idea.
Kind regards from Adelaide
Dieter R. Fischer
PS Please keep the tree that was shown on TV. It was shaped like a V.
The recipients of my emails must have found it hard to distinguish what was fact and what was fiction. The golf course, or lack thereof, was pure speculation. But there is a township on Adelaide’s North Eastern fringe, called One Tree Hill. My students heard me tell the joke about the poor tree many times.
The next morning I briefly overheard a radio host talk to an expert about birds. Not only that, but listeners were invited to view, via web cam, the special guest, which had arrived in the studio, a live Parrot.
My spurt of creativity went overseas with this next email. It was generated, after listening to the BBC News via a local station early in the morning. Apart from having fun, my stories served to point out the absurd, tabloid-style reporting, which seemed to have spread from newspapers to Radio and even TV News.
A US prison warden, named Ivan Frederick, on trial for crimes in Iraq, was charged with five offences. One of these was Ivan grabbing the elbow of an inmate and forcing him to masturbate. This is as close as I remember the report. Did they have to report such graphic detail? Did such nonsense really circulate over the keyboards and fax machines of international News Agencies?
I combined this and another story, from the same news bulletin, into my next fun email. A gay clergyman (Jean R.) from the US was defending his position within the church and, if I recall correctly, pressed the point that his sexuality was his private business.
The third headline, which I picked up on my transistor in the same news bulletin, was the reporting of a problem of low morale, drug taking and desertion etc. in the Russian Army.
For a few moments I let my imagination run lose and concocted the following, unlikely request to the BBC’s World Service in London:
I'm a bit concerned, because at my son's Christian School they want to employ two overseas gents as new teachers. I have this ...you know ... strange feeling ... about them. Don't you get a hunch sometimes, and it turns out to be justified?
Anyway, they supposedly have worked for the BBC. This is why I am asking you for some indication, if they're genuine.
The first one wants to teach Sex Education. His name's is Jean Robison. (Lost an n somewhere). Says he used to do Children's Programming with you.
The other wants to teach Child Care, as well as look after students when they get detention. His name is Ivan Frederick. (Has elbow's in a sling at present, had it for 5 days, got RSI on his last job, he wouldn't tell us any more??).
At least Robison told us he worked as Lt. Carnel in the Russian Army and got expelled, because he was framed. (Someone dobbed him in, because he read the bible and kept it all to himself).
If you could supply us with a reference of Ivan and Jean's character, it would put the parents of my son's school at ease or L's.
PS Please address the mail to: Havyou Grace Christian Education, Eureka WSN 2480
I was hoping the recipients would realize well before the last three letters in the address that it was just in fun. The town of Eureka, NSW does exist and the postcode is indeed 2480. Listening to a breakfast program two days later, I heard the newsreader give Ivan’s middle name, Chip. (Hi to you, too).
Early Sunday mornings I occasionally watch a TV Evangelist named Robison. (Spelt without the N). I purposely misspelled the name of Jean Robinson, the US gay clergymen! (I hope nobody accuses me of ‘gay-bashing, which I don’t approve of in any shape or form).
(Here is a long shot - two days later I noticed on TV one of the Members of Parliament, who had just returned for business to Canberra after our elections - with his elbow in a sling??)
The next fun email needs a little more background. I saw the advertisement for a popular Monday night talk show, the one that had interviewed local rock star Jimmy Barnes. I made sure to not miss the program. I felt something was cooking and I was not to be disappointed. The main star had the same surname as my dear wife’s maiden name. She (no, not my wife, the film-star) was famous for singing the words “I love you” in the most passionate way.
Towards the end of her segment this Australian film star, who had made it right to the top in Hollywood, told of an incredible event surrounding her mother’s death. Only hours after she had died, she wanted a sign from her mother, if where she was, she was OK. Just then, a candle flickered, inexplicitly, which spooked the pretty 50 year old, just a little.
A moment later there was a scream from the next room, where other relatives had gathered. She ran to find out what was going on. A candle had exploded right at the time, when hers had flickered. This spooked her even more; and I am sure it also spooked the viewers watching her tell the story. But not all.
In Chapter 24 I wrote about a famous footballer, who also was reported to communicate with the dead. I had written a fun email, because at the time the article in the paper sounded like a ‘tall story’ to me. (The person named Jason in the email below is the same Jason).
The next guest, appearing in the TV program via satellite, was an Indian author. She was introduced as having won (or was nominated for) the Booker Prize and, if I understood correctly, won the Sydney Peace Prize. I had neither heard of a Sydney Peace Prize nor of the young lady in question. Her drawn out interview didn’t pump any adrenalin in my body. Her name was Ms. Roy, which put me on alert as soon as it scrolled across the screen. I had made up a poem with Roy as one of the characters. This talk show played a small part in it (Chapter 5).
It took only a little googling, reading title page summaries, to find enough material to compose a fun email. Three pieces of data, as if they were codes just for this occasion, linked with my story - the author’s appearance in New York (NY) at a Riverside church on 13.5.
The flickering candle led straight to none other than Elton (L on the cross), with the same surname as the film star. I brought in another legend to join the party – Elvis. Here is what came out of the keyboard in an email to the Talk Show, after feeding in information from above:
I suggest for your next guest Jason A. You see he's also into talking with the deceased, like Olivia. This subject should be explored a little more. Get Elton John in on the act, he is a lot into candles that blow in the wind.
He's working on a new song called: The candle - that bust. (It's about an Italian Mafia boss' wife in church, holding a candle, as she kneels, praying. All the hot blooded, on fire, seniora's walk past to have a peep at her bosom. In the end her husband gets jealous and makes her read that revolutionary book by Ms.Roy. It's about how to dress modestly, especially in church.
Except Ms. Roy didn't give good example on your show last night. She was also very low cut, but cute.
I can't think of her book's title just now, but it won the Sydney Peace Prize in 2000. I heard Ms Roy speak at the Riverside Church in New York on May 13th. She really did what she can do best: Tell it, as it should be.
Elton was there, sitting next to Elvis. They sang a duet about “candle wax dripping on my guitar”. The song goes on to compare it with shedding a tear, when you hear good music, brilliant emotions. Then they all had lunch. Diana was invited, but not Ms. Roy. She would have loved to chat with Diana and Olivia's mother, and Jason's mum and ...
In disgust she stormed past them on the way out, nearly knocking over Ivan an muttered - 'enough rape for today'.
Dieter R. Fischer
PS There is a happy ending, I saw her cry on the shoulders of Michael Moore as
they both got into a Taxi!
Telling you this, my life story, is not about cracking jokes. A psychologist would have analyzed it plainly - I was engaging in this jovial spirit to cover up the ever-present pain and sorrow. This may well be the case, up to a point. Humour helped me not only to keep my sanity, but to address the serious issues of my mission possible: To speak out against corruption, pleading for truth and justice, and warning people of God’s coming judgement; to turn to HIM before it is too late.
A whistle blower is very much like a football referee. He is called to watch the proceedings. When seeing a wrong done, he blows the whistle and points out the fault. The referee’s job, however, is not to carry out the free kick. This is how I felt about my writing.
I had spoken loud and clear, what I perceived needed addressing in society. It was now up to the authorities and individuals to take action, or to dismiss it all as rubbish. To sit on the fence, not going either way is not an option; or should I say, to not accept HIM is to reject HIM.