The Damask Notebook, part 2


According to The Onion, there was a deafening silence as the sheeple finally woke up overseas.

Harry and the Queen read only this newspaper. They sat in the old library room, which was also used by generations of his family for over one hundred years. The lights still worked, but he nonetheless used his pince-nez. This was the April Fools edition, delivered by passenger pigeon.

The grammophone played, “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”. (R. E. M.,1987)



16 thoughts on “The Damask Notebook, part 2

  1. Something was off about this.Since when did gramophones play songs from the 2000s? Didn’t they stop producing actual records of songs ever since the Digital Revolution in the 1999, which basically meant CD players for everyone? Harry sensed something amiss about this. Checking The Onion, he read the news as if they were legitimate, this being ironic since it was a satirical page. It was not as formidable as the Interesting Times in London, nor was it as fully as polished as the major tabloid as The Golden Sun, but at least it entertained him so. Besides, The Onion of London was his favourite edition of the London, covering the satirical American news reports from a wholly British perspective, just as he liked it.

    As it turns out the sheeple have been awakened from realising that the Mao’s Miraculous Mangoes were actually fraudulised by the Pakistani Foreign Minister of the time and that their worship was all but a naught. At least, that’s the gist of what he got from the first article. Harry proceeded to run off and tell this news to the Queen.

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  2. Very little music from after 1999 was played by the grammophone. He didn’t like it.
    Theodor W. Adorno’s “Six Studies For String Quartet” from 1920 was actually rather sobering. It reminded Harry and the Queen of a trip to the once glamourous Uptown area, with its three movie palaces – just one was now open. The area was being rehabbed after 95 years. Buddha heads and a cow were on the sidewalks as reminders to pay attention.
    The Onion was right about the sheeple waking up en masse. Too little, too late, the reporter said.
    The Magic Theatre was in an area like this!


  3. At The Magic Theatre, they taughr and spoke Wolfish as a second language. Harry’s aunt told hm how she was one of the instructors.
    Her students included Hermann Hesse.
    That must have been a great time to be alive, the Queen commented.
    Teatime, already. The day was flying by.


  4. The Queen of England was 90 years old now, and there was a huge global celebration. Of course, there were rumours, reported in the Onion, that she might abdicate if her 95 year old husband died. And that she could perhaps outlive the Queen Mum.
    Harry was amazed she was still alive. He was not a fan of the British royals, but nonetheless read the story with the Queen by his side, sipping Lipton Yellow Label tea.


  5. They heard a knock on the door and Gus, the housekeeper, entered. “Hello Harry.” “Good afternoon, Gus. The shortbread biscuits are delicious!” Gus smiled. “Thank you, I thought I’d mix in some lavender for a change.” A pause. “The mail arrived, a package is waiting by the door.” “Thank you Gus.”
    “It’s cold to the touch, so it may need to be opened soon.”

    Harry and the Queen stood before the dark grey styrofoam package on the floor before them. It was one foot in width and height, two feet in length; decorated with “FRAGILE” stickers.

    The return address read:
    “Laurence Graden,
    63 Budgeon Street
    Hafod, Wales, LL24”
    Harry read the note taped on top-
    “Harry! I heard you have a taste for the wolffish- caught this darling in Feber Bay. Enjoy!”

    “Who’s Laurence?” The Queen asked.
    “I have no idea.” Harry flipped out his pocket knife and opened the box. He leapt backward.
    “What is it?”
    Harry looked down at the horrid creature in the icebox.
    It was a large, grey colored fish with narrow eyes and an enormous mouth. The card inside identified the creature- Atlantic Wolffish. Harry and The Queen chuckled. “What on earth is this!”

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  6. The Queen craved fish, she told Harry. Thus the Atlantic Wolffish was cooked and deboned – and served with green pole beans and parsnips. Gus joined them for dinner. There was a bottle of glogg in the cellar, to compliment the fish.
    As it happened, Harry had not yet gone to Nick The Butcher’s for fresh meat. He could go the next day.
    they had an old oak table, seating six.
    The question begged itself: “Do you think we are entering a new ‘Dark Ages’?, Gus asked Harry.
    “Unfortunately, yes.”, Harry answered.


  7. “Well, can’t we do anything about it?” asked Gus and gulped down down another glass of glogg.
    “Unfortunately, no.”, Harry answered.
    They stared at the remains of the wolffish which lay scattered about the table. One of its eyes had rolled from the plate and was laying at a peculiar angle, as if looking at them, or some point behind them. Neither man spoke a word.
    Darkness fell and crept in through the windows.
    The Queen coyly stalked across the oaken table board, licking at the glogg glasses, snatching up some wolffish innards, then disposing of a plate or two by shoving them off the table.
    The breaking of the porcelain was the only sound.
    The bottle was empty.
    Darkness was nearly complete.

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  8. Harry couldn’t help mentioning all the walking zombies outside playing Pokemon Go. He could hear them. It reminded him and Gus of “Night of The Living Dead”, which they had watched recently on Youtube.
    “We don’t want them here, let’s put the shades down. Thankfully we need not go out.” They pulled thd shades down.
    Gus agreed. “Someone almost drove off the road yesterday because of that. So like J.G.Ballard’s novels!”
    The Queen laid down on the red blanket, ever so quietly.
    It was going to be an interesting night.


  9. And this was because, on the day that the sheeple finally rose up and went to the streets, it was to play Pokemon Go. As they would unwittingly Ingress into the Endgame, their steps were watched and directed through a virtual Keyhole that had been created for the CIA and NGA.
    The only people who (through a time capsule of sorts) could have done anything about the impending Dark Ages had decided to go to bed early. Listening to the gentle sounds of the Go players bumping into the window shutters and each other outside, Harry curled himself up under the blue blanket and pulled his aunt’s notebook from below his pillow. Chuckling, he browsed her weird and direful prognoses for 2016. Gus had meanwhile retired to the sofa and was watching “Night of The Living Dead” reruns, chuckling as well.

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  10. The Queen sat on the sofa and watched the tellie between naps.
    Meanwhile at least one of the sheeple walked into the police station where they had an outstanding arrest warrant, mistaking for a Pokemon Go gym. One lady drove off a cliff in search of that rare virtual entity.
    “It is good to laugh about these things”, Gus said. He put on his old favourite movie, “Attack of The Killer Tomatoes”.
    Harry’s aunt had predicted the world would visibly go mad in 2016. Sadly, she was correct.


  11. “It’s not so good to cry about these things”, Harry said, and cried a little, just to prove his point. Then he put on a smile again and snickered himself to sleep, cuddling the notebook.

    Gus, after “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”, proceeded to watch “Fried Green Tomatoes” and another movie from the “Golden Tomato” awards list on Rotten Tomatoes. Then he had a sudden craving for a vegetarian meal. He got up and went to the kitchen, where darkness was now complete, save for the red glow of the digital kitchen clock. Glancing at the clock, Gus noticed that it should be dawn already, yet it was dark. Then it dawned on him: Was this — the Dark Ages?

    Or did it have something to do with all the closed shutters? Gus searched for vegetables but couldn’t find any in the darkness. Then he saw the eye of the wolffish, still lying on the oaken kitchen table. Or it saw him. In the reddish light, it looked like a radish. Or a tomato, he wasn’t sure.


  12. The Invisible Hand left a copy of John L. Casey’s Dark Winter on the coffee table with a note: “Solar hibernation is something you need to pay attention to.”
    Curiously, Harry had noticed there were no sunspots and the sun appeared pure yellow.
    His aunt had mention the solar minimum as well.
    The next morning, the street looked like a ghost town. Where were all the commuters with their attache cases? Where were the buses? Where was the traffic?
    The sun was out and the Queen laid on the sofa, sunning herself, ignoring the ominous silence outdoors.
    Under the surface, it was as if a volcano was about to erupt.


  13. Suddenly, a huge column of buses burst onto the main street from a highway exit and made its way towards the beach. The dark-clad commuters clutched black attache cases. Some of them used spotting scopes to search for remaining pedestrians. Harry quickly crouched in a hiding spot and covered himself with the notebook.

    When he eyed over its damask spine towards the mysterious crowd driving by him, Harry noticed they exhibited very spotty suits, rather shady behavior, a generally irregular appearance, yet an overall sunny attitude. Could these be the missing sunspots, sent to earth as target spotters to bring about the Dark Winter Age? Or had he somehow misinterpreted the clues from the books? There was only one way to find out!

    To pursue them, he would need a vehicle. As soon as the last bus had passed, he ran back inside to fetch the Queen.

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  14. The Queen called her old friend who had a UFO. She had originally arrived by the same vehicle in 1989 and used her Kitty-Mac to call him. He answered right away, and said, be waiting at noon on the verandah, so as to not get their neighbours’ attention.
    The UFO arrived as scheduled and they flew over the cliff, incognito. There was some kind of festival going on, which resembled the Burning Man festival. There were eight stages, one of which had a rave going on.
    Then they returned home and the UFO driver said, “Call me anytime. Here is a business card!”
    The tellie had only a snippet about the festival,
    Harry and Gus had to research this! His aunt had mentioned something like this, amazingly enough.


  15. Harry flipped through the notebook, at the same time hitting the search engines. He only used wolfish keywords, so the result list was rather short. He liked it that way, it made his research easier.

    On he found an article describing the festival, or some other thing that could be related and had funny pictures, in any case. Squinting his eyes, he tried to discern the images and the wolfish glyphs.

    Gus was munching some wolffish leftovers while peeking over Harry’s shoulder. “Mwhutzzzat!?” he blurted out, spilling gristly crumbs over the screen.

    It seemed that different solar activities were planned for the festival, culminating in a strange ceremony where a giant wickerman was to be sunburned, while a sundance was performed by the sunspots (or people that looked like them) in honor of the sun god.

    This meant business, so they took out the business card and dialed for the UFO. Waiting on the veranda, trying hard not get their neighbours’ attention again, they discussed their plans, giggling with tension. “I think they copied the Burning Man’s gifting economy” said Harry. “What should be our gift?”

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  16. Gus wanted to distribute something to promote literacy and wake the Burners out of their trance state. But dealing with trance dummies in general was not so easy. They were everywhere! What would it take?
    “That is the big problem”, Harry replied.
    The Queen slept through their long, thoughtful, discussion. Then the Invisible Hand put more wolffish on the table. The Queen smelled it and woke up. She fell asleep on the table, as usual.
    The postman rang twice that morning. He delivered a package that had books inside, weighing about 10kg. It had the following address on the label:

    Sir Frankie Crisp, Esq.
    64 Handford Square
    Apartment 4A
    Manchester Grove

    Gus and Harry knew no such person, but were impressed with the contents, which had the Queen’s sniff of approval. They made a list:


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