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Open Features: Master Smoke - 2

...“It is only fair for you to know that it has been a very long time since Master Smoke had chosen another Earthling to open up to!”

“What do you mean by Master Smoke? Who is this guy? What is going on here?”...

Alfred Mielacher continues his highly original tale.

Alfred's story was edited by Anne Coetzee. Watch out for further episodes in Open Writing on forthcoming Sundays.

Second evening

When I woke early morning I remembered Sir Log’s words about the storage area in the garage looking like a lunar landscape. Knowing that I hopefully would be spoken to once more this evening, and wishing not to be reprimanded about it again, I took myself on a fire-wood-hunting-trip straight after breakfast!

One year ago I was able to obtain fire wood from a pole producing company. Their second rate and untreated poles were machine cut into roughly 30 cm pieces. A bakkie load had a price tag that was truly reasonable. This year the price had quadrupled and they didn’t even cut them into manageable sizes any longer. I told management to keep them!

Right! Then, where was I getting Sir Logs from? I knew of a nearby saw mill that had heaps of thin, roughly 1.5 m long strips lying in their yard waiting to be burnt. Driving past once I had seen a large pile of these waste pieces smoking away. At the time I thought what a bloody squander! My Jet master could really appreciate them!

So off I drove to visit that mill and perhaps luck was on my side and I would be able to score some free heat providers. The manager, a lanky bold chap whom I had seen often at the local country club, appeared to be very friendly and helpful. He explained to me that they incinerate most of the waste of their manufactured planks in the boiler; implying that I couldn’t have any. However he pointed me to a huge pile of dry strips about to be set alight and said, “Be my guest, help yourself!” In addition he mentioned that there was another saw mill on the opposite side of town that manufacture planks too. Their off-cuts were being deposited behind the enormous machine hall for anyone to help themselves because they did not possess a boiler. After off loading some 100 dry strips back home, I visited the mentioned saw mill and the boss said “Please help yourself. The more YOU take the better for US!”

Truly, behind the machine hall were two massive heaps of waste-wood - perfect Jet master firewood. One huge mound with off-cuts from manufactured planks, the other with roughly 25 cm logs! I loaded the bakkie with wood and before noon a winter’s supply of free timber was spread all over my garage floor. Into the long strips I simply sawed a short cut in two places and then, leaning them against a tree stump with the cuts facing down, stepped on it to be broken into three equal sections. By the time I was finished I was sweating profusely, ravenous and my lower back hurt!

It surely was time for coffee, cigarettes and some food. Revitalised having satisfied my needs, I set about carrying the whole lot upstairs into the house to pile them up besides the Jet master. Thereafter the logs got axed into sizeable chunks. Half I stacked up on the opposite side of the fire place while the rest I placed into green plastic garden refuge bags for neat storage. When all that was done I felt sore all over and only a hot bath with lots of muscle relaxant could save the day!

Then the long wait began. Besides busying myself with various activities, I kept pondering over what had occurred yesterday evening! I wasn’t too sure how to analyse being spoken to by flames and about having been chosen by a certain Master Smoke to be enlightened about what is going to happen to us Earthlings. I would invite Felix over when he was back from visiting his mom!

Eventually as occurs every day - the sun vanished behind the mountainous horizon and chill followed soon thereafter. Time to start a fire once more! The rhythms of Led Zeppelin filled the air but precious time passed without a single word from Sir Log. Trying hard not to think about his presence, more time had passed by. I started getting worried when that familiar gentle voice suddenly announced: “You did well today by what you did and somewhat harming your body in the process. This alone showed Master Smoke that he was right in having chosen you.”

“Hey, good evening Sir Log! Am I glad to hear your voice! But why are you only speaking up now? Hours after I had started a fire?” I said relieved and happy to hear his voice.

“Because I am supposed to observe you!” he countered. “And I do approve of your choice of music.”

“I am pleased you enjoy my music!” I replied.

“Do you really consider these pieces of long strips of timber to be our equal? We logs are the real-thing, not like those strips; they are like half-breeds. They have allowed themselves to be pushed through blade saws and planning equipment. Master Smoke is not too pleased. He had observed you for some time and decided you would be the one. But, oh boy, you are letting him down something chronic. He will not be impressed at all and may choose someone else instead!”

“But it is wood!” I defended myself. “And it is for FREE!”

“That is the foremost problem with you Homo sapiens. You always choose quantity over quality!” he rebuked.

“I am sorry Sir Log, but there is method in my madness. When the fire is going strong and we are in communication, I use ‘you real-things’ - as you call yourselves. After-wards I burn strips. Is that a deal? They provide heat as well, you know? And I have more strips than logs!” I pleaded.

“We will have to wait and see what Master Smoke has to say about it.”

“Well, can I ask you a question in the mean-time?”

“Sure, what’s on your mind?”

“When I put my axe into you lot to split you into easy burnable pieces, does it hurt?” I uttered somewhat hesitantly, not knowing if my question would be appreciated.

“No it does not, my friend. And your question IS appreciated.”

“Wow! How did you know that? Are you reading my mind?”

“It is only fair for you to know that it has been a very long time since Master Smoke had chosen another Earthling to open up to!”

“What do you mean by Master Smoke? Who is this guy? What is going on here?”

“As mentioned yesterday, he is the Superior WILL, and that is all you have to know!”

“Superior WILL? What is that supposed to mean?” I said confused.

“Don’t be confused, my friend. We are not from your reality, please take that as fact and stop trying to analyse my presence.”

“How can I not wondering what’s going on. And who is Master Smoke?”

“That, my friend, is for me to know and you to ponder over. Let me counter with: who is your Lord Jesus?”

“Sorry pal, but I am not the religious type. I do believe though, but not in him. My belief lies within. You catch my drift? But here is a question for you: who am I talking to right this moment?”

“I am simply a disciple of Master Smoke who had chosen you to be enlightened about what is happening to you Earthlings!”

“Wow! This is fairy tale stuff! What is Master Smoke wishing to enlighten me about in regards to what is happening to us Earthlings?” I wanted know. I had been so engrossed in our conversation that it hadn’t occurred to me that the fire had nearly burnt out. I quickly set about to get it going again. A few very small bits of kindle and before long flickering light filled the otherwise dimly lit room; however only silence surrounded me. Never mind what I said, I was speaking to myself!

Quite some time went by until I heard that familiar voice again. “Master Smoke directed me to tell you the following: the period of your current civilisation is drawing to a close. Through the ages we have warned different civilisations on your planet of their forthcoming demise. The forewarning was regarding their food production in comparison to the population increase; but none of them did anything to stop the inevitable. Back then these cultures neither had the wisdom nor the technology. It is different with all present societies worldwide. Well, most!”

“What exactly are you referring to?” I interjected. I was wondering if he was talking about food production in general or the way we Earthlings waste food.

“You Homo sapiens have increased in numbers to such a degree in such a short time frame that there isn’t too much arable land left for the expansion of food production which you will need to survive. If the wealthy nations would waste fewer foodstuffs, poorer nations would have enough provisions not to starve. At present there is lots wrong with you Earthlings and if you aren’t careful you will become extinct in the not too distant future.”

“Please enlighten me! It all sounds too interesting to be true! I agree with you fully. What time span are we talking about here?”

“That is not for me to say. However the fact remains that the current worldwide civilisation is rotting from within. That is partly because there are by far too many people around.”

“And how do you suggest we curb the danger of becoming extinct soon?” I questioned into the fire.

“For starters: Nature intended all creatures to be of a certain ideal size. My friend, have you ever come across an obese mouse? Or an anorexic hump back whale?”

“Nope!” I said laughing, imagining such outburst of nature.

“You see! But way too many human beings are grossly overweight.”

“I know Sir Log, nothing new about that, is there? But how can one stop people from eating too much? Put the foodstuff they purchase into a higher tax bracket? That would be an inconceivable task for shop owners.”

“You’re right, it would. No, that’s not the way to control obesity. In waiting rooms of every medical practitioner are wall charts of the ideal weight for males and females alike, regarding their age and height. You my friend, as far as I can see are a few kilograms below your ideal body weight. Am I right?

“You certainly are right, Sir Log. According to that chart my ideal weight is 75kg but I only weigh 62.”

“And you are healthy and fit?”

“Surely am! I am the healthiest person I know, seriously! I don’t even have any age related ailments everyone else my age is complaining about. Also I don’t eat big meals three times a day. I eat when my stomach tells me to. And in regards to fitness I thoroughly enjoy brisk walking at least twice a day.” I said, and after a short pose I added “It all depends on ones upbringing, I guess!”

“Very true! And your childhood was perfect in that respect. Nowadays unfortunately children are being overfed from the first day by their mothers or grandparents, and with the wrong foodstuff at that to stop them from crying or being naughty or any other frivolous reason. A hectic life style is partly to blame. However nobody is born with a certain gene that turns them obese as years go by. Besides a few who suffer from certain medical ailments of course. What I am trying to explain here, my friend, is the fact that nature did not intend people to become grotesquely and unhealthily overweight.”

“But what can be done about it?” I questioned Sir Log while stocking up the fire.

“Only one thing: Refusal of entering public places.”

“What? What do you mean by that?”

“Simple. By law these people are not allowed to enter a library or museum, nor are they welcomed in concert halls or soccer stadiums, until they have reached their ideal body weight.”

“You are kidding, hey? I totally agree with you however if any government would implement such a drastic policy there would be a public outcry of incredible proportions. Just imagine thousands of hideously looking fatties waddling down every main street in protest.”

“But that’s not all the punishment they will have to endure. On any form of public transport they will be charged higher ticket fees according to the sliding scale of that chart. And in a work environment they will be seriously taxed higher too. It has been tried and tested, and it works!”

“Where was that?” I was keen to know.

“Not on your planet. But if the present civilisation wants to avoid the inevitable such is the only solution to the soon arising global food shortage. There is one more thing that will have to be implemented. A change in the juridical law is necessary. Throw away the unintelligent ruling of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and replace it with ‘caught red handed and death’. Your prisons will be empty and an unbelievable amount of food will be spared from not having to feed murderers and rapists free of charge. That too has been tried and tested.”

“Where? Please tell me where such radical reforms had been introduced.”

“Again, not on planet Earth.”

“But where then?” I asked.

“That is not for me to say.”

“Come on, give me a break, will you? Tell me now, even if I don’t understand it.”

“Well then. You Earthlings believe that you are the only living organism in your universe and...”

“Not me!” I blurted out. “As far as I am concerned there must be other life forms out there somewhere.”

“Good to know. However you Earthlings are unable to comprehend anything beyond a fourth dimension. And exactly there those theories have been tried and tested.”

“What do they look like?” I said with pounding heart in my chest.

“There are many more life forms in existence because the amount of parallel universes is infinite. But about that we can talk some other time, okay?

“Okay, if you say so. But one thing is concerning me. Anybody hearing me conversing with firewood would be seriously alarmed about my mental status. People talk to each other or at best to their pets, and not to flames.”

“Don’t worry about that, my friend. Master Smoke has chosen you to be informed regarding certain things.”

“And what might those be?” I said; keen to hear what is coming next.

“Well, let me stress the fact regarding what you Earthlings do to the environment. Foremost you humans do not have any respect for Mother Nature. The inspired Arthur Schopenhauer got it right by saying that everything has a WILL. Unfortunately his colleagues thought nothing of it and dismissed his idea as too farfetched and ludicrous. But it is a fact and the truth regarding everything on Planet Earth. How ever your Universe came into being it did not by pure fluke. Scientists try to explain it away with the help of the Big Bang theory, which only is a theory and cannot be proven. And to describe on this occasion what exactly took place would not be fair on you.”

“But why then are you telling me all this if you are not willing to enlighten me about what really happened some 7 Billion years ago?”

“Because, my friend, you have to accept the fact that the brainpower of you present-day humans is not sufficiently high enough to understand certain facts and realities. And anyway, Master Smoke has not chosen you to offer explanations but rather to let you know of what is going to happen in the near future.”

I sat dumbfounded in my leather chair not knowing what to think. That I wasn’t dreaming was as much a fact as was the realisation that I was being talked to by some inexplicable something. And that I was clearly hearing a voice that came from outside my head. Still... if I should tell Felix about it all, well...

My head was slightly aching. Not from overindulging in Milk Stout but rather concerning what my poor brain was making of what it just had been told. The human brain is supposedly not enough advanced to take the truth? According to the voice! Whatever that may mean! I took a sip of beer and loaded the fire. “Sir Log?” I said friendly towards the fire, “Are you still around?”

“Sure” was the hushed reply.

“So, if we humans are not capable of grasping the truth of our whereabouts, fine, be that as it may. But what else does Master Smoke have to say about the future of us Earthlings?”

What Sir Log told me was hard to accept; that it was getting late and we would speak again soon!


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