Saturday morning. Dolphin Square. Not a cloud in the autumn London sky. No smog, no chemtrails, just blue bathed by the clean glare of the rising sun behind an Easterly apartment block. Not a sound, save for the water fountain in the middle of the square.
Jack’s bright morning eyes fell on the underlit cast iron trio of dolphins. He let his eyes go in and out of focus three times, then close. Colours moved across his eyelids in time to the gentle noise of water on the dolphins’ backs. The last music he heard played in his head – looped snippets of 80s pop from a cheap fast food kitchen radio. Corresponding music videos danced across his mind; eighties childhood memories; yellowed photo albums of his parents, holding other people’s babies before Jack was born, in brown and grey living rooms populated by smiling mothers with Lady Di hairdos. Breathe. A windscreen wiper down-stroke. A wet squeegee across a window. A magician pulling the tablecloth. Stop thinking… between Now… – inhale – …and… – hold – Now… – exhale. This is how we get to Now, Jack thought. And all the how-to meditation videos started to play in his head, narrated by himself. Stop. Clear a cluttered banquet table with the side of your hand in one stroke. Ffffft. Back to NOW.
Jack put himself in a perfect sphere. The sphere shrunk to his solar plexus on each inhale, and expanded out with each exhale, each time expanding further – first engulfing his wooden bench, then his corner of the square, then the entire apartment complex, then all of London, Europe, the Earth, the Moon, the inner planets, the solar system, the entire galaxy, each time returning to his heart. The sphere collected and released the totality of memories and experiences contained within its reach; a cosmic fishing net, accumulating nebulae of the glowing, multi-coloured silt of existence. Jack imagined a shaft of white light falling from the top of the Universe, down into his head to the base of his spine. Light filled his being from all directions and culminated into an abrupt inhale. He opened his eyes. A sausage dog sauntered past his feet.
He got up and began walking back to the hostel – his central London home for four months in the summer; his halfway house, before The Shift. Placing his hand over the other hand, where he’d biroed a morning Haiku poem, Jack stretched both arms to block the now visible Sun.
The Shift, incoming;
All pieces in position;
Flock now to your roost.
He took one last look at Dolphin Square. A real look. Sometimes one can never look enough – so much detail here in this one square. The slabs of concrete cracked by weeds. The morning light outlining every leaf. Ecologies upon ecologies. Swirling, invisible dynamics. Such is our world – abundant. Jack recalled the strange sensation he’d been feeling recently, of being here, but being everywhere also. Like de ja vu, the feeling came knocking unexpectedly, and he was not only occupying his body, but all bodies, and all places, in all times. And in those moments, it was like Jack was standing in front of the door to eternity, which closed as fast as it opened. This was all part of the Shift. Time was speeding up. The domino effect was moving faster and faster, and once Jack thought it, so he was already there. Like lightening. The shaft of white light from the top of the Universe had been filling every cell, electrifying the tip of every mitochondria, and amplifying the velocity of intent: you think it, you know it, you walk around it, in your own mind… and suddenly, you’re already there.
Only ten months ago he was working in a high-security factory on the mainland: a hive of five hundred strangers in grey lab coats, surrounded by layers of electric fences and the paranoid Gendarmerie. No sooner had he fantasized about the adventure of surreptitiously leaving, without notification or warning, he was already packing up his apartment in the Landrover, and his sleep-deprived head was being gently rocked on the deck of the ferry to Portsmouth. And no sooner had he woken from his maritime dream, in which he strode down the wide streets of Pimlico with endless cream hotel facades, serviced by black cabbies from Romford, so he was already there, in mere hours. And no sooner was he installed in his Pimlico address, basking in the cosy familiarity of England, he was envisioning highlands – the mountains. His roost to weather The Shift. And not just an isolated retreat – a survival station, with others of like mind and able bodies. And no sooner had he thought it, he’d already received confirmation from an ex page 3 model and Reiki healer in the Scottish highlands. Intention had laid the ideal table, complete with an army of gardners, and a nearby firearms club.
This had a good feeling to it. After all, he’d heard from a part-time worker at Buckingham Palace that the queen would be breaking tradition and staying at Balmoral this Winter. What did the queen know of The Shift? If Aberdeenshire was good enough for the queen, it was good enough for Jack. Not that he cared about the queen. She – or It – could be vaporized by a passing UFO for all Jack cared. No doubt, should the queen survive The Shift in her Balmoral bunker, the location would be stormed by an angry and fearful mob, who would demand reparations in the form of basic necessities, after said necessities had run out, and the coastline had been gobbled away by the reformed equatorial bulge. But Jack wouldn’t be joining the mob. His Landrover was already fully stocked with everything essential for life. And with the Cairngorms, a constant source of vegetable protein was provided in the form of streamside edibles.
If Jack thought it, so it would be… in the not-so-distant future, foraging with his impregnated Scottish maid. They would marry under the same oak tree they met, surrounded by the villagers who will sit on tree stumps, as Jack would place his grandmother’s gold ring on her finger. And he would live out the rest of his life, making masterpieces in oils, and on the piano, lecturing to University students on the subject of The Shift, and tending to his Bitcoin mining operation at the foothills of Ben Macdui. He pondered this future, walking around it and viewing from all angles. Jack sensed the strings of time winding into position to connect his present and future, his DNA pulling all those images into a vortex that he himself was climbing into. The vortex’s power was such that he didn’t even notice he was already back at the hostel. Another symptom of the The Shift! Lost time in the present, spent in the future; the separation between dimensions was thinning.
Jack looked down through the window in the basement and saw the little Turkish housekeeper laying on her bed, her laptop on her chest. Her glazed eyes where pointing at something about the latest hurricane. Shift Incoming. The serene blue skies of London gave nothing away, but soon this very street would be a lake, populated by none but the occasional band of looters on dinghies, returning to London to scubadive amongst the undersea jewelers and bank vaults. He’d watched enough tsunami videos. He didn’t want to think about it any more. He didn’t want to think about the fate of his parents in London, nor the multitude of future plans wiped into wet dust by nature. He simply couldn’t afford such daydreams. Only pristine thoughts upon the cosmic table, laid with nothing but a perfect future. No expectations: there was enough simple power in knowing.
As he swiped the hostel fob key for the last time, he looked back at his Landrover – A silver 1987 Defender with a roof light and a yellow fluorescent band across the sides. It looked superb. He’d packed up the poster he kept on his wall, of Marilyn Monroe smiling from the driver seat of a Landrover – how curious his ex page 3 contact was also a Marylin Monroe double. “You think it, and so you’re already there”, Jack thought, smiling and shaking his head at the beautiful, wondrous synchronicity of his life. His life was flashing before his eyes. He saw the arc it cast across time, and the indelible impression his 32 years had made on causality. Bang – 32 years in the blink of eye. “Ok, no more thinking,” he said under his breath. “Let’s get this show on the road”. Onwards. To enveloping spirals towards the zero point of eternity – The Shift awaits.