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About the author

South African born Arno Le Roux is affiliated with a number of charities and he has a long history with and still has some affiliations with both the Finance, Banking & Insurance Industries; as well as his past career in the Safety and Security Sector, where his activities revolved around crime prevention, pathology, Serious Economic Offences investigations, intelligence gathering, Riot and Crowd Control Units, commercial and military firearm & ammunition identification, etc. As a part time consultant in an advisory capacity to his past and proud career, he also holds various impressive honours and awards within these sectors. Furthermore, he is a Certified Realtor dealing in both commercial and residential properties. His passion for the mechanics of corporates and commerce, religious history, pathology and psychology are interwoven in his fiction.

Copyright © Arno Le Roux 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Should you wish to contact the Author: arnoleroux1970@gmail.com

Things That Don't Rhyme



Synopsis

Inspired by "Rubicon" an American television series, briefly broadcasted on the AMC television network in 2010 - and some say, "got too close to current world events", and 'that' the underlying reason for its summery 'taken-off-air", away from public viewing and commentary. At the heart of it was a single initially seemingly naive intelligence analyst working for the American Policy Institute - who discovered that he may have been working alongside a group that manipulated world events on a grand scale.

Prologue

"What if unknowingly, 'we' were the caretakers of both the brave and the weak - rich and the poor - and believers and non-believers alike. Crafting their ever-evolving perception of reality from art and science to technology, finance and shipping to food, and advertising and religion to armament manufacturing and its delivery on an unsuspecting victim ?"

Chapter 1 - Upload

He went to sleep the previous night with more cares than he felt he deserved - having solved the last crossword he ever wanted to solve. Then again, rather him 'too', than only the other readers 'only'. A skewly stacked pile of newly received envelopes were neglected for the first time in his career. Identical addresses were calling to the full moon for divine help, as if the moon was going to intervene...

"To Eric Heyne, 33 Dahlia Street, South Broom, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa"

"...Sharing those patient echoing ticks of the clock down the dark hallway of progress with the known world, are a handful of autonomous, yet 'everyday-people' who do not know each other, but represent an ideal of harmony and balance". Michael couldn't help but recalling the last time those frozen words echoed in his curious mind. He was a fitter, non-smoking and much younger version of himself - dangling precariously from a fixed rope, used to reduce the bottleneck of overtaxed climbers who left the numbing cold Mount Everest's North Base Camp in Tibet, already 5,150 metres away from a kinder more comforting realty.



"Stop with that bloody camera Michael, you're going to lose your grip! Please put it away now and hand me the static rope and another 'jumar'! It's going to get colder than this, I need you to focus!". A six foot and lean, bodacious but never reckless, well tanned Eric loved the outdoors and had been a veteran experienced climber of many years. Taking his work seriously; as guide and owner or 'Peak-Up', the training-wing for aspiring mountaineers doing business with 'Base Camp Tourism', he always generously shared his endless patience and contagious wide smile 'off' the mountain while teaching. He was a master at parting knowledge with care and had a simple outlook on life - 'A time and a place for everything'.



"To answer your question... Yes!" Eric looked down at his almost lifeless friend, conjuring up ways to get Michael to focus on the only job that pleaded for his attention - staying alive. Michael was frozen and his leg- and arm muscles aching from the bitter cold, and the howling wind made it totally unbearable. He made his peace already 200 meters before, that there was no going further up or back down. Not alive anyway. At the peak where the troposphere would penetrate the stratosphere, it would be even worse - he knew that from before. He hated that Eric talked him into a repeat of 'almost' losing his life to the great monolith.



"Next time we climb, I'll give you an answer, then for the love of ... please don't ask me any more" . It was a coded message that would have meant absolutely nothing to anyone. As brave as they both had been including it in the foreword of a book they had each published. Sending hidden messages in plain sight at the time was all an innocent game in the beginning. Till there were only two left of the old group... them.



With his hands having turned blue inside his protective gloves and his eyelashes frozen together inside his mask, all he could think of was Eric's reference a week before to "fast and freezing winds of the jet stream - wind speeds of 260 kilometres per hour". Somehow, being dressed up warm, slowly caressing a mug of hot-chocolate in a classroom atmosphere - the mention of winds at those incomprehensible speeds at that altitude, still didn't sound quite so treacherous.



There must have been a good reason why Eric chose that day in that inaccessible environment to answer him.



"Yes!! There is a time and a place for everything, Michael, and this is it! Your answer's at the top - in the flag. If you want to know, go get it, or leave it alone and go back!!" Was the last advice Eric imparted.



"You just said yes?!" Michael tried to shout over the sound of the icy wind that tore right through both his doubled thermal underwear, padded clothes as well as his thickly padded hollow-fibre suit. He guessed his words instantly turned into ice and cracked like a cheap mirror - when Eric didn't answer immediately.



"I was keeping my promise... remember?!" In that instant Michael realised that Eric either lost the will to continue, or decided; after inspecting the rope and figuring it wouldn't carry them both for much longer, and give it up for his friend's life, and let go.



"Take care my old friend...!!" Down below; when Michael managed to pry his fatigued eyelids open, a muted thud followed the brush past his ice-covered back as Eric's free-falling body passed Michael.



Circumspectly, Michael looked down at the collection of daring reminders of a life-long friendship in the photo album and paged back to the ones where Eric and him had scaled the mighty mountain for a final time. He looked up from the glossy cellophane film covering their photo'd adventures and eyed the vast global map on his study-wall. Appreciating the cool ocean breeze for a long moment by closing his eyes, Michael walked over, closer to wall.



He opened his fist and picked up the chipped metallic memory stick that Eric had hidden inside the flagpole of the South African flag. Eric must have jammed it in hard - during a previous ascent - not having found any another place to hide what had probably been the secret that sent him plummeting. Michael thought how ironic, but fitting in a way, that Eric died doing what he loved.



"Well you couldn't hide it any further, no one would have ever found it." He closed his fist around it again.



'No, you're not Michael..." He hasn't used his own name for years and had to remind himself that he wasn't Michael.



He wasn't even Michael during the period he shared his valuable time, as renowned and much respected lecturer, years before the obscurity and peace of the quiet southern coastal town beckoned. Wondering whether there was a suitable title for his occupation - he shook his head from side to side.



'Surely, 'this' would be the last line of work ever advertised by the many vibrant personnel agencies.' The search engine transported his enquiry to a UK-based recruitment firm and he selected to close the Web browser altogether.



He was a 'never-spoken-of' 'by-product' of an invisible world. Unknowingly included by political analysts when a great many ideology-riddled depictions and predictions were made. Of course, he knew so well that their 'riddle-speak' were totally 'off' the mark.



'But that's where the riddle goes to the next level, doesn't it...?' Taking his time, he debated to work on his assignment, then declined and walked out to the windy balcony.



'It's a bit mad'. Michael thought. His memory tugged on the finest pencil line - that the government so kindly and perfectly erased. Even for 'him' to say that he worked for the government, would be grasping at straws... pure speculation - as there hadn't been a way to know for sure.

Turning away from the too strong but at the same time, welcome fast moving gust, he was back in his study. Pulling a red drawing-pin from the green filt-covered cork board, he wound the thin bright yellow string twice around the tip, and pushed it back into the map. He retreated two long steps, and then two more, crossed his arms and with his eyes, followed the yellow diagonal string. From Ghana, South to Johannesburg, East to Mauritius, then further East to Melbourne.



'The insurance companies are not going to be happy with this. Not in the least.' Aiming a long concerned look over his shoulder at the rising tide during the coming storm, it reminded him that he needed his sleep. After squinting at the fine red string he had linked from Tibet to Bangladesh, he rubbed he's tired eyes and stretched his arms overhead as he paced between the study and the balcony, overlooking the stormy sea from the top of the shrub-covered sand dunes, and flicked the light switch off.

32° Degrees during mid-December, in the middle of a heatwave, and the mental image of the red string, drew him all the way back and down to the podium of the lecture he once gave at the old Rand Afrikaans University. Young and oddly dressed minds had been staring down from the gallery of narrowly designed up-right seats. He often wondered whether those seats were purposely designed for maximum discomfort to keep the philosophy and political-analyst students awake, and he smiled.

"That a speech writer and poet should have so much to say, 'or maybe', should have so much power. To fully appreciate and understand the inescapable labyrinth of modern politics and mass psychology's evolving effect on society as a whole - it requires a touch of madness. No one knows the question anymore. There are many views, ideologies, and points to be made, that much is true." He felt he lost his once curious audience already when he introduced himself. At the time, even then, his name was a pseudonym.



"Everyone is wrong - wrong because they don't know the question. The question is so far-fetched for most, that if it was ever asked, it would top the list of even the most ridiculous of conspiracies." And just like that, he had their attention again.



"As far back as recorded history goes, there have been leaders. Or at least, the persistent illusion of who our leaders are... Whether we actually stretch our minds to make space to file what they promise, is a matter for another day. Whether they speak on behalf of business is probably, well, for the day after that." The students made notes again, this time almost as if he was sharing the biggest secret, never written down. And, despite being fully aware that the deliberate influence by other lecturers as well as their later careers, would wash away what he was sharing with them - he continued as a matter of formality.



"For today there is merely a single question. Just one... Who pays the Speech Writers...?" It was he last presentation he had prepared before he disappeared into the obscured world of unbreakable riddles and clandestine rhyming.



Michael stood with his arms folded, and looked over at the handful of pencils pointing up into the moonlit room overlooking the stormy coast.



'It's mostly a stormy coast, as the waves crash down hard and spits out sea plants and whatever lost their grip on reality. No one sees any of this at night and during a storm, but because there are never witnesses to the bellowing thick salty foam, hiding the ocean's destructiveness and relentless pursuit of balancing-order via seeming chaos, by no means mean that it doesn't happen. The ocean is too ancient and too indifferent to concern itself with proof of its very nature. It does what it does and always will.' The thought of it, and having it delivered loudly to his lifeless pencils, made him wonder if Michael and those like him, would still be needed in future.

Lifting the letters from his desk; weighing down on a vast and skewly stacked collection of colourfully-covered poetry books, he paged back to the last one of the letters, underlined the last sentence, then slipped all the papers into one of the books - which he decided to hide, by placing three heavy Shakespeare books on top of it.



"If there was peace, anywhere, even briefly, it meant you all were not working - but merely, just lazying about." His continued conversation with the pencils was followed by a sip from his favourite coffee mug as he looked over it, and out to the blueish lit braking waves in the moonlight.



By now, having escaped who he was in the big city years before, he was far more skilled in reading between the waves - ever crashing and crushing, foaming and spitting at everything in its wake - while serving to deliver an invisible measure, of balance and order - within the chaos.

His pencils were once again all patiently waiting, ready and sharpened, on call, in any weather, at any hour. Unlike the inked electronic fonts, pencils might on occasion snap sharply, but they don't leak and they don't need electrical currents. Old school. Like their master. Old music, old books, old languages, antique furniture, old houses, much like their master who breathes life into them. Or rather for 'this' master who purchased them, extinguishing life in an attempt to create order and balance.



It was 'the previous year' during December in South Africa. 'Previous year' should cover it. Any more than that would be specific. Too specific. Michael didn't use specifics in the art he represented. Metaphors yes, all the time. And his readers approved of it. The pencils however, were tasked to create very specific and to-the-mimute outcomes, but only in obscure masterly tailored rhythm and rhyming, meandering their way from an abyss if you like, to reality for the ones who care enough to read and re-read.



12am in South Africa, midnight. But that's irrelevant. It was 8:00am in Sydney, 3:50pm in Bangalore, 7:20pm in Tokyo, and 5:20pm in Toronto. And that mattered. In fact, that's all that mattered. Five different locations which seemingly, had very little in common.

Chapter 2 The Weight Of Lead

Alternating his survey of the busy study between the vast rows of books he collected and the peculiar arrangement of photos in the order of dates they were taken, he finally decided to permanently cast his teary eyes out of the open glass sliding doors, over to the hazy horizon.

"If the 'love for a thing of beauty', had been the sole motivation why people worked long, hard hours, it would have been a better world". He took a long purposeful blink and strode outside and drank as much fresh salty air as his lungs allowed.

Fifteen minutes later Michael slowly tugged at the top corner of a page he had been editing while absorbing the last line before turning the page to where he suddenly eyed an out-of-place metaphor. Thinking how he came to know the real world, where greed and fear alone were motivating people from the moment they were submerged in this blinding spotlight - not only because it's a constant transition from the one business morning to the next again - but because his gut again spoke to him of something that was nagging at him.



Back from the Post Office the next morning - he briefly scanned the newly arrived handwritten envelopes and filed the one behind the other as he read the postage stamps. Placing the paper tower of envelopes next to his coffee percolator; with his left palm, he tiredly slid a large coffee mug from the cupboard, into his right hand. He closed the cupboard door at exactly the same time as the percolator's loud beep announced that it completed its monotonous mission. Even if someone was in the next room, they would be totally unaware that he removed something from the cupboard.



'Totally unnecessary'. He thought to himself.



'Habits. It's ironic that in this infinite loop, of fear and greed with a multitude of authors who battle it out like gladiators in the modern online arena of recognition - and that publishing houses had become the 'backup' only, as a type of a last resort. This, as opposed to yesteryear's primary option of 'paperback printed' novels and poetry-bundles of writers. The new system allowed cutting out the middleman by forging an instantly rewarding direct line of commerce between authors and readers. Once downloaded, the full enjoyment of ideas and stories could be experienced from anywhere - from on a remote ship or island or mountain range, right down to villages, towns, in traffic on a bus or at school and university. And linking access to author's thoughts from completed proofreading to uploading into cyberspace and onto the thirsty electronic readers of waiting clientele - the weeks and sometimes months it used to take to deliver literature, has been reduced by sidestepping traditional publishing houses, to the bandwidth available - literally seconds and minutes. Oline-trading really has increased exponentially'. Michael shook his head at the strangeness of how technology deleted more and more occupations where middlemen were once building empires on the hard work of others. He sat down and leant over to slide the heavy wooden framed window open just a little bit more. A flood of salty, fresh coastal air rushed in and pushed the antique wood-and-leather smells to the far darker back of the book-shelved study. The south-eastern side of the house was always cooler and somehow the ocean just smelt fresher this morning.


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