Jack Sparrow’s Descendant has this Covid Conspiracy Theory…

For Lewisham it was an otherwise quiet evening. So, I went next door to remonstrate with whoever it was endlessly strimming.

He was handsome, forties, bit of a belly, nicely tucked under beanie. Mowing, actually, outside what had been the Salvation Army old people’s hostel.

I did the English thing of staring, hands hovering midway to hips, brows in full sardon.

‘Sir, yes?’ he said. Absolutely self-assured.

I bevelled and pretended I wanted to borrow the lawn mower.

‘Are you in the harpist’s flat?’ he asked.

I nodded. I’m staying here till my new flat has floors.

‘How do you know her?’ Suspicious.

Did he think I might have broken in, decided I’d mow the lawn, failed to find a mower, conveniently heard one being plied outside…?

‘Singing cabaret at the Aldeburgh Festival’, I said, then gave myself some Lewisham site-specific context. ‘When I was flat-sitting and this was still a hostel, I was in the bath and heard the ice cream van chime up. Slow and steady hubbub. Then the warden shouted, “Mrs Inez — you are type two diabetic. Step away from Mr Whippy!”’

When the warden was overseeing trackied teens arcing the last vestige of the building’s previous use into a skip, I asked, 'Where have the residents gone?'
Neat as her tabard and narrow-brim Sunday hat she said, 'Some up the hill past Tesco’s. Ongoing — some up far higher. All purpose here served.'

For some reason, I thought of the Aldringham and Thorpe pigs being rotated from field to field, manuring.

Jake laughed in two halves at the Mr Whippy story. I’d slightly stumbled over the punchline. He said I must sing for the mower.

A few bars of “If Love Were All”.

‘Beautiful…’

‘Are you a Guardian here?’

He nodded, then ran his forefinger under the already immaculate brow of his beanie. ‘Retired, when the penny dropped, from social work.’ His tone was now utterly-butterly.

He asked me if I’d been vaccinated.

To use the mower?

I said I had been, fully, but could wear gloves.

He told me he wasn’t going anywhere near vaccinations. He was healthy. No falling for their ploy. He was as safe — and for however long — as his present incarnation required. Covid had indeed been created by the Chinese — at Great Britain’s behest, because Great Britain’s centuries old gold bullion treaty with the South Americas was now forfeit and Great Britain had therefore played right into the hands of her conglomerate corporate loan sharks. And they were instigating a new world order — hence Brexit, Covid, the US president and UK prime minister being cloned from Anne Widdecombe; also plans for human microchipping — and look out for other littler changes coming: along the lines of Jif becoming Cif. Which Jake said happened about the time Syria forfeited on a treaty with Germany. Or did he say Portugal? Or the Native American tribe called Day, who sold out other tribes, as they were in turn sold out, and who all we Edwards’s are descended from?

Our choices are to return to pre-1860 off-grid self-sufficiency, which is tricky but ultimately achievable. Or die unvaccinated. Or have three vaccines only to die in a year or so of something as yet unspecified.

I told him I felt better, then, about my malaise slowly doing away with me.

‘Oh, really? Okay…’

Although I’d also quite hanker to live in a yurt, on the sun’s timetable, grow my own ratatouille ingredients — no tomatoes: arthritis. Scoop fresh water from a stream. Bathe in rivers. Pooh in shrubs. Though how to watch Judge Judy, Selling Sunset and Pornhub; where to source wet wipes when the rivers were too cold — September to June — and could I still keep my library card?

Talking of living arrangements, I asked to see round the Guardianship. Jake skipped over the threshold. It’s clean, airy, with a restaurant kitchen divided into sections: each tenants has his own chopping board. From Freecycle.com came all beds, sofas, bookcases, TV and two electric keyboards.

This is Jake’s first Guardianship. He feels he has fallen on his feet. The social department is amazed at how clean and well-furnished the present tenants have the place. Before coming here, he had a year of homelessness because he is a descendant of Jack Sparrow, George the Third and Charles the 2nd (though not necessarily in that order) and has the ownership rights to Richmond.

‘I was offered my own barrister’s practise, but was summarily let go, as I am too much of a threat to anyone who can read my aura and soul through the eyes; let alone my propensity for turning up to Chambers in a convertible BMW with my bitches. Those partners knew I wasn’t like them — all about the money. And because the establishment since 1777 has regretted my family’s charter, they make sure I don’t so much as have formal living arrangements. Still at least they haven’t managed to assassinate me.’

Of course, none of us does actually come from formal living arrangements. Jake has genetic memory of all his previous incarnations, right back to his life’s-clay being shaped in the hands of a non-denominational celestial creator. He made a beautiful gesture here of both moulding and releasing. ‘Earlier, even. When I was just a blip of light pulsing through the universe, playing with other blips of light. As we did — only knowing love. I used to happily pass by your solar system. But suddenly, from nowhere, there I was just by Orion’s Belt, grabbed by an energy and ended up in a tight, red, dark place. To be pushed out (my mother’s womb: this time around) into this incarnation.’

When Jake later pushed the mower for me to lend through the harpist’s side gate, there was an already immaculate lawn.

He said, magnificently, ‘I think the mower will cope with this…just about. Keep it powder dry overnight.’

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Author of war memoir My Tutu Went AWOL, Vaudeville turn.

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Iestyn Edwards

Iestyn Edwards

Author of war memoir My Tutu Went AWOL, Vaudeville turn.

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