Archive for immune system

Deep Cleaning

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by javedbabar

The annual deep clean was planned for March 21st. It always fell upon or around the Spring Equinox. Dust had been building up all winter, with bugs scuttling, and mice cuddling, in the hidden corners of the Lucerne Valley Hotel. It was time to blast away cobwebs and welcome in the sun.

Thoroughly cleaning a fifty room, hundred year old hotel was a big job, too much for the regular housekeepers. The solution was to close the hotel for the day and bring in an external crew called LDC: Lucerne Deep Clean. They must be cost-effective, thought TJ, otherwise the Lifetime GM, Mr Kazantzakis, would not have employed them. In spring LDC vans were everywhere, but what they did for the rest of the year was anyone’s guess.

TJ saw twenty people in orange jumpsuits milling around in the dark car park, before a stocky, blonde haired woman entered the hotel and said, “Hello, I am Lucinda Smart, project manager for LDC. We are contracted to clean your building today between six a.m. and six p.m. I make it exactly six a.m. now. Shall we begin?”

“Hi, I’m TJ, the night-receptionist. I’m only on for another hour, but I can get you started.” TJ had met her last year too, but she didn’t seem to remember. She probably met many night-receptionists.

“I think we know what we’re doing. Are all fifty rooms open? Good. We will follow the usual procedure: dust, polish, hoover, wash, recycle, trash, check.”

“DPHWRTC – very catchy,” said TJ, and then wished he hadn’t.

She looked at him blankly, and then smiled. “Are there any rooms that require special attention? We can start on those first.”

“Yes there are.” He scanned the booking sheet and marked some room numbers. “These were in use during the scientists’ convention, and seem like they were shaken about. I don’t know how else to describe their state. And this one,” he couldn’t help blushing, “was used for my stag party last week. The less said about that the better.”

His friends had given him the choice of being entertained by male or female strippers, both wearing lipstick and leathers. When he chose the female, they vetoed his decision. They said it was good training for marriage. After that they brought in a donkey, and he chose not to remember the rest. However he did wonder how they got it up there.

Lucinda said, “Well, let’s hope there’s not too much of a mess. Our process is the same as always but the intensity is different. We won’t be cleaning as deeply as before, and in fact, we will soon be changing our name to LSD: Lucerne Supply Duties.”

TJ was surprised. That was a good acronym, but did they really wish to be associated with psychotropic drugs? All he could say was, “Why is that?”

“The Authority has complained that we make things too clean. It conflicts with their Health and Safety policy. Over-sanitization reduces natural resistance to infection. Also, on a practical level, dust just comes back again, so why try too hard? They also make an aesthetic argument; having no stains seems characterless, and no mess gives an institutional feel. So we will only be shallow cleaning today. We will be done in two hours.”

“But you said you would be working from six to six.”

“Oh yes, we will charge you for twelve hours, but only work for two. You will benefit from this more advanced process.”

TJ had never heard such hokey reasoning in his professional life, and he protested. Lucinda Smart pulled a gun out of her pocket, and said, “Look, I’ve cleared all this with your boss, Mr Kazantzakis. We will leave supplies in each room as we clean. It is an additional income stream for both parties. Now please let us get on with the job.”

Inner Warrior

Posted in Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , on January 11, 2012 by javedbabar

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

The music was compelling. It was strangely exciting. It was somehow right at the heart of things, but also at their borders. And what about the spaces between hearts and borders – did the music also fill that gap?

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

It was an unexpected mixture of cymbals and drums, with electric whine backing. None of the sounds seemed to go together – especially the Zamb! This was percussion; background music; without lead guitars, just a relentless beat, charging forwards, towards where? Ba-Bamb! was like a snare drum, echoing softly onward. But Ba-Zamb! was the smash of a cymbal, stilled at its crescendo, so it suddenly died.

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

Stuart was still but also mobile. He was caught in the music, following its lead like a bit part player. He knew he had come to this place for something. This music hall. No, it was more like a smoky nightclub. But smoking was no longer allowed in nightclubs – except outside. Would he hear the music there?

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

His heartbeat had always been strange. Arrhythmia they called it. He never understood what the problem was. He was right-handed; he was right-footed; his right eye was dominant; his right arm stronger; so it seemed reasonable that his right ventricle pumped a little harder, and occasionally decided not to. This shouldn’t cause any issues.

There was the strange situation in fights where he was facing off someone, and would feel a sudden weakness. He would have to back down. The other kid would just laugh at him, or take the opportunity to punch him in the head. But he knew that he wasn’t a coward, just unbalanced momentarily.

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

Why did it feel like a fight right now? He wasn’t even standing. He realized he was lying down. Had he been in a fight? Had he become unbalanced momentarily, and someone punched him in the head? It felt as if he were in his real body but in a dream also. It reminded him of Tae-Kwon-Do training, which remedied the fight situation. He was able to calm both his body and mind. Be fluid but still. His teacher described it as “moving unmoving”.

Had he been in a fight? Was he in a fight? Moving unmoving?

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

The rhythm became physical. He felt his bones vibrating, blood pulsing, and heart pumping. It sounded like battle drums! His family drums! Stuart drums! The smoke about him cleared, and he saw a Highland vista. Black lakes slipped between lilac hills, and bands of brown forest in  mist swirling. There were also swathes of other colours. Red lines advanced, and white clouds danced around them.

Whose side was he on – reds or whites? He recalled from history class that red was often the colour of invaders; the uniform of colonists and enforcers. It was the colour of anger, and of danger. Hadn’t red forces started wars worldwide; conquered half the earth, and laid it under their yoke; promoted slavery and occasional genocide? It was unlikely that he would be on the red side.

Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Bamb! Ba-Zamb!

White was the sign of good guys, especially in stories – Luke Skywalker wore white, Saruman performed white magic, and Jesus wore white robes; public saviours were called “white knights”; angels wore white; and surely it was a nobler choice on the chessboard. There were exceptions – the Snow Queen in Narnia, asylum inmates, and ghosts – but these proved the rule. The norm was clear: that white was good. And they were fighting warlike reds. So he would support the whites in their holy battle.

But Stuart did not realize the differences of the inner and outer worlds. In his inner world – that of a patient undergoing a heart procedure – the reality was opposite. The reds were his blood cells, fighting for his life. The whites were his overactive immune cells, trying to kill them off. It was a pretty fierce battle. His life hung in the balance.

Their dispute had begun during the Lymphic Games. The reds and the whites were mighty rivals, and each had turned out in force. Their squads were tense, tuned, toned – ready to engage fully; to give their all. But somewhere within the competitive events, the mood had soured. They had become mock-battles, and spilled over into real ones. It was no longer a game of give and take, of second-guessing, of slight reversals, and temporary triumphs. It was a great war, once-and-for-all.

Stuart willed the whites to win. It was the extra boost they needed. They made a mighty push and routed the reds. At that moment he realized his mistake. Both the inner one, and the outer one. The reds were the bearers of life, both of his body and of this land.

There was no more Ba-Bamb!

Just one weak, final Ba-Zamb!