Chapter2 My Father Sofie, and the world I have come to see
My father, jeremeramighah Meeks was considered as a man of faith. Which made him really, really scary. He stood stalwart, at 6 feet, three hands high, and had his thick wavy dark bead and hair were trimmed to the proper length; he also had his nose, broken when he was six. (This was due to being pushed over into a pile of shit and mud for telling on someone for being a keeper of the Corbyn, a text that was said to be heretical, blasphemous and not what everybody else thinks. Ironically, enough, this also had the precise opposite effect of having set him towards the position in the of prominence in Britaxia as “a teller of tales”: a position of both fear awe and notoriety within out small county of “keep ‘em out.” . ) I recall he also had these fierce oval shaped, cornflower eyes that never faltered and always seemed, at least to me, constantly sneering at me with disappointment, constantly trying to find some fault in me, someway, somewhere. It is true that my father was a strong and fierce man, but he was also a man of great compassion, especially towards animals, mostly ant’s, whom he seemed to have a connection with sometime in the past before May brought tribulation and the black uniformed guards with the truncations. So it was said, but that would have been his grandfather’s generation . He would always want to protect ants as he saw them as being connected to something he confessed that didn’t really understand; but wanted to. He married my mother ten years before I was born and five years before my sister was born and had at that time reached the department of snitching, as a teller of tales, second grade, by the time he was twenty; which was by anyone’s standing in the region of “keep em out” was very good indeed. Also being left Bircken-nell farm, a modest collection of out-houses with 10 acres of land around them, helped secure my father along the road to success. One story about my father comes to mind. I had known Sofie three months and I was helping my sister do the dishes and said to her, isn’t it great that we can share the load of all this washing of cups. My Father suddenly glanced at me with his wild angry eyes. ‘What did you say boy?’ ‘I said I was great to share the-‘ ‘So you want to share things do you boy?’ ‘Well, I-’ ‘-our keep em out, hard grafting soul destroying praise the May not good enough for you eh?’ ‘-I just like –‘ ‘- That’s so typical of this generation today! too much information and not enough facts!’ Mother stared at me aghast, as my sister left the room. ‘-We will have to consult the book of Brexit boy, to find out how infected with the Corbyn you are!’ With much reverence, he picked up the heavy leather bound tomb that was on the middle shelf at the back of the room. He gently opened the book and read from the vellum parchment, his voice both stern and filled with awe, asked the questions from the book. “what does it mean to be in Bretaxia?” I confessed that I didn’t know. ‘-Oh Mother he failed at the first question!’ With pain he slammed the book in front of me, leaving a gust of dust to float about the room. Again with delicate reverence, he put the book back on the shelf and then once he had managed this task, he held his head in pain. After which he looked up at the ceiling and asked:- ‘Oh May where have I gone wrong with the teaching of my son?’ He pulled at his beard ‘Oh May I beseech you, do not send the black uniformed guards with the truncations! Help me bring this poor soul back into the fold once more. ‘ ‘Oh jeremeramighah our own son, infected with Corbyn! How could this happen!’ My Mother said her arms raised to the sky. My father’s reply was terse. ‘It’s the modern world my love, it happens all the time, they have this idea that being nice and having a fair society, where everybody has a chance of being equal is some sort of good idea! Of course it’s heretical and opposed to what everybody else thinks, but I need to know how much the infection has spread.’ With a huge sweep of his arm he cleared our kitchen table and benches of the bottles of artisan beer and loaves of artisan bread and then with a lightening speed he dragged me to the table. ‘Sit down boy!’ I sat down dutifully, fearing the wrath to come. ‘What is the first law of Brexit?’ His voice was stern. ‘That Brexit means Brexit?’ ‘NO!’ ‘Enough is enough?’ I could feel the guesses come in thick and fast. ‘NO!’ replied my father this time not as stern, as he knew must have been reading the book of Brexit, just not in the right order. ‘Strong and stable?’ ‘Boy are you only reading the book of alliteration as passed down from May so that we can all lead happier lives!’ ‘Oh jeremeramighah how can the boy be seen in public!’ gasped my mother. ‘Boy learn the first chapter of the book of Brexit! “No-one is equal in the eyes of the May! May her name be enshrined upon the tablet of your heart! Next to Thatch and her dominion over us all amen!” Remember the commandments boy, remember the commandments!’ he bellowed and forced me to read them aloud as he belted me:-
“No one is created equal in the eyes of the May” “Work hard and get just what you need to survive” “Cursed is the Foreign person who does not speak Brexlish” “Beware the words of Corbyn as they are lies” “Money is the key to salvation in the eyes of May” “Sacred is the Brexit text and adhere to its teachings” “Stay out of the red and into the blue” “Nothing in this game for the two of you” “You can’t beat a bit of Brexit!” “Brexit bellowed you out there!” And finally “Look at what you could have won.”
So though I know my father was a hard man he was a man of his age disciplined by a system that had given him both wealth and a sense of purpose. So though I do have some painful memories, I can look back at life in Bricken-nell farm with a sense of some understanding. That night, was painful, I found it hard to sleep, and cousin Lucy came to me with pictures of a man with kind eyes and a short amount of beardy stubble upon his face. I began to feel comforted by the image. However, when I did finally get to sleep I began having nightmares about Sofie, I saw her parents being singled out for sharing their goods and not accepting money and finally Sofie was dragged into the inquisition forum that took place in the judgement field. The entire village was there and on the pedestal of power My father stood, bellowing at the top of his voice. ‘You are against the sacred Brexit and opposed to what everybody else thinks, so you are to be put to death. ‘ With that, a vast black shadow loomed on the horizon. With lightning speed it stood over the town. It had the face of a strange ugly person but the eyes were green and full of fury. Then I could hear the galloping of many horses; suddenly from out of the woods known as Essex, came hundreds of black uniformed guards waving their heavy truncations about their heads. My father wild eyed stared down at Sofie. and with a gnarled finger he pointed at her and bellowed ‘YOU ARE A HEATHEN AND HAVE BROUGHT THE TRUNCATIONS UPON US! At which point the men on horseback began beating upon the gathered crowd. I woke up screaming Just as Lucy whispered an image, ‘You must stop eating cheese just before you go to bed.’
The next morning, I got up very early, I don’t know why but I ran all the way to Sophie’s house, I felt that I had to warn them that something terrible was coming. But when I got there, the house was deserted, They had gone in the middle of the night. I spent most of that day feeling distraught and anxious; my father seeing me look distressed now sneered at me with approval, thinking that the flogging I had received on the previous day had had the desired effect upon me. It hadn’t of course; I was just only more confused about the world I lived in, and was becoming increasingly convinced that this world of my father’s was wrong, that there was something really quite insane about the fact that all our neighbours had to make pins for the next village, and that there were board meetings for those people who didn’t work until they finally slept. Or that our grandparents were told to go to the Fringes because their production of pins did not meet the Town’s or May’s quota of pins to be made on time and without fault. Then there were all the taxes. There was land tax, house tax, fire tax, street tax, cow tax milk tax water tax, dog tax, artisan bread tax, artisan beer tax, Artisan cheese tax, veg tax, flower tax, tree tax, fish tax, street tax, talking tax, non talking tax, sad face tax, happy tax, looking at me in a funny way tax, shit tax, mud tax, wine tax, bare faced lying tax, and air tax. Which was deducted from our wages by the Sacred May from the moment that we were born. It seemed to me that the May was doing very well out of Briken-nell, while the people of the town had little money, little time out of work and nothing to do when at home. Then, of course came my little sister Patricia. when she was born, everything changed.