Celtic Illumination, part 142, Hare Krishna, Satan and me.
Despite the fact that in my previous blog I recommended the ticket office at the main car park, at Venice airport, as a suitable holiday location, I would like to add that, especially from a price point of view, it is a most suitable holiday location but only for a maximum of one night. I did compare it to an ancient order of monks who would sleep on concrete, or stone, slabs however at least the monks had bread and water whereas I only had water. When I woke on the second day, which is slightly inaccurate. I didn’t wake, for I hadn’t really slept. The lack of food, the cold, the hard floor, all contributed to a very long and uncomfortable night.
I stayed in the cabin, all two meters square of it, until I could see sunlight and then went to my bench and begged the sunshine to bring me back to life. I wasn’t so much looking for the gorilla that morning; I was looking for the troop of gorillas, who had come through and given me one hell of a beating. I had no money to steal, I was wearing all my clothes so all they could do was pee in my mouth, and it certainly tasted as if they all had done so. Again, I waited for the terminal to open and then used the facilities to wash and fill up with water. I now had two empty grappa bottles so filled them with water and placed them in my bag.
I suppose I didn’t have the option of giving up. There was no ‘get out of jail free’ card here. I sat on my bench and in order to ignore the hunger pangs and aching joints, I allowed myself to sink into a deep meditative state. Passers-by might have said I was asleep, but I can assure you I was meditating. Nothing of note happened that day. It was the evening when the excitement began. As we all know this was a test for me, laid on by the double top secret cabal who were preparing me for the role of King of Ireland. The Irish people would want a strong leader and the double top secret cabal were going to make sure that that is what they got.
Someone had locked the ticket office. I can now imagine the members of the double top secret cabal perhaps with a list, where they would ramp up the misery I was facing. It was bad enough to be starving, to have no money, to not be able to contact anyone and now not to have anywhere to sleep was pushing me towards the edge of sanity. For my third night at Venice airport I really had to dig deep within. I returned to my bench and sat myself down. There was no point in meditating for I knew that at any moment water borne Ninjas could attack me. Of course that idea could have been brought about by too much grappa and not enough food. I was woken by the sound of an aeroplane.
I know that one should expect to hear aircraft when at an airport but this was a jumbo jet. A huge aircraft, that when landed, parked itself beside the main terminal building. I could see it towering above the terminal, as if it were stalking me, and thought no more about it. I went in to the terminal and wrote down the times of the scheduled flights to London for that day then returned to my bench. I now had nothing, not even a secure place to sleep. My energy was draining away from me but I promise you I hadn’t given up. I really did not despair. Even after the first two flights had left Venice that day, without me, I was not downhearted; I returned to my bench and quite probably entered a very light meditative state.
I snapped myself out of it as two people were approaching me. An elderly couple. They smiled and nodded and sat at the far end of my bench. From the way they treated me and spoke to me I could tell that they thought I was Italian. Turns out that they were Americans and the Jumbo jet was theirs. Not theirs literally, but they were part of a social group who had hired the jumbo and were travelling around Europe on a quick trip. They were spending the day in Venice and in my mind I could see them, en masse, chasing somebody, holding an umbrella, in Saint Marks square.
Nikos Kazantzakis, wrote a book about what was going to happen to me next. It was the most extreme test of faith, or endurance, fear, doubt, depression that any human being could be subjected to. First of all this kindly American couple, one of whom I’m sure was Lucifer himself, produced two plates of food. It was a packed lunch that the airline had provided for them. I hadn’t eaten anything for almost three whole days. I didn’t say anything, it would have been most impolite, but my stomach was growling at them the ignorant, uncivilised, organ that it is.
The lady explained that her husband had some sort of ulcer and couldn’t eat the rich food that had been prepared for them, so I was quite welcome to have his lunch. I’m sorry but I will have to apologise to you all for I didn’t unfold the napkin and in fact I didn’t even use the plastic knife and fork provided. I did take my time though and munched my way through the lunch and although tempted, didn’t lick the plate. I now felt that I had to offer these people something as a thank you for their kindness and gave them some grappa. I do remember the man swigging it down, gasping and then declaring that it was white lightening he had consumed.
What had happened was that they had enticed me into their friendship and now hoped to influence me with their dark power. They suggested that if I like I could come with them to Germany. They were stopping in Munich for two days, and then returning to the States. I could go with them to Munich, they would take me under the wing of their party and they would provide me with five star accommodation and food. I could make my way back to the UK from Munich or, if I wanted to, I could return to America with them
I’m sure the double top secret cabal were on tenterhooks as they waited for my reply. This was as Nikos described in his book, The Last Temptation of Christ, where I had to face and conquer all of man’s weaknesses. I had nothing to return to the UK for. The RAF had already messed me about from pillar to post. I knew that to get back to aircrew would be a struggle as the failed fast jet pilots were worse than useless. I also knew that I would never be able to return to the UK if I went to America. There would always be a military copper with a pair of handcuffs waiting for me. Three days at Venice airport, with no money, no food, no accommodation, no indication that I would ever leave and now I was being offered unlimited luxury, free flights, free accommodation and a new life, a fresh start.
Those of you who have read this blog from the beginning will know that it wouldn’t be beyond me to accept the offer and go to America. You will also know that I seriously considered the proposal. It was quite exciting and appealing to think that I could have a whole fresh start and sure didn’t the Americans love the Irish. But for some reason I also knew that you only won battles by facing them, if I ran away I would have that fact haunt me for the remainder of my life. I think the appropriate quote would have been ‘Get thee behind me Satan,’ and the American couple returned to their jumbo jet and moved on to Munich and the dark side. Little did I know that had I gone to America I would have lost all claim to the throne of Ireland.
What I didn’t know was that I had successfully overcome every obstacle the double top secret cabal; had placed before me. I took myself into the terminal and sat by the entrance doors on top of my deflated bag. Word had got through to the stewardess and I was called to the front of the queue, which proves that ‘waiting to see if there were any spare seats,’ was in fact a lie. I had been kept at Venice airport for a reason. They took my bag, checked my passport and asked me to move through to the departure lounge as the long line of tourists, behind me, all wondered why a tramp was receiving preferential treatment. Not only was I on my way home, I was well on my way to be the greatest King Ireland has ever seen.