Monday 16 December 2013

Magic Falls Part 31

I stand on the stage, looking out at everyone. A few moments ago, I was glaring at Jack for putting me on the spot like this, let alone under the spotlight. But now I’m standing here, and I don’t have a clue what to say.

“I…” I look out, and the lights mean that I can only look at the first few rows (and I suddenly understand why comedians always concentrate on the front row – they can barely see anyone else).

The light glares at me, and it feels like I’m looking out over a chasm. I say nothing for what feels like forever before taking a deep breath. I talk into the microphone, and suddenly my fear is reduced.

“Jack said that I know what’s going on better than anyone. I don’t. That’s not true. We all know, deep down, what’s going on.”

I’ve said this once before. Given…not this speech, but I’ve talked about this before. In a different time.  A different place.

“Magic is falling.” I say. “This isn’t a conspiracy, this isn’t an attempt to control us. We’re used to the government saying things like ‘we’re all in this together’ when they want to make us think they are, but if there’s one thing that scares the government, that scares the authorities, the military, all of them, it’s the idea that we are actually all in the same boat.

“They don’t know what to do, because this isn’t rational. This isn’t part of the usual order, and it’s something that’s… well, I say it again. It’s magic.”

I take another look at the audience. They are listening, but it’s blatantly not like it was when Jack was talking.

“Magic and belief are linked, and they’re a powerful force. It’s something we’ve forgotten over the years, and the more we move towards a rational, secular and science-based belief, the less potent it is. Now, that’s okay. That’s not a bad thing. Except that when you take anything that’s got power and you remove it, it’ll fight to keep it. This is what we’re seeing. A move by various elements of belief to retain power.”

I’m losing them. I can feel it. I wish Jack had let me know he was going to do this.

“You’re called the Knights of Reason. That was Jack’s idea. The idea of an army of you, disseminating information that people want to know. Harnessing information, harnessing the power of facts and reason, and using it as a weapon to challenge against those that prefer to argue with lies.”

Horrible, horrible flattery, but it gets them back on my side for just long enough for me to make my point.

I can feel the sweat dripping down my face. I feel embarrassed and self-conscious, but most of all, I feel hot under these lights.

“The rationality that we understood has been breaking down in front of us for the last while. We’ve all been aware of it. But now, we have something as irrational, as difficult to accept as the ground itself moving in front of us, and delivering a sword in a stone. We need to make sure that we’re not ignoring this and actually accepting it.

“So, what does that mean? Accepting it. It means accepting that our logic has changed. That our rationality has changed. That our sense of reason has changed.”

I should have started with this. I’ve got them listening now, and some of them (maybe even enough of them) are taking note of what I’m saying. But I already know I lost some of them to start.

“We can do that. All of us.  We can take a look at the world and realise that it has changed. The previous way of life isn’t going to prepare us. We have to look into ourselves, into those things that we believe without knowing. Those things that we know without understanding. We have to take the tools that led us to understand how the world worked, and use them to understand how it works now.”

I glance over at Jack, who is nodding. I know why he did this. If he’d asked me first, I’d have put it off and waited and waited, like I’ve been doing ever since I came back. I’d have held off and waited for it all to be the right time. I needed a kickstart, and by making me go public, he’s done this.

“We have a sword in a stone in Trafalgar Square. Let’s not pretend we don’t know what that means. It means that someone is going to be able to pull it out, and that person is going to lead us into the battle.”

Time to finish, I think. Time to start moving.

“So we need to stop wasting time. We need to start this. The sword needs to be pulled and we need to work out what that means for all of us. But if our government, our security forces, have decided that we can’t do this, then they’re in our way. But we don’t need to fight them. We can’t be divided on this for too long.”

They’re actually listening. It’s not anything to do with any kind of ability with words of mine. It’s because they already believe this. They just needed someone to articulate it.

“Make them listen. Thank you.”

And then I’m off the stage. The applause is there, but it’s far from rapturous – I really wish he’d given me more time to prepare. But it’s done, at least. Jack grins at me.

“Sorry, but – look, can we talk in a bit? Get a drink, talk to people. I’m going to call a break anyway.”

“Go, go.” I say, gesturing to the stage. “We’ll talk in a bit. And I’ll kill you for setting me up like that.”

I then go back to my seat, feeling more energised due to the adrenaline involved in talking to that many people, but it’s not until the break is under way and people are mingling and talking while I’m looking for Jack that it happens.

I feel it before I see it. And even then, it takes me long moments to comprehend what’s happening.

I’m distracted, stupidly, by the fact that one of their faces is familiar, but in a way that doesn’t make sense. 

Do I know him from TV or something? He’s nodding to one of his colleagues, confirmimg that I’m the one.

Then I feel the cuffs snapping around my wrists.

I look around, wildly, and then I see Jack.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “He says this needs to happen.”

The crowd is in shock. This is all happening so publicly.

“You’re under arrest,” says the man snapping the cuffs on me.

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