Mordechai John James was a gentle man, but a man with a mission. God was coming to bring salvation to all those who flocked to his call. To that end Mordechai John James was going to erect a Gathering point for the chosen to congregate. The Rapture would follow and all those who believed in the Lord would live in a better place. The land that Mordechai John James owned was blessed and purification would descend on all who touched it. He had the materials. Good salvaged iron and sturdy strainers with which he would raise the hastily fashioned cross, to become a beacon, a sign for all who flocked to Calvary Hill, a sign of faith.
He set out to the little hillock out the back of his farm on Wednesday 18 January 2017, the year of our Lord.
He was bought in covered in blood. Frail, disorientated and somewhat smelly. Smelly from soiling himself both ways but a deeper smell from not having washed or, more exactly, been washed for several weeks, even months. A smell of despair. He had fallen, or more accurately tripped over his oxygen line after waking up on his favourite armchair, after watching his favourite show. He favoured car shows, reminding him of his own vehicular history of Hudson’s, Fords, Holden’s then more exotic ‘foreign’ machines ending in ‘o’s and ‘a’s.
The attending staff noted that he lived with his daughter and her husband and their six children. They later ascertained that the daughter was not altogether flattering about her father who she described as “dirty, smelly, perverted old creep who only cared about ‘things’ ; not about her and her life. The staff never really found out what the perversions were but she alluded to children’s TV shows and dolls. She had taken away his walking sticks and then his walking frame because he wandered and spread lies about her and her kids throughout the neighborhood. She (her name was Madeline, but call me Madds, she intoned breathlessly to the young intern), was a morbidly obese thirty four year old, world weary and worn out by her unemployed husband who used his procreative skills as a substitute for a lack of anything else. She dressed in enormous tents to hide her bulges but her bare arms revealed the concealed jelly jungle underneath, wanted the old man institutionalized ( her words were ‘put down’ ) but conceded that a rest home would do.
“so, I still get his pension?” she hopefully enquired while the nurse rolled her eyes.
“we think we can maybe get him back home to you after a suitable period of rehabilitation” the nurse rather unenthusiastically replied. “your father seems rather malnourished and we suspect that he may have a fracture and maybe an old untreated fracture which has affected his mobility.”
“ohmmmmh! What rubbish has he been spreading. Next he will be saying I’ve kept him tied up and fed him bread and bone scrapes” Madds countered, standing on one leg and rubbing her hands together in a painful fashion. Finally, after hours of careful explanation , diagrams, exhibiting of Xrays Madds responded with a petulant “whatever” and frumped out the exit to the geriatric rehabilitation ward.
Meantime the meteorological service was predicting a growing weather phenomenon in the oceans Northwest of Calvary Hill and the nearby city of Chance. They were talking excitedly about a weather bomb.
The technical term for a bomb low is “explosive cyclogenesis”. It’s a weather system in which pressure drops by at least 24 hectopascals in 24 hours, bringing high winds, large sea swells, torrential rain and lightening.
Mordechai John James struggled with the system he had rigged up to raise his cross. He chanted the Lords prayer, he recited John 3:16 , he tried singing Isiah 49. The rising wind blew his words to the south, toward Chance. Mordechai John James pulled and pulled, chanted and chanted, sang and sang.
The radiologist had the old man on the EEG machine. The medics had decided that he had sustained a small fracture but there were no signs of old breaks, only extensive muscle wasting. The old man was disorientated and a little confused but he was also dehydrated and it was unclear if he had been taking his prescribed medications. They wanted a look at his “head work” to rule out dementia or brain injury. This was the start of a long neurological journey. The skies were darkening outside but the old man’s future looked brighter as the first assessment showed normal activity.
A huge thunderclap overhead shook the ground around Mordechai John James as he strained with the last guy rope and finally the cross stood twenty metres into the Lords sky. A bright light suddenly appeared above Mordechai John James and he momentarily thought that his prayers, singing and chanting had been answered…
Post-strike symptoms can range in severity from cardiac arrhythmias to blown ear drums and a whole lot of pain. Consciousness can be lost anywhere from a few minutes to a few years. People suffer brain damage (because the brain literally cooks from the current) resulting in concussions and short-term memory loss. Victims commonly report numbness and weakness in the limbs, with temporary or permanent paralysis
Mordechai John James’s corpse lay smouldering on the back field of Calvary Hill. There would be no Rapture for him. Mordechai John James was d e a d!
An hour later Chance was hit by the same weather bomb. Fortunately city officials had stopped all electrical street cars and replaced them with diesel buses, warned citizens of potential flooding, made sure electrical companies were on high alert, and informed the citizenry of what to do in the likelihood of a disaster. The Chance hospital was struck by lightening at 10.58. The old man, still attached to the EEG machine ( but disconnected from the mains as the hospital safety guidelines mandated this) stirred briefly and then a beatific smile crossed his face.
Two weeks later Madds was summoned to the old man’s pre- discharge meeting. She had not visited since the old man’s admission and was shocked to see the sprightly, alert, smiling man wheeled into the ward without any oxygen tubes and holding a new iPad which he almost expertly tapped the keys. As the meeting progressed Madds was faced not only with the fact that the old man was coming home but was coming back to HIS home and she would now be a tenant. Seems that the old man had remembered legal papers that had been signed and witnessed when she and her brood had moved in and although she had technically become his carer she had no legal or financial interest on the house. As her anger grew with this increasing realisation the old man’s smile and tapping grew wilder and faster. He seemed to be typing some sort of list.