Memory Motel: A Rock And Roll Fantasy, Part Three Section Six: Colonial Senegal
Part Three: In The Aftermath
10 – Fatou Diakité
I died in 1790 and it is something of a tribute to my productivity that I still have ancestors in Senegal. When I was young we thought we lived in France, we were a cultural hit job. Put together by one Louis Faidherbe, who did the usual stick your nose concept, whereby the tribal battles came together and ruled West Africa and where I was raised as a new generation of African Princess, an African Princess who understood French and fine art. I didn’t have the longest of lives, dead before I hit 50, but for the time and place it wasn’t that bad and I did see the country get transformed. In the Aftermath, we are really both individuals and not and as individuals we have our differences but as one we don’t. While time as such doesn’t exist, or rather it does exist but it never ends so it might as well not exist, a rupture as such happened when we chose to change thought into matter. Me? I am one of those who liked it and am informed by it. And I am quite aware that Blue Eyes is a standard bearer for what amounts to the physical world, after al, it was its decision.
I was happy to help. It would be interesting and an experience uniquely my own and belonging to everybody and in the end I didn’t want the Universe ended –I wanted to know once and for all how it would end on its own. Certainly we who had spent time as humans, really any animal, were a clique within a greater hive. We had a vested interest in it all.
I went in search of Keith Richard and found him where he had been since he died. Sitting in the home he was born in Dartford, though bigger, grander, more expansive –it was nothing like the working class home he was raised in yet in so many ways exactly like it. He spent his time with his Grandfather Gus playing guitar or chatting with his Dad Herb, hanging out with well wishers, sleeping with girls at will (one of the things we’d gained from the Universe and happy to do much of the the time), essentially to start with Keith had adapted to death very well indeed. It does take time and some are like Mick, they disappear deep into their own thoughts. Keith loved being young again, loved seeing his family, loved being both Keith and yet somewhere inside him realizing he was losing his Keithness.
I went to his house, dressed like a 21st century Western woman, dark skinned, beautiful, tall. Much like the way I had in my early 20s only with a better haircut and Keith was taken aback my presence as he would be because, really he was not used to there being much more than what he wanted around and he hadn’t wanted mine. I introduced myself briefly, called myself an Aftermath ambassador. Keith chortled: “You’re not my idea of an ambassador to anything, you look like you should be the lead singer of our band. I wanna call us The Richards because I was born to lead right? Hahahahaa… Gus doesn’t like it and you know what Brian is like, right” He said, sticking his thumb out at the blonde haired former Stone, sitting in a corner, strumming a harp, like a Marx Brother in heaven.
“Well, yes, however I am here to introduce you and to ask you how you are enjoying yourself.
“I haven’t met anyone unhappy so far. I don’t think it is possible. Because if you don’t like something you just change it.”
“More or less, this state of isness has its rules. However, since you chose them it is easy not to feel threatened by them.”
“I do it enjoy it, it isn’t like life, the quality is easier but in some ways less deep. I am not concerned about much and I am doing exactly what I want. I miss my family, and I watch over them from time to time, but I can’t feel their concerns really. I never understood why we never knew about here but I do now, it really is like we are being given a gift for a while, it is like the real down there is unreal and the unreal here is real.”
“It really takes time. You know we have all existed for much longer than the Universe has but when we chose to make the Universe it really changed us, and when, on earth, the universe mimicked us eventually, not just on earth of course, we ourselves changed and developed, the quality of what we were improved. Also worsened to a degree. As you noted, the property of being is very strong, it can take 10,000 years before someone is fully integrated and there are some strange worlds here. Very strange. But it all feeds back into us. At least that is my feeling.”
Keith concentrated hard on me, and as he thought went from a 15 year old to a 35 year old and looked very serious as though something had dawned on him “But there is a but, isn’t there?”
“There is a but, an anomaly. A conversation is occurring and I think it is an important one that goes to the heart of what we are. It isn’t scary to you, it isn’t scary anywhere really: as you noted, life and death isn’t what we think it is. Gus, I said, turning to his Grandpa, You know about this, as does Brian. You would know but you are still transitioning before rejoining us.”
“That’s why I didn’t say anything”, Brian replied with a tight smile. “I think you are coming on too hard and too fast. Leave Keith alone for awhile, he will tell you when he’s ready. We all know how it works here, now don’t we?”
“I must agree with Brian, Falou. Why won’t it wait till Keith is ready.”
“This isn’t a normal occurrence. This is nothing like anything we’ve seen in billions of years, there is enough of a difference here, and enough at stake, where to wait may lead to a possibility being taken away from us before we can thoroughly decide, something must happen soon…
“When I was alive, women were not treated as well as they are now and everything we became, I became, was difficult. And I was born well, I was a chieftain’s daughter and I married well at the age of twelve just as a French Renaissance was happening and I got a little lucky. My husband though older, he was forty, and set in his ways, actually loved me, and he wasn’t a nutcase. He didn’t think education would hurt me and so I studied. He bought me books and I read and read and I spent my life taking care of my husband and children and educating myelf in everything I possibly could.
“Really, it was what one man can do for you, if I had been arranged to marry a handsome younger man, who would have brutalized me and not respected me as a person and trust me and leave me to live the life I chose, I would have been miserable. I would have killed myself. But by some miracle,my husband was a very sweet guy and I was very very happy and I spent my time on earth in an enormously happy would. For the time I lived a long enough life, and really, when you think Colonial Senegal you might think not so good, but truly it was a good life.
“When I got to the Aftermath, I spent years doing nothing but reading, it took me 100 years to figure out I could know everything simply by being what I am, by joining, in effect, my mind to what was my mind. To be what I am. But, I still read, you know and I still have immense affection for my life.
“There is not on existence here, it is like we are a species that works as both one mind and an infinite amount of minds. As one mind we are like birds, with species telepathy, as individual minds we are like homosapiens. We fight between ourselves, we go to war, we blow each other up, but I is just a video game because we can’t harm each other at all. And when we come together we come together as one.
“There are those individuals, who are like a star in the universe, all they want to do is process, there are those who are hermits, who live alone like hermits, there are those who want to continue their world on earth and you can find people living a life much like the century they were in, and there are those who just want to be what they were for one or a million years. But after awhile, they change, develop, their ideas are clearer and needs are different, First there was the word, and the word was thought and because we think it it is. There is nothing we didn’t think into being. Nothing before us. Nothing after us. Just us. And we are not Gods, there is a God, it is blessed with foresight it seldom uses. We are like Jesus, the way he didn’t know what was coming next.
“On Earth, where time is straight and life is followed by death, we learn what we need to make the Aftermath more than what it is. The fear is of entropy, that was God’s great fear. We, you and me, my ancestor, everything and everyone want to exist with pleasure and growth. And I want my ancestors to have the same thing as I had, don’t you Keith?”
“You mean, how would I feel if all my kids and Grandkids just died and came here right now?” Keith replied. I wouldn’t be happy at all. I love it here and I know I am at the beginning of the greatest of adventures and that I am happy with the life I’ve had and the death I am having. Thanks to Gus, at least!.. but no, I want my family to have their lives and then come and join me, I don’t want anything else…
“Think more, Keith. Just for you, forget about sentient life forms all over the universe and just just just think about you: Not just your children, grandchildren and their children and all the other children till on earth you are a myth. All the people, all the family members who will never be born and more, yes, Keith even more than that. The millions, the billions of people who will never ever hear your music, your songs. Everything gone, closing time.
“To answer your question Gus, Brian, there is no time. Either we will save the Universe or the Universe will be wrapped up and gone. I am sorry but in a place with no time, we have run out of time. That is why I am not giving Keith the time he deserves, the same as everybody who dies is given. Keith can not have it, no. The Rolling Stones have to return to earth and play one last concert. We have to save the world”