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“I saw that movie once, on TV, at 4:00 in the morning,” Burden complained.  “I was in a bad place at that time.  I was working the graveyard shift,  my head full  of apocalyptic nonsense from that fundamentalist college I had just graduated from.   So, I thought it had deep meaning.”

Burgeon relaxed in his chair, crossing his arms behind his head.  “It was early Reagan, still pre-perestroika.   Maggie Thatcher had just taken the reins in the UK.   The Soviet Union was still in expansionist mode, embarassing us at every turn in the Middle East, in Central America,  in Southern Africa.  The NWO Oligarchs weren’t as cocksure as they are now.

“…and then you saw these rows and rows of hammers, marching across the parade field with the stormy skies in the background.”  Burden exhaled sharply.  “It was a powerful image.   Then you had Pink, Bob Geldorf if I remember correctly, addressing the rally with his eyebrows singed off.  Now, do you remember the insignia he was wearing on his suit?”

Burgeon smiled.  Despite his coyness, he did remember.  “The crossed hammers?  I thought it stood for kind of trade-unionist lefty fascism, kind of like that to which the unions were subjecting the YooKay before Maggie collared and peeled them.  What does this have to do with your exotic World-War-III- breaking-out-in-the-Balkans fantasies?”

Now it was Burden’s turn to smile.   He seldom got Burgeon to listen to anything he had to say these days.  “Do you remember when Kosovo declared independence in 2008?”

“Oh, thank God this isn’t about Israel or the Jews,” Burgeon said.  “You’ve become positively medieval on the subject of the Jews since you converted to Orthodoxy.  I never know when you’re going to recommend the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion.”

Relax,” Burden answered.  “This has nothing to do with the Jews.  It has to do with cell batteries for electric vehicles; nickel-zinc batteries.  Now, the EU recognized Kosovar independence immediately.  Immediately! Even the US waited a couple of days.  Now, I never really knew what all the fuss was about Kosovo, but it turns out there’s a mining complex there sitting on the largest unextracted lodes of zinc and nickel outside of Africa, and only days’ transport from the factories of Germany and Britain.”

“Let me guess,” Burgeon yawned.  “Serbia isn’t pleased about this.”

“Uh, the mines are in the Serb-controlled northern part of Kosovo,”  Burden answered.  “They’re behind a soft partition that the Serbs want to be little harder.  Now that Ghawar and Cantarell are in decline, the Euros are going to have to deal with Putin,  and he isn’t at all pleased with their fabrication of Kosovar independence.”

“I doesn’t matter,” Burgeon replied, brushing his nails against the chair arm.  “I was in Prstina a few months ago, and the place looked like little Brussels.  I saw more EU flags fluttering than Kosovar.”

“Tell me about it.   Actually, the independent “Republic of Kosovo” is little more than an appendage of Brussels anyway, with US complicity.  If the NATO forces ever leave, the Serbs will be back to make 1998 look like an ethnic touch-up instead of an ethnic cleansing, and they’ll have Russian backing.”

Burden fidgeted briefly on his computer, and Burgeon leaned in to see what he was up to.  “Here is the photo from the Republic of Kosovo Ministry of Mines.”

“Pretty ladies,” whistled Burgeon.

“I know you’d zero in on that, Burgeon,” Burden grumbled, “but notice the logo overhead, on the right.  Not the EU constellation.”

“Oh my God.”

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Somewhere on my hard drive there are about 8,000 words of a story I wanted to write  whereby my favorite writers actually became protagonists.  The story pits JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams against Arthur Machen, the aging Cambion of Prydain,  and his disciples, the occultist Alistair Crowley and the parapsychologist Alexander Cannon.

Machen, Crowley and Cannon are plotting against the Throne, attempting to manipulate Edward, the dissolute Prince of Wales, into marrying a q’arinah and opening Britain to occult influence in the way that their counterparts in Germany have succeeded with the Nazis.

Each of the writers held a particular responsibility; Tolkien was the Chief Druid, responsible for the embattled natural environment of Britain.  Lewis was the Warder, the doorkeeper of the Thin Places where  commerce between the natural and the supernatural took place.  Williams was the Archmage Protector, who defends the realm against the dark powers, and Barfield was the Lord Emergent, the custodian of the still-nascent Council of Albion, responsible for guiding the English soul towards Final Participation.

For many reasons, not the least of which is that I am American,  the story never got written.

But other stories have.  The first one I heard about was Heaven’s War, a graphic novel written by Micah Harris and illustrated by Michael Gaydos.  According to what I have read about it, it has Williams in the starring role against the diabolical Crowley, with Tolkien and Lewis as supporting characters.   I need to overcome my prejudice against graphic novels and pick this one up.  It is not supposed to be very good from the dramatic point of view, but it abounds in Inklings trivia, and is supposed to include a long dialogue between Williams and Crowley about co-inherence which would delight  Williams fans.

A couple of years ago, maybe as far back as 2004, a series of fantastic books for young adults was begun by an American writer James A. Owen called Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica .  Three young British soldiers have their summons to World War I interrupted by the Caretaker of an imaginary realm which is under siege by the Winter King.  I know even less about this series, but the author uses the nickname “Chaz” for Charles Williams and “Ron” for Tolkien, which grate on anyone who knows these authors as anything other than action figures.  Williams was called “Serge” by his closest friends, and Tolkien, affectionately, was known as “Tollers”.

But, at least he got Jack Lewis right.

CURRENTLY READING

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams