Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee, part 53 – Two Rivers

Two RiversAAA

Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee, part 53 – Two Rivers


It was still dark, though the light from the East was streaming into the cold, blue, air. The two take-away cups of coffee looked disappointing. Not because I could already see their contents, but because they weren’t from Rose’s cafe.

“Last week we were flying over North Lancashire and now the edge of an old market?” I said. My halo was slipping… The previous week’s extraordinary events had left me on such a high that I wanted my local magician to conjure up something wonderful and life-changing, again.

“Down to earth with a slump?” He smiled at me, looking very tricky. “Do we only find the life-changing up there?” he waved his coffee cup, perilously, at the sky.

Behind us, Sid, the local fishmonger, was hosing down the outside of his stall. People travelled from miles around to buy his fresh fish, bought off the dock and brought up here before dawn each morning from one of the local fishing ports. In Winter the stall was sold out by the time the sun came up. I looked at the assorted organic debris, being flushed into one of the market’s wide grids, and fought hard not to pull a face. I loved fish…but the sight of the dead bits did nothing for me.

“Of course not,” I said, chided. “I shouldn’t be sulking.”

“Quite natural, of course,” John replied. “One of the dangers with such a ‘high’ as last time is that it releases a lot of energy that feels like it belongs in that upper realm and not down here…” he tapped a booted toe near a discarded fish head that had escaped from a one of the stall’s plastic bins. “…with all the yucky stuff!”

I watched the water hose cleanse the concrete, directed in well-aimed jets that marked out a single whirling motion. “I can see the connection, though,” I responded more positively. “The eleventh Labour of Heracles–the Cleansing of the Augean Stables.”

“I don’t imagine they smelled very good either…”

“Not after thirty years of accumulated dung…no wonder everyone else had failed and people were dying like flies…”

“Heracles was disappointed, too – with his landing from the heights of Capricorn’s mountain, freshly lighted – but he rolled up his club and got on with it!”

“I looked down at my pin-striped legal suit, the expensively heeled shoes, and shuddered. “You want me to clean this fish stall in my business clothes!?”

“Not for now…”

My mind screamed, in your dreams fella! But I kept quiet. Not for now implied a breather before we got there. I flipped the fragile top off the cheap cup, burning my hand with the inevitable spill onto my skin. I suffered in silence, not drinking while I cursed.

Sid had an old assistant who was rather infirm. Long years of working in cold conditions, and collecting fish while the world slept, had taken its toll on them both. But Tony was bent and frail, yet, once again, as every day for the past thirty, he came out from behind the tattered, stripey flap and picked up the second hosepipe, ready and willing to conclude the day’s business.

“Never a change to that routine,” John said, over the steaming coffee, which he, too, had yet to drink. “They are quietly famous – as is the quality of their produce. Day in, day out: drive for fish, sell fish, clean stall, sleep while the world lives…”

Even John looked sad, his eyes filled with compassion at the plight of the elderly man having to work out his life in this never-ending hard and cold labour.

Sid, much younger and fitter, and still unaware of our study, took his own look at Tony and reached for an old flask. “Here, ‘Tony” he said, pouring the older man a plastic cup of hot tea. “Have this, before you freeze in that water!”

“What is it?” asked Tony. “Not bloody tea, again. Don’t you ever make coffee?” His voice was rough, like gravel. I supposed it went with the life, but there was something of great hardship and pain in the man’s demeanour.

“Lost his whole family in a fire many years ago,” whispered John, quietly. “Was unhinged for a while, but Sid brought him back and kept him alive… They’ve shared this brutal existence ever since; day in, day out…”

“I’m confused about why we’re here? How could spirituality change the life of someone like this?”

“Tony?” asked John. I nodded.

“Very easily…” He waited, looking at me as the growing light of the dawn brought our features into clear relief, there in the shadows. “Be with him,” he said. “Feel his pain… Bear witness as you would for a brother or sister. Remember Aquarius is the great leveller…and we can’t begin to know the nature of the energies that will be flowing into the conscious life on Earth in the years to come.”

He stood back, looking at me, waiting for the moment… “You could change his life right now,” he said, softly.

Something hit me then. Wave after wave of compassion poured out of me as I took in the two market workers, rubbing their hands in the cold light. I could feel John nodding as I walked the short distance to where Tony stood, holding out my coffee to him. “It’s okay,” I said into his startled face. “Just a little something for you… and, may I?” I took the hose from him and began to work the spiral patterns of cleaning, just as he had done. For a while I was somewhere else, just watching the water do the work for me, noticing that only my fine shoes were getting dirty from the splashing. The sense of a new state was overpoweringly wonderful. The simple act of helping had liberated me from the expected and into the real.

When I looked up, John was holding the other hose, which he had just taken from a smiling Sid. The younger man also had a new coffee in his hand. For ten minutes, we cleaned the back of the market stall with our waters. As we were leaving, Sid gave me a peck on the cheek, looking as though this happened every day… But I knew it didn’t.

We were about to cross the road and back to the seafront, when a gasping man limped up behind us. I turned to see Tony standing behind me, wordlessly holding out a fish wrapped in a single piece of newspaper. I didn’t care how much it would mess up my suit; I took it from him with tears in my eyes and kissed his cheek, running my fingers through his dirty hair.

John said nothing as we collected my luggage from the boot of his car at the station. As I was turning to board my London train, he spoke, “We’re nearly there…funny thing about giving to those who have nothing – you always end up getting more back…”

With that, he planted his uncle’s kiss in his customary fashion, but the hug spoke more loudly that any words could. “Welcome to the world of the lunatic…”

Nearly there… the words ran round my head most of the to the City. Were we? and where had we been headed all this time?


Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.

8 thoughts on “Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee, part 53 – Two Rivers

  1. Sadly, yes, the series comes to an end on Thursday, after nearly a year’s worth of posts. Ben’s Bit and River of the Sun will continue bi-weekly for a while, but both were written to be books, so the series of posts will only take the story so far… The books will be available later in the year on Kindle and Amazon paperback. Thank you to everyone for their encouragement…


Please leave a comment - we would love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.