Leader of the Pack by Bill Kirton

I’ve had a career-change idea. If I’m honest, I want something which doesn’t involve that strange concept of a work ethic. I’m not looking, either, for a luxury yacht, a Monte Carlo pad (do people still say ‘pad’?) or a cellar full of Château Pétrus. And, despite my unflagging egocentricity, I want to keep my carbon footprint as small as possible.

So I think I need to become a guru. It’s nice having followers on Facebook, Twitter and blogs but it’s no substitute for followers in the flesh who’d come to my hut to ask for guidance, waft about singing ethereal songs, making Peace signs and, basically, worshipping me. Or not even that. They can worship someone else if they like. The only problem with that is, if I’m their guru, then it’s up to me to tell them whom or what to worship, and I don’t want to create a religion. All I want is a little sect. (Ah, think of the gags I could have written if, grammatically, it had been legitimate to make that noun plural.)

So, how do I get to be a guru? I don’t think there are courses or degrees in it yet but it seems that all I need is stuff to preach and a few gullible people. Well, thanks to Simon Cowell, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom, Nigel Farage, etc., I know there’s no shortage of gullibility. And the stuff is easy; I’m a writer so I can just make it up. So I’d start with a few gnomic utterances, such as ‘The sweetness of the butterfly is the only true way’. It’s not great, though, is it? And to some people it might even seem to make sense. OK, let’s add a bit more gnomicness. How about ‘The sweetness of the butterfly drowns daily in the morning’s echoes’? Bingo.

So a follower (let’s call her Doris) stands at the open door of my hut. I smile and beckon her in. She sits beside me on the goose-quill bed (I don’t know what that is, but I think it’s the right sort of thing for a guru to have) and says: ‘I’m troubled’.
     I smile again, stroke her hair and say ‘The sweetness of the butterfly drowns daily in the morning’s echoes’.
     She nods quietly, head bowed. ‘I know,’ she says, ‘but what does it all mean?’
     I take her hands in mine.
     ‘Doris,’ I say. ‘Feel the swan in your blood.’
     We sit there for twenty minutes. Not another word passes between us. At last she smiles again, kisses my fingers and says ‘Thank you’.
     ‘No sweat,’ I reply, before realising that’s not a guru thing and adding ‘Inhabit the crystal’.
     ‘I will,’ she says, and goes to water the cannabis.

See? It’s not hard. I might have to expand on some of these little pearls, make them into sermons. No, not sermons – they explain stuff, draw conclusions. Parables are better. Just have to remember to get the context right. None of the labouring in vineyards, baguettes and fishes or Good Samaritan stuff. They’d better be IT consultants or media studies tutors. Something like…
‘A lifestyle coach was walking along a country lane when she passed a garage. Inside, a mechanic was leaning over an engine. She stopped and asked him what he was doing. “Cleaning a carburettor,” he said.
     “Have you cleaned many?” she asked.
     “Hundreds,” said the man.
     “Different types?’ she said.
     “SUVs, Jeeps, Dodge 58s with the old-style overhead camshafts, more or less everything,” he said.
     The woman stepped towards him and laid her white hand over his.
     “I have a collection of over three hundred Barbies,” she said.
     The man looked at her and a tear formed in his left eye. The woman raised her finger, collected the tear, placed it on his grease-smeared lip and turned away to continue her walk.
     The mechanic watched her go, the tears welling in his eyes once more. He reached for a hammer and began hitting the carburettor with fierce, unrelenting blows.’

OK, I think I’m ready. Just need some followers and a hut.


glitter noir said…
Well, it had to happen. There you go now too, eh, Bill? Slyboots,you don't fear the plural: you want all the sects you can handle. You'd be good at it. The only thing that might hold you back, is the sadistic pleasure you take in making readers wait for the next Jack Carston mystery while you three years or five writing a Carstonless epic.

Great post.
julia jones said…
Brilliant start to the day, thanks Bill! (Agree with Reb about the need for more Carston however. Couldn't someone just murder the guru? Frankly I'd want to...)
Chris Longmuir said…
I have 3 huts, Bill. I would have had more but I put my foot down when my late husband responded to my request for ideas for his birthday present. 'A hut,' says he. I was really cruel and wouldn't give in to his request/demands! So you see, I could give space to 3 gurus, who could whisper to me about swans and butterflies if I could ever unstick my nose from this blasted grindstone. Oops! Where has my nose gone?
Jan Needle said…
If the pay's right, Bill, I'm more than prepared to become your follower, although I imagine the correct term is guree. NI contributions too, of course, and paid holidays in Nepal if you can run to it. (I feel a Napaling pun coming on, sorry.)

On an even more ridiculous note, having been forced to study grammar at grammar school, and never having been at all convinced by it, my first guree-query is: Why the whom in "to tell them whom or what to worship." I've pondered long and hard, and consumed many pipeloads of Maryjooanna over this problem. I'm sure (not) it's to do with direct and indirect objects, accusative and dative and other such high-falutin bollox, but I need guidance, master. On a postcard, please.

Your newly beloved Glasshopper. (No relation).

PS: Have you ever read Fifty Sheds of Grey? It's filthy.
Unknown said…
So, I can build you a hut, but it would be in New England. On the flip side, since so many people are following Donald Trump here, my guess is we could get you a gaggle of followers before the paint on the hut dries...

Bill Kirton said…
Thanks, all, for the general encouragement of my ambitions. For those exhorting me to produce more Carstons, I say ‘The pebble cast into a well inverts the reticence of tomorrow’. To the guree attempting to negotiate on work and conditions, I add ‘Rewards of the spirit are as fire to the antelope’. And while the prospect of relocating to New England has its appeal, the Threat of the Trump Abomination would overwhelm even my absurdities.
Fran B said…
Serendipity strikes: I was just listening to Radio 2 this morning and there was a 'Modern Druid' guy being interviewed. At risk of sounding very un-PC, I have to say he sounded a bit batty. Then I sat down to have breakfast and read your blog. As the late, great Terry Wogan used to say: 'They're not all locked up yet.'
glitter noir said…
Heyyyyyyy, what the hell did Carston ever do to you?
Bill Kirton said…
Yes, Fran, it's imperative to sort the Druids from the Gurus. And Reb, I think you may have taken my notion of inverted reticence to be too post-ironically tantric. Carston is a sweetie.
Enid Richemont said…
Bill - you can sit in my shed any day as long as you clear it out first. Prospective followers wouldn't be hard to find either, as Hampstead not too far away. Do you have a begging bowl and a gong? (might upset my neighbours). And always remember - Martinis Make Manic Muses.
Bill Kirton said…
I hadn't thought of making it a franchise, Enid, but I'll put your offer on file. The clearing out will have to wait, though - I'm hacking my way through my own garden at the moment.

Popular posts

The Year of Just Being There: Dipika Mukherjee looks back at 2016

A Few Discreet Words About Caesar's Penis--Reb MacRath

Close Reading | Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose | Karen Kao

A Week of Three Libraries -- Julia Jones

Why Would You Vote for Peter Duck? You Don’t Have To -- Julia Jones