Chapter 13 – The Hanged Man
It was a beautiful warm, summer’s morning as Leo walked from Old Street Station to Citizens of Coffee. He felt upbeat, even if it was an “unsightly” hour to be going to work, especially for a job he wasn’t taken by. But that didn’t matter anymore because he was about to hand in his notice and commit to a job that he truly desired. Leo smiled all the way in to work.
He had spoken with The Magician the day before and accepted his offer in person, as his inner being had directed him to do so. He agreed with Mr Parker that he would start work in seven weeks time, given that he had a “six w eek” notice period. He wasn’t sure whether he had to give his notice in writing to Mehmet. Nothing was legit with Mehmet so Leo was unsure. But after chatting with his beloved on the phone last night, she advised him to give Mehmet a written notice.
Leo had been wanting to call Lima back after she had sent him a text yesterday morning, but every time he went to contact her, he’d get bombarded with things to do. He even tried to send her a text message in the late afternoon to say he was going to Marcelo’s that evening and that he would call her when he got back home. It wouldn’t send. He tried three times and each time he attempted to send it, it came up with an error message: “message failed”. Chaos was working overtime.
The pair kept missing each other. Lima called Leo’s mobile when she finished work, but Leo was on the tube with no signal, so she left a voicemail message.
When the pair finally spoke, there was no mention of Lima’s earlier nuances or the previous night. It was a light and easy conversation in the here and now, with the souls in charge.
Tarik was already waiting outside Citizens of Coffee. Graham hadn’t turned up yet to open up. Tarik never missed a beat. His intuition was on it. So when Leo walked towards him, Tarik said: “Yo bruv. You either got laid again last night or you are quitting this shit pit.”
Leo sniggered. He was so grateful for having met Tarik, albeit towards his last legs at the coffee shop stint. “Shit pit,” replied Leo. “You’ve been here a few days now and you’re already addressing it as that.”
“Yeh well,” said Tarik. “It is a shit pit really given them bosses, but I got my reasons for doing this.”
“Yeah,” said Leo. “What’s that then? Wanna tell me?”
“I had a knowing that I had to come and work here,” Tarik added, waving his arm at the shop window. “I just followed my gut to be honest bruv. Tarik trusts the universe innit.”
Truth be known his inner being had directed him to take a job at Citizens of Coffee so he would cross paths with Leo. Tarik was aware that he could make contacts for his start up business whilst working at Citizens of Coffee. But really that “contact” was Leo, rather than a Silicon Roundabout persona. Leo belonged to Tarik’s inner being, just as Tarik belonged to Leo’s inner being. The pair were destined to meet.
“See,” said Leo. “I get you. I can’t imagine what else there is other than trusting your gut.”
As the boys were talking, Graham barged in, pushing Tarik to the side so he could open the lock. “Get in,” he said to Leo and Tarik as he opened the door.
Once the earlybirds had come in and purchased their morning coffee kicks, Leo asked Tarik to cover for him while he spoke with Graham.
“Graham,” said Leo. “Can I have a word?”
“As long as it’s just a word,” Graham replied. If only he had one word to say to Graham, Leo thought. It would begin in M and end in R. Leo went straight for the kill, so to speak. “I’m handing in my notice,” said Leo. “I have a note for Mehmet. Do you know when he’s coming in next?”
“Oh,” said Graham. “I’ll have to call him and let him know.”
Leo went back to help Tarik who was attempting to serve a customer whilst making their coffee. He looked a little frazzled. A few more earlybirders had formed a queue in the brief time that Leo had had a chat with Graham.
By 10am, Mehmet had made a surprise visit to the shop. He summoned Leo to the broom-cupboard-come-staff-room. “Wassap Leo?” he asked. “We not paying you enough or you got yourself a better offer at a pizzeria?”
It was never too early for bad jokes from Mehmet. Leo felt no desire to respond to Mehmet, instead reaching into his backpack and handing him an envelope. Mehmet tore the letter open with his teeth like a cannibal. He laughed as if what he had just done with his teeth was entertaining.
Mehmet read the letter and pulled a face. “Get the hell out of here by the end of next Friday,” he said. “I got someone else who needs a job. You’ll have to train him up though. And Leo…don’t tell him how much you get paid?”
“Sure,” said Leo, ecstatic that he didn’t have to work a six-week notice period as was originally in his contract.
“I’m going to pay this guy a little less,” Mehmet said.
That was illegal, thought Leo. He was already paying Leo the minimum wage.
“He’s one of them new refugees from Syria,” Mehmet said.
“He speaks pidgin English but that’ll do for making coffee,” added Mehmet.
“You’ll just have to show him the ropes using sign language innit?” Mehmet laughed, grunting like a pig in the process.
Leo returned back to work and fortunately the rest of his day passed quickly. Tarik was finishing his shift at the same time so Leo asked if he wanted to join him for a drink. “I got a better idea bruv,” said Tarik. “How about we go down to Regents Canal? Get some tins and smoke some spliff like?”
“You’re on,” said Leo.
The boys picked up some beers on their way from an off licence before heading up towards Gains borough Studios to descend upon the canal. It was a busy afternoon along the canal given that it was turning out to be a fine sunny day. The new friends, found a rare spot of grass along the canal sidewalk, and perched themselves down. Leo was sprawled out on the grass like he was sitting on a chaise longue. While Tarik sat facing the canal, in a laidback stance with his arms sprawled behind his back to support his position. He sat there “effortlessly cool” so he could “chirpse the ladies” as they walked by. Every so often, if a woman walked past, he would shout “alright darlin’! Lovely day for some sunshine and lovin, don’t ya think?”. Some smiled, some laughed, some ignored him. But one took it as an offense, shouting back at them “boys will be boys” and then kicking Tarik’s beer so it spilt along the pavement walk. “Your loss,” shouted Tarik.
Leo spent the time creasing up at Tarik’s joker vibes. The friends chatted about life, love and ladies. When the conversation turned to Lima, Leo decided to give her a call to see if she’d join them after work.
Lima headed straight down to meet Leo, picking up some more beers for Leo and Tarik, and cans of Pimms for herself. Tarik and Leo were in very good spirits by the time she joined them. When she arrived, Leo stood up to greet her, albeit a little heady from the spliff and beers, and they kissed on the lips. Tarik, who was clearly on a roll, wolf whistled. “Don’t give him any more beer,” said Leo, as they sat back down again. Tarik slapped his friend on the leg, saying “I’ll be on my best behaviour now the Mrs is here.” Lima sat crossed leg, opening up her shopping bag to pass the boys the drinks. She’d also bought a big bag of salted crisps so she could “line her stomach”.
“To good times,” Tarik said as he opened up his can, waving it in the air. Leo and Lima joined him, clinking their cans together with Tarik’s and saying “to good times”.
The conversation turned to Paradise as Tarik asked Lima how she liked it.
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“Loved it,” said Lima. “Thanks for the shout.”
“Lima,” said Tarik. “Leo tells me you DJ. You know my brother has DJs playing back-to-back at Paradise on Fridays and Saturdays.”
“Cool,” Lima said. “Is he looking for any other DJs?”
“He’s not mentioned it,” said Tarik. “But if you would be up for playing one night, I can speak to Ahmed. He’s always up for supporting new talent and that.”
“You know he used to work in A&R for SpinR Records,” Tarik mentioned, looking at Leo.
“Wow,” said Leo. “So what happened?”
“He quit because he didn’t like the way they were treating talent,” replied Tarik. “Everyone knows record company people are shady. It’s like he woke up one morning and said ‘that’s it. I ain’t doing it no more. I got bigger fish to fry.’ You get me? He chose to change his situation, just like that. He didn’t know what he was gonna do, just trusted that everything was gonna be just dandy.”
“Good on him,” said Lima.
“And that’s why musicians flock to Paradise,” Tarik added. “They come because of Ahmed and what he creates for them. It’s not about the money, it’s just about the love of it, or really L-O-V-E fullstop.”
Ahmed was responsible for discovering the young rap duo, Solar. The brother and sister pair from east London had hit the big time on the independent circuit and as well as getting airplay on radio stations, they were appearing at all the major festivals throughout the summer. The half-Lebanese, half-Indonesian duo were simply sublime, not just in appearance, but in their lyrical flow, ethics, and musical dexterity. They didn’t fit into a box with their enlightening mix of rap, jazz, and electro. They signed to SpinR’s dance/alternative subsidiary, B-Sides.
Their conscious lyrics covered everything from global warming, Mother Earth, fracking, the tobacco industry in Indonesia and kids as young as five being addicted to cigarettes, and pollution in east London. Their lyrics were funny too, putting global and environmental issues on the agenda, in order to inspire change amongst young people and their peers. The duo, who also spoke both Indonesian and Arabic, would throw in lyrics in those languages. One record company executive ordered them to take the lyrics off their forthcoming album, as it may be seen as “controversial”. Ahmed got wind of it from Solar’s producer and went to the executive and told him to stick it in not so many words. “They are not concerned about religion,” Ahmed told the record company executive. “Listen to their lyrics, they are spiritual but there’s nothing in there about religion. Rhyming in Indonesian or Arabic is just a part of their environment. Their native tongues should not define them as being this religion or that.” They ended up keeping the lyrics in but the record company ordered that the album come with an “explicit lyrics” warning. There was nothing in there that was “explicit” and on that note, Ahmed had enough and after 10 years at SpinR, he walked. He hadn’t looked back since.
Ying and Yang as the Solar pair were known as, did a gig at Paradise last week, Tarik told Lima and Leo. “It wasn’t planned like. They just turned up one night to check out Paradise and have a meal. Then they decided to do an impromptu gig,” Tarik said, tugging on his spliff. “They didn’t have their band with them but they jammed with some other musicians that were there. It was magic man.”
“See the likes of Ying and Yang and all these other musicians that turn up to Paradise,” Tarik continued. “They are committed to their cause, innit? It’s who they are, what they were born to do and they’ll do it no matter what, whether two people turn up to their gig or 10,000. You get me? And Ahmed is there to support ‘em like a big bro.”
Leo started giggling. He was feeling a little caned from the smokes. “What you laughing at bruv?” Tarik queried.
“You…getting deep,” said Leo.
“Get to know me a bit more bruv,& #8221; he said. “And you’ll see that this is the way I am, spliff or no spliff. The words just come from within. I don’t mince ‘em and I don’t talk shit either. Otherwise I’m silent. Especially with rellies. My soul ain’t feeling the relatives, so Tarik sits in silence.”
“I hear you,” said Leo. “I should learn to do that with my dad.”
Leo and Tarik started laughing. Leo put his hand on Lima’s leg as she sat in silence. “You want some spliff, honey?”
“No thanks,” Lima replied. “I’m good with the Pimms.”
“Cool,” said Leo, rubbing her leg. “As long as you’re good.”
“I’ll ask Ahmed, if you want” Tarik said to Lima, blowing some smoke rings into the air. “If you want to play at Paradise.”
“I’d love that,” Lima said gladly.
“What do you play out?” Tarik asked.
“Mainly electro, world music, jazz-funk and old skool hip hop,” Lima said.
“Great,” said Tarik, looking glazed from the smoke.
“So Leo,” he said. “Looking forward to the new gig.”
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s been a while since I did some craft work and all that.”
“So that dude was your school teacher then?” asked Tarik. “And he still remembers you?”
“Well,” replied Leo. “It weren’t that long ago.”
“Yeah?” said Tarik. “How old are you bruv?”
“19,” replied Leo.
Lima nearly spat out her drink at Leo’s reply. She was almost nine years Leo’s senior. Lima’s monkey mind came to the forefront. “Cradle snatcher”, “cougar”, “toyboy” and “mama” she heard.
Lima returned herself to the now, but chose to listen to the monkey mind again soon after. Rather than returning herself back to the now each time, she found herself following it. With three thoughts, soon came several, all of which Lima gave her attention to. Had Lima been standing up, Lima’s inner being would have made her trip to get her attention.
“Leo,” said Tarik. “You are a baby.”
“Should you even be having this?” Tarik said, looking at the joint as he passed it to Leo.
“Age is just a number. Don’t mean Jack really,” he said.
“You’re right dude. You’re right,” Tarik replied.
As Tarik and Leo carried on their conversation about age, Lima’s head was swirling around with thoughts and beliefs about the age gap between her and Leo, none of which belonged to her soul. That mindless crap was superficial to say the least, but the truth of the matter was that it was all lies and illusions, designed to block Lima from being her true self and therefore, having the relationship with the other half of her soul. All she had to do was return herself back to the awareness of her true self every moment she lapsed, but she would often roll with the lies of the conscious mind. It wasn’t rocket science. Just something Lima had to put in to practice – making it a way of life, choosing her inner being over anything else, every second of every day. There was nothing outside of her true self that she had to pay attention to. All of her answers were within.
While Lima’s monkey mind was doing a dance a la headless monkey mode, Leo was in and out of the now and was starting to come over all “heady” from the spliff and beers. “Who’s hungry?” asked Leo.
“Yeh man,” said Tarik. “We didn’t bring any munchies.” He grabbed what was left of the packet of crisps that Lima had bought and said: “Cheers mate!”
The trio walked to the nearest kebab shop. Tarik and Leo devoured two large lamb doner kebabs with chips, while Lima ordered a chicken kofte kebab. They all sat in silence for the duration of their meal. Meanwhile, Lima was still pursuing the mindless drivel about age, and “what would people think of her toyboy and the age difference?”. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blahhdy, blahhdy, blah, blah!
After eating, the trio hurriedly left for the station. Tarik parted ways with the couple at Liverpool Street Station while he took a bus home.
Lima and Leo took the escalator down to the underground. Leo, the gent that he always was, let his nearest-and-dearest step on to the escalator first while he took care that no frantic commuters pushed or shoved her. He laid his hands on her waist as he stood behind her. Suddenly Lima’s monkey mind started singing: “And here’s to you, Mrs Robinson.”
It was time for Lima to let go of those beliefs and belief systems that she was allowing to affect not just her relationship with her twin soul but with her own soul too. The joke was they didn’t even belong to her true self but right now she was “owning” them. Lima was unaware that what she was listening to and acknowledging, she was in fact creating. If she didn’t stop, get a grip of the situation and get back to her inner being in the present moment, those beliefs and belief systems about her twin soul relationship were veering her down the path of The Hanged Man – one of delays and suspension, all at the hands of negative thoughts and beliefs.
Lima and Leo boarded the Circle Line tube at Liverpo ol Street Station. They sat next to each other. Leo was falling asleep as he rested his head on his Mrs’s shoulder. If it wasn’t for Lima he may have missed his stop. Lima gave Leo a gentle tug on the knee and said: “Babe, King’s Cross is the next stop.” He got up from his seat to kiss Lima goodnight. She felt slightly nervous as Leo snogged her. Leo himself was a tad nervous as he was still feeling light headed from his hours of fun in the sun with Tarik, not to mention the fact that the tube was still moving and he could have fallen on top of Lima, had he lost his balance.
The rest of Lima’s journey was spent in moments of oneness with her higher mind and her true self. Her higher mind had brought her to an awareness that what she was focusing on, although not her own “thoughts” per se, she was creating. She started to waver from her higher mind in to monkey mind. When she reached Baker Street Station, she hurriedly stumbled to the train doors. As the doors opened, she tripped falling onto a Japanese tourist who was waiting to get on the train. That was her soul’s gentle way of snapping her right back into the now.
All characters and events in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Twins At Work are a writing duo. ‘Tarot Tales: The Mirror’ is their latest book.
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