Messages, Water and Milo Yiannopoulos

Marcus Whybrow

Dreamt I was in a squared canoe floating down a thick, strong, deep brown, river. Half full with this dark water Chris (my brother) sat at the back and me in front of him (also at the back). "I should be at the front" I felt and made my shift forward. Suddenly the bilge water shifted too and rose to the bow, just at the bow sank almost beneath the rivers waters. With a cup I bailed the river out of my boat whilst Chris did nothing. Whilst Dad, in a separate boat, did nothing. Frantically I chucked out handfuls; contemptuously the bilge water multiplied, the bow nosed into the river and the canoe dropped away. Holding up my most recent Game of Thrones book I plunged under, clamping that brick in my right hand. Sucked down deeper, in fell the book, submerged for a good while. So angry at Chris for this.

Separately I'm in some kind of hotel/villa. An apartment of some kind. A nice place. Perhaps friends are around, but I for a moment am alone. A red flash calls me out of the sliding glass door, outside onto a floating wood pier on a still pond. At the end is an answering machine blinking red. A message! I pick up the receiver and listen: “Hah!” says a male voice amongst a few other words. The message felt designed for a purpose other than my understanding. Had I been prank called? I thought so.

Now I’m in my parent bedroom. Red blinks again. An old tape recorder answering machine lies on the floor. I take the message. A business call, a female voice for Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo and I are then chatting on the bed. I deliver his message to him and he catches up with me as if we are old friends. I’m downcast, he trying to cheer me up, possibly flirting with me. “You’re better than me” I establish firmly “nobody knows who I am.” Next I’m telling him I saw his denunciation of Peterson as unintelligible, afraid that he will resist modifying his view I find myself explaining: I use to be an atheist, and now I see things differently. It’s not that my argument before is now wrong, it’s that I noticed information which my argument didn’t even know about, and couldn’t bring itself to oppose. I noticed a whole new stratum to experience.

Milo then had a reel of old film to show me. “It’s black and white” he admitted “but it was so bright we could do this:” A beautiful jungle bay appeared in black contrast. The camera panned. A family of waders were at work, knee high in the water doing ancient work. All were children of four to twelve years. At least seven of them. Four were moving and busy but the three youngest stood still and looked out onto the water. One, a young girl sat crounched as a child plays in sand. Her face was eternally skrewed up, frozen in some resentful sadness. She alone was rooted to the shore perhaps refusing to enter the waters her siblings occupied.

A boy and another girl, older (perhaps six), stood as statues in the shallows. It could have been a picture of ancient man — except these two wore thick black sunglasses under wild hair. Like welding visors they protected their eyes. The older children had their roles to play: One, I now saw, was assisting the father with a line deeper out in the bay. An older girl with an afro of unruly locks approached a child sized cave in the shore line and either intended to enter the half flooded tunnel, or would shout a message to someone deep inside.

On land, an adult was taming an animal tied near a tree. Everyone left the water to watch. The whole village gathered. I was now an actor in this very scene playing a small girl. A fat high status man took a position close to me in the throng of dusty village folk. Acting the child, I let my attention fly to everything but the animal: a table, a far off mountain. The other kids were gone. As an actor I fretted I had missed my cue to leave. I also worried I didn’t much convince as a little girl. I slunk away from the crowd and entered a modern day kitchen. Milo sat at a high table, his back to my entering. He was a young boy version of Milo, I now realised. Or rather a young adult.

P.S. The black and white film turned to warm colours as I watched. This is what I took Milo to mean by “we can do this”. Returning to the kitchen was returning from the film reel and to normal colours.