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Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Was Murdered Twice

      I have recollections of two past lives and in each I was murdered.

In the first I was about eighteen or twenty and had a wife and a small baby whom I would hold aloft and twirl around when I returned home. We lived in a house that was built above the ground on stilts. I was very proud of my bamboo armour and liked to test it out in friendly combat. Another practice we had was to fight with long bamboo poles and we were excellent horesmen.

But one of the warrior codes of my strange society was that only family members could place their hand on my head to touch my hair. To do otherwise gave me the right to chop off the offender's head. I had just inherited my father's property which included tracts of land, buildings and slaves. I told the other landowners that I was against slavery and was going to free my men. However, they would still work for me because they had nowhere else to go. The older landowners objected to my new way of thinking and, in the process, I got my own head chopped off.

I felt no pain. Then I saw a man in a white suit, much like today's fashion, standing next to me. "Come on" he said, "It's time to go. I've been sent to escort you back to that other place. You no longer belong in this world."

"What about my wife and baby?" I replied. "Who's going to look after them? And what is that thing everyone's playing with?"

"Your wife and baby will make their own way in the world as everyone must," he answered. "And that thing the men are kicking around is your head."

In the second recollection of a past life, I am a Chinese middle-class gentleman practising acupuncture. I am sitting outside on some steps overlooking a stretch of water. Around me are a group of students and others of my own age. I am leaning over a man with his shirt pulled down, demonstrating a new acupuncture point that I have discovered. Suddenly I feel a terrible pain in my lower back on the left side and realize I've been stabbed by one of my companions who was jealous, perhaps, of my achievment. No man in a white suit this time. It just ends there.

Chris Markham

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