The gamelan orchestra still echoed over the calm anchorage as we sat in Old Hand’s saloon scarfing a late dinner of kippers and ale.
I’d signed aboard the stout cutter for a perilous voyage across the Indian Ocean in search of adventure. But adventure appeals only to clueless greenhorns like myself, it being but a foolish, romantic notion to seasoned salts like McWhirr, a pragmatic Quaker who has had his fill of adventure on the seas.
I’d heard he’d fallen among adherents of the Zoroastrian persuasion. Or was it some Sufi sect whose adherents await the 12th Imam’s return and wander the storm-wracked shores of this world seeking some vestige of a golden age–a relic safeguarded from the literalist creed by occult signs that can be decoded only in the secret halls of pure imagination?
McWhirr, his face lit amber in the oil lamp’s amber glow, leaned back and lit his battered pipe.
“I first heard of the India Rubber Theme Park when but a nipper on my grandfather’s knee. He told me of the Neo-Liberal Art Exhibition, the wonders of the Pharmaceutical Pavilion and how he once saw the CEO of Walmart. He told me yarns of how it’s foundations had first been laid in the 21st Century by drones captured during the great rubber wars.
That was a simpler time, when India Rubber ruled the whole archipelago. Now it’s dog eat dog, with upstart pirates trying to challenge the Dutch rubber monopoly and their quasi-governmental powers by fair means or foul.