- 10 -
Everyone on British Airways Flight Boeing 777 survived. It was a miracle.
Many were injured. Small fractures. Cuts. Sprains. The beautiful flight attendant who served Bono in executive club was not in her jump seat, she was off collecting high heal shoes, eye glasses, mini wine bottles. Anything that might become a projectile during a crash landing. Grade nine physics. She had collected Bono’s tangerine sunglasses, promising him she’d return them. She lost footing, hit her head on the bulkhead and hadn’t yet regained consciousness. She needed medical attention sooner than later.
He found her in the aisle, collapsed on the ground. Her name pin read “Angela.” He never paid attention before. He and the fellow seated beside him helped carry her out the emergency exit and onto the slide. It was important that everyone get off. In Bono’s section, he stood by the emergency exit door using his voice as a guide, as he motioned passengers onto the inflatable slide and into the inflatable life raft.
When everyone was safe, it was his turn.
In the life raft he looked back at the plane as it began to sink. The sun was setting fast and sky held a soft blue glow. The jetliners blinking lights disappeared into the water. Bono held Angela’s head. Blood soon covered his hands. He felt helpless. Her hair held the scent of rosemary and mint. He spoke to her gently telling her that everything was ok, she did her job and saved lives and now it was his turn to save hers.
He wore a black military-style blazer, with a white and black stripes scarf, a black Edun hoodie (100% organic cotton), black Edun Omega twill chino's, and an Edun stone grey, longsleaved cotton shirt, with a poem by Rainer Marie Rilke screen printed on front. It was made in Peru. On a different day he could of walked out of the house with a One campaign t-shirt, or something from (Product) Red. Today, was unbridled support for the missus. He wrapped his scarf around her head, and thought of his wife.
The poem on his shirt read:
With all its eyes the natural world looks out into the Open. Only our eyes are turned backward, and surround plant, animal, child like traps, as they emerge into their freedom. We know what is really out there only from the animal's gaze; for we take the very young child and force it around, so that it sees objects--not the Open, which is so deep in animals' faces. Free from death. We, only, can see death; the free animal has its decline in back of it, forever, and God in front, and when it moves, it moves already in eternity, like a fountain.
The Eighth Elegy - Rainer Marie Rilke
Bono made it ashore and kissed the ground beneath his feet. The first thing he noticed, there was no one to greet them. The explosions must of scared the people off. Or maybe they were all dead. He didn’t like that thought. His people were cold and hungry. They would get hypothermia soon. Day had now left them behind.
He helped as many people as he could. An old woman broke her ankle. Two men volunteered to carry the comatose flight attendant and he volunteered himself to help the elderly woman. Bono carried her weight in the procession of passengers. They were mostly British, Irish, Irish Canadians or Korean.
“What’s your name?” “Doreen. Doreen Asquith.” “Well Doreen, my name is Bono.” “Bono what?” “Just plain old Bono,” said Bono. “Doreen put all your weight on me. I can take it.” She did. She was heavier that he thought she was. “We’re going to make it Doreen.” “I know we are, son.”
Bono’s name meant good. Bono Vox. Good voice in cockney Latin. A girlfriend called him that once. His name was Paul once. He liked Bono.
Bono meant good.
The fires burned in the distance. The land was on fire and the breeze off the ocean had only allowed the fires to gain in strength. From bank he could see the plane sinking in the water. He didn’t know why he was still alive. The last couple hours had spanned a year in his mind.
He remembered something he read about nuclear war. It wasn’t as bad as they made it out to be. What were Oppenheimer’s words?
“I am become death: the destroyer of worlds,” he said this out loud. It frightened people. “Sorry. The Bhagavad-Gita. Robert Oppenheimer, the Trinity test...” He tried to explain.
Fuck. Stop being scary Bono.
He was cold. He couldn’t find his shoes walking in socks wasn’t all that pleasant. He thought about the radiation. He told people to cover their nose and mouth. He knew the human body could regenerate cells if they were not continually exposed by radiation. He worried about his thyroid. He knew that body couldn’t take radiation exposure for too long. He hoped there was a doctor among them. He hoped he knew something about fallout.
He told people to wrap anything they could around his or her mouth and nose. He pulled the collar on his shirt up over his mouth and zipped his hoodie up. He felt like a child again. He helped Doreen do the same with a shawl. He told others. He spread the gospel. He liked helping people. Funny enough, it kept his mind off his music and his pain. He was scared as hell.
They walked along a road in a procession for the longest time. Bono saw a church ahead. It was a sign.
It was vacant, cold, empty, Anglican and called Saint Margaret of Scotland.
It seemed the services were only on Sunday’s at 10:30 am for the Holy Eucharist. The pastor, a Reverend Henry McKenzie was nowhere to be seen.
God would help them though. God was there for Bono. God would get these people through this ordeal. If he knew anything about people, he knew they were resilient. And among the hundred or so people, men, women, children, elderly, pilots and flight crew, he was lucky and found a retired doctor among them. His name was Dr. Giles. He was in his late sixties, short and balding with a robust gut.
Dr. Giles told Bono that they needed bandages, fresh water, food, basic medical supplies. He wasn’t sure Angela would make it the night, but until they knew where they were, it was unsafe to move her.
Bono asked him about the radiation. Gamma rays.
The doctor told him, he wasn't sure, but to seek potassium iodide. Give it to everyone, except pregnant women. It wouldn’t be good for them. "Get me nitro tablets, if you can find them. And cigarettes and matches." He had a bad heart and forgot his medication on the plane. A chain smoker, he never followed his own advice.
The doctor thought for a moment. "Medical help."
"I'll do what I can."
Then the questions began.
“Who did this and why? What happens if there is no place to go to? What happens if this was the end of the world? Would there be governments? Are we at war? Was it terrorism? Was this an accident? Why attack Canada? Did the United States do this? Is this The End? What about nuclear fallout, nuclear winter, nuclear holocaust? How long could they live like this? Would they get radiation sickness? How would they get in touch with their loved ones? Do you think people are out there blogging about this? Could they find a working computer and create their own blog to help people find them? Would The New York Times website still be up? Would there be any more TV or music?”
Bono knew as long as people lived, there would always be music.
He didn’t know those other answers, but he would try to find out. He said so. America had lots of enemies and Canada never kept its promises. How many countries had long range nuclear weapons? USA, China, Russia, Britain. Russia was inept and corrupt. Britain would never do anything intentionally morally wrong. The USA. They needed Canada for their oil. Maybe they did attack. Maybe he was now standing in the 51st State. Probably not. Which left China. He wasn’t much interested in living under their rule. The Americans were bad enough. The Chinese Government didn’t much like things like free speech and Rock & Roll. He knew America would fight this with all their might. So would Britain. If they hadn’t already been completely destroyed.
He surmised that most likely any government would go underground if they had warning, assuming this is a full scale war. There would be people still running the show. He knew aid organizations would rally and help the people. The Red Cross was everywhere and probably the most organized. They had to find them. They would be the most organized and have plans for food, shelter, and fresh water. Greenpeace had to be in Halifax. All those Nuclear vessels in the harbour. He knew they needed to work together. Together they could change the world. They would have to go to Africa. He was sure Africa would have no nuclear targets. Maybe then could act as one to end finally the AIDS, poverty and world debt. Bono realized there would be a massive world movement to provide everyone with clean water, basic education, food and hope, all in Africa.
Maybe this was a good thing though. Maybe this was new beginning. Maybe people could finally live sustainably off the land. There would be no need for corporations. Maybe we wouldn’t fuck with the food chain anymore. This could be positive. People needed to hear a positive message.
Right now though the people had to seek out food and fresh water. This is what they needed the most next to heat. He needed shoes. He couldn’t just walk around in his socks.
And he knew somewhere out there, there were a lot of people that needed help. It was one thing to survive a plane crash. It was quite another to survive a thermonuclear weapon. They found candles and matches. Candlelight would keep the fear away.
The blood of Christ and his body to eat. Thank God for his churches.
Bono collected extra pairs of socks from anyone who took their carry on, and he doubled up on them for protection. It would have to do. Bono rounded up three men to come with him. Not strong men, but brave men. Alan, Richard (Dick), and Liam. They knew there was a danger. He told the people he would bring back food and water. He told the people to keep warm, huddle for body heat.
This time it wouldn’t be Rock & Roll that would save the world. He wouldn’t just be a Rock & Roll star. He was Bono. Saint Bono of Dublin.