Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide
Bangkok, 14 December 2015, 07:54
Knowing that most people have read/seen or enjoyed this fascinating piece of literature in some form or another and would immediately point to my misspelling of HYDE, the alter-ego of the curious doctor, I ask for your patience and kind attention in explaining my reasons for doing it.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or simply Jekyll & Hyde. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the evil Edward Hyde. (source)
Sep A Rate and Cate (Allo Cate) are the only one’s on duty today. The have A Llot to do and I leave them at it. The rest of my imaginary staff are excused form work and probably off shopping or getting drunk. The reasonably quiet morning is helping to get my writing done.
South Africa, Pretoria, circa 1985
Many curious things were intruding in my hitherto normal? life. The least not being, a proper introduction to “the quiet guy” I had observed (but not SEEN) in Kimberley and who showed up unexpectedly in Major Jaap’s office to interview me. His name was Commandant Jeckyll and he was to play a significant role in my life for almost 15 years. Of course I didn’t know it then. If I had known it, I could have made a wise decision and shot him, right there and then.... If… If… If… Strange word, don’t you agree?
Even today, having had the blessing and benefit of about 40 years of hindsight and deliberations, I can’t say with absolute certainty that it was even his real name. Despite his insignificant physical appearance, he entered and left my life with such force that his coming and going were all associated with upheavals and unimaginable happenings.
(In the here and now… For the last few weeks, try as I might, I can find no real evidence of his existence on any document or website… Isn’t it a fact that everything is on the internet?… Maybe he was just a figment of my imagination?
So, if he was Jeckyll, does that make me Hyde? Not yet… not for many years to come… At this stage I was just in the process of becoming Mr HIDE.
The Institute for Aviation Medicine (They even have a Facebook page now), my new workplace, was a remarkably inconspicuous place. Despite having a HUGE centrifuge, installed in the main building and used for military and civil PPL tests, the building was hardly noticeable, unless you knew exactly what to look for. The entrance was even less obvious and only found by people that knew exactly where to go. From time to time, about twice a month, I was assigned guard duties, but the majority of my time there was spent finding ways to examine the happenings and curious appearances of people and erstwhile unknown “things” at this little unit.
The Offer I had been made few weeks earlier, was accepted (did I have a choice?) and my future was decided… but unfortunately not by me. For many weeks, I had no new contact from Jeckyll. He hardly entered my thoughts and time not being a commodity in short supply, I started my explorations in line with my childhood learning.
Planned with impressive accuracy, each task was completed and added to my little knapsack of knowledge. The first few exploratory ventures were unremarkable, consisting of the main building and the contraptions it contained. The people that manned the posts in the different sections, were a mixture of medical specialties. Even a casual observer would comment that they were there to get a job done, not by choice! Their job consisted mostly of never-ending testing and examinations, of civil and military candidates for a PPL (Pupil Pilot Licence) and divers. Besides those tedious tasks, they were also responsible for advanced medical tests on high ranking (The REAL top-brass) officers.
Not being a medical man myself, I soon lost interest in those happenings and explored further. There were opportunities to have a spin in the centrifuge (my results were sad, G-Forces are not my friends) and some simulated dives (I was just a little above average here) in the hyperbaric chamber (also called a decompression chamber or re-compression chamber, is a sealed chamber in which a high-pressure environment is used primarily to treat decompression sickness, gas embolism, carbon monoxide poisoning etc..). These joyrides were entertaining and informative, but certainly nothing impressive enough to write about in detail.
On my very first exploration outside the main building, I approached a secondary structure, not even 20 meters away and I found out, not without meeting resistance at sharing this information, that it was called InfoPlan. The map above might describe it better, kind courtesy of Google Maps. Even in Google the exact location is wrong… curious…
I apologize for interrupting this BlogCast but I have just been called by a client and it is urgent. I shall return as soon as possible with more drews.(Drivel+News)… I have to go earn some $$$ first… BRB… AFK… and all the other acronyms that mean…see you later!
I am back – Despite my best intentions, my current occupation as private investigator (and in some cases being a sort-this-shit-out-and-look-into-that-issue-person), I am forced to earn my meager existence and my attempt at making those interruptions fewer has “not had great results”.
If I may trouble your reading again, please assist me in RAISING SOME FUNDS, so that I may spend more time writing and less time being a lapdog.
It really would be a worthy investment…. and worth a LOT to me. It’s also almost X-mas you know! 🙂
TIP: For those interested in the Stock Markets, I might suggest that you also invest some of your heard-earned money in Bangkok Post, founded by Alexander MacDonald, a former OSS officer. Stock info HERE. My Thai client from earlier being a director of that business and the conversation I had a while ago seeming to indicate some major overhauling and expansions. Thailand is becoming a very attractive investment option. -Now surely that is worth more than a few dollars!.. lol
Being too stupid and too poor, I am not an investor-kind-of-person. Our discussion was not about investments, they were about my findings and supporting video material of some and-look-into-that-issue-person tasks I am assigned to. I digress…Back to the story at hand…
For those wanting to know more about InfoPlan, I can suggest a book (by James Michael Roherty) that is almost accurate and would give you a clearer indication – Book title: State Security in South Africa: Civil-military Relations Under P.W. Botha. (ISBN 0873328779)
A lot of the information in the above book being VERY important and relevant, I enclose a screen-cap from page 123/124, relevant to InfoPlan and how it fitted into the secret inner-workings of ARMSCOR.
A graphic of their modern org structure looks similar to the 1985’s-or-so version. Looks good but they should really put IT much higher in that order!
But let’s get back to InfoPlan – Blissfully unaware of the future book, the information it contains and exploring to my heart’s content, I made friends with some of the staff at InfoPlan and even got to see what happens inside, quite a few times. Security was TIGHT but I didn’t need training or tools to circumvent the access control. – Coffee is a major form of currency in the military and I had an ample supply (staff canteen) and many reasons for spending it.-
On one coffee-wielding entry, I came across a few nerdy types playing a strange game (these were MS DOS days) on a computer. Fascinated, I watched as they flew a jet and then a helicopter, blowing up tanks, vehicles, structures and people on the screen…. WOW, I want this game!
Turns out it wasn’t a game and they were the designers/testers of a top secret project (how was I to know it’s not a game?) of an HUD (Head Up Display) for use in the (then) soon-to-be-introduced Cheetah Fighter Jet and much later in the Rooivalk Attack Helicopter.
Becoming aware of my lingering and fascinated presence, the nerdy types explained that (a) I wasn’t supposed to be there (b) they didn’t drink coffee and (c) that this was not a game and that, even if THEY tried, it was impossible to copy the “game”. (d) they then entered into an impossible-to-understand discussion, filled with weird references to a language that I had never come across.
Not understanding what they were saying, I decided that I wanted a copy of the game anyway and set a plan in motion to get one… right there and then!
Computer buffs will know that in 1984-ish floppy’s were still being used in the SADF, thousands (exaggeration) of them needed for any program of note.
There were hundreds (not an exaggeration) of floppy’s within arm’s reach and while the nerds were debating and drawing stick figures on a whiteboard some distance away, I helped myself to the available computer terminal. Computers were not totally unknown to me and I understood one thing very well. If the game was running, I didn’t need any extra or special permissions to save and copy the contents… nowadays that is not so easy!
My game-copying was concluded in about 30 minutes of quick floppy changes. Happy about the acquisition of my game, I left them to their drawings and strange languages…. and a few cups of cold coffee.
The Game was fascinating, I wish I had images to share. Recent searches threw out some SIMILAR IMAGES but you have to keep in mind that my game was played in circa 1985, so it was not as visually stunning as in the samples. Nevertheless, if you browse smartnoman’s files, you might get an idea of the game I was playing.
Whether my acquisition of the game was the reason or whether it was some other game being played by other people, I don’t know! Jeckyll appeared at my office (yes, I had a new office) and after a short chat, he ordered me to meet him in Pretoria. The location being of the utmost importance later in this blook, I can’t mention it yet… not now!
That meeting showed me the first glimpse of who I was to become… Mr Hide. His part of the meeting consisted of a terse and intricate series of instructions, explanations and references. The documents he showed me were named in a series of flower names and insect names…. too many to even try and recall.
My part of the conversation consisted of pregnant intervals, listening and followed by an almost-whispered “Yes sir“… and trying to keep my mouth closed. Keeping my mouth closed, not from silent-closure in trying not to speak… My mouth hung open in awe, amazement and incredulity at what was unfolding in front of my very eyes.
The Offer I had accepted had a consequence and it was expected… no, that word doesn’t fit! It was DEMANDED that I own up and make good on that acceptance.
What follows is the real reason of my BLOOK. I hope you have the strength of character, the steadiness of nerve and the foresight to know that from here on, nothing was as it seemed.
The above not being very prominent in my own young self, I entered the all-too-real world of spies and spymasters (handlers)!
That concludes today’s little sampling of a textually inept attempt at sharing my life with you. Stay tuned for many more…by my calculations about 800 more … stories that are here for your amusement. 🙂 My current employer DEMANDS some further attention and my financial position DEMANDS that I heed those, offered an hour-or-so ago.