Try to visualise the future Bob Dylan’s soul. Before he was born here on earth….. Yes, I know, it’s not easy is it? We don’t really know for sure if souls even exist, let alone what they might look like. His soul doesn’t yet know of course that it is to be the future Bob Dylan. The name ‘Bob Dylan’ would mean nothing to it. To make things even more complicated Bob Dylan won’t even be born as Bob Dylan. He will be born as Robert Zimmerman and change his name later in life. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here; so let’s all take a step back for a moment and i’ll try to set the scene a little better.
This short story is set on the day leading up to his birth in 1941. The two characters having a discussion are not in this world, they are astral souls in another dimension that supplies souls to inhabit newborn babies as they are birthed to their new mothers on this planet. Our World is at war. It is a terrible time for mankind. Things are looking particularly bad in Europe. People are being killed daily in their thousands all over Europe and the far east.
I was musing one day on the possibility of reincarnation and how, if it is real, it might work. I had noticed whilst browsing the web that Trotsky, the infamous Russian revolutionary, died in 1940. I also noticed that one of my musical heroes was born the following year in 1941. Not very far apart. Perhaps you can already see where I’m going with this?
A long line of souls are waiting patiently in a queue coming out of a waiting room for souls. They are all waiting to reincarnate as newborn babies on to the earth plane. They’ve mostly all been here on earth before in other earlier lives, but some will be ‘first-timers’, and some perhaps have come from other galaxies! A heavenly ‘life fixer upper’, we’ll call him Jim, glides down towards the very long queue and lands by the waiting room door. He spots the future Bob Dylan’s soul deep in conversation about music with another soul just inside the door of the astral waiting room. ( This other soul talking music with ‘Bob’ would join the queue in a month or so, he was still resting between lives. I’ll let you know who that other soul was a bit later.) Jim beckons ‘Bob’ and says “Come on now, say goodbye to your friend, you should be in the queue outside, we are finding you a new mother today for your next trip to earth! ”
So Jim says to the future Bob Dylan’s soul, “So what are you going to do with your life this time around then eh? Would you like to try our special offer ‘surprise life package’?” The future Bob Dylan’s soul wasn’t at all keen to have the special offer ‘surprise life package’. He wanted to have some idea who he was going to be before he went back down to earth, and have a rough idea of what he was going to do with his next life. He wasn’t too keen on surprises. He had already given that a try the last time around, some pushy trainee ‘surprise life package’ salesman had convinced him to give it a try. It had been a big gamble; and very stupidly he had taken it. Yes, he might have been born as a super rich good looking prince, with a harem full of beautiful sexy women all at his beck and call, a few luxury mansions and flashy sports cars galore, that was what the prick of a salesman had suggested might happen in his smarmy sales spiel, but, just like winning the lottery, the odds had been very much against it. Once bitten, twice shy. No, his ‘surprise’ hadn’t gone very well at all.
He had been born as Lev Davidovich Bronstein, (future history would know him as Leon Trotsky.) He had arrived from between his mother’s cold, skinny white thighs in some awful god forsaken, poverty stricken, freezing cold place called Russia. It had been a terrible shock to him. So much so that he had tried to climb back up into his mother’s womb again. He had been expecting warmer climes and clean silken sheets. But what he had got was a blizzard blowing through the rotten wooden shack that his parents laughably called ‘home’, and some coarse, flea-infested, urine stained, stinking blankets. No, it hadn’t been a great start for young Leon. He had been more than a little pissed off and had cried for four weeks straight. His poor suffering mother had almost smothered him to be rid of the miserable little bastard.
Trotsky did have a very interesting life though, it is true, but what happened to him during that life isn’t relevant for the purposes of this little story, so we’ll just skip that bit and go straight to his horrible demise. His life ended very abruptly, very violently, and very painfully in 1940. One of Stalin’s murderous international assassins had tracked him down to South America, (where he had been trying to escape his vengeance after a bit of a ‘falling-out’). The assassin buried an ice pick deep into his head. He would have much preferred to have died peacefully in his sleep, or perhaps even by a quick bullet to the back of his head, (a very popular method of murder by the Russian state at that time), but by a bloody ice-pick? No, given a choice he wouldn’t have chosen that.
“No!” Said the future Bob Dylan’s soul very aggressively; remembering his previous grisly end when he had played the part of ‘Trotsky’ on the world stage. “I definitely don’t want to try your special offer ‘surprise life package’ again mate, so you can just stick it where the Sun don’t shine!”
“O.K., O.K.,” said Jim the ‘life fixer upper’, “No need to get all worked up, have you got any preferences?”
“Well”. Said the future Bob Dylan’s soul. “I now realise why you offer those ‘surprise life package’ deals to us re-incarnating souls. If you were to tell us that we were going to be Hitler, Stalin, Trump, Pol Pot, or Tony Blair, or maybe the victim of a tsunami, we just wouldn’t take the life on. We would refuse to play the part and we would just stay put here in our cosy, peaceful, ‘astral waiting room’! It’s the only way that you can get those lives ‘off the shelf’ isn’t it? But I’ve learnt my lesson, I’m not taking any more chances. I have been giving my next incarnation some very serious thought, I’ve had quite enough of revolting peasants, red revolutions, disgusting Russian food, massacres, mass graves and bloody ice picks. This time I want to go for a quieter, more caring, and more creative life. I’ve had it up to here with bloody politics, racism, freezing cold Siberian winters and all that hate! I want to be a great musician, somebody who is loved and respected, not somebody who is hated and feared. This time I want to be a brilliant, critically acclaimed, renowned songwriter who will be remembered and revered for thousands of years. Oh, and I’m not too fussed about the voice, you can make it an acquired taste only enjoyed by those with good taste if you like. Blokes like that Wyatt fella. Well? Do you think you can fix that for me then Jim?”
“You don’t want too much do you?” Said Jim sarcastically as he had a quick flick through the pages of his ‘Big book of new incarnations’. After much ‘soul searching,’ and a few calls to the boss lady up at ‘Gabriel H.Q.’ He said. “ Yes, we have a life here that just might be of some interest to you. It fits your chosen criteria to a ‘tee’. Yes, we can fix that for you. You will be born as a baby boy to your new parents. Their names will be Abraham and Beatricia Zimmerman and they will call you ‘Robert’. They are expecting you tomorrow morning, so please do get a bloody move on and glide down that dark tunnel very quickly when the time comes, but do remember to wait for that little bright white light! That means ‘it’s good to go’! Your parents are a very nice respectable young Jewish couple. They have a cosy, clean, safe, loving, warm home. I think you will really like them. I certainly do, and so does the boss”.
“Jewish?” Said the future Bob Dylan’s soul. Completely missing all the other good points Jim had mentioned. “Jewish for ***k sake?! Please don’t let me be born in Europe Jim, please no! I’ve heard all the awful stories in the astral waiting room. There have been thousands of the poor buggers coming back here lately, long before their soul contract was up, it’s not very nice down there at the moment for Jewish people!”
“Now don’t you go fretting about that, you’ll be alright because you will be born in the ‘Land of the free and the home of the brave’.
“What? In Britain?” Said the soul of the future Bob Dylan, now feeling somewhat relieved.
“No, in America stupid, in a place called Duluth in Minnesota.” Replied Jim the heavenly life fixer upper. “Oh well”. Said the soul of the future Bob Dylan. “I guess I’ll have to just settle for second best then, but in any case it’s got to be much better than being born in Poland in 1941, hasn’t it?”
“Zimmerman?” The name had only just sunk in.“Did you say Zimmerman for Christ’s sake? The Robert bit’s O.K., well, it’s not too bad. I would have preferred something more like ‘Woody’ though obviously, but Zimmerman? Zimmerman? What sort of a bloody name’s that for a musical icon? Zimmerman? I’ll only ever get gigs down the pub doing those crappy, cheesy pop covers with a stupid bloody name like that! Zimmerman? Why don’t you just go the whole bloody hog and call me something really bloody stupid like Farrokh Bulsara!”
“Oh, no, we can’t do that I’m afraid”. Jim replied. “That name is already reserved for another soul who will be back here in the queue in about five years time. He will change his name later in life to ‘Freddie Mercury’. Apparently he wants to be a mega rock star, he wants to wear tights and mascara and make one of the finest singles ever made. It’s going to be called ‘Bohemian something or other’, it’s all here in the book of life you know. Some people are just so fussy, why can’t they just want to be Fred Bloggs the plumber and want to go around fixing people’s loos, or Susie Smith the bespectacled librarian, and be quite happy charging people for returning their books late? If you dislike Zimmerman that much you could always change your name later to something much cooler that the kids will really dig. Something with a bit of style to it. Perhaps something like….. oh, let me think……. yes I’ve got it…..how does ‘Bob Dylan’ sound to you? That’s pretty cool isn’t it, huh?”
“Bob Dylan eh? Yes, that’s really cool, yes I do like that. I will remember it!” Said the soon to be born Robert Zimmerman.
“So off you go then, and have a great life ‘Bob’, but do get a bloody move on or you’ll be late, but don’t forget to wait until you see that little bright white light at the end of the dark tunnel before you make your grand entrance!
“Yes I know, that means good to go”. Replied the soul soon to be born as Robert Zimmerman.
“Oh, and by the by, that soul I saw you chatting with earlier, the one in the astral waiting room, you will see him again in a few years time, he will be a good friend of yours in this life. His name will be Otis Redding. We’ve given him a really wonderful voice, but just between me and you, his songs aren’t as good as yours. See you next time around Bob!” Said Jim, as he hurried off to the next soul in the very long queue behind ‘Bob’. 1941 was a very, very busy period for Jim. They were sending them back up much faster than he could send them back down. These humans really had to start growing up. They had been given a wonderful opportunity and frankly they were blowing it, they needed to start loving each other more, and their beautiful home, but at least that last guy would be doing his little bit to improve life on earth. He would be writing some amazing poetry and setting it to great music.
“Beyond the horizon, in the Springtime or fall
Love waits forever, for one and for all”………..Bob Dylan from ‘Beyond the Horizon’.
Written By Mark Anthony Wyatt
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