Doctor Karma’s Cosmic Emporium: Part 1

By M. Greene published February 6, 2019

Be careful how you treat people…

Doctor Karma’s Cosmic Emporium

Part 1

Richard Carlton-Jones, Barrister-at-Law, Lincoln’s Inn, London:

Every time I enter or leave my chambers, they’re there. Damned beggars! Sitting in an ugly row against the side of the building, cocooned up to their waists in filthy sleeping-bags, palms eternally outstretched for a pound or two. Disgusting, dirty, lowlife scum! They’re nothing but thieves! All of them look foreign; under the dirt, their skins are all various shades of brown. They’re almost certainly all illegal immigrants. I cannot imagine why the police don’t deport them back to where they came from or at least move them on from my place of work.

This morning, one of them actually laid his dirty hands on me! I was sweeping past them, as usual, trying my best to screen their ugliness out of my life, when one of the darker-skinned ones had the damned cheek to grab hold of my coat! A well-aimed prod with my umbrella soon made him release his grip, but it comes to something when a man can’t go about his business without being molested by the ‘great unwashed’! As Father always says: this country has certainly gone to the dogs…

As soon as I get inside the office, I ask Amanda to check my cashmere coat for any possible stains left by the refugee’s dirty paw. After what I consider to be a mere cursory glance, she reports that she cannot see any, but I really don’t feel quite the same way about the garment now, and will, at the very least, have it dry-cleaned at the earliest opportunity…

All morning, I try my best to get on with the Regina vs Clarkson case; checking affidavits and dictating my opening remarks for Amanda to type up, but suffer almost constant interruptions. Camilla simply will not get off the phone, going on and on again about us exchanging eternity rings to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary today. Why the damned woman can’t get the blessed things herself, I simply do not know. It’s not as if she has anything else to do all day… Oh no! Apparently, according to her, I have to buy the rings. I tell her that there are no jewellery shops in this part of the City, but she says that I will just have to make a detour to Hatton Garden on the way home. Apparently, she’s planning one of her ‘special intimate dinners’ for tonight and we have to have the rings by then. What a piece of nonsense; but that’s women for you…

Just before one-thirty, I’m on my way out of chambers to meet my old friend Jonathan Vass at El Vino’s, when one of those disgusting tramps actually accosts me! He’s black with one of those rat-tail hairstyles a lot of those fellows seem to have and he stands right in my path with his filthy hand outstretched.

“Please, Sir,” he says. “I’m so hungry… Please…”

I ignore him, of course, and try to continue on my way, but he actually has the temerity to grab hold of my sleeve!

“Please, Sir…”

Irritated beyond measure, I wrench my arm out of his grip and smack his face with the back of my hand. My knuckles hit the wretch right on the nose and he staggers back against a lamp-post.

“Fucking bastard!” he screams at me, shaking his fist.

To my enormous satisfaction, he’s bleeding quite profusely, a veritable stream of crimson blood running out of each of his wide nostrils onto his grubby shirt. Justice having been duly meted out, I head off towards the wine bar, thanking the Lord that I’m wearing gloves and have not actually had to touch the lowlife’s dirty face…

Doctor Karma, Cosmic Emporium, Nowhere At Present:

“It would seem that we have a new client, Master…”

“Indeed?” I walk over to the scrying pool and peer over Harmony’s shoulder. “Where is this?”

“London, England, Master. The City.”

I nod. “We do seem to get more than our fair share from that particular place, don’t we?”

Harmony smiles and waves his bright purple hand over the shimmering surface of the pool. I see a young man in his late twenties, wearing an expensive overcoat. Under this, he has on a made-to-measure suit which fits him exactly, with shiny bespoke black leather shoes to match. His hair is blond and perfectly groomed. His eyes are grey and look rather forbidding. He’s very handsome, with a look of supreme arrogance about him. He walks down the front steps of one of those legal offices they have so many of in the City of London, with important-looking brass plates on the wall by the door and wrought-iron railings outside.

“His name?”

“Richard Louis Carlton-Jones, Master.”


“Twenty-nine, Master.”

“Very well. Show me what happens next, then…”

Harmony gestures with his fingers and we watch together as another young man crosses the path of Mr Carlton-Jones. Although they are about the same age, this second man is possibly of Jamaican origin and dressed in a very sorry fashion. His clothes are decidedly worn and dirty and he appears quite unwell.

“This one’s name?”

“Rashawn Charles, Master.”


“Also twenty-nine, Master.”

I smile. “Always looking for cosmic patterns, aren’t you, Harmony?” I say. “Very well… Proceed…”

Harmony makes the surface swirl once more and we look down to witness the encounter and ensuing assault. I shake my head more with pity than anger. “I assume that this behaviour is part of a long-standing pattern?”

Harmony nods and agitates the water in the bowl so we can see a slightly younger Mr Carlton-Jones kicking a sleeping tramp. The water seethes again and then clears to reveal the same man as a teenager beating a younger pupil at his expensive private school…

“Enough!” I cry, turning away from the large silver bowl. “Manifest the Emporium immediately!”

Richard Carlton-Jones, Barrister-at-Law, Lincoln’s Inn, London:

Lunch was delicious and, refreshed by two glasses of vintage Burgundy, I make my way back to Chambers. As I reach the corner of Chancery Lane, I notice a street to my right that I don’t recall ever seeing before. London is such a strange city. One can live and work in its midst for years and still discover new things…

I glance down the narrow cul-de-sac and see that a rather fine-looking shop stands facing me at the far end. Although the paintwork looks very fresh and new, it’s obviously Victorian, or even Georgian, with those small glass panes and bright red brickwork. The large sign running across the front of the building, just below the roof, reads: “Doctor Karma’s Cosmic Emporium.” However, it is the sign on the front door which really catches my attention. It says: “Eternity Rings Our Speciality – Please Enquire Within.”

Not having to trek all the way to Hatton Garden really appeals, so a moment later, I’m pushing open the door. A pleasant, tinkling bell rings as I do so and an elderly man, very tall and thin, with long white hair and a straggly beard to match, comes through a beaded curtain and stands to attention behind the counter. I decide that I very much like this shop; the assistant knows his proper respectful place, unlike the hordes of gum-chewing louts that serve in most London retail outlets these days…

“Good afternoon,” I say, advancing towards the man. “I am interested in seeing your selection of eternity rings, if I may…”

He bows obsequiously low and smiles. “Yes, of course, Mr Carlton-Jones…”

I’m shocked. How on earth does this ancient old cove know my name?

Seeing my expression, the old man smiles and, as if reading my mind, says, “You are very well known in your profession, Sir. One might almost say you are famous…” His bright blue eyes twinkle at me from his incredibly wrinkled face.

I blush a little at his words. He’s totally correct, of course. My name is starting to carry quite a deal of weight in legal circles… It’s not really surprising that even the local retailers are starting to recognise me…

The elderly proprietor produces a number of velvet-backed trays with slots containing a number of rings and places these on the counter for my inspection. To my disappointment, although they have a wide selection of eternity rings for women, there is only one single example big enough for a man. It is a very nice one though, and it’s the right size for my finger; a solid gold band, similar to my wedding ring, but with three flat diamonds set into it. There is a slightly smaller version of this which I know that Camilla will favour, having patiently listened to her exhaustive lectures on this particular topic for the past several days…

“Will you not try the ring on, Sir?”

I shake my head. “Better not; my wife will kill me if I wear it before we formally exchange our rings this evening.”

The old man gracefully inclines his head. He really is a most exemplary shop-assistant…

Camilla is extremely happy with my choice, incredibly expensive though the blessed things were, and, after our three course dinner, I slip an eternity ring on her finger and she does the same for me in return. We then exchange an extremely lingering kiss.

After quite a few glasses of Champagne, I’m in a jocund mood. “I have to say that Cook has absolutely excelled herself this evening. That meal was perfect!”

Camilla smiles. “I chose the menu and every course contained an aphrodisiac…”

“So… In that case… Shall we retire to bed a little early?”

“Oh yes, Darling…”

The next morning, the same gallery of grotesques are lying on the street outside chambers. I don’t see the man who assaulted me yesterday, but I again have to run the gamut of their grasping, outstretched hands and pathetic pleading voices. It’s a relief when I can get inside, shut the front door behind me and hang up my coat.

Upstairs, in my office, Amanda brings me a fresh cup of coffee. “Ooh, Sir! Have you been using one of those sunbeds?”

“I beg your pardon?”

The silly girl giggles stupidly. “It’s just that you look awfully tanned, Sir. It’s as though you’ve been somewhere really exotic overnight…”

“Fetch the Clarkson files,” I say, rather stiffly, to rebuke her ridiculous impertinence. The case comes to court this afternoon, so there’s no time to waste…”

As I move towards my desk, I catch sight of my face in the antique mirror which hangs on the wall behind it. Can it be the rather dim light in here, or is my imagination playing tricks on me? I walk up to the mirror to take a closer look. Amanda was right! Somehow, my skin appears to have turned a very definite shade of light brown…

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