I was looking forward to enjoying my life. ‘Quit bothering me,’ I said to no one in particular, ‘can’t you see I’m trying to enjoy my life?’ My life, my life, my life. ‘How dare you,’ I say, ‘how dare you try to stop me enjoying this uniquely personal life experience of mine?’ Outrage and indignation are my middle names. Outraged from Tonbridge Wells. Apoplectic from Bexleyheath. Incandescent with rage from Tooting Broadway. You’ve heard it all before of course. Nothing new there. My indignation might be interesting to me but you couldn’t care less. Can’t you see I’m trying to experience my wonderful narcissistic existence as a unique human being? There’s nothing angrier than a narcissist, did you know that? Nothing comes close. How dare you interrupt me in the proper lawful exercise of my self-absorption! Can’t you see that I’m a malignant narcissist? Ten signs that you might be dating a narcissist. That’s always a good one isn’t it? I love that one. I never get tired of that one. How to spot the ten signs that you might be dating a narcissist when you yourself are a narcissist would be more to the point! That’s when things really get tricky. Here’s another aggressive YouTube video that was auto-suggested for me today – ‘You’d better start doing this generic thing today!’ Do you have any idea of how many of these messages there are? Of course you do, of course you do. You are a human being the same as I am. You’re full of human failings to be sure but also a legitimate subscriber to the generic human experience, as are we all. No surprises there, then. Do this Generic Thing today, do this Generic Thing today. You have to do this Generic Thing immediately because it’s going to be so profoundly meaningful to you. It’s going to be the single most significant event in your whole life. The generic thing, the generic thing. And you tried this simple generic trick? People all over Oranmore are going mad over it. They are going pure fucking mental over it. Folk just like you, folk exactly like you. They’re all doing the simple generic trick and it’s transforming their lives. Their lives were crap before and they’re crap now and so that’s something we all have in common. The Filth of Satan is fully available to each and every one of us, do you realise that? Folk all over your area are going mad for it. They’re going mad for the Filth of Satan! It’s on offer from all sides you know so there’s no excuse for missing out. Do it right now! Folk all over your area are doing this simple generic thing. Doctors are losing their minds over it. Folk all over your area are going crazy over it. I remember when I was at school the teachers used to set us essays to write and the title of the essay would invariably be the same. The title of the essay would be ‘Explain, in your own words, why the Filth of Satan is so wonderful.’ I always got top marks of course. This boy is going to go far my teachers all said. He has a bright future ahead of him, to be sure. He shows a truly great ability to do the generic thing. They could see a bright future ahead of me doing the generic thing over and over and over again. They were wrong of course but we can’t blame them for that…
Farting helplessly with fear, I rushed from the scene of the crime. Perhaps they won’t catch me for it, I say to myself, full of desperate hope. Even though I know very well that they always do. Even though I know very well that they absolutely always do. Perhaps – I say to myself – they won’t know that it was me that did it. Even though they always do know.
You know that thing I’m sure, that thing where you do a very bad thing and then immediately become terrified that you’ll be found out. Run, run, run – run from the scene of the crime. Run as you have never run before. You might just make it, there is always a chance. Panic flight, that’s what they call it, isn’t it. I used to be the kind of guy everyone wanted to know; I used to be the kind of guy everyone liked on sight. You might think I’m joking, you might think that I’m trying to be funny. Funny ha ha. Funny like fun-time in the circus. Funny like fun-time in the human zoo. But no, I’m being straight up. I was that guy so you can imagine how much it hurts for me to be the way that I am now. Rushing from the scene of the crime, rushing as fast as is humanly possible from the scene of the crime. Hoping that I won’t be spotted.
The news of the crime travels fast faster than I can however – my infamy precedes me. My terrible terrible infamy. The crime was too great to see, it was too big. I never meant for that to happen, I promise you, I never intended for it to be that big; I never intended for it to be big enough to be the Ultimate Mind Crime. When you are first in prison, or you have been transferred somewhere new, everyone always asks you ‘What are you in for mate?’ Everyone wants to know you see. People are of course very interested. That’s just the way it is. People always want to know. So you say this or you say that and that’s fine. Usually, that is. It’s not fine if you own up to being a nonce, or if you look like a nonce. No one likes a nonce, obviously. So if you are a nonce then you naturally wouldn’t mention the fact, you’d say that you’re in for aggravated burglary or dipping or embezzlement or kiting or the possession and supply of Class A drugs or something like that and then that’ll be fine. Or whatever. You know what I’m trying to say. It’s not rocket science.
When it’s the Ultimate Mind Crime you’re talking about then that’s a very different matter however. You can’t believe how different that is. It’s another world. Regular law enforcement has nothing to do with this kind of situation, it really doesn’t come into it. So it’s not the police you have to worry about, in other words. You don’t have to worry about them at all. So that’s a relief, right? Wrong my friend, wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. That’s the most wrong you could ever be. They’re talking about you all over the world. Everyone instantaneously knows what you did – that’s how bad it is. Your guilt is transmitted instantaneously. There isn’t anyone on the planet doesn’t know what you did – people know and they’re very, very angry with you.
Running down the street, farting with fear, farting helplessly with terror. You don’t care how stupid you look – you’re way past that. Perhaps no one will notice I say to myself. Perhaps I will get away with it. Part of me is wishing I could have just committed an ordinary crime of course and that I could be on my way to prison, looking forward to serving a nice long sentence. I’m overcome with nostalgia and I’m blubbering uncontrollably; I’m wishing that I could just be a normal criminal like all the rest. Making your career work for you, I tell myself. Making all the right choices. Making sure you stay in control of the narrative. Thinking about all of the normal happy people leading normal happy lives. Realizing how lucky they are, although they themselves don’t know it. Hoping that no one will realise that it was me that did it.
I lived like a maggot, I lived like a worm. I lived like a worm and I’m not ashamed to say it. Well, I am ashamed, but I have to say it all the same. I have to come out with it. It is better to speak the truth, however evil that truth might be, than be consumed by some kind of terrible monster that might come along and consume you, that’s what I always say. I actually never say that, not ever, come to think of it, but now is as good a time to start as ever. Live like a maggot, live like a worm, that’s my motto. Everyone has to have a motto and that’s mine, for what it’s worth. ‘Is it evil to be evil when you live in an evil world?’ I often wonder. ‘Is it evil, or is it just normal?’ I was eating the forbidden fruit. ‘The forbidden fruit is often the best,’ I told myself wisely, ‘very often it is…’ I ate greedily. I ate late into the night and then later I duly became sick with an upset stomach. I considered the possibility that I might have overdone it with the forbidden fruit. Sooner or later the authorities would become aware of my transgression and then they would begin to close in on me. They would close the net, they would draw it tight. Already microscopic surveillance bugs had been dispatched to my location. Impossible to see with the naked eye, it was nevertheless possible to detect them with a heightened sense of paranoia, such as I had. My entire body would – at times – become one single, supersensitive sense organ. It was, at such times, quite impossible for the authorities to creep up on me unnoticed in the way that they would dearly love to. I notice everything. I congratulated myself on this point – I had the edge and I intended to keep it. The edge was everything in the fight against the authorities. But that it wasn’t much of a ‘fight’ as such of course because I was incapable of fighting in any meaningful way – all I could do was flee. Fleeing was how I fought – I fought by fleeing and a mighty fleer I was! Fleeing by day and fleeing at night, fleeing when it’s dark and dingy and fleeing when it’s bright. Mainly when it was bright, of course – that was when it is most important of all to flee. ‘Mine is the art of scuttling from rock to rock, and hiding behind each one in turn as I come to it so no one can see me. Mine is the art, mine is the art…’ I croaked triumphantly. I was having a moment of triumph you see – such moments come but rarely and even when they do they are inevitably deluded. Where would we be without our delusions, after all? Where would we be? I conjured up another delusion for myself on the foot of this one. I conjured up the delusion of a crackling hot fire to warm my hands in front of – a fire made of the magnesium/yttrium alloy skulls of my enemies. This is a very light and durable alloy to be sure, but nevertheless highly inflammable. For a moment I considered conjuring up the delusion of some juicy steaks to barbecue at my leisure but then remembered that the grim-faced operatives of the authorities were closing in on me, and time wasn’t actually a thing I had a lot of. I hate the authorities with passion, as you might imagine. ‘How come they get to be the authorities,’ I asked myself bitterly, ‘who says they should be the authorities and that I should be nothing but an impotent terrified fleeing creature forever trying to evade the implacable avenging furies that are stuck fast on its tail?’ In another reality I am a hero, capable of heroic acts, very often carrying them out as well, but in this reality there is no ‘hero quality’ left in me. The ‘hero quality’ is sadly depleted. In this reality I am no longer truly real because that’s what happens to you when you spend all your time fleeing – you become unreal, you become a phantom, you become a poor sad flickering shadow, flitting here and flitting there. And no matter which direction you choose to flit in you’re just as badly off as you were before. None of your choices make the slightest bit of difference – all choices are equally futile when you’re phantom. Phantoms can’t achieve anything, you see. Not ever. If you knew that of course then you wouldn’t have to bother yourself by stressing out the whole time as to whether you should turn left or turn right or whatever and your life would be a damn sight easier as a result. You don’t know that, however. You keep thinking that your life depends on what choice you make; you’re agonizing over whether you should flee this way or that, and that’s what piles on the stress – the terrible responsibility of it all. You keep thinking that you have a choice and that’s what causes all the suffering. Your refusal to see the truth causes your suffering. It always does, doesn’t it? I think that this at least is something we can all agree on – the fact that it is better by far to ‘bite the bullet’ – not that I ever will of course.
The Buddha of Affluence wears a tailor-made suit, a fancy necktie, and expensive leather shoes. He drives a fancy sports car and eats in all the right places. He’s never to be seen in Jack’s Breakfast Diner and he’ll never be caught buying a bag of soggy chips in the Mermaid Fish Bar! No way my friend, he isn’t ever going to be found in common places like that. You can forget about that straightaway. Chances are, in fact, that you won’t ever be meeting him. Not in your whole life. The truth of the matter is that he simply doesn’t rub shoulders with the likes of me or you! That’s how come we know that he’s the Buddha of Affluence – because he’s not ever going to have anything to do with nonentities like us.
And then there are other types of Buddha too of course. There’s the Buddha of Violence for a start. We all have to watch out for him because if we meet him and he’s in a bad mood then he’s likely to give us a right good pasting. That is what he’s famous for, after all. If he’s not in a bad mood then maybe he’ll walk right by us with an ugly scowl on his face (the Buddha of Violence always has an ugly scowl on his face, even when he’s not in a bad mood) and we will get away without a pasting. That doesn’t happen very often though – the Buddha of Violence is almost always in a foul mood. He’s not a happy chap. He’s got serious issues.
And then what other Buddhas are there? Let me just try to think about it for a minute. There are so many of them, you see. So very many – one for every occasion, you might say. There’s the Lying Buddha – he’ll come right up to you and lie to your face. He’s as bold as brass and he’ll tell you that black is white. He doesn’t have any shame you see – he won’t stop lying for anyone. He’s never said a true thing in his life. He’s as twisty as they come. ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ I hear you saying. ‘How can he be a Buddha if he’s lying his damn head off the whole time? How can he be the Enlightened One if he can’t help telling porky pies?’
It’s no good getting metaphysical with me though – I don’t pretend to understand all that stuff. I can only report you what I know to be the case and if you don’t like it there’s nothing I can do about that. Some things are hard to process, hard to figure out. Some things may not fit into your neat and tidy scheme of how you’d like to understand things and that’s just tough titties to you, wouldn’t you say? Tough titties to be sure. There’s the Junkie Buddha too – did you ever hear of him? Bit too fond of Henry the horse, if you take my meaning. He’s a bit too fond of the old brown powder. Pinned every day. Always on the nod. I suppose you’ll say that he shouldn’t be a Buddha either but there you go. He’s a Buddha all the same and there’s no denying it.
Inscrutable are the ways of the world. What can we do except keep our wits about us and try to do our very best to drop any outmoded notions that we might still be clinging onto? It’s no good hanging onto those old outmoded notions is it? The faster you can give them up the better it is, after all. Get shot of them as fast as a machine gun fires bullets, that’s my advice to you. Drop them as if your very life depended upon it. Drop them, drop them, drop them. Drop the bastards. Inscrutable are the ways of the world, inscrutable are the bloody old ways of the world. I wouldn’t advise you to follow my advice though. I’m known as the Buddha of Bad Advice in some circles you see. I know, I know, I know – how can I be a Buddha when I always give people bad advice? It doesn’t make any sense does it? How could I be a Buddha when I don’t know shit about anything, in other words? There’s a Buddha for everything though, that’s kind of the point I’m making here. Whatever it is, there’s a Buddha for it. There are lots and lots of them, like I was saying.
‘The smartest person in the world isn’t who you think they are.’ I just read that just now. It was a suggestion for me on YouTube, it was a suggestion that I should go right ahead and watch a video called that. Some smarmy asshole in a suit, mouthing his dumb head off, probably. That’s some hook, isn’t it? The smartest person in the world isn’t who you think they are. Yeah? No shit boyo! You’ve really got me thinking there. What a bombshell, huh? Back to the bloody old drawing board, I guess. I always thought it was you know who, that it was whatshisface, but if it isn’t then that means, that means, that means… I don’t know what the fuck that means. Talk about sowing confusion, right? Some smarmy generic dumb-as-fuck asshole in a suit, I’d say. Talking shyte for all he’s worth, Talking shyte as if there’s no tomorrow. Trying to enlighten you with his bloody moronic bullshit…
Every day I do the thing. Would you believe that? Every single day I do the thing, every single bloody day of my life. ‘Do the thing,’ I say to myself, ‘hurry up and do the thing.’ So anyway I do the thing. I actually do it. I do it repeatedly, as if my very life depended on it. I do the thing, but the thing is of course that the thing isn’t real!
That’s a twist in the tale you see. That’s the bit folks generally don’t see coming. ‘Oh what!’ they say, ‘I really didn’t see that coming.’ ‘Boy, oh boy, oh boy,’ they say. ‘You surely got me with that one! Do you know any others?’
Yes indeed, doing the thing is all very fine and dandy. We all know that. Doing the thing is fine and everything but then we get to thinking about why we are doing the thing when the thing isn’t real. We can’t help going there you see. It becomes an anomaly that is impossible to ignore. On the one hand we have to do the thing and we all know that well; that’s fine and dandy and all but if the thing isn’t real then why do we bother?
Because we do bother, you see. Indeed we do – we bother a lot. We all know how important it is to do the thing, after all. We are very bothered indeed and that’s the whole point. It’s like the devil himself has got into us and he’s making us do the thing. The very Devil himself and no mistake. He’s gotten into you and he’s not coming out. Why would he? He’s nice and cosy there after all.
That’s what it’s like when the Devil gets into you, you know – he really, really, really doesn’t want to come out again. No sir, he doesn’t. He surely doesn’t. He’s got his prize now and he is not about to let it go. He’s going to set up house. He’s going to whisper away in your ear from morning to night – ‘Do the thing, do the thing, do the thing,’ he’s going to say. You can probably hear him right now if you listen! He’s probably there, reminding you…
A twist in the tale, a twist in the tale. There’s always a twist in the tale, isn’t there? Particularly when Old Splitfoot himself is involved. He’s a twisty one and no mistake! The voice of Satan is always whispering away; whispering away so that only you can hear it. You can go right ahead and deny that if you please. Be my guest! Let’s not stand on ceremony. We are all friends here after all. There’s absolutely no need for the niceties. Deny it by all means.
You can call the voice of Satan ‘your own thoughts’, if that’s what you want. That’s what I do – it kind of makes things easier that way and – personally speaking – I’m all in favour of a quiet life, an easy life. With not too many conflicts, if I can avoid it. When you hear the preacher up in his pulpit shouting at you to ‘Do the thing’ you can be sure he’s working for the Old Fella, the Great Red King. For sure he is – only Old Splitfoot tells people to do the thing. That’s his department you see. That’s his game. Only the Deceiver tells you to ‘do the thing’ – for obvious reasons! Nobody ever did the thing. How could they?
Some things are lies as soon as you say them. A lot of things are lies soon as you say them. ‘If you’re born as a liar then so shall you live’, isn’t that what they say? Born as a liar, live as a liar, yes indeed. What’s the matter with you, boy? Has the Devil got your tongue? The Devil got your tongue, the Devil got your tongue, the Devil got your tongue? Some things are lies soon as you say them and that’s the point I’m trying to make here. Exactly the point, exactly the point…
I try to make out that I’m smart of course. I try to make out that I know what I’m talking about. The words come pouring out of my mouth to this effect. The fact is however that I’m always trying to do the thing just the same as anyone else. We all do the thing. We do it, and then the next thing is that we do it again! Perfect strangers come up to me in the street – ‘Hey buddy,’ they say, ‘You’ve got to do the thing…’
Lurid hallucinatory space clowns with frizzy orange hair and evil smiles come to me in my dreams. They are all telling me that I had better hurry up and do the thing. They’re warning me of how important it is, how terribly important it is. They are nodding their heads and winking their eyes, nodding their heads and winking their eyes… They are threatening me with their fiery clown swords…
How immature am I really, I wondered? How long is a Baltic tapeworm? How dry is a dry gulch in the desert in the dry season? I was trying to second-guess my own thinking – what would I do if I was me? How many fleas does a flea-ridden cur have when it is covered in fleas from head to toe? How long is a weasel? Nobody will tell you more than I and no one will tell you less. For as long as I can remember I’ve had the ambition to open up a cake shop, a kind of a niche outlet for doughnuts and suchlike. I would call it ‘The Laughing Doughnut’ and I would serve mainly policeman. I’d only serve the laughing, jolly, rosy-cheeked kind however, not the other kind. Not the bad kind. I have the logo all worked out and everything. But then just the other day I changed my mind and decided that it was a fancy French patisserie that I would open up instead. I would call it ‘Le Grande Delice’. Then I changed my mind again and I decided that it would be a bric-a-brac shop, full of useless garbage that no one would ever want. The shop would have no doors and no windows and it wouldn’t exist on earth but out of sight in one of the lower dimensions. I would have no interaction with the real world at all – I just sit my pointless shop, puttering around incessantly – slowly but surely growing in myself like an ingrown toenail. My personality-shell would calcify and seal over. I know this all sounds a bit random but that’s just the kind of guy I am! A bit random, but people like me because of that, I think. It’s a bit quirky and everyone likes quirky. That isn’t to say that I’m not deeply dissatisfied with my life however because I am. ‘Certain things are true,’ I declared loudly (and not without a slight trace of pomposity and self-satisfaction either, I might add) and certain other things are not true and I hold this to be the basis of my philosophy…’ My own genius still takes me by surprise sometimes you see. Some people say that I haven’t got a pleasant personality but from my own careful thoughts on the subject I deduce that they are wrong. They belong to the evil world which was never supposed to come into existence but which did nevertheless, and this is the Cosmic Error. This is the Great Mistake which now can never be undone – at least not easily. That is our work, that is our labour – to somehow correct, and reverse the Cosmic Error. To wrestle with the forces of darkness. Not that you’d ever get any thanks for it, mind you! The abuse that I personally have to put up with is frankly unbelievable. As a child, when I was only knee-high to a centipede, I decided that I wanted to become the saviour of the universe – being a mere hero or superhero meant nothing to me. I set my sights high and this is always a good thing when one is young. It gives one something to work towards and stops one from becoming lazy, which is a curse. Later I fell into bad company and became a street hoodlum, a wide-boy, a ‘jelly head’ – jostling people rudely as they went about their business in the shopping malls, causing them to drop their shopping and use foul and distasteful words. I had fallen a long way short of my lofty aim and my grand vision was in tatters all around me. That’s when I started turning in on myself – I became morose and ill tempered. I didn’t shave and stopped taking care of my personal hygiene. The joy of life had fled, leaving what behind? Leaving me as you now see me, fumbling foolishly in the dark, scared of things that only exist in my own imagination, asking questions that can never be answered, and which don’t deserve to be answered anyway.
I call my mind The Blabberer because it keeps on blabbering the whole time. I can’t even make out what it’s saying any more – it has become incoherent, inarticulate. It is the passage of time that has done that. The passage of aeons, I might say. The long millennia have crept past in their inimitable snail-like fashion, and as a result my mind has become washed out, decrepit, inarticulate, jaded. It still goes through the motions, as I have said. It goes through the motions because it can’t do otherwise – it will continue to crank out its nonsense until the end of time I imagine. We have now reached what could be called ‘the twilight years of the decrepit mind; the twilight years in which it can do nothing else but ineffectually and pointlessly copy what it once was so very good at doing, which is ‘apparently making sense’. I say ‘apparently making sense’ advisedly since the unvarnished truth of the matter is that my mind never did make sense, not really. Such was its superlative skill at the art of story-telling. Such was its great and surpassing skill, a skill that my poor fumbling words cannot rightly do justice to.
I was watching out for my thoughts, watching them come along in their oh-so-predictable fashion, jeering at them when they made their appearance. ‘Oh it’s you again you dumb old shit-sucker,’ I call out, ‘I was wondering when I’d see your stupid face again’. I can’t tell you how fed up of my thoughts I am, although perhaps you might have got some faint sense of my loathing by now. These revolting thoughts of mine have been plaguing me for many thousands of years by now and so I don’t think that anyone can rightfully judge me for being as annoyed with them as I am. You might think that it’s fairly cold on a freezing January morning before the sun has yet pushed its way above the frigid horizon. You should taste the chill of interstellar space – then you’d know what a chill is! Then you’d truly know the meaning of ‘cold’! Can cosmetics change your life?’ the endless onboard adverts earnestly ask me. ‘I don’t know,’ I say to myself, ‘probably not. Probably not so very much.’ Probably not so very much when you’re out here in the interstellar void, I wouldn’t say. All things considered.
People forget that the natural state of the universe is to be cold, a few meagre fractions of a decimal point above Absolute Zero and that is all. There is no comfort in that, I can tell you. You can’t warm your hands in front of a tenth of a degree above Zero K, I can assure you. The universe might be a big place but it’s also very, very cold, and I’d like you to remember that. Cling to that fact, if you can – it will bring a sense of perspective to your life. Cling to that cold, comfortless fact if you will my friends; bear it in mind if you are able, faced as you are by all the delusions of the world, of which they are so many. There are precious few delusions out here in the interstellar wastes you can be sure; certainly none that you can warm your hands in front of. Comforting delusions are few and far between out here, let me assure you. All there is out here is the cold and the relentless march of the millennia and that’s it. What more is there to say than this?
All I have to amuse myself with is that very tiny margin of highly attenuated heat that exists just above Zero K, a few microscopically meagre shavings of a margin, you might say, plus the relentless (if very slow) march of the millennia which I think I have already mentioned. Can cosmetics change your life, I wonder. I’ve plenty of time on my hands to ponder such questions, and the answer I keep coming up with is ‘probably not’. Probably not, my friends. Probably not, all things considered. All I have to concern myself with out here is the soul-chilling cold and the passage of the aeons. Creeping past at the infinitesimally slow rate that they do. They’re in no hurry you see, no hurry at all. ‘What’s the rush, my friend?’ they ask me. ‘What’s the big old hurry buddy?’ they say, ‘sit down and enjoy the show.’ ‘Quit being so damn hasty,’ the relentless creeping millennia say to me. ‘You’ll get there in the end, so why worry?’ The problem with this is of course that I’ve long since come to realise that there is no ‘there’ to get to and that’s what’s disturbing me…
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Not so great, not so great, not so great at all. Not to worry though – for the first time ever, there’s something you can do about it. Scientists have proven, scientists have proven. The latest research shows, the latest research shows. At last there is a guaranteed remedy for those unpleasant lingering odours, for that unfortunate aftertaste in your mouth that spoils the memory of a positive and worthwhile day. No more embarrassing moments, no more awkward silences, no more horrifically disappointing personal failures. No more unkind looks from strangers on the street.
Sweet murmurs of who you might be come to you on the oh-so-fragrant breeze. Sweet, sweet murmurs. Promises of a Better You, promises of a Better You. Whispers that promise The New Improved You, and what could be better than that?
I’m just an ordinary everyday sociopath so if you would kindly refrain from giving me such a hard time about it. I don’t what you expect from me, I really don’t. Muttering to myself, grumbling away to myself. Blowing sticky saliva bubbles without meaning to. I’m panicking and there’s this voice in my head telling me not to panic. It’s the voice of the panic speaking to me – it’s the panicky voice, the panicky old voice of that old, old panic. ‘Stay calm now’, the voice tells me, ‘stay calm now.’ It’s not a very calm voice, I can tell you that for nothing. It’s loaded with stress. Muttering and rumbling, muttering and grumbling. ‘What’s the mutter with you, for God’s sake?’ you ask me, pissing yourself laughing at your own cleverness. I am full of anger. What you expect from me? What you want from me? Why are you hounding me like this? Free from rust and decay, free from the unsightly blemishes that disfigure us in the eyes of our peers. Free from rust and decay – I’m shining and clean. My face is made of steel and I polish it every day. My elbows are made of vanadium – light but durable. My nostril hairs are made of filaments of the purest most exquisite magnesium. In my own mind I’m a hero of course; my actions are legendary. My eyebrows are legendary. My eyebrows made out of tungsten filament – they can cut through anything. My voice is resonant, melodic, and startlingly pleasant to listen to. I could charm the apples straight down from the tree if I wanted to. I wouldn’t need to shake the tree at all. I could charm the wool off a sheep. My eyebrows are made of frozen light – one of the rarest substances in the entire universe. ‘Stop looking at me like that,’ I whine, ‘can’t you see I’ve got stuff on my mind?’ I’m being eaten alive by guilt of course – guilt about all the things that I didn’t do. I never did anything, you see. Free from rust and decay, free from rust and decay. We all need to learn to mask the evil that is within us do we not, my pretties? Mask it and hide it, mask it and hide it. Mask the evil – until the day comes when we can no longer mask it. And that day always comes does it not, my pretty ones? Of course it does, of course it does. That day comes around before you know it. ‘Mask the evil, mask the evil, mask the evil’. Mask the terrible evil. This is refrain I know so well. A mantra that is always on our lips. And then eventually, through sheer perseverance, we forget about the evil. We clean forget that it’s there and we will swear blind to whoever will listen to us that we are as pure as the driven snow. We will believe it completely, unshakeably, until the day of the revealing draws nigh.
Transform your world with new World Transformer™. Upgrade your lifestyle with new Lifestyle Upgrader™. Turbocharge your career with new Career Turbocharger™. These are the supreme words by which I live my life. Was there any doubt of this, this which I hold to be most self-evidently true? My eyes behold wonders – I look through the electronic portal onto a world that beckons me onwards. It’s a world that beckons us all onwards. ‘Come, venture forth,’ a silvery voice tells us, ‘seek you the treasures that lie within my domain’. My eyes are tired from looking through the portal. My sight has grown dim and weariness writes deep furrows upon my brow. All around the Treasurescape lie the glittering skulls of those who had been tempted and had failed. All who are tempted fail – they can’t help from failing. They always fail. The skulls are gaudy and inconsequential and I walk by them without a second glance. They are cheap and tawdry trinkets, they vanish as I passed by. My eyes behold wonders but these are not them. These are the glitzy, gaudy skulls of the terminally unwary. Children understand but we adults rave and froth at the mouth. We are sad useless creatures. We seek fulfilment in fantasies and delusions; we seek fulfilment in the unspeakable drivel of the master mind-manipulators. We vomit out our loneliness and despair into the darkness. There never was any hope for us and I think we all know that. That knowledge adds to our delirium. We cough dryly and make ironic sophisticated comments. We buy the latest kitchen appliances. Our souls are black; our souls are always black. Our foolishness defies description. Our foolishness defies the limits of the physical universe; molecules creak and groan under the strain. ‘The experiment has failed,’ the voice in my ear tells me, ‘the experiment always fails. It was in bad taste anyway…’ The voice belongs to a robot fly. It’s a drone operated by the Faceless Ones, an ancient order of mutant mantids. There are predators but very ineffective ones; they are cruel but also incompetent. All they can do is eat away very slowly at the periphery of our attention, fraying the edges, unpicking the threads one by one, turning everything into a bleary, inconsequential mess. My life is a bleary, inconsequential mess. I shout angrily at the skulls of my enemies. I speak the forbidden words. Shadows dance frivolously on the very periphery of my vision. I have to do the thing and yet I don’t know what the thing is. I don’t want to know. I am afraid to know…