Ever since I cancelled my subscription to the spiritual guidance channel things have just been going from bad to worse. At first I didn’t have any regrets at all – my allocated spiritual guidance practitioner, Smiling Michael, was only good for one thing as far as I could see, and that was bringing me down. Every time I had a chat with him I just ended up feeling like crap – I was actually starting to feel pretty bad about myself, to be honest. That’s not exactly what I call therapy. Although come to think of it maybe it was therapy for Michael who always seemed to be bursting his sides laughing when he talked to me. My actual feeling is that Smiling Michael is a useless practitioner, I really don’t know how he got the job. It was probably a mistake of some kind, they didn’t realize what a fuckwit he was. He had his own problems I can tell you – some days he looked as rough as fuck and I knew he was just going through the motions just to keep me happy. In case I complained to his supervisor Sally – who is according to Michael one serious up-tight bitch. Serious Sal, he used to call her, and sometimes he’d imitate what she used to say to him in supervision sessions, telling him that he’d got serious boundary issues, or whatever. Michael didn’t mind telling me stuff like that, doing a skit on his superiors just to amuse me. He really did have boundary issues. Come to think of it I kind of miss Michael, he wasn’t a bad guy even though he was always having a laugh at my expense and calling me a fuckup.
As I say, at first I was relieved, I felt free, like a weight had been taken off my shoulders. It was kind of like breaking up – I could do exactly whatever the fuck I wanted to do without anyone giving me a hard time over it. But somehow things just started going wrong after that. Only a few days later I was hanging out in town as usual with Tim, Big A and a few of the lads when everyone started making excuses that they had to be at such-and-such a place because of such-and-such a reason, or whatever, and before very long I was left there all by myself in Arabica in Dominic St staring at my cold skinny latte and wondering what the fuck was going on. And from then on it was the same story every time – I always ended up being on my own feeling like a total loser, feeling like no one wanted to know me. So of course it dawned on me that the word had gone out that I was lame, that I was a dick, and although no one actually said anything to my face, I could tell that’s what they thought. People stopped buzzing when I turned up and the conversation got kind of artificial and strained. They were just waiting for me to go, to leave so they could carry on having the craic. Tim and Big A pretended they were still my buddies at first, although they were obviously acting false, but then they started avoiding me full-time. Like I had AIDS or something.
Things just carried on going wrong for me. Long floppy puppy ears never caught on somehow. In fact they didn’t catch on at all, and I couldn’t afford to get the graft reversed. Looking back on it I can see now that the ears weren’t really such a good idea – I kept picking up ticks in them and they itched like mad a lot of the time. I kept having to fight the urge to scratch them like some sort of mental bastard because that just made them itch even worse. And it made my ears bleed. As time passed I was spending more and more time on my own, staying in my flat even when the weather was good. I found it very hard going out because I was starting to get paranoid about people laughing: whenever I passed a group of people on the street and they were laughing I was convinced that they were laughing at me and then I just sort of cringed inside and had to walk away as fast as I could without anyone seeing that I was taking any notice. I felt totally humiliated whenever this happened. Before long I didn’t go out at all, I bought all my food and stuff on line. I didn’t even need to sign on anymore because I was on DA.
Things got very dark after that. I lived on pot noodles and protein milk-shakes, looking at old Alice Cooper and BOC music videos on N-Tube, smoking home-grown jimson weed, obsessively watching and re-watching the director’s cut of Blade Runner, reading old Robert Crumb comics, endlessly perusing neuro-mags such as Street Clone, Beast, Splice, and Morph. Dreaming about what I’d get done when I had the money. Dreaming of getting a new kick-ass anatomical profile. Something radical, something spectacular. Something that would make people’s eyes pop right out of their fucking heads.
My health wasn’t good. I had developed a bad cough from the jimson weed, which I didn’t know how to cure properly. I developed some sort of mange in my ears which made all the hair fall off, leaving them pink and swollen and disgusting looking. They itched worse than ever now, and they oozed pus. I kept thinking that my breath smelled foul. I would cup my hands and breathe into them and then try to smell what it smelt like. I couldn’t seem to tell, I couldn’t tell if my mind was playing tricks on me or not, so I kept having to do it again. And then, a bit later on, when I’d stopped doing it, I’d catch a whiff of something awful, something truly rotten, and I’d have to start all over again.
Looking back on that time I can see that I was actually totally depressed, living in my own private hell. It got so bad I didn’t even know what the fuck I was doing, whether it was day or night, or who I was. I found myself doing the same thing over and over again, not knowing how long I’d been doing it. At times I felt like I was a machine, just repeating the same actions. There was no sense to what I was doing, no meaning at all. I didn’t feel like a human being at all.
I don’t know how long this had gone on for, at least six months I’d say, when the final bit of bad luck happened. The final straw, you might say. I started getting retinal alerts, one every thirty minutes, telling me that if I didn’t make an immediate payment of 1380 euros my connection to the neurological grid would be terminated. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have any money, apart from my benefit. I was fucked. It was as simple as that. I was totally and utterly fucked.