I knew it was him as soon as I saw him. He had changed, but it was him – there was no doubt of it in my mind. I crossed the road to where he was sitting and started shouting at him. “Richard!” I yelled at him from close range, “What the hell’s the matter with you? Look at you! What do you think you’re doing?” Just to make sure he was listening to me I grabbed him by the collar of his thin, greasy-looking jacket and shook him violently. He didn’t seem to have any strength in his body, flopping about to and fro helplessly as I shook him, as unresisting as an old rag doll. Amazingly, he didn’t even seem to know me. He mumbled something incoherently, drool on his chin. This enraged me all the more. I tightened my grip on his offensive jacket. “Richard, look at me,” I demanded, “I want you to concentrate. Remember who you are! Remember what we’re supposed to be doing here!”
A knot of pedestrians had stopped and were looking at me. Obviously, no one wanted to be first to interfere, but there were more people gathering all the time. I turned my attention back to the dilapidated-looking man in front of me. My voice shook with anger, “Don’t you know who you are? Do you not remember the seven seals? Do you not remember the seven angelic powers that have been invested in you? Do you not remember the mission you are charged with? What are you doing sitting here covered in filth, stinking like an old dog, drinking yourself into unconsciousness?”
A tall, solid-looking man in a leather jacket came up beside me, “Take it easy on the old fella, dude,” he said in a soothing tone, “He’s not doing you any harm…” He put a hand firmly on my shoulder and made as if to lead me away. I went along with him, limp and unresisting for a moment or two, and then when he wasn’t expecting it I swivelled around, broke free from his grasp, and punched him as hard as I could just under the rib cage. Right up into his diaphragm. The man sank abruptly to the floor, gasping in silent agony, his face turned white. “Stay away from me!” I growled, “I’ll disembowel the next man who touches me…” The crowd backed off, evidently put off by the fate of the big guy who was clearly not about to get up from the pavement any time soon. There were no more heroes amongst them, only gawping fools. Let them gawp, I said to myself. I had no time for such as them.
I turned back to the old man again. “Answer me Richard! What have you got to say for yourself? Don’t you know who I am?” He looked at me in fear, doing his pathetic best to pull away from me. I wasn’t going to let him go. “You’re a fucking nutter, is what you are,” he burst out all of a sudden, tapping into an unexpected pocket of courage, “I don’t know you from Adam!”
“I am Adam you fool” I roared in his grey and grimy face, “I am The First, I am Adam Kadmos, I am the Anthropos, I am the Primordial Man. I am the Man of Light! I am Adech, I am Archeus. I am Gayomart, I am Metatron. I am Purusha. I am the Celestial Man…”
A strange and wonderful fury had overtaken me at this stage and I could not have stopped myself even if I wanted to. The floodgates had opened and the world would hear the truth, whether it wanted to or not. I had found my voice at last, and none would silence me.
“Hear my words and marvel, you drooling witless sleep-walkers!” I thundered, “I am Homo Maximus – the man in whom the cosmos is contained. I am the man who is the Cosmos, the Cosmic Man…
“My stomach is the size of the whole world, my testicles are immovable boulders. My shoulders are the slopes of mountains. My sweat is the rivers that run across the face of the earth. The rain is my tears, the forests my beard, the wind my breath. Small furry creatures are my thoughts, that scamper here and there.
“My arms the universe embrace. My stirring stick churns the oceans. My moods are the four seasons. My teeth are tomb-stones that glisten in the darkness. My eyes are the sun and moon. When Ra sets off in his Sektet boat, it is I who draw it. When dogs howl in the night, they howl in honour of me…”
In the distance police-sirens drew nearer and then stopped. There was a sound of car doors slamming. I could hear footsteps running in my direction. I paused, thrown off balance. I had forgotten what I wanted to say next. Time seemed to have slowed down completely. People were looking at me strangely. Everything seemed to be very close, and yet terribly distant at the same time.
There was a jumble of thoughts in my head. Nothing seemed to make sense anymore. I wondered dully what would happen next…