I’m on a roll!’ I said. I’m on a roll. I’m on a roll. It felt great, it felt exhilarating – everything was going my way! I hate when people say this, don’t you? As if I should care that everything is going your way? What possible good is that to me? That’s just rubbing my face in it. Do you perhaps want me to clap and cheer? Is that it? I’m full of darkness… Did you ever feel that your head was a great big rotten sponge? That it was corrupt to the very core? That it was corruption itself? Or did you ever feel that your head was like some vast sprawling haunted house, full of spooky rooms that no one has been in for a long, long time? Do you ever feel that? ‘I’m on a roll,’ I said to myself delightedly. ‘Everything is A1, everything is working out just great!’ I rubbed my hands together delightedly (metaphorically speaking that is) and congratulated myself on my fantastic good luck. Even as I did so however I could feel the black tide of despair and self-loathing bubbling up inexorably within me, contaminating everything it touched. We have these words don’t we? Words like ‘despair’, words like ‘self-loathing’. They’re so pathetically inadequate though, aren’t they? They’re no good for anything other than polite dinner table conversation. That’s all words are good for. They are vile little insincerities that we throw at each other. Not for the first time, it occurs to me that words are no good for anything but grotesquely empty-headed superficial banter. How do you really communicate anything of any genuine importance? The word ‘communicate’ as a joke as far as I’m concerned. It’s the biggest joke going. Do people ever really communicate? Is there really such a thing as communication’? ‘Everything is perfect, everything is working out just fine’. I told myself automatically as I watched the world go black all around me. ‘Everything’s great, everything’s marvellous,’ I said. ‘I’m not really evil,’ I added, after a moment’s sombre reflection… Sometimes it’s hard to stop the habit of self-affirmation, isn’t it? I sometimes wonder if people really are interesting or if that isn’t just some sort of veneer that they put on, like their clothes, like their make-up, like their social airs and graces. It’s so very easy to be fooled. It’s so very easy for us to fool ourselves, particularly when we want so badly to be fooled… I look around at all the people around me drinking tea, drinking coffee, talking and gesticulating with such animation, and I wonder if it’s not all just an act. I can’t help thinking that. It’s at times like this that I have a very strong feeling that there’s nothing at all behind it. That’s it’s all just a dreadfully grotesque façade that none of us have the courage to question. Am I wrong to be so cynical? Is there really such a thing as ‘communication’? Are people really interesting or is it just a sham?