‘It’s an everyday story of everyday simulator-folk’, I yelped excitedly, and then lapsed back into my customary morose silence. It was almost as if someone else had spoken, some excited stranger in my own head. Echoes filled the chamber. An everyday story, an everyday story, story, story….’ went the echos. I winced, frightened and embarrassed by the foolishness to which I had unintentionally given birth. The simulators have simulated us all – they have simulated me, and they have simulated you, and they have simulated – well, pretty much everyone else too, obviously. That is simply ‘what they do’, as we all know. You wouldn’t expect them to do anything else…
So everyone got together to make the Phony World and that was fine, that was OK. I’m not saying anything about that – no one likes a complainer after all, no one likes a whinger. Everyone got together to make the Phony World and I’m perfectly OK about that – I can see the necessity for it just the same as the next man can. It’s got to be done, right? It’s got to be done and we all know that, so we might as well all just get on with it. We might as well all get on with it with no whingeing and no whining and no complaining. Personally speaking, I have no time for those people that don’t get on with it – I just want to make my position perfectly clear here! ‘Just get on with it you shower of dirty bastards!’ – that’s what I always say! Get on with it you shower of dirty good-for-nothing shytes and stop wasting everyone’s time with your bloody pathetic nonsense.
After my outburst everyone else in the cave shunned me. They ostracised me, as was quite right. They shunned me, as was only proper. I wouldn’t expect any different. I’d ostracise myself if I could! Bloody right I would – I have no time for people who behave like me, to be perfectly frank about it. I’ve never really liked myself anyway, now that I come to think about it. I don’t know why, but I just never have. I guess I’m just not the sort of guy that I hoped I’d turn out to be. I’ve let myself down and that’s a fact. That’s God’s honest truth. No use pretending otherwise. I know no one likes to hear this sort of stuff But there you are and what can you do about it – I didn’t want it to be this way, obviously. No one wants to hate themselves; no one wants to find themselves in the unfortunate position of despising their own guts. No one wants to be embarrassed by themselves on an ongoing basis…
I’m running down the street shouting like a fool. Roaring my big dumb head off like a complete moron. I’m shouting at people and telling them about the great job they’ve done in creating the Nonsense World. ‘Fair play to you, fair play to you,’ I yell at no one and at everyone both at the same time. I carry on running and as I run I gabble. I gabble and gabble – I am the Gabbler, I realise. I am the Gabbler and no one can save me. I was a battle-hardened veteran of the Psychic Wars, only no one knew that. No one realized. No one knows about the Psychic Wars. The Psychic Wars never make the news – they never figure in the daily tabloids. That isn’t to say that the tabloids aren’t part of the Psychic Wars. Of course they are, we are all part of the Psychic Wars, we just don’t know about it. We think we are part of something else – we think we’re part of something that doesn’t actually exist.
‘Lie on the Blue Dreamer and place the helmet on your head,’ the voices told me. I struggled to comply, I struggled to follow the instructions, but I was all thumbs. I couldn’t get the helmet on my head. My head was too big – I was the Swollen Pumpkin Head. I was the Balloon Head, I was the Bubble Head. ‘I am the Bubbler’, I yelled excitedly, remembering a Philip K. Dick book that I had once read. ‘I am the Bubbler, I am the Bubbler, I am the Bubbler…’ the echoes repeated. The cave was resounding with the sound of all these echoes and every one of them gave rise to a hundred other little echoes, all having fun at my expense. I knew I really was the Bubbler then. I had only been joking but it had turned real.
Art – James Holdsworth