Waking The Beast

I was dressed in my best moleskin britches, a pair of polished patent leather winklepickers, an authentic ethnic Bollywood long-sleeved silk shirt and to cap it all my velvet fedora set at a jaunty angle on my head. All in all I was feeling pretty damn dapper, I can tell you! I felt on top of my game, I felt ready for anything life could throw at me. I felt more than ready. ‘It’s good to be feeling good,’ I told myself, feeling the gentle waves of euphoria lapping softly at my feet, ‘‘it’s good to be feeling good…’

 

My mind was well and truly scrambled. I had been fed through the scrambler! My mind was made up of ten thousand disassociated bits, none of which were communicating with any other bits. They couldn’t be joined up any more – each tiny little fragment was busy doing its own thing. Each had become a separate entity – stubbornly refusing to have anything to do with any of the others. They buzzed around my head like an angry swarm of hallucinatory bees. The noise was so loud that it frightened me.

 

The scrambler had done a job on me, I realised – it had done a job on me and no mistake! The bloody old scrambler, the bloody old scrambler. It had done a job on me and no mistake! Perhaps I was having mood-congruent hallucinations, it occurred to me. Probably I was. My mood was certainly bad enough to explain what I was seeing right now, at any event! It was certainly bad enough to explain the horrifically blighted landscape in which I now found myself…

 

I was back in Hounslow High Street and it was summer. Time seemed to be standing still the way it sometimes does in summer. There was all the time in the world and yet there was no time. I was walking but there was no sense of getting anywhere. A 747 jet – ridiculously squat and truncated, looking for all the world like a giant toy – hung apparently motionless over my head. Not very far over my head either. I had the sensation that if I reached up I would almost be able to touch the landing gear. The engines on the jet were making a sound like a giant blowing a raspberry in a vast steel drum. It reverberated endlessly in the most unpleasant way imaginable – like a fart that never ended. The air was full of exhaust fumes from the day’s traffic. I could hear people talking all around me on the crowded street but at the same time I knew that no one was saying anything. Everything was happening, and yet I knew that nothing was happening…

 

Time slipped a beat then and the next thing I knew I was back in El Hak’s Kebab Emporium in Hounslow North, ordering the special mixed Shawarma with a double helping of chips and a can of Coke. It was late at night and the hunger I felt was something almost supernatural. As eagerly as I anticipated tucking into the meal (and I did) I also felt dark foreboding because I knew that no meal deal, no matter how lavish, no matter how extravagant, could ever take the edge off the terrible hunger I was feeling at that moment. I was afraid of that hunger – I was afraid of setting it off. I knew well that this was no ordinary hunger that I was feeling and I also knew that any attempt to satiate it would only serve to wake up this sleeping beast. I really didn’t want to wake up that sleeping beast. I knew only too well what would happen if I did! But at the same time, I was so very, very hungry…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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