The Question Of Evil

People often ask me, people often ask me. I was coughing and coughing. Coughing and coughing. I was barking like a dog. I was barking like a sea lion. I farted so violently that it ripped a hole in my trousers. I was farting with rage and anger. Rage and anger, only it was all suppressed so that it was stuck inside me. Festering away. Anger and rage, rage and anger. What’s the bloody difference anyway? I frightened myself with the violence of my sudden outburst. I frightened myself with the sudden explosive violence of my unexpected outburst. The people in the café turned to look at me. They were well-dressed and perfectly at home in their own skin. I wasn’t at home in my own skin – I was full of suppressed rage. I was full of rage at myself, really. I had let myself down in public. My image was tarnished. My image is always tarnished – I tried to polish it up the other day but I just made it worse. I made a worse mess than the original – I made a complete shit of it. People are happy in the café and they’re talking on their phones. I was worried about the problem of evil, of course. I’m always worried by the problem of evil. You know that thing of course – that thing where you’re sitting there in a generic fast-food outlet gobbling a burger and chips as fast as ever you can and for some unaccountable reason you look up and catch the eye of the person sitting at the table opposite you and there’s nothing there but pure implacable hatred, naked hatred. That’s evil for you. The only question being, “In whom does the evil reside?” That’s always the question, isn’t it? My special song was playing on the radio – I wanted to hear it. Only I don’t have a special song! Who has a ‘special song’, for God’s sake? I know some people do but you have to like yourself for that, don’t you? I’ve fallen out with myself, you see. Only that isn’t true either – nothing’s as simple as it seems in this world. I was barking like a sea lion as I ran in a terrible hurry down the stairwell. ‘This is my story, this really IS my story!’ I shouted. Only that was a lie and I knew it. I knew that I didn’t really have a story! Although I know a lot of people have stories and very proud of them they are too. Some of them are anyway. Not everyone is, obviously. I couldn’t afford the luxury of having a story – which isn’t entirely true either because it isn’t a question of luxury or the lack of it. Not when it comes down to it. I just knew that I didn’t have a story and that’s all there was to it. It isn’t about stories – I can promise you that! ‘But maybe your story is that you don’t have a story,’ you suggest helpfully. But NO – not having a story is not a story.  That would be like saying that when something doesn’t happen then that is itself ‘a happening’, and that just doesn’t make any sense. If every single thing that didn’t happen has to be flagged up as a ‘not event’ then we’d be completely swamped in non-events and there wouldn’t be any space for anything to happen. How crazy would that be?







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