My mind was full of malice, of course. Always full of malice, just as a cowering street cur is always full of fleas. Did I say malice? I meant to say something else, something lighter. Something a bit more uplifting for the spirit. Something a bit ennobling, perhaps. Something to ennoble the soul. That didn’t happen, anyway. The wrong word came out though, as you know.


Sitting back comfortably on an easy chair in my imagination I brought a mug of calamus root tea to my lips. ‘Aah’ I said out loud, ‘calamus tea – the freshest brew of all.’ I was imagining that I was in an advert – my own private advert. I smiled knowingly at the camera. ‘Calamus root reaches the places where other roots don’t!’ I told it.


The truth of the matter is that I hate calamus root – it’s so bitter that it brings tears to your eyes. I never brew it, expert brewer though I am. My whole body is a brewery, of sorts. Brewing up strange smells. Although it’s not really me – it’s my internal symbiotes that do it. My internal symbiotes have run amok in the dark places of my body. They are aliens and I can’t communicate with them.


I was busy playing my favourite game – I had gone down to the stretch of coastline where all the flat grey rocks are and had laid down amongst them, arranging my body as best I could. The sunlight was weak, lacking in any great warming power. All around me the hoppers surged, untold hordes of hoppers, billions upon billions of them. More hoppers than the mind can imagine. I started to play my game.


My game was to pretend that the hoppers weren’t there. I pretended that there weren’t any of them, that they didn’t even exist. I pretended that this was a universe in which there were no hoppers. ‘There are no hoppers’ I told myself. If you believe that there are no hoppers then there will be no hoppers. I was exercising the power of my mind. My malicious little mind.


I was tapping into the Reservoir of Infinite Fear. ‘Tap in to the fear, tap in to the fear…’ I told myself. I was hypnotising myself with the power of my mind. My mind was hypnotising me with the power of myself. I was the mind’s bitch – I did whatever it said.


‘Just sit back and enjoy a refreshing cup of high-strength calamus tea,’ I said, with a smile born of long practice, ‘t’s a choice you’ll never regret.’ Life had never been better and it was getting better every day. The calamus tea was getting better every day. It brought a delighted smile to my face every time. I was living in the world of my own imagination. Lying back in an easy chair.


‘Sit back and enjoy our latest product,’ I told the camera, ‘only time will tell if it comes with a whole bunch of nasty side-effects…’ Only time will tell and time can be such a treacherous beast. I was trying to sell a product. I was trying to sell a product that I didn’t know anything about. Perhaps the product is honesty, I thought. I am selling honesty in a world that is dedicated to lies. Only that’s a lie too, of course…


I was trying to tell the truth but somehow the lies kept on tumbling out. The lies came tumbling out of my mouth in gay profusion. I didn’t try very hard though. I’m not very good at trying hard. My motto is always to go for the easy option. I’m like some revolting little worm, always looking for the easy way out. Wriggling frantically, trying to wriggle off the hook. I do hate myself for that, self-respect is hard to come by when you’re always looking for an easy way out. I smiled knowingly at the camera.


All around me the hoppers were hopping. Hoppers are such amazing little creatures. A hopper can jump four feet into the air with ease. They hop like crazy, they hop like crazy mad things. Sometimes when I lift up a particularly big rock there could be thousands of hoppers hiding underneath and they will start jumping almost immediately. After a while the air is full of their laterally-flattened bodies. They’re like grey bullets. They are boiling up from the ground – one minute the ground is covered by hoppers maybe three inches deep, the next minute they’re all boiling away into the air. And then, the next thing after that is that they’re all gone. Not a hopper in sight…






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