‘You are alone in the world,’ the voice told me, ‘you are alone in the world and you have to find enlightenment. You have to stop being such a materialistic loser.’ This was the mystical message of course and I took it very much to heart. I became a seeker, I became a student of esotericism. Now, many years later, I find myself wondering aimlessly in a haunted and desolate wasteland, forever looking over my shoulder to see if I’m being followed by those who are dedicated to harming me. I can hear them out there but every time I turn they dart out of sight, blending in effortlessly with the desolate landscape. They’re sneaky that way. ‘So much for enlightenment,’ I said glumly to myself, ‘that didn’t work out so well for you did it?’ I have little patience with myself any more you see. It was me that got me into this bloody mess, after all. It was me that got me into this mess but it isn’t going to be me that gets me out of it, and that’s one thing I know for sure. It only works the one way. That sort of thing always works only the one way. That’s why things always get worse, that’s why the world keeps on shrinking in the way that it does. I was taking Non-Drowsy Sinutab – I had the feeling that it would help me stay vigilant. It might do something for the awful pain behind my eyes too. It’s as if there’s a steel plate in my head. They’re tracking me wherever I go, that much I do know. Unkind eyes are watching me from all sides. There are no kind eyes in this world. This is what you might call a Predatorial Universe – a universe that is always waiting for you to make a mistake, and God knows I make enough of those. Sometimes it seems to me that I can’t put a foot right, as if I’m jinxed or something. ‘Your first sip reveals a satisfying hint of gingerbread and sherbet,’ I read. Moments later I realised that whoever wrote that was right. ‘Satisfying indeed,’ I remarked approvingly, ‘those lads weren’t lying when they said that.’ I was falling into an emotional slump – nothing seemed to make sense anymore. Mainly I just felt tired – bone-tired, as they say. My bones were so very tired. ‘Why do I always feel so tired?’ I wondered morosely, ‘it doesn’t seem fair. Other people don’t seem to be tired all the time like this’. My own mind was driving me mad of course – it always does. My own mind had turned evil at this stage – there was nothing good left in it at all. It was wholly bad. I was full of loathing for my mind and my mind was full of loathing for me – the feeling was mutual. ‘How ever did I sink so low,’ I found myself thinking for the ten-billionth time. One minute you think you have your whole life ahead of you and the next minute you’re contemplating a bleak inhospitable landscape that seems to stretch out forever in all directions. The bleak inhospitable landscape of your own mind. Not only that but you’re as paranoid as hell and some kind of ‘black ops’ team are after you. The police didn’t want to go through the regular channels and so they contracted the job out. ‘What price enlightenment now?’ my mind asked me gleefully. The worst I feel the happier it is.