I lived like a maggot, I lived like a worm. I lived like a worm and I’m not ashamed to say it. Well, I am ashamed, but I have to say it all the same. I have to come out with it. It is better to speak the truth, however evil that truth might be, than be consumed by some kind of terrible monster that might come along and consume you, that’s what I always say. I actually never say that, not ever, come to think of it, but now is as good a time to start as ever. Live like a maggot, live like a worm, that’s my motto. Everyone has to have a motto and that’s mine, for what it’s worth. ‘Is it evil to be evil when you live in an evil world?’ I often wonder. ‘Is it evil, or is it just normal?’ I was eating the forbidden fruit. ‘The forbidden fruit is often the best,’ I told myself wisely, ‘very often it is…’ I ate greedily. I ate late into the night and then later I duly became sick with an upset stomach. I considered the possibility that I might have overdone it with the forbidden fruit. Sooner or later the authorities would become aware of my transgression and then they would begin to close in on me. They would close the net, they would draw it tight. Already microscopic surveillance bugs had been dispatched to my location. Impossible to see with the naked eye, it was nevertheless possible to detect them with a heightened sense of paranoia, such as I had. My entire body would – at times – become one single, supersensitive sense organ. It was, at such times, quite impossible for the authorities to creep up on me unnoticed in the way that they would dearly love to. I notice everything. I congratulated myself on this point – I had the edge and I intended to keep it. The edge was everything in the fight against the authorities. But that it wasn’t much of a ‘fight’ as such of course because I was incapable of fighting in any meaningful way – all I could do was flee. Fleeing was how I fought – I fought by fleeing and a mighty fleer I was! Fleeing by day and fleeing at night, fleeing when it’s dark and dingy and fleeing when it’s bright. Mainly when it was bright, of course – that was when it is most important of all to flee. ‘Mine is the art of scuttling from rock to rock, and hiding behind each one in turn as I come to it so no one can see me. Mine is the art, mine is the art…’ I croaked triumphantly. I was having a moment of triumph you see – such moments come but rarely and even when they do they are inevitably deluded. Where would we be without our delusions, after all? Where would we be? I conjured up another delusion for myself on the foot of this one. I conjured up the delusion of a crackling hot fire to warm my hands in front of – a fire made of the magnesium/yttrium alloy skulls of my enemies. This is a very light and durable alloy to be sure, but nevertheless highly inflammable. For a moment I considered conjuring up the delusion of some juicy steaks to barbecue at my leisure but then remembered that the grim-faced operatives of the authorities were closing in on me, and time wasn’t actually a thing I had a lot of. I hate the authorities with passion, as you might imagine. ‘How come they get to be the authorities,’ I asked myself bitterly, ‘who says they should be the authorities and that I should be nothing but an impotent terrified fleeing creature forever trying to evade the implacable avenging furies that are stuck fast on its tail?’ In another reality I am a hero, capable of heroic acts, very often carrying them out as well, but in this reality there is no ‘hero quality’ left in me. The ‘hero quality’ is sadly depleted. In this reality I am no longer truly real because that’s what happens to you when you spend all your time fleeing – you become unreal, you become a phantom, you become a poor sad flickering shadow, flitting here and flitting there. And no matter which direction you choose to flit in you’re just as badly off as you were before. None of your choices make the slightest bit of difference – all choices are equally futile when you’re phantom. Phantoms can’t achieve anything, you see. Not ever. If you knew that of course then you wouldn’t have to bother yourself by stressing out the whole time as to whether you should turn left or turn right or whatever and your life would be a damn sight easier as a result. You don’t know that, however. You keep thinking that your life depends on what choice you make; you’re agonizing over whether you should flee this way or that, and that’s what piles on the stress – the terrible responsibility of it all. You keep thinking that you have a choice and that’s what causes all the suffering. Your refusal to see the truth causes your suffering. It always does, doesn’t it? I think that this at least is something we can all agree on – the fact that it is better by far to ‘bite the bullet’ – not that I ever will of course.