The Human Gherkin

They call him ‘the Human Gherkin’ because he’s green and bumpy all over and because there’s just the faintest smell of vinegar when you get up close to him. Clouds pass across the sky as if by magic and night follows day with never a break. My mind is not my own, I realise. My mind was never my own…


They call him the Human Gherkin, I told myself. They call him the Human Gherkin. There was comfort for me in saying this. There was a quality of comfort that was otherwise so very lacking in my life. I was clutching at straws of course – forever clutching at straws! First I see the straw, and then I clutch at it. That’s generally how it works.


Was my life a waste, I wondered? Am I a failure as a human being? Did I get it all wrong? Was I only fooling myself the whole time that I was important and clever and all the rest? Was that just my pitiful ego trying to sustain itself, trying to maintain itself? Trying to bolster itself up against all the odds, against all the odds. Against insurmountable odds…


Through the kitchen window I can see white fluffy clouds chasing each other across the vast blue dome of the sky. I am transfixed watching them. My tea goes cold, and I have forgotten that it’s there. I was feeling somewhat worried that I taken too much LSD – I had licked all the dust from the bottom of the plastic bag, greedy as usual. There had been at least five hundred microdots in that bag, it occurred to me. Possibly more. Little crumbly ones. Little crumbly pink ones. I have probably taken too much LSD, I thought to myself. I probably took the equivalent to thirty whole microdots. Dust can be deceptive, after all. ‘The weight of dust exceeds the weight of settled objects,’ as Robert Wyatt says.


You’re dreaming your dreams and I’m dreaming mine, isn’t that the way it is? Dreaming the days away, dreaming the nights years away. Dreaming fit to burst. Dreaming for all you’re worth. Suppose you get stuck in the Dream Machine and you can’t ever get out, I wondered? What could you do then? You’d be dreaming your head off and you wouldn’t be able to stop. Dreaming fit to burst, dreaming non-stop, dreaming from morning till night. Dreaming that bad things are going to happen. Always dreaming that bad things are going to happen.


My mind was never my own – I can see that clearly now. I had thought that it was but that had been a mistake. It had been lent to me for a while, to do with whatever I wished. To use as I saw fit. That’s the Principle of Freedom, they said. ‘There’s no obligation at all,’ they said. ‘Use this mind however you see fit. See how it goes and we’ll get back to you…’ It had all turned very dark after that of course. The Darkness had come and it had settled on me; it had settled on me the way the Darkness always does.


When the Darkness comes it never wants to leave, does it? It wants to stay forever. That’s why the Darkness always makes us so sad – because we know it’s going to stay forever. There’s nothing as bad as knowing that, is there? There’s nothing as bad as when the darkness comes and you know that it’s never going to leave. They couldn’t ever be anything as bad as that.


They call him the Human Gherkin, I told myself. They call him the Human Gherkin because he’s green and bumpy all over. Bright green, he is. They made a film of him too. They made a film that told the story of his life. I’m sitting here and my tea has gone stone cold in front of me. There’s a dead fly floating around in it, a big one  – nearly the size of a sultana – and there’s another one that’s still alive and busily swimming around. It’s doing the backstroke.







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