The rich and inviting feast of my own life was presented to me. ‘Go ahead,’ the voices told me, ‘gorge yourself. Make yourself sick. Eat until you can’t eat any longer…’ But it wasn’t my life at all – it was merely eel bait and I was the eel. They are trying to trap me in the eel-box along with all the other eels. We have great appetites, we eels. We are always hungry for the bait. Personally speaking, even when I know full well that the bait is only bait I am still hungry for it. I am still longing to devour the bait in the same way that a ruthless sharp-toothed and starving predator will be longing to devour its defenceless prey. Why wouldn’t it be yearning to feed on the prey, after all? More to the point, why wouldn’t the ruthless predator just go ahead and do what it is craving so intensely to do? This particular course of action does have a certain sort of sense to it, you must admit. The prize is the price, after all. You always have to chase the prize…
‘What is the pure essential entity of reality?’ I asked myself. ‘What does it look like? Does it have a particular colour? Would it be a pale washed-out blue perhaps?’ If one succeeded in isolating the pure, essential entity of reality, would this be a great triumph? What could be achieved as a result of this historic breakthrough? To what other uses could the pure essential entity of reality be put? Could it be patented? Could I market it and become rich?’ All these thoughts and many more were racing through my head. It was 11:06 on Sunday morning, June 13, and I was drinking a regular Americano out of a biodegradable cardboard cup and absentmindedly eating a cinnamon swirl, both of which I had bought in Starbucks. All around me the shopping centre was kicking into life. A type of life, anyway. The type of life that goes on in shopping centres.
Some of us are prisoners within our own bodies, yearning to get out and explore the cosmos. There are ways in which we can accomplish this but the project is – on the whole – beyond what most of us would see as our capabilities. This particular task is not as straightforward as other tasks might be, everyday tasks such as buying a new mattress at SleepEZ or ordering a splendid takeaway from your local Chinese restaurant. People stop to look at me as they walk by my table – they can’t help themselves. Cold lilac flames shoot out from my head and rise up high in the air above me. I’m quite naked and my bright blue skin is covered with moving hieroglyphics that obliquely convey the arcane secrets of Hermetic Science to any cognoscenti who might be watching. Fiery red salamanders hop about on the table in front of me – they are partaking in the ecstasy of creation.
The juices were running down my chin. I’ve been feeling again you see. I’ve been feeding on the prey. It’s the only joy I have left me these days – feasting away on the jolly old prey. Guzzling, gorging myself unashamedly on the succulent flesh of my unfortunate victims. I used to have hobbies, once upon a time. I had hobbies and interests just like anyone else. I used to laugh about things and joke around with my mates. I used to read a little poetry too, come to think of it. I even used to try my hand at a few poems of my own. I think I might even have had a bit of a talent; definitely I had what you could call the beginnings of some kind of talent. All that’s gone out of the window now though, I’m afraid to say. Life’s got very serious. I’ve got very serious. All I can think about is feasting on the prey and there’s nothing light-hearted or humorous about that. No sir there isn’t. Most certainly there isn’t. There is no time for jokes in my life as it is now you see. There’s no time for joking about or making amusing comments about things.
For a long time now I have been thinking about writing my autobiography. I will call it ‘My Life as an Eel.’ I’m not really an eel, obviously enough, but the title is designed to be provocative. I might also call it ‘Stuck in the Eel-Box: Recollections and Reflections of an Alien Shape-Shifter’. That’s designed to be provocative too, of course. The autobiography I envisage wouldn’t stick to a conventional format however – that much I can tell you. Instead of the traditional continuous linear narrative (God save us from the horror of all continuous linear narratives!) my magnum opus would consist of thousands upon thousands of fractured images or vignettes, arranged randomly, none of which could would have anything at all to do with any of the others. This isn’t an original conception I know, I was in my youth deeply influenced by Michael Moorcock’s epic work ‘The Condition of Muzak’. I was deeply influenced by it even if I didn’t understand what it was about and this in itself is – I think – rather important. Why it should be so important I can’t exactly say, I just know that it is.