I decayed into a machine and then I had to tell myself everything that had I had to do. You know what I mean, I’m sure. You know what I mean or maybe you don’t. I had to tell myself what to do and I had to do it in advance. I had to plan it in advance. ‘It’s good to plan,’ people say, but they don’t really know what they’re talking about. They don’t have a clue. You should try being me for a while! You should try planning every little thing you do before you do it – it kind of takes the good out of it really. You turn into a planning machine! You plan your whole life out in detail, a day at a time, an hour at a time, a minute at a time. You plan it down to the last detail and you hope nothing goes wrong! You have to obey the protocols; you have to observe the proper procedures. I’m sure you know what I mean. We all have a bit of the machine in us, don’t we? Don’t we? Don’t we?
I decayed into a machine and I couldn’t crawl back out of the mess that I found myself in. I fell down the hole and I couldn’t climb back out again. I decayed into a machine and I couldn’t find my way back, I couldn’t find my way back to the world of non-machines. I was making plans not to be a machine anymore. I was following the correct procedures for not being a machine all day long. And the days are long when you’re busy being a machine – did you know that? Do you know how long the days are when you’re being a machine? You’re always going over the same old ground, do you see. Us machines like to go over the same old ground all the time, you see. Us machines like to do that – we are not very exploratory, we are not very playful. We like to stick to the same old territory. You always know you where you are with the same old territory. You always know, you always know. The terrain gets pretty damn familiar, I can tell you…
The day can really stretch out ahead of you when you’re a machine but it also goes by very fast. You hardly see it go, sometimes. You hardly notice it go by. What was that, you ask? What was that thing that just shot past me? That’s where the trick comes in you see. The trick comes in because once you’ve done the day then you have to do it all over again. You have to do it all over again because the next day is today too! You’ve only got the one day. You’ve only got the one day because you’re a machine. Machines always have only the one day. It’s always the same old day over and over again when you’re a machine. That’s the way we prefer it. It’s in our nature you see. So the day might pass fine and fast and you might say to yourself ‘now isn’t that great’ but then the next thing is you have to do it all over again. You’re kind of stuck that way – you think you’re getting somewhere and then you realise that you haven’t and that you have to do it all over again. That’s the trick life plays on you when you’re a machine! That’s the trick life never gets tired of playing on you.
Life will play another trick on you too when you’re a machine. It’ll play all sorts of tricks on you. You’d be surprised. You’ll be surprised and dismayed. Oh no,’ you’ll say, ‘I didn’t know life was going to play that trick on me. That’s something I never saw coming…’ Another trick life will play on you when you’re a machine is to show you that the road you’re going down isn’t really taking you anywhere. You can see this fact with crystal clarity, you can see that is just the same day over and over again, and you can also see that you can’t do anything about it. Your feet are walking by themselves and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. There’s nothing you can do to stop them because you’re a machine. You’re a machine in the machine world and there’s no way out.
Anyway, I’m sorry if I sound depressing. I didn’t mean to go on so much. Don’t mind me – it’s just a habit I’ve got, a habit of going on and on and on in a depressing kind of way. You don’t need to worry though. Maybe it’ll never happen. Maybe it won’t happen to you, right? Maybe you’ll be OK. It doesn’t happen to everyone, after all. It doesn’t have to happen – not everyone turns into a machine. Most do most but not all, right? Most do but not all. It happened to me but that doesn’t mean that it’ll happen to you. It probably will, but then again – who knows?
As usual I was trying to make it all about me. ‘This is all about me, isn’t it?’ I said to no one in particular. This is all about me, this is all about me, this is all about me, this is all about me… My mind was racing like a boy racer in a souped-up Ford Fiesta. It was doing doughnuts in the middle-of-the-road – the smell of burnt rubber was unbearable. ‘This is all about me isn’t it?’ I said conversationally. No one took any notice of me of course – they never do. No one took any notice of me because I’m only a phantom personality husk. Whoever is going to take any notice of a phantom personality husk? You can’t even see me – I’m perfectly invisible. I’m tasteless and odourless. You wouldn’t even know that I’m there. I’m activated by the immediate proximity of people’s energy fields – their energy fields spark me off and I straightaway launch into my well-worn routines.. I feed off their energy you see but only on a very temporary basis – when they go out of range then I fall back into silence again. There are lots of us actually. There are lots of us deteriorated personality husks. We just hang around like empty crab shells on the beach – we chat briefly when a living person passes by but only briefly, only very briefly. We don’t ever chat to each other of course – we can’t activate each other because none of us have any energy. Deteriorated personality shells don’t have any energy – we’re too deteriorated for that! We rely on the living for that, we rely on living people’s auras. No one ever sees us. We are tasteless and odourless. To be perfectly honest, no one would care very much even if they could see us. Which they can’t. Which they can’t. ‘This is all about me, isn’t it?’ I said, ‘this is all about me, this is all about me.’ That’s my routine, in case you hadn’t guessed. That’s my ‘party piece’. ‘Get up on the table and do your party piece’ they say only they don’t because they don’t know that I’m here. ‘Tell us all about yourself,’ they say only they don’t because I’m not actually real. ‘How’s it going buddy-boy?’ they ask me but not really because I don’t actually exist. We’d feed off each other if we could but we don’t because we can’t. We don’t have the energy for that. We ignore each other instead. No love lost you might say. No love lost. We just ignore each other – we’re kind of cold that way. Not much camaraderie there, you might say. Not much in the way of camaraderie. No fellow feeling. Not much in the way of fellow feeling at all. ‘This is all about me, isn’t it?’ I say brightly, suddenly sparked back into life. The simulation of life, should I say. As I should rather say. Suddenly galvanised into a brief but nevertheless grotesque parody of life. ‘This is all about me, isn’t it?’ I wasn’t that different when I was alive, come to think of it. I was always a bit of an empty reflex-driven shell of a person. I was always a bit of narcissist, I suppose you could say. Isn’t that what they’re always talking about these days? Isn’t that the big thing? Probably I made a few bad life choices along the way, wouldn’t you say? Wouldn’t that be it? Well we all know how much everything depends upon the choices we make in this life, don’t we? Quick, quick – make sure you’re making the right choice now! Don’t make a foolish decision! You wouldn’t want to end up being a deteriorated personality shell like me now do you?
I have long since ceased to be properly alive, although you wouldn’t know it to look at me. I keep myself in reasonably good shape; I take exercise regularly and I don’t eat junk. I don’t dabble in street drugs either – not for a number of years now at any rate. I’ve cleaned my act up big time. So if you were to bump into me on the street you’d probably think that I look pretty good. When I look into the mirror I think I look pretty good. “Shit man,” I say to myself, “I’m not looking too bad.” Given my age and back story, that is. Given my history up to this point. “You don’t look so bad really,” I say to myself, “not when you take everything into consideration…”
I keep myself in reasonably good shape but at the same time I have long since ceased to be fully human and that’s a bit of the downside by anyone’s reckoning. When I say that I have ceased to become to be properly human that’s a kind of an understatement. Inside me there lives this thing and it’s not a very nice thing. It kind of lacks refinement, I guess you could say. It seriously lacks refinement. Instead of refinement however it’s got a whole lot of other interesting qualities. Interesting but not good. Interesting but not at all good. I’ve got a name for this thing that lives inside me – I call it ‘the robot’. I call it the robot for a very good reason. I call it the robot because it’s dead and mechanical and yet it nevertheless keeps on pretending to be neither. It stubbornly keeps on pretending to be neither. It goes through the motions of being human and caring about things and having feelings and all the rest of it but it’s fooling no one.
You know that thing where you’re denouncing wrongdoers and you get a bit overexcited and then the next thing is that you’re up in court being charged with incitement to commit hate crimes and you realise that the judge is probably going to throw the book at you and he does and then the next thing you know is that you’ve been sentenced to a six stretch by the highest court of the land and you slowly start to realise that you might have overstepped the mark? I know that thing anyway. I know that thing. I know all the things. And that is my curse. My curse is that I know all the things.
You’re denouncing the wrongdoers and you’re getting more and more excited. The crowd is baying for blood – they’re looking for some scapegoat to take it out on. They’re hungry for scapegoats and they’re not at all fussy about who they get. The crowd never is, is it? The crowd never is. We all know what the crowd is like so there’s no point in trying to put a pleasant gloss on what’s going on. There’s no point in trying to make it sound nice, is there? Is there? You’re denouncing the wrongdoers and you’re getting overcome with emotion. Your emotions are running high. You’re getting positively hysterical at this stage and the crowd are lapping it up. The crowd are loving it – they just can’t get enough of it. You’re denouncing and denouncing and you know that the bad thing is going to happen real soon.
The robot is actually my default personality – I used to have other personalities once but they’ve all been subsumed at this stage. They’ve all been subsumed within the robot. Everything gets subsumed within the robot – it’s a kind of lowest common denominator in that way. That’s why I also sometimes call it ‘the Old Amoeba’! The Old Amoeba eats everything that it meets; it eats everything it meets and it makes copies of what it just ate. Nobody really minds of course – that kind of thing doesn’t bother us none and so the Old Amoeba gets away with murder. The Old Amoeba always gets away with murder. As far as we’re concerned a copy is kind of almost as good as the real thing, right? That’s what we think anyway. That’s our motto. It’s obviously what we think. I don’t think there can be any questions on this point anyway. Sure there are lots and lots of questions that we could be asking but this won’t be one of them. No sir – this is one question that we aren’t ever going to ask!
Well they made a mistake and created the Trash World, they made a mistake and created the Garbage World I said. I was pleading the case for the human race in the Pan-Galactic court. They made a mistake and created the Rubbish World and by that unwholesome action they distorted the very nature of reality itself, the reality that we all live in. They created Garbage Memes that contaminated the sacred spaces of the universe and lowered the Cosmic Vibrational Level. They made a mistake and inadvertently created the Garbage World and infested reality itself with the hideous effluence of that unholy place. I was pleading the case for the human race but I wasn’t doing a very good job of it. They didn’t mean it, I said. They couldn’t help themselves. They promise not to do it again. It was just something I got into them and made them bad. Something got into them and made them commit these perverse acts and they could not help themselves. They said that they were sorry. They created the Garbage World but they didn’t mean to. They create the garbage but they didn’t. They created the, they created the. I was putting forward the case for the defence but it wasn’t going very well. I was making a bit of a hash of it. I was trying to explain about the Garbage Memes, I was trying to explain how they enter the unconscious and corrupt the workings of the psyche, turning it into a mere mechanism for the further propagation of the toxic filth that flows from the Filth World, which is the world known as Abaddon. It was the place known as Abaddon, into which the Torrents of Belial flow. I explained all this and more before the assembled multitude. These are things of horror, I said. These are things that we would be better off never having to mention, but mention them we must for the gates have been breached. But mention them we must. I read aloud from the Demon Lists:
‘But for corruption thou hast made Belial, an angel of hostility. All his dominions are in darkness, and his purpose is to bring about wickedness and guilt. All the spirits that are associated with him are but angels of Sweed, a type of drug.’
‘And all those who enter in the Rule of the Community shall establish a covenant before God in order to carry out all that he commands and in order not to stray from following him for any fear, dread or grief that might occur during the dominion of Belial.’
I was trying to explain how the Garbage Memes enter the unconscious and corrupt the workings of the psyche, turning it into a mere mechanism for the further propagation of the hideous toxic filth that flows from the Filth World, which is also the world known as Abaddon. I was trying to explain about the place known as Abaddon, which is the place from where. I was trying to. I was trying to explain about the Filth World. I was trying to explain about the Torrents of Belial that burst into the place known as Abaddon. From there they can ebb up unexpectedly, silently trickling into this our world, oozing up from broken floorboards in the dark basements of derelict buildings, contaminating all that is pure and innocent…
People say that I am arrogant, conceited and obnoxious but what would they know? What would they know? I spit as I say this. I spit contemptuously upon the ground. What would they know? What would they know?
“Speak to me not of Satan and his works!” I roar, full of the unreasoning anger that is always within me. This ever-present anger defines me; it makes me what I am, it makes me to be this person that I did not ever wish to be.
I threw a party but nobody came. Only the unclean spirits came, only the unwholesome creatures came – the creatures that dwell in the Shadow Realms. I threw a party but only the deteriorated personality husks turned up. They chatter emptily and incessantly, as is their way. I confess to hating them them. I hate them because they remind me of the unhappy fate that awaits me…
I never wanted to be this way you know. It was never ever my intention to turn out like this. I am filled with horror and self-loathing every time I allow myself to contemplate what I have become. It was never meant to be like this, I say to myself. It was never meant to be like this.
I threw a party but nobody came. Nobody came. Only the unclean spirits; only the unclean half-creatures that come from the World of Shadow. I shouldn’t have let things slip this far, I realised. I never should have let things go this far. The only thing left to me now is regret. The only thing left to me now is regret and endless self-recrimination…
Sometimes I will look around me and wonder how it came to this. Most times I look around me and wonder how it came to this. I’m defined by my anger, defined by my bitterness, defined by my self-loathing, and what does that say about me? I am at odds with life itself and I know it. I have got things wrong in such a big way that there will never be any rectifying of the situation. Some things can’t be fixed.
The party is picking up now, I notice. The unclean spirits are making merry. They’re making as merry as they can, anyway! Given the limitations of their situation. Given the limitations of their situation. We all have to work within the limitations of our situation, don’t we? The party is gathering momentum and I feel myself starting to relax somewhat. Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as I had thought, I say to myself.
There’s a party going on in my mind but I haven’t been invited. Only the unclean spirits have been invited. They invited themselves. They always invite themselves. The party is in full swing now. The unclean spirits are partying as if there’s no tomorrow! The unclean spirits always party as if there’s no tomorrow. We all know what tomorrow is going to bring after all and who wants to think about that?
“Don’t ever tell me that the bad thing won’t happen because you and I both know that it will!” I shouted at my reflection in the mirror. I was angry at my own denial of the facts. “The bad thing is going to happen,” I told myself crossly, “it’s going to happen whether you like it or not…” I was angry about a lot of things – I was angry at my own immense sullen stupidity, I was angry at the way in which I consistently made the wrong choices and then invariably failed to learn from my mistakes, of which there were very many. I was angry at myself because I was always going around pretending that I knew what I was doing; I was angry because I was always pretending to myself that the bad thing wasn’t going to happen.
I was so angry that I made up a little song. I called my ‘angry song’. In addition to the song I also had a little dance and I danced that little dance for all I was worth as I sang my angry song. Eventually, the neighbours called the police who banged on my front door loudly and made me let them in. As usual, the police were very stern with me – they said that I could be charged with creating a public nuisance of myself and that I would be remanded in police custody if I didn’t stop annoying everyone. I could even be looking at a spell in jail for repeat offending; possibly quite a long spell if the magistrate didn’t like the look of me, which he probably wouldn’t.
Then the police told me to go back to bed because it was 3 o’clock in the morning and they said that they would be very annoyed if there were called out again. I was quiet for a while after they left but before very long hours I was back at my old tricks, singing and dancing, singing and dancing, singing and dancing, singing and dancing…. I made up a mean song about the police and I sang that too. It was a very mean and spiteful song and looking back I must say that I’m quite ashamed of myself. I did go to prison in the end of course – mainly because I made up a mean and spiteful song about the judge and sang it loudly in court. I broke free from the police officers to do my little dance, and I wouldn’t stop dancing and singing the mean song even when I was told to. The judge ruled that I was in contempt of court and I was given a substantial prison sentence on the spot.
Prison’s not so bad though. I don’t know why people always say that it is so bad. I’m quite enjoying myself – I’ve made lots of friends here. I’m working out in the gym regularly, and I have also found time to work on my novel. There’s plenty of time here, after all! I’m sure my novel will be a bestseller when I finish it. It’s about a small boy, whose name is Joe, who likes to imagine that he is a superhero called ‘Moose Boy’. Moose Boy has lots of adventures, as superheroes always do, and Joe never stops daydreaming about him.
In time Joe grows into a tall, lanky teenager who skips school and gets into drugs. He forgets all about Moose Boy and his adventures and spends every day lying in bed reading Philip K Dick stories instead. Then one day Joe’s very own adventure kicks off in a big way when he finds himself in contact with super intelligent multi-dimensional aliens from a parallel universe who are trying to rescue mankind from the malign power of the Archon Corporation and their puppets, the bankers and the right-wing politicians (who love evil more than you and I love hot dinners)! I haven’t gotten any further in the novel than this but no matter how it turns out I’m sure it’s going to be a best-seller! It turns out that prison was the best thing for me ever!
Eagerly they ate, each one of them with their heads thrust forward urgently over the great wooden bowls that they had in front of them. Greedily they spooned the glutinous substance from the bowl into their noisily masticating mouths. No one spoke; all were intent on the task of spooning the reconstituted human bioplasm into their wide-open mouths as fast as they could for it was Breakfast Time in the Great Hall, and Humanity’s Last Heroes were eating their breakfast…
No one paid any heed to the fog of tiny flies that hung in the air and coated the table in their hundreds of thousands; each was intent on the job at hand, each was intent on the job at hand. Eagerly they ate and eagerly too did they lick clean their bowls and spoons when they had finished eating, for the bioplasm was good. Our tale is not set, as some might assume, in the dim and distant past, but in the dim and distant future, when mankind’s final degradation was all but complete…
Alas that I should have to speak these words ‘mankind’s final degradation’! Alas that I should have to speak in this way. It sorrows me to do so. It grieves me to do so, but this is the way of things, whether we like it or not. Life’s a test, as has been said, and in this test the truth cannot help but come out. It is bound to come out one way or another. Where did it all go wrong, you might demand to know? How did humanity fumble the ball so badly and drop it so conclusively? All of these things and more I will now tell you, my friends, so be patient and settle down to hear the tale.
It pains me to say it but the flies in this Great Breakfast Hall had more honour than the men. The flies crawling on the table had more honour than the mighty heroes assembled there and that is the sad truth of the matter. Perhaps you are angry at my words? Perhaps you are angry to hear that the plague of mutant flies which crawled in their untold thousands across the greasy tables of the Great Breakfast Hall had more honour than the heroes themselves? If so I would advise you to walk away right now and busy yourself with something else, for worse is yet to come. Much worse is yet to come…
The problem started way back in the year 2095 when the great Game Corporations took over the job of world government from the League of Nations. No one made too much of a fuss over this coup because the League of Nations had been doing such a bad job of it. Besides which, most of the population were far too busy gaming to care! Problems were bound to appear sooner or later however and when they did it was far too late for anyone to do anything about it. Mankind’s doom was already sealed… Invaders appeared from a parallel earth, barbarians, brutal savages armed with high-tech weaponry and skilled in the art of war. Human beings were no match for them, unused as they were to actual reality.
And then at the very last moment solution was found. The last few surviving Master Coders created a simulation of Earth that was so accurate, so uncannily convincing that the Parallel Earth invaders were fooled into accepting it as real; they were cunningly enticed to enter this simulation and there they were contained. The simulation – containing the Parallel Earth warriors – was then turned into a game and marketed. But not this was not just any game, my friends – it was the ultimate game, the game to end all games! It was so close to reality that it almost was reality – almost but not quite. Unbeknownst to the Master Coders working for the great Games Corporations however they had done a thing that they never should have done – they had unwittingly sealed the Doom of Humanity by ushering in the Epoch of the Dream Wars – those endless unwinnable nightmarish wars in which the fabric of reality itself was to be undone…