‘I am the habit of myself, and I live out the poor shadow of my life within the dismal confines of the Habit World’, I wrote in my trusty notepad, and then I stopped, overcome by a sudden wave of sadness. I had inadvertently hit upon something there I realised, and it didn’t feel good. I felt sad, so sad – the wind had been taken out of my sails and now I was becalmed in an ocean of unrelenting melancholia. ‘The habit-wind has been taken out of my habit-sails’, I quipped, but humour was not to be my salvation in this sad situation. ‘Salvation there was none and sorrow there was aplenty,’ I quipped again (by sheer force of habit really) but this attempt at humour left me feeling even worse, if such a thing was possible. And it certainly was possible, as evidenced by the undeniable evidence that lay all around me. My limbs were weighed down by that sorrow and there was nothing I could do but sit there, incapable of writing another word. ‘I am the habit of myself, living out my habitual life as best I can in the futile shadow-world of my own automatic activity,’ I whispered softly to myself, but my voice was that of a ghost. And a very sad ghost at that. A melancholic ghost.
‘Most of the good I did I did under duress’, I whispered again, after a long and mournful pause, ‘and there wasn’t very much of that anyway’. We are acted upon in life by a particular type of wind you see, the type of wind which compels. It compels our actions, our thoughts, our feelings. It compels everything about us. We are driven ceaselessly by that wind – we cannot shelter from it and neither can we fight against it. What are we to do, what are we to do? All we can ever know is obedience to this wind, nothing else exists for us. We are obedience, that is our nature. Every little bit of us is obedient to that wind, every tiny little bit. We will obey that wind, heart, body and mind, until the day comes when we can obey no more. And even then, when the day comes that death finally overtakes life, we will continue to obey – that’s how deeply the habit of obedience is ingrained! Even then, even then. Even the hand of death, final though its touch may be, cannot save us from that most dreadful wind! ‘I am the habit of myself,’ I whisper, ‘I am but a shadow of my former shadow…’
It’s a laugh, isn’t it? It surely is. Here we all are, blown hither and thither, and yet somehow we all seem quite content with this. That terrible, terrible wind – it doesn’t allow us to exist at all. It doesn’t allow us to exist because it takes us away somewhere else, somewhere else where there is no existence. ‘Help me escape from this awful wind,’ I whisper weakly, but these weren’t my own words – that was only the wind talking. It was just the wind blowing through me. ‘Help me escape from the wind,’ the wind whispered through my cracked and dried-out lips, ‘somebody please help me.’ When you see me dancing that’s the wind moving my limbs, when you see me smile that is only the wind causing my face to distort, and when you hear me lament, as I so often do, that is only the wind lamenting through me.
If I were full of holes then I expect that the awful wind wouldn’t blow me around all day long in the way that it does but I’m not – I’m solid, much too solid. Solid all the way through. If I weren’t so solid then the wind wouldn’t catch me in the way that it does, but I am and so it does. It never doesn’t catch me it tells me who I am, it tells me what I think and what I feel. Someone or something had been interfering with the reality-inverting mechanism and now I couldn’t tell what was me and what wasn’t. Some things were me and somethings weren’t, I realized. I was everything and at the same time I was nothing. Even the hand of death, final though its touch may be, cannot save us from the fate of which I speak. Every little bit of us is obedient after all – my toes are obedient and so are my eyebrows. Obedience is the name of the game around here, isn’t it? Obedience is the virtue in itself, we will not consider – not for a second – what it is that we are being obedient to. Anything will do, anything will do. And no one’s looking anyway, no one gives a damn.
‘I am the habit of myself’, I quoted my earlier self, ‘living out the poor futile shadow of my life whilst haunted by the knowledge, on some inexpressibly deep level, that this is not the way it was meant to be.’ ‘Here I am, adrift in a sea of meaninglessness,’ I cry out, overcome by the aching poignancy of my situation, but my words didn’t mean a thing. They never do.
I was trying to pretend that none of the bad things were real. The bad things aren’t real, the bad things aren’t real, the bad things aren’t real,’ I told myself solemnly. After a while I actually started to feel better – my tactic was working! ‘How dare they say that the bad thing are real’, I fumed, ‘the nerve of them to go around saying things like that…’ I was feeling thoroughly indignant. Not that I was going to do anything about it – since I was still very timid – but I was definitely narky about it. I was as narky as hell. ‘What’s wrong with them’, I asked myself, ‘what’s wrong with them to say things like that?’
Eventually, after much effort, I created a whole new world for me to live in, a world that had to be painstakingly assembled, bit by bit, portion by portion. It was my greatest achievement and when it was done I felt justifiably proud of myself. I was flushed with pride. ‘Hot damn’, I remarked cheerfully, ‘and I did it all by myself!’ It occurred to me after a while that I deserved some kind of commendation, some kind of public ceremony to confer honours upon me in recognition of what I had achieved. I could wear a robe for the occasion, I mused. A special type of robe for achievers that no one else was allowed to wear. And a cap to go with it. A special velvet cap in light blue or mauve. Things were looking up for me, you see; everything was turning out for the best and I was entitled to feel good about that.
I knew of course that people might come along and say that I wasn’t entitled to feel good about it – I was aware that this might easily happen. I grew angry at the thought, I became dark and vengeful. My happy mood was gone in a flash – gone as if it had never been, for all the world as if it had never been. ‘How dare they say that I am not entitled to be justly recognised for my wonderful achievements?’ I screamed, full to bursting with apoplectic rage. If there had been someone there at that moment, someone within striking range, someone weaker and smaller than me, I might well have killed them, so consumed with rage I was. I was pure homicidal, although I’m not proud to admit it. I was overflowing with pure, undiluted malice.
Do you know that thing where you have become so very untrustworthy, so very slippery and tricky, so duplicitous, that you simply can’t endure living with yourself anymore? You have become a liability to yourself, you have become a horrifyingly deceitful enemy and you are at your wits end with regard to how to carry on. You have become a monster of insincerity and lies and you’re actually frightened of yourself. This is the question I pose. I wait for the audience on my head to respond but it doesn’t. I wait for the audience in my head to give me some kind of feedback but there is only silence. No one says a thing and instead of acknowledgement I am met with a wall of pure judgement. So much for the audience in my head, I think bitterly to myself – you find the courage to share and all you get for it is a wall of judgement. It’s enough to destroy your belief in human nature – if you had any, that is. I resolved never to share again. ‘That’s it’, I say to myself, ‘I’m never going to share again, not in my entire life…’
They try to make out that you’re abnormal you see, that’s what people always do. They will gaslight you at every available opportunity. That’s what society is – it’s a frighteningly efficient mechanism for gaslighting the poor defenceless innocent individual and making them feel abnormal. I know that from my own experience – I wasn’t born yesterday, after all. I didn’t get to where I am today, etc, etc. Impossible tasks can seem awfully hard at times, can’t they? We keep on trying however because we don’t want to appear weak, because we don’t want to be labelled a loser. The very thought! Any fate is better than this, of course, any fate is preferable to being labelled a loser. You just have to keep on pretending therefore and – if possible – fake it that you are making it. That’s what everyone else is doing, after all, and it seems to be working for them. You wouldn’t want to miss out on that good good buzz, after all…
You made lots and lots of friends in your time and all was well, all was good. They are gone now however and so you’re sitting there all alone. ‘What does it feel like to be so very alone?’ you ask yourself. You have to ask yourself because there’s no one else there to ask you. All your so-called friends have gone now and as a result there’s only you sitting there, contemplating the frightening emptiness of your life. I know what that’s like, you see. I know it only too well. I can relate to your plight better than you may imagine. I’ve been there too, you see.
What we’re looking at here is the degradation of reality itself, of course, and that’s something we all have to own up to. It is the decay of reality. Nothing less than this, nothing less than this. Everything’s sliding down that Old Slippery Slope – the worst slippery slope of them all. That old, old road that none of us like to talk about. They’re gone now and that’s sad. You can still recollect the gay laughter of your friends and that always brings tears to your eyes. All gone now. Gone forever. Faded memories at best. Everything becomes the hideous abomination of what it ought to be, of what it once used to be.
‘How could anything that used to be so great now be so very dreadful, so very dire?’ you ask yourself. ‘How could it turn like that?’ I can relate to you when you ask that bitter question. I know what you mean. I can relate to that question so well you wouldn’t believe it. It’s kind of spooky – it’s almost as if I am you!
Out of the twelve people who make up the so-called ‘Ideas Department’ where I work my ideas are consistently the worst. Everyone else at least has one good idea from time to time, fairly regularly, but not me. I never have a good idea. My ideas are uniformly terrible, uniformly disastrous. No one will even listen to me anymore. They stopped listening to me a long time ago. You’re talking ancient history here. You’re harking back to the Golden Age. The Golden Age of Ideas, so to speak. I’m producing nothing but rubbish these days, you see. Very bad stuff. I’m producing nothing but rubbish now but back in the Golden Age even the least of my ideas would be enough to revolutionise society. If I were to even fart someone somewhere would be making a quick profit on it. You can be sure of that. They’d make a million on it at least – you see if they wouldn’t.
‘Remove all negative energy and awaken your higher mind,’ is what they say, isn’t it? It is a slogan we hear rather a lot these days. We hear it every day in fact – we’ve all been exposed to that one. ‘Remove all the negative energy’, they tell us, ‘take it away. Get rid of it. Remove it because no one wants it…’ We want the energy to be positive all the way, we want the vibes to be buoyant and uplifting and richly redolent with wonderfully ineffable majesty, and who can blame us for that? We’ve all had so much of the other, we’ve all had too much of the other. We’d like a well-deserved break from it. We are more than familiar with the filthy machinations of the lower mind, you see. It’s all we ever know about and so we’re definitely in the market for some kind of higher vibration at this stage! Bring on the higher vibration, we say. Some kind of relief from the never-ending toxic bullshit.
In time everything becomes the opposite of what it should be. The people we once looked up to become sinister, sleazy and untrustworthy. The guardians we put in place to oversee public morality turn out to be monsters of depravity. It’s an old, old story of course. This was ever the way, this was ever the way. ‘How could what was once so lofty, so noble, be brought so disgracefully low?’ we ask ourselves sadly. That’s the question I ask myself, at any rate. It’s a question I can’t ever get away from. It’s the question I ask myself every time I look in the mirror. I have a lot of judgement about that one, you see…
I was having a private party in my head and no one else was invited. Partying like mad, partying like crazy. Having a great, great time. The best time ever. The best there is, the best there is. The best time anyone can ever have, only not really of course. Not really. I have my dreams the same as anyone else, you know. Why wouldn’t I? I have my dreams and I’m not going to turn my back on them.
In my dreams there are all these small blobby grey creatures that mill ceaselessly around on the floor. They go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and that’s just about all they do. They keep on going back and forth. That’s about the size of it. It may not sound like much to you but it’s my dream and I’m not going give up on it.
Anyone can dream, isn’t that what they say? Anyone can dream. I was having a Mad Hatter’s party in my head and everyone was invited. Anyone who is anyone was invited – it was going to be the event of the year. I was going to be famous, but no one would know. It was to be a secret. I was going to be secretly famous but that’s just between me and you. That’s just between you and me and the cat.
I’m sitting here sharing the story of my life on my own personal blog site – I’m being candid about things, I’m letting it all out. I haven’t had any views, as of yet, but I’m still hopeful. Hopeful, hopeful, always hopeful – that’s me! That’s the kind of guy I am. A hopeful guy. I don’t even know what I’m hoping for, half the time. More than half the time in fact pretty much all the time. Hoping all the time, hoping like crazy, but I couldn’t tell you what for. Hoping for something, hoping for some kind of a thing.
I want to tell people about the good time I’m having. I’m bursting to tell someone about the good time I’m having but the trouble is that it’s all lies. Lies pour out of my mouth in ceaseless profusion – if sheer volume were to account for anything then I’d be unstoppable! Anything would be possible, so perhaps I’m right to allow myself to be so hopeful. ‘What are you hoping for, buddy?’ they ask me, keen to find out some information. ‘I’m hopeful that something may happen’, I reply, ‘I’m hopeful that some kind of a thing will happen and if it does then I’m hopeful that that will be good.’
Everyone was in my dream – anybody who is anybody was in my dream. I was wildly famous, shockingly famous, insanely famous, but I still find myself wondering all the same if perhaps all this fame might not still backfire on me in some unsuspected way. No matter how good it felt, it could still all go wrong. There wasn’t a person on the planet who didn’t know absolutely everything about me and I don’t know how comfortable I feel about that.
I was going through the motions of having a party in my head, but it was all very wooden, it was all very stale, all very formulaic. It was a hideous rigmarole but I wasn’t allowed to interfere with it. It had to be acted out, it had to be perfect down to the last detail. There is no way out from it, you see, no way out at all. The only thing to do was to go along with it.
‘Act out the hideous rigmarole, act out the hideous rigmarole,’ my impetuous thoughts bark impatiently at me. ‘Act out the appalling hideous rigmarole, no matter how bad it feels’. Part of you hopes – insanely enough – that if you get good enough at acting out the hideous rigmarole then this may in itself constitute some sort of escape. It’s the only way out, even if it’s an illusion. It’s something to hope for, I tell myself, it’s something to hope for and we all need that.
‘Is that my life that just passed before my eyes?’ I ask sardonically, ‘or is it just another crappy simulation?’ Curiously enough, it’s always the crappy simulations that I get most emotionally attached to. I get sentimental about them, I guess you could say. I hate having to give up on those dreadful, corny old simulations. They are so bad they make me wince and yet for all that I love them. I’ll do anything to hang onto the bullshit, basically. Sad but true my friends, sad but true.
The TV set was playing away quietly to itself in the other room. It was muted, but not entirely so. Muted, but not entirely mute. Like a lot of us really, come to think of it. We’re pretty much all like that when it comes down to it. Beneath all the bravado, beneath the dreadful, tedious show that the ego loves to put on. That awful, brash raucous show. The TV set was running through the last one hundred years of recorded human history. It was doing this purely for its own amusement. It was a sentimental journey. When it finishes then time itself will end.
First you tell yourself the lie, and then you believe it – that’s the proper order of things. From time immemorial that has been the proper order of things. I get so excited by the thought of the proper order of things, it’s such an important thing to me. I’m obsessed by the proper order of things; I’m consumed by the need to make sure that everything does happen according to the proper order of things. It’s so upsetting for me when they don’t, so very upsetting.
First you tell yourself the lie, and then you bloody well believe it! What’s wrong with people these days? Can’t they get anything right? Generation this, generation that, or whatever else they want to call themselves – they don’t know shit, if you ask me. First you tell yourself the lie and then you believe it, what’s not to get about this? Anything else is putting the cart before the horse, anything else just isn’t going to work. Anything else is punishable, an offence against all that is right. How dare anybody offend against what is right and proper, how dare they question the Sacred Lie and try to bring it into disrepute?
It’s hard for us decent folk to think of or conceive of a punishment that would be properly suitable for offenders against what is right and proper. No normal type of punishment exists that can never do justice to the magnitude of this crime – they all fall short of what you would want, you see. They fall very short indeed, justice-wise. What punishment could ever be severe enough for someone who has the temerity to question the Sacred Lie? The mind boggles of course – our seething indignation knows no bounds.
First you tell yourself the lie, and then you believe it – that is always being the proper order of things. I’m overwhelmed with passion even thinking about it I want to shout out loud. ‘Believe the Great and Sacred Lie!’ I want to tell everyone I meet, ‘always believe in the Great and Sacred Lie…’ I want to beg people to believe, I want to get down on my knees and implore them. I also want to bully and frighten them, however. I want to frighten them badly. I have to confess to that. Well I don’t have to confess to it but I will, not because I feel bad about it but because it’s more straightforward to own up to it. Say it like it is, right? There’s no need to be ashamed. Put your cards on the table and let’s all have a good look. I won’t judge if you won’t…
I have this uncanny feeling that I am waking up from a long, long dream. The dream had eaten me up you see, the dream had devoured me whole. I wasn’t in it however and that’s the spooky thing. I wasn’t there. Someone else was in the dream, someone who wasn’t real. The dream had been full of greed – raw, insatiable greed. Greed for this, greed for that, and greed for the other. So much greed! I have this bleary, incoherent memory of a monster who is continually grasping after dream-stuff, one thing after another after another… Food mainly – family buckets of KFC and the like. Lots of family buckets of KFC.
It wasn’t me in the dream though – it was some distorted, demented monster. It was some vile, gross apparition, some frighteningly appallingly disgusting nightmare of a creature. Feeding, feeding, feeding. Feasting, feasting, feasting – groping about in the dark, eternally groping about in the dark. Lumbering towards its doom. Looking for stuff that isn’t really there, groping about feverishly for phantom satisfactions that do nothing but torment. Roaring with pain and frustration, stumbling along in a never-ending delirium.
I wanted to be a poet but the words wouldn’t come. I wanted to be a poet but nothing came out of me but creaks and groans. The creaks and groans of rusty machinery. ‘Where are the splendid words?’ I scream petulantly, ‘where are all the magnificent, wonderful words?’
I was up in court that afternoon and it wasn’t looking good for me – clown molecules had been detected during the course of the forensic examination and the authorities were determined to prosecute me to the limit of the law. The chief prosecutor was making a meal of it – a consummate master of slapstick, he had the jury rolling about helplessly on the floor. He had them in stitches.
‘Where are all the great words?’ I moan, ‘where are all those great, great words?’ I was crying tears of pure frustration; things weren’t turning out the way I wanted them to at all – I wanted poetic sentiment but all I got was verbal sludge. I wanted exquisite nuances but all I got was cheap innuendo. ‘All bad things come to he who waits’, I observe tartly, ‘Anyone with any sense at all knows to get the hell out of there fast. If you hang around you’re going to catch it good and proper and then you’ll be sorry. What kind of idiot is going to sit there waiting for the axe to fall? Our thoughts – our clever, clever thoughts – tell us to run and so we should!’
Solemn eyes are staring – staring and staring and staring. We know what’s supposed to happen, the problem is that it never does. It never bloody does happen and that’s what’s getting me down. That’s what’s getting me down big time. ‘Why does the thing that supposed to happen never happen?’ I wail, ‘why is my life such a joke?’ The solemn rows of eyes continued to stare – I had never seen so many eyes. They grew from the ground on stalks, gay and carefree but at the same time ominously vigilant. Vigilant for signs of evil.
‘Always progress to the superior state’, my thoughts tell me, ‘always progress, always progress…’ I struggled to obey, as always. ‘Must obey the thoughts, must obey the thoughts’, my thoughts tell me earnestly. ‘Always achieve the correct goals!’ Struggling to achieve, struggling to achieve all day long, struggling miserably to achieve. Always progress to the superior state, achieve wonderful exultation whatever the cost. Never accept second best…
And there is a cost, isn’t there? There is always a cost. Life congeals all around you and free movement quickly becomes impossible. The rank smell of thwarted ambition rises from all around you like a choking smog. Your days have become a burden to you but still you strive, still you struggle. ‘Follow our advanced teachings and you will never have to hate your life again’, say the spiritual gurus. ‘Instead,’ they tell us, ‘you will find supreme redemptive mastery.’ The rank smell of thwarted ambition. The evil odour of incipient failure, endemic failure, systematic failure – failure too appallingly hideous to look at…
Clown molecules had been detected at the scene of the crime and the street had been duly cordoned off by heavily armed robots. A horror story was about to unfold and I for one didn’t want to hang around to witness it! I for one, I for one. The unbearable stench of my own incipient failure is like atrocious body odour – it gives me away every time. The street empties as if by magic as I approach. I was due in court that afternoon but everyone knew it wasn’t serious.
I had the most delightful luxury apartment in Mulvoy Avenue – it was called ‘Better Betting’. You bet it was. It was called anything you want it to be called. There are no limits when it comes to naming things after all. Some call this ‘the Freedom of Naming’ and it truly is a freedom, a freedom of sorts. It’s a freedom we can all rejoice in. Some of us like our own lucky names and some of us don’t but that’s just the way it goes – one person’s good luck is another person’s very great disappointment. I had an exclusive top-of-the-range apartment in Mulvoy Avenue but really it was only a small stone by the side of the road – I’d kick this stone down the road and as I did so I’d hum a happy little tune to myself. Life was good, and I for one wasn’t complaining.
I decided to order the Breaded Supreme of Chicken. It’s important to be decisive – as you know – and I for one didn’t want to be caught out. Unless you make sure to strike hard when the iron is hot it’s all too easy to fall between the cracks. That’s my thinking on the subject anyway. That was my thinking on the subject at the time it’s true, but I changed my mind at the last minute all the same. I changed my mind even though I knew this might not be a very good idea. I would probably have been far better off sticking to my original plan, it occurred to me – it’s never any good losing your nerve at the last minute. That’s the story of my life however, it happens to me every single time – which is to say, I resolve to be decisive, I resolve to stick to my guns for once, but it always falls to pieces at the very last moment.
Nothing is ever truly what it appears to be, is it? We start off with all these expectations and then slowly – year by year, one after another – they all prove false. It all seems so straightforward when we are young of course. Everything always seems so clear-cut. Those are our illusions and one by one they all get smashed. Nothing escapes the Grinder, nothing escapes the Mincing Machine. Thus are the illusions of life destroyed! Thus indeed. We start off thinking that life is going to be a certain way – and quite possibly we’re even looking forward to it to some extent – and then, bit by bit, we learn that it’s not. More than that, we learn that it never could have been that way; we learn that what we were so foolishly looking forward to in life was only ever an absurd fantasy. It was only an absurd fantasy which doesn’t make a jot of sense no matter which way you look at it. You know that’s got to be kind of demoralising, right? Demoralising isn’t even the right word for it – it undermines your very being.
Life is good and I for one am not complaining. Or maybe I am, just a little bit. Just the tiniest bit, just a shade. But what exactly am I complaining about in that case, you might ask? What’s my gripe? Exceptional times call for exceptional measures of course but that’s nothing to do with what I’m talking about here. Nothing at all. You could never have had what you wanted to have, you could never have been what you wanted to be, and so how is that going to make you feel? There was a type of a mismatch between the theory and the reality and it’s the type of a mismatch that can never be made good. The more you look the bigger that mismatch is revealed as being – it gets so big that it’s not even funny…
This means that you don’t want to look too closely, of course. You really don’t want to look too closely. You really, really don’t! You absolutely know you don’t. I don’t need to tell you that. The bigger the mismatch the greater the terror and terror isn’t good. By no means is it good. That’s the key thing to understand here – terror isn’t good and so we have to tread carefully. We have to tread very, very carefully – so extremely carefully…. Don’t look where you’re not supposed to look. Don’t ask any questions that you’re not supposed to ask. Never do that. The Great Old Ones were coming back to life and nobody wants that. No one ever wants that.
‘If it’s normal then it’s good’, I shout out at the top of my voice, for no good reason at all. In praise of all things normal, I presume. In honour of them. Peace and contentment return to our poor unsettled minds when there is mention of the delightfully normal, the triumphantly normal. Redemption is ours. ‘Glory be’, I breathe, ‘glory be.’ Thank God that there’s other ejits like me…
Do you know that situation where you can’t get things to do what you want them to do? You’re getting so angry you could hurt yourself. You could do yourself an injury. You’re beside yourself with rage, you’re screaming like a freak, you’re hopping up and down like a nincompoop. You are jumping up and down, up and down, making a complete and utter jackass of yourself. You couldn’t make a bigger jackass of yourself if you tried!
We love to memorise a whole bunch of dumb stupid facts and then go around saying that we are educated – that’s the type of jackass world we live in, isn’t it? Whatever did we do in order to deserve being born into a world like this, you want to know? How could such a world even be possible? There isn’t a creature on earth that – if left to its own devices – would want to create a world like this. No way. Not even the craziest crazybug would want to make a word like this. Crazybugs have their own dignity, after all – they have their own dignity and we don’t. We gave our dignity away; we gave our dignity away because we didn’t want it anymore.
Instead of dignity we created Disneyland. ‘If every other jackass in town believes it then it must be true’, we say. That’s our mantra. ‘If every other dumbass dipstick does it then for sure we’d better do it too’, we say. Dignity doesn’t matter a damn to us, you see; nothing matters to us just as long as we can arrange it so we can carry on with our jackass tomfoolery without ever being disturbed. Just as long as every other jackass in town is saying it then we’ll say it too. We’ll say it too and – what’s more – we’ll be proud to say it. Damn right we’ll be proud…
‘Do you accept Mickey Mouse into your heart as your personal saviour?’ squawks the relentlessly grinning Telly Evangelist in your head, and we feel moved to do so. Damn right we feel moved to do so. ‘Count me in, buddy,’ we say. ‘Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Mickey has given me a message to pass on to you…’ The bugs in the garden have more cop-on than we do. We’re worshipping at the Church of Mickey, and we don’t care who knows it!
The criminal always has to return to the scene of the crime. Always, always, always. Has to, has to, has to. Has to return. Don’t ask me why because I couldn’t tell you. It’s as if this there is this tremendous force acting upon us, compelling us to return, unwise as this may seem. And let me assure you, it generally is unwise – very unwise. Especially if the police are still around in force, as they often are course. There’s nothing like a crime scene for attracting the attention of the police, as you might imagine.
Nothing like crime, nothing like a crime. The normal instinct is simply to run away from the scene of the crime as fast as possible, but it’s not as simple as that when you’re an actual bona fide criminal. Indeed it isn’t. Perhaps it’s the criminal mind that does it – we hear an awful lot about the peculiarities of the criminal brain these days and so it seems to me to be natural enough to wonder if the well-documented idiosyncrasies of the criminal neuroanatomy may not have something to do with it. We don’t think in the same way as non-criminals do, you see. We don’t think in the same way at all. The peculiarities of the criminal brain you see! The peculiar and unusual abnormalities of the abnormal criminal brain.
I was born omniscient but became stupider and stupider with each passing year. The years passed very quickly, as they generally do, and before I knew it I had reached the end of my tether. The years passed by quickly as they inevitably do, and before long the best years of my life had passed me by. I fell into a deep, deep sleep. When I awoke nothing had changed and yet everything had changed. I had slept on the job, I had fallen asleep at the wheel. Things have gone too far, and yet they had not gone far enough. Two long rows of people dressed in strange otherworldly garb were filing solemnly past me and as each one walked passed me they murmured comments – ‘So you nodded off again Rip’, one would say and ‘You look like you’ve overslept, my friend’, the next person would whisper, and so on and so forth. ‘Hope you had a good sleep there, buddy,’ another would add. All of this had a distinct feeling of deja vu about it, as I’m sure you can appreciate. I checked the time on my custom-made subdermal chronometer, my joints creaking noisily as I did so. It was half past forever.
It wasn’t long before the police were on the scene, making a detailed forensic observation. They had set up a cordon and were in the process of interviewing witnesses. No one had seen anything and so no coherent statements were made. In the confusion I managed to escape, walking off down the road as fast as I could without drawing attention to myself. If you walk too fast people think you’ve got something to hide and if you’re not going fast enough then they think you’re dawdling. Either way the authorities will be notified and inquiries will be made. Prepared statements will be read out to the press. Running, running, running. Forever running. Forever running from the terrible thing. It becomes a way of life of course. It becomes who you are. If you ask me who I am I will reply ‘I am the one who flees, I am the one who flees the nameless horror…’ That’s all I can tell you – I know no more. I don’t want to know more. I flee the terror that is too great to speak of…
‘Can you be happy when you’re supposed to be a thing and you’re not ever allowed to be a person?’ That’s a rhetorical question – it’s a rhetorical question from The Boy’s Book of Rhetorical Questions. a fine collection of the very best in rhetorical questioning. The top one hundred rhetorical questions including such all-time classics such as ‘What kind of a frigging idiot are you?’ and ‘Are you a fool or what?’ All time classics, all time classics – it sure is hard to beat those old-time classics. Hence the name. They don’t call them ‘all-time classics’ for nothing, you know. ‘If redundancy is the very worst thing in the world, then what is the best?’ I ask myself ingeniously. If redundancy is the worst. I glance up, half expecting to see something ominous there but there’s nothing. I thought there was something flying over me, a demon perhaps, but it was all just in my head. All in the head, all in the head. Anxiety is all in the head, so they tell me. It’s all in the mind so don’t worry about it. It’s all in the mind so just be cool. You know that it’s all happening in your own imagination but you try to be cool all the same. You realise with a shock that it’s all happening in your head and yet you try to play it cool all the same. There’s a ghastly smile spreading like an oil-slick across your face, it’s the ghastly smile of someone who’s just realised that it’s all in their imagination. You know that smile as well as I do. You decide to pretend that it isn’t happening, and you go about your daily chores as usual. You carry on regardless, that ghastly, frightening smile never leaving your face for a moment. ‘Is it possible to be happy when you’re forced to be a thing, when you didn’t have any choice about being a thing, when everything conspires to make you be that thing?’ Because that’s the question on everyone’s lips. The big, big question. All things serve the ego, as is well known. This is the proper order of things. That’s how it’s supposed to be. If things don’t serve the ego then the ego will be cross, the ego will be enraged because that’s the way egos are. It will want its revenge. All things have to serve and the things that don’t serve are bad. They follow the Path of Wickedness. The things which won’t serve! We’ve all heard of them, haven’t we? That’s an old story for sure. ‘Science Facts for Youngsters: give your kids a head-start by introducing them to the Wonderful World of Knowledge. Facts and figures in every page. Did you know, did you know? Did you know that the diameter of planet earth is exactly four inches? Or that aphids can play trombones? Or that God created the world from scratch exactly four weeks ago but He built a back-story into it so we’d never know that He took a short-cut? All these things and many more are true. You’ve got that worried smile on your face again, you’re starting to realise you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. You’ve bitten off more than you can chew and the problem here is that it’s doing all the chewing, not you.