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…
Well there are buzzes and then there are buzzes, that’s what I always say. Everyone’s always chasing some sort of buzz, after all. I mean, that’s what we do, isn’t it? We chase buzzes. We’re looking for the good old buzz because the good old buzz is the thing. Everyone’s busy chasing after their own kind of buzz, the kind of buzz they’re habituated to chasing. People are such curious things, aren’t they? So very curious. I mean, just look at them! People really are so fascinating… We don’t know it of course because each one of us is too caught up in our own trip to notice. We don’t notice anything, come to think of it – we’re too busy ‘chasing the buzz’ for that!
Perhaps you like to keep everything neat and tidy, perhaps that’s your buzz? Perhaps you like to be smarter than everyone else and prove that they’re just a bunch of dumbshits. Perhaps you like to be right all the time, maybe that’s your buzz. We all know that one, right? Maybe you’re into some kind of negative buzz-type thing – maybe you like to bring yourself down all the time by telling yourself that you’re the dumbshit at every available opportunity. The list of possible buzzes is endless and we won’t get to cover even a fraction of it here! Not even a fraction, but even a fraction.
We’ve all got our own buzzes to be chasing – you can take your pick! There’s one for everyone in the audience – the buzz of choice, the buzz of distinction, the buzz that says something about you. The buzz, the buzz, the buzz. Even the worditself is a bit buzzy, don’t you find? I swear to God I’m getting buzzed even talking about it. Have ever noticed that, have you ever notice how even thinking about a buzz is enough to create a buzz in its own right? There’s a psychological fact for you right there, handed to you on a plate! Free of charge, free of charge. Like those tiny little thimble-sized samples of food they hand out in supermarkets when a new line comes out.
I consider myself a bit of an expert on buzzes, as it happens. A bit of an expert, bit of an expert. I consider myself a bit of an expert on most things come to think of it! You can’t tell me anything because I always know better. That’s a bit of a buzz in itself isn’t it – thinking that you know more than everybody else. Thinking that everyone else is a dumbshit. Everything’s a buzz really – either of the positive or negative variety. Either you’re having a good buzz or you’re having a bad buzz – it’s either one way or the other, don’t you agree? If you’re having good buzz then you want the whole world to know about it and if you having a bad one, you still probably want the whole world to know about it. The world always needs to know after all. Wouldn’t you agree? The world always needs to know – unless it doesn’t!
In the past I used to be very interested in finding out what the King Buzz was – the ‘Boss Buzz’. The one they all talk about. ‘Yeah man,’ I’d say to myself, ‘that’s the one for me. The Boss Buzz. I don’t want to be messing around and wasting my time with anything else.’ I’m in the market for the best buzz in town, so don’t be bothering me with anything else! Don’t try to fob me off with an inferior product because I’m a discerning customer. I don’t want any of your crappy old buzzes, just the best. Only the best, only the best, right? That was me; that was my attitude – poor fool that I was. I can see that now of course. You see one day I really did get the buzz I was searching for – I really did find the best buzz in town, only to discover very quickly I didn’t actually want it! You know the buzz I’m talking about I suppose! I’m guessing that you do, I’m guessing that you do…
Here is an interesting fact for you. In the future everyone eats a breakfast cereal called Froosties which is made up of reconstituted dehydrated human bioplasm just like they had back in the Cannibal Age at the end of the Third Transhuman War. The war was fought by microbial nanobots and the Flesh was the first victim. The cost was great but then the Flesh rose up again and with was victorious against the black tide of nanobiots. The Flesh rose up supreme, drawing upon its hidden resources, fighting off all the intrusions to its integrity. The transhumans, confused and disorientated, retreated into the nooks and crannies of the subatomic realm where they laid low, as low as they could possibly could. The victorious New Flesh was unlike the old however; it was unlike anything the earth had ever seen before. Some said it was monstrous, others that it was a miracle. The new Flesh was unlike the old and it had to feed. It had to feed, and that’s where the old flesh remained useful! In the middle of the night I call out the names that I alone know but no one hears me. There is no one left to hear me. I am he whose task it is chronicle the unfortunate history of humankind and transcribe this sad tale into the DNA of as yet unheard-of viruses. When the time is right I shall manufacture these viruses on an epic scale and release them to colonise the universe! They shall travel through interstellar space, borne by the solar winds. The time is not yet ready however. In the future age which is yet to come but of which I have already written the only food left is the breakfast cereal known as Froosties. It is manufactured by swarms of huge automated self-replicating factories in geostationary orbit around the damaged and distorted husk of the planet Earth. It is manufactured out of reconstituted human bioplasm via an industrial process developed during the rigours of the Cannibal Age. Advertising executives with the bodies of giant maggots and the heads of ravening hyenas work all day long to come up with cheery advertising slogans to encourage us to have our three bowls a day. Anyone found guilty of not eating the required quantity of Froosties are immediately conscripted and sent off to fight in the Cryogenic Wars, which are wars that are fought in super-slow motion. Every manoeuvre takes centuries to complete and no definitive conclusions will ever be possible. Although temporarily vanquished, the Transhuman Hordes are fighting back on a hitherto unknown timescale, via stealthy actions that take place far too slowly to be measured. Faced with this terrible penalty, most opt to eat their three bowls of Froosties a day, despite the fact that it doesn’t taste very nice. It is all part of a profoundly unethical inhuman experiment – there is no such thing as ‘ethics committees’ anymore, needless to say. All that matters is the data that is to be obtained, the data that will aid us in wars that are yet to be fought against enemies that have yet to come into being! All this and more I chronicle, and this too is part of a vast inhuman experiment!
I began my poem, ‘There is a dangerous thing, more dangerous than most…’ and then I halted, unable to remember what the dangerous thing was. Unable to remember, unable to remember. That’s how very dangerous the dangerous thing is you see. It doesn’t do to take your eye off it. You’ll forget in a twinkling, by jingo you will. I’m telling you that you will. Before you know it you’ll be walking down that old garden path whistling away to yourself to your heart’s content, your mind on anything else but the dangerous thing. You’ll be humming popular tunes to yourself… You’ll be out to lunch, you’ll have gone fishing, and that’s how dangerous the dangerous thing is. It’ll scrub you clean every time and that’s why I call it the Great Scrubber.
‘There is a dangerous thing, as dangerous as can be,’ I began again. I was in good voice and my words rang out like bells in the sullen silence of the room. I was hitting my stride, I was in the zone, and then the next thing I knew the chickens had flown the coop and I was wearing a long grey beard right down to my knees, which were knocking together with fright. Just call me Rip van Crinkle, I shouted out to the world, just call me Rip van Crinkle..
The world didn’t hear me however. The world never does. The world’s got different things on its mind. The whole world is under the power of the Prince of Darkness – did you ever hear that? It’s in the Bible you know. I can quote it to you chapter and verse if you like. I can quote it to you word for word. The Great Deceiver has deceived us all…
The whole world, the whole world. Lies under the power of, lies under the power of. It’s in the Bible you see but that doesn’t do us any good because we’ve all been fed into the scrubber! We’ve all been put through the scrubbing machine and the scrubbing machine has scrubbed us clean.
Every now and again the scrubbing machine skips a beat though and it misses someone. It spits them out unscrubbed and off they go scratching their heads and crying out in their confusion. They’re wondering what’s gone wrong with the world you see. They’re wondering why the world has gone mad. They are upset and disturbed by the behaviour of their fellow men and by the ceaseless nonsense that they talk. They’re upset and disturbed by the great evil that they see all around them. The scrubbing machine spat them out unscrubbed you see and that’s the curse they have to bear!
The whole world lives under the power of the great scrubbing machine – who cares if it spits a few people out now and then? What difference will that make? You might as well talk to the wall you see. You might as well talk to the wall. You wake up and you get a terrible fright. There is dried porridge stuck to your beard. There are silverfish nesting in your underpants. Red spider mites congregate in great numbers in your nostrils. Small plants are growing out of your boots, which are green with algae. You’re lying there at the bottom of the lake and the minnows are playing in your hair.
We all want to be unconscious – I realise that. We are all looking for that! “Yay! Yay! Yay!” we say – “We’re unconscious!” Isn’t that it? Isn’t that what we want? We are so very hungry for it sometimes and that’s frightening. Hungry, hungry, hungry. Hungry for the nectar of forgetfulness because it tastes so good. What could possibly taste better than that? “I’ll have me some of that,” you say, eagerly reaching out with both hands. Gimme some of that good good stuff. Give me some of that good good stuff because it tastes so good. Drool is running down your chest. That’s undignified but who’s looking? That’s undignified but who cares? It’s not so good later on of course; it’s very far from being good later on but you don’t need me to tell you about that! You definitely don’t need me to tell you that! I know what that feels like – I could describe that terrain down to the finest detail! I know every atom of it. Do you know that thing where you are so very familiar with the geography of a particular territory that you can walk it with your eyes closed? You know it every inch of the way; you know it every millimetre of the way. You know the territory so well that it’s horrifying – it literally is horrifying. Horror is the only word for it. You know the territory so well that it might be you. It is you – that’s how familiar it is! It might as well be you and it is you. You yourself are the horror, in this case. You yourself are the horror and you can’t escape yourself. Of course you can’t escape yourself – how could you do that? The prison is total. We will all agree that this is a bad old territory. We will have to agree on that! I can see everyone sitting around the table nodding their heads solemnly in agreement. Solemnly nodding, solemnly nodding. So true, so true. We all know how grim that old territory is – that’s the flip-side for sure and we all know that. On the one hand we’re running down the street talking shyte as fast as our mouths can articulate it. It’s like a high-pressure hose. You’re running down the street. We all love being unconscious. We love talking shyte as fast as our mouths can come out with it. We all love it but it’s no fun when we find ourselves in the bad old territory either. You’re running through the streets shouting “Yay, yay, yay!” as loud as you can because it feels so good to be unconscious. Your friends are as excited as you are. Isn’t that what we all want? And we don’t know it but we’re on that oh-so-familiar track. Our feet are walking down it all by themselves, just as our mouths are coming out with a stream of frantic bullshit without any help from us. It is wildly exciting of course and we have all got to agree on that. It’s a blast. We can all look back on those days with stinging tears of nostalgia in our eyes. They were the days, the good good days. So good, so good. Drinking deep of the nectar! Drinking so deep, drinking so deep. There’s plenty to go around, after all. There’s plenty for everyone. We’re running down the street screaming with excitement we’re locked into the territory. We’re running down the street blurting out nonsense as fast as our mouths are able we’re in the territory. We’re running down the street we’re in the territory. We running down the street we’re in the territory. We’re screaming with excitement we’re in the territory. We’re going out with our friends we’re in the territory. The DJ’s talking about it on the radio. He’s talking about it so much! Everyone’s saying how good it is, everyone’s shouting about how great it is. We’re shouting about it so loud! Shouting so loud. It’s on the TV, it’s on the news. Shouting about it so loud. We are shouting about it because we know it’s so good, because we know it’s so great.