The Long Game

I was planning my dream life. This is going to be great, I told myself. This is going to be amazing. I could hardly wait – even though I knew I’d have to. Life’s a waiting game, I told myself, you have to settle in for the long haul. You have to get smart about it and use your loaf a bit. You have to play the long game, I said to myself wisely, but even as I said this I knew that I was lying. I wasn’t playing the long game at all – the long game was playing me!

 

The big seagull was glaring across the street at me, its angry eye full of cold menace. It had found a half-eaten snack-box full of chicken bones and soggy chips in the course of its scavenging and it wasn’t about to relinquish its prize. It was the apex scavenger on this street, its glare told me, and it wasn’t about to let any weaker form of life come along and takes its rightful spoils away from it. The seagull thinks I’m a weaker form of life, I thought to myself incredulously. It thinks that I ought to be afraid of it! I took a threatening step towards it whilst maintaining eye-contact but the creature didn’t budge. On the contrary, it continued to look me straight in the eye, its indomitable will daring me to come any closer. Other, smaller birds – mainly crows, blackbirds and a few street pigeons  – watched on with interest. They were watching from a safe distance, obviously anticipating a showdown. Who’s going to win, they were probably thinking – the big old seagull with its savage beak or the newcomer on the scene who was daring to chance his luck? They wanted to see me get my comeuppance, I felt. They would enjoy seeing me get well and truly trounced.

 

Should I retreat, I wondered. Should I back down? I had a feeling that this showdown wasn’t going to go very well for me. It might not go my way at all. I was worried that I might come off the worse. I might even get badly hurt – the seagull was awfully big-looking. Perhaps I should opt for a tactical withdrawal before things got nasty, I thought to myself. All the other birds looked on, obviously hoping that I would try it on. Go on, they seemed to be saying to me, what are you waiting for you pussy? My nerve finally cracked and I jumped back out of range of that cruel beak and slunk into the shadows, trying not to look beaten. Trying to make it look as if I didn’t really care. I made to fly off to the safety of the nearest roof-top but then realized that I couldn’t fly because I wasn’t a bird but a human being with arms and legs. I knew that, I said to myself. I knew that I was a person…

 

Nothing in life happens quickly, I told myself. The important thing is to have a strategy. And to think positively. Always think positively because that way you will attract good things into your life. Because that way you will attract abundance into your life. I wanted to attract some abundance into my life because I felt so hollow and empty. Terribly, terribly hollow. Terribly, terribly empty. I was in dire need of abundance, I realized. Lack of abundance was killing me slowly. In some ways it was as if I was already dead. It was as if I was just hanging around waiting for the actual event to catch up with me…

 

Don’t worry everything will be great, I told myself. Everything’s going to be fine. All you need is a strategy and then you can settle in for the long haul. That way you can relax and take it easy secure in the knowledge that you are playing the long game. Waiting for things to work out for you. I wonder what my strategy is, I wondered glumly. Is it to be a complete fucking moron? Is it to slowly devolve into a worthless street scavenger, some pathetic cowardly creature existing miserably at the very bottom of the pecking order? Is my strategy to undergo some sort of degenerative transformation so that I become a type of hungry ghost whilst still actually alive? Is it my strategy to act like a total knobhead at every available opportunity and make myself into an object of ridicule – the butt of every joke going? If so then I’m doing rather well, I told myself. I’m definitely onto a winner here….

 

 

 

 

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The Long Road Ahead

I had created the thought-construct fields only that’s not what they’re really called. That’s just what I call them. I made up the name just now. I didn’t actually create them either – I had nothing to do with it. The thought-construct fields created themselves; they ALWAYS create themselves. They are the self-assemblers and I am merely the impotent onlooker. Not a very flattering portrait I know but I might as well endeavour to be honest. Without honesty what have we? I make up my own names for things because that way I reclaim my power. We have to take back our power in whatever way we can and my way of doing it is by making up my own names for things. Then – instead of being the impotent onlooker – I become the Lord of Names…

 

I was like a sleep-walker – wandering, wandering, wandering. Not knowing where I was going nor why. Drifting helplessly. Barely aware even that I was wandering. Barely aware of my own existence. If you could call it that. Lost in the suburbs of despair. Lost in the burbs. The bloody old burbs. Going from door to door to find out where you live but you don’t live anywhere. I’m not cottoning on to this though – I still think that I live somewhere. I still think that I have a life. I’m back in Sycamore Close – Number 31 Sycamore Close. Life is good, I tell myself, life is great. I wonder what the day has in store for me, I say to myself. I wonder. I wonder. I wonder what. I’m knocking on the door but no one is answering. I’m not answering because I’m not home…

 

I created the thought and then the thought had created me only I didn’t create it at all really. I only say that I did. I created nothing – I was only the impotent onlooker. Going along for the ride. Cadging a lift. Life is good, life is great, I tell myself. I wonder what the day. I wonder what. What will the day. I am walking up the concrete stairwell of Beaminster House. I’ve gone back in time. My leg hurts but I can’t remember what happened to it. I’m painfully hobbling up the stairs – my flat is right up on the fifth floor. There is the familiar smell of old urine only it isn’t the stairwell it’s me, I realize. The smell follows me around like a good friend. I’ll never escape myself. I’ll haunt myself til the day I die. Good times, I say to myself, good times. I’ve gone back in time. I’m back in the familiar environs of the South Lambeth Rd and it’s a glorious summer’s day. The sun is beating down on my head. The stairs seem to go on forever and my leg is sore. The echo of my own foot-steps is the only sound I can hear. They follow me faithfully wherever I go.

 

I’ve gotten lost in the intricacies of the task. The task grows and grows – it stretches ahead of me forever. It multiplies. I’m making my way down a dimly-lit side-street somewhere on the outskirts of the city centre where the pavements reek of piss and the crowds never go. I come across a seagull going through the contents of a rubbish bin, which it has painstakingly pulled out bit by bit. It looks sideways at me, pausing in its task of sorting through the trash as it does so. Its eye glitters with cold malevolence as it regards me. Does it see me as a competitor I wonder? Does it see me as fellow scavenger combing the streets for goodies? Or does it hate me for what I have allowed myself to become?

 

The task stretches ahead of me forever. You must complete the task, you must complete the task, you must complete the task. The voice in my head intones. Like a drumbeat. Drumming it into me with grim insistence. But I’ve lost interest in the bloody task – I can’t force myself to engage in it anymore. I can’t put one foot in front of the other. I have come to a complete standstill. The task goes on forever and I know I won’t ever complete it. I don’t care if I don’t ever complete it, I realize. I couldn’t care less. All I ever hear is the task, the task, the task. Get up, get up the voices say. You have to complete the task. But I’ve forgotten what it is that I’m supposed to be doing. I think that I’ve created the task but really the task has created me. I’m locked into the dream and the dream goes on forever. I’m trapped in my own private dream and it’s going nowhere. It’s like a labyrinth; you can never find your way out of it because the task can never be completed. That’s the whole point, that’s the trick. You keep on at it forever. You keep on trying but you won’t ever win. It’s a trap for fools.

 

The task is me, I realize. I am the task that I have lost interest in. I am the fool-trap. I am the task that I no longer want to complete…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Call Me Demon-Head

The other dogs were much faster than me, and more aggressive. If there was any scrap of food on the street they’d get it first. They’d have it eaten in a flash, before I even got there. They had a better sense of smell than me too. They also had stronger jaws and sharper teeth – they had all the advantages. That’s because I wasn’t really a dog, I was only pretending to be a dog. I was hunting with the hounds but I wasn’t a hound…

 

Demon-head – they call me demon-head. They call me demon-head on account of the great big head I have on me. I scream all night long. Screaming all night long – screaming like a banshee, screaming like a devil. Minutes seemed like days and the days seemed like nothing at all. Voices crying out in the wilderness. Howling and bubbling, full of malevolent mirth. They call me demon-head because of the head that’s on me. They call me demon-mind because of all the bad things I think. I scream all night long minutes seem like days and the days seem like nothing at all. The days are like the thick carpet of dust that covers the long abandoned dormitory where we slept our lives away. All is consumed by the maw of the Great Lamprey.

 

I am sad and I don’t know why – I feel like a sad broken thing hobbling down the street. It’s me, I cry out but I nobody knows me. I don’t know myself. I try to cry out but I can’t – I have no voice. I am the great lamprey. I am lamprey-head – I have the head of a vast lamprey. All you can see is my great, all-consuming mouth. My teeth – my rows and rows of teeth. My vast all-engulfing maw. It’ll burrow deep into your flesh and you’ll never shake me off. I’ll be your companion for life. I don’t mean to hurt you but I will…

 

The other dogs were faster than me and stronger – so much stronger. They raced ahead, knocking over the bins and pulling the contents out onto the street. Silently they ran, the only sound the clatter of the bins being pulled over. Smelling out the goodies, swallowing them down in a flash. The ecstasy of the chase. The promise of the night. Obeying the terrible hunger that is in us, the terrible, terrible hunger. The clatter of the bins is music to my ears but I never get there in time to claim my share of the goodies…

 

 

 

 

The Arch-Reprobate

I was talking to myself in an attempt to calm myself down. I was self-soothing. I was reasoning it out. I was saying helpful and reassuring things to myself. In a word, I had gone mad. It’ll be OK, I said to myself. It’ll be fine. You’re grand – nothing to worry about at all. Nothing wrong here…

 

Let me give you a tip here – when you hear yourself talking to yourself like this then you know one thing for sure. You know one thing beyond any shadow of doubt – you know that you’ve gone mad. You know something else too – you know that you’re a liar…

 

Oh you know that alright. You know that beyond a shadow of doubt. You know that in your very bones – you’ve had a lifetime’s experience of yourself, after all. All the lies. The big ones and the small ones. All the bloody lies. Of course, after a while it all gets mixed up as to what’s a lie and what isn’t. It gets so very confusing. It gets to the point where there’s simply no untangling it any more – how could you even try? You wouldn’t know where the lies begin and the truth ends. The boundary between the two has been blurred so many times… It’s got so that you believe every little thing your mind says. Disreputable little scoundrel that it is. Incorrigible old scallywag that it is.

 

I was talking away to myself in an attempt to put myself at ease and get rid of all the uncomfortable little feelings that were creeping up on me. I was talking away as fast as I could – saying helpful things. Everything’ll be just fine, I told myself. You’ll see. It’ll all work out. Nothing wrong at all. Never been better. Isn’t it great. Isn’t it marvellous. I was doing CBT on myself – you’re not the worst, I said to myself. You make mistakes from time to time but that’s normal. Everybody makes mistakes – that’s how we learn. It’s OK to make mistakes. Just because you’ve made a few mistakes along the way that doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. It doesn’t mean that you’re a worthless human being. It doesn’t mean that you’re fundamentally evil or anything like that…

 

That scurrilous old mind of mine was having field day. The wretched tricky old reprobate that it was. I envisaged my mind as a wizened old goblin, grown scabby from all the long years of lying. All the long centuries of lying, I should say. It’s been lying down through the ages. Lying fit to burst. Lying every minute. Terrible old scallywag that it is. Bursting itself lying all the time. That’s why it’s so repulsively scabby – because all it knows how to do is lie. Lying like there’s no tomorrow. That old goblin-mind of mine is covered in scabs – scabs on top of scabs. You wouldn’t like to see it. You wouldn’t like to see that scabrous, deceitful, reprehensible old goblin-mind of mine…

 

I was self-soothing again. Self-soothing for all I was worth. It’ll be Ok, I said to myself. Things aren’t so bad. Everything’ll be just fine now, you’ll see. You’ll see. You’ll see. You’re not so bad, when it comes down to it. Not so bad at all. There’s plenty worse than you. You’re not a bad guy – you’ve got plenty of friends. Lots of people like me, I lied. They don’t think I’m a bad person. Lots of people like me, I lie. I don’t even like myself. Would you expect me to? Telling myself that it will be OK. Doing CBT on myself – trying to correct all my thinking errors. Letting that wizened old goblin – the Arch Reprobate Himself – take the tiller. And all the while we’re rushing faster and faster to disaster…

 

Art: Great Unclean One

 

 

 

 

 

Loss Of Confidence

Confidence is everything in this game. It all depends on confidence and when the confidence goes, everything goes. And my confidence was slipping away, slowly but surely, with every minute that passed. The knowledge of this fatal slippage unnerved me totally and as a result I was – not to put too fine a point on it – blabbering like a madman. I was raving. I was talking the purest shyte, and everyone knew it – including me. Most of all me…

 

Knowing that I was blabbering like a complete fool and talking unrelieved shyte made me more desperate than ever – far from causing me to shut up (which is of course what I should have done if I had had any sense at all left to me) I launched into it all the more. Flecks of foam appeared on my lips. I started spitting on my audience, showering the front row with froth. An edge that was not pleasant to listen to had crept into my voice – an edge that spoke eloquently of barely suppressed insanity.

 

Something peculiar, something unexpected had happened to my audience. Instead of getting bored or fed up or irritated with the bullshit that I was subjecting them to, they were embarrassed for me. They were embarrassed on my behalf and – more than this – they were transfixed, they were paralyzed, they were pinned to their seats with a kind of horrified fascination, the type of horrified fascination one might have when witnessing a gruesome traffic accident. Although I’m sure the audience would have liked more than anything else to simply get up and walk away, they were no less trapped in the experience than I was.

 

Becoming aware of this most peculiar and remarkable fact did little to help the situation, in fact it did a lot to push me even closer to the edge. To talk of the barely repressed madness in my voice would have been overstating the matter at this stage – madness was boiling up inside me like milk boiling over in a super-heated saucepan.

 

My voice grew strange and harsh and then it cracked, like an egg might crack, like a pane of glass might crack, like an unstable personality might crack if pushed too far, if subjected to pressure of a sustained nature. It cracked and it broke and what emerged from the shards was nothing less than pure insanity – the unholy face of pure, unmitigated, no-holds-barred insanity.

 

I blabbered and I raved, I gibbered like a tortured soul only just released from the darkest depths of hell. I mewled like a sick kitten. I squawked like a chicken running in fear of its life from a fox. I screeched like an owl and I hooted like a howler monkey. I bayed like a dog driven mad by the moon. I croaked like a toad, I brayed like a demented jack-ass.

 

Something burst out of me then, something I didn’t realize I had in me. Some kind of a mad creature, some kind of an unholy thing. It hopped and it skipped. It capered and cavorted like a perverted imp of Satan. It humiliated itself before the audience, who had gone far beyond horror at this stage to the point of being deeply traumatized. It pissed on itself, defecated upon itself, degraded itself, abused itself, shrieking with hideous insane delight as it did so…

 

As I say, it’s all about confidence in this game, and I had lost it…

 

 

 

 

 

I Created A Prison Planet

It was, I considered thoughtfully, a very handy thing to have a notion of some sort of inferior or generally blame-worthy person around because then if you happen to be feeling any sort of legitimate mental or emotional pain you could then transform this intrapersonal pain into interpersonal toxicity and pass it on very smartly by saying something nasty to them and making them feel bad instead of you. Or you could do something nasty to them instead, if that happened to be your bag. This cunning and fool-proof device has served mankind very well down through the long, lonely millennia, I considered wisely. Why break with tradition? If something isn’t broken then why try to fix it?

 

The only problem was, I was now all alone. There was no one else left to blame! All the others had perished in the Enantiodromia War, which had raged for centuries. Now there was only me, and my emotional pain was great. My emotional pain was great indeed. The only solution open to me – I realized – was for me to nominate myself as an inferior or generally blame-worthy person and say nasty things to myself, and also possibly escalate matters to outright bullying and abuse later on if the need arose. Which it probably would. With hindsight, of course, I can see that this was not my only option – I could have, if I had thought of it, gone down an entirely different road and created a subservient slave race of robots for me to rule over and treat appallingly badly. I never thought of that, and it would have been a neat and elegant solution. The robots wouldn’t even have minded – I could have programmed them to think that they deserved it. They would have welcomed my abuse… Anyway, things are what they are and instead I rushed into the option of blaming and persecuting myself as much as I was able. Can you believe such stupidity – and yet that’s just the type of useless dumb fuck-witted bastard I am!

 

I never fail to be amazed at how it is that I always rush in to doing the wrong thing. How do I manage it? I have such an infallible instinct for screwing up. Such colossal stupidity is entirely beyond my ability to understand – I must be some kind of freak of nature in that regard, I think. I’m am clearly a total freak. It shouldn’t even be possible that someone could be as stupidly self-sabotaging as I am. By all the laws of logic and good sense it should not be possible. I raged at myself for an eternity. I laid into myself with a vengeance. I laid into myself with the force of a whole galaxy of exploding stars but even that wasn’t enough. It was nowhere near enough.

 

Then I had an inspiration – I created a prison planet and subdivided myself into 8 billion human beings, each one of them unaware of anything apart from the crummy fictional identity which I had provided them with. I then proceeded to afflict myself – which is to say, the 8 billion human beings – to a fully-fledged, no-holds-barred trashy consumerist culture in which they were all bombarded 24/7 with subliminal messages making them feel insecure and inadequate and lots of other messages telling them that they would feel so much better about themselves if they bought all of the tawdry and useless products that were being thrown at them from every angle. In order to be able to keep up buying these useless pernicious products these unfortunate beings were obliged to work their lives away in hideously meaningless jobs, making money for the parasitic elite, who were narcissistic psychopaths of the very worst kind…

 

My plan worked perfectly – it was a stroke of genius. Absolute genius. It was flawless. Then it hit me. I realized with horror just what I had done. I realized that I had gone too far – I had done something truly unforgivable. I had committed an unimaginably perverse act. The realization had come too late however – there was absolutely nothing I could do about it!

 

 

 

 

 

Everything’s Going My Way

I was shouting out with brash excitement, a bottle of Bud in one hand and my new iPhone 8 in the other. Everything was going my way. I was yelling with brash excitement, joining in the Craic, partying late into the night, hanging out with my good buddies. I surreptitiously ran a quick check on myself, just to make sure I was having a great time, just to make sure I was having the Craic, and I was. I took a few selfies and uploaded them onto my preferred social media site. Everything was great, everything was cool, everything was going my way.

 

I was roaring like a fool, watching myself from a great distance, watching myself down the wrong end of a telescope. I was roaring like a fool, roaring like a fool, roaring like a fool. I didn’t even know what I was roaring about. I was roaring like a complete jackass, not even knowing what I was doing any more. I didn’t have a clue. I was roaring myself hoarse. And yet it all seemed to be happening at a great remove – I was upset but at the same time I didn’t really care that much. It didn’t have anything to do with me. My throat was sore from roaring so much but somehow that didn’t matter either. I was like a stranger looking in.

 

The whole thing was a big fool-trap, I realized. A trap for fools, and I was one of them. I wasn’t just one of them, I was the biggest one – the King of the Fools. Lesser fools bow down to me. Lesser fools don’t get a look in. The fools couldn’t wait to hurl themselves into the trap – their legs were going up and down, up and down, up and down. Their legs moving like high-speed pistons. Bursting themselves. Running so fast it is almost comical. In such a great hurry to make sure that they get there in time in case the fool-trap door is slammed shut in their face. In case they miss out. Bellowing with brash excitement, taking selfies of themselves as they run and uploading them onto their favourite social media site.

 

I am shouting with brash excitement, surreptitiously checking up on myself from time to time to make sure that I am living a great life, to make sure that everything is cool. A bottle of ice-cold Bud in one hand and an e-cigarette in the other bellowing like a complete fool. Roaring and yelling to prove to myself that I am having a great time, that I am having the Craic. Roaring my fool head off. Only my buddies have gone now and the party is over. I quickly check up on myself to see if I am having a great time and I’m not. I’m looking at myself down the wrong end of a telescope. I’m looking at myself from a long, long way away and everything has gone very dark…

 

Checking up on myself to make sure everything was going my way. Going my way, going my way, going my way. Checking up, checking up, checking up. Shouting out at the top of my voice with brash excitement. Shouting, shouting, shouting. Roaring like a fool. Roaring, roaring, roaring. Running as fast as my legs will take me. Running, running, running. Arms swinging, legs working like pistons. Trying to secure my position in the fool-trap in case the door slams shut on me before I can get there.