Catch The Culprit And Make Him Pay!

‘It’s very important to maintain and promote the psychological ego’, I told myself sternly and then of course I straightaway felt a lot better. I had a job to do, after all! It’s a well-known fact that having an important mission is a curative factor and now I had reminded myself of my mission! ‘I must maintain and promote the psychological ego,’ I repeated, full of renewed determination. It was up to me to succeed at the task, I realised – no one else gave a damn! I knew very well that no one else gave a damn – I could tell from the look on their faces! They couldn’t care less…



I felt good for a while after this. I don’t how long – maybe an hour, maybe less. My sense of time is erratic and unreliable at best. I was going about my business feeling all brisk and efficient, feeling purposeful and motivated, and then the next thing was that the good feeling started to wear a bit thin. ‘Suppose I’m unsuccessful at my task of maintaining and promoting the psychological ego?’ I wondered, ‘what would happen then?’ This was the big question really – this is a question that was preying on my mind big time. I got very scared at this point and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. ‘What,’ I asked myself, ‘would happen if I wasn’t able to successfully maintain the psychological ego?’ I couldn’t even imagine what would happen then. Fear bubbled up within me and obliterated my consciousness.



Nothing happened in my mind for a long, long time. Nothing stirred. There wasn’t a flicker of anything. Then – very, very slowly – I became aware of a bad feeling. I became aware that I didn’t feel good. There was a bad feeling there somewhere but I couldn’t pinpoint where it was. Something somewhere wasn’t right, I knew that. And then the next thing was of course that I to do something about it! I had to locate the evil and then eradicate it. I had to neutralise it. I grew arms, many of them, and these arms grew longer and longer until they were like snakes. I sent them snaking off into the darkness to find the wrong thing and choke the life out of it. They were my assassins. They were my search and destroy team – they would not return until they had accomplished their mission. They would find the bad thing and destroy it. ‘Catch the culprit and make him pay, catch the culprit and make him pay, catch the culprit and make him pay,’ the crowd was shouting. The crowd was baying for blood – the crowd is always baying for blood. You know what the crowd is like!



It turned out that the wrongdoer was me of course! Isn’t that always the way? Isn’t that always the way? I should have expected it, I should have seen it coming – I’ve been down that down that road so many times and it’s always the same! It always turns out that the culprit is me. Always, always, always… I’m always the one spoiling the party. I’m always the one caught doing the bad thing, the enemy of all right-thinking folk. ‘Catch the ego and make him pay, catch the ego and make him pay, catch the ego and make him pay!’ the crowd was shouting. They were baying for blood. Caught in the act, caught in the act. Brought to justice, brought to account. Forced to confront the magnitude of my crimes. ‘Day by day the evil grows’ – isn’t that what they say? Day by day the evil grows…





Art: narcissistic_canibal_by_squezeetheworld






I Am Afraid Of The Light

‘Am I allowed to be?’ I wondered. ‘Will I ever be allowed to be? Please tell me that I will be allowed to be…’ Then I realised that it was my turn to get some coffee out of the coffee dispensing machine in the hospital canteen and everyone was looking at me wondering why I was just standing there. As I pressed the button for a regular Americano I found myself playing a kind of a fantasy game. In this fantasy game of mine I was imagining that what was coming out of the nozzle in the coffee-making machine wasn’t coffee at all but the sacred elixir of eternal life. In my imagination this was the elixir that could cure all my ills and totally heal all my problems. I threw myself into this fantasy exercise and it became real for me – I totally believed that the machine was dispensing the elixir of eternal life! I then became terrified that I might waste a drop and stood there holding up everyone else in the queue as I waited for one last drop, the one last drop that never actually came. I was afraid to move on in case it did, however. I was afraid to move on in case someone else might get it instead of me…


‘Allow me to be, allow me to be!’ I cried out in my anguish. ‘Will I ever be allowed to be? I asked myself, ‘Will I ever be allowed? Will I ever be allowed?’ My whole life I had been restricted. My whole life had been an exercise in restriction – no one had allowed me and I had never allowed myself either. No one else had permitted me to be and neither had I. My anguish was real, my anguish was tangible. I knew no difference. I knew no other way to be. ‘Tell me a different way,’ I wailed. ‘Show me a different way’ I cried out, entreating all the faces I saw around me. A security man was called. I was removed from the building. No one wants to know, no one wants to know. As I pressed the button I allowed myself to fall into my customary fantasy. I was to drink the sacred elixir. Every drop is precious, every drop is precious. I cried out in despair, I cried out in my loneliness. I was in a dark dark place; I was living under a shadow. ‘If only I knew how I could crawl out’, I told myself, but even as I said this I knew that I was lying – I was afraid to call out from under the shadow, I was afraid of the light. ‘Please don’t expose me to the light,’ I cried out in my terror – ‘please let me remain here in the shadows, where I feel comfortable.’ ‘Let me remain here in the shadows,’ I wailed, ‘let me stay in the shadows where I belong…’


‘Why won’t you let me be?’ I cried out to the security man who was forcibly escorting me out of the building, ‘why am I not permitted?’ The security man shrugged his shoulders – ‘It’s not up to me mate,’ he said, ‘I only work here. I’m just doing my job…’


I was in my fantasy world again where everything was okay. ‘It’s okay,’ I told myself, ‘everything’s going to be fine, everything’s going to be fine’. The rank smell of fear clung to my clothes and no one wanted to come near me. The sleepwalkers were everywhere – they’d walk right over you if you got in their way! They’d go through you for a short-cut. I told myself, I told myself. Nothing bad is happening, nothing bad is happening. I was making positive affirmations, I was taking back my power. ‘Confidence is everything in this game,’ I told myself. I was frightened in case I saw myself in the mirror. I knew then that I was already dead. ‘Confidence is everything in this game’ I told myself again. As I pressed the button I allowed myself to fall into my customary fantasy. I was afraid of the light I realised. I was a creature of the shadows…







The Whisperer

Do you know that thing where the devil whispers into your ear and you think that his voice is your own thoughts? It’s a fairly well-known thing, I believe. It’s a well-known phenomenon. It’s been known for a long time that this is what the devil can do. What I’m trying to say is that you’re quite possibly familiar with this general idea. You’ve probably heard it before. Well, what I’m wondering is if I’m writing all this as a result of thoughts that are coming into my head, then how do I know that this isn’t coming from the devil? More importantly how do you know? When the devil whispers, huh? When the devil whispers in your ear. When he whispers. When he whispers in your ear. He’s got a lot to whisper about, that’s for sure! He’s got plenty to say, that’s one thing you can rely on. You know that thing, you know that thing. Okay so I know it seems that your thoughts are your own and that they’re not Satan’s thoughts that he is putting into your mind – I know that’s how it seems. Of course that’s how it seems – that’s the whole trick of it, after all. That’s the trick of it and I’d be the first to admit that it’s a very clever trick. Diabolically clever, you might say! The devil is not stupid, after all – we all know that. Joe Soap might be stupid, the man in the street might be stupid, but that’s the one thing the devil isn’t. Oh no, he’s not stupid. We have all been hypnotised by the whispers that come into our heads. We are being led like lambs to the slaughter; we are being led like lambs to the kebab house. Does anyone suspect, I wonder? Does anyone suspect? Is there anyone who ISN’T jumping on the bandwagon? We are all pretty quick at jumping on bandwagons I guess and there’s no point in denying it. There’s no point at all in denying it! We’re like lambs being led to the slaughter, after all. We are full of trust, full of trust. We trust any voice that comes into our heads – we will jump onto any old bandwagon. What society after all, but a big dirty old bandwagon? Does anyone ever stop to ask, ‘Hey buddy, where is this bus going to?’ Does anyone? Does anyone at all? Does anyone stop to ask? We just see everyone else jumping on the bus and so we do too! We’re afraid of being left out, you see. We’re afraid of being left behind – I can understand that. You have to jump on quick, right? Push and shove, push and shove. Make sure you get on. It’s a dog eat dog world after all. No one stops to wonder where the bus is going! It’s the Donner Express, that’s what it is! Wait, wait, the bus is going off without you! There was no room for you. ‘Hey buddy where’s this bus going?’ you ask, ‘can somebody please tell me?’ The bus is going off without you and you’re left with Shaitan’s voice resounding in your head, telling you lies as usual…







Robots Are My Friends

‘Some food is healthy and tasty,’ I remarked brightly, keen to spark up some kind of in conversation, keen to reach out to my fellow humans. My comment was met with sullen silence however. This is what I don’t like about humans – they’re always so damn moody and unpleasant. They always bring some kind of bad vibes into the situation. People are so often bad-vibe merchants! They are unhappy with their lives, I suppose – they’re unhappy in some deep down way that possibly they don’t even know about. This is what I tell myself, anyway! They’re always finding faults with others because they can’t see that the fault lies with them for always projecting their negativity onto the world because of the way that they are so damn unhappy with their lives without ever admitting to it. That’s a kind of rotten old thing really and yet it’s common enough in humans. It’s far too common. It is what’s called ‘the human condition’, I believe. That’s the human condition for you and it makes for some pretty ugly situations, I can tell you!


I’ve never had this problem with robots – no matter what you say to a robot it will always answer you in a polite and interested way. Robots – in my experience – are always happy to talk. Even the tiny little ones are always happy to talk, although it can be hard to hear what they are saying unless you go right up close to them. Even the police-bots that patrol the streets are happy to talk. I often talk to the police bots. I might say ‘It’s important to always obey the law, isn’t it officer?’ and the police-bots will answer ‘Yes that’s true my friend – you have said a very true thing there. It is very important to always obey the law.’ Then the police-bot – more often than not – will give me a friendly wink and continue on its way…


I suppose the reason I like talking to bots is because there are always willing to enter into a conversation on any subject that I might care to raise. Not once have I ever been snubbed or made to feel stupid by an android, whilst this type of thing always happens to me when I try to interact with humans, even though I am of course a human myself! I find this quite astonishing – why don’t humans like other humans? Why don’t humans think ‘Oh look – there’s a human just like me! How wonderful – I think I’ll go over and say something friendly!’ Do humans behave like that? Not usually, I’m afraid to say. Not very often at all. I mean I’d like to say that humans are nice to be around but my experience teaches me otherwise. I actually find human beings quite frightening, if I may say that. I find them menacing and unpredictable. Not robots though – robots are my friends.







The Bubbler

‘It’s an everyday story of everyday simulator-folk’, I yelped excitedly, and then lapsed back into my customary morose silence. It was almost as if someone else had spoken, some excited stranger in my own head. Echoes filled the chamber. An everyday story, an everyday story, story, story….’ went the echos. I winced, frightened and embarrassed by the foolishness to which I had unintentionally given birth. The simulators have simulated us all – they have simulated me, and they have simulated you, and they have simulated – well, pretty much everyone else too, obviously. That is simply ‘what they do’, as we all know. You wouldn’t expect them to do anything else…


So everyone got together to make the Phony World and that was fine, that was OK. I’m not saying anything about that – no one likes a complainer after all, no one likes a whinger. Everyone got together to make the Phony World and I’m perfectly OK about that – I can see the necessity for it just the same as the next man can. It’s got to be done, right? It’s got to be done and we all know that, so we might as well all just get on with it. We might as well all get on with it with no whingeing and no whining and no complaining. Personally speaking, I have no time for those people that don’t get on with it – I just want to make my position perfectly clear here! ‘Just get on with it you shower of dirty bastards!’ – that’s what I always say! Get on with it you shower of dirty good-for-nothing shytes and stop wasting everyone’s time with your bloody pathetic nonsense.


After my outburst everyone else in the cave shunned me. They ostracised me, as was quite right. They shunned me, as was only proper. I wouldn’t expect any different. I’d ostracise myself if I could! Bloody right I would – I have no time for people who behave like me, to be perfectly frank about it. I’ve never really liked myself anyway, now that I come to think about it. I don’t know why, but I just never have. I guess I’m just not the sort of guy that I hoped I’d turn out to be. I’ve let myself down and that’s a fact. That’s God’s honest truth. No use pretending otherwise. I know no one likes to hear this sort of stuff But there you are and what can you do about it – I didn’t want it to be this way, obviously. No one wants to hate themselves; no one wants to find themselves in the unfortunate position of despising their own guts. No one wants to be embarrassed by themselves on an ongoing basis…


I’m running down the street shouting like a fool. Roaring my big dumb head off like a complete moron. I’m shouting at people and telling them about the great job they’ve done in creating the Nonsense World. ‘Fair play to you, fair play to you,’ I yell at no one and at everyone both at the same time. I carry on running and as I run I gabble. I gabble and gabble – I am the Gabbler, I realise. I am the Gabbler and no one can save me. I was a battle-hardened veteran of the Psychic Wars, only no one knew that. No one realized. No one knows about the Psychic Wars. The Psychic Wars never make the news – they never figure in the daily tabloids. That isn’t to say that the tabloids aren’t part of the Psychic Wars. Of course they are, we are all part of the Psychic Wars, we just don’t know about it. We think we are part of something else – we think we’re part of something that doesn’t actually exist.


‘Lie on the Blue Dreamer and place the helmet on your head,’ the voices told me. I struggled to comply, I struggled to follow the instructions, but I was all thumbs. I couldn’t get the helmet on my head. My head was too big – I was the Swollen Pumpkin Head. I was the Balloon Head, I was the Bubble Head. ‘I am the Bubbler’, I yelled excitedly, remembering a Philip K. Dick book that I had once read. ‘I am the Bubbler, I am the Bubbler, I am the Bubbler…’ the echoes repeated. The cave was resounding with the sound of all these echoes and every one of them gave rise to a hundred other little echoes, all having fun at my expense. I knew I really was the Bubbler then. I had only been joking but it had turned real.



Art – James Holdsworth








The Simulator Simulates It All

The simulator will have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch me out, I said grandly, but the simulator had already simulated the morning, me getting up in the morning, and me coming out with this jackass comment of mine. The simulator will have to get up pretty damn early in the morning to catch me out, I sneered, but the simulator was simulating me saying this again, for the ten thousandth time, just for a laugh. Let no one say that the simulator doesn’t have a sense of humour – that’s why it stimulates everything, just so that it can have a laugh! The simulator simulates everything – it is simulating me saying this, that’s the kind of sense of humour it has. Although some would say that the simulator has no sense of humour; they would say that all it has is an infinite resource of pure undiluted malice – the type of malice that, if you encountered it in a dream, you would wake up deeply traumatised. The simulator simulates it all, the simulator simulates it all. They used to say that the winner takes it all but that isn’t true! The winner doesn’t take it all, that’s the lie that we’ve all been brought up on. The right answer is that the simulator simulates it all. We don’t get to win anything when we win – all we get is a simulation of what we think we are going to win, all we get is a poor copy of what we think we going to win. The simulator simulates it all, every last little bit of it. As soon as we think of something the simulator simulates it – it provides us with instant gratification, but of the most trivial type imaginable. Instantaneous satisfaction, that’s winning in a nutshell, isn’t it? Oh look – I won. Oh look, I won – how great. Oh great I won. How wonderful. Let’s win again real soon. It doesn’t matter how early in the morning I get up – the simulator gets there first! It stimulates the morning and it simulates me coming out with all this ridiculous bullshit. No matter what we aspire to, the simulator gets there first. It simulates either our success or our failure in this matter; it gets there first every time. Everything we value we lose. Everything we value we lose. It simulates a third rate copy for us. the simulator degrades the whole of reality because that is what it does – it’s The Degrader! You might as well hand over everything you love to The Degrader because it’s going to get there ahead of you anyway. It’s already there, in fact. We’re just not fast enough, you see. We’re slow and lumbering; we are all caught up in all our perennial nonsense. We’re too attached to our own preposterous bullshit. We’re too encumbered with our own terrible nonsense to ever stand a chance, you could say. We’re laden down with it. Our bellies are scraping off the floor. The simulated floor, that is. We’re not as smart as we think. We are just the simulator’s sad gimps. We’re just the sad and dismally decrepit simulations of ourselves…



Art – James Holdsworth




Tales Of The Dysphoric Ego

I cast myself in the role of the embittered and resentful ego and straight away I took it upon myself to learn my lines. Soon I had them off pat, soon I had it down to a fine art. Wow this is great, I said to myself, I’m ready to go – I’ll win an Oscar for this, you see if I don’t! I had cast myself in the role of the dysphoria ego and the play was about to begin. This is easy, I told myself, I’ll soon get the hang of this you see if I don’t. Needless to say the role ran away with me in no time at all, but that’s a story for another day, as they say! That’s a story for another day….


I started off my novel by writing about all the happy consumers who were happy because they were consuming the product and the product was so great. Some people were consuming 7-Up and others were consuming Coca-Cola. Some people were drinking Coors Lite and others were smoking Peter Stuyvesant Super Kings. I was doing a sociological analysis – I was in ethnographic research mode and I was keeping a low profile. The whole point was to blend in and not draw any attention to myself – otherwise this would distort the findings. Publicity always distorts the findings! I was doing research on myself and already I had learned a lot. I was uncovering evidence of some sort of plot, some sort of worldwide conspiracy that was being carried out by the ruling elite.


Any sociologist worth their salt would soon tell you that the product society promotes is not the product as such (which is to say, 7-Up or Levi’s jeans or Kentucky Fried Chicken) but the idea or image of the happy consumers consuming the product, whatever that product might happen to be. The product itself is irrelevant! Any sociologist will tell you that. The consumers aren’t consuming the product therefore, they are the product! They are the product that all the adverts are trying to sell. The consumers are consuming themselves and the product is selling itself and so everything goes around in a very neat circle! It just goes round and around. There’s no need for me to point out to you what an ingenious system this is – the product is the consumer consuming the product and the product is selling itself to itself. Or am I getting confused here? Am I representing this correctly, or am I missing something? Am I asking the wrong questions? Is my data-set skewed?


I was busy consuming the product – I was doing ethnographic research. I was the product and I was consuming myself. I was the 7-Up, or at least I was part of the promotion for the 7-Up. I wasn’t so much selling myself as the lifestyle package that I bought into it, but there was – at this stage – nothing left to me other than the lifestyle package. The product always replaces the person, after all. The person is the product. I was starring in my very own commercial, hungry for all the publicity I could get. The only thing missing was spiritual enlightenment but that’s as easily available as 7-Up or Coors Lite these days. Sometimes I get confused and I imagine that it’s all the same thing! Everyone and his uncle have their own patented brand of spiritual enlightenment to sell these days. Life has never been easier. I’m shopping for the best me I can be in the Online Supermarket of Modern Life. ‘Why settle for anything else?’ I asked myself ingeniously, ‘amn’t I starring in my very own commercial, after all?’


I will win an Oscar for this one for sure, I tell myself. You see if I don’t! It’s as good as in the bag. It is in the bag! I marvel at my own splendid virtuosity – surely, I think to myself proudly, surely no one has ever played the part of the dysphoric ego as well as I have! I have got dysphoria down to a fine art at this stage, I really have… Surely no one has ever thrown themselves into the role as wholeheartedly as I have! Surely they haven’t, I say to myself, surely they haven’t…