Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Regrettable Multiplication of the Theatre of the Grotesque

Nights gleaming with potency
Amber lights loom
As we endure the invincibility
of infinity
of gleaming nights
of unfathomable melancholy.

The grotesque theatre multiplies
as we applaud reluctantly.
We, so feckless!
Applauded as we writhe
in shallow rain puddles
which reflect that gruesome
amber light.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Colony of Infinite Battery

One will notice a few important details when one receives ones invitation to the Colony of Infinite Battery. These details are conveyed in what may seem like the vaguest manner possible and it is indeed the case that some important details are left out altogether. I don't think that this is necessarily a case of the government obscuring the truth or misleading the general populace. Allow me to explain why. The general populace is largely aware of the nature of proceedings that take place on the colony. There is however an element of rumour or myth surrounding the facts. Therefore should one be unfortunate enough to receive an invitation, the lack of specific information on the invitation can assist the recipient in achieving a state of suspended disbelief or cognitive dissonance. Surely the stories of perpetual physical violence, malnourishment and general torture are exaggerations he will tell himself, grinning sadly.

I received my invitation in January, shortly after my 31st birthday. My family were all of the opinion that I should pass the invitation on to my father and he agreed with this although rather reluctantly it seemed to me. Rejecting an invitation was permissible provided a replacement attendee was sought. Attendance was otherwise compulsory. This often led to intimidation, threats and enforced attendance for weaker and more vulnerable members of society who were passed invitations by ruthless bullies. This kind of behaviour was not discouraged by the government.

My invitation was given to me by my mother when I was out visiting her, my father and my sister on the occasion of my 31st birthday. The invitation had been sent to my parents home as this was still my registered address, having moved out only a few years earlier without taking the time to update my official documentation.
“There's mail for you, Jock” mother announced with her characteristic nonchalance. Which, in hindsight, was unusual, as the invitations are immediately recognisable for their anachronistic yellow wax seal. Had she not noticed this? Or was she pretending naivety in the face of a situation too terrible to acknowledge? Dear reader we sadly may never know the truth. Upon seeing the immediately recognisable violet envelope with anachronistic yellow wax seal, I experienced a vertiginous sensation of unreality. I dry retched and then opened the envelope quickly, standing in the kitchen with mother standing behind me, a gruesome spectator. I moved to the window and leaned heavily on the windowsill, dizzy, gazing out at the white sky. I could hear my father and sister descending the staircase.

We all stood in the kitchen, my assembled nuclear family.
“Jock got a letter,” mother announced solemnly. It sounded like an indictment on my character, as I was somehow guilty. My father and sister remained silent, expectant yet at the same time knowing. I remained at the window, my family behind me, awaiting some kind of speech. I clutched the letter and could not face them. My face contorted in an insane tic and I barely managed to stifle an hysteric squeal. I heard the dog plodding down the stairs, arriving behind me with its paws clicking on the tiled floor and I imagined it swishing its tail with vague enthusiasm.

“It's an invitation,” I murmured. We sat in the living room with glasses of sparkling wine. I had diluted mine with orange juice as I was wont to do in those days. Mother was kindling the wood burning stove that had been installed in the old fireplace. My father and sister were checking their smartphones. Come to think of it, so was mother, with on hand tapping the screen, the other stoking the embers. Come to think of it, so was I, frantically searching for information on the Colony of Infinite Battery. We sipped our wine and checked our phones and outside the sky was still white, what a terrible blindingly overcast day in January it was.

I can't remember who suggested that my father accept the invitation on my behalf. Quite probably it was my mother. I suspect she uttered the suggestion and we remained silent for a moment. I suspect father then murmured his assent in his usual half-hearted, feckless manner. I suspect no eye-contact was offered during this exchange. Forgive me if it is difficult to recollect events which took place over 17 years ago.

It has been over 16 years since my father took up permanent residence on the Colony of Infinite Battery. He is, of course, presumed dead at this point. I still recall the day we accompanied him to the airport to see him off. He was dressed in jogging bottoms, worn out moccasins, a hi-visibility orange jacket and a sweater the same faded grey hue as the jogging bottoms. He took one paltry suitcase with a few meagre belongings – there were heavily monitored restrictions on the luggage one could bring to the colony. My skin felt like it was hiving over my bones as we bid him farewell with sad, stoic grins. He seemed flustered, quietly terrified even. His hair was growing out in thick curls and his beard was untrimmed.

The Colony of Infinite Battery is a barren, windswept island located somewhere in Scandanavia. The island is devoid of architecture apart from dozens of tall factory structures. These buildings represent offices which have been gutted and vandalised, looming structures which look like monuments to despair. These are used for refuge by the inhabitants of the island but they are of course frequently invaded by patrolling Battery Squads. Inhabitants vigilantly listen out for the sound of footfall echoing on the vertiginous spiral staircases which characterise the buildings.

In the years that followed my father's departure to the colony, my mother quickly succumbed to senile dementia whilst my sister's schizoaffective disorder symptoms have worsened considerably. I have been afflicted by recurring bouts of depression that render me lethargic and tearful for days on end. I had hoped that one day I might find a woman who would birth me a child and that that child might receive an invitation to the colony which I could accept on his behalf. The reasons for this are selfish more than anything, a desperately selfish need to alleviate my own deep-seated guilt.

Macaroni Despair

When Jonathan's mother called up the stairs to announce that the macaroni was ready, Jonathan replied that he didn't want any damn macaroni as the damned smell of paint had put him off eating. Jonathan's mother immediately affected shock at his use of colloquial language, somewhat predictably. Come and get your macaroni, she urged, employing the familiar tactic of re-issuing the original instruction, characteristic of her innate stubbornness.
Seven year old Jonathan trudged down the stairs, resigned to his fate of consuming the canned macaroni under these unfavourable conditions. Seated at the dining table were his grandfather and his aunt, his father was out at work. The macaroni was served with slizures of buttered toast, a peculiar sounding combination but most palatable let me assure you.
Hello old boy, his grandfather greeted him ornately. Hi, he whispered shyly. He was a timid boy with oversized lips, unruly curly hair, prone to blushing, biting his lip. Outbursts of raw emotion were typical, be they euphoric or borne of abject misery. His aunt regarded him with a beady fondness he found uncomfortable. He took his place at the table, a wistful expression overcoming his face that could be, and sometimes was, misinterpreted as a scowl. His mother was in the kitchen. His grandfather and aunt had both already eaten in their respective homes before coming out to visit. His aunt was sipping black coffee whilst his grandfather was attending to an iced bun and cup of tea, as he was wont to do.
He could hear the painter in the next room shifting the stepladder around to attend to different areas of the wall. Jonathan nibbled at his macaroni morosely, uncomfortably aware of the presence of his grandfather and aunt observing his every move. He gazed at a radiator on the opposite wall, looking down past his aunt's left arm.
Grandfather fell off his chair with loud abruptness, prompting Jonathan's mother to return from the kitchen to see what all the commotion was. Jonathan's aunt continued to grin in the same fixed way, seemingly not even flinching or otherwise betraying any signal that she had noticed the fall. Her insane fixed grin was suggestive of a comatose lunatic. Jonathan dashed to his mother's aid and, together, they hoisted the poor old blighter to his feet. He cackled ruefully and Jonathan noticed that the crotch of his [his grandfather's] trousers were damp with fresh urine. They set him down in the hardwood ladderback dining chair and Jonathan could sense the friction of the piss-damp trouser material rubbing against the faux leather seat pad. His aunt sipped her coffee. Even when her mouth was obscured by the mug, the same delirious grin was still evident in her eyes. Jonathan took his place at the table opposite her and lifted a fork to cooling macaroni. The quarter slizure of toast had gone cheese sauce-soggy. He asked his mother to bring him a glass of diluting juice, she obliged dutifully. His grandfather muttered non-sequiters to himself, as he was wont to do. His aunt continued to stare straight ahead, her insane grin seeming to intensify, her eyes misting with tears, her cheeks faintly flushed.
Jonathan's mother absented herself from this preposterous tableau, attending to various food preparation and cutlery cleaning tasks in the kitchen. Jonathan could hear the decorator in the dining room whistling to himself, breaking into snatches of song intermittently. Jonathan was tempted to sing along in some weird, misguided show of solidarity. He managed to resist the temptation, this is perhaps an inaccurate representation actually as his crippling self-consciousness would generally forbid such a wanton show of excessively [to his perception] extroverted behaviour.
A moment of silent contemplation occurred between all parties sat at the hardwood rectangular dining table, its length [the silence's] bordering on uncomfortable. Jonathan quietly yearned for his mother to return to the fray and begin yammering inanely; this would surely help put them all at ease.
An odour of urine was beginning to reach Jonathan, emanating from the general direction of his grandfather. The wetness arrives in conjunction with the fall, Jonathan thought to himself. He forced himself to eat cool macaroni and felt feelings of loathing course through him with an almost physical intensity. It was a good job his older cousins were not present; they were wont to make fun of his brooding disposition at times like these which, inevitably, made the situation worse in a vicious cause and effect cycle that stretched onwards indefinitely, perhaps towards imaginary horizons of final despair if one were to indulge the catastrophic thinking processes of a depressive, infinitely pessimistic seven year old lad, but one also given to experiencing surges of unexpected euphoria.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Haunted by Sudden Donation of Prawn Sandwich

A prawn sandwich
donation occurred

You have no idea.

I've been

to men who've consumed
extremely spicy meals

to their surprised gratitude.

As if
they expected
to be goaded or


The Gardens of Preposterously Exquisite Melancholy

The melancholy is too exquisite,
I can't stand it,
he shrieked.
I'll evaporate now,
he supposed.

He was mistaken.
There was still plenty of
mirthful dancing
to be performed in summer's
gardens of unfathomable sadness.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Crawl into the Traps that you set for yourself suggested the Father

Orange streetlamp light reflected in a rain puddle on an overcast morning (circa perhaps 10am).

Glum laddies and glum ladies piroutte with the utmost elegance, exhibiting an indelible faith in rainshowers. Most unfortunate.

Rodriguez crashing through unfathomable corridors, repeating his name. Emergencies in the blackness of night.

Exhibiting an hallucinogenic hologram of a psuedo-neighbour in various states of ire and confusion. Rapturous applause.

The symbolic father shifts its gaze downwards. Scenes of grey weather; shifting clouds accompanied by ominous synthesizer music.

Something is occurring.

Alan's Descent into the Sadness Garden was not without Precedent

When my lips become maroon perhaps my other limbs will stand a chance, the objective being erosion. The way things stand. Perhaps I have become prone. After all.

We feed on her majestic mist trails. Humbling confessions of weariness and ineptitude. Someone grins in our general direction, prophesying an ambiguous Edinburgh.

Slinking into sunsets. Feeding alien sunsets into historical simulations, the objective being to increase the probability of inaccuracy.

Wintry juice is maroon by default and my limbs are conveyed by horrific magnetic influences, as a matter of course.

"You actually wrote this pish?" he queries, incredulous, disdainful. "Aye," I murmur. My gestures, demeanor and tone of voice convey insurmountable lethargy.

(Fade out to overcast morning, ominous synthesizer tones).

Exploring the Deepest Reaches of the Sadness Garden

Wrapped in our lethargy quilts, my brother and I venture forth into the October day. My quilt smells like medicine, as does my balaclava, and my lips are encrusted with dried Marmite. We are tethered to the hoose. My brother carries his Ghostbusters' skateboard.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

"STAY fucking down," the old guy was screaming as he kicked fuck out of the young guy's skull. Then the young guy was unsteadily clambering to his feet again to be met with another series of astonishingly forceful blows.
"Stay down ya daft wee cunt!" the old guy was roaring. The pavement was wet with maroon gore. The young guy didn't get up again for some time and then it was with the help of ambulance attendants.

"And you ya cunt! Ah'll pumch yer fuckin' cunt in ya fuckin' alky cunt," he snarled, surging forward determinedly. The old guy was clearly scared and then in some amount of distress as the first of the blows landed.

Jonathan Marks, an unliked cunt, sat drinking alone in an old town pub. He was seated in the upstairs section which was vacant of any other bodies. A yen for solitary escape had driven him here. He felt the urge to deactivate a certain notion of himself.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

A Visit to the Sadness Site

Drinking liquid despair at the sadness site. The day fades into tender orange sadness billowing across unfathomable night gardens of Edinburgh. The whole region is reported to be contaminated with unaccountable despair. We affect grins even as vertiginous feelings occur. The gruesome spectacle of orange light reflected in a shallow puddle at 3pm on an overcast Tuesday afternoon. Insane superstitions. He was unable to convey himself verbally. The palms did perspire.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Cowed (extract)

Kinfauns condition was discovered in the United States of America in the year 2017. The condition was characterized by a broad range of symptoms including lethargy, delusions of grandeur, crippling despair, and elements of attention deficit disorder. After its discovery up to 40% of the population were diagnosed as sufferers, within 20 years this figure had rose to up to 70% - 80% according to conservative estimates. Governmental awareness campaigns of the condition were coordinated through the usual social media channels along with information on self-diagnosis using an online questionnaire. Self-diagnosis in this manner was considered adequate grounds to apply for a prescription for medication.

It was with a mixture of fear and relief that Jim Seagold learned that he was a sufferer. The fact that he was suffering from a new, unknown mental illness was definitely unsettling, however, relief stemmed from finally knowing what exactly it was that had been troubling him for what felt like most of his life. In reflection he struggled to recall a time of the calmness, optimism and certainty that others seemed to project and that he himself felt entitled to. As well as the comfort of a definitive diagnosis, he also had access to the cure.

Sympaprex-Pro was a new experimental treatment developed by Dr Larry Kinfauns, the founder of the illness which proudly bore his name. The overwhelming epidemical nature of Kinfauns syndrome was such that government health boards gave the green light to synthesize and prescribe this new treatment to anyone who required it. A lack of scientific testing and the range of alarming side effects (including hallucinations, nausea, episodes of severe confusion, panic, Tourettes and listlessness)

What heady times he lived in! Children as young as seven years old were being diagnosed with the condition and immediately being prescribed with Sympaprex. Jim felt a sense of righteousness and specialness as he asked for a private word with his manager to patiently explain his diagnosis. To his acute dismay, his manager grinned ruefully and disclosed that he was also suffering from the illness, as was Rachel in accounts and Steven, the head of the SEO department. Full acceptance and sympathy/empathy was directed towards him, the 21st Century was ushering in a new era of understanding and benevolence compared to the stigma and ignorant persecution associated with mental health issues in previous centuries.

This sympathy did not extend to Jim's wife Shelia. Disdainful of his tendency towards childish self-sympathy and malingering, Shelia was skeptical of her husband's avowed condition. This skepticism was unspoken but registered by Jim in non-verbal cues, or so he thought. There existed, of course, the possibility that paranoiac thoughts were forming either as a result of the illness itself or even as a side effect of the medicine. Jim was in the privileged position of being able to afford his own private reality counselor to help guide him through the the violent waters of Kinfauns condition. Such counsellors were appearing all over the country and used techniques including neuro-linguistic programming, meditation and physical exercise to boost sufferer's moral and disperse with unwanted thoughts. Jim's own counsellor specialized in paranoiac behavior and instructed him to take up a hobby, Jim selected poetry. He attended bi-monthly workshops and readings where medicated poets assertively heckled one another. He took up chess and attended a weekly club. He began learning Spanish and enrolled in a course to study graphic design.

Of his half dozen friends, two had already tearfully confessed to suffering from Kinfauns syndrome in grim late night bar encounters, another two he was certain were also sufferers.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Toy Leopard

A vaguely exciting thing had happened to him en route to the chess club; he found a plastic animal on the street. He supposed it wasn't all that exciting, even deeming it vaguely so was likely an exaggeration. Yet still it inspired some kind of weird enthusiasm within him. He had little else to excite or inspire him these days it seemed; he was constantly arguing with his girlfriend and his job was at a dead end. His soul was almost surely deceased. And so he had to grasp at these moments of meaning and inspiration wherever he found them, no matter how irrelevant or inane they seemed. The thing he found was made from plastic moulded to resemble a leopard, he could not specify exactly how the thing inspired him and yet it did so he lifted it from the damp December pavement and hid it in the pocket of his parka. And continued on his way to the chess club meeting which was held at the university.
It being the end of term the club was understandably quiet. A trio of young men occupied one large table, one spectating as the others engaged in a frantic blitz battle. Present at the other table were the club president, captain and a couple of the stronger players in the team, all of whom were engaged in a heated analysis of a recent team match game.

He took a seat at the table with the three young men and set up a board with the guy who had been spectating the game of the other two, a lean and neurotic looking Scandinavian guy with watery eyes. They shook hands and he played 1.e4 which was met by c5 and after Nf3 followed by Nc6 they entered the main lines of the Sicilian defence.
Something was distracting him and this thing was the presence of an elderly lady sitting in the corner of the room, attending to her knitting. He asked his opponent who muttered about it being 'someone or other's mother' or words to that effect, he couldn't quite make the guy out, this guy being known for his habit of whispering meekly. With this distraction combined with his generally weary state of mind, he gradually entered a hopelessly lost position within an unknown variation. Without thinking too much about what he was doing, he reached into his pocket and nonchalantly dropped the plastic leopard onto the middle of the chess board. An apprehensive silence ensued by all who beheld this bizarre spectacle.

The old lady knitting grimaced and shook her head. The club captain sneered and averted his eyes. The club president looked totally aghast. The two guys playing next to them had ceased play and were marvelling at the wee plastic leopard poised in the middle of plastic rooks and pawns.

He stood up, an inane grin spread across his chapped and slack lips. Then, to the bemusement and disgust of all present, he exited the room in the manner of a professional wrestler.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Quiet Man

As he climbed the steps behind the two girls he contemplated a recent mystery. Scratches on the back of his neck had appeared quite suddenly the previous afternoon. First of all his neck had felt hot and itchy, he was aware it must have been red. Then later one of the girls had noticed what looked like scratches, as if a fine wire mesh had been dragged against his skin. There was no accounting for this strange phenomenon. Somehow it felt inexplicably tied in with another weird phenomenon. Sometimes, when he was on the cusp of sleep, he would find himself placing a hand around his neck in a gesture of self strangulation. His hand moved almost automatically, an inexplicable compulsion. And then there was a third phenomenon that he felt was somehow related; the voices. When lying down at night he sometimes heard slow motion voices murmuring rhythmically. He understood nothing of the syntax yet understood the rhythm intuitively, as the dreamer comprehends the absurd logic of a fever dream. How he loathed these voices! And yet there was something familiar about them... comforting, even. A difficult matter to explain.

To distract himself from these vexing matters he attempted to focus solely on the matter at hand; the ascent of the staircase. Approximately two thirds of the way up was a landing on which a window overlooked a melancholy garden. The walls were adorned with bleak oil portraits of aristocrats playing chess. He knew that the staircase led to a hallway and that the hallway led to a door. Whenever he passed the landing window it seemed to be late afternoon and he felt inexplicably sad. It was hard to convey how lethargic and morose he would begin to feel.

Once he had encountered one of the girls on the landing. She had asked him if he was okay. Her manner of asking was ambiguous; he had been unable to determine whether she was concerned or amused. This had angered him and he had repeated the question back to her, taking her shoulder and shaking her. She had grimaced and walked away. And that had been the end of that, he'd never seen her again. Another segment of the mystery. He smirked ruefully. He had arrived at the landing. He looked out the window at the sun smouldering faintly in an overcast sky. He knew that he was almost at the second floor and that there he would encounter a hallway which led to a door.

He was terribly quiet. His quietness was a terrible thing. In what sense? In the sense that it rendered others unnerved. Which others? Other persons, one is liable to encounter persons. A silent consensus seemed to have occurred, he had somehow been elected by the others wordlessly. One feels an obligation sometimes. To do what? Blethering again, silly stories, blethering away to himself. It was a quiet, overcast afternoon. His glass of whisky. His spectacles. The chess board. Everything seemed perfectly inert. Somehow objects drained him, hurt his arms and made him feel tired, different objects, what objects? Who objects? The others. But the silent consensus had occured nonetheless and there were these damn obligations fuck he couldn't find his slippers. Where had he put the damn things. One loses the slippers, the wife the mind. One blethers away, incomprehensible nonsense.

A sheepish grin occurs, automatically. Caught in the act, one assumes a pose to lend the whole debacle a theatrical aspect, an absurd aspect. Shuffling, dancing, an angry dance to mourn the lost slippers. Later on that same afternoon he designated further contemplation to this issue of his obligations. Did they exist? What were they? He felt stupid. He felt like he had to kid on he knew until he figured them out. Sometimes he liked to pretend that his plight was pitiful and pitiable to make light of it somehow.

He had stopped to appreciate one of the paintings. Except that before he had even began to examine it he felt very cold, tired and bored. His bones felt cold, and ancient, old before his time! He tried to look but his eyes couldn't really anything he was so bored and his mind already wandering. Murky meandering thoughts about nothing in particular. The girl was standing nearby he realised with a start. She was near the window. He had to climb farther to reach a hallway which led to a door.

Friday, 26 October 2012

After the Funeral

The three young men entered the pub on an overcast weekday afternoon. The place was not particularly busy, a few old guys attending to pints. A wall-mounted television screen was quietly displaying sports. Everything seemed somehow inert, hopeless.
"Right, what we having?"
"I´ll have, eh, a Guinness please Jon."
"Aye same."
"OK, two pints of Guinness please and a bottle of Becks."
The young men took their drinks to an untidy table and sat down. They sat in silence for a few minutes, tentatively sipping, furtively avoiding eye contact or any kind of contact really.
And then Rob spoke. "Somebody we all ken and love has just been put in the ground. I think we should all take a moment to remember our good mate Stevie." Jon and Andy nodded solemly though Jon seemed slightly embarrassed. They continued to take small, perpetual sips in a kind of weird rhythm they had going between them. And then Jon stood up and he was going to the toilet..
He went up to the bar. "Excuse me mate where´s the toilet?" He was directed down a perilously long hallway, so long, unending, nightmarish, a nightmarishly long hallway adorned with bleak oil portraits of aristocrats playing chess. Eventually, after a good ten minutes of wandering, he realised that he couldn´t find the damn toilet and, what´s more, he was hopelessly lost. Doorways multiplied. He wandered if he should just turn round and try to get back but that seemed impossible now and, besides, he was still bursting on a piss. He did a wee dance, clutching his penis through his jeans, trying to hold it in. Hundreds of doors had been passed, not a single one with a sign to indicate that it was a toilet. For fuck´s sake man. In desperation he lurched for the nearest door, grasped the handle and pushed it open.

"Where the fuck has Jon got to? Is that cunt taking a shite?" Andy pondered. Rob smirked humourlessly and continued to leaf through the copy of the newspaper he had found abandoned on an adjacent table. They let another ten minutes pass before finishing their drinks and abandoning the premises. A light drizzle had began as they shook hands and bade one another farewell on the street outside.

Jon stepped through the doorway. He was in a corridor illuminated by pink light. Weird, ethereal music was emanating from unseen speakers. He stepped forward very slowly, walking as if imitating slow motion footage of himself. The corridor turned to the right ten feet ahead and he didn´t know what was round there and he felt uneasy. He crept round the corner and passed through a white door and found himeself in a room with blue walls and a window. A weathered single pedestal dressing table was positioned beside the window and here a young lady sat gazing out onto the gently sunlit late autumn street. She seemed engrossed in some kind of stupefied contemplation and hadn´t notice Jon enter. "Whoops, oh shit, sorry hen," Jon was muttering and she merely turned slowly, a laconic grin spread across her face. She wore a navy blue dress and all of a sudden that was off, up over her head, and Jon had the sensation that he was dreaming. She walked slowly towards him in her underwear and casually reached for and unbuckled his belt, undid his jeans with effortless precision. Then her hand delved into his boxer shirts where it found and clasped his penis, stroking it with gentle insistency. Alarmed, excited and perplexed, Jon found himself massaging her breasts, sliding the straps of her plain cotton brassiere down over her shoulders to help facilitate this task. She was tugging his penis more vigorously now and it wasn´t long before he was snorting and spasming as he ejaculated, large globules of semen arriving on her bare thighs and plain cotton pants.
"You have to leave now," she was urging him, helping him with his breeks and ushering him out the door, her manner now changed, somehow perturbed. She closed the door and he was back out in the pink corridor, silent now; the music had stopped. It was very cold. He would have to make his way back to the bar now and he had no idea how to go about that. And the need to pee, which had absented itself whilst he had his handjob, had returned with increased intensity. He did his shuffling, penis-clutching dance and began to walk back the way he came, through the interminable corridors and hopefully back to the bar. He would have to pee out on the street or else rush home.

Jon was reported as being missing on the 24th of October, five days after the funeral of his good friend Jason Grieves. The last reported sighting of Jon was at a small wake in a local pub with his acquaintances Andy and Rob. The two reported leaving the pub after Jon went to use the bathroom and never returned.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Further and Further Away (excerpt)

He was now pretending to be engrossed by something in the distance, the surfers or the waves or some damn things but this was an act. He was conscious of Lucia watching him and then she was talking to him but he pretended not to hear. Except now it must have been obvious to everyone and an awkward scene seemed imminent. Lucia talking to him and he was answering, trying to think of a reasonable sounding response, he couldn´t think. He murmured something and grinned wrly and then almost forced a sardonic chuckle, managed to stop himself. Barely able to breathe and almost trembling he was so angry, this was incredible. Her friends were sitting close to him, trying to talk to him, that was the thing when you were annoyed, people tried to stand near you or talk to you. It was as if they were oblivious to your state of annoyance or worse, there was some kind of conspiracy occurring whereby the aim was to make you more annoyed. A kind of Schadenfreude whereby the irked person was wound up as much as possible for the amusement of the others. Here was someone asking how to pronounce a particular word in English, here was someone displaying a viral Youtube video on her phone. He spoke words but he was hearing himself speak the words, he barely understood the words. Lucia was smiling, seemingly amused by his weariness. And then he was standing up, actually getting up, and Lucia and the others were watching him, he was conscious that they must be watching him. So now he had to say something or risk creating some sort of goddamn scene, he wanted to avoid any kind of a goddamn scene. He murmured something about going to get a beer and began walking towards the beachfront bar but kept walking, he was actually walking past it now, well this was a curious turn of events. He wondered where he was going. He had absconded. That seemed to be the way of things. A curious turn of events for sure. He was moving farther and farther away. He broke into a jog. One´s health and fitness levels had to be taken into consideration, these had been neglected of late. Now was the time to remedy it. He was breathing heavily through his nostrils and then slowing down and then he paused with his hands on his thighs, just above his knees. Should he turn back? He tried to think, was he upset? He supposed he must be. This was not the behaviour of a satisfied individual, no, he was definitely dissatisfied with the situation. But to abscond, was this a reasonable thing to do? Was he being unreasonable? Reason didn´t come into it; he was upset. Upset people were justified in behaving without regard to reason. To an extent, anyway. To what extent? A surge of resolve was required, he had to get farther away from here or else go back or else remain inert. His thoughts ceased, the mind completely blank. Incredible. It seemed as if he had three simple enough choices. But the interminable nuances of these choices exhausted him. Even being inert, just standing here was completely fucking draining. Pedestrians walked past, he felt as if they regarded him as some unworthy, feckless dreg of a man. This is certainly how we regarded himself at the current juncture. He passed a guy standing outside a shop with a dog, a pug, a perturbed looking wee thing! He wanted to sweep it up in his arms and reassure it, poor wee thing. It was her gleaming grin she had flashed him, it was haunting him, such things tended to haunt him. And yet everything was ok.
Sometimes one encountered a vertiginous feeling.
That poor wee dog had been so perturbed! And he could sympathise. The horror: men felt it, dogs felt it. If only he could have summoned the courage and resolve to sweep the wee doggie up in his arms and run off with it, if only he could muster the courage and resolve to do anything. It was the way she had smiled, a gleaming grin. Such things are liable to haunt waking bodies. He could hear some construction in the distance, it sounded like ominous music. Quickly, walking quickly, too quickly.
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