Confessions of a Black Dog

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Chapter 22

The clouds outside Sam’s window reminded him of the typhoon season in Japan. They were malevolent and hungry.

“There’s a storm a-brewing!” he shouted at his walls.

The walls didn’t shout back, they never did.

He spent the morning writing in his Black Book and all he had discovered about himself was that he hadn’t a clue what to do. Inertia had hit, slammed hard against his longing to resolve all the shite that was going on around him. All he could do was smoke more and pace around his hovel. He kept going with endless cups of coffee and told himself that he must go out of the house at some time this week.

He had not left his flat for days. He had no need to.

Yes, he did.

He needed to talk to Joy.

He was a slimy coward, he was avoiding his responsibilities.

He had to go out now, now, now, now, now, now…

It was late afternoon when he left the house and the light was fading.

Sure enough the rain waited until he took one step outside and then fell down. Sam looked at the raindrops hitting the floor, creating puddles in an instant. The ever expanding circles drew his eyes into them. The dull light made everything seem liquid and sad.

He met Joy in another pub in Camden. He wanted her to feel safe, in a place she felt comfortable. He asked her if Alice would be working or not as he didn’t want the nurse to be around. He wasn’t about to start talking about it with others now.

They sat in corner, as far away from people as possible. Joy got the first round in, a Guinness for herself and a large glass of Merlot for Sam as he sat there he wondered how to break the news to her. How do you tell someone that their life has been threatened by a lunatic for no reason? He was a lunatic was Edward. Why couldn’t have been one of those harmless loonies that hang around bus stops trying to make people sniff their fingers?

Sam reasoned that his brother was weak. The weakest of men always try to dominate those who they perceive as a threat. Everything he said could all be hot air. Then again, no-one could be sure, Sam certainly wasn’t sure of what was going on in his own head never mind his brother’s. And his brother did have form. What he had subjected Bronwyn to that day was appalling. His brother hated women and Bronwyn had been his first victim, the first to feel his hooks. It seemed like Joy was to be next.

He had to talk bluntly.

That was all there was to it.

The slimy coward.

“Cheers” they both tapped their glasses together, staring at each other as they did.

“Whassamatta, Sam? Ya look really fucked. I’m worried about ya, sweet.”

Sam smiled at her affection. Then his face changed, he exhaled and talked.

“I’m alright, it’s not me I’m worried about, is it? It’s you.”

“Why?”

“Look, I saw me brother th’ other day”

“Oh yeah? Still a miserable prick is’e?”

“Yeah, well… ’e’s a bit more than that. Look, he sent me a message, didn’t ‘e. the message just said summat along th’lines of “I know what you two did”. He wanted t’ meet. It turns out ‘e’s been followin’ me or one of his crazy fuckin’ followers has an’ he knows that I’ve met ya again.”

“Yeeeaaaahhhh, so?”

“Well, I reckon he’s always ’ad a thing fer ya.”

“I remember ’e was always was a bit creepy back then.”

“And he was there, that day in th’ woods.”

There, it was done.

There was no going back now.

The beans were well and truly spilled and the cat was out of the fucking bag.

“’E was there?” Joy began chuckling.

“Yeah, fuckin’ followed us an’ hid up a tree” Sam chuckled. A single chuckle expelling nervous tension, that showed he was beginning to relax.

“Yer kiddin’. Jesus.”

“Yeah”

“But ’e never told anyone?”

“Nah. Not as far as I know. Look, that’s not th’ point. It all seems a little pathetic now, eh?”

“Yeah, still don’t know what ‘appened then. Did th’ fookin’ thing work or not?”

“Yeah, well he’s threatened ya.”

Sam sipped at his wine feeling the red liquid stain his lips, giving it a second for his words to sink in.

“What?”

Sam felt his friend’s shock at those four words: he, has, threatened, you.

He felt the recoil physically as the table twitched. It was a jolt.

“Yeah, he threatened ya. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live, that’s what he said. Crazy fucker, eh?”

“Wow!” the full extent of the threat hit her.

It was that day when they were nine all over again. Joy saw her mother’s boyfriend stealing money and pulling a knife out again. She felt the same anger gripping her guts. She had sorted it out last time. She’d do it again. She saw the cunt falling and bumping down the stairs and wondered if he had felt pain. She hoped so.

“Why didn’t ’e threaten you?”

“Yeah, I’ve thought about that. I think it’s revenge. Psychological shit. Makes me suffer by getting’ at ya. He knows I care about ya.”

“Thanks”

Joy gave him a smile. It was a real one, a toother.

“So, what d’ya want t’ do? D’ya want t’ go t’ th’ police?”

Sam knew the answer already. Based on Joy’s lifetime experience with the coppers, he knew that they are as apathetic and useless as a fart in a bag. They needed evidence, evidence that was obvious to those involved but not to those on the outside. Just ask those battered wives, victims of stalkers and abused kids who are never listened to. Reality and evidence were two different kettles of fish. Anyway, since when had coppers really helped someone who needed it? All they did was twist the truth for the easiest way to cut down on the paperwork, or to save a rich man’s reputation. They needed a crime. They were society’s cleaning ladies.

“Nah. Those fuckers never believe ya, until it’s too late and somethin’ bad ’appens. Been there, remember?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“No, ya don’t, Sam. Not really”

“No, I don’t, but I do know that it only takes a rumour t’ kill a good man, and that a bad one can die because the land wants him dead.”

“What?”

“Nothing, look what ‘re we goin’ t’ do?”

There it was.

The big fucking question mark. It flew around their heads in silence, around their glasses half drunk, around the pub filling with punters wishing to laugh and enjoy a night out in London.

Swings and roundabouts.

The next afternoon something good happened.

As he went down the stairs to check the post, he saw a brown envelope there waiting for him. It was from the publishers. Sam closed his eyes tight, then looked at the envelope again. Fuck it, he thought and tore the side.

He had received notice that some of his poems were going to be published in the publisher’s literary quarter, not only that but they also wanted “The Gentle Bludgeoning…” to be published in a compilation of new authors.

A book.

He would be published in a book and receive royalties. And they wanted him to produce more. It wasn’t much but it was a start. He was finally going make some money from writing. He would write a novel and become famous and then hire someone to kill his brother and then he would write a book about it.

It was a small victory.

He was speechless.

He was grinning and dancing around the room in his underpants. “Sympathy for the Devil” was playing in the background. Sam strutted around the room, Oooh Oooh, Oooh, Oooh. After reading the piece of paper through yet again, his bowels told him that all the excitement was too much and he needed a shit. Leaping to the toilet, he let his excrement flow out with wild abandon. It was solid for once. Life was a good shit. As he finished wiping the phone rang.

It was Freddie.

Sam was glad.

Freddie was someone he could talk to and not feel like a madman.

“So, ya found a job yet or what?”

“Nah, man. There’s nothing’ doin’ here at all. I’m startin’ t’ get sick of wandering from one company t’ the next. Feelin’ th’ urge t’ fuck off again. Might come over t’ see youse two.”

Sam realised that he hadn’t thought about work in a week and the rent was due. He only had enough cash for the rent for this month, he would be living off boiled rice and oil and he needed booze to stop feeling so scared. It’ll have to be the cheapest vodka at Tescos.

He needed a job.

His life was becoming a mad one yet again.

Fuck.

Just one quiet year.

Just one.

Sam told Freddie about his minor triumph in the publishing world. He tried to brush it off as nothing but his voice betrayed his pride. He felt embarrassed, as if he was jeering at all those who hadn’t been in the position he was. He knew that most of the best writers were those who never tried to get published.

They weren’t pandering to any audience.

They were completely honest.

They were liars and cowards.

They weren’t any good.

They were writers.

They had no choice.

Sam decided to talk to Freddie about his last few days. He knew his friend would listen. He also knew that the talk would resolve nothing. He told him about his brother and what he had said and he told him about Oz and what he had said. He didn’t tell him the full story about Joy. He knew that the past was nothing more than an excuse for his brother to inflict his poison back into Sam’s life.

“So, do ya think yer bruvver’s really serious?”

“Yeah. As cancer, mate” said Sam.

“Well then, you’re gonna ‘ave t’ deal wif ’im, aren’t ya.”

“I am indeed.”

There was a silence across the phone line. It seemed to Sam to last longer than it should do in a conversation between friends. It was then that the heaviness of what Freddie’s advice weighed down upon him. He may have to help defend a friend’s life from the aggressive advances of his own brother. It would almost definitely end in violence. He didn’t want to get angry again. He remembered Figgis with his teeth kicked in.

His whole being screamed to get out of this in some way.

To shirk the responsibilities of being a friend and to run.

To run and leave.

To deny the responsibility that was partly his.

He was no hero.

He was a slimy coward.

“Indeed”

He knew Freddie’s morality system, he knew that just by threatening a friend that Edward had over stepped the mark. But to threaten to kill a woman, Sam knew that as far as Freddie was concerned the fucker should be beaten, then hung, drawn and quartered. The threat was the start of the game and it was who gets to who first. If Edward hadn’t meant what he said, if it was some kind of sick fantasy, he should never have said it.

But he had.

So, he should pay.

It was Judge Dredd, Batman and The Punisher, but for real.

“Y’know my motto, mate. Don’t get mad, get even. Does she know by th’ way?”

“Yep. I told her yesterday.”

“And…?”

“She took it well enough, s’pose.”

“And… what was th’ fackin’ conclusion, oh wise one?”

“What can we do, except wait? This is London and Edward ain’t Colonel Kurtz. More’s th’ fuckin’ pity, eh?”

“Needs a bullet in th’ ’ead”

Sam thought about this for a second. They were talking, merely talking, about the murder or at least life threatening beating of his brother. It was fucking tragedy. If his brother carried on the way he was going, if he took everything that far, he did indeed need to be hurt. Like Joy’s step father had. It was only his innate epicurean sense of fear that really stopped him. It wasn’t so much the violence that scared him, it was the getting caught.

He knew that he couldn’t deal with prison.

Those four walls keeping him in.

That trap.

Maybe that was what his brother wanted, to be put out of his misery.

And to trap Sam at the same time.

Sam needed his friend to give him the answer, but his answer didn’t sit well. Freddie understood that Sam was in a self made dilemma, he knew that Sam was different from him. He suggested that Sam took photos of all Edward’s cronies and that he showed them to Joy. She needed to see who her enemies were. Maybe he should even go and live at her house for a while.

It was an idea.

Sam thought about this for a second then dismissed it. Alice would never allow him to stay as she would want to know why and if she found out what was going on she would go ballistic.

The other way would be to hit them first, before they had the chance to attack Joy. But then what was he? He was no hard man or gangster. He had known enough of them when he lived in Thailand, but they were either dead or there. And he was alive and here. This was the most risky. This required planning; but planning was preferable to waiting. Waiting meant fear builds up and takes control. Maybe he should just “hit” him for revenge’s sake. In the middle of Oxford Circus for all the world to see.

Then Sam started to laugh.

What the fuck was he thinking?

“Hitting” his brother.

He was ridiculous.

“Y’know, Sam the Marxists and anarchists failed, mate. Th’ Devil commands and all th’ ideas of Karl, Leon and Bakunin have come to naught. Maybe a permanent revolution is what we needed, because now an icepick in the ’ead is worf nuffink more than a tip of the hat. A fart in a room filled wiv cheaply made designer furniture, ready to be freshened out by a small chemically-enhanced poisonous air freshening spray. The fascists ’ave won th’war, mate. We’re eternally at war, just like Mussolini wanted us t’be.”

Freddie was right.

“Just like we always ’ave been since we realised that th’other tribes had stuff, too.” Sam shrugged realising that no-one could see him.

“Yeah, I suppose. Fuckin’ shame though, eh! Sam mate, I don’t know…”

Sam heard his friend sag over the phone. His friend’s energy had carried him through a bad experience and he felt an almost physical pain at hearing the weariness in Freddie’s voice. His seemingly boundless energy seemed to faltering and there was nothing Sam could do but keep his friend’s chin up.

Yes, it did seem like all the good ones had failed.

It didn’t help his situation though, did it?

“Do what thou wilt, old boy!” Freddie suddenly spouted enthusiastically and for once Sam felt irritated at his friend’s flippancy but they were caught between countries and all he could do was talk dictums.

It was all he could do, Sam realised.

This was his drama, his and Joy’s.

“So, yer dead mate said we’re all gonna die soon, eh?”

“Yeah, what else’s new?”

“Year Zero. Quite exciting really, isn’t it?”

“You think?”

“I mean who’s gonna come through, y’know. The whole “giving meaning t’ our lives, hunter gafferer” stuff. Will we go back t’tribes? Cannibalism?”

“There ya go with yer cannibal fixation again”

Sam ended the conversation and told Freddie that he would keep him informed. He then settled down to an evening of reading and writing in his black book. He was reading James Ellroy’s autobiography, “My Dark Places”. There is a book that shows how low and how high you can go with obsession. Sam read page after page of Ellroy’s early twenties.

The drug induced hallucinations, the petty theft, the depravity.

It fed Sam’s mind and made his acute fear feel not so lonely anymore.

After an hour or so he found his mind began to wander. His concentration was faltering, the focus slipping back and forth from his brother to Joy and back again. He knew it was time to start writing again. He retrieved his Black Book from under his yellow stained bed and began scribbling. If there was a solution to be found it would be in here. It was a magic of sorts, a psychological form, dragging solutions from the depths of his consciousness like a dream.

He began to write automatically. Words started to come. Then sentences.

Soon he found he could not stop himself.

It was flowing out of him like water.

Sometimes his eyes were open.

Sometimes closed.

He didn’t even know what he was writing, who was writing and why.

He started to shiver.

There it was again, that feeling of someone walking over his grave.

His eyes were shut tight and he began to sweat.

The gentle sound of bells soaked into his mind.

He tried letting go of the pencil but could not.

He opened his eyes and saw a hand on his hand.

It was Saint Christopher.

Sam turned his head and it smiled a smile as peaceful as the murder of a deer by a lion.

New colours that Sam had never imagined shone around the book.

The lines on the page began to spin into the heavens, becoming waves and quarks and electron waves.

All patterns were flashed in front of his eyes.

He saw the consequences of his volitions happen in front of him.

He felt joy and misery at his life.

As his mood changed so did the patterns.

He observed the colours around him ebb and flow with his breathing.

He cried tears, but was neither happy nor sad.

Each tear contained a universe that was born and died and inside each universe Sam cried a new tear.

Sam fell into each new tear, continually falling until he finally arrived at a place where there was nothing but an energy humming around him.

Sam slipped out of his mind for a second.

Just to say hello.

Hello.

Sam needed to forget his current worries and bask in the good things.

Then things would take care of themselves.

He knew he was deluding himself.

Sat in a pub with Wolfgang and B the following evening, Sam didn’t mention his current troubles to his friends. He figured that the less the people that knew, the better. It was becoming too confusing, too complicated. No explanation as to whether they were right or wrong. It was his thing. Some people you can talk to about everything in your life. Others you can’t. It came down to the past. If you had been through something with someone it brought you closer to them.

There were no secrets.

To be honest, he just wanted to get plastered and to forget.

The booze was flowing like a river. An endless river through life, never stopping until one finally decided to quit. You never knew where the river would lead you, some nights to the palace of glory, on others to the gutter of degradation. But it was always a journey worth travelling.

It was life.

He had woken up that morning to find two words scribbled in his black book. They had been written over and over again. About a hundred times like a school punishment.

“Kali Yuga”.

The Age of Quarrel, the End of All Things.

The universe’s exhalation, digestion and defecation.

Game Over.

It didn’t matter.

Sam looked at his two friends. He saw how beaten they both looked. Even B. Cheerful, optimistic, laid back, horizontal B, even he seemed fucked. This was a bad sign for the universe. If B was hopeless there was something indeed wrong. It seemed that his woman had left him again.

“Do y’think that we ever really get over them?”

Sam and Wolfgang looked at each other. They both knew he wasn’t talking about Susan. It was and always had been about Emma.

Wolfgang remembered how they both were together.

They had been inseparable.

That is what people said about them.

Inseparable.

B would float into work on a Monday, looking worn out and pale, yet the spring in his step was unmistakeable. It seemed to carry him through the week with its continual hangovers, allnighters and drug binges. Wolfgang knew it was lies then. He always thought his mum and dad would be together for life. Until that one day that his dad ran off with his secretary. So when he heard about Emma’s accident he realised that it was all nobody’s fault. It just happens. Whether you want it to or not.

“I really don’t know” said Wolfgang, “it’s been so long since I ’ad a woman it’s ’ard t’remember!”

Wolfgang was right. He had had an awful couple of years when it came to the fairer sex. He had forgotten what that feeling of closeness, of delicate and fragile human contact was like. He felt himself to be such a wretched state of humanity that no decent woman would even think of touching him. It was all in his mind, of course. Anyone that could paint those fantastic pictures had something that a good woman would understand. Anyone who was that sensitive to live. B gazed at his friend with a loving glance. He knew that Wolfie was suffering.

He had the Blues.

They all had the Blues.

B carried on.

“I mean we always carry ’em with us, don’t we? What I’m trying to say is, do we push our old relationships upon the new ones? Do we react the same with different people, when we shouldn’t, I mean surely it’s just an ‘abit? An emotional routine? Do we always fall into th’ same game?”

Sam and Wolfgang stared at their friend and shrugged, embarrassed at this show of emotion. They saw Emma in his eyes and mind and face and stance.

“I been dreaming about ’er a lot recently, y’know. It’s as if she’s almost ‘ere again and I’ll be seein’ ’er soon, y’know.”

Sam said nothing. The End of the World was nigh and who knew what would happen. And the dead shall rise. He had never met Emma. She had been with B a long time before they met. He had just left England for Japan, to see the world, to bring him right back to where he had started from. He had only seen photos of her at B’s apartment. Sam thought she was gorgeous.

A gorgeous photo and a dead girl.

Was there any real connection between the image and the reality of the corpse?

What did she look like now?

If B saw her now as she was would he still feel the same way or would he be repulsed.

“Y’know when she died, I remember, I was brushin’ me teeth and I saw someone out of th’ corner of me eyes. I called out t’ ’er y’know, “’Ello, love”, then realised she wasn’t there but I felt calm. It was good, a good feelin’. Peaceful-like”.

B gazed out of the window into the cold cusp of the early spring night.

Wolfgang changed the subject swiftly by standing up to go to the toilet and in the process knocking his and Sam’s glasses to the floor. The obligatory cheers came from a group of football supporters in the corner. The drink was splattered everywhere, the wine already seeping into the cracks on the floor. It was the usual situation with Wolfgang. Awkwardness and out of kilter. Cursing loudly, he wandered off to relieve himself as a member of the bar staff got out the dustpan, brush and mop. A tall well built lass with breeder’s hips and hair pulled back into a severe ponytail, she grimaced at the two gentlemen sat there, and rudely refused any help that they offered. B and Sam shrugged, fair enough. Fuck you, it’s your job. Wolfgang wandered back some minutes later with his hunchback-like gait.

“C’mon Igor!” shouted Sam, trying to dispel the grim atmosphere that had settled over the evening, “mine’s a red, y’misshapen bastard! What d’ya want, sympathy?”

Wolfgang stood there looking shocked for a moment, then a smile broke through his two rows of uneven teeth. And he started to laugh. The noise was like gravel, but to his two friends it was the most beautiful thing that could have happened that evening. Sam and B eyes widened at the grotesque spectacle of their friend in front of them and they all started to laugh. They laughed at their lives and their deaths and gravity, the sun, moon and stars.

Sam opened his eyes, tears streaming down his face and someone walked past him towards the doors.

Someone Sam knew.

Someone from Bangkok.

Someone alive.

A person, a real person.

It was Figgis.

The shuffling figure pulled the door and entered into the night. Sam leapt after him to his two friend’s surprise.

“Figgis!”

The lonely form of a man turned sharply to face Sam. It was Figgis, alright. The two men stood facing each other, not knowing whether it was a confrontation or reunion. Sam was still chuckling, he didn’t know if was there out of compassion or spite.

“It’s me, man. Sam!”

Figgis squinted, he didn’t seem to recognise Sam. It was probably the hair and beard, both would have been intolerable in the tropical climate of Thailand. Then suddenly a flash of remembrance struck across the Irishman’s face. A Flash of fear and hate. He instinctively began to back away from Sam, his body beginning to remember what his mind had yet to realise.

“You… wha’th’ feck d’ya want, Sam? Did ya not gimme enough th’ last time I saw ya?”

Figgis began playing with his mouth and pulled out a line of false teeth. He waved them in front of Sam, it was a defiant move. Sam took a step towards him and the specimen shrank physically away from him. Sam remembered the last time they had met. The beating he had given this piece of shite.

Why had he come outside to see him?

Was it that joyful moment he had experienced with his friends?

What did he expect, the man to greet him with open arms after getting the beating of a lifetime?

He stared hard at Figgis, saw the way that the Irishman had deteriorated. He looked like a skag head. South East Asia must have ruined him more than he imagined. This satisfied Sam more than any beating could.

Jonah would still be in prison.

A couple of revellers walked passed and their cheeriness made Sam smile. Figgis stared at him, confused and scared. Sam saw how pathetic the man in front of him had become.

“Look man, I… I’m sorry, mate. I was going through some things… y’know.”

Figgis just continued to gawp and Sam felt the rush that irritation gave him, from one extreme to the other.

“Fuck it, doesn’t matter. Just fuck off.”

Sam turned and headed back towards the warm womb of the pub, when he heard a weak voice behind him.

“Sam, y’got a couple o’ quid, I can borrow?”

Sam stopped dead on the spot. He thought nothing. Life was hard enough for everybody. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out five pounds and threw it towards the wretched figure in front of him. He knew it was waste of money on this particular individual, but maybe he would buy enough to kill himself with.

Maybe he was trying to get himself together?

Who knew?

Who cared?

He watched Figgis pick up the note then scuttle off around the corner. He felt bad that he had thrown the note at him. He just didn’t trust him, that was all.

Trust.

That was all he had.

He returned to the pub, to his drink and to the people that he did trust.

Even if he couldn’t tell them everything.

Here was a little bit of home, if only for an illusory second.

Maybe it was the encounter with Figgis or too much wine but that night Sam had a lucid dream.

“Sooooo, my dear Sam, now what?” said the silky heady hypnotic voice.

“What do you want now?” spoke Sam to the figure sat in the corner of the room. The voice came from a horned and bearded shadowy gentleman with a sly smile and clear piercing blue eyes glinting from the shade. The voice had the head of a goat. He seemed wearing a slightly shabby black suit and was drinking a glass of what appeared to be wine and smoking cigarettes out of a cigarette holder. The room was dark in the haze. The dream room appeared to be one that Sam had never seen before, yet one that was instantly recognisable as one in a cheap hotel. It was like a shabby film noir set, the green shaded lamp being the only source of sickly light.

“I do not believe we have finished our preeeeeeevious conversation, young man.”

The voice sounded like a gentle heartbeat, cool and relaxing. Sam knew he had to be on his guard, this voice was like a drug. It was pure ketamine. He also knew that they had met before.

“Bangkok,” he thought, “it must have been in Bangkok”.

But of course if it was a dream, how could he remember?

Was it a dream or was it really happening?

This feeling of doubt unnerved him, one never doubts in a dream.

You just accept that it is happening.

“Yeah, I know, but it’s kinda…kinda difficult, speaking to a god. I mean I don’t really believe’n ya, y’know what I mean? I mean I used ta, y’know when I was a nipper. No offence meant of course, but I don’t really know what ya want?”

For a second Sam realised that he was in dream, but that he could do nothing to stop it. All that talk of you being aware of your dream and then controlling it was nonsense. Carlos Castenada mumbo jumbo. He was stuck in it as much as he was to everyday life. More so, as you do not consider yourself to be awake when you are.

You just are awake.

Revelling in your ignorance.

“Just a talk, my little A-CO-LYTE. Just a teensy weensy talk like we used to have when you were a child.”

Sam felt electricity run down his spine as he remembered his conversation in the Welsh nights of his childhood. That was what was happening to him. That was the connection.

The theriocephalus (animal headed man) seemed as bored as he was but something about his manner demanded attention. The feeling that he could snap Sam in an instant was enough to keep his swirling concentration riveted. It was a feeling like the first indication of an allergy.

An uneasiness.

“You see I raaaaaaarely get the chance to converse with the human populace very much any more. They just do not seem to believe we exist. Christianity, the Age of Reason, all that nonsense. Hmmmmmmmmm… ”

The apparition just started gently humming with his clear alien eyes closed, his head nodding side to side. Sam noticed how real everything felt, the smells, the tastes, everything had the feel of reality, yet of course, he knew that he was dreaming.

“You didn’t think to bring me a glass of that plonk there, eh?” said Sam eyeing the wine.

The god stood up slowly, a drop of wine spilling onto the grimy carpet as he did so.

The god moved towards him in fast movements.

Cut movements contorting his body.

His shoulders went this way and that.

Looming into Sam’s face.

“Sorrrrrrry, my friend, but you shall have to go to an off licence and buy a bottle, I’m afraid. This is not for you.”

“Ah well, you can but try.”

“Indeeeeeeeeeeeeeed.”

Sam blinked and the shadow seemed to be resting once more in the chair.

“So, uuuummmm… Can ya give any pointers at all? Any answers t’my plight, as such?”

At this the figure leaned forward and spoke with some speed.

The room seemed lighter for an instant.

“Not really my dear boy, but I can tell you that I like you, always have.

You see you are a thinker and a drinker, and now you are quite mad.

Madness is my realm.

Inspiration, tragedy, suffering, feeling god-like, they all have a touch of lunacy about them.”

The room quickly darkened again and Sam stared at the floor, gathering his thoughts when suddenly a question appeared to him. It was a question that came out of the blue. A childish wonder. He was playing the game as the game played him.

“Did you really possess Nietzsche?”

“Oh yes, that was fun, a shame he had go catatonic on me so fast. I possess most people, at one time or another. I have even had you. Many, many times. You see, I live in a small part of your mind, just in front of the reptilian hind-brain. Remember, intoxication takes many forms.”

Sam was starting to get bored and the feeling of this dream being life-like was highly irritating. He willed himself to wake up. He was not successful. He felt like twiddling his thumbs.

“Thanks.”

“You are most welcome.”

Sam felt mischief slip into his mind. If he’s a god let’s fuck with him.

“Tell me. Can you see into the future?”

“Sorrry, I am not om-ni-pot-ent. You shall have to speak to ffffaaaaather for that.”

“If I stay crazy long enough I just might.”

“I should not think about it, if I were you. Father has not had a good rape in centuries, you would not really want to see him just at the moment. Even if he did give that power he would have to blind you in return, but there is a homeless vagrant in Battersea that can tell you when and where you are going to die.”

Sam sighed.

“So you can’t help and you can’t tell me what’s going to happen.”

“Not as such, but I shall see what I can do

to

influence

things

in

your

favour.”

Sam started to feel very irritated by the god that he did not believe in, why had he decided to intrude on a perfectly peaceful dream?

Why did everything feel real?

“You’re a parasite!” he spat at the figure, “You’re just in my head, so I’m going to tell you to go away. Now!”

The room suddenly went dark and cloudy, a very unpleasant feeling of being stretched from the inside hit Sam’s head and he suddenly found himself unable to breathe. Then that other feeling, the one that a paranoid like Sam knew only too well, that panic, appeared before him.

He could hear the breathing of Black Dogs all around him..

“Careful boy, do not start demanding from me”, the voice hissed.

“Yeah, yeah…we are just dolls to you aren’t we?” said Sam coughing, his breathing strained.

“I

prefer

the

word

puppets.”

Sam laughed at the absurdity of this.

“I bet ya do” he said.

The next thing he knew was that he was awake and he noticed that his ceiling was showing signs of damp.

It was still dark but Sam got out of bed, turned his lamp on and opened the curtains. The rain was still tap, tap, tapping against the window, it had been all night and into the wee hours of the morning. He didn’t care if someone in the houses over looking his room saw him naked with his mediocre cock half dangling between his legs and his tattoos sticking like dear life to his back, arms and ribs. He pulled the one old wooden chair in front of the window, grabbed his tobacco, papers and lighter and rested his feet up against the window ledge. Rolling up a cigarette, he wondered if the world had flooded as the water dripped down the window pane. It reminded him of last woman crying before she left him.

Sam thought about his brother.

He wondered if Edward was still awake and if he was out there on the streets.

Or was he staring out into the obscured morning’s shadows through his window?

Sam knew that somewhere in the world someone was breathing their last breath, followed by a death rattle, and what had once been a human was now cooling dead meat.

Someone in the world was being beaten by their husband.

Someone was thinking to blow themselves up.

Someone was smiling as they learnt that an enemy was dead.

Sam breathed out smoke as he wondered about the state of his brother’s mind.

How could he believe in and worship a god that let this world exist, lying in its grief and pain?

A god that acted like a child.

A jealous and ignorant god?

As Epicurus had said, why call him god?

A movement caught Sam’s eye.

It was a moth fluttering outside the window, it had been drawn by the light and was trying to avoid the rain.

Sam stared at it but he wouldn’t let it in.

Not tonight.

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