You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?
Dirty Harry (1971)
The old man’s insane. Hates like a lunatic and looks like one as well. Nothing inside but black stuff. Black tar, shit and vomit. He looks at me, spits in my face and I stand there. I know what’s coming, I know what happens by now. I hold my breath and wait. All this appears on the outside. It’s what we see, understand and mostly we’re okay with it, even if it’s mad. Then there’s the collapse, the reveal. Something happens that’s never happened before. It breaks through the surface grime that covers things up. This is one of those moments. I do something. Nothing amazing. Barely noticeable.
Courage comes when you least expect it. Comes out of nowhere, leaves a singing in your chest, a sunshine inside, a lightness. When it’s over, it’s done, complete. You might smile. You might not. It’s not arrogance. I don’t fucking know what it is. There must be something inside that’s connected to God. Not the church crap. Not that religious bollocks. Something you can’t name. The weird thing is it’s always the same but always new. A door opens. Some parallel dimension we’ve forgotten. It sucks you home. You’re a star in your own film.
There’s this thing called out of body experience. It sometimes happens when people are dying or in shock. They see everything from another place, out of their body. With courage you’re in your body. You don’t leave it. It takes over and you vanish. There’s no fear. A power snaps in and you’re doing what you can only dream about. No humming and harring, no Oh dear what shall I do? It’s too fast. You’re in there and it’s poetry, beautiful. You might be taking on more than you can chew but it doesn’t matter. Matter’s gone out the window. You’re in and when you’re done, you’re out. No more, no less.
Talking of vanishing, me and Johnny went to see Vanishing Point last Sunday afternoon. They let anyone in the Odeon. It smells of manky dogs and stale piss. Such a tip. Needs decimating, exterminating, vanishing. Most days it’s empty apart from dirty old men who come and sit behind you. They start pushing your seat from behind with their knees. One day I had enough, I got up and told the bastard to fuck off. Caused a right old stir. Manager came down and chucked me out. No refund. The pervert was smiling as I left.
Vanishing Point was fantastic. Fast cars, drugs and beautiful women. Something else. It was well mystical, man. A journey into our times. Cosmic. Beyond the hippy cool and happenings there was something else. I love those films that make you wonder about stuff, they seem to hit a place that lights up inside. The hero wasn’t way out. Just a geezer caught up in the madness. He pushed it. Pushed the boundaries, the surface of things. Vanished.
The old codger’s doing his freak out routine with his blood vessels about to explode, eye whites crimson and I’m still standing there, waiting. It’s his Dance Macabre (listened to that in English last week), a wave of frustrated hate sounds exploding all over each other, cutting deep into the air... picture a clown up to his neck in horseshit, drowning in it... spittle flying with expletives, machine gun bullets, jagged glass cutting through baby soft flesh.
Usually when people chunter, there’s about four things going on. There’s the sussing of the situation. There’s the do I want to be here. There’s the what can I get out of this. And there’s the how do I go about getting it. The other twats are doing the same so there’s as much chance of any real communication as winning the pools. Thing is, someone does and when they do, I reckon they might have a glimpse of that other place. Seems daft we can only get there in extreme situations.
I hold his gaze. Whoa. What the fuck am I doing? I’m here, now. Nothing inside. No me, no him. I see into him and he sees I’m seeing. Contact. Communication. Silent. The outer noise goes on, the movement. It’s a million miles away. Me and him, here, in the centre. We both know. Words are redundant. They can’t compete. This, whatever it is, says everything.
He sees... it sends ripples through his animal brain and in that fraction of a second, his eyes look with a different glint. Confusion, reassessment, readjustment. That’s when I do what I do. Some other part of who I am rises and I clench my right fist. Hardly noticeable. An animal reaction. No. It’s more than that. It’s everything I am. All the years of my life. The who I am, what I am, who I might become, fuck knows. Not like it’s going to do anything. A simple clenching of a fist. A fist that says Go on then, get on with it. We both know what’s coming. I don’t give a shit. You can hurt me, but you can’t really hurt me.
Well. It didn’t come. The usual. What came was worth everything, what came was something that would live with me forever. He realised we’d gone past some point of no return. He wouldn’t admit it. Not out here where we pretend. So he spewed and fumed, spat, said he saw I was clenching, saw I was defending myself. Tried to shrug it off, laugh it off. Big deal... but it was. We both knew something had happened. A line had been crossed.