The cat the mat sat. Subject, object, verb. The cat sat on the mat. Subject, verb, object. The cat sits at my shoulder …
Someone once said that there are only seven stories in the whole world, written, rewritten, told, retold. Seven stories and nearly seven billion people.
Narratives are split apart like horse chestnut shells, to form those pretty hats for the faerie boys, lightly fringed by a smiling upturn and heavily armoured by a spiky exterior belying a soft, velvety cushion. It is of vital importance that …
My mother rewrote, incessantly, from one day to the next.
“Why don't you love me?”
A bedroom, blue covered duvet, biscuit coloured carpet. I didn't think she would follow.
“I did. I do.” Subtle conjugation to avoid the initial accusation.
“You didn't. You don't.” A perfectly measured response, if it had three sides it would be equilateral.
THE TENSE IS SLIPPING. Believe me, there was enough tension there.
Then … She explained it, as all the best story-makers do, logically, block by block, like a boxer, head, chest, gut. She was crying, but I was crying harder. A question that takes decades to formulate and tear from a reluctantly dafordisized belly …
“I just …” And then she was lost in the interrogation.
It had been happening for years. At first no-one noticed it. Technology had moved life along so quickly. It was no surprise that the elders didn't understand the youngers. There were constant refrains of 'It wasn't like this in my day,' as if these absolutes somehow proved the truth of attrition. But your day, my dear, isn't my day, no-one can have the same recollections, repetition isn't facsimile.
They were worried, I was worried, about Y2K. Supposedly we had become entirely dependent and Armageddon related to the binary, rather than the binary relating to Armageddon. Yes/No, fine. Yes/No/Don't know, not fine.
Dandy in my fripperies of 'this is this', and 'every question has an answer' … sorry, I am confusing the ultimate paradox.
The virus, they thought it would be computerised. Sure, they'd seen worms, trojans, nasty little self replicators. Initially, for a while, they believed it was an issue of isolated incidents, confined (almost refined by and) to technological platitudes …
I am telling you too much …
I spoke with Frater X the other day, explained my hypothesis, he said it was schizophrenic in origin, and then took another slug of his tea. When I look at him, with his sharp chiselled jaw bone, I find myself listening through my eyes.
This, my friends (can I call you my friends?) is something else. Have you ever seen a newborn child? Think of its shape, how you could snap it, let its head fall back without the support of your forearm, perhaps a mild suffocation would occur.
Think of its eyes, always blue, perhaps (there is no certainty) … THINK! They look, the eyes, into you, not through you, the look and they want … not recognition, no, this is not possible at this stage, protection? No, this is not possible at this stage. I am talking of protomorphic. They look without seeing and whilst seeing everything simultaneously.
OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, it has happened and the URGE to communicate …
The great sister, she says it is our life's work to enscribe any realities we find available …
Thus (ahem, thus), I learned the art of storytelling from my mother. Let me list, it is easier if I list:-
1.Her father, my mother's father, was called William. He was Irish. Around the age of fifteen (or perhaps it was sixteen, maybe seventeen, or eighteen, nineteen, twenty, who knows) fell in love. How does one FALL in love? There is the notion of precipice, a fear of flying, an accidental accident – is there another type? He fell in love, with a woman, of a different – how do we say it now? – religion, caste, class??? Her family moved her, out of harm's way, to Scotland … He followed. He spent the next X number of years looking for her. When he couldn't find her he married someone else, my grandmother, who he grew to hate, with penile fortitude. She died (I will probably return to this). He married another. She died (I will probably return to this). He found his 'true love' and then married her. Forty fucking years. That should probably have a separate point.
2.Forty fucking years.
3.Two weeks after they were married he took a beer barrel to the head. In those days, way back when (cars were a luxury? The pill hadn't been invented? It was still considered acceptable to breed thirteen children per wife) there wasn't a cure, for a brain haemorrage.
5.After tearing out every hair on his body. Mother mentioned his eyebrows but not his pubes.
William, William it was really nothing.
There was some trouble with a brother (Neal) and the War (always capitalised), but really nothing, nothing out of the ordinary – you're born, you live, you die. Three stages of man, epitomised, sodomised by the ORDER of things. I think order is connected to the ordinary. That doesn't matter.
People hold on to their stories, my mother did, as if there is some truth inherent in the granulated fiction of their existence. This happened, then this, then this. Who cares? No-one cares now, not even for the apostrophe.
Anson, it started with Anson, the slow slide and decline into an oblivion of mismatched realities. And then there was the plague, the virus, the existential angst ridden gnosis – there should be a comma somewhere. The police, the pigs, the filth, they began to monopolise and proselytise our words, slowly at first, so we barely even noticed, a few automatic corrections, Ss for Zs. The whole concept of freedom on the internet went out of the window, fuck Boreman. Rules were engaged, resisted, re-engaged, until it was a systematic revocation, usually by idiots, spurred and spermed.
Ha ha ha ho ho ho, ha ha, ho ho, ha ho, ha ha ho.
Santa Claus was coming to town, but he wasn't wearing and red and he didn't care who had been naughty or nice. Santa Claus had claws.
It works like this, and I told them, I told Zenny Zoy, Behemoth, the Interrogator, but they didn't believe me, not at first, like my mother didn't believe me, when I said … When I said, and now I can't think of an example, because all I've got is that bird in my head, and how one man can gamble for his existence, and how existence can be split down into exit stance, and how, and how, and how ….
There's a perfect symmetry to this, the silent sister says so (the Silent Sister?), the Supreme Sister? We have to. I have to. Endless memories and fascinations, things learned and unlearned and relearned. We have to. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. They're coming. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don't make the machine beep, even the slightest noise alerts them and they're always on their guard. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh people, they think the silence is the covering of our eyes and ears. Let them be bemused in their ignorance, confused by the malfeasance. Please. I'll tell you about my mother. Our stories are all we have.