Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Star Diving

“Hello!” The voice is pronounced, high pitched – feminine.

There is no way to tell who the voice belonged to; there was just a voice, a little shuffle of feet. By the clip and the clop it is determined that they are high heels of sorts though the colour and the make cannot be determined.

“How long have you been here?” The voice talks again it’s long drawn out and emphasised to the hilt.

“Where is here?” You reply in little puffs of air.

Here is where, where is here? What is here? Who is here? Here?

Here is the place at which one is located, wherever that happens to be. How broad "place" is to be taken depends on context, and likewise so does "there". By generalising one could refer the ‘here’ to earth which we all inhabit unless you happen to be floating in space which means you are there or perhaps neither here or there.

“You are here!” The reply comes, curtly.

Here???

Why?

You cannot see. All that your eyes can take in is the darkness.

You try to picture the voice, give a body to the sound, to the shuffle, to the heat that you feel encroaching in on you. You remember the dark, in a closet - you were a child – frightened – afraid of the noises outside, the muttering of deep voices, the chattering of children, the noise of a passing car. You were afraid of the black inside, the silence inside, the fear inside your heart that told you, you would be caught and punished for your sins – you evil little child, what have you done this time?

Blue clouds, the world under your feet - tricycle child, sunshine child, mother loves you dearly.

Conflict.

Suddenly you are at war with yourself when you become older; girls are images of desire, your old man a barrier in your way.

And then the snap of the voice, the pop and bark of the female voice. “How long have you been here, answer me God damn it!”

A week or two perhaps, a month. You do not know, nor do you pretend to know, your legs buckle, you try to remain standing, you start to feel very heavy.

“Answer!”

You shake your head and say, “I do not know.”

Silence, not a word is uttered back, all you can see is midnight and the stars that are supposed to guide the wayward traveller home but they do nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

“You know what you did?”

You can’t remember, you shake your head, perhaps a brain exercise might help or a trip down memory lane could do you a world of good.

What is the mind? Why can’t it remember, why does it just switch off? It does in your case, switches off like a light, or a plug.

“You…”

“Yes,” you reply.

“Who are you?”

“I do not remember all I remember is hiding in a closet when I was young. Who are you?”

Smack!

A heavy strike hits your open eyes; the nose bears the brunt of it.

“You are under interrogation here, not me; you should have learnt that by now!”

You try to rub your face to take away the itch and sting, but you can’t, your arms are bound, tied to something.

You can’t remember your name for the life of you, Sandra, Michael, Fiona, Jesse, Sean, Gary? You try to feel sensation in your crouch to see if you’ll swell up like a man, you try to move your chest to see if you have breasts. No feeling. What do your emotions tell you; do you feel more inclined to the masculine or the feminine? You do not know.

Did you start a family? Were you head of a business consortium? Were you a deep sea diver? Were you a Spanish fisherman that was affected by the sinking of the Prestige? Were you a contortionist in your spare time? What is one plus one, or the square root of forty-five minus the square root of one hundred and eight? Why are plants green? You remember what your biology teacher told you suddenly, the reason for plants being green is due to a substance called chlorophyll. But could they not be pink or yellow. You ask yourself where a flamingo’s pink or reddish feather colour comes from you realise it’s its diet, which is high in alpha and beta-carotene. You realise that people eat beta-carotene when they eat carrots. You ask yourself why aren’t people pink or orange? Somehow you know that human’s diets are more balanced, they do not eat one certain thing, you remember someone telling you this, though you don’t know who. Then you realise you don’t know anything, don’t know where you came up with such nonsense don’t know if such facts are true, don’t know if you aren’t some giant flamingo or perhaps a massive humming bird.

Flutter-flutter. You try to fly.

What does yellow look like you wonder? You have heard the word before but you cannot connect you do not know, and neither can you remember what a dog looks like or a helicopter for that matter.

“Damn it I need answers!!” The voice raises, screams, tears at your heart, eats into you, takes lovely little chunks out of your flesh.

You have no answers.

You don’t know what answers are.

You assume at once that if you can think somewhat logically you must be a human though you don’t know. Perhaps you are a gorilla, though you don’t know and question yourself as to what a gorilla is. Perhaps it is small and runs around with a tail, perhaps it is large and wide and eats green leaves, though you do not remember what green leaves are or what eating is like.

Marble stairs, cold, heat, white, marzipan…you can’t remember what those things are, but they filter through your brain, pound inside your head, scoop out the little bit of white, that little bit of brain food.

Sex.

The word pops into your head.

The voice says sensually, “I’ll do whatever you want if you give us the answers!”

You feel heat, sensual heat, though you are confused as to what warmth is you know it is what it is immediately.

Sex pops into your head.

Again.

You don’t remember but you know it is good, you know you want it.

You feel a sensation in your toes, they start to tingle, to twist and squirm, then something shoots up your leg – it must be pain the pain that constricts and cuts a little here and there, makes ones teeth grit and snap down hard.

“Don’t you do it, don’t you do it!” The voice starts to panic, flutter about the place, bouncing all around.

The pain is biting now, though you don’t know how it is happening or how such a matter can be resolved – you know that someone is screaming next to you.

“Open up the door! Open up the fucking door!” The voice sounds desperate, panic stricken, she sounds like she is fighting for her life. The sensation creeps up your legs, over your waist then chest and arms engulfing your face. The screams become more incessant, high pitched wails and moans. You hear a pop and crackle, a gentle little snap from behind. The arms are free. The moaning gets worse, the door is pounded, the woman cries like a dying cat. You do not know what a cat sounds like but you assume that that is what one would sound like.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” The scream grabs you nearly knocks your over but you manage to stay upright.

Blood. Curdle. Scream.

Then there is silence, the voice that has been questioning you has gone, a strange smell hits your nostrils, you bring your hands to your face and take off the blindfold that has subjected you to such blindness. You are still engulfed in black though you are not surrounded in blackness just black; the walls are crispy black, a mound of something burning lies next to the door.

“Dr. Gold?” The name pops into your head.

You shutter, think about it for a time, wonder what to make of it all, what just happened, what have you done? You don’t know what just happened or what you did. You stand transfixed, nothing can move you, your mouth stands agape, and you are motionless.

♦♦♦♦

“Fuck this!” He was at it again, little Billy Martin, cursing his head off, throwing things around the room, basically being his usual bollocks of a boy.

He was rude, tepid, big headed, and could hardly fit through the door. He had eyes like a lagoon, deep, dark and green, and his hair was a dark brown. No one could understand him, his mood swings, his appetite to kick up a storm, to charge fearlessly into a fight not taking into account the consequences. He was cruel, was known to kill animals -especially cats. Once in the middle of winter he threw a cat into the icy water, he laughed as its little head bobbed up on the surface, a long stick helped to keep it submerged. When he was fourteen he was sent home after beating a girl to near death. That was the end of school. His mother died a few months later, some say the kid did it, but that was just speculation. His grandparents tried to raise him, but after a few months he was sent to an institution for delinquent teenagers.

♦♦♦♦

You’re still standing in the same spot you do not know what to do.

What is doing? What is being? What is a verb? A verb is an action word, a doing word. You realise that you are doing, you are partaking in an action though no word was said.

V-E-R-B

You spell it very slowly, each letter trawled over.

Viral, vision, volume, vicarious, vital

Easy, enrichment, early, enlightenment, Ethernet…

Remember…remember…remember…

Bad boy…bad boy…bad boy…

You shake your head. Something isn’t right something is trying to get into your head, some bit of information some…you can’t be programmed because that is so clique. You hear shouts somewhere in the distance, a loud whirring, chopping sound that fills your head, spins you around like you are on a roundabout being twisted around and you yell, “Stop!” but nothing will make it stop.

You do not know what to do, you close your eyes and fall, spiralling, sinking, and dropping down towards endless ground.

♦♦♦♦

You wake up on some bed surrounded in white, white sheets, walls and women in gowns. You do not know where you are, you can’t move your arms or legs you quickly discover you can only move your head, nothing else.

You try to use your mind to figure things out.

Figure things out?

You start thinking about variables, about independent and dependant clauses such as A causes B. Drinking too much wine results in a hangover. But how much is too much, and who is to say when a headache is a hangover, what if one is resistant to the affects of alcohol in wine or if they popped a pill to reduce the affect a hangover might have on a person.

The questions come flooding in as if they were spilling out through the cracks in the ceiling, through the wooden flooring where the heels of nurses went clippty-clop.

Clippty-clop, clippty-clop.

“Hello,” A big head peers into your eyes, she has narrow-trimmed, light brown eye brows, blue eyes with a splash of grey, red pouting lips and finely accentuated cheek bones.

“You need anything?” She asks, sitting down on the chair next to your bed. You take in her uniform - one piece –white except for little lines of blue on the collar; the end of the short sleeves, the end of her skirt. Her arms are slender, slightly tanned perhaps from the barbeque she had with her friends on Sunday but you don’t know that. Your eyes lead you down her legs to the white socks and plimsolls. Everything has to be white. She throws her blonde hair back behind her long slender neck, it reminds you of some ad with a spotlight lamp accentuating some models perfect hair, no split ends, and so good you could almost eat a handful of hair.

“So,” she says. “Do you know why you are here?”

Here?

“Where is here?”

“Hospital.” She smiles.

You look down at your arms that are bound to the bed; you question her with your eyes. Do they strap people to beds in hospitals? Crazy people?

Who is to say what qualifies someone to crazy status? A friend could blurt out, “You’re crazy man!” You realise crazy may refer to a state of general mental disorder or insanity, though friends frivolously say you’re ‘crazy’ not questioning your state of mind. When you set out to prepare for the International Federation of Competitive Eating’s Annual Hamburger Championship, your friend may affectionately exclaim, “You’re insane!” It doesn’t mean you’ll be locked up for taking part in such an event or that your friend is even questioning your sanity.

You realise the English language is confusing you, you realise this as the nurse sticks needles into your arm. Your eyes glance down at your arms.

“Don’t worry,” she says, “It’ll calm you down, and we’ll take you out of your restraints soon, don’t worry.”

You try not to worry as your thoughts flutter around the room, a prick of a needle momentarily disturbs such thoughts.

She taps your arm affectionately, assuring you that you need your rest and that everything will be fine.

“Get some rest,” She says as your eyes roll around your head, the line of her breast stares out to you, calling you to nestle in, to be her bosom buddy.

Your eyes close, you drift off.

Sleep.

♦♦♦♦

Boys will be boys they say and the violence portrayed in the media had an affect on adolescents divulging their mind to fantasise about acts of depravity.

It wasn’t only boys; girls too gravitated towards violent behaviour.

Images of violence were analysed, children watched hours of TV whilst analysts and researchers came to the conclusion that TV was damaging children, though the correlation between other behavioural problems was not researched.

Neil Perry had the answers; he proposed an extensive programme to be put in place for all National schools that would limit the amount of violence the child carried out even if large amounts of violent acts were seen through the child’s eyes on a regular basis.

Through psychosis the mind could limit certain behavioural traits the child may have. The programme was implemented. Nationally it was an immediate success. Adolescent crime was at an all time low, and there was talk about introducing it to other institutes such as prisons and state funded childcare centres.

The programme had its complications, these were kept quiet.

♦♦♦♦

You are propped up in your bed now though your arms are still restrained by your side. You are groggy, your mouth is dry. You think about Dry mouth, a terrible condition, though you don’t know why such a topic is reflected on. You think to yourself because there is no one else to think to. Though you realise that such a thing is absurd and one can only think to oneself as thinking recurs in the mind at least that is what you remember.

If you could move your arms you would bring them to your ears and scream, bringing the scream all the way from the soles of your feet through the body and out the mouth. Thinking is driving you crazy; not being able to focus and think about what one wants to think about makes you want to jump, drown, bash your head against a rock and slowly melt into the air, into the green dark ground, into the starry filled sky.

“Twinkle, twinkle little star…”

You wonder who you are, and who are they -the white ones, the smiley ones, the chattering ones, the running ones with needles in their hands.

We regret what we have done; we regret what we have not. What regrets? You wonder, shake the head, the little marbles that have been thrown about rattle.

“Hello,” the nurse says, she has comes to see you. She is wearing green eye shadow, and a touch of rosy blush on her checks. You wish you could touch another human feel their warmth. She smiles, you smile back.

The smile fades she says, “Do you know why you are here?”

You shake your head.

“Do you know your name?”

Another shake of the head.

“You will realise soon enough. You are to stay here indefinitely; you are currently undergoing tests so we can properly diagnose you and your condition.”

“Condition…?”

“Yes, you didn’t think you were here on holiday did you?” Her head snaps sharply back, the tone is one of harshness, a quick bite at the heel.

“No,” you reply closing your eyes – time to get some rest.

You remember diving in the night – Night diving – it’s like swimming in stars, the strobe light illuminating the reef below in little patches. The reds and yellows highlighted in the diver’s lamp, the darkness that lays ahead, the unknown mass of water that surrounds you as you hear the sound of the deep, echo, call and screech. The sea is alive.

Sometimes people would like to see themselves from the outside in, to be an outsider, to glance into themselves rather than glancing out. You ponder such thoughts, realise that you could be someone great, but then you realise that you don’t really know who you are and cannot assume certain assumptions. You are confused, you need the answers.

♦♦♦♦

Neil Perry had locked himself up again in the little cell that had no windows to let in light. He locked himself up. People are normally locked up by others not by ones self.

He was experimenting again; his methods had been deemed too risky by a statutory body and was discontinued. He decided that he would continue his research but on himself he only trusted two people Dr Helen Gold and Dr Vince Adams, he enlisted the help of these people for his research.

There were certain ways of conducting ones self when it came to treating Neil Perry.

  1. One cannot end the experimental phase; all treatments are to go ahead even if problems arise. The project is not to be abandoned.
  2. Secrecy is paramount.
  3. A rigorous analysis of the patient, Neil Perry is to be carried out weekly in cell D.

It wasn’t long before the tests started going wrong and Neil Perry started showing large levels of toxins in his body. Both doctors tried to establish the cause, perhaps he picked up these toxins from the paint in his cell.

Then he started to get violent, irrational, and paranoid.

Level two of interaction with the patient was to be administered. This meant increasing the psychotropic drug dosage and using any means necessary to control or subdue the patient. This called for shock treatment, torture methods and anything that would help.

Then he started to forget, this started slowly then he rapidly declined into a state of the ‘unknown’. Who was he? What had he done?

♦♦♦♦

Billy Martin, the name comes to you, makes you shiver a little, though you realise a large window is open letting in a cool breeze draft in throughout the room.

It is cold.

You wish you could lift your arms to your chest for that extra bit of warmth, for that reassurance that you can touch and feel loved, even if it is carried out by your own self.

The nurse is at your side again.

You smile; you think you figured it out. You think you have the answer.

She looks tired, no eye liner today, no lipstick. Probably a long day.

“My name is Billy Martin!” You ecstatically exclaim.

She shrugs her shoulders, not really interested in such a discovery.

“And who are your parents?” She knows your condition is unstable, she knows you could have come up with that name by some random gestation of the brain.

“Mary and Wilson?”

She hastily gets off her seat fixes her creased outfit and leaves you alone with your thoughts.

You contemplate for a moment. You try to think about thinking but you give up on the idea as the mind doesn’t want to assist you to find out who you are and what you are doing in such a place and in such a state.

Sleep.

You drift off; the sky is your ocean as you float amongst the stars in the dark. The brightness sparkles, undulates with a whoosh and a swoosh as a fiery tail of light arches by. You gaze at the full round moon, ripe and tasty looking as if it could feed the world. Billy Martin comes to you, the name is held together as if on a string, you imagine life as Billy Martin. The stars disappear and you are standing in the dark with your hands to your head, sobbing, whimpering like a dog cruelly attacked by drunken angry teenagers. You wail, try to conceal the tears, though you can’t put them back into your eyes. Nothing can stop your tears.

What are tears?

You realise that tears are a liquid produced by the body's process of lacrimation to clean and lubricate the eyes. Sorrow or sadness may lead to crying. You could have tears of joy. But these are not tears of joy; they are painful tears as you mix them with low guttural sounds of anguish.

Who did this to you?

You shake your head, you don’t know.

The light streams in from the windows waking you up. You see the nurse sitting next to you, startled you jolt back.

There is nothing to be afraid about.

She is holding papers in her hand, “Billy if that is your name, I have records here of you and your life. To be honest with you it doesn’t make for pleasant reading, I had to look over them to be sure that the information in there won’t hinder your progress and you know you’ve been making good progress.”

You nod, you start to get excited- not in your pants excited but excited with the prospect of finding out who you are.

“Billy Martin born 1968 to Mary and Wilson Martin, grew up in Heston 23 Governor Road, went to St John’s Secondary school that was an advocate of Neil Perry’s programme of socially acceptable behaviour.” She skimmed through. “Disciplinary problems – trouble with the police – violent and socially unacceptable behaviour. Intense psychoanalysis –an induction into Neil Perry’s Level 2 programme only made matters worse. Mother died, father’s whereabouts unknown, death of mother could have been linked to Billy…though this was never determined. In 1975 he was taken to a boys School were rigorous tests were conducted by Neil Perry. Inhumane methods were used, number of deaths increased, behavioural attitudes steadily got worse. Boys developed strange attributes, some boys forgot who they were and went mad. When this mad state was achieved, the boy’s abilities increased. 1982 A fire burnt the building to the ground all the boys bodies were accounted for accept Bill Martins the medical staff had disappeared as well.”

She threw the papers on the ground. You realise that it was a condensed version, there were nasty facts that she left out, she gave you the friendly reader version.

You start to remember things, the boy’s school, arms and legs flying, teeth and blood in the air. You can hear the noise of boys, see the frantic wide eyes, and feel the fear of the staff. You remember the hole in the ground reserved for the dead. You shiver, wonder why you are restrained.

You are restrained because you are dangerous, you tell yourself, you realise you burnt the school to the ground, it was you.

Murderer.

“We restrained you for your own good, we managed to get your toxin levels down, and they were at a frightening level. Other than that we don’t know anything, why you are here or who you are. Perhaps you are Billy Martin, who knows.”

“You don’t believe me?”

“I don’t know what to think, my sister was in a coma no one believed she would recover, she didn’t,” She said too much, she was supposed to be a professional, she had broken the rules of conduct.

You shake your head not knowing what to say. There’s nothing that can be said. You ask yourself what her sister’s death has to do with anything. She leaves you to your thoughts, you try to remember names, faces, places you once visited, but you can’t, you struggle to remember. You need answers.

♦♦♦♦

The day came when boy number 125 was added to the hole, he limply rolled into the dirt, bruises and blood covered his body. There was no ceremony to mark the solemn occasion, no rear guard of boys, no crying faces, no song to bid farewell.

Then came the awful fire in the library that resembled a mausoleum, Billy was there, face bruised, arms filled with needle marks, trying to read a book entitled A How to On Tying Knots. When he started to heat up inside, it started from his toes and rushed up his body, until he became a fireball bursting into flames, smoke engulfed the room spread through the upper shelves, ripping through the volumes of books.

The fire spread so fast that in no time at all, all the adjoining buildings had caught fire. The fire services arrived too late.

The next day the event made national news, throwing the government into panic, the very programme they had advocated had ended in a nightmare. Neil Perry had disappeared – the government tried to shake its hand of the affair.

♦♦♦♦

You wake up. Wide eyed and bright, you feel good, feel like having a walk about and soaking up some sun. You think about who you are: Billy Martin you assume, though you have no recollection who you really are. What did you do to deserve the treatment that was carried out on you? What did your parents look like? Did anyone even care as to who you were?

You didn’t notice the nurse sitting there, taking in the silence. She smiles, stands up and nears you.

“Don’t worry Billy we are trying everything we can do to help you.” She puts her hand on your shoulder her left hand strokes your cheek. You realise that she is breaking some rule by getting this close to you. You tremble; she lowers her face to yours, her lips planting a wet warm kiss on your mouth. She shakes her head realising what she is doing, jolts upright and leaves the room, leaving you alone with the kiss still vivid. You close your eyes imagining the furthering of such an action, the intimacy, the arousal, the warm still air.


♦♦♦♦

Billy the bad boy is running, falling down a dirt hill, he can hear noises behind him, shouting screaming, he can’t let them catch up, he as to keep on running.

He hears them mocking him again, and again, “Bad boy Billy!! Do you know what we do with bad boys?”

What makes a boy bad or anyone bad for that matter? Is it when he uses unethical behaviour to commit an undesirable act? Did Billy really commit unethical behaviour, what were the variables involved was it his fault that he had spiralled out of control?

He could hear the voices, the sound echoing all around, as he tumbled down the steep embankment, he could not give up.

♦♦♦♦

The nurse is sitting in front of you, Billy. It is dark but you can just about make out her face in the night. Her face is pale; her blush is running down her cheeks, her eyes are red and bloodshot. She grips a needle in her hand, you realise you should be frightened. She nears you, her eyes sharp and focused. “Do you know what you have done?” She spits, something isn’t right.

“But I’m Billy I didn’t know what I was doing, please!”

“Hahaha!” She laughs, the sound splashing against the walls, sounding like a thousand voices. “I went into the restricted area where they keep all the patients files; they were keeping you a secret from us, now I really know what you have done”

You try to think, try to analyse the situation, to put everything into context but you can’t.

Can’t.

Can not.

Will not.

You feel something now whelming up within you. It’s starting to hurt; something inside you is causing such a terrible pain. You struggle try to get out of the restraints, but you can’t.

You feel like death.

“I killed you in your sleep,” She smiles, “there’s no need to resist. There’s nothing that you can do.”

“What…?” you whisper. You are confused.

“You killed my sister, it was you she was the girl that you kicked so badly when you were fourteen…she was in hospital for months…in a coma…and then she died! How could you kill her?” She is at your throat digging her nails into your neck, she hates you Billy, really truthfully hates you.

You start thinking as you try to wriggle out of her grip, if she killed you when you were asleep by administering some drug why was she trying to strangle you? It didn’t make any sense. Something snaps you feel energy rushing into your body, it feels good. Memories start to flood back. You remember dark-haired Dr Gold, the experiments, her death by your hands - burnt to the crisp. You remember the fire, the burning, and the screams of children.

The nurse’s hands tighten around your burning neck. There’s a tingle in your toes and slowly it travels through your body rushing to your head. You feel the restraints buckling, your arms and legs being freed. With all the strength you can muster you grab her arms and throw her violently to the floor.

She shrieks as she crashes to the floor. You watch a little flicker of a flame on the white sheets lighten up the room. KABOOM! The entire bed is bathed in flames as you scream above the red and orange flames. Where’s a fireman when one needs one? You think as you watch the flames lick and flick over the room, smoke fills and chokes the lungs.

Who are you really? Billy? You shake your head as you think on your name, “Neil Perry,” you whisper, “my name is Neil Perry.” You realise who you are immediately images of your inhumane acts flood your mind as you plead for some reversal of fortune, you know no forgiveness could heal you or cleanse your actions. You shiver, even though it is hot you are cold, all your experiments produced monsters and in striving to put into a affect your ideas you perfected a sorry mess. You think of the nurse and the death of her sister, the creation of Billy and others like him. Billy would never be heard from again you made sure of this.

You do not know what to think anymore as you start to shake, and then you close your eyes taking in your last look at life. You are sorry though no words can express your remorse as you slip into a dark night sky to dive forever in an ocean of endless stars.

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