All posts by sparks018

Start The Car And Take Me Home



The worrying thing about change, I find, is that it’s always the same. Unrelenting; unwavering; unsentimental. When you find the moment you are happy to see out your days with…this too shall pass. Such a loss is many degrees worse than some of the most harrowing events I’ve witnessed or been party to; I’ve always learnt from harrowing events. How to be stronger; how to be more patient; to consider consequences. What have I ever learnt from a moment of happiness? Synonyms. Some were more ‘joyous’, others would be better described as ‘thrilling’. Few others, ‘bliss’.I fear less the darkness that blinds than the light that burns. One quickly extinguished, the other lingers. But what for?

This was as far as my asinine thoughts had pondered until I was distracted. There was a child, apparated next to where I was sat. A boy. Young, no older than four. Five at a push. Despite barely reaching the desk at his fullest stretch had his nose peering into my notebook.

“Hello.” In the same sort of way I would address a strange cat in the kitchen, I had an opening gambit.

No answer. His hands remained buried in his blue dungarees as he haunched over my writing. A self appointed editor-in-chief. With no parent in sight, I moved to ‘cat in kitchen’ line two:

“Are you lost?”

“Are you lost?” He echoed.

“I’m where I’m supposed to be. You’re not though are you?”

He turned to look at me and cocked his head. He was laughing guiltily as though he and I were sharing a secret. One I, perhaps, didn’t understand.

“What are you writing about?”

Amidst all else curiosity and wonderment had won out.
I stared both inwardly and onto the paper in front of me.

“It’s just what I am thinking. It feels important.”

Only silence in reply.

“…just to me. No one needs to see it. It’s cathartic. I want to feel like I’m doing something positive.”

More silence. Dead air I felt compelled to fill.

“I want the world to be different, better maybe.”

“Like Batman?” The energy of those two words obliterated the soundlessness from before.

“No. I don’t want to save the world; sometimes, I would quite like to believe it is worth saving.”

I wanted to tell him of complexities of adulthood; checks, balances; moral relativism; ideology; but I just felt foolish. When I was young, there was what was right and there was what was wrong. I had always considered that the world had seen its edges frayed, but, in keeping, it was more complicated than that.

I stopped and looked over the child properly for the first time. He didn’t meet my gaze, not avoiding it just…never fully acknowledging it. Distracted by everything around him all at once. He was somewhere where everything was new and exciting. Even as jealous as I was, I felt less of a man for considering taking that away from him.

“So is it? Worth saving, I mean..?” I asked. I’m not so certain why; the wisdom between the ages, maybe, started to shine through even just a little.

“Oh, yes,” the lone reply, tinged with auspicious excitement, “…there are dinosaurs.” With that he turned away with the grace (and accompanying roars) of a T. Rex and vanished as swiftly as he had come.

I now had my answer. I caught the knowing look in my reflection from my desk mirror. I replied with a curt nod before my eyes returned to marking time across the page once more.

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I’m Going To A Town That Has Already Been Burnt Down

Is today the day I get everything sorted, or is it Thursday?

I have tried to edit another chapter to put up on here, and wasn’t going to post until then. However, I was sworn in as Chairman of the Bored today. Massive news. Full of joy, fun and sarcasm. It was a unanimous decision; 100% of votes cast in favour. All considered me as the person best placed to tackle; raise awareness; promote; respond to the boredom crisis that has now reached peak levels.

Three things in particular helped my case for election.

  1. The boredom outbreak seems to only ever to be in a twelve-inch radius of wherever I happen to be, so I am more experienced with it.
  2. I was the single person casting a vote. The only person present during the course of the day.
  3. I was the sole candidate. (See point two)

There had to be a recount after Jeff Lynn of ELO was initially declared the winner. Ironically, this was the injection of excitement that this Marie Celeste of a day truly needed.

Today is one of those days for Iggy Pop-ping along; perhaps required after spending evenings Alabama Song-ing along instead. It is all about finding a balance.

I always like to include some sort of song/video I’ve found that has made me smile, or at least pause for thought. After some lovely words given after my last entry, I have instead put another example of my guitar work. I am in love with it again today, so three minutes respite below:

Go check out Jay Foreman at www.jayforeman.co.uk or on his Youtube to hear his genius at work properly…

 

 

 

There’s a Part of Me That Still Believes My Soul Will Soar Above The Trees

I’ve been laid up in bed under the weather for the last few months. For the most part, if I haven’t been able to reach something from my bed, I have just, simply, had to do without it.

One thing I have had access to is my guitar, so I’ve playing about with that for a good while (much to the chagrin of my neighbours). I wanted to play ever since I was a child. I was gifted my guitar as a teenager, and I’ve been playing ever since. No lessons, and it shows, but I’ve been practising whenever I can, and enjoy it. The days I no longer love the guitar are very sad ones indeed.

I saw this quote by the more talkative half of Penn & Teller; it describes my relationship with my guitar to a tee:

With that in mind, something I did while being fairly immobile, and without completely steady hands (*excuses etc). Its both up tempo, but rather sad. The mix amuses me:

 

 

Having been ill for so long, and facing the prospect of being so for the foreseeable, my first thought was to consider that I needed to develop a relationship with it, as I, simply, had been ignoring it. My second thought was that – obviously, perhaps – I already had one:

I lived with someone many years ago who I absolutely despised. Not simply dis-like, I truly despised this man. It wasn’t one sided. He hated me just as much, perhaps more – I never cared to find out. From the many encounters of a wide array of people I’ve met during my life, some of whom – incredibly annoying; only two have been so beyond the pale; both former close friends, ironically perhaps – or very comic book villain. This was one of them. If, on pain of death I had to say something kind about him…I would still consider it long and hard before declining.

We lived together in one house. We weren’t always there at the same time, but each time we were we would do anything not to be in the same room as one another, often staying in our own space, safely away from the other. When the other was absent we would have free reign and our kingdom was larger; it would shrink to such an unsustainable size otherwise.

There were three occasions, only three, during a twelve-month period where our paths crossed. It was almost as though both of us acknowledged a mistake had been made, but defiant that the error was at the hand of the other. I use the word ‘ acknowledged ’, an exchange of a death-stare upon stopping whatever activity we had been doing is a loose definition of the word ‘acknowledged’.

He wasn’t always there, but it was my house. He was in my house. That’s where I go to be safe; calm; somewhere you can make your own. Even when he wasn’t there, he could be again soon. As much as it would pain and annoy me to admit – he would, quite accurately, say the same.

To add to the woe of this, people would confuse us because apparently we looked similar. Even people who knew us both, occasionally, got our names confused…or upon hearing about us both, would assume we were the other. I think I developed a twitch as a result of the number of eye-rolls I had to do in such a short space of time.

I write\vent all that for the simple reason because that is the exact relationship I have with my illness. Like for like. He had a small box room because I had chosen the master bedroom and was unwavering and not in a compromising mood. We lived in this fashion for twelve months. I imagine had it have gone on longer there would have been some sort of coup and I would have been turfed out and consigned to the Harry Potter cupboard. I have been under-the-weather for some time longer than twelve months, and am trying to make my new home under the stairs as comfortable as possible…

The Patchwork Girl Has Come To Cinch The Deal

This is the second part of something I wrote 2½ years ago. It was something I enjoyed at the time, and always meant to go back to. The first part is here, please read that first if you would like – and if you enjoy, read this one after.

 

I have taken to sharing something that has caught my eye during this time, somewhat related, perhaps, to what I’ve written. The below video shows the differences between labels and people – and what values we attach to both.

 

I have had only my notebook and whiskey for company this week, so to see the fruits of a rapidly unravelling mind, perhaps, please enjoy the below:


“My favourite thing about you, was always your ability to surprise me”, he was outwardly unmoved except for a wry smile. A neutral observer would even see a hint of regret, perhaps a degree of disappointment, a man who had played all his cards being dealt out the next round. Yet there were no neutral observers, there were none. Only one pair of eyes across the table; they knew his cards were yet to be revealed.

He had no anger nor could it be described as surprise. It wasn’t excitement; desire; aggression; there was no panic in his mind or his manner. For the smallest degree of an infinite amount of time, he felt nothing. As she held his hands, he was without her; he was on a solo journey on his train of thought.

Every moment in life is a Choose Your Own Adventure. Go left? Go right? Should we speak or be silent?  Should we lie? For the first time in his adult life, he didn’t know which page to turn to.  What would someone else do? What would anyone do? Could he pick a page at random, and see how it played out? You can’t turn it back once you’ve moved along. Faced with an internal disunion, suddenly the gravity of every decision he’d ever made (and will ever make henceforth) became painfully clear.

The thought of throwing a pause into the story and keeping the moment, averting his next step, was an appealing one. Although, if he had that power, there were plenty of other, more alluring, times he would have done so. Action and inaction are not opposites. They are virtual synonyms; they are both responses to an event and have consequences. The two choices are exactly that. Choices. So what is the opposite? He did not want to choose. He did not want…consequence.

He, simply, did not know what to say. In a continuous spectrum of emotion, words were rather inadequate. One phrase could turn a tide; create joy; forge sorrow. He would have no control over the events once a word tumbled out. If a wrong one slipped into her ear, it would poison her mind. They were starting their trek out of their purgatory, their limbo; but it was a hazard-ridden path for the both of them.

In no time at all, his locomotive brain was running in circles; with each lap the right stop became difficult to spot as it went past.

He no longer knew the rules to the game they were playing.

As she looked at him, she saw every encounter they had ever had; everything that had brought them to this point. For all of its contrariety, here they both were. There was no word one could use other than ‘inevitable’.  In a world of infinite possibilities, they had found each other. Their lives had one way or another, become ineffably intertwined.  She was momentarily disquieted by this idea of determinism, but instead found comfort in the peace it had brought her.

Her silence was different. He was lost, she was held tightly; enrapt by it. He had spoken last, but still she waited. She was holding a fragment of empathy in her hands. It was fragile; not like a baby, nor like a china doll. This was a time-bomb counting down. Before she could say her piece, she needed to be sure it would fit, or else risk detonation…damnation.

Her mind was still; despite its surrealness, this really was a perfect moment.  She added it to the ethereal album she kept of his face. Despite his gaze not meeting hers, she kept this to treasure in the future.

She no longer knew the rules to the game they were playing.

They would both have to make it up as they went along.

Once upon a time in a much happier tale, they had understood one another, but perhaps they could again. He shook his head to himself, before nodding; smiling at his own resolve he found the strength to meet her eye.

“There’s only one thing left to do then.”

“It’s all just….a little too late, don’t you think?”

As his answer, he stood and took a step towards her. He gambled on it being the closest they had been. He outstretched his palm; looked down at her face watching his, and spoke his three most heartfelt words:

“We could run.”

If It Looks Like I’m Laughing I’m Really Just Asking To Leave

This is getting closer to the story I want to write. It still isn’t that. Writing this has helped move that ahead, so that one day, when I finally get what I want written down it may have some proper substance.

I think its important to get what you want written done, even if it is not perfect the first time. It can only improve over time, even if the second, third, fourth are not much better. 

The below is the first part of something that will be much longer, that I’d quite like to finish if it turns out to be any good. I thought about holding off posting it until it was all done, but considered that this might mean it would never get read at all, and I do think its better than what is sitting in my reject pile (even if only slightly…)

I’ve been watching many sci-fi/dystopian/thriller type movies of late; I find them fascinating. Some are disturbingly relatable. Many so happen to focus on identity.

Then someone showed me this cartoon, which – absolutely bizarrely – I saw similar ideas in, or perhaps I’m seeing them everywhere (although this one managed it whilst being quite sweet and enjoyable):

Now Part One of my own short. As I say, I hope Part Two follows soon.


“Oh that’s just fantastic. Another one? That’s twelve now! How much more of this is there?”

The elevator doors had opened revealing a pensive pair of eyes. There was a face; hair; knees; nose; and all the other usual accompaniments too, but none of the room’s other occupants were really looking at those. They were all indistinguishable from their own. No one has ever seen their own face directly. Not once. The only way we see ourselves is from a photograph or at a glance into a mirror. As bizarre and unexplained the unfolding scenario was, none of the men seemed to acknowledge its gravity. The new addition drew little more attention, even when the feet edged gingerly into the room.

“We’ll call this one ‘Baker’?”, the man closest stepped forward and pointed to the new arrival, but he addressed the room instead. The Patriarch. He had identified ‘Baker’ as the youngest, the naïve one. That person whom people spoke about in front of, knowing they wouldn’t understand. He didn’t.

“Why Baker?” From behind, a pencil had stopped taking notes.

Patriarch continued, “He is the twelfth. The Baker’s dozen. Baker.”

There was a furious crossing out across the page, but the words were calm. “A baker’s dozen is thirteen.”

For just a beat, Patriarch was silent. He had been caught out. He turned to the one who challenged him and drew out his his index finger towards him, as though it were magnetised to the man’s face. “He’s Baker. Write that one down.” Writer recorded as such.

“My name is not Baker”, Baker said.

Everyone ignored him.

He took a moment to survey the room. An open plan office space, not too expansive. It held all the men in the room quite comfortably, but was probably at capacity. Fully furnished; computers; phones; a printer. All powered down. The strip lighting overhead, all off. The daylight seeping in from the windows from three sides gave just enough to see, even if the details were slightly obscured. Outside there was only sky, save for the speckled clouds and, of course, the sun.

Far in the distance, the sun was fast approaching the horizon. The watercolours surrounding it were splashing a rouged tangelo from the west. This sight was almost hidden due to the piercing glow. The shade provided blessed relief from its gaze. It was becoming ever apparent that this was not a problem to be contended with for long; the rank of shadows grew ever stronger.

Then there was that ‘thing’ with all the doors. There were none. The single egress was the elevator door, which was sealed shut. Like everything else, it was now powered down. This isolated world was a stage set far away from anything that could be considered knowable. A lifetime’s accumulation of experience was irrelevant.
Patriarch had been talking. He was spilling rhetoric as a drunk does his ninth drink of the night. Perhaps half of the room had been paying attention, although none were rapt. Everyone was grateful when the printer started humming into life; indeed, the looks on the faces across the room: Gratefulness first, then surprise. After that, doubt.

“One of your number is not what they seem.” Until now, this one had been silent, but as the printed sheet fed out, he was the only one to move and pick it up. Reader continued: “Find the werewolf. Eliminate him before he hunts you all. He will take one per night.” He looked up, at no one in particular and continued solemnly, “Night will come soon.”

“A werewolf?” Doubt turned to panic, “What crazy place is this? I’m trapped here with all of… you; and now, a werewolf is going to kill me?!?” Panic had found his shrill voice. The Peace and Reason that was self contained in the space was now fraught with holes; the amount of damage a piece of paper held in one’s hand can do has always far outweighed that of anything sharp or semi-automatic.

“It’s a metaphor.” Writer had stopped his note-taking once more, and contributed instead. His effort was wasted, as no one paid him any attention. He added this fact to his black book, keeping his future epiphanies to himself.

“Rubbish.” Patriarch replied, reaching out and snatching the paper from Reader’s hands. “No such thing as werewolves. This is ridiculous.” He scrunched up the paper and made to throw it but Panic held him.

This whole place is ‘ridiculous’.” Panic took back what had been taken and did his best to flatten it out. He folded it once and, reverently, put it in his pocket. “This is our only way to make sense of what is going on here.”

“What sense is there in chasing werewolves and fairy tales?!”

“What option do we have? What would you have us do!?” The two men were nose-to-nose at this point, the distance between them shrinking as their voices raised. None of the others interjected.

This…”, he continued, pointing frenetically between each of them, emphasising the “…Impossible.”

So it was.

As the final syllable faded, the word remained. One man; twelve men. Trapped in a place which, simply, could not exist. Speaking the word had exposed just how much it was smeared across the environment. Not one desk; no window; there was not a single face untouched by it. If they had not already, it would not take long for the men to realise it themselves. Everything that had once had a veneer of truth started to tarnish, underlining the layers of absurdity beneath. All with the exception, perhaps, of the word itself. It all appeared just plain wrong.

The sun faltered and was, finally, lost beneath the horizon.

There started the night.

Just A Mortal With The Potential of a Superman

I was given a written prompt, and it reminded me of something I’d been trying to write for a long time that I never pursued. This still isn’t that, but its something on its way. That, in turn, reminded me of something else entirely.

The prompt was:

“Everyone Assumes They Get a Guardian Angel; They Don’t Realise That Demons Can Be Guardians Too.”

The angels in my life do not have wings, and the demons certainly do not have horns; so I’ve taken this rather askew compared to what I’ve read in a lot of other pieces. I am not sure how I’ve taken it, to be honest (or even if I’ve gone completely astray…). I pinched parts of one line from somewhere else, which is what the rest is borne out of (in case anyone notices that…).

This reminded me of something called The Stanley Parable. It is designed as a game, but is far more of an existential exploration, I suppose. I really recommend you explore it, otherwise I have a YouTube video here that holds a very similar value. It is well worth 8 minutes of your time, in my opinion, even if you skip any further text I have written.

From that couture piece of fiction, to something – perhaps – less refined.

———

“The Great Library of Alexandria, a monument to the near infinite wealth of the Ancient Egyptians. Everything that had ever been known was held within its walls. Hundreds of people spent their whole lives transcribing knowledge so it could be stored and held safely in one place. Marked as one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World; all thoughts and ideas brought together to stand the test of time. Burned to the ground in 48 B.C. Generations of discovery lost.”

“Is that where we are now?”

“…is there somewhere you would rather be?”

“No…I’m just….surprised, is all.” A cautious glance around the shadows, “Where are all the scribes you were just talking about?”

“We do not need them, you and I. Everything you need, you talk to me.”

“You’re the librarian?”

“We are in a library. I am the librarian. If this were a shop I would be your cashier; were it a museum, I would be your guide…”

“I would feel a lot more comfortable if I could see you. I don’t know where you are.”

“Comfort is not what I am here for. I am here to tell you what you should hear. Besides, there is no comfort to be gained by seeing my face.”

“What is it that I should hear? Why should I listen?”

“Who else is there here that you can trust? There will be nothing you can learn without my guidance here. Of course, you may search beyond, I cannot stop you; but it is…purposeless. You will see for yourself. I will be here still. I am the voice between the voices; I am the one who moves this story along when it loses its way. I will not be silenced for long…”

There was anger behind the disembodied voice, the echoes ricocheted off the hall’s unseen corners. The mood had turned; the visitor had, perhaps, said the wrong thing. The wooden floors were rough and uneven; unloved. One would think no human soul had entered but for one. The dust layered upon it was broken by a chain of footprints, a continued trail leading into the gloom. The only disturbance in an otherwise untouched world. The library was, at best, unwelcoming. Without any direction, it would become a labyrinth.

With no voice to smother the surroundings, the grandiose hall came into focus. The few shelves visible were bare. The library was quite barren; all at least, that existed outside the darkness. The dim light, source of which unknown, stretched no further than a couple of arm’s lengths. For all the mention of untold understanding, there was nothing.

“Let. There. Be. Light.”

The silence was broken by the words accompanied by the reluctant grind of heavy machinery. A lever forced its way into effect, the weight of which set the world into motion. Sunlight wept inside from windows surrounding high above. The boundaries of the interior world were now confirmed; for a hall containing the world’s wealth, the atmosphere could only be described as claustrophobic. All that was outside was an infinity away.

“I care not for your tricks. If there is to be light, let it fall upon us instead!”

“Are you not impressed? Let’s shift our focus, then. Choice is your freedom as much as any other illusion. It is what’s on the inside that counts, after all…”

Another heavy lever echoed high above. The light of the world outside was extinguished. In an instant a bright spotlight revealed how close to an infinite measure the hall maintained as a zone became illuminated. There were endless levels climbing ever higher, spiralling towards the apex. There was an atrium starkly revealed becoming ever thinner as the surrounding walls reached a blinding point. None of the light reached the ground, from where he gazed upon. It reached down little further than a few floors above him, clawing the outer walls.

It was there, where the light lost its battle with the dark, leaning ponderously upon a railed balcony, he saw the man for the first time.

It was a face that was all too familiar, but belonged to a man he, truly, did not know. The eyes were tired and disguised a thinly veiled anger; one hand steadying himself on the balcony railing, the other held a stranglehold on a lever. His unsteady grasp on power was power all the same; he had dominion here and could turn on the night.

That was the moment the power in the room shifted. Everything prior had been implicit; manipulated; symbolised. Only then had he became broken.

“I am trapped down here and can’t see a way out. There is nothing down here, save for myself, all this knowledge is elsewhere; I want to step outside. You have been where I am standing; you know how I can escape. I’m afraid that I will not be able to leave. I need you to help me.”

A pause. A breath. A decree.

“Then allow me. I can stare between the fretwork. There is no one out there coming for us, but I will be the one who will go to them. I can see the broken world and will do this for us both. You have given me my own voice. Can you now see how it is to have mine? I will save you from this.

In one swift flourish his hand reached down, closing the distance, even so slightly between himself and the floors below. His facade of implied unsteadiness had faded. At first it looked as though he was reaching out to his compatriot; this was not a warm embrace. Not yet. The hand held a match; as both men stared, without even the most subtlest of movements, the head ignited and began to glow.

Both men were silent for a moment. Encapsulated temporarily by its vibrancy and allusiveness in equal measure. Finally the voice from above spoken again.

“Do you know why they burned the Great Library? Perhaps there were no treasures within after all? Or, in fact, there was a conspiracy to make the world think all the knowledge had been lost…..but it was all SAVED.” The final sentence elicited first a smile before an excited grin, finally breaking into a tired, throaty laugh, near indistinguishable from a deep and persistent cough.

“But…”, he continued, as the laughter quickly faded, “…this is not the case. It is so sad, and would have made a wonderful story. One of determination; bravery; honour; of justice.”

No words in response. The spotlight began to fade from view as the match burned brighter without even a flicker.

“This is not some fairy-tale told to children; it is not an heroic myth fondly shared. It is a footnote, in an altogether different story, one that continued long after the Library’s demise. Do you think you deserve an ending? Are you owed a neat resolution all tied up with a bow? The story will continue either way. Yours is not a story; it is a fragment. Come! Step into the light. Get your fingers burnt. It is time.”

Only silence in reply. The match was aloft, over the chasm between the two men. Its stillness was quite hypnotic. The flame was not dancing, it was prone; waiting patiently for the right tune.

“Since, my friend, you have revealed your deepest fear: let us move along; stop singing these songs; we have been performing all these years. Tear down the Hall.”

The dance started. The pirouette was beautiful.

And Every Day The Paper Boy Brings More

A friend of mine suggested I keep up with my writing, and I have been. Not that it is of benefit, but I do find it peaceful. I usually tear out and set fire to the bulk but every once in a while I’ll keep it to look at for a future date. The only real problem being that there isn’t a large multitude of topics going on in my life to write about – yet still I persist, even in the face of tedium. But only after a gem of a quote from Terry Pratchett, which is always of benefit to all:

——————————

“Come to think of it,” he said. “it wasn’t frogs exactly. It was the idea of frogs. She said there’s these hills where it’s hot and rains all the time, and in the rain forests there are these very tall trees and right in the top branches of the trees there are these like great big flowers called bromeliads, I think, and water gets into the flowers and makes little pools and there’s a type of frog that lays eggs in the pools and tadpoles hatch and grow into new frogs and these little frogs live their whole lives in the flowers right at the top of the trees and don’t even know about the ground and once you know the world is full of things like that your life is never the same.”

He took a deep breath.

“Something like that, anyway,” he said.

“Didn’t understand any of it,” he said.

“It’s a metaphor,” said the Thing.

No one paid it any attention.

Truckers – Terry Pratchett

——————————

There is something about the prospect of a spring clean that is ominous. It is an event that one always knows needs to happen, and yet – in my case, at least – probably rarely does so; certainly not at the turn of spring. I may have had a few half-hearted attempts in the past, but anything more than a slight spruce is a noteworthy event.

My room has no visitors. It is an L-shaped space sitting separate from the world. It is…chaotic. There is a lamp in the corner taking a large segment and memory fades as to when the bulbs within last functioned. Much of my time here is spent by candlelight illuminating what is close, leaving the stark walls opposite in obtuse darkness. The shadows that form peer back upon any observer who gazes too long upon them.

It has long since made up its own rules; something placed in one moment becomes transient and lost until a time as of yet undefined – almost certainly to re-appear unannounced at 3.30am on a winter’s morning. Have you ever seen something so clear disappear before you own eyes? In this place, it does. It is a honed mysterious science so advanced it is indistinguishable from magic. Occasionally, an item becomes something else altogether; I am awaiting the day my collection of lead becomes gold ingots.

Instead of riches, a metro ticket from a holiday in 2012; a sweet wrapper that evaded the Great Cleanse of November ’16; a charger cable for an item unknown. It is a monument to all that would have otherwise been forgotten; all purposeless and no longer useful for what they were once intended, and I question their function whenever I may happen upon them. Yet they persist ineffably – for every sweet wrapper deposited in the waste paper basket another three rise up to take its place.

It has its benefits – because of things becoming misplaced; lost; unfound, there is always space for new things to be moved in. Some I bring inside, place down, forget about; some are brought in and lost almost instantaneously; there are a few things appear I would swear to have never seen before. Its a slightly unsettling thought to see something completely new in your personal space; it usually takes a minute or three or four to figure out if it was me who, in fact, purchased a third box of gel pens and placed in the centre of the adjoining airing cupboard.

Having forgotten what the original shade of my carpet was, with it laden with detritus, my first thought was to close off the whole room with police tape and deem the area a disaster zone. I am a solution finder, not a problem solver. However, no matter how much I willed this into being, it was unabashedly rather unsustainable as a way of living. I will ever continue the endeavour to make this a reality I suspect.

The only thing to be done was have a cleaner come in and reset the board. It is something, on the face of it, that I felt rather guilty of needing, although, it is more of a done thing than I first considered, and its certainly not that I won’t keep things tidy, I have long since acknowledged life would have been much simpler were this possible – the dark magic at play is definitely something someone with a more professional eye for detail.

I spent rather too much time cleaning about the place before they arrived and even sought advice on the best way to do so; it seems rather vacuous when you think about it. One of the most pointless exercises I probably engaged myself in. There would have been no chance that this effort would have been worthwhile, but a distinct possibility that my feeble attempts would have been noted. A fear that took little time to be confirmed.

It was strange watching someone cut through the overgrowth with clinical precision and without emotion. As an intellectual exercise I was fascinated – even as I saw huge chunks of my life get stripped out in front of my eyes. It was not just a case of search and destroy, I am genuinely questioning what sorcery this Merlin had brought to the round table.

The curtains had never been opened; whenever I am within, the outside has always appeared as dark as the interior, so there has been no cause to have them open. I guess it makes it feel like the outside world is a prize on a game show yet to be revealed; something one has to earn (or be lucky) to win. During the big clean up, these curtains became damaged, so no longer closed all the way. The uneasy fact is that now people can see in; it would make me feel exposed slightly, except that I’m quite confident most of the time that there is nobody, in fact, looking inside. It does provide a different outlook to see everyone walk past and have more perspective on the outside world, but at least there is no longer a mystery prize to be won.

As quickly as it had started, it was over, and I was left with a very different environment. Equal in so many ways to before, it had the same features, you could see where the pizza boxes had been…and where there would be another a week or so later; yet I didn’t recognise it anymore. I knew it was mine…I have a piece of paper somewhere to prove it…but it took quite a bit of time to get to know it again. At first, it was though its character had…diminished. It had less mischief and even became receptive to the laws of physics that dictate all other areas of the world. Time, the great healer, saw it regain its previous strength and we restarted our duel anew.

It is different now, though. The rules of the game have changed and the balance of power has shifted. A person like me, at least, can never truly conquer the behemoth, but I do have a greater arsenal now. It is always useful to know the carpet is beige and I’ve been taught the virtues of the Dustbuster.