It was the Royal Free Hospital. Down in the bowels, past the AIDS test room. My wife and I walked past a couple awaiting results. They were chatting quite pleasantly. I don’t suppose there is anything else to do there. It was a small cut out square in the corridor. There were no windows just a lot of yellow ill air.
Before I go on, we were walking towards the abortion room. It’s tucked away in a place without light. I kid you not.
The last time I saw him he was wearing a schoolboy’s uniform – white shirt, school tie, short grey trousers, long grey socks, boy scout green garters and a pair of black brogue shoes. His hair had a side parting and his boy-band quiff was brushed flat and neat. He opened the door, standing behind it so that he could not be seen from the Covent Garden alley, just a cock spit away from the Garrick Gentleman’s Club. He let me in and shut the door. We stood at the bottom of the stairs in the shabby dark stairwell. He looked up at me, a couple of inches shorter than the ’6 foot one’ he claimed on his adverts. The uniform made him look even smaller and that he had the limbs of a child.
Arthur looked nervously back at Barry's round, battering ram face, and then around the small lockup. Dave and Arthur, two huge men who bulged muscles under their suits, were sat smoking on a small sofa. Behind him was Gregor dressed in nothing but a kilt, with Braveheart Tats all over his body. In the corner was a bucket on a plinth and beside the bucket was Charlie, the Cunt, Windsor, a weasel of man, with a mean pointed face.
Do you know what it's like to live parts of your life in darkness? continued Barry softly.
Will was alone, his ear to the door, the pain beyond it near splitting the wood. He heard the doctor issue orders and pushed himself away from the door as the Nurse, whose face and hands were covered in blood, dashed out of the bedroom to call for hot water. The sight of the blood made him shudder. Through the door he could see his wife lying pale and exhausted on the bed. The doctor was by her side talking, though she was barely able to listen. The whites of her eyes showed, her face contorted and then her whole body buckled in agony. Her scream wrenched the nurse back.
This began life in a play The Fantastical Adventures of Leonardo Da Vinci, which I wrote for my friend Phil Morle when he was working in theatre in Australia before he became CTO for Sharman, developing Kazaa and things. This play was commisioned by the International Festival Of Perth. I later re-wrote it and re-named it Renaissance, this version toured throughout the UK in 2000. Anyway this little story is a frivolous tale that was written to explain how light moves, contrary to common belief of Renaissance Europe, that light was projected from the human eye.
In the play Leonardo developed this big performance for the Medicis who were playing host to the Pope. The historical Leonardo Da Vinci did in fact create these amazing masque balls which were extraodinary visual extravanganzas. This story was one of the sketches for that party scene which would outrage the puppet Pope. I suspect that I am trying to explain too much, as this story stands on its own. The Light King
There was once a King who was so inspired by light. He would spend many hours of the day contemplating it. It would flood over his skin, dazzle him with wonder and when it was cold it would warm him.
On a particularly fine day, when the breeze was soft, an ambassador arrived at the court.
The King was, as always, naked that morning, his soft golden body taught with pleasure, his member saluting, upright, with a bright red imperial helmet. The King saw him enter at once and cried out – “I am being lapped by waves of light! It’s extraordinary, really quite extraordinary.”
Leonardo is waiting for Marcello to die, his bag of instruments for the dissecting of bodies lies at the foot of the bed. The old man has no hair. His eyes are dark and sunken. His limbs are taut and thin, his skin wrinkled leather. Opposite his bed is a mirror, which distorts the old man every time he moves. It could be a torturer forcing him to shrink and stretch. It emphasises his suffering. Marcello is dying with energy.
Leonardo, a man in his thirties, behaves as if he is simply waiting for his friend to leave on a long journey.
Salai, a lad of some fifteen years is holding a lantern. He watches silently.
When Marcello speaks he spits through the pain, “make sure you don’t start without cleaning me. I have seen the mess the bowels make of the dead. My body is a good body. It has worked hard for me.” For a moment there is boiling water in his belly. The mirror racks him, as his form contracts. When the pain has stopped he needs to know about his body. “Will it tell you my story?”
When Joe Cobain materialised he was welcomed into the world with a clout around the chops. It was a fine welcome as it reminded him of a lesson he had learnt many years before as a child, which went along the lines that life is perilously difficult and at times downright cruel. All he could be sure of was that everything was black and that he was blindfolded.
He wasn’t sure where it was that he had materialised from because it had all happened so fast, a time traveller’s lightening flash and in that flash he had been deprived of any recollection. What was clear to him was that he had a few split seconds to evaluate the situation and devise some answers both for himself and his assailants.
It became quickly apparent that his situation was serious. At first he thought that he had materialised out of a coma into the split second of the accident which had knocked him for six in the first place, certainly the thud in the mouth felt as if it could be have been administered by a moving car. However, he dismissed this hypothesis upon receiving a second clout which in past generations would have been affectionally described as a ‘box round the ear’. This clout, which was no less painful, lacked the strength of the first.
“What the do you know,” was the first question that was thrown at him? Joe was quite well read, and the only thing of which he was certain was that it was all uncertain. Education had taught him that everything was ideologically or scientifically up for grabs, with the exception of God who, though no-one had actually spoken to him, except in dreams, or at best a very long time ago – was on the periphery of it all fuelling our very active imaginations with just about everything that can be thought of, because he invented us as part of some test; this includes sex, swearing, stealing (everything from chocolate to music), ripping people off, making fools of others, adultery, masturbation, fornication, looking at pornography (the worse crimes are to do with sex – and women because they tempt men) , imagining the very worst of our neighbours, hating people because their god is different, hating them because they have more cash and their god is different, hating them because their skin is of a different colour, they have more cash and they have a different god (this is because there is a feud in heaven – Jesus, God, Allah, and all the rest, have it in for each other and thus we you) – oh Christ, thought Jo Cobain, who didn’t actually believe in God, but after a number of whacks found that he was searching for any reason or meaning, oh Christ (he said again) I am guilty of everything!
His confused silence was followed by a sentence that meant something without meaning anything, giving all away and nothing, it was covertly overt, sexually explicit, violent, repetitive, making indisputable that his tormentors possessed a godlike omniscience, that their realm was the knowledge of everything.
“The second question which was flung at him was “when”? Having just materialised and not fully aware of who, what, where or why, ‘when’ was tough one to fathom. He decided to play a little game of ‘if you answer my questions then I shall try my utmost to make sense of yours’. ‘If say, you tell me that I am in a prison, I might ask where (?) and so on.’ If it wasn’t for the punches and the frequent kicks you could be forgiven for believing that Joe Cobain had materialised into a popular Christmas game.
After an indeterminate period of beatings Joe Cobain’s inquisitors had become terribly agitated. They started calling on God (who sometimes they called ‘freedom’ and at others the ‘one true one’ or ‘the one and only’ or simply, ‘him that hath no name’), evoking old prayers, curses and rituals (both political and spiritual), in the hope that Joe might tell them something. With every mention of God’s name poor Joe Cobain was clobbered. It was as if they were hammering their magical disdain into him.
The first tragedy for Joe Cobain was that he was an atheist. It is fruitless hammering a nail of faith into someone who doesn’t believe, as all it does is cause pain and confusion. It also means that they will say anything for you, to stop you causing the pain. ‘No, I have no idea who God is’ could quite quickly become ‘I’ve got his address here somewhere would you like me to give him a call’ and before you know it, ‘yes I did plant that fucking bomb!’
The second tragedy for Joe Cobain was that he believed that under the right circumstances torture was necessary. What are the lives of millions compared to the one? He saw no contradiction between this and the ‘every life is holy’ argument. Strangely he understood that each view underlined the other, somehow making sense of it all. He had written television dramas highlighting these dilemmas and made heroes of those who were prepared to electrocute, humiliate and cause, quite simply, the most unbelievable pain to others in the name of various ideologies (including trade), all of which he felt only a moderate sympathy for. Life is not without its contradictions.
Joe Cobain became aware of a terrible smell. It was the smell of faeces and like a good lunch it was accompanied with laughter. His face was very sore. He had a side splitting headache. He still had no idea of where or who or what or why, though deep down he suspected that they were right to beat him. If their positions had been reversed he would, no doubt, have done the same. It was just unfortunate that he knew nothing. Back To Main Site
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You Made It
Welcome to my online notebook. Here you can find out about all the things that I am up to - but way better than that, is that I post my works in progress. This includes stories, chapters from longer works and bits of film too. Let me know what you think.
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