There was a man in our street who had an apparition in the middle of an afternoon.
He was driving on a country road where on a whim he took a detour. His wife was beside him. They drove down the avenues and streets and occasional crescents till they realised they were caught in an infinity loop. The man began to panic. It was like that time he was stuck in a lift. He could feel his heart fibrillating, his bladder wanting to burst, his vision blurring but he held this from his wife who would accuse him of weakness.
That’s when he saw it, the apparition. It came for him, lumbering down some labyrinth in his brain, a Minotaur bristly and bellowing, big as a tank, barging into him. His heart stopped.
His wife never knew what happened but she found her way out.
I’ve come to mistrust the little guy who lives inside my head. He used to be such a nice guy but over the years he’s become a little loopy, his thinking transgressive. Now I hardly know him. He’s a loose cannon, an IED waiting to be stepped on. Look, I say, let’s be reasonable. You can’t say that! And you definitely can’t do that! You want to end up in prison with me? Sometimes I give him drugs to quieten him, talk him down, try to get him to see reason. I love the little guy. I just wish he was more like me.
do you find yourself warring with yourself sometimes? how do you resolve differences? is there such a thing as a fully unified being?
Would you bring my boxer shorts, mate?
You mean the ones with ‘The Most Perfect Man in the World’ emblazoned on the butt?
Yes, those, he chuckles.
I go into his room.
A half eaten meal, a stubbie with some beer in it, the radio still on.
A damp towel on the bed.
Signs of a quick exit.
A bit like the Marie Celeste.
Ahhh, I say as I fumble through his drawers.
A few minutes later I head off to The Remand Centre
Where TMPM has just been charged
For a cold case murder
18 years ago.
Beside me are the boxer shorts, neatly folded,
Irony side up.
He was having an off day.
No reports came in.
The odds were heavily against it,
Astronomical, in fact,
But there you were,
Blue moons, black swans, a win
In a billion dollar lottery.
But it didn’t help his mood.
Perhaps he should stop wearing black.
Lighten up a little.
Wear something trendier.
T-shirt, chinos, loafers perhaps?
He had become something of a cliché.
What would his boss say?
Would he be let go? Demoted to Accounts?
He was not a pen pusher
But a man of action.
His shoulders slumped.
His scythe dropped.
He let out a sigh.
No one had died on his watch
Forgive me. I am not myself today.
I wasn’t myself yesterday either.
To tell you the truth, I’m really uncertain whether I will be myself tomorrow.
Or the next day. Or the next.
Where I’ve gone to, I just don’t know.
I have informed the police, the Missing Person’s Bureau.
They have put out an all points alert.
I take time off work.
I go looking for myself in bars, parks, in shopping malls.
I take photographs of myself to show them what I looked like.
Ugly bastard, someone quips.
Go easy, I say. He’s not a bad bloke once you get to know him.
The rest shake their heads sadly.
I go home, hang my hat on the rack and sit down morosely on the old lounge.
Ahh, there you are, I say, almost sitting on top of me.
I was here all along, he says. Where have YOU been?
She calls from one of the Northern beaches.
“We were going mad, “ she says. “We had to get out the house, You know what it’s like. You start twiddling your thumbs, staring at the wall…”
“Or even climbing it,” I add.
“Yeh, like a spider,” she says.
“Or even the ceiling.”
“Things look better from up there,” I say.
“You okay, granddad?”
“Yeh, I’m okay. You kids have a good time, Thanks for calling.”
And I crawl a little further along the ceiling. A fat, juicy fly has landed nearby. With one bound ,,,,
.Look, she says. Look. There are two moons tonight. Do you think that means anything?
Like end times, you mean?
I don’t know, she says. It can’t be good.
We move closer. There they are above the rooftops, one higher and to the right of the other.
Someone in the ranch-style house switches the porch light on and joins us.
My ex-wife phoned, he says. She saw it too. She’s bit of a sky watcher.
So we stand there out the front as one then the other veer off in a north-easterly direction, silent and glowing as moons.