I bumped into Reg yesterday. He was sitting on the wooden bench outside the health centre eating a black pudding and beetroot sandwich that I guessed he had just purchased from the Asian off-licence. He was reading a copy of The Sun.
‘I don’t know how you can eat that crap,’ I told him. ‘There are probably enough preservatives in that one sandwich to pickle a horse – how even your stomach can digest such rubbish is beyond the laws of science.’
‘I like it.’ He brushed an avalanche of greasy crumbs from his pronounced midsection and continued reading his newspaper.
On the front page was a big spread about Hillary Clinton’s recent enthusiastic endorsement of Barack Obama. ‘Do you think he’ll win?’ I asked, trying to sound jolly.
‘No. They will never allow it.’
I haven’t the foggiest idea what he meant by this.
Seeing that the usually talkative Reg wasn’t in the mood for light-hearted conversation or rigorous political analysis, I made what I thought was an ironic bow and wished him a good day.
I had a cancellation in the studio for Saturday so I decided last night to put my feet up and get drunk.
I made myself a hearty meal of pasta and vegetables, placed a bottle of red wine on the table in front of me and turned on the television. I was watching an interesting documentary about Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. I finished my food and sat back, corkscrew in hand with my good eye on the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, salivating at the thought of the fruity liquid it contained.
The documentary was accompanied by an anodyne soundtrack of some unremarkable and unidentifiable piano music which must have had a distinctly soporific effect upon me because within mere seconds I could feel my eyelids growing very heavy. Thus it was, in spite of my evil intentions, I managed to resist drinking a bottle of one of my favourite alcoholic beverages. Not through willpower or noble resolve, but, rather predictably, I fell asleep. I fell asleep on the sofa before I had even removed the cork.
As always happens on these occasions, I was plagued by lucid dreams full of bizarre characters that I felt inclined to attack physically or to argue vehemently with about the true nature of reality. (I long ago accepted with careless and neurotic abandon that I possess a great deal of surplus combative will.)
I dreamed of Tom Cruise, movie star and irreducible nutter. I dreamt that he was the Anti-Christ and that he was trying to inveigle his way into mankind’s collective consciousness by using subliminal messages that were iniquitous and malevolent and truly horrific in their intention.
He was somehow secretly downloading his messages on to people’s iPods and mp3 players. He was building them into the very transistors and microchips that lie inside home stereo-systems and inside the speakers of radio and television sets. These were messages that, because they only existed in my dream, were, by their very nature, vague and amorphous – but they were insidious and malignant none the less. The awful basis of them was the monstrous and mendacious assertion that he, Tom Cruise, was the true saviour of the universe.
Not if I can help it, I thought.
I very cleverly managed to penetrate Tom’s inner circle (- sounds painful – Ed.) and turned his own people against him, revealing to them what a pathetic individual he really was. I was on the verge of sending him back to hell when I awoke, mumbling to myself and covered in dribble. It was 4am.
Judge Judy was pontificating on the TV and a lonely car alarm was protesting in the street outside in annoying and strident, high-pitched tones. ‘No one can hear me! No one can hear me,’ it was shrieking. And in spite of its acute shrillness, its message was comfortably melting into the night.
I know how you feel,’ I sighed as I climbed the stairs to bed.
‘I know how you feel,’ I sighed as I climbed the stairs to bed.