The following is a flashback. I should’ve put it in the first post of this blog. I’m including it now because there are a few important themes in it.
Half-Life of the YoYo Man – continued
On I walk. There are houses on both sides of the road: semis, typical English suburbia. What percentage of history’s greatest men were English? A substantial proportion, surely. Great explorers, great inventors, great statesmen, great scientists. And in me the ratio has increased! I’m proud to be English, proud to be British and proud to be a bulldog. Defend the underdog! We will always help the little man… and we will never say die. Never.
The phrase bounces around in my head. “Never say die… never say die… never die… never say die… never die…”
The houses on the right side peter out. I come to a small church. In front of it stands an eight-foot high wooden cross, on which hangs a carving of the crucified Christ, life size, painted white. I look at the figure. Never die; never die; never die.
When had I last been in a church? A ceremony, a christening, seems decades ago. I remember my creed: you live, you die, goodbye. An atheist since discovering the theory of evolution at the age of 12, I stand in front of the sacrificial Lamb, and find myself thinking about the origins of Man.
Man. Simply the result of chance happenings in the primordial organic soup: French onion, consomme, mulligatawny. Man the soup creature, evolved from a slimey swamp creature. It is so simple I laugh.
Hypomania: Super-stratosphere man
But what is man becoming? Higher man, upper echelon man, super-stratosphere man: a being of supreme intellect, inventiveness, creativity and massive capacity to care for his fellow creatures and for his planet.
My pondering turns on a sixpence. In a sudden insight I understand my identity: I am the first super-stratosphere man. In my mind’s eye I see my biography flying off the shelves of the bookshops: ‘Marc Prospero – Being Stratospheric!’
Life yes, death no
Life, death. Never die. Never die. I look at the carving of Christ. All at once it occurs to me that there’s no such thing as death; people have never died. Christ hadn’t died. After they’d taken him off the cross he’d simply got up and walked away! The words of the hymn Jerusalem are correct – his feet did walk upon England’s mountains green!
Life is a joke; death is a con – it doesn’t exist, and the starving millions aren’t actually dying, they’re simply going through some sort of warp in time and space and reappearing somewhere else in the universe.
Reverse the flow
Still, it’d be better if people could live adequately where they were born rather than disappearing off somewhere unknown. I turn away and start to walk back to the motel. Of course this apparent-death thing does cause a lot of heartbreak to relatives and loved ones. And to think all that heartache is needless! Hang on a mo! Why not reverse the flow? Bring back the dead! Return them through the warp to their loved ones! What a service to humanity… and I am the only person who can do it.
It’ll have to be telepathic, of course, that’s the only way to go about it. I’ll cobble together a group of psi-sensitive people like me at the point of someone’s apparent death and use mind-over-matter techniques to spirit them back to this side of the warp. It can be done; it will be done… and I will do it.
Oh, God, how tired I am, how very, very tired. Perhaps I can just lie down here on this verge and get my head down for a few minutes.
I lie on the grass and close my eyes. Perhaps I can get myself into the right frame of mind by yawning. For an indeterminate time I yawn unnaturally, but sleep? It fails to come.
Abruptly I conclude that this is not going to work. I give up, stand and carry on towards the motel.
A great man and his women
Sex, says my inner voice. Yes! Then I will sleep!
I remember deciding to avoid casual sex because it was an empty and unsatisfying experience. Now, I realize how wrong I was. Sex is the answer! Here I am, a great man suffering the burden of being the only person alive capable of saving the world, suffering an eternity without sleep, and all because I am without the comfort of a woman’s love. Well, I deserve more than this. I deserve a woman – lots of women, beautiful, lush, voluptuous women. Yes, that’s what I deserve and they will be provided.
A world in my eyes
In my Motel room, I catch sight of my reflection in the mirror. The visage of greatness! I look closely at the image of my face in the mirror: that nose, what character! The high forehead speaks of my immense intelligence, and my eyes! Clear, brown, radiating the light of life. As I gaze, I notice small reflections of myself in my own eyes; they seem to draw me in. I gaze harder; the reflections appear to be getting bigger. Perhaps I can look into the eyes of my reflection. I stare harder and harder.
There is something meaningful to be seen there, I know although I don’t know what. Time passes.
Trumpeters and the fire of joy
Suddenly, an image appears. It’s the face of Bill Flood, who taught me trumpet in the brass section of the school orchestra. His bony head still bears his unnaturally yellow hair. In his eyes is a light; a fire, a fire of joy. I sense that joy.
And there, in the eyes of the old brass instructor, I see another man and recognise him immediately. It’s Mackenzie Campbell, who taught me trumpet in Johannesburg. In his eyes too is the dancing fire of joy.
I burst with the excitement of discovery. But I sense that more is about to happen. I am right.
A laser-bright white bolt shoots from Flood’s heart and strikes Mackenzie’s heart, rebounds and strikes mine. A triangle of great trumpet players, linked for just a few moments by a huge, monumental supernatural force.
After the laser-show
I sit down and flop onto the bed. I know that I have a special place in the world. I realise that I’d be deliriously happy if I wasn’t so tired, so life on the whole has to be great. Sleep, sleep. Surely I will drop off soon.
Not so. Time goes by; I toss and turn, get up, walk around, go back to bed, toss and turn again. Daylight starts coming in through the thin closed curtains. Sleep hasn’t come for how many dark nights? And now, with daylight in the room it is impossible.