Thursday, 2 July 2015

Memoirs Are Made Of These - Friday Flash

He didn’t know where to pitch his personal statement. He could legitimately tilt it to the depths of impoverished misery, but if he overplayed his hand then that might be cause for refusal. What did it matter where he had come from anyway? The whole objective was to shed that burden and to start a new life here in the new world and to build up a new story and a new being wholly from scratch. But then he remembered the grainy satellite reality TV shows he’d siphoned back home and how the back-story perennially counted for more than the talent being displayed.

This wasn’t any story he recognised, not least his own. The monks were offering him words and when he pursed his brows trying to find any familiarity bearing to his life, they clenched their straps and made his whole body pucker with agony. Under such a preceptorial regime he learned the intricate details of the rituals he had partaken of, the blood and the babies, the bestiality and the sacrifices. Laid prone there on the rack, he saw himself stood attending the Sabbats, a whole shadow life he must have previously sleepwalked through. But then he had always struggled to recall his daily activities because they seemed so unremarkable.

He narrated his story in tattoos. Each year he had another chapter inked to his flesh. It took him twelve months to compose the layered image that would encapsulate all the nuances and dilemmas of the event he was indelibly marking. But the scroll of the parchment of his own body meant that, unlike most pictorial scripts, his tale was non-linear. And only ever fully revealed to a lover abed. Nor ever complete, unless his embalmer cared to append the epilogue to his skin.

‘Good sense of humour’, which supplicant at the font of dating agencies would fail to proffer that? Even when it wasn’t true. The worst ones are those who proceed to try and be amusing and fall flat on their unfunny faces. No, maintain a level and even tone. In keeping with his claim to ‘professional’. But there again that epithet could conceal a whole host of sins. A professional darts player, or a professional sanitation engineer actually translated as a good old fashioned dustman. This was so damned hard, one hundred and fifty words to describe himself clinchingly without lapsing into cliche. Didn’t really matter, it all came down to the photo anyway.

Their surveillance meant that they had infiltrated every aspect of his life. Names, dates, places of meetings and supposedly sub rosa communications. Every forensic link and association with just about every activity he’d ever been engaged in, was laid out before the rest of the village. These sessions were called ‘Self-Criticism’, but it was just a forum for peers to lay into one verbally and break the spirit. Based on time-honoured  jealousy, greed and petty vindictiveness rather than any more lofty ideals. They constructed a treasonous, deviant persona that he couldn’t recognise as himself, but which by the end he had to admit to and then recant. Which was a pity, as he found himself drawn to such a person.

The composite that the online data capture  had constructed of him, made for a veritable Frankenstein’s Monster. An ethical environmental consumer with a huge appetite for sweatshop and non-renewable sourced products. A technological Luddite with a penchant  for electronics. A proud Baby-Boomer militantly cynical about the 1960s and 70s. A vagrant homeowner. A pet-owning misotherist. From the cradle to the grave contradictions. Arrhythmic algorithms. Capitalist umbilical cord and monstrous Long Tail both conspired to clamp around his neck and constricted the life out of him. 

He had been charged with delivering the notes for the Priest to compose into the eulogy. The Priest had never met his late father, so he could get absolutely anything past him. So long as it conformed to customary bounds of taste and respectfulness. Taste and respect, yes this would not be a speech admitting to any great passions. Whatever his own feelings towards his father, the priest would not be able to lamintae any of his own. Any whiff of ardour conveyed by the Priest could only be a sham, a performance on his part. Like an actor reciting his lines, lines written for him by a playwright. He was now the dramaturge, He could make this funeral ceremony take any course he decided. For now he, not his father, was the great Director in charge,

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