No car honk or street light is out of place. I don’t need to tell myself this – I see it. Not a Blunderbus theatre in sight. I force myself to decide that the Saul thing back there was just another minion trying to fuck me over, because that’s what they do. The whole sorry episode had the stink of the enemy all over it, right? I keep looking at the words inside the black card programme. Aside from the address everything written inside is indecipherable. All the fucking letters, they’re completely incomprehensible, icons acting more like marauding ants than signifier's of communication. And damn, I keep seeing Rooenn’s chain-wrapped face in my head.
It’s not safe for others out here, not with me, the way I am at night…so I’ve my sight daggering the pavement avoiding the many windows to souls I wanna punish. I’m walking and walking and soon I’ve gotta stop and push my specs up the bridge of my nose.
A huge long line of people are gathered outside of a building. The queue is snaking right around a block past shops far far into the Camden night. I ignore the various international tongues, all this beleaguered protestation surrounding me,
Nothing like forging my route past a group of photo-snapping vacationers. Then there’re a few geeky looking types in I-hate-Spiderfingers T-shirts. I quickly reason against interrogating them and continue shoving my way through bodies - up the circular steps I go. I push against more queue-makers who give my stink and filth a wide berth anyway.
Never noticed this venue before, and it’s not a new establishment. Nope, it’s all boarded up with warning notices everywhere. Looming doors all rusted and busted and old. So naturally, this being the way my world works I have to break-in to venture inside. The crowd begins to cheer me on as they all rush ahead to join a very different line inside.
O.K, let’s see what creatures are claiming squatter’s rights.
Hmph, pulling myself back from slaughtering and raping them all is like holding a long long breath. I’m sure I can only do it for so long, and I just know that sooner or later the head honcho here is gonna wanna fight me. And he’s gonna get it, right between the legs.
My resolve is that this game won’t beat me so easily, the notion becomes a private mantra of mine as I head to the front of the line. I make a big gesture of pointing at my chest as I jostle some elves out the front of the assembly. The turban-headed woman seated inside the booth facing me stops sowing her purple cape to acknowledge me.
Her hand travels over her nose. A not so subtle reminder of my vagrancy.
There’re goblins and warrior women clogging up each and every aisle so I stand tall at the back. Some are jumbled up images, confused meshing’s of sub-cultural tropes, a rakish Goth in a pink body stocking here – an old aged biker woman there.
Many look like extras from the sword and sorcery genre, the excitement or more specifically anticipation of the show is a character in itself, widening the eyes of everyone – including myself.
The etiquette of this place is elusive. I’m not sure how a team of six burly men feel it’s in anyway appropriate to break out Budweiser’s in a theatre. Yet here they are. My innate Englishness recoils at their bawdiness. Glad-to-be-alive-self-congratulatory-North American accents, they fucking grate on me.
Their Handy-Andy-for-Prime-Minister T-shirts just piss me off. It appears that I have arrived just in time because the playhouses ambiance is dimming to black. The stage lights are turning up their flare. The show is about to begin.
Ha, if he could only look into my blood soaked mind, take a whiff of my carcass strewn nightly fancy. I feel my hands shake for there is a barely contained fantasy dying to be born. Just one whiplash, one single aggressive sweep of my violet strands, and I could blind him. My eager hungry hands could just python around his neck and…
I don't know what this is. Looks like the front cover of some comic book. I chuck it away instantly forgetting it's title, I only see the picture. This stooge has been sent to confuse me, just like Saul.
I’m playing Sherlock Holmes, juggling all the possibilities of which minion has put this event together. A voice distracts me. Its accent is English and it is loud enough to reverberate along the walls of the entire enclosure. The vocal is low, assured, near identical to my own were it not for its innate pomposity,
A centaur pole-vaults his spear aloft his coarse locks. A giant made entirely of shadow punches stage-ward. He wails joyously. A creature the shape of a question mark begins break-dancing in his chair.
I lean over the barrier and rest one hand on the smooth varnished wood work. I permit my meta-human strength to crunch into it, and it’s as if the whole crowd can hear and see the action.
The strangers voice breaths out as if it were standing right next to me, ‘And I am who you think you are.’
Everyone titters. The laughter – you can taste the sycophancy. It’s as though my last statement has begun the recommencement of a private joke. Something risque.
All the pain that rushes from up my shins and into my legs and back - it’s alive – it wants to birth itself out of my mouth. I sublimate my extreme discomfort, willing the agony through my arm as it realigns my glasses. No, no more superhero-stunt man theatrics. Time to talk tough,
Laughter from all over the Blunderbus Theatre makes me jump a little. Fear on a god is not a good look. I can't help but hear a triumph in his reply, ‘How many enemies have you called insane simply because you didn’t understand them?' he says, 'How many misunderstood loners fill your rogues gallery?’
‘Try to think outside of your recent adventure.' he says laughing, 'You can’t.'
Necrosphere. Only the phonetics ring through my head now. No images at all.
'Your life is confined to this story. One event surrounded by the scribble-work of vain survivalist’s. You see my point? You're no more the chaos god than I am?’
Necrosphere. No events no people no anything and I have to shut it up, my voice knifing out of nowhere, a menace drilling through my leaden confidence...
‘Fuck the mind games!' I shout,
'What does your real voice sound like? Where are you?!'
‘Where I’m from is far more interesting than where I am.'
I'm bathing every nook and cranny of the Blunderbus theatre in my most extreme X-rays. Nothing. The monster's speech continues its evasion of my desperate searching. Under seats, in the backstage dressing rooms...I hunt around the wings where patient production staff smile and giggle. I'm sure one of them mouths the word Necrosphere as I rush back through the curtains. Back under the lights I go. Barely a spark singes along my cheek as my self-faith begins to blow itself out,
‘Script got your tongue?’ I didn’t say act dildo, I said…’ and I pull a thread of my fire hair and wrap it round my knuckle, ‘Talk!’
Whoever I'm based on is dead and I'm...I'm...losing it.
No, don't go into shock. Say something observational to catch him off guard:
I will myself not to do or say anything reactionary.
Idols like me don’t fear Youssef. Idols like me take their steamed eye-wear off to clear them against their trench-coat lapel. They place them back on and consider the hulk that is Youssef to be nothing. I'm everything a well-written god ought to be and this Youssef, he's just an idea of a strong man. I must believe that he is surmountable.
The monkey starts waving a pamphlet. A comic book I think. Of course it does. Everything here is a riddle, even the people that I think are on my side, they let their pet monkeys wave puzzles my way. Blotchy-can-hardly-read ones. The red man, he just carries on as though there isn't a monkey round his neck. Like he isn't even there. And his Scottish tone is almost completely devoid of emotion.
‘We’ll be outside waiting for you,’ he intones, ‘we’ll be aboard the Matryoshka.’