Now I’ve got a hideous cyst growing on my spinal-cord at level C5. Already it has caused considerable paralysis. The cyst is creeping upwards, paralysing more of my body as it grows. My wrists are weakening. I can no longer cock my left hand back, and I can’t twist my wrists or move my hand from side to side. My tricep muscles are practically useless. I can’t feel or use my hands or legs. My stomach and chest muscles are also paralysed. Coughing is impossible.
But Geraldine quietly reflect on the conspiracies that supposedly dominate our lives. She conducts her psychotherapy sessions with no mention to her clients of her unconventional thoughts, the flat earth theory and the fact that the Illuminati are masterminding global events, planting agents in governments and corporations in order to gain political power, influence, and establish a New World Order.
A couple of Francis Street thugs jeered at him, and with much contemptuous laughter shouted out: “That’ll make your eyes blacker.” I told them to shut the funk up. With incredulous looks on their faces, they asked me to repeat what I had said. I replied angrily: “Why don’t you shut the fuck up?” They moved quickly and menacingly towards me …
It got to the point where I couldn’t bear kissing her. The passion had gone. We were standing outside my house, the streetlight shining on her cheeks and nose, her glossy hair and full lips. It was now or never. I had to tell her. And so with a quivering voice I said it was over. She burst into tears and ran up the road. I chased after her. She threatened to throw herself under a car. I held her. She pressed her head against my chest
Jocelyn was on the settee, rocking backwards and forwards. Her eyes were bulging. She was trembling. “It’s only acid it will go away, it’s only acid it will go away, it’s only acid it will go away,” she repeated over and over again.
Entering the restaurant, I ask for three portions of pork and rice to take away. The manager approaches me. He smiles. We talk. He is wearing a suit with an open neck shirt. It has gold rings on his fingers. His hair is dark and combed back. He has a gold tooth in the upper front of his mouth. He says his daughter would like to learn how to play the guitar and wondered if I would teach her. I say I would be glad to. Maybe a couple of lessons a week. He asks me when I can start and I tell him tomorrow afternoon. I will nip in around 3 o’clock. “Has she got a guitar?” I ask.
“Seriously,” he says. “It’s always airborne, twenty-four-seven. If there’s nuclear Armageddon and America is faced with destruction, they will unleash the bomb.
But wait, what’s this? A young woman in her early 20s, legs buckling under her weight, body swaying unsteadily from side to side, is stumbling along the road, cars sounding their horns, swerving, others screeching to a halt. She is holding her hands out in front and saying aloud, “Come to me beautiful butterfly …” The woman is in a drug haze, trying to catch an imaginary butterfly. She stumbles and falls. Her skirt rides up around her waist. She makes no attempt to cover herself. Tries to get up but stumbles again. This time she is lying on her back, her feet drawn up and her knees in the air. Her underwear his stained, as if she has voided her bladder. People try to help her up. She screams and cries. They get her to stand, then help her to the pavement. She is very unsteady on her feet. They sit her down on some concrete steps outside a shop.
When do I call an ambulance? How low do I let it go before I dial 999? I used to think it was amusing when my blood pressure dropped. “There it goes again,” I’d chuckle. Now it’s serious. 56/36 is no longer a joke. It is sickening. It is life-threatening. I can’t go on like this. It’s like I’ve been disembowelled, the contents of my abdomen scooped out and flung to the floor
What’s happened? I am laying face down, looking into my visor and there is blood in the visor and the blood is dripping down, splash, splash, splash. And someone is screaming, and I hear voices, lots of voices, and I guess people are standing around but it is all confusing. “Is he dead?” It’s a woman shouting. Her voice is frightened and shrill and hysterical. I think, “No, I am not dead, I’m here and I’m conscious but I need to get it together, need to analyse the situation, make it clearer in my mind before I move.” So I go to get up but nothing happens, and I try to push down with my arms but nothing happens, and I try to move my head but nothing happens, and I suddenly realise that I can’t feel myself, don’t know where my legs or arms are, or whether I am facing up or down. But the blood keeps dripping into the visor and so I know my head is looking towards the ground.
“I can’t move!” I blurt out. “I can’t move …”