Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Conversation on the bus

I put tinfoil over the TV set and the hi-fi speakers.  I put the portable radio inside an empty metal paint tin.  I took it out again because the tin had a plastic lid which was no good.  I found another lid which seemed to fit and was made of metal.  The rim was bent but it was sound.   I had to cut out the waves he was sending to try to control my thoughts.  I don’t know why he started, and I don’t know why he picked me.  The invisible monkeys live on top of the fridge, and they feed off the electricity, and so I turned it off.  Electricity is bad.  It feeds voices and demons and the invisible monkeys.  Gas is bad, too.  Poisonous.  A conspiracy in insidious, physical form.  Gas feeds the alligators which try to bite my toes when I am in bed.  I wear twelve pairs of socks to protect my feet.  I think the smell of gas reminds them of their home in the everglades.

My tablets sing to me in very high, celestial voices.  Sometimes it is just one of them, a solo performance of the nunc dimitis.  Sometimes it is the whole blister-pack.  They sound muffled because of the foil and the plastic they are wrapped in.  They get louder when I open the packet.  I put the pill down the sink and turn the tap on, and the singing gradually trails off as it gets washed away.  I make a cup of tea with cold water and gone-off milk and an empty teabag (tea is full of aluminium and gives you dementia) and I sit at the kitchen table and cry for the lost voice.

The universe is getting colder.  Everything is spreading out and cooling down.  We are all going to freeze, eventually.  When the temperature gets down to four degrees kelvin, the atmosphere will be liquid and electricity will be everywhere because all the metal in the world will start to super-conduct.   That might be why he is trying to control me, to stop me from telling anybody the secrets.  Now I have told you, you are in danger.

I don’t go out very often, because it is so dangerous.  This is my first time on a bus for months.  Is this your stop?  No, no, don’t get off here.  See that?  That thing behind the wire fence?  That’s an electricity sub-station that is: a nest of demons: a battery for powering wickedness.  Oh, god – I’m getting another broadcast.  Get out! Get out!  Leave me alone!  Ah.  Now everything has gone orange.  Are you orange?  Were you orange when you got up this morning?  You shouldn’t be orange.  The most evil colours are black and yellow, but orange and red are bad as well.

I’m going to see my doctor.  He has a pool of electric charge which circulates inside his body, and I need to draw it out before I can let him treat me anymore.  I am going to draw it out of him with this conductor, in this bag here.  Look at it.  It is shiny, isn’t it.  It says “Inox” on it.  I have got this tape to restrain him with if he doesn’t understand.  He often doesn’t understand what I am telling him, even when I shout it at him over and over again.  He just tells me to calm down.  How can I be calm when he is trying to control me?  How can I sit calmly by and wait for the freezing death of the universe?  Does that prospect make you feel calm?

I think you’ve missed your stop.  You better hope the inspector doesn’t get on.  The inspectors are powered by electricity and they broadcast things.


2 responses to “Conversation on the bus

  1. Paul Sharratt October 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I used to know someone on Usenet who thought like this, except he didn’t as far as I know, stab his doctor. He made enormous long rambling posts about how M.I.5 were sending mind scrambling signals through his radio and Chris Tarrant (who was on Capital Radio at the time) was in on it as well. He even knew that he had schizophrenia, but he got the causal link backwards and imagined that it was his percecutors who had made him mentally ill rather than recognising that the phantom conspiracy was caused by his illness.

  2. wthirskgaskill October 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    An OU colleague said she had sat next to this person on a bus in Mile End. One thing that has surprised me since I started started taking creative writing courses is how much of what I write comes out in the voice of either a child or a person with mental health problems.

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