[Life in Transition, 10,268 words, Genre: Realistic Fiction/Occult]
At twenty seven years of age Stuart had grown accustomed to his circle of friends and they had grown accustomed to him. Perhaps that was the problem. That they all knew each other too well, they had spent so much time together that they had begun to get on one another’s nerves. Was that the problem? Stuart couldn’t be sure and either could any of the others.
They got along with one another because they all went to the gym with one another. Stuart was less developed physically than any of the others. But his mind… Oh my God, his mind! He was a diamond among the rough in that respect. One in a million, one in a billion, sharp as a tack and a star of his own surroundings. The others didn’t possess the same intelligence as he did. So he would often find himself, saying or speaking of things that quite often went above their heads. And for that part, his circle of friends branded him as being annoying. To them, he was the annoying one. They didn’t think he was intelligent because they couldn’t understand what he was talking about half the time. He wasn’t as strong as the others, couldn’t lift as much weight, and so obviously, to them, he was the annoying one.
Now, the truth of the matter was that he was just different. He had different ambitions in life, and while they were all obsessed with their own bodies. He was obsessed with the pursuits of the intellect. But put a swan amongst the ducks and they’ll just think it’s an ugly duck. So over time as Stuart conversed and argued with his circle of friends on a variety of different subjects, their annoyance grew with the fact that he would not submit nor follow their own lead. And why would he? Why would an intelligent man follow brutes? They were two different types, developing their strengths in different areas.
Stuart and his friend Matthew were arguing over their own ambitions in life. Stuart was making an argument for the pursuit of literature, whereas Matthew, who didn’t read, couldn’t understand what he was talking about.
“Why just focus on the physical, you need a well rounded personality to attract the right sort of woman.”
“No, you don’t get it,” Matthew made his argument plain and simple, “You want someone who’s hot, you have to work on your body to do that.”
“Yeah… But what’s the point if you can’t talk to her?” Stuart asked.
“Why the fuck would you want to talk to her for? What has she got to say?”
“Women have minds too… You need to develop your mind as well. You can’t just develop your body and expect a relationship to work. You have to work on your logic so that you can resolve differences of opinion, things like that.”
“Listen, you don’t get it. I’m the man. I go to work, I get dinner cooked for me, I get a clean house… What else is there to know?”
“But what are you going to talk about? What would your shared interests be?”
“I don’t give a flying fuck about what my shared interests would be… What sort of bullshit is this?”
“Well, you have to have something in common otherwise you won’t get along.”
“We do have something in common, we went to school, we got educated there and we live in the same world. If you read too much different crap you’ll be like someone from another planet? And then what, huh? Have you ever thought about that?”
“There’s nothing wrong with being well read.”
The argument continued on and on. Every time that they went to the gym, the argument and difference of opinion was the same. Stuart couldn’t seem to win Matthew over to his line of thinking. Matthew was stuck in the mud, unable to change, and Stuart kept on growing more frustrated with him. Stuart felt like he was beating his head up against an intellectual brick wall. No matter what he said or what argument he made, he couldn’t seem to break through to the other side. Stuart would make arguments, pointing out that the old relationship paradigms between the sexes didn’t exist anymore. But no matter what he said, what he did, Matthew wouldn’t budge from his position.
Stuart also noticed another thing in his relationship with the others. Every time that they went out into the wider world to socialize. Because of the fact that he was constantly surrounded by them and they with him. Instead of acting like he normally would, in public he would act as they. It was an oddity that he didn’t quite understand. Together, they were the ones who acted like morons. In the outside world they mimicked his intellect, without being able to adopt his previous identity, he had to adopt theirs’ and make a buffoon of himself. Their relations and friendship was extremely damaging. Their personality was melting into his and his personality was melting into theirs’. However, it seemed that these were personality traits he despised… He didn’t quite understand how it worked on a psychological level. All he understood was that was what was happening.
Every time he went out with them, things seemed to grow worse. He was obliterating his old identity. Destroying himself with drug and alcohol abuse. Starting fights with complete strangers. He had officially adopted the pack mentality. Like a pack of wild dogs, they roamed the streets, acting like hoodlums and pushing their weight around wherever they could.
Over time he grew more balls in his actions towards his circle of friends. The alcohol and drug abuse did that to a person. Made them think like that they were Gods, like they could do whatever they wanted. And because they were half-hearted friends, they didn’t do anything to stop it. He just kept on making a further fool of himself with each comment that passed through his lips.
Then came the day when they had had enough of him. It was a day like any other. He went around their home to spend some time hanging out with them and they reacted poorly to his presence. It wasn’t an argument or anything like that. All they did was look at him straight in the eyes, telling him clearly, “You’ve grown too annoying. If we ever see you here again, there will be consequences.”
And that was the end of that relationship with that circle of people.
He was now on the cusp of turning thirty. He had decided to live with his mother for a period of time. His parents were divorced and his mother was remarried to another man. The stepfather didn’t like him that much and in little time at all, he had to move out of the house and find himself a flat in one of the local neighbourhoods. When it happened, it happened all at once. His stepfather was complaining about the upkeep of the household.
Stuart wasn’t the most tidy of individuals. He was a pig, living as he had recently with the drugs and alcohol. The upkeep of his surroundings was at the bottom of his list of things to do. He was too busy maintaining his own state of mind and his sanity. The drugs had mixed with his brain chemistry and he was half insane. In addition to that, everyone around him was giving him shit for the way he was handling his life. His stepfather was one of those people. Surrounding him, in his ear every day. And Stuart was doing the best that he could to not beat the absolute living crap out of him for his mother’s sake.
And so when it was decided that Stuart should leave, the pressure was placed on his mother and himself. Whereas his stepfather didn’t have to worry about a thing. Stuart knew what a piece of shit his stepfather was for doing that, placing that stress upon his mother’s shoulders. But Stuart, after having lived in the wider world for quite some time, understood that most people were pieces of shit. Or maybe they were lacking intelligence. The cards were still on the table for that one.
Stuart had justified his past drug use and juvenile behaviour as an escape from all of the bullshit that the rest of the world had presented to him. And who could really see it that way? Not many people. But he stuck to his own and kept to himself. They eventually found a one bedroom flat in one of the surrounding suburbs. And Stuart moved in the following week.
Now that he was living on his own. He had all the time in the world to sort out and through all of the bullshit that had occurred through his life. Whereas before his current circumstance, he was always on the move. It had all been an adventure, that’s to be sure. But during that time he had to have put up with shitty landlords, idiotic housemates and the stream of bullshit coming from his circle of friends. For the first time in his life he had the freedom and independence of living on his own. There were no other obligations apart from those that he received from the welfare department. He looked for employment from time to time, but he lived in an area where there wasn’t that much employment around. So there was little else to do but occupy himself with his own troubles and personal problems.
Spending so much time by himself brought on feelings of loneliness and isolation. He longed for human company, at this point in time he was completely estranged. His friends had abandoned him, telling him that they no longer wanted to spend any time with him. He was living alone within the confinements of his own circumstance, he didn’t have a job and therefore didn’t have the funds to entertain himself. He was surviving off of welfare. And he lived near an all girls catholic high school.
His feelings of loneliness and isolation were dragging him to thinking about it. The high school girls, the younger generation. What sort of company would they make? The younger flesh was indeed beautiful, and he could use his age and experience to outwit them. It would be like playing chess with an animal, there would be no challenge there. But what was the challenge in playing chess with an inexperienced player? The inexperienced player becomes more intelligent, that much is true. And how good would it feel to win against someone half your age? If they are your intellectual equivalent, what does that say about you? The whole situation would be depressing.
And although loneliness and solitude presents its own struggles. The depression that would come with lowering yourself to the level of school children would be that much more depressing. People tend to associate with those that they have something in common with. Work colleagues associate with those at work because they have the shared experience, something in common that they can all talk about. If he were to start associating with high school girls, even though they were attractive, the whole situation would be that much more depressing… It tore him apart, he reasoned it all through. Even though he was a bit of an arsehole sometimes, he wouldn’t lower himself to taking advantage of high school girls.
He was an adult, he would have to find other adults to hang around with. But, how? How could he continuously improve himself and integrate into the adult world. He had always enjoyed the activity of reading. It was a method by which he could seek his own self-improvement and development. He didn’t have to go to a university to read a book. The community library had always been there, a way in which to develop himself in any area that he saw fit. And although the education system taught people a lot of different things, in reality it was only a means in which to prepare people for the real world. Once you had the tools at your disposal to discipline one’s self, then it was all up to the individual to seek their own learning and further themselves.
The internet was as useful a tool as any other for the distribution of information. And so he started to document his thoughts, to read and exercise. If there was one thing he was grateful for from his old circle of friends, it was the fact that they had gotten him into the routine of exercise. Even if he wasn’t surrounded with other people and social scenarios, he still had the tools in which to develop himself. The internet provided an avenue in which he could share his own thoughts and socialize online. To entertain others with his thoughts and experiences, a way in which to improve and interact in the world of adults.
Even if he wasn’t surrounded by other people, he could read their thoughts in writing and surround himself with others in that way. Listening to music that he enjoyed online, he surrounded himself with the energies of the adult world and the tastes of his generation.
As the others went to work in their offices, working on construction sites and in retail positions. He was busy working on his own endeavours.
He had a lot to write about. His thirty years of life experience proved as a valuable resource to his inspiration for writing material. In a way he was doing it to figure out what exactly was going on in his life. He had to answer the question for himself. Why, at thirty years of age, had he now become a dependent factor upon his parents who were heading into retirement? At first he didn’t know what prompted him to write the material that he did. But in reality, he was sifting through his unconscious thoughts, attempting to answer that question for himself. Why, in hell, was he the way he was?
For most of his working life, he had worked in a call centre, making cold sales calls. It was commission work and he didn’t earn that much. And now that he had found himself unemployed, he thought about his time in the call centre. It was a bitch of a job, that one was. Every day he would be called either a cunt or a cunt face. It was just the nature of the position. But for the first time after all of that, he had the time to think about it. I mean really think about it. While working there, he was constantly trying to keep up with everything. Keeping up with the nine to five working processes and all the rest of it.
He wrote about it too. His life as another slave to the machine in the corporate environment. Waking up to the buzz of the alarm clock every morning. The cold showers in the morning to shock him into a state of alertness and wakefulness. That’s what he had been doing every day for three consecutive years of his life. It had really drained the energy out of him.
And now he had some idea of what the rest of the population was like. He had a sample to work with, with three years of cold calling to people he didn’t know, he thought he had a pretty good idea of what people who lived in this world were like. With the most common answer to his sales pitch being, ‘Look, I’m struggling to pay my own bills already, I can’t afford to buy whatever you’re selling. Now fark off!’ He thought about it. If people were struggling to pay their bills, what else was he supposed to do? What was he meant to think?
He thought about it for some time and read information about the economic crisis that was occurring in Australia. If the data was true and nobody apart from the billionaires and millionaires had any money to spend. Then what did that say about the world he was living in? Crime and criminals existed for a reason. They were a direct result of the population’s desperation due to the circumstance of their lives. Perhaps it was true, people could spend their lives on the planet more wisely. However, not everybody was a genius and not everyone had the information or the mind to connect all of the dots with what was occurring in the wider world.
When you looked at the sale of recreational drugs that were running rampant in the community. Intoxicants that he had taken part of in his pre-history to this point, all one had to do was realize the people’s desperation for an escape from the world that they were living in and the demand for such a product. However, the police and judicial forces were always hunting down drug dealers and the wealth that they had accumulated through their extracurricular activities. So in the end of that drug dealing and hustling business, the wealth accumulated would be seized and once more become a part of the state. At the end of all of that, whoever took on the risks to pump drugs into the system, would end up imprisoned or circumstantially castrated by the population that they had taken advantage of.
Not everyone had the mind or intelligence to direct their own activities and not everyone was a success. With the writing of his blog and the documentation of his life experiences. He was in effect applying his own structure and routine to his own life. Whether he was successful financially or not was another matter entirely. He seemed to be surviving. He seemed to be feeding himself. He wasn’t starving. And in a third world continent where famine was a problem, that activity alone would be considered a success.
He once again thought about the call centre. The corporate structure. His managers and their higher ups. They were selling life insurance. Another commodity. Dark and sickening as it may seem, lots of people buy into that world. A lot of people sacrifice their lives for the benefit of those around them and that’s how that whole line of thinking went. But they were simply selling a policy. And those who had positions in management and senior management were simply guiding the business and applying pressure to those below them. In effect, their presence accounted for more than their actual work. There was a lot of intimidation tactics being used, the more professional one appeared, the more intimidating one became. Well spoken, well educated, appearance counted for everything. But the actual product of their endeavours was the same, always the same. To him, as an individual with a creative and imaginative mind, it appeared like a world of illusions and bullshit. If everyone did the same thing with their lives, then how bland would the world be? People like that, the corporates and the supposed elite, simply make commentary on how the economy operates. Most of the time their opinions are an educated guess and not actual facts. An informed opinion, but still an opinion, none the less.
However, with his writing, he became a part of the economy. A producer of material. And no matter how abstract his writing appeared, his produced work and writing material were more fulfilling than any corporate environment could ever be.
In essence, he knew he was doing something by producing things, where everybody else took a backseat and looked on. Their minds as of yet undecided with what they wanted to do with their lives.
After having realized the reasons for his current circumstance, he no longer felt the pressure that he once had. It was true, he was unemployed, but he was also looking for work. And in the meantime, while he had all of this free time to himself, he may as well enjoy it.
So he went down to the local bottle shop and bought himself three bottles of seven hundred and fifty mil beer. Or as they were locally known; longnecks. He also bought a tin of wee Willem cigars and a bag of potato chips. Then he went home to his flat, put some of his favourite tunes on and indulged himself. The weather was hot outside, it was in mid summer and the cold beer soothed the problems his body was feeling in temperature. He smoked the cigars in-between generous swigs of his beer. Blowing smoke up into the air at a ninety degree angle. Sometimes he would step outside of his flat, in bare feet and let his feet be warmed by the heated cement.
At one point, while walking outside, he stubbed his toe. The large toe on the left foot. He limped around for a bit. Hobbling around until the pain eased, then he started walking around comfortably again. With the blood on his toe seeping out beneath the toenail. He still had a beer in his hand and poured a bit of the liquid out over his toe. It wasn’t the smartest move in the world. But it was for convenience and not actual medical application.
He stretched his limbs and enjoyed the sunshine for a period of time before heading back indoors to light up another cigar. In a way it was boring, in another way it wasn’t. At least he didn’t have to put up with the constant bitching from his old circle of friends. Complaining about him. Calling him stupid. It is often said that you can find the best company amongst one’s self, and that’s what he did. For the first time in a long time he could enjoy a beer in silence without the feeling of being assaulted by other people’s negative feedback.
He basked in what he had done so far. The work on his blog. The documentation of his thoughts. Sharing his thoughts with the wider world, other people seemed to enjoy it too. He was always receiving positive feedback from the wider world from his writing on the internet. He grabbed a handful of potato chips and stuffed them inside his mouth, the crumbs spreading all over his shirt front from the excess that he had put into his mouth.
Taking another drink from his beer he came to a realization, an epiphany… It’s not that he was exactly an idiot in the situation with his old circle of friends. It’s just that they all happened to agree with one another. He had constantly surrounded himself with people who had ganged up on him in their opinions. It wasn’t the ideal environment. However, now that he was alone, he was free to do as he pleased without carrying around the excess weight. They weren’t a hindrance to him in any social regard, for the most part he enjoyed their company. But when he was around them, he always felt he was arguing against them. And for the first time, free from the herd, he had the clarity of his own mind. It was a beautiful understanding to come to.
With his bladder full, he went to the bathroom to relieve himself. Half tipsy, he swayed from side to side in an effort to gain his balance. He pissed on the sides of the ceramic bowl, its white surface temporarily being flooded with a yellow stream of urine. He groaned in ecstasy as he relieved himself. Then once done, he flushed the toilet and then went to wash his hands under water. It was a dry rinse, in the fact that he didn’t apply soap to his hands. Just gently rinsing his hands under warm water, he wasn’t going out any time soon and wasn’t going to shake hands with anybody soon, so he didn’t see the point. On top of that, he was temporarily drunk. The standards of an intoxicated person are well below that of one when they’re sober.
After finishing the other two longnecks, he lay on the couch for a period of time. Smoking the remainder of the cigars. A gentle numbness had overcome his sense of being. His head and mind fluttered this way and that. He was at peace, he was enjoying himself and a gentle cool breeze had come in to relieve the heat of the day. He opened the door of his flat and let the cool air in. Then, with the radio playing along in the background, he fell asleep to the sounds of music.
He couldn’t remember what he dreamt of that day. But it wasn’t disturbing, whatever it was. He was simply another boat floating in the sea, completely powerless to control the forces of nature that were beyond his control.
His life was like this now. He couldn’t find work and he had all the time in the world to himself. It was a struggle to motivate himself correctly without the incentive of paid work there to keep him balanced. Spending so much time alone, he was occupied with his thoughts. And his thoughts were a mad stream of consciousness at first. At first the thoughts were simple, but the more time he spent alone, the more complex they became.
He had to find some way to occupy himself. And chain smoking cigarettes in his living room of his flat, while over analysing every situation that occurred and confusing his own identity even further seemed to become a past-time of his own endeavours. It was simple at first, he would watch a television show or one of his old DVDs that he had stored away. Then he would think about it in relation to his own life and what had happened to him. What started off as a simple way of entertaining himself, then grew into complex identity issues. He began to have fantasies concerning famous figures from Hollywood. Started to imagine what their lives were like, began wondering what it was like to be one of them. One of those celebrated people.
As time passed while he remained at home with the comfort of nobody around, he started analysing these people. Reading up on articles about them on the internet. Just the ones he knew. Then he began fantasizing about what these people were really like. He knew enough about the world to realize that these people were simply putting on a face to the viewing public, in order to win over their fans and viewers, they had to appear as pleasant as possible. Their relationship with the viewing public was one in which they seized their wealth and made a living. But what were they really like? What were they really like behind closed doors? Were they really that pleasant or did they have a dark side too?
Over time his relationship, or at least the amount he read about these people, grew and grew. He understood that it wasn’t as easy as it appeared, being a public figure that was. Always in view and under analysis of the viewing public. They couldn’t be this calm and collected all the time. Behind closed doors, in their personal lives, they were someone different. But who were they really? The paparazzi seemed to gather information about this sort of thing too. Their marriage breakdowns, the tantrums that they threw on film sets, all of these different things. And the worst part about this for them was that how they were portrayed wasn’t the public’s opinion. The public loved them, adored them… No, when sensationalist media wrote a bad review or an article publicizing problems in a celebrity’s life. This wasn’t the public’s opinion at all. It was the opinion of some individual journalist supported by a magazine or tabloid. Somebody who wanted to be like them, but couldn’t quite emulate their own mode of success. The complex range of emotions between the paparazzi and the celebrities ranged from jealousy and envy to wrath and vengeance.
After understanding this side of things, he began to envision what they were like. The people they actually were. It was true, many of them were actors. They were superstars at performance and putting forth an alternative identity. So who were they really? They were kind of like people with multiple personality disorders, fighting to ground themselves in everyday reality, while at the same time being swarmed with wealth and excess. That was inside his mind at least. They were the idols… They maintained themselves well, but they were people too. It was simply a job. It was a job that went around the clock, at all hours of the day. Knowing what the rest of the world was like, many of them probably had feelings of guilt. But they continued to outperform one another, to reach new heights wherever they could and try to lead people to a socially responsible attitude. Guiding them to fun at times and political awareness at others. That was their job, but who were they really? What were their problems… Were they existential, were they social? What was it like to actually be one of them?
Any idea of these people that Stuart had was a fantasy. Simply a fantasy. He knew that they weren’t like other people and his head was full of daydreams about how they were living their lives and what they were doing with themselves. To represent them realistically from where he stood was a complete construction of his imagination.
But slowly over time he started to develop these imaginary relationships with these people. Having conversations inside his head. Listening to these people, thinking about what they could be like. They all had their identities cast over the internet. And the more that he read about them, the fuller picture he was given about their identities. And as their identities established themselves in his mind, he would talk to them about different things. The celebrities were always releasing different sorts of information about themselves and their lives on the internet. And because he had established his blog, he was doing a similar thing, broadcasting his thoughts as it were. He would listen to them have conversations with other people. All in an imaginary scenario.
He stopped feeling as lonely as he appeared. Living by himself, he had to develop these imaginary relationships with other people. It wasn’t with every celebrity out there. Only the people that he liked. People that he felt he had some common ground with. People that he felt he could learn from. His own idols.
And because he idolized these sort of people. Interacting with them in imaginary scenarios. His behaviour started to change. He changed his mental disposition, he stopped being so negative all of the time. He started reading more and more material in relation to the things that they were interested in. And with the more information that he accumulated. His identity and behaviour started to change.
At one point the situation became so confusing for him that he went to see a counsellor. In the counselling situation they explained it to him, “You’re doing that because you’re so lonely. Living on your own isn’t easy. If you were living with other people, you’d probably talk to them instead. As it is, you need these people to help keep your own sanity and mind in check. Otherwise, you’d go completely insane through the isolation.”
Stuart was now dragging his feet. Everything that he did was becoming fundamentally more difficult. Each action, each step that he took was becoming that much more difficult for him. In essence, he was lacking motivation and was in desperate need for social interaction. But the only social interaction that he could find was inside his head.
Among the individuals he had introverted conversations with was one actor. An incredibly famous individual. A legend of his own time. He had retired long ago, but he was still alive. Stuart thought about this man. This man who had been an idol to his entire generation and inside his head, he conversed with him. Creating a dialogue with this individual. And his concept of this individual was what he had seen from movies, what he had read about him in celebrity news. He had found as much information on him as he could from articles of the internet. And in his mind, that’s who he was.
Seeing as he had retired. He talked to him about his life. He introduced himself as a writer as that was what he was currently doing with himself. Writing articles on his blog, discussing several different things. He talked about what he had done with his life. Of course, though, all of this information simply occurred internally within himself. That’s all it was… An imaginary conversation.
As he talked to him. The retired actor listened. At first the man was defensive towards him. In his imagination he thought about what it would be like. And because they were complete strangers to one another, that’s what it was. It was as if he had intruded upon this man in his household. But slowly over time they began to know one another. And the identity of this man no longer remained as a caricature within his own mind. Instead, it grew, it developed. The thought of this man took on a life of its own. He slowly became used to this man. Inside his head as it were.
There was no-one else to talk to and so that’s what he was doing. As he was driving around. As he was doing grocery shopping. He was always discussing with this man at length the details of his life. And somehow the other man was talking to him about life, about the experience of life. Some people, Stuart supposed, had a relationship with God. He had a relationship with this imaginary idolization of this individual. His conception of what it was to be like that man grew and grew. He seemed to understand when you’re that famous. It’s not like being a regular person. You have to take more precautions for your own security. Things like that.
They were discussing different points in Stuart’s life and what Stuart was currently going through. How he had broken away from his friends and how everyone around him had all grown older. Other people didn’t want to hang out anymore. They were all busy living their own lives and he didn’t have enough money of his own to entertain himself. Life for Stuart had become boring, it had become stagnant in so many ways.
In all ways of course apart from his blog. He was trying to keep himself busy by writing different material. And the actor seemed to understand. A writer, a younger man… Actors are usually grateful for writers. Or at least they know what writers are like as they also work in the entertainment industry. They talked about different aspects of his life. The different people that he idolized while growing up. How some of them had passed away. How the world had changed. How he had changed with the world and the different things that he had gone through to get to this point in time.
The older man seemed to understand. And although there was a great disparity of wealth between the two people, there seemed to be an understanding of how insane the world actually was. Stuart enjoyed the company. Even if it was just inside his own world. His mind was drifting away from his own surroundings into this internal world. He became silent with other people. There wasn’t anybody else around to talk to.
And so somehow this internal caricature of this famous actor was keeping him company. Helping him transit into this part of his life. This life that he was currently living was one of isolation. The counsellor had already explained it to him on a psychological level.
But he didn’t know if he was damaging himself. Creating this imaginary relationship. It was odd. Was he simply living in a fantasy world or was he learning about different things? He was learning about different things by thinking about them, that much was true. The more thought that he put into this man, the more that he realized that he was isolated too. He had read about him, he was a divorcee and a retiree. So he supposed in the end, living the isolated life that he was currently living. They did have that in common. Not that Stuart was a divorcee or retiree, the lonely life that they were leading was the commonality.
Perhaps… Perhaps they were both helping each other out. Perhaps they were both dealing with the same issues of isolation as one another. Perhaps thinking about one another was helping. Helping one another realize that even though they were both isolated and alone. They were not really alone in the end at all. That was what it was like for every other person that existed on the planet. They were all busy living their own lives, doing their own things and thinking about the people closest to them. Or the people they idolized. The more he conversed with this man. The more complex his internal world became. He was gaining more understanding about himself with each passing day. Having an imaginary friend to bounce ideas off were like holding up a mirror to himself. In there, he could finally see his own reflection and come to a fuller understanding of himself and his own identity. It was madness, but it’s a mad, mad world.
Even the thought that he was not alone in going through the isolation that he was going through helped ease his state of mind.
The more understanding of his own circumstance and life that he became, the less productive he became in his own writing endeavours. After his questions had been answered, he felt less need to explore his own internal world. And after that, well, he wasn’t as tortured anymore. He was becoming used to not having enough money. Getting by on very little was almost second nature to him. He felt like he could survive in almost any circumstance. And now that these imaginary conceptions were keeping him company, he didn’t quite feel the same pressure to perform anymore. So what was he to do? In this circumstance, what was he meant to do? His questions had been answered or at least he had come to an answer that satisfied him and helped him achieve some semblance of inner peace. But now what?
He supposed he best go and make the attempt to make real friends. After all, these imaginary conceptions had been just that, imaginary. Stuart was also, at that time, reading a novel about a handicapped spy. The spy had lost his right arm in an overseas conflict and had been cut down in his prime. The novel talked about his problems about adjusting to a life with the loss of a limb. He had to make personal adjustments in his life in order to function. But the real problem was that he was no longer accepted by the community of the elite of which he had been a part of. And because of his issues of pride, he couldn’t allow himself to be treated as part of the disabled community. So he started having these adventures of different scenarios. He didn’t partake in full on spy activities, but he became this vigilante of sorts. Trying to sort out different problems in the community that he was living in. He was caught in the middle of society’s problems and on one hand had to defend the disabled community in order to gain them a better life. And on the other hand had to explain some of the issues that the elite rulers of the world were imposing on the populace. The phrase is, ‘Stuck between a rock and a hard place.’ But it was definitely interesting in all of the problems that he faced and how he acted as a lone wolf in all of these activities that nobody else really knew about.
After reading some of the novel, he would drive his car down to the local café. There he would order himself a coffee and read the newspaper. The local news was of keen interest to him as he was part of the community that was directly affected. He made a routine of it. Washing himself down with a shower in the mornings and putting on a clean change of clothes. He was sure that if he kept on showing his face around the local community, eventually, someone was bound to stop and have a chat.
As he became part of the crowd that would frequent the café in the local area, he started to get to know the café staff’s names. He would ask how their days had been and if they knew of anything that was going on in the local neighbourhood. Sometimes they would reply, other times they were too busy. He was, after all, an outsider to this particular community and hadn’t lived there his whole life. Eventually someone stopped what they were doing and started talking to him. It was an older woman, she was on a disability support pension due to a mental illness.
They started talking about their lives to one another. Just different events that had occurred over their individual life spans. Historic events like the falling of the twin towers in New York and where they had been and what they had been doing with themselves at that point in time. They kept on running into each other up and down the street. They both had all the time in the world to talk to one another as they didn’t have jobs. And slowly, eventually, a friendship was formed.
They didn’t spend that much time together. And although Stuart appreciated the company, he also felt that it was more of a case of him entertaining her rather than any form of mutual entertainment. So once again he asked the people inside his head, the ones he idolized, what was happening. They replied to him that most people were busy with their jobs and as people grew older they became more wary of meeting new people as they all had issues of trust that occurred naturally as one grew older. That made enough sense to Stuart. It was easy enough to make new friends in high school, but as one grew older, their experience of life changed and they learnt who they could and couldn’t trust in this world.
Social politics, in the end, was the highest form of supreme bullshit that could ever occur. When one got older and more problems occurred in this world, the more one realized that they’d rather just focus in on their work and not have to worry about the world as a form of popularity contest. That was the truth of the world and he despised his friends more and more for abandoning him at the point of time in which they did.
And even though he enjoyed the company of the mentally ill woman for the benefits of the company and the ability to talk to someone else. He still kept on introverting his mind and idolizing these famous individuals in his life. These were people he had looked up to and respected from his childhood. Exemplars of the human condition. Intellectuals and elite. He would converse with these people on a daily basis. Explaining his problems and sorting through his own emotional affairs.
He would also think of the people that he had actually met in his life. Those that had been kind to him during his journey and pathway to adulthood. He would think kindly of them and remember the different times that they had shared together.
Reminiscing by himself. In his secluded one bedroom flat. With nothing else but his thoughts to occupy himself. Eventually this became the standard normal. Having chats with the mentally ill woman, reading the newspaper at the local café, occupying himself with his possessions or thoughts.
This, he supposed, was what it meant to be an adult living independently.
Stuart would also analyze. In his thoughts he thought about the world. All the different pieces of information coming from multiple sources. The internet, television, cinemas, workplaces, what he had experienced. It all blended in together in his thoughts. And he would go over every single piece of information over and over again. Attempting to extract some proportionate amount of knowledge from the world. Some hidden agenda that was running beneath the surface of the collective unconscious that existed beneath society, driving people’s actions, the insane and the sane. He would go over the same pieces of information time and time again. Thinking about every single little detail. Trying to make sense of the bizarre series of events that was his life. Looking for God hiding behind the curtains.
All in all, he thought that it was a miracle that he was still alive. With everything that he had experienced, everything that he had done, there seemed to be some sort of protective force wrapping him up in a blanket of safety. Perhaps these were his ancestors, guiding him along the highway of life. Attempting to direct him towards the best life possible. He had to have some belief in that sort of stuff. The idea that he was responsible for each one of his individual actions was a thought that was just catastrophic to behold. Who was actually driving behind the wheel of his mind? Putting him in this strange suburban setting after all that he had gone through? If he was responsible for his own actions, then so was everyone else, and what sort of supreme form of chaos would there be if each individual was rudderless in the great ocean of life. He had to place faith in higher guiding forces, the idea of a world without order would just be too chaotic an enterprise to confront. If everything was just random chance, the gift of birth and the intellect, it wouldn’t make sense on an experiential level. Faith itself gives people more confidence in their actions to commit themselves to some form of action than a man who lacks faith.
And he would analyse everything. Looking over the details. He would do it over and over again. Thinking about the world in so many different ways until it became a twisted disfigurement of what the world actually was. Trees and their branches would turn into arms and hands reaching out to him in some form of abstract action. Wishing to grab him and pick him up off of the planet. Then hurl him into a pit of despair. A world lacking all hope and reasoning. With so much analysis of the world around him, a sickness was overtaking his mind where he would only see the darkness of an abyss. A world where shadows would reach out and grab a hold of his mind, then like a corkscrew into a wine bottle, they would twist it until all of the people he knew became dark twisted caricatures of themselves. The world that he thought of would literally bounce out of his mind in its absurdity.
He thought of a world in which the entire population was scrabbling towards that of celebrity status. The entire human civilization running towards the spotlight and competing with each other to get there. The people in the spotlight seemed so happy… But really, was that the case? Or was it some sort of cruel charade. One in which once you reached the finish line, you would have to force a smile on your face and force yourself to act happy. Because after all… Celebrity status was what everyone wanted, right? To be celebrated. Were these figures smiling and laughing because they were really in so much pain on the inside? The world had so many atrocities occurring all the time that it might actually be the truth. Forcing out a smile on top of the podium in order to keep the gears of civilization in constant momentum.
And in his mental abyss of dark thoughts, that’s when he started drifting over to the occult. Oh, he still communicated with his idols inside his mind. But his thoughts and the conversations had taken on a dark turn. And then he thought about occult texts. He knew that they existed. He would read about occult phenomenon all the time. And as his mind became more disfigured, so did his tastes.
He started to read about Arthur E. Waite and the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn. He found an occult bookstore online and visited the place. It was located in the Melbourne central business district and supposedly run by a Satanist. He had been there before. Though he couldn’t remember the street exactly. It seemed each time he went to that place he would find himself wandering around in circles, the same streets and the same places over and over again. Until BAM! The bookshop seemed to appear out of nowhere in an alleyway.
He bought different books on magickal rites and began reading about the mysteries as provided by the mysterious. His main interest was that of telepathy. He had a question. Who or what was he communicating with? Was this just an aspect of his own mind that he was communicating with? Or was there something more to it?
The more he read up on the phenomenon of telepathy the more intrigued his fascination became. Many historical incidents of the phenomenon had been proven false and those who purported them as frauds. But there were still some incidents that were unexplained, some incidents where the phenomenon could be said to exist. And so he read on.
As he continued his studies into issues of telepathy, his conversations with his idols became more intense. They talked to him about the Church and the idea of prayer. They explained to him that when someone prays they are actually delivering telepathic communications to the individual that they pray to and when they pray to God, the priest or the spiritual leader would answer their prayers by listening into their thoughts and in essence, taking care of their flock. But when they prayed to famous individuals, they were actually intruding in upon their thoughts.
The famous actor seemed to understand. He told him that the subject of telepathy had been authored before by many famous artists through the centuries. More recently by Stephen King in his epic novel, ‘The Shining’. He explained that it was the wise man who was awake to these facts. He also explained that an individual only seeks advice from those he bares similarities to. For the very fact that there is a degree of attraction to similar personalities, and being similar to someone else in their own journey meant that they had something to discuss.
They discussed at length the possibility of meeting one another. But the famous actor explained that he used this particular skill in order to survive. To increase his popularity amongst the populace, he would think kindly of others around them, creating a positive energy towards that of his fans. He explained that positive prayers towards other individuals created this energy between them, in which could be felt on a metaphysical element. When Stuart asked what sort of feeling that the actor received from himself, the actor explained that it was one of respect for his elders. One of care and concern. Which is what he expected from the generations below him. However, in present times things didn’t exist in the same way that he once thought of. The traditional element of respecting one’s elders had been lost on many. And for that he appreciated his unique attitude.
Stuart explained about the sort of people that he was attracted to and the actor explained that he could communicate with them all. Every single person in the world he could communicate with, because as the Buddha had once explained. Existence is a web and every single individual is connected in some way or another. The psychic connection that existed between these two was one in which they could somewhat relate to one another on their individual journeys. Stuart wouldn’t be attracted to this person in any other scenario.
But Stuart still wondered… Was he communicating with the actual person or was he just communicating with the idol of this person? Was the psychic connection really happening? Or was he just tapping into the essence of what he knew about that person?
The actor or idol explained that if they weren’t similar then they wouldn’t have anything to say to one another. It was like attending a party of entering into maturity. When an individual reached maturity, they would have become the person that they were destined to be. They would have achieved enough in their lives that they would become an individual of substance. With their past achievements and past acts acting as their accomplishments in life, then they would have come into some form of definition of themselves. Once that had occurred, then they would have something to discuss with individuals of the world, whereas in their youth, their own identity would remain uncertain.
Stuart thought about it. A youth has just completed their high school education would be able to discuss their education. A university graduate was the same. But a man once he had entered the work force would be able to discuss their achievements and what they had done with their lives. Their experience changed and a man of experience would be full of some form of knowledge. Whether that was knowledge about his own generation or whether that knowledge was about the area in which they worked. It was all experience and a man of experience had much to discuss and much knowledge to pass on to others.
The actor explained that there were different sorts of people who existed in the world. There were people that would never wake up to the fact of telepathic communication and there were people who would exist in that world where dreams were actually a reality.
They were individuals of different levels of consciousness. People who were aware of their thoughts and the impact that their thoughts and prayers had on the people around them. Even if they were just thoughts, those thoughts produced an energy between different people. And that energy could be felt on some level. Whether that level was conscious or unconscious was a different matter entirely.
He explained that if he had nothing to discuss then he wouldn’t have come to him in the first place. It was like meeting a new friend. Even if he was trapped in isolation, he still had friends out there. And even though he was an actor of celebrated fame that was friendly towards everyone. He was in his thoughts and they were communicating with one another.
Stuart explained to him that he was apologetic for intruding on the actor’s life, but there was no-one else that he could go to in that regard. He was, after all, in isolation and an adult. Because of that there was no other way that he could maintain himself and preserve himself from the isolation that existed.
Everyone had a unique range of experience and something to offer to the world. And if he found it useful he could use this type of information in order to create a positive environment for himself and make his dreams and desires come to life for him.
He also asked why he could still communicate with the dead, why their idols were still present in his mind. And when he asked that question a dark cloud came over his flat and it started to rain outside, producing a dark and mysterious atmosphere.
It had been two years since Stuart had parted from his friends. It had been a turbulent time for him, finding his place in the world. Attempting to make his way through the chaos as many others do. He had found comfort and friendship in imaginary relationships with celebrities. Imaginary or real? Every time that he attempted to figure out if these were real situations or not, his mind or the celebrities would explain to him why he was actually talking to them and the situation wasn’t just a made-up circumstance.
He kept on talking to the actor who had long since retired from that point in time. They had found their way into a circumstance of isolation and loneliness together. Just the idea of that man had kept him entertained. It was a very bewildering experience for him. And if it were actually true, he wouldn’t be able to understand what the other man was going through at that point in time.
His question, his question, his question was if they were all telepathic, why could he still speak to the dead. And just as he had arrived at the answer before, the answer came to him once again from some unknown presence.
It started off as all things do, very simple at first. The answer was that they existed in the afterlife and once they had passed on, they could still communicate with the living. It was then that he started to ask and research about the afterlife.
The answer would always come to him. They told him that in this life that they were living right now. It was just a test, a test to see what sort of job they would be suited to in the afterlife. Whether or not their skills were useful or could be used in the other realms. They told him that guiding spirits were busy working on him and grooming his skills so that he could be of service to them in the next life. They told him that once the spirit matures and it reaches a certain level, it would be time for him to pass on from this life and into the next. As he was still living this life, they were all still testing him, moulding him into an object that would be of service.
Stuart thought about it and replied in his mind, ‘So that’s what this is, tryouts?’
They then explained to him that once a spirit reaches a certain level, it outgrows its human form and must move on to the next level. What the next level was, was different for everyone. Some life-forms get demoted, some life-forms simply have to serve in other realms in different positions, whether that be a lower or higher existence.
He then explained this information to the famous actor and then they both realized what they were actually doing was guiding one another to the next point in life. Stuart was, in fact, a psychopomp. A psychopomp is a guiding spirit that guides other individuals to the afterlife. He thought about it and the famous actor finally replied that it was time for him to give up his duties in this life and move on to the next.
That is when the nightmare began. It wasn’t really a nightmare, because he wasn’t asleep. It was more of a daydream, but it was a nightmarish daydream. The actor was fed up with having to explain to him that he was actually communicating with him. And so he had arranged his own elaborate suicide in order to prove a point to him. And he would witness it all… In his mind, at least.
Stuart started envisioning the famous actor organizing two horses to be brought into his mansion. He had no idea what the famous actor had planned. He brought up two horses and rigged up ropes and a pulley system to his limbs and then when it struck midnight the two horses were whipped by an elaborate system to move.
This was what he was witnessing in his mind. The suicide of a man he idolized in the most horrific of ways. The two horses fiercely pulled at each other in different directions. It was a tug of war. With the actor being at the centre and the rope connected to his different limbs.
The great beasts pulled and pulled. And eventually ripped the man’s body apart. And then he lay there, dismembered and bleeding to death inside his mansion on the floor.
Stuart was too horrified to witness any more. And so he tuned out. The next day he did a google search of the famous actor. There he witnessed an article stating that he was enjoying his retirement and doing well.
That is when Stuart literally lost his mind. He looked up at the ceiling of his lounge room and started screaming in agony, having to face the reality of his own life.
And the reality of his own life was that he was living in a single bedroom apartment, by himself and had been playing make-believe inside his head, creating imaginary ideas about the world he lived in and everything that was happening around him. His only real friend in this world was the mentally ill woman who he had met up the street, it was agony, it was pure and absolute agony, it really was.
The reality of the world was agony. Pure agony.