He said ‘Formidable nightmares line the avenues of mind tract sweetly bent on narrowly missing the point. Wednesday can downplay any crisis although shun the gun and the gun bites back, except a gun doesn’t bite. It is you who bites the bullet it fires when half expected trouble sticks to your freshly peeled face’
And I said ‘ No thank you, sir, don’t come at me with those old egg farm riddles. Speak your white tooth truth or don’t bother. I’ll be windward when they hang you out to dry your nose’
This was in the university bar on a drunken end of term bash. We were in the skid zone- listening for the next words in some void in the mindscape rather than from the patterns of our brain. It was a formless selfless space occupied not by things but by the spirit of things, the spirit of love but not love, the spirit of a Tuesday morning maple leaf crept upon by a Siamese kitten, but not that, the spirit of the dying daisy chain round the neck of the home counties girl on her seventh piano lesson with old Mrs Dalrymple, but not that. Like the gathering momentum of any passion, there’s a tipping point where you are no longer consciously engaged with the object of interest. Instead you become almost casually affiliated with the new you, as though you have never been anything different. Henry and I extended our trips to the skid zone far beyond little drunken sideshows in university bars. Gradually, the majority of our interactions, be they in the context of silly banter or even discussing an assignment involved a prolonged visit to Nonsense Land. An example follows:
‘What in God lemon-scented heaven is this assignment got to do with crack maple hangovers?’
‘Well, you might ask , dear squirrel of the forgotten straw police. Was a time when oafs and legends ate at the same table as the chairs they so hurriedly farmed’
‘Then let’s be away with dark smugness and fallow sheets and be the very wick on the nail of now’
‘Hip hip Horatio Head Lice, hip hip and smack the moon down soon’
It was the psychic spirit of the message-to-be-conveyed. We knew perfectly what each other meant. In fact, thinking out precise wordage to match precise details would have clouded rather than clarified. Henry and I knew each other intimately, as if through telepathy, while all around us were ready to call the men in white coats, whom Henry called Dansak Warriors- I knew what he meant.
The sorry faced goons around us, briefly experimenting with drink and drunks and an authentic individual self, albeit for 3 years before the chains of work clamped around their withering ankles, were studying. They went to university to study. They didn’t know that study was just a blip in an otherwise slave-ridden life. They would fulfil their promise, get with a local company, marry, pop out some kids- the biology of reproduction thanks them- and knuckle down to work. Meanwhile, Henry and I, in my predictions would take crazy backpacking trips around our own town, bunking down in familiar haunts like the Sainsbury's car park, the spinney in the tiny amenity park and the exotic, largely unchartered area behind Henry’s couch, and we’d make greatness out of it.
And we did just that. The police pulled us in for vagrancy on a cold night in early February. It was cold enough to convert teeth into carrots, said Henry, cold enough to freeze thought into ice cubes to be later thawed out and pumped illegally up someone’s nose, said I, and just to confuse things Sergeant Terry Forn ambled up with a notebook the size, smell, and shape of a walrus and Henry and I sweetly deviated from the norm all over town.