So I saw through the rabbit hole and saw absolutely nothing. Then I manufactured an alternate reality and called into existence a very very inferior type of purple. It was a dark and stormy afternoon in mid-July, with a purple of an inferior tinted cloud forming to the east of Eden when, I realised, the inferior type of purple wasn’t purple at all but…but wait! It was purple! Now this was a surprise because I had rarely, if ever, seen purple that resembled anything other then, well, purple, but in this case as a result of the six pints of Opal Nera I had ingested the day before, my vision had a purple haze descending over my purple umbrella which was currently located beneath me. An odd place, as I had always expected my purple umbrella to be above me. This was still comforting as the umbrella was all there was between me and the depths of the Pacific Ocean (which, to my relief, was not purple). Pondering my position further, I reconsidered the rabbit hole, which to my now Opal Nera- and philosophically-addled mind seemed an occurrence from weeks before: or days before, as to my addled mind days and weeks blended into mauve existence inside my rabbit hole, which, unsurprisingly was no longer filled with absolutely nothing, but rather, was lined with mud (oh my!). You may wonder whence came this mud in the midst of an ocean in which I was cast adrift. Alas, the explanation was rather banal: I was engaged, in ‘Great Escape’ style, in an attempt to gain my freedom from a German POW camp, and was transporting the means of forging the fork in my umbrella boat which is really another name for a coracle, for I am Irish by birth and was exiled from my fair emerald Isle for the heinous crime committed when I chose to drink six pints of Opal Nera instead of six pints of Guinness on my 21st birthday which was held at the home of an old woman who’s fame was the result of her insistence on purple forks. Purple forks, you may say with derision, but let us not fork-get the sacrifice of our fork-fathers. Waking the next morning, I vowed never again to mix LSD, absinthe and Guinness, and walked into the kitchen to empty the freshly-filled cat litter tray: it appeared my tortoiseshell Jacob had had a similarly bowel-loosening experience after he accidentally ate a bag of magic mushrooms and drank a saucer of milk into which had fallen my secret stash of LSD heavily-disguised as a packet of Zig Zag ciggy papers, you know, the purple ones. Anyway, not to digress, but Jacob imagined he was a purple dinosaur, and felt an uncontrollable urge to sing “I love you, you love me…” prompting me to call Eva and Heinrich to ask what I should do, they suggested I invade Poland so I sent in the Panzers and realised this had all happened before and it didn’t end well for that guy, so instead yearned for an umbrella (any colour) that might be used as a boat. Now you know the etymology of the ‘U-boat’. Anyway, the whole invading-Poland-thing seemed to go,
puɐ pǝǝɹƃɐ ǝɥs ˙ʞɹoʍ ǝɥʇ ɥʇıʍ puɐɥ ɐ ǝɯ ǝʌıƃ oʇ ʇsıdɐɹǝɥʇ ɹnoıʌɐɥǝq ǝʌıʇıuƃoɔ lɐuosɹǝd ʎɯ ʞsɐ plnoʍ ı ʇɥƃnoɥʇ ı os ‘ǝɯosıɹɐǝʍ ɹǝɥʇɐɹ ǝq plnoɔ ʍoɹ ɐ uı sǝɯɐu uoıllıɯ 9 ǝʇıɹʍ oʇ ƃuıʎɹʇ ʇɐɥʇ pǝɹǝʌoɔsıp ı ‘sʇsıl ǝʞɐɯ oʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝɯɐɔ ʇı uǝɥʍ uǝɥʇ ʇnq ˙sn ɹoɟ llǝʍ ɹǝɥʇɐɹ
some time later, seeing Jacob had fallen asleep, and that Jane was amusing herself with the pencil sharpener, I slammed the door on the way out to purchase a typewriter. I had been trying for many years to write a novel about all those shenanigans to do with the revolt and the taking over of Europe. Boy, is it a ripping yarn! Absurd stories poured forth, Jacob conquered worlds, Eva was friends with a dictator, dinosaurs weren’t purple. With a slam I shut the door on both Jane and Jacob, I vowed never again to have anything to do with drugs, cats or Cyrillic alphabet soup. I left the house with my purple fork handed down to me by my forkfathers and went to Levi Arronstems porn shop where I exchanged my purple fork for a blue movie. I then exchanged my blue movie for a black market typewriter however they also threw in a free French car. The Renault 5 handled like a dream – the twin turbos and all-round disc brakes made driving it a real pleasure – thrilling but at the same time rock-steady. Rolling landscapes of mountains, lakes, clear waterfalls went by to a soundtrack that just softly suggested Opal Nera usage (excessive). The land collapsed beneath my rubber tyres, the fumes from my exhaust de-clarified lakes. For the second time that day, I regretted the hedonistic session of the night before – taking a corner a mite too fast, I blacked-out momentarily – the car sliding sideways before bouncing into the river.
ı ʇnq ‘ɥɔnɯ ʍouʞ ʇ,upıp ı ‘ʎlʇuǝpıʌǝ ˙ǝq ʎɐɯ ʇı ɹǝʌǝɹǝɥʍ ‘ǝɹǝɥ ɟo ʇno ʇǝƃ oʇ ǝɯıʇ ʎluo sɐʍ ʇı :ʇno ƃuıuunɹ sɐʍ ʇı ʍouʞ oʇ ǝɯıʇ ǝɥʇ ʍouʞ oʇ pǝǝu ʇ,uop noʎ ʇnq ˙sɐʍ ʇı ʎɐp ɟo ǝɯıʇ ʇɐɥʍ ǝɹnsun ‘pǝɥɔuǝɹp ʎlǝʇǝldɯoɔ ‘sɐʍ ı ǝɹǝɥʇ
struggled with the idea of just letting the water fill my lungs and ending my existence, purple flashes filled my sight as my oxygen-starved brain sent desperate signals to my muscles, I hesitated then in a fit of decision, quite the opposite to the indecision of a moment ago, I struggled free and burst to the surface, I sighted the shore and so there I was swimming up the Mekong River, delirious with fever, my body racked with visions of racks. The mosquitoes wouldn’t let me think of much else. Streaming beads of sweat burned into my eyes. The racks. The racks. Never forget the racks. How could I have been so foolish? The decision to push my driving skills was a huge mistake. I drifted. Several hours later, I fetched up on a beach in what looked like a town centre, and stumbled ashore, where I happened to bump into Jane, apparently the bus she had taken had brought her to Hanoi exactly at the same time as the river had transported me from my car crash. Would you care for a bite, I enquired, and we walked to a café. Then as the snow fell from a purple brooding sky I turned to Jane and said, with great conviction, “Bend over dear, there’s something stuck to your thigh”. Removing what I now realised to be an engorged leach, I realised the similarity it bore to Jacob’s product from that morning’s litter tray. Having finished the thought, I turned back to the maitre d’ and said “Table for two please, away from the plebs”. A gypsy violinist walked closer to us and played a hauntingly beautiful melody that brought tears to my eyes, as it evoked memories of my time as a small half-German, half-Irish child during the great potato and Knockwurst famine of ’82 so I flicked him a fake Euro made with the purple forked forging equipment, then I hungrily wolfed down my black market sausage kebabs and hurried around the corner and was surprised to see that what I was holding was the oddest sausage kebab I had ever seen. Firstly it had what can only be described as fur. Secondly it was a kebab, made from sausage. Looking around I saw that this had aroused the attention of a murder of crows but also a hungry, stray dog. The crows’ cries echoed down the empty adobe street, as the sun hurriedly set. I realised I was surrounded by a bunch of dangerous-looking dwarves armed with kebab skewers and baby lotion, they leered at me in a reprehensible manner, evoking disgust and fear, but despite that I decided to go ahead with the exchange of ideas I imagined would enhance our relationship and informal consumption of meals together. Ideas leaked like old sewer pipes with a constant ‘drip’, ‘drip’, and ‘drip’. My drips exchanged with her drips. The smell was quite extraordinary. The drips coalesced into stalagmites of enormous proportions and I realised in a moment of great clarity I was not Adolf O’Leary the orphan from Kilkenny, I was Kenny from South Park and I was a badly drawn boy. Re-invigorated at my knowledge of not being a half-Austrian mass murderer, I jumped back into the river for an invigorating swim: misjudging the changing mood, not to mention height of the five ‘little people’, I realised they were gaining on me. My only hope was to fight back. Pulling my emergency bottle of Old Spice aftershave out of my pantaloons, I sprayed it on the water behind, lit the resulting slick, and swam on as the dwarves burned. But, as the flames rose higher and I smelled the sour smell of burning flesh, I realised that genre is important in episodes of this type. Science fiction seemed safe – but then, what kind of sci-fi? Drama? Fantasy? Horror? “Oh, my left testicle for a genre!” he cried. “Done” shouted a voice in my ear “shit”, it was said in a Spanish accent. I looked up, took in the swarthy features, the broad-brimmed hat of the figure as it sat in the sampan, the sunlight glinting on the crucifix around its neck, black cassock ominous in the purpling afternoon light. “No-one expects the Spanish inquisition…” repeated the rather tiresome geek stood next to me. Killing him for the crime of aping Monty Python, I decided it was time, time to get ready to rumble. Setting forward to save the world from itself (or rather, from humanity) I set forward and began a quest to programme the world’s first sock emulator. “God-damn shitty compilers”, as I reviewed the errors yet again, shouting at the screen in front of me. Its lone glowing irritation in an otherwise dark desert night no longer seemed as warm as it did when I wandered into the vacant mobile home in the narrow strip of land along the Mexican-American border, quite some distance from the Mekong Delta and Poland. I turned from the all-seeing eye, the Cyclops of my existence. Where was the stick that could be hardened in the fire and sharpened, plunged into that Cyclops eye in order to win my freedom, would the figurative herd of sheep arrive? The herd of sheep not arriving, I decided to venture forth to the nearest brothel, procuring for myself a side of bacon, 6 highlighter pens and a bicycle pump along the way. A night of experimentation lay ahead. Warily approaching the desk of Madame Jar Jar’s, I caught the eye of the desk clerk and proferred the bacon. It did not take long for him to realise what my game was. Choo! Choo! The train of thought that had embarked on the trans-continental journey from ear-to-ear across this – if I may be blunt – enormous man’s head had just arrived at the station. Trouble was the platform was a long way from the the door of the carriage. The thought tried to jump the gap from synapse to synapse but it would never happen, his eyes opened wide. I felt a familiar rumbling in my bowels. I looked around frantically. I was in the middle of a jungle. Not a prostitute-filled public toilet to be seen! I dropped my pants, looked around for prying eyes, and did what Jacob had done before me. The leaves of Bushman’s Friend having done their job, we pulled up our trousers and stumbled off into the back alleys of Miami in search of fresh prey. It isn’t easy being a half-Irish, half-German, sometimes cartoon character, other times alligator of an anthropomorphic nature, stalking the forgotten watery causeways of Florida. Where’s a helicopter when you need one, I needed out of here pronto? But as I felt in the pocket of my crocodile-skin trousers I found a pair of ruby slippers, thinking there’s no place like home. I wistfully remembered Saturday afternoons watching sheepdog trials with Mother and Father in Yorkshire. Bringing myself back to my alligator-surrounded situation, armed with only some slippers and a bike pump, I hatched a plot for to rediscover the location of that damned purple rabbit hole. But I could not recognised in public if I had any hope; I had to change my look. The shaving razor was cold and caused goosebumps on my skin as I deftly cut myself and continued to apply bits of Bushman’s Friend (I meant to cut myself).I did stop at one point to wonder about that rabbit hole which seemed like pages ago “Fucking rabbit holes”, I muttered “Oi! My great-grandfather died in a rabbit hole”, shouted Dave, angrily. “Relax, some of my best friends are rabbit holes”, I assured him. “Never mind that bollocks, look at these funny-looking blokes in in singlets running towards us”. “Crikey, look at this little fella”, shouted one of them, attempting to kiss me, the purple lip-gloss smeared across my sweaty face and ran into my eyes, kicking and screaming. Having fought off the horde of trans-gender Steve Irwin impersonators, I stumbled into the nearest eatery and muttered an order for the special. “Would you like fries with that?”, the pimpled face with the braces slurred at me. “No!”, I shouted, “I want what I want and nothing less.” “So,” he said “you want a knockwurst and potato salad, is that correct?”. “Ja ja.” I agreed, he asked “Is that a Canadian accent?” “Nein”, I said, “there’s nobody there”. “But everybody’s got to be somewhere.” he lisped, inquisitively cocking an eyebrow. Well, all things run faster after a good hard service, just like Gladys my great rabbit-cooking aunty.
To be or not to be the end of the rabbit in the hole?
Dedicated to the big Other, who always laughs at my jokes.
The Great by Abhishek Reddy, Calvin Rainey, Nevyn Hira and Robin Paulson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at bumblepuppy.org.