You wanna know what I do for a living? I’m a little bit snowed under actually but I’m a good man so…
How long could this take?
It’s easy when you know what you’re doing.
I work at The Land. I inherited it and have to maintain it. I live right next door, at Frank’s Land. A wall separates the two. A huge black one that you can’t see the top of. There is a top though. It’s like the sea past the horizon. You don’t need to go there to confirm that there’s sea.
The job’s as easy as pie: I show people around The Land. My Land. I know it inside out. I don’t charge a standard fee for entry. It’s a ‘pay what you want’ scheme. All done online of course. If I wanted I could go online and check things like who is paying the most per entry at the moment but I’ve not got time for that. Besides, it’s blatantly obvious. To begin with, most wear a uniform. Wearing a Bowler hat? You’ve got yourself a Big Spender. Bowler hat and Sketchers. That’s the drill with those chaps. Pin striped shirts. Those white cuff and collar things. Get close enough and you’ll smell them too. Rotten insides mixed with coffee. They don’t shower. Clean-shaven though.Apart from that, you can spot a Big Spender by the influence they yield. They’re not just paying the standard entrance fee. They’re paying for Sanctuary Visits, they’re re-plumbling and re-piping buildings, they’re setting up new systems, they’re demolishing buildings and building new ones and they’re paying all the additional fees that that incurs. I couldn’t survive without them.
They tend to be guys. They come, get obsessed, disappear. That’s their style. Claud pays the most at the moment, closely followed by Clive and Captain.
Clive was organising a half marathon and he wanted me to be a part of it. I’m a good runner. I won it last year.
“You haven’t signed up for the race Bob” said Clive, in one of my many kitchens at The Land.
“I’m aware” I said.
“Why not, come on, it’s only 5k” he said.
“It’s not just 5k though is it, it’s lots of 5ks in preparation for a 5k” I said.
“You don’t have to run it fast” he said.
Clive tends to repeat himself, like one of those dolls where you pull a string and a catchphrase comes out at random.
“I know myself well enough to know that I’ll prepare properly, spend a lot of time doing so and then nearly die of heart-attack during the actual race I’ll push myself that hard. I’m gonna save myself that stress” I said.
It should have been enough, but he booked a sanctuary visit to discuss it further. We were being dragged through the yellow fields on it’s lame rollercoaster. The sun, sat above us in a crisp blue sky, is a peephole into yellow fields on the other side. The sky is just a membrane stopping us from seeing our reflection above.
“But how can you know if you’re running faster, improving your performance” Clive said.
Claud was with us. He was talking about how he runs without timing himself.
“That’s the point Clive, I don’t want to run faster. It’s just really nice to take a leisurely run, not stressed, not thinking about how fast, but being in the nature. If I start timing myself, I’ll run it faster each time, start pushing myself, stressing” said Claud.
“Great” said Clive.
“But I don’t want to” said Claud
We arrived under a canopy of trees. The canopy layer above is so far away that you can’t see it. It’s obviously there though. It’s like the sea past the horizon.
“It’s such a shame that I’m struggling to get everyone to sign up for the big race” said Clive.
I clenched my teeth and Clive copied. We were stood still, facing each other. I felt panthers rubbing up against and between my legs. I sneezed. I’m allergic to cats. The spray collected as a membrane the shape as Clive’s face and hit him splat in the real face. He continued to smile as the sneeze-face went through his real face. I had that darkness around me. The attack on Clive was brutal. The panthers laughed their non-audible laugh. I’ve never seen them so relaxed. There was a beauty in the way they ripped him up. His coffee-stained teeth dithered the last word from his flesh-pool.
“Stunned”, said the teeth.
It was a beautiful sight. The worst thing after an attack like this is that the panthers break out of the sanctuary and wreak havoc over the land for a few days. It’s a nightmare. I have to spend almost all night at the land fixing stuff they break, preparing it for the customers the next day.
Needless to say, my sleep ends up a bit haywire. I’m sleeping at 5 or 6 places at once, fixing stuff at The Land, sleeping at Franks and The Land, watching footage of me fixing stuff at The Land and sleeping at Franks and The Land. They start eating all the leaves on the trees. Pull down all the hedges. I get the bikes out- my town bike, my moped, my motorbike- and I get the cutters- my hedge-trimmers, my axe, my chainsaw- and I sort it all out. Whizzing up and down the gravel paths, the mud tracks, the tarmac. Different combinations of bike and cutting device but to the same end goal: I trim those trees, I sort out the hedges, I clean up the mess that the Panthers create. They wrecked the electricity that night after Clauds attack. The electricity for all of The Land went down. I went to the central hub, a big beige brick of a building, with 6 tiny windows, 3 across the top, 3 across the bottom and one of those red and white spiral candles, supersized, on the top, making the building also a cake. I slept a bit whilst I was there. I slept and I fixed the electricity at the same time. That’s how it is with my sleep. I’m never exclusively asleep. I’ll be fixing something at the same time. I also manage to sleep with people whilst I’m fixing and sleeping. I’m sleeping with everyone. Different people in different places at The Land, and also at Franks. It tends to be the case that whilst I’m fixing and sleeping at a part of The Land where someone else is sleeping, any previous customers that used to sleep there also come to sleep with us. That’s what happened when I was sleeping and fixing the electricity at the central hub that night. I was in one of the bedrooms with Apple. She was masturbating naked under the bed. That’s where she liked to masturbate. Clock came in, a moustached-Irishman with fat hands. He used to be an electrician at The Land. He sneaked a peek at Apple under the bed. He had one eye on her and one eye on me. He was cross-eyed. Then Chris Cooke walks in. Chris is about 6 years old. I’ve no idea what I’d done with Chris in that bedroom, but I assume that’s why he was there. Apple and I were sleeping there that night as I fixed the electricity and she masturbated and Clock was there because he used to be the electrician so it was definitely his stomping ground, but Chris Cook, I don’t know the link. Chris wears round glasses with a thin black frame. He’s got a mushroom-head. He’s little and fat and never takes off his school uniform of a royal blue sweater with 2 yellow keys crossed on the chest and his white polo shirt, collars hidden underneath. Chris burst into the room. He grabbed Ciaran by the throat and marched him in one continuous push to the door, jammed his moustached-head against the doorframe. Ciaran fell to the floor, assumed a foetal position and the body of Chris. I rolled him over. His forehead was fine. He wasn’t bleeding but a red worm appeared under the surface of his skin. I don’t remember the rest. I think he just came around and was fine, otherwise maybe he died. You get the point- sleeping becomes difficult because of the panthers.
There’s always the company of MyCon. More time awake at night means more time with MyCon. What a vice. God how I love it. It’s hard not to sneak a peek when having a shit or waiting for the kettle to boil but I’ve got strong will power and hold out until I hit the sack. I’m averaging 52 notifications a day and I’m a fiend for Impy and Throwbacks. No one’s got time to watch the boring stuff.
I’m top-notch at throwbacks- 9% success- and staying up all night sorting out The Land because of the panthers just gives me more time to work out how the Impies are related to the throwbacks.
After this attack on Clive, there was one throwback, cycling with the Impy of Clive and his stunned coffee-stained teeth in a puddle of flesh. Both throwbacks were of Captain, an old guest that came to The Land for about 2 years. Captain had a constant stubble and a horn trying to grow out of his forehead. His clothes were baggy but it wasn’t a style choice- he just thought his body was bigger than it was. Never changed. Chewing-gum grey shirt with yellow pinstripes and sweat patches. Bowler hat of course. Sketchers. And dark blue jeans with high-visibility leg bands, those things that prevent your pants from getting grease from the bike chain when you cycle. The guy was a wreck. As a rule I try to accommodate everyone at The Land but in the end I had to exclude him. He paid so much for entry that people turned into him. Everyone became like him. Anxious and depressed. I have to look after my guests as a community. I can’t let one big-spender make the other paying-customers have a shit butty. So out he went in the end.
The throwback was easy as pie. It always is when you know it. It was of Captain when I first met him at The Land. He was dragging a little suitcase up an escalator in his usual wrong-sized clothes, boxer shorts hanging out at the back, and I chased after him to talk about some of the other guests.
“Gull is more concerned with sleeping with your other guests than he is with making any sort of useful changes to The Land.” he said.
“I’m aware Captain” I said. “But I try to make it the best time for everyone here. It’s my job to keep a harmony. I see that you’re unhappy with this and I’ll do my best to remedy the situation with Gull”
“He’s not here for the right reasons. He just wants to get his dick wet” he said.
“Don’t we all” I said in terrible taste.
I was naïve back then. I knew he didn’t like sarcasm or humour. He prefers to believe the most negative interpretations of peoples behaviour so he thought I was sympathetic of Gull, that I was of a like-mind.
“I have one rule and that is that you don’t sleep with anyone on The Land” he said.
I burst out laughing. Terrible service on my behalf. It was just so funny because I’d seen him millions of times nailing Marina, Anna and Kasia in the library toilets but as with every customer he’d completely forgotten that I have cameras everywhere.
Kasia is a doll. Red hair. Milk body. Perfect pink-peaks on her bouncers. Bit of a flat-ass but you can’t win ‘em all. The number of times I’ve boshed one out to those bouncers when Captain bangs her from behind in the library. That baby is bookmarked.
Captain was just worried about the competition. He was so insecure that he thought I might try and sleep with my own guests! Ridiculous. It’s precisely that fear of competition from me that Clive was worried about. That’s why he wanted the attack. He knows how fast I am. He knew there was less chance he’d be in the first team if I was running. Smart. I’m pretty good at knowing how to respond to the guests but without Throwbacks I’d be short on explanations. Every little helps. I have to know the guests inside-out, back-to-front, upside-down and all the rest of it.