The devil is making appearances on a daily basis. I’m making something of a Herculean effort to quash this Sisyphean impulse. My parents come home early and discover me playing with large cockroaches while the guitar in the corner strums on its own — it vibrates wildly — as a blizzard rages on inside the fish tank. My sister runs downstairs screaming, “Oh, look at it outside now.”
Outside there is a woman throat singing and a man is screaming “boom boom boom.” Their son tries to crawl into the water — something more like an open sewer. We are all fantastic failures, tremendous disasters, in fact, perfect disasters.
Then a call comes in, the man says a toddler has “gone postal.” I tell my sister and all she manages is, “oo la la.” Then my parents chime in and sing, “oo la la, Sasson.” The loud speaker behind the television announces the corporation has decided that reeducation is in order to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of our glorious leaders. The panic siren sounds. A message is read:
“On January 10 use stilts to take down the lights, our enemies are watching. Your neighbors are watching. Three weeks left, and no one will be watching.”
Dangerous creosote sets off a wave of chimney fires throughout the city, by Saturday everyone has streamed in to the country side. But my parents stayed at home and are singed beyond recognition. In the attic I find a fire extinguisher full of gold Krugerrands.
I thought there might be so much more to this life, notwithstanding the legal fees and steep insurance penalties. I will probably not go out tonight or ever again. My sister will never go out again, none of us congealed in this aspic will ever go out again or even move.
“The most helpful quality a writer can cultivate is self-confidence – arrogance, if you can manage it. You write to impose yourself on the world, and you have to believe in your own ability when the world shows no sign of agreeing with you.”
— Hilary Mantel