The Greater Good

Entry by: jaguar

26th June 2015
A Recipe for Recycling

My name is, and I am, I mean, I was. I want to put the cream crackers of fact on the table. I know my brains are as scrambled as pale yellow eggs, slabs of them the colour of butter. Somebody whisked my thoughts together. They used a machine that hummed to itself. I have to tell you something important but it's gone. I am like a chef who’s forgotten about seasoning.

I never was much good at cooking. I’ve only had lobster once and it felt like I pulled its sweet soul from its sacred places. You needed special tools to dismember it. I think of that rude pink exposed flesh every Doctor I see looking at mine. It reminds me of childhood holidays in Cornwall. Mousehole, I think the place was called. We stayed in a bed and breakfast and had three courses for the evening meal. Tomato soup to start.

Or was it Vegetable? Anyway, we weren’t a three courses kind of family. There was a row about what cutlery you used. I remember crying because normal life had intruded like a cloud. Before that everything about that holiday had been so blue sky. The landlady looked like a barrage balloon. She found me crying on the stairs and nestled me under her enormous grey bosom. She said shouting was usually for the general good, dear, it cleared the air. Not that night, as I remember.

I did remember it, just a moment ago. I had that memory like an old hound, snoring at my feet. As I reached to wake it, it bounded away into the night, leaving a suggestion of a snarl. I can’t follow it, they lock the doors. They think I'll wander down the Dual Carriageway in just my grey knickers. I can see why they wouldn't want the world to know how badly they wash things here. A bit of bleach wouldn't go amiss. I wanted to follow that dog because it looked like you, my sister.

I don’t have a sister anymore. I’m quite alone in these shadowy corridors with floors that go up the walls. I have to tell you, the staff are robots. Even if they’re not, they might just as well be. They wear gloves to touch me. When they talk at me cartoon bubbles come out of their mouths. They give me pills that dissolve my self-belief so I do less and less for myself. To them I'm just a joint of gammon to be pierced with sweet-smelling cloves and basted in my own fat.

You gave me a recipe for life once. You said humankind should share everything, just have enough to live on each. I thought you were a fool. Who'd want a suggestion of flavour in a thin gruel for themselves? Who'd drink only water so others could? Now I want to be so close to you your goodness might rub off.

We were never comfortable together. I don’t know why you kept on trying. Your voice of conscience sounded like nails down a blackboard to my ears. All my greedy senses twanged away from you. I knew you secretly wanted to hurt me, take away what was rightfully mine. That is the ghost of my sanity, not today's madness, speaking. You made me nauseous with your love of the great unwashed and their feral scent.

Yet any smell of you comforts me now. That bottle you nearly emptied ten years before. Holy water from some old river you lived near. I took it from your dressing table and try to keep it stoppered. Is being alone worse than being loathed? It’s as if you clawed your way out of me and left a yawning void behind. Something that can’t be fixed by bandages and needles, can’t be drowned out by cartoon conversations. I say you stole my mind but no one takes me seriously.

You know though, don't you? You can’t be here, now, standing in front of me. Your sarcasm habit so engrained it weighs your mouth down at the sides. The bile is like a force-field between us. Here you are and all dressed up for me. You’re wearing a nurse’s uniform, you even have a filled syringe.

You don’t speak but I know what you want. For the first time ever I agree with you. I am a bundle of jumble sale clothing, too mildewed to be recycled. I can’t go on going round using resources that could be for the greater good.