“Of late John had started feeling a little strange”
Or ‘out of sorts,’ as he’d heard it said. At first he’d put this down to coming off cocaine. Yet now, the feelings had changed from the anxious twitchiness, you’d associate with coming off a drug habit, to something more akin to being stoned.
He wasn’t stoned, in fact he’d not touched a smoke, of any sort, for over five years; the white stuff he’d always sniffed up his snout, but now he’d been off that for some weeks, he was starting to wonder what the hell was wrong with him. The closest he could get to describing it, if anyone had bothered to ask him, would be a sort of detached – couldn’t give a shit – kind of attitude, very odd. Very odd indeed.
Further to this, and as a general rule, John considered himself to be an ‘up’ kind of person. Not anxious as such, just a little wired, most of the time. So these feelings were something new. Although he’d described it to himself as feeling like being slightly stoned, there was none of the usual stuff you’d associate with that. No paranoia, no sore tightness in the lungs, none of the unpleasant encounters with rip-off ‘dealers’ and definitely none of the smell. He wasn’t doing drugs, yet felt the detached separateness from things, being mashed, had brought him in the past.
“On top of these unexplained feelings he was also becoming convinced his hearing was getting worse”
John had lived with poor hearing for quite some time now. Over recent months (even after investing nearly two grand in state of the art hearing aids) he’d noticed that he hardly heard anything anyone said to him anymore. It didn’t matter much really. Most of the time he was able to guess what people asked of him; all the questions were the same. The same boring repetition.
If someone asked him a more ‘left field’ kind of question, he’d not hear it at first, and so would ask them to repeat themselves. On them doing this he’d sometimes make a special effort to look up and work harder to hear what they’d said. But now, even on asking them to repeat themselves, he was increasingly finding himself just smiling and agreeing with whatever they said. One of these days someone’s was going to say: you’re a real cunt aren’t you? And he’d stand there with a stupid grin on his face responding with a nod and a yes. What a wanker. Perhaps he should make more effort to take an interest, but now – with this new impassiveness he constantly felt – that seemed increasingly unlikely. It was beginning to overwhelm him. Or was the word underwhelm. Was everyone and everything begging to underwhelm him?
Some days he found himself wondering what the fuck this shitty life was all about. He didn’t feel particularly depressed or anything, he’d just quite simply stopped giving a shit, about anything. If he was honest, all he really wanted to do, was drink coffee in cafes, people watch, and eat cake. There didn’t seem much point in doing anything else. He felt surrounded by insanity and it fascinated. In fact, when he was doing his favourite thing, people watching in cafes, he’d just sit and wonder – between mouthfuls of coffee and cake: – What exactly are these fucking people doing?
“After his decision to stop spending time with Evo his life had closed down somewhat”
He didn’t think this was any bad thing – especially since the knock back in the nightclub that final evening – he just wondered what in hell he was actually going to do? What was he going to do surrounded by insanity? What was he going to do about feeling stoned all the time? The funk of it all was starting to weight on him. What was going to be the ultimate outcome of all this?
In quieter moments, away from the cafes and people, he’d recognised how unafraid he’d become. Most people, he surmised, must be driven, on some level, by some kind of fear. The fear of being sacked; the fear of losing a loved one; the fear of getting ill and dying; the fear of eating the wrong things. The list goes on, but he, with this new attitude, had simply stopped drinking, smoking or eating shit food (mostly) and that seemed the weirdest outcome of all. Perhaps, with this new development, it was time to add something to the mix.
“With nothing actually mattering anymore, he felt almost serine”
Was this how people felt before they died? Or was it how they felt once they understood what really mattered in life: Hardly anything at all. It seemed the only thing that really mattered to John, right now, was breathing in. Why was it such a relief to be able to breath the fuck out again? For fucks sake!
Home, and alone in his apartment now, John’s mind went to Emily. He was curious about Emily. He’d noticed a change in her the last time they’d met. He knew she’d been to see that wacko guy called The Locksmith; she told him about it. What had happened to her? And more importantly, what had happened to him? Had she cast some kind of spell on him?
It had gone like this. The following Friday, after the increasingly common spat they’d had the week before, both she and Joanne sat waiting in the cafe. They were both sitting at their usual table when he’d walked in. They’d normally be animatedly chatting, but on this occasion, they sat quietly both staring into the middle distance. “Hi” he’d said and it seemed to take a moment before they even registered that he’d sat down alongside them. Eventually they warmed up, their usual banter, resumed.
As he pondered on that afternoon now, he thought: perhaps this spacey feeling he’d been experiencing, was some kind of illness, and it was catching? A bad thing to catch? Perhaps it was time to see The Locksmith himself.