Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The beginnings of relationships and the lies people tell.

I'm drunk! I am going to write about feeling thoroughly miserable wishing I had not had the life I had led and so made what could end up being a massive mistake. I've made many mistakes, they haunt me and dwell in my mind when I least expect it.  They tend to be about women, and the ones I have let go or even never made an attempt at, which is probably worse.

I made a grave error in female relationship judgement on Monday, or at least it feels that way now. Perhaps it was the right move, who knows it does not feel that way at present.

All I have ever wanted was to find someone who loved me as much as I loved them. To live together and fall in love and all that romantic shit men are supposed not to want. I wanted all that. A beautiful woman offered me all that, and for some unfathomable reason I turned it down.

Perhaps, it was because we had only had one date and that she mentioned, marriage before living together, on a phone call the very next day that alarmed me. Perhaps, it was because she was Muslim and I would feel, as an atheist, ostracised from her family, and not feel part of her family. Perhaps, it was because she was lying to her family about how she felt about drinking alcohol and having sex. To be honest, I'm not sure, I think it was the latter, but I imagine the being a Muslim did not help.

Nevertheless, it happened.  I had a beautiful woman, a professional woman, a woman who liked me and would like to marry me and I sent her an email telling her why I could not continue our relationship.

It haunts me now why I did this, I wrestled with it for a whole day, whether I could see past the lies and the deceit. Whether, the fact she was beautiful, intelligent and successful would override my inert realisation that something was not right.

Anyway, I made the call to end the relationship after a month of talking and one date. Being told the day after a great date (nothing happened apart from kissing) that if we move in together, we have to be married beforehand, and that it would kill her mother if she ever found out she had sex with me, made me feel like I was a teenager again. It sent alarms bells ringing.

I've nearly drunk a whole bottle of Chablis, and feel rather pissed. Still, I wish I could have perhaps seen how things were going.  Even though I knew how they were going, I knew because I had been through it before. I had dated a bisexual girl, who had told me about her sexuality, but would not tell her friends or family.  It did not end well. I saw the same situation, the same lies, only this time a different type of deception. Was I right to say no? Stay single in the hope one finds someone who is even close to matching this woman?  Who, I had said no to because her situation reminded me of an old relationship.

I said no, and I feel bloody miserable for saying it. Why can't life be easier?

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Mental Health Crisis

It was upsetting to watch the Panorama documentary about the growing mental health crisis. The beginning when that poor woman entered her dead son's flat for the first time, days after his death brought tears to my eyes. The documentary concentrated on one area of the country and said the level of mental health care was abysmal.

I could have been that young man who killed himself. It might have been my mother walking around my shitty flat telling a reporter how I was a wonderful child. How sad it was that I died so young.

Nevertheless, I survived my attempt at ending it all. The doctors placed me in a psychiatric ward for several weeks, and I was lucky enough to get the help needed to rebuild my shattered life and broken mind.

As I watched the programme, I wondered why is it more and more people are suffering from mental issues. I refuse to call it mental illness or disorder, is it a mental issue, problem, a development in most cases created by circumstance.

The doctors classify me as bipolar, with a personality disorder, anxiety and dissociation. At least I was. I do not know why it is that I can sit here and type away knowing what I went through, throughout my life. The terrible things I endured, as well as the positive, to come to this point. Am I still bipolar? I know I still have anxiety issues, the slightest problem sends me a gnawing pain and terrible thoughts on outcomes so insignificant to seem unworthy of thought. I have to take a considerable amount of medication to keep me sane. I have to work hard to keep a control of things.

I am lucky I would say. Overall, I have the capacity to discuss my issues openly and without feeling ashamed of them. I do not care who knows what I went through if it has the end goal of making me feel and be a better man then great, I go full steam ahead. I imagine that most people in my situation are not like me and keep all their problems bottled up inside.  I suspect they do it for a few different reasons; they are embarrassed, they do not want to be labelled, and probably the biggest reason, they feel no one will listen to them.

I was in that situation when I had a nervous breakdown at work. I knew I had a severe mental problem, but who is going to listen.  The GP certainly did not listen; she cowered away from me as a cried my eyes out in her office, prescribing Prozac to alleviate my distress.  When Isaw her again the Prozac was not working, so she doubled the dose, and that sent me into a suicidal spiral. I remember standing on a bridge in the middle of winter, full of despair and wondering how I could continue living my life like this. The only question she asked me was, "will you harm yourself?"  At the time I was unaware of how the NHS system worked and what it would take to get the help I needed. Climbing Mount Everest would be easier than trawling through the NHS to get a psychiatrist to help fix a broken mind.

Luckily for me, I am not someone who gives up when my life is at stake, and I fought tooth and nail to get the help I needed. Most in my situation, suffering from a mental condition, I imagine would never do this. Most mental health sufferers will not force doctors to reevaluate their condition, then write letters to EMP's and MP's to make then help me get help. To force the NHS to get a counsellor, then CBT, then a psychologist, and a psychotherapist and finally after trying to attempt suicide, which at the time seemed to be the only option available, a psychiatrist. From the moment I had my breakdown to getting the help I needed took about four years. It was exactly seven years to the day until I was a fully functional human being, able to enter the world once more.

I am one of the lucky ones to have survived the toughest battle one can imagine and still be alive to tell the tale. I empathise with those who do not have the skills I possess to get out of the mire they find themselves in.  I know if I was taken seriously from the moment I had my breakdown, I could have avoided many years of severe mental imbalance. If I could have seen a mental health specialist immediately, I may not have, had to try and kill myself before seeing a psychiatrist.

I survived to tell you this; we need to do more to help others to get the help they need to survive as well. We also need to figure out why it is that more and more people are suffering from what I would describe as the western capitalist mental health crisis.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Dreams and Work Colleagues

I had a strange dream this morning. I dreamt I was back in Belize. Back for a second stint as a volunteer marine conservationist. Times had changed from my first visit to Placencia. The projects abroad office and team were much larger in my dream, as well as being more organised, and it felt totally different to how it was back when I was there. They had a full team of experts, and the laid back attitude had gone. In my dream, I had trained to go back there, trained very hard I was a better swimmer and much stronger. I was pretty unfit when I was originally there, and I could not get into the boat. Because of various injuries, and being in my mid 40's, I found it difficult to climb in and out of the boat. One did not get a ladder, at least one was not supposed to. I always felt pathetic that I had to use the ladder to get into the boat as if I was a lesser man because of it. I could feel the scorn of the captain Tamba looking at me like I was a useless piece of driftwood. Belizians do not accept disabilities like we in Britain. I was called 'a cripple' many times because I have arthritis in my knees and have broken both my wrists and elbows. I know in our world, calling someone is disgraceful and inappropriate. However, out there it was the norm.

In my dream, it was much colder than normal, everyone was about 18, and I was 46, even though I had been diving over 50 times they told me that I would have to start in a swimming pool. In the dream I went mad, there was a new boss, a woman, and she said I was not at a high enough standard to dive. I ranted and raved and demanded my money back and to be sent home as this was an appalling way to treat me. She told me I was useless, and because of my age, I should have chosen a less demanding volunteer job. Please remember this was a dream, I am not in anyway implying Projects Abroad treat people like this, in fact, they bend over backwards to make you feel wanted and welcome. They are a great team to work with, which is probably why I found the dream so strange.

This anger in my dream woke me up and I was in a foul mood, wondering why I had such a dream. What as its purpose? It terrified me for a while. I wondered what it might mean, as all dreams have a connection to reality.

To be honest, I still am unable to find a connection. Nevertheless, it has brought back memories of being there. I am not sure why it has taken so long to discuss Belize, perhaps I will talk about it now and add some photos. It seems so far away now. When in Belize, I was lucky to have met so many amazing people from all sorts of backgrounds, from all over the world, and yet I never really stay in touch with them. 

It is so easy to lose touch. It's like when you leave a place of work, the things that bonded you together are gone, and only the very few does one stay friends with, the ones you made a connection. I notice now when I am with the people I work with who are all very nice people, and we have bonded amazingly well and get on as well, which is a bonus, but all we ever talk about is work.
If I left now this second, I would quickly forget them, and they would quickly forget me, that is the life I suppose. They say the only true friends you keep for life are your school friends. Well if that's the case I'm totally fucked.

Living a Thousand life times is not fun after the 100th one.

Oh my, who am I,

If I could live, a thousand lives,

Perhaps in the end I'd want to die

Yes, I would die a quick painless death,

Take my last long breath,

Then leap into the next world,

The next realm of possibilities,

Knowing I have done everything in my power,

To make this world a better place,

To leave with no disgrace,

I am a man, who has lived a thousand life times,

Been to the bottom,

Risen to the top,

But now I'm boarded and I want it to stop.

The Machine - A Short Story

The Machine
Mark Gross had been waiting at the police station for nearly four hours when Detective Inspector Addison entered the room.
"Apologies for the wait," said the detective. "It's been a hectic morning.  Has anyone brought you a coffee?" 
"Yes, many times," said Mark, aggravated by the constant insincerity.
"Good," said the heavyset detective in his mid-fifties. "Well then, Mr Gross, tell me why you're here?"
"I've already gone through this with another officer," said Mark, frustration in his voice.
"I'm sure you have, but looking through the notes, nothing you've said makes any sense."
"No sense," said Mark as he flung his head back staring at the ceiling. "What doesn't make sense? I, I remember telling the office about my machine."
"Yes, I'm sure I mentioned the machine. I'm certain I mentioned it."
The Detective Inspector could see Mark Gross was in shock and this was making him seem incoherent, and guilty in the eyes of the detective. Mark's hands were shaking, and he was sitting in the chair with his head close to the table as if he was trying to hide his whole body.
DI Addison had been catching criminals for over 15 years, and he could smell a guilty man a mile away, and this guy seemed as guilty as sin.
"Of course. Forgive me, it's been one of those mornings," said DI Addison as he flicked through papers on the desk in front of him. "Tell me about this machine?"
Before Mark had a chance to begin his account, there was a knock on the door and a uniformed officer entered. He whispered in the Detective Inspector's ear.
"Would you excuse me, Mr Gross, I need to get this."
Mark forced a thinly veneered smile as the detective left the room. He knew he had to tell the police something important. However, he could not remember what that something important might be.  He started to go over his life's work beginning with the creation of the machine. The first thought was about his wife, Allison, and her funeral. The memories made him feel bitter as well as sad. He remembered that this was the spark, the catalyst, the moment he first thought of creating the machine.
            Images flashed through Mark's mind.  He was standing at the graveside in the pouring rain staring down at his wife's coffin. Allison Gross had died of cancer, and at the time, Mark believed it was his fault. He did not want to remember so many painful memories, but the detective would need to know where the idea first surfaced. Mark remembered staring down at the grave as the rain turned the soil into mud. He remembered the brass nameplate and the engraving of a dove with a halo of flowers above. Underneath were the words, "Here lies Allison Gross, a shining light to all who knew her." Those words etched into Mark's mind as a reminder of how wrong he could be about people. How wrong he was about his wife.
             A loud noise pulled Mark out of his thoughts and back to reality. The Detective Inspector was in the room staring at Mark. He thinks I am guilty, Mark thought.  He knows the truth now.
"I must apologise again for keeping you waiting. Do you want another coffee, or perhaps something to eat?" asked DI Addison.
Mark did not answer. He just sat waiting for the detective's questions.
"Okay then.  Where were we," said the detective nonchalantly looking at this notes. "Ah, we hadn't even started. I think you were going to tell me about when you first got the idea - for a machine. I want to know more about this so-called machine.  What is it and what is so important that you felt the need to come to see us?"
"The first time was at my wife's funeral. Or," Mark paused as he felt the emotion of talking about the event overwhelming. He waited a minute then continued."Or should I say it was at the wake."
"And that would be your wife, Allison?"
"Yes." There was another long pause, and Mark composed himself to continue talking about Allison, his wife. " I could not leave her grave. I stood in the pouring rain and just stared down in disbelief overcome with emotion that she was gone overwrought with grief that I would never see her again. I wanted to see her again.  I needed to see her again, to feel her touch, her smell, everything about her. I carried an incredible pain inside me. I missed her so much and at the time blamed myself for her death."
"You thought you had killed her?" the detective quizzed. "I thought your wife had died of cancer?"
"Yes, she died of breast cancer. However, my wife hated doctors and missed appointments. I knew she was doing this, but I never forced her to go. At the time, it haunted me that I could have done more to save her. I don't know why I did not force her to see the doctors and get the scans? Hence, why I blamed myself."
"Help me a little here, Mr Gross. Did you create a machine to save your wife? To bring her back from the dead - was that the idea?" The detective tried not to show amusement at the thought of Mr Gross was trying to be Doctor Frankenstein. "
"No of course not," said Mark snapped back. "I just wanted to see her again. I became obsessed with seeing my beautiful wife once more, and this obsession grew over many months then years."
"Your wife died over eleven years ago. That's a major obsession."
Another uniformed officer rushed into the room and handed the detective a piece of paper. The detective looked at it and then looked at Mark, there was a long pause, that seemed like a lifetime. "How did your friend Franklin Jessop die?"
"Die!  Frank's dead." Mark looked visibly shocked by this news."
"You were not aware of his death?" quizzed DI Addison.
"No, of course not. When did he die? I was with him only a few hours ago. I think," said Mark as a tremendous surge of fear flowed through his body. Shit, they think I murdered Frank, oh what the hell have I got myself into, thought Mark.
"You think. You don't know.  Mr Gross, why are you here? Are you confessing to killing your friend? The seem very flustered, are you feeling guilty? And not about your wife's death but the death of your best friend, that you murdered in cold blood."
Mark looked perplexed, stunned by the vitriol in the detective's directness.  Mark was unable to comprehend the realisation that his friend was dead. His ears were ringing, and he felt as if his head was shaking uncontrollably. All he could hear in his head was gunfire, shots, and the thought of murder.
"I don't know why I'm here," said Mark.
"Were you with Mr Jessop when he died? Did you kill him?"
"Yes, I was. I think. Yes, I was there, there were gunfire, machine guns, we were running." 
"You're admitting you murdered your friend," said DI Addison.
"No, no, I didn't kill Frank. But, I think I was there."
"Why did you not tell me this before?"
"I couldn't remember. It all seems like I'm waking from a nightmare. My head's killing me. Can I have a painkiller?"
"Mark, we'll give you a painkiller when you tell us how he died?" 
"I'm not sure. It's all a blank I just remember gunfire that's all."
"Okay. Please describe the last time you saw Mr Jessop then?"
"I was... Well I mean... I went around to his flat because we needed to finish a project."
"The machine?"
"Yes, the machine."
"What time did you get there?"
"I was there at five past eleven, and I stayed there no more than five minutes."
"And that's the last time you saw Mr Jessop?"
"Yes," said Mark."He was alive then. I think. I'm not sure. My mind is hazy."
"You are lying to me," shouted DI Addison. "We have you on this camera." The detective threw a CCTV photo in front of Mark. "And this camera. And here. And here. Every photo is after the time you state."
 Mark could not stop staring at the photos. Then the detective threw a picture of Franklin lying dead in an alleyway covered in blood. Mark started recalling the events that had unfolded that night. Now he remembered the gunshots and his friend falling onto the pavement. Mark's heart began to race. He realised the detective thought he was guilty of the crime of murder. Holy shit thought Mark; I'm in deep trouble.
"You were with Mr Jessop at the time of his death. Lividity places the death at around eleven thirty. CCTV footage clearly shows you with Mr Jessop around the time of his death. Tell me!"  The detective slammed the table with his open hand. "When did you last see your friend?"
Mark was still unable to speak. He continued to stare at the photos as the detective placed photo after photo in front of Mark.
"Okay I was there," shouted Mark abruptly, "I was there, but I never killed him."
Mark sighed, saying he was there was a massive relief.
"Go on Mr Gross, tell me what happened?"
Before Mark had a chance to speak, another detective entered the room.
Detective Dorman did not speak or acknowledge anyone. He just sat on a chair next to DI Addison.
"Detective Dorman has entered the room and will join the interview, said DI Addison. "You were saying,"
"We...We were running away from men trying to kill us," said Mark.
"Running from whom?" asked Detective Dorman.
"From men sent by Icon Global," said Mark.
"Icon Global, one of the largest corporations in the world," said Detective Dorman. "They sent men to murder you both. Please, don't insult our intelligence, Mr Gross, you were chasing your friend, and you murdered him.  End of story."
"No. No, it was Icon Global," pleaded Mark.
"Why would Icon Global want you?" asked Detective Dorman.
"I told you. Because of the machine I created."
"And what's so special about this machine?" asked DI Addison.
"I thought you knew. It's a Time Machine."
There was a pause as both detectives processed the information Mark had just told them.
"A Time Machine," said Detective Dorman as he rose from his chair and walked around to face Mark. "Are you trying to piss me off? Annoy me insult me us with this crap."
Detective Dorman's face was now within inches of Mark's face. Mark could smell the detective's body odour mixed with cheap aftershave. He could see the blood red eyes from years of heavy drinking. He could smell the taste odour of whisky. Mark wanted to be sick.
"Do you honestly believe if you act all crazy you'll get away with murder? Create some ridiculous story about a time machine, and we will somehow let you off the MURDER!"
"I never killed Frank," said Mark looking directly into Dorman's eyes.
Detective Dorman backed away and moved around to stand behind Mark. He roughly massaged his enormous hands into Mark's shoulders, until it started to hurt. The detective leant forward and whispered into Mark's ear.  "I don't believe you."
"You can understand my colleague's questions, Mr Gross," said DI Addison. "Perhaps if you told us the truth instead of creating this fantasy we would be more inclined to believe you."
"I'm telling you the truth. After my wife had died, I became obsessed with seeing her again.  So much so, I started to dabble with the idea of using a quantum computer to create a visual time machine. You see one can use the memory of atoms and-"
"We aren't interested in your geek talk, we want evidence and facts," said Detective Dorman.  "If you created such a machine, where is it?"
"I destroyed it," said Mark. "I realised after a few months of testing that this was not something the world was ready to see. When I saw Frank at his flat, we were there to delete the code."
"Well that's a fascinating story, Mr Gross," said Detective Dorman, "and rather convenient I must say, but where's the proof?"
"There must be something, somewhere, the place you built this time machine," said DI Addison.  "Can you write down the address? I'll send a team to check it out."
Mark wrote down the address, but deep down he knew that Icon Global would have removed anything of value by now. It was over fifteen hours since he had destroyed the physical machine. Nevertheless, the evidence clearing him was likely gone. Mark wondered if he should ask for a lawyer, but he was scared it would make him seem guilty.
"I think I'd like a lawyer?" said Mark.
"No lawyers," said DI Addison. "This is 2026; no one gets lawyers until we charge you, and you've not been charged with a crime. Do you want me to charge you?"
"No, I'm innocent. I've done nothing wrong."
"Well then explain to me how CCTV footage shows you with the murder victim, Mr Jessop, minutes before he died?" asked DI Addison.
"I told you they were chasing both of us."
"So, let me get this straight, you are saying that goons sent by Icon Global, wanted your Time Machine" The Detective Inspector raised his fingers in the air signifying quotation marks.
" And they murdered your friend," said Detective Dorman as he rose from his chair, with his fists forced into the metal table. "The problem with your account is that CCTV has no evidence of anybody else being near you. Let alone a group of hired killers."
"I'm telling you the truth," said Mark frantically. "You've gotta believe me."
"I don't believe you," shouted Detective Dorman, "You murdered your friend in cold blood.  You shot him six times, and then thought you could walk into a police station and plead insanity."
"No. No. I didn't. You have to believe me. It was Icon Global. There were three of armed mercenaries. They wore suits and carried semi-automatics."
"Where Mr Gross, where are they," said DI Addison as he pushed more photos in front of Mark.
"I dunno, but they were there," said Mark.
"Let's leave it there for now," said DI Addison. "I need a leak."
The two detectives left Mark alone in the room.  He could feel a gnawing pain in his abdomen as his anxiety continued to increase. Mark was feeling guilty for something he did not do, and he did not know how to convince the detectives of his innocence. Mark retraced the steps in his mind towards Franklin's death. Mark used memory techniques to go through the events, hoping he would remember something to prove he did not kill his friend. Mark's mind went back to the warehouse where he had built the quantum computer, and the conversation with Gerald Arthur, the CEO of Icon Global, the man who had financed Mark's creation.
"I cannot let you use the machine," said Mark.
"Why what's wrong with it?" asked Gerald, "You told me it was ready, and all you needed to do was testing.  I have been more than patient with you, Mark. You have been testing for over six months. I want to see the results."
"I've realised no one should be able to use this machine. It's dangerous, especially if you're going to sell to the public. It could create anarchy and destabilise the world. I know it would be the end of our civilisation."
"You were not so bothered about saving the world when you came to me with this idea," said Gerald. "I saw the idea and its potential. I have given you millions of pounds Mark. I have waited years for you to develop and create your time machine, and now you have finished you become all sanctimonious and moralistic. Why Mark? Before I allow you to destroy our dream, I need a good reason."
"I lied to you," said Mark. "I never had any interest in marketing or selling the machine.  I agreed because I needed the money. I just wanted to see my wife again. Yes, I know it's a pathetic and selfish reason. I was grieving when I asked you for the money. As I told you, I never knew if it was possible to create a working machine, but I thought I could. Then once you had given me the money and I was able to start building a viable quantum computer.  With Frank's help, my dream seemed a possibility. We finished the machine over a year ago, but I began to worry about the consequences of my creation ever becoming commercial.  Watching Ally's life reinforced my resolve never to let this application see the light of day. It was strange to see my dead wife as if she was alive as if I was in the room with her. Then I was in the room with her and her lover. She'd been unfaithful to me; this made me angry, and I imagined what would happen if everyone had this power. She'd been sleeping with a work colleague for several months. I was overwhelmed by this realisation, and it immediately made me think - what would our world do with this power."
Gerald Arthur did not answer straight away; he sat in his chair and typed into his phone.
"So you think if the world has the time machine version of Google Earth at their fingertips, they will use it for nefarious means?"
"It's not just people using it to see if their wife was sleeping around. My time machine could compromise the whole world order. What happens to religions when they realise the truth about their lords and saviours, what happens if it's all true as well? History will change. All this information could be disastrous for humanity. We would be responsible. All the lies countries use to deceive their citizens would be public. Every crime analysed, every shady deal, nothing would be private, everyone's past would become an open book."
"Of course it would," said Gerald. "Did you not realise this when you were slaving away?  I knew these issues would arise, and I had a contingency in place."
"Contingency," said Mark. "What could you possibly have in place? You do realise the government will take it from you before you have a chance to sell it." Mark paused thinking.  "Ah, you piece of shit! That's your idea all along, isn't it?  To sell my time machine to the government."
"Precisely. You were not the only one keeping secrets. With this tool, our government will be ahead of any other country regarding intelligence. I was never going to sell this to Joe public. It's far too valuable for any mindless moron to use."
"I cannot let you do that Gerald," said Mark.
"And how will you stop me, Mark? You have completed one of the greatest creations of all time. An actual time machine, but remember I own the machine, it is mine to do with as I wish. I have fulfilled my promise to you. Now the machine is owned by Icon Global."
Gerald rose from his chair and started to walk towards the exit.
"I have contacted a team. They'll be here in about 30 minutes. Be gone when they arrive Mark. Or you will be seeing your cheating wife soon."
Mark remembered the fury that had built up inside him after Gerald had left. Mark removed every vital piece of technology throwing it all into the cooling tanks and anything that was too big he smashed with a hammer. He then threw every piece of paper into a pile and set it on fire. Before Mark had a chance to leave, Icon Global mercenaries arrived and started shooting at Mark. He just managed to make it to the fire escape. 
Detective Inspector Addison barged back into the room, and Mark came back to reality. 
"We've been to the address you gave us. Any guess as to what we found?" said the detective.
"Nothing but a burnt pile I suspect."
"You suspect wrong. We found nothing. The place was empty."
"That can't be right," said Mark. "I smashed the cooling tanks, set my files on fire.  There must have been at least the residue of a fire."
"Look, Mr Gross, you're trying my patience. Unless you help me, I'll charge you with murder."
"But I don't know how to help you," said Mark as his eyes glazed over and he stared passed the detective as if he was looking into infinity. He could feel his body tighten as if he was getting smaller trying to become a ball. He could feel his feet tapping and his torso curling closer to his legs. "I dunno what else to say. I've told you the truth.  I ran to Frank's flat.  The mercenaries chased me there; Frank deleted the code, and we escaped together. The mercenaries caught us up on Wade Street, and they tried to machine us down. A bullet grazed Frank's arm, but we continued onwards, then they cornered us and sprayed bullets. A bullet hit Frank in the chest. I just ran until I reached the station. I waited outside..."
"Wait at minute," interrupted DI Addison. "What street was Frank killed on?"
"It was Westbury Avenue. I'm certain."
"Give me a sec."
The detective left the room. A slight feeling of hope made Mark feel better as he waited. It was an hour later when DI Addison came back into the room.
"Good news, Mr Gross," said DI Addison, "We retraced your steps and found bullet casings on Westbury Avenue as well as dried blood."
"So, how is that good news?"
"I never told you where we found your friend. We did not find the body on Westbury; we found him on Northampton Road."
"What does this mean?" asked Mark trying not to sound too excited.
"It means for now I'm letting you go. Your story seems farfetched, but I don't believe you murdered your friend."
Mark found it difficult to hide his relief as the detective showed him to the front desk.
"Mr Gross, take care, and we will be in touch. Don't leave the country, in fact, I'd find a nice hotel and hide for a while until we work this out. We may need you as a material witness."
"Thank you," said Mark as he closed the police station door.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Story of Madness

Where does madness begin and where does it end? Can one escape its clutches?  Can one find the warmth of light at the end of the deepest black hole of despair?

To my surprise, I can say yes. It is definitely possible to reach the end of the rainbow and find a pot of gold hidden from sight. The gold is, of course, a metaphor for a life of peace, happiness and contentment. These are the things denied the man with madness. The man who is incapable of feeling anything, but pain and difficulty every day of their lives. This man is always unhappy, even when he pretends he is happy, he is always unsatisfied even when he professes contentment. This is the man who will always be in a crowd yet always feel alone. His ship is tall with many sails and in my imagination looks like a large Spanish Galleon from the 18th Century. A majestic boat that always stands out from the crowd and yet is hollow inside. Then the ship hits, the metaphoric iceberg, or has it hull ripped apart on rocks, or just blows up in a magnificent explosion.

And then it starts, the slow drift, as if you are a piece of flotsam, you slowly float away from your disaster, the destruction of your life, or in the case of the metaphor, the sinking of your ship of life. Once you are too far away from being saved, how do you get back? How do you then find a way to rebuild the ship you have destroyed?

I am not sure why I used the destruction of a ship at sea, the wooden pieces floating as the hull catches fire and the sail burns quickly, until everything that made the ship unique has gone. All that is left is the deck and the hull of the primary structure. One still resembles a ship, but this is one broken messed up ship. Where are the crew you may ask? How does the crew fit into this metaphor?  To be honest, this ship never had a crew, it sort of guided itself across the oceans and never had the chance to have a captain at the helm, perhaps one who could have saved the ship. Or, could it be that the captain was the one who went mad and deliberately destroyed his own vessel because it was nothing like the original and perhaps if he totally smashed it to smithereens, he could finally build himself a new more magnificent ship from scratch.

Back we go, as we are not close to understanding why the captain did what he did or even if there was a captain at the helm to scuttle his own ship in the first place. The wreckage of whatever caused the destruction of the ship, the ship is a man, a man suffering from a desire to enjoy the insanity. Yes, I have said it, it is probably something most will not understand or recognise, but I felt a masochistic enjoyment in the madness I created. I was also in pain, unable to acknowledge that the insanity was insanity. That the wreckage of my life, my ship was now floating an ocean of despair pieces everywhere. Parts of my own soul, gone forever, at least I thought they were gone.

Somehow, with an incredible amount of effort, I recreated the boat, it's a smaller boat, at least in its desire to be magnificent, it is just a boat with a sail, and it does not need to sail the high seas or go places no one has gone to before. It just quietly floats where I want it to go, and that makes me happy. This boat is content with its journey and has no desire for things that may have sought in the past.  The past is gone, never to be relived apart from in the psyche and the mind has an awful way of twisting the past to look like whatever it desires. One could argue that the past never happened it was just the minds unimaginable creation, made to look realistic. A divisive tool to make sure we look forward to the next day. However, with most people, we dwell on the past as some sort of memorial of what might have been, or should have been and then your captain starts to get ideas that he cannot control his ship anymore and BAM!!!, just like that your gone.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The Simple Life

I was in Belize when I heard the news that the UK, had finally gone bonkers and decided to leave the EU. I was on a fishing boat out on a beautiful reef, surrounded by gorgeous blue sea; the day was hot as it always is in Belize.  I remember the feelings, of the wind, the heat, the salt in the air, the splash of the waves as they crashed against the boat. I remember the incredible amount of various types of tropical fish, dolphins, and sea turtles. I also remember the total surprise when I got back and was told, "You're out! You've done the unthinkable and left the EU". At the time I thought it was a joke, I honestly thought someone was pulling my leg.  However, I immediately looked on the internet, and there it was BREXIT plastered all over every online newspaper.  I had been in Belize a while by then, and I had lost connection with the whole Brexit farce, and the disgraceful way some members of parliament had acted. When you are away somewhere, it is easy to become detached, and not appreciate what is going on. I imagine it works both ways; I realised that day how easy it is to forget a place and issues that were happening.

It also came into sharp focus, the ideas I and everyone else I talked to, had thought of Belize, several days before leaving to go on my adventure. Oh, you have to be careful about the many diseases, the dangerous creatures, and watch the water, oh and don't forget you might get Zika, and the many other things people from the western world, especially Britain, feel about 'developing countries'. We look down on them and act as if they live miserable lives in total poverty lacking our western culture and lifestyle, surrounded by dangerous creepy crawlies.

What I realised was the exact opposite, it is us, in Britain who are imprisoned in miserable lives of poverty, lacking the freedom to express our true feelings, confined to a xenophobic attitude, the little Englander unprepared to understand what it is like in other countries. What I learned from my time is Belize is that wealth comes in many forms, you can be rich and have lots of money. However, real wealth comes from the mind and one's lifestyle and expression of positive emotions, as well as the freedom to enjoy life.

When I got back to the UK, I noticed the biggest difference between here and Belize. In Belize everyone says; hello, good morning, how are you? They are always smiling even the ones who have nothing. The first thing I noticed when back In Britain, was how no one looks each other in the face and most have their head's down and hunch their shoulders inward. The walk of a depressed mind, trapped in a meaningless life, unable to even realise they are stuck there.

Another thing that struck me, as we Britishers decided to become a xenophobic country once more.  Over there in Belize, they do not have race issues, or at least there was none in Placencia; black, white, Hispanic, and Mayan cultures, all intermingled in a sort of harmony, gelled together by their Creole language.  Perhaps I was fortunate to be situated on a tiny peninsula of paradise.  Perhaps it was that no one there ever wanted to leave. Perhaps, it's because there, it's not cold, dull and miserable most of the year. One of the first things that struck me as restrictive when back in the UK, was the clothing, we have to wear so much clothing, tight clothes, uncomfortable clothes, while in Belize its shorts and a tee-shirt, a pair of flip flops. Even something as simple as freedom of clothing makes a difference.

Life there was simple, easy and never complicated, they were so laid back and lacked any stress or negativity that pervades our lives. They just lived what they thought of as a perfect existence. A simple life and as one boat captain told me in his wonderful Belizian accent. "I no leave, this be paradise man."