Nothing quite as sick and strange looking as a metavoyeur with starved eyes. Tommy is one himself, and he’s lurching around and pulling at his beard across the road under a bus stop sign, searching with dirty fingernails for skin amidst those greasy black tendrils. He’s an awful sight with those 8-ball eyes creaking to and fro in his skull searching out a voyeur to observe so that he might relieve himself in as similar and covert a manner as his jerking, salivating eyevictim. Tommy’s here because he knows where to find all the sick ones, he knows to come here early every morning while the sky is still blotched with a silvery cum stain haze. The miserable grey bricked dome growing out of the upchuck pavement has amassed at its steel shutter doors a long succession of deviants, dopers, downers, diddlys, diseased, decrepits, and glass-eyed window-peepers. There’s enough anomaly and buried yearning in this queue to paint the biggest and most stomach-churning fresco imaginable, and they’ve all come here for their daily shot glass of debilitating mercy.
They hover an eyedropper full of Inhibitex over a tiny Styrofoam cup and let a few drops of the sickly pale-green solution colour it, it’s not a lot but it’s enough to turn 16 year-old Sarah off the vibrator long enough to march her in and out of church on a Sunday and have her tidy looking for dinner with the vicar. However, Sarah, now 19 but every bit as degenerate as she was at 16, has advanced too far in her mental illness for even the highest dose of Inhibitex to be effective enough to qualm her near momentary visions of fornication.
No, for 19 year-old Sarah, this queue will end as soon as she meets the door, where she’ll be led off by a group of septic nurses into a murky, dank cell for a session of her Quandary Resolution Therapy program. This antidote is reserved only for those who no longer respond to the Inihbitex, and in the case of QRT, the subject is actually encouraged to satisfy their deviancy for a set amount of time and before an audience of top-ranking military doctors. These doctors will scribble on their jotter pads for the duration of the show in an attempt to better understand and perhaps even harness the human spirit for military gain. In the case of poor Sarah, well, she’ll be stripped, hooked up to machines and electrostimulated for an hour under hot white lights with a poster of a shirtless Duke Bennington hovering over her face. Her twin brother, who dropped her off at the clinic, is currently bumping uglies with a girl he goes to school with, to the encouraging yips and yelps of their gleaming parents.
Me? Well I’m still on the Inhibitex and I’ll tell you that it’s working. I haven’t even been thinking of bicycles very much lately, haven’t even been paying attention to them as they glide past me on the way to the clinic. That knowing, electrifying jingle of a bicycle’s bell has echoed and waned into some far distant chasm of my mind, no longer to visit me in my slumber. I’ve mainly been taking the dose in the morning and tottering on my way off to my volunteer gig at the soup kitchen. I used to work at a bicycle repair shop in Dun Laoghaire, but a whole part of the replacement therapy program is that we stay away from that which we seek to escape, and so without so much as a bat of my eyelids, and with a head puzzled with Inhibitex, I slammed the door behind me and told the old bastard to keep my last wages. I figured, seeing as I’m cleaning out my own closet, I should dedicate myself to helping those poor unfortunates still zip-lining into heartache. Working at a soup kitchen has its benefits as well, I get to meet new people. Down and outs from far exotic places that somehow washed up on my side of town. I get stories every single day, tales of glistening orgies on sandswept marble palace floors and of the faces of forgotten lion gods carved into frightening, jagged mountains. The stories are worth it alone, but most of all, I work at the soup kitchen so that I can be close to my very favourite thing. Glorious, infallible soup.
No, in about twenty minutes, I’m going to reach my turn in the queue and that’ll be me happy for the day. I’ll twitter a ‘howdyoo do?’ to the pretty lady with the eyedropper, neck my tiny shot of medicine, and be on off on my way with a crystal-clear head ready to be hollowed out, cut in half from the temporal bone, and filled to the brim with steaming, zesty soup for all to enjoy. I’ll slide past old Tommy with his mad, sick eyes. I’ll throw an extra few quid in the Church’s charity box and I’ll thank the good lord for being so… good. Every person I meet on the streets will nod or smile their encouragement of me, they’ll say ‘look at you, you aul’ dote’ with their eyes alone. I’ll tap-dance through the streets without so much as a glance at the children’s bicycles rolling past me on the pavement, there is simply no time for such things in this shallow soup bowl we call ‘life’. I’ll march up those cement stairs, counting every step on the way to the world’s greatest place, god’s last shining bastion on this tortured and sodomized earth. I’ll throw open the doors to Shangri-La to be met by all of my sickly, bearded consorts and I will feed them like mother bird whose beak is in her heart and whose bicycle is a distant memory. I’ll lob off this sinful head, peel the skin and flesh from it like a Satsuma and make a crude chalice from the skull. I will serve these beautiful idiots the wonderful ambrosia that is soup and every nerve ending on my body will waltz to the music of their euphoric slurping. I will ascend, and I will thank god that I’m finally getting well again.