Kev the Vampire
by Phillip Donnelly
|Cast of characters|
|Chapter 12: The Guru|
‘No man is an island’ the poet Donne assures us, but he offers little in the way of evidence. I maintain a contrary position: every man is an island, devoid and of itself. There are six billion islands in the archipelago of humanity. When the tide ebbs away and land connects these dotted heads, a land mass of many hills and knolls may appear, but the water will rise again and isolate the many into a series of ones.
As evidence, look to subject K.: he has still not accepted the unwholesome truth and creates the fiction that a union with his immortal beloved would make him whole; that it would create a new breed of man, a being cleansed of the scourge of isolation.
This new species, united and indivisible — this Homo vampiricus — would fuse two into one and solder solitude into an altogether new form. This impossible quest guided his actions, but there were other pressing needs that also called on his attention.
First and foremost, there was hunger. A city boy, K. could only stroll through the woods and forests, but could not survive in such a habitat. He could neither hunt nor scavenge. And it is this most basic need that holds our archipelago together. We must feed. How many more would travel the road of K. and wander to worlds distant if they could? But what power has fantasy against the all too real pangs of hunger?
And it was the screaming in K.’s belly, rather than the cry of his immortal beloved, that brought K back to the domains of man. He was soon lured down to the bright lights of the town, sucked into the neon of a civilisation he regarded as poisonous but from which he could not escape.
Perhaps this is the tragedy of modern man: that he is born alone and dies alone; but at all points in between he is a burden to and an unburdener of others. He satisfies needs for others and creates needs for others to satisfy. He is economic man: a piece of string trapped in an ever-tightening ball of twine.
As to what happened when he arrived, this part of the tale will be told to us by a mysterious figure who addressed a long, unbidden epistle to Teacher G. He at first refused to hand the letter over to me, claiming my revised status in the institution no longer granted me the authority to requisition it; and he could be persuaded to give me custody of the letter only on the condition that I ‘psychoanalyse’ his favourite teabag and discuss with it the nature of its angst following separation from the ‘great mother tea sack.’
Teacher G. is far gone, I fear, but to return to the case at hand.
* * *
(Letter from Inaction Man to Teacher G.)
Dear Teacher G.,
Permit me, at the outset, to introduce myself to you; and to explain, in these few lilac-coloured pages, which I impart to you unbidden and with as much brevity as I can master, since it is not my custom, the reason for this uninvited correspondence.
You and I have never met in any physical sense; and yet, through a third party, our lives have intersected. It is often thus, I fear, in a universe in which atoms of matter and photons of energy are constantly colliding and interacting, nay interfering, with one another in a world in which no man may call his life his own.
We are, it sometimes feels, little more than pitiful pinballs, knowing only that the end will come and that the gully awaits us, but as powerless as the spinning silver sphere to control our fate once we have been launched into the bubbling cauldron of life. Do not ask the pinball why it moves up or down, or left or right; and to extrapolate, do not ask a man why he does this or that, why he takes this road or the road less travelled. He simply reacts to events. We are reactors. Quark sparks in the night of nothingness.
And so, even I, master of inaction and studied inactivity, am forced by circumstances I shall soon recount to renounce my own philosophy and to put pen to paper.
Oh, what terror it is, to hold this pen in my hand thus, knowing that at any moment my philosophy may be undone; and yet, in spite of all this, in spite of the volition of anti-volition, in spite of spite itself, I must act. For in these calligraphic curls and symbols, I am honour-bound to fulfill my debt to your former pupil, the inestimable Kev the Vampire, Lord of the Dracule and new-found Defender of the Faith of POI.
We met on the eve of a thunderstorm that heralded the death of spring and augured the birth of a hoary summer. Thunder rolled down the mountain slopes and lighting split the sky, cracking the very air in its whippish intensity. Bilious black clocks, like bilge in a vat, swelled and filled every inch of the vast overhanging firmament. The sky was sky no more, and it was as if hell itself had been released from the chasm and spewed forth from its abyss to infect the heavens.
It is on an evening such as this, I thought to myself, while staring into the infinity above me, that life itself will someday come to its inconclusive conclusion.
‘Doomsday will be an ellipsis, not a full stop,’ I whispered to the wind.
‘And when the rock we cling to shakes off the disease of life, what dreams may come?
‘You and I and six billion other sacks of flesh, will peer into the falling sky with all our questions left unanswered: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? Existential dust will whirl in the choking fumes of the burning atmosphere, but it will mean no more than the mewing of a cat.’
This future troubled me and my head pounded in an effort to dispel the nightmare, but the thundering hooves of the Four Horsemen, the equestrian interlopers, pummeled my brain. The ghastly creatures from the other side of the black hole of Hellus 5 tortured me, and even the last drop of whiskey nectar would not sooth my soul.
And from this poisoned door of doomsday I saw him. Finding myself prostrate and penniless on a pavement, for I should confess to you now that my financial solvency is far from viscous, I beheld this dark stranger for the first time.
He was dressed from head to toe in the darkest black, a noir so pure that night itself would anti-shine in envious comparison. There was something more than natural in his garments and I set out to investigate the radiating raiment.
Upon closer inspection, I apprehended the violet aura that surrounded this inky-cloaked fellow, and I knew that he was a man who was only partly adhered to this world; that he was coming unstuck. Conversely, I also realised that his progression might be altogether more nefarious, that he might be a shape-shifter sent by the Forces Of Evil to corrupt our virgin world: a fornicator of figments, a debaser.
The medication I imbibe, you see, permits me occasional methylated spirit visions and allows me to discern trans-dimensional creatures who pass unnoticed by others. Being free from worldly concerns, I may see other worlds.
He floated on the ether of the pavement, his footfall an auditory delusion that might fool mortal listeners, and he made slow but steady progress from one end of the Banhofplatz to the other. He did not note my presence, but I should point out to you that the philosophy of inaction and the strictures laid down in its completion have enabled me to become largely invisible; and even when I lie immobile in the gutters of the fair town of Füssen, a dozen kilometres from the transdimensional portal of Königschlosser castle, clothed in vomit- and mucus-protected rags, I am rarely heeded and never spoken to.
I decided to forgo the shield of invisibility and revealed myself to him.
‘Stranger: stranger in a strange land. Strange be thy ways and strange be thy habit. Are you a goblin damned or some other infernal beast? Have you crossed dimensions to bring contagion to this blue-green sphere we call the world?
‘I am Inaction Man, Defender of the Earth and Protector of the Moon; and I command you to speak the truth, your soul’s truth and nothing else forsooth. Swear on this precious liquid!,’ I told him, holding out a bottle of methylated spirits.
‘Enshoedeegum bitter. Ich nine sprechen weckin zie deutsche woitsche,’ he replied.
I resolved to try a different tongue and noted that there was something of the Gaul about him.
‘Parlez vous français?’
‘Jay neigh parley pass frank say,’ he responded with an accent that would have had any passing Frenchman skewer him alive to defend Frankish honour and la langue maternelle.
‘And what foul tongue do you speak, harbinger?’ I asked, reverting to German.
‘I do not understand,’ he said after a brief pause, and I knew then that it was language of the Angles and the Norman maiden that caressed his tongue.
‘Then tell me, Angle angel, what presentment does this gloomy garb portend? Do you seek your noble father in the dust? And wherefore comes the violet aura that so marks you?’
‘A man has many fathers, and this sky is all violet violence,’ he said cryptically.
‘I’ll ask you straight, one last time, and if I feel you deceive me in your reply, I shall unleash my mighty hose of holy water and with it burn you back to the dimension from whence you came,’ I warned him, pointing at the fly of my trousers and ready at a moment’s notice to burn him with my super-charged urine.
I should point out that my urine has the power to dissolve all that is not of this world.
‘I ask you plainly, in the tongue of the inheritors of perfidious Albion, where have you come from and what is your dread intent?’
‘I have come from Ireland and I am on a quest to find my immortal beloved so that I may be reborn in my ancient form.’
‘A reincarnate, eh? It is as I suspected. Who claims you?’
‘I am the last of my kind, the last of the Dracule.’
‘The Vampire Overlord, transmogrified from Translavanian prince to Hibernian prole. Oh, what a falling-off was there.’
‘Et tu, Brute? How has foul fate bent you into this vagrant form? You call yourself a superhero and yet you wear the apparel of a lowly indigent.’
‘Only the bums are free. We walk in the world of man but are free of its chains and conventions. In this freedom from forced action, we may chisel the spear of inaction; and in this island of tranquility, where no man wields a whip and no clock has power to charm, we may don the cape of truth-seeker.’
‘Are you a mystic bum?’
‘I am Brahmin: I am Sufi. I am Diogenes: I am Christ. All messiahs are bums. Only the bums are free.’
And then the bells of the Bahnhof Station rang out six times, telling us that the day was half complete. I saw him look to the clock and warned him of its evil.
‘Time is a prison and the hour hands the cell bars. Bums wear no watches. And through a veil of temporal blindness, we may apprehend the true form of the world. Only the blind may see and only the deaf may hear.’
‘Your philosophy is new to me, stranger, and I must think on it.’
‘Thought, good: action, bad. Repeat this mantra to yourself and sit with me, here in the gutter through which worldly concerns and illusions will be drained from you. We shall imbibe the magic potion of the spirits and share a vision. And in this vision, I hereby predict, will be revealed to you the location of your eldritch mistress.’
‘Give me the reality hemlock at once, then, so that I might find her all the sooner.’
‘Cut out thy tongue, naïve innocent, and speak no more blasphemies! The Philosophy of Inaction forbids so rank an activity as fiendish searching. In the vision, you shall find the place where you must wait for her. It is only if your paths cross by chance that happenstance shall anoint your union and call it sacred. So, sit still and wise; be drunk by the spirit of Methalia; let yourself be guided through the fog and carried by the alcoholic ether tide to the place where you shall be reborn.’
‘I thank you, sage, for this counsel and promise you that one day I shall repay this debt I owe you.’
‘Well said, Padawan. And it would be remiss of us not to note the power that an alliance of our forces might create. For, although you are vampire and hardly a classic Knight of Inaction, vampires, through the letting of blood, do let stasis stay. Behold the stillness of the corpse!’
‘Cadavers care not for action, it is true; and I must confess that I am mired in the morass of man and in dire need of aid. Shall we then join the Knights of Inaction and the Creatures of the Night?’
‘We shall not join them but they shall be joined. War has made stranger bedfellows. Let a platonic bond be copulated in this beautified gutter. Do you pledge allegiance to the cause, Vampire Lord? Shall Inaction Man and Kev the Vampire fight as one?’
‘I swear it, and may the thundering sky bear witness to the birth of this beautiful friendship. Here’s looking at you, Inaction Man, he said, as he took a mighty swig of the methylated Spirits.
He shuddered then and writhed horribly in the gutter. He was forced to use all his superpowers to prevent him retching up the Holy Spirit unction.
Soon his body was calmed, and we chanted together the first mantra of the Philosophy Of Inaction, the first law of POI.
‘Only the bums are free. Only the bums are free. Only the bums are free.’
* * *
(End of Letter from Inaction Man to Teacher G.)
To be continued...
Copyright © 2011 by Phillip Donnelly