From chapter 1
"It had been a great plan. The trip abroad. Single aim? To kill the beast within. A geographical they call it in the fellowships of narcotics and alcoholics anonymous.
A simple error in mental negotiation of a tricky position. The point is - If I go abroad I won't know anyone there, ipso facto: I won't be able score! So far so good, its gonna be perfect. Two weeks in the sun, a stint of RnR and a return to London for the rest of my life. What could be simpler?
Naive thinking? Ho Ho...
A lack of experience in the finer points of sobriety - that hateful word. Especially for those of us who thought we were still young enough, still with a point to prove with an arrogant finger to the Gods.
The upset of all that wasted time. The empty decades. The empty horror: the beast that creeps across the floor behind you, then, carefully, painlessly, he inserts a bastard in your brain.
He is there to kill you.
No cold-blooded shot to the temple, just the slow lingering torture of desperate unhappiness.
To be honest, it’s a great deal more than just unhappiness; suicide is probably the right word really. Or rather, the dream is suicide, but the will is weak. We choose to use and try not to upset anyone we love. Mind you we assume that, when in times of trouble, when we do seek help from our traumatised families, we shouldn't be too surprised when they turn us away at the door. They have secrets too. Which is why we have the problem in the first place.
Doing a geographical. It’s a bit like hitting a Homer*.
Geographicals are renowned for their inability to resolve problems. Taking a holiday while still in active addiction will always lead to problems.
A week earlier I had phoned the London NA office to find the French meetings in Paris for when I arrived. To find some helpful NA member who could put me up for the night before I was to head south. Soon arrangements had been made and all was well. The unmistakable sense of relief slips in for the gentle soothing of ones’ tattered nerves.
A magical mystery tour of a rendezvous in Paris. How cool is that?
Maps packed, phosphates bagged up. Just had to finish the last of the gear before I set off.
Okay, change of plan, spent three and a half hours trying to find a vein. Am in a right mess. Far too complicated to think about leaving now. Will have to cancel today. Better to wait till tomorrow. Better get another bag so I don't have to go out and score before I leave for Dover. Hours later I went to bed nicely mashed thanks.
The following morning began as it always did. The twisted sister of yogic sun salutations. Instead of facing the rising sun I would sit up and empty the last wrap of gear into my spoon.
My loving cup, my morning Hoorah! My Breakfast of Champions - tea and toasted brain loverly!
Breakfasted, dressed, packed and all straps strapped (again...) finally I was ready. It was 11:30 a.m. Had to push off soon or I’d lose another day. Better finish the rest of the gear. Then I realised I had far more than I thought.. but I simply didn't have time to use it all. Will have to leave it. It will be a treat for when I return. Wait.. wait.. I hear something....wot is this that I see out of the corner of my weary eye? Uh oh. I spy a deadly assassin. He is lurking.... they melt into the background you see. You forget their stealth and swiftness. Their subtle use of sabotage. (Coincidentally, sabots were wooden shoes the French under-class wore. When industrialisation arrived in the country they would hurl their shoes into the gears of giant machines bringing them all to a grinding halt. Hence ‘Sabotage.’ No point….justintrestin', thass all.)
My loathing, doubt and fear, hand in hand, teetering on the brink, making excuses to sit back and do nothing. FCKOFF! I’M GOING WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. (Sometimes, not often, one can climb above the bastard and shit all over HIS day for a change.)
Foreign displacement; fear and thrill all in one. How I love the dichotomy. Especially when I’m sat on a large and beautiful motorcycle.
Solo foreign travel and into the unknown. While it tweaks at the gut I can still see the road ahead - tho’ well organised for a junkie on the run that is - and it never fails to thrill.
That great feeling one gets as one heads towards the coast. It stands proud, shoulders back, just like the cliffs. One of those great, real adventures just across the channel.... gulp! Nobody to blame if it all fucks up. Just me and the bastard in my brain.
Finally we've Channeled the Channel, boated the off, petroled the pump and edged of the Calais. The dreary bit at the start. So now, under clear skies, heading south. Ahead: Hope and the images to come.
Péages, motorways, the French, the Germans,
Amazing how even little old Renault 5’s can trip along at an easy 100mph, engines barely ticking over... Mercedes cruise by with a dry-back at one hundred and fifty.... BMW’s, Saabs, Ferraris, Jaags, Aston Martins. All that money... Where does it come from? (Please note: rhetorical question.)
Geographical, part two:
Arrival in Paris........"
John Nott and the amp of doom
"Strange, but I recall a party for Hitler. Wives and girlfriends had joined favoured Generals and other VIP's up in the Eagles Nest. Not only were they celebrating his birthday but the final realisation of his most precious dream. The annexing of all those German speaking peoples of Europe.
Hitler's mighty war horse had trounced in like and Andalusian in dressage: arrogantly slamming his hoofs down with skulls for cobblestones. Europe simply withered.
The sun was now setting on his afternoon party. The gathering, as one, gazed up at the sky, air-brushed so perfectly. How neatly the warm and lovely tones reflected the glory of their Great Leader. How majestic, how very sweeping.
But as his guests laughed and clinked their glasses an abrupt dip in energy levels was felt by all. The valley grew dark. Suddenly the guests began to feel vulnerable beneath the changing sky. Before they could fathom anything, everything went… ZAP… leaving everyone standing in negative as the thunder shook them all to the core.
The warm spring breeze was gone. In its place; a chill wind from Siberia. People coughed and shuffled about. The lovely pinks and oranges, the pastels and elegantly sculpted clouds had shifted from:
Why so cold, so sudden? All eyes look up for an explanation. Those sharp and clearly defined creations, that had just moments ago stood so proud and elegant, were pushed roughly aside. New ugliness…. yukky and dead yellows spread throughout, like rotting peach smeared all over. The glowing pink sun was violated by putrid green that tainted the clouds in a bilious hue.
More silent flashes… Then: 'BOOM! Rumble, rumble.'
Hitler looked on… amazed… and the tumbling thunder rolled over and over, down the valley and back from hell.
All saw his great push for supremacy. Reaching for that ultimate in nightmares in un-spoken of human aspiration: Eugenics: the grand plan to weed out all the damn chaff. That behind this incredible man Germany's re-birth was a certainty. And how everyone licked and smacked their lips at the promise of pure blood lust and REVENGE!! - but now?
No one spoke or moved though. A slap of doubt shook them all. Was this mad and monumental idea for creating a master-race really such a good idea?
It's rare to witness a true celestial masterpiece, especially if it appears to be illustrating any particular thrill you might be feeling at the time. T'is a tricky landscape mon ami. Delusional… but in Hitler's case? This was no delusion. His rampant ambition was there for all to see.
For him the difference between a beautiful sunset and the Devils own sick-bag was very small. As an artist and perverted visionary, he would recognise small synchronicity's that had flowed all around as he grew in strength and power. The auguries were perfect. Cosmic surfing was an easy thing for him. No wonder everything was going so well. He would look up to the sky and wink. A smile of reassurance and a thumbs up; but now? Were his auguries still humming the same tune?
His twisted choreography had summoned up the spirit of Brunhilda and the Ride of the Valkeries. Swords, blood, flags, banners and bodies hung from every angle to be smashed into the storm. Lightning bolts cut across the huge valley illuminating the cold and desolate void. Sleet now whips across the large balcony. The slashing ice cuts into their faces. Hitler turned up his collar and grinned. He was starting to enjoy this interesting little twist. He nearly whistled, so chirpy did he feel.
The wind howls around the mountain scape. Huge crashing echoes reverberate in our chests.
OH GOD! Now I'm part of the scene! What am I doing up in this very bad place with this very bad man?
The heavy-weight clouds just look so menacing. Suddenly one of the guests, a Czech woman, blurts out...
'Das is…nicht goot! Nicht goot!! Al ist Blood, much blood and death…and terrible destruction.… terrible, total war, total destruction!!'
Hitler tried to laugh it off, but the rest of the party was now siding with the woman. Hitler stabbed her with a venomous look. Carefully, with bloodlust in his heart, he carved her name into the big, black, marble book in his head. GOD! How he loved the state of shadenfroida in anticipation. He grinned again; what a lovely chap. Good ol' Hitler. Everybody's very best buddy.
Flash! Boooomm, rumble.… rumble. Great heavy oak tables are dragged across the wooden floors of heaven. Rolling around and across the vast emptiness. Massive explosions suddenly burst through the mountains across the valley. They blast apart sending much of the mountain flying at us! We all duck except Hitler. He's just standing there unable to work out if this was still a good sign or not. The Czech woman is huddled under one of the food-laden tables, her hands over her ears, a look of horror on her contorted face.
I look back up to the sky. The cloud base was descending, pulling down more fear. Bad reds, like dried blood, deep, dark, ugly green and vulgar brown saturate the still rampaging clouds - and now - clearly visible from between the remaining crags, huge city buildings crack the mountain and grow from within. They stretch up, shrugging their shoulders, knocking off the last of the granite.
Now we hear distant guns. Thud, thud… "