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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Choice

Before we begin I'd like to clarify a few things. Mainly what the fuck is this weird thing I've written. Well we all have different ways of coping with bad news. As a writer I use my skills to help see past the clutter of my own mind and tap into my subconscious. With consciousness comes reason and conscience and knowledge, all of which can be very distracting and unhelpful when trying to come to terms with how you really feel about a situation deep down. When write I can enter a flow state where I am not so much thinking as transcribing ideas that come to me based on the character, setting, scene and context. Thus when I need to figure out how I really feel about really big shit and act accordingly I will sometimes a write a piece of prose with myself as the subject, a suitably relevant setting and context and a mentor figure who asks the difficult questions and provides the answers the character who represent me can't give.

Where this gets metatextual is that I have spent the past three years learning to do textual analysis of fiction and equally I have written a lot of fiction. So by having the mentor figure be a character from my own fiction I can interrogate and be interrogated by the traces of myself and my insecurities in my own fiction. Which is an extremely pretentious thing to do but also very useful when you are as profoundly weird as I am. The character that is interrogating me in this instance is thus a character from a book I'm already writing that others will have already had a chance to "meet" in my other already available prose work.

I post this here partly because previous examples have proved popular and partly because this is by its very nature a very good explanation of how I feel about all the shit going on in my life at the moment. Anyway without further ado here is the - oh bugger I better think of a name for the genre of writing - the autoexposiprose.

The Choice:

An Example Of Autoexposiprose


Alexander Gordon Jahans

A vast cliff. A 6foot fat fellow with unkempt hair, glasses and pyjamas, is standing at the edge, looking down to killer whales circle.

12 feet behind the morose man is a table and on it is a revolver loaded with a single bullet. The table blocks the morose man from the view of a different man in a suit carrying an AK47.

A woman appears, wearing a practical leather combat outfit, she is tall, thin and blonde.

“Alex, you don't want to do this” says the woman.

The man in the pyjamas shrugs “The ghost of christmass future. Figures”

Then he turns and addresses the woman, suddenly angry “Except it's not Christmas so fuck off.”

The woman frowns, biting her lip briefly before responding. “Alex, this is good news. You should be happy, not... well whatever the fuck this is.”

Alex runs his tongue over his teeth before replying “Lucy, you're the Unleasher. You are a shadow of the fate I could face. And you're telling me I should be happy? Er, yeah, that's just not possible. Mister lying egotistical cunt face over there is stifling the economy while cutting the support for the people who need it most. Our environment is fucked and getting more fucked all the time as weak willed stupid politicians place the present over the future. The political system itself is an utter fucking sham and I- I am a genetic aberration, a mistake that should never have been. There was never any hope for me. Oh yeah and I am very probably infertile so any hope of raising a family of my own is deader than the dodo. Tell me, why the fuck should I be happy?”

The Unleasher sighs, wanting to hug the young man but knowing better than that. She says “You're going to get cured in a couple of weeks”

Alex stares at the woman, allowing her to nice the lines of red etched onto the white of his eyes. “I'm not going to get cured. You don't cure genetic abnormalities, you treat the symptoms. No, I am not going to get cured, I am going to get a needle jabbed in my arse every 3 months for the rest of my life and, oh fucking joy, I am part of the lucky generation that will see people living longer and longer, meaning I will get the indignity of a needle up my arse for even longer.”

The Unleasher shrugged “Well that explains the cliff and the whales but what's that gun doing there?”

Alex chuckles darkly “Oh you'll love this.”

Alex walks to the table and hefts up the gun in both hands “That is the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and this, this oh great Unleasher, is all it would take to end the menace brought upon the people. One single bullet fired from one gun.”

Alex pulls the trigger.

Nothing happens.

“Of course even in a metaphorical dream you couldn't shoot a gun with a bullet in the chamber” said the Unleasher.

Alex kept the gun trained on the man in the suit as he turned his head to look in the Unleasher's eyes “You think I couldn't do it? You honestly think I couldn't do it? Not to save the people who will die under his regime, not to save the world from his short sighted policies?” said Alex “I am not the pacifist who refused to hit back at his bullies any more. I am the Anti-Critic, I wield the ban hammer and I am a moral pragmatist.”

The Unleasher stared into Alex's eyes “No. No, I don't believe this. You are not the Farsh-nuke and you are not the Anti-Critic any more. You are Alexander Gordon Jahans. You don't believe in binaries and pessimism. You are an optimist dreaming of a techno-utopia, picking the whitest path in a world of grey on grey morality and this is not you.”

Alex stared into the Unleasher's eyes and screamed desperately “People are dying!”

The Unleasher did not blink. “And that's why you will never fire an armed and dangerous gun, not even in a dream. So long as there is hope, so long as Cameron isn't outright murdering people in the street and climate change can be fought and limited you will remain the pacifist championing a peaceful revolution.”

Alex pleaded now “But it would be so easy”

The Unleasher shook her head, finally blinking. “He wants this. You said so yourself, he's doing this deliberately, like Leto II from God Emperor, he is oppressing the population to make them rise up but why? Look at what he's done. Rewriting the law of human rights in Britain, limiting the ability to strike, making peaceful protest result in up to ten years in prison, instituting a snoopers charter so he can spy on what we say on the internet, outright stating that being a law abiding citizen isn't enough to protect you any more? All of it is so the powder keg of left wing frustration that his party sits upon can be swiftly and effectively destroyed with full legality the moment someone is stupid enough to do as you suggest. Nothing is ever easy, Alex.”

Alex's jaw dropped “So that's why his cabinet is made up of right wing extremists. One false move and he can remove all our rights and take us back to the 18th century.”

Alex dropped the gun and it faded from existence.

The Unleasher nodded “Alex I know you fear that you're the Farsh-nuke, that you're destined to become the Unleasher but you chose to take up your real name again can you remember why?”

Alex nodded “Alex Jahans, the great survivor, he never acted and never hurt anyone. The boy who would rather be beaten up or commit suicide than hurt another. The problem is that I am reliably informed that I am a cunt, that I am rude, arrogant and an arse. I am not a saint, Unleasher, I am a techno hermit with no social life, no job, no voluntary position, no motivation, no tact and a band of sadists milking me on youtube.”

“You're still alive” said the Unleasher.

“I am aware of that” said Alex “But in the past year of my living purgatory I have achieved nothing of any importance.”

“You're still alive” repeated the Unleasher.

Alex glared at her “I fucking know that but that doesn't mean much when your life consists of letsplays, video games and rants into the void of the internet.”

The Unleasher tutted “You chose to take up your real name again because a name is like a promise, a name you choose anyway. You chose to become Alex again, you promised yourself you wouldn't kill yourself upon graduating university and you've succeeded. You have fought the hardest fight, a fight you were certain you would lose and that was before you knew just how bad the odds of you surviving would be. You didn't know your parents would separate but continue living together. You didn't know your cats would die. You didn't know your sister would turn out to be a victim blamer and emmigrate. You didn't know all this medical shit would hit the fan. You didn't know the fandom you called home would turn out to be transphobic just as gender politics became very important to you. You made a promise and you kept it despite the odds. That's a hell of a fucking success.”

Alex sighed “And what have I done with my time? I've written some fetish porn only I will get off to, I've played lots of video games, had my smart phone stolen at a Job Seeker's Seminar, been pickpocketed on the way home from a job interview, nearly fallen for two different pyramid schemes. I have watched a lot of lets plays, finished listening to the Culture series and discovered that Neil Gaiman is over rated fanfic that corrupts otherwise stellar urban fantasies. Oh and the great bastion of hope and common sense that is is fast becoming an up its own ass ridiculously irrelevant website. I haven't exactly written symphonies now have I?”

The Unleasher nodded “Good point, well made.”

The Unleasher walked to the edge of the cliff and stared down at the killer whales, clearly Alexander had learned that Orcas were the more terrifying threat than sharks.

Alex stared at the table where the gun had been. It was all so simple now. He supposed it always had been, he wasn't choosing between homicide and suicide. He had been choosing between martyrdom and being remembered as the weird guy who write stories about women being kept as pets and flashed his tits to the internet out of a misguided sense of weaponized self loathing.

The Unleasher said idly “I do have just one question though”

Alex shrugged “Ask away.”

“If you had committed suicide, what would you have done in the last year?”

Alex rolled his eyes and sighed.

The Unleasher turned “Do you really think this is just about you? You feel ashamed of your situation, you feel that peaceful revolution is impossible, that saving the Earth is too huge for you to do alone. You only care about yourself and so your way out only helps yourself. What about the billions of people on planet Earth?”

Alex snapped “So now I'm selfish for wanting to die, you fucking victim blamer!”

The Unleasher stared at him “Yes you're a victim but you're also an asset to humanity. This is why the Farsh-nuke is tolerated after all. People are powerful. Properly mobilized and utilized they can do anything. The world could use your help Alexander. You are a thinker, you consume knowledge, you think on it and you speak freely. The world could sure use that. You might just have a following of sadists on youtube but you have a following none the less. Think of what effect 5 years of your blogs and vlogs could do. They could sway the election, prevent the Tories getting back in, ensure whoever does get in will institute electoral reform and fight climate change and whose to say you couldn't sway the balance of power under this parliament? The Tories only have a majority of 8 after all. The left needs all the propaganda it can get and you can help provide it.”

Alex stared at her “You have got to be joking?”

“And what about your mother and your sister?” said the Unleasher “Your Mum is still under his influence and won't leave. You can lead by example. Your sister can't see the patterns or the very real danger. You would leave her like that, unaware of the time bomb waiting to go off?”

Alex's jaw dropped, unable to think of a response.

“And what of Ronnikin? You would leave him in the care of your mum? A woman who sees nothing wrong with castrating sentient animals she professes to love?” said the Unleasher.

Alex glared at her “Now, that's not fair. You know I can't fight this. The entire world thinks that because these animals are of a lesser order to man that they deserve practises too barbaric to inflict upon our own children.”

“A practise that you have effectively felt the consequences of because of your medical condition?” said the Unleasher “You might not be able to change the world and save all the cats but you can make sure Ronnikin gets treated properly as a being with will and agency.”

Alex sighed “You're right there”

“And that's why you're needed” said the Unleasher “Nobody else can look after Ronnikin like you can because everyone else thinks a half life as a castrato is better than the consequences of letting animals make their own mistakes.”

Alex kicked the table and it flipped over and vanished.

The man in the suit fired at him.

Alex screamed “Oh fuck off! You're not important any more!”

The man in the suit vanished.

Alex sighed heavily “I have someone to live for now don't I? Not just morality, letsplays and Skyrim but my pet.”

And then he started to laugh “The Great Farsh-nuke, all these times I've written about him and all these times I've written about the importance of his pets and here's me promising to live for my cat.”

The Unleasher smiled “You are not without hope Farsh-nuke and you are not alone in this. The Green Party is fighting for the future you want. The Labour party are natural Tory fighters. Even UKIP are campaigning for electoral reform. You may not have a shoulder to cry on but you do not fight alone. You are part of a wider revolution and you have allies. Never give up, never surrender, the good will win in time and you will be part of it.”

“And until I get out, what?” asked Alex “Watch letsplays, play video games, listen to podcasts?”

“If it didn't work you wouldn't be doing it” said the Unleasher “It's like school, the prison bars are in your own head. Your life feels like purgatory because the world tells you it's horrible. Because your dad fears that you will never leave if he doesn't put the fear into you. But what did ypou do at Wolverhampton? What was your life at University when you lived in student halls with your friends nearby and loan money in your wallet?”

“I watched letsplays, played videogames and listened to podcasts” said Alex, realizing.

“Your life feels like purgatory because you have so many different reasons to feel shit but you are smarter than that. Your life is okay. You just need to be patient.” said the Unleasher.

Alex took a deep breath then blew it out slowly before saying “I think you might be right there. So what now?”

The Unleasher stared at him, utterly serious “Now you finish the opening chapters of Paragon of Virtue. The Shark Trust needs the money that will be raised from the special charity edition of the Venus Trap and that means you need to finish the Value Added Material. Plus there is the small matter of you being the keystream of my reality, I need you to finish that book.”

Alex nodded “Gotcha.”

The Unleasher smiled and hugged Alex, pleased to have helped.

Then the Unleasher was gone as well.

Alex stood alone on the cliff now and he felt at peace.

The cliff vanished and Alex sat before his computer. He must have nodded off at the keyboard. He navigated to youtube and the open tab displaying Many a True Nerd's playthrough of Far Cry 4.

He clicked play.

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