Clapped in Irons



Suggested Audio Candy:


Soundgarden “Rusty Cage”



I’ll give you three guesses where I am currently and reckon I’m being far too generous given that the title of the article you’re about to read pretty much says it in a nutshell. That’s right, at this present moment I am incarcerated and about to embark on a sentence, not custodial but self-enforced believe it or not. There are no iron manacles binding me, guards patrolling the perimeter armed with sniper rifles, or crooked wardens stopping off at my cell to provide me my daily ass-whooping. Moreover, the meals here are actually of a rather high standards and I’ve not had my rectal virginity viciously snatched away by fellow inmates either. Indeed, I’m not even forced to share a cell. So all in all, this is pretty much your minimum security kind of digs we’re speaking of.


It gets better too. You see, no jury decided my fate, it was my decision and mine alone to remove myself from society. I did so, not because I’m a discernible risk to others but because I pose a significant threat to yours truly. It turns out that months of self-immolation have left me at a distinct crossroads in my mortality. The problem is, neither of the routes available right now are particularly enticing. It’s a little like being offered a cold shit sandwich or flask of tepid piss; neither what you’d call the most seductive of options. On one hand, I could choose to persevere with my current course and likely be a dead bird by the close of the year. Alternatively, I lock myself away like Mungo and do the cold turkey thing. Reluctantly, I plumped on the latter and, as a result, have spent the last four days cooped up like a chicken of my own free will.


Now I’m not suggesting for a solitary second that this is some kind of flaming purgatory I’m ensnared in, far from it in fact. I’m only weaning myself off the dreaded weed here, nothing more sinister and, besides, intravenous narcotics never particularly appealed. Taking a look around my cell, I’m thrilled to report that there are no signs of damp and neither is it insect-ridden. Instead, I’m restrained within my own savage vaults, which just so happen to be bursting from the seams with nigh-on every horror flick worthy of a scream from the past forty years. I also have a supply of regular smokes that I can puff on within the grounds so in effect I’m free-range bitches.


So right about now I guess you’re thinking this is a fairly cushy number right? Admittedly, it could be a darn sight worse although I could have done with a mechanical arm in the corner to help relieve me of all those troublesome backed-up sperm I’ve been hoarding. On the bright side, finally I can catch up on my ever growing stockpile of unwatched movies and, at long last, can commence on my pilgrimage with The Walking Dead, truly a proposition to salivate over I hear. That said, detox really isn’t that pleasurable an experience. It’s ironic when you think about it as you fill your lungs with noxious shit for months on end, often in conditions some way below freezing, but it’s not until you actually kick the habit that you finally come down with the lergy. Go figure!


Naturally my body has been pushing out all the impurities it can, attempting to rid itself of undesirable toxins through any means necessary. In addition I have been snatching close to 40,000 winks as opposed to my customary four. Last week my overall sleep duration would’ve amounted to no more than twenty-four hours combined, whereas I’ve clocked up nearly that in just the last day alone. I must say I find it all very wasteful. I sat eagerly in my quarters last night ready to undertake a horror marathon and instead was in the land of nod before the starter gun fired. To make things all the more disparaging, I wasn’t spewed forth from my slumber for the best part of a calendar day. Needless to say, the words “why I oughta!” were the first to vacate my maw upon breaking free from my cocoon.


Anyhoots, I’m determined not to let the Sandman whisk me away again tonight and don’t need a meter rule to remind me that any measures taken will need to be of the desperate variety. This will include broken match sticks beneath my eyelids, a bowl of electrified water to occasionally dunk my finger in should I begin to fade (mild voltage of course), hell even honey-dipped testicles in a jar of waspish bees if that’s what it takes to just…stay…AWAKE! That’s quite some going for a “sleep when I’m dead” type and one with no great burning desire to catch those Z’s unless there is no other conceivable way to dodge them. While I understand it is my body’s way of replenishing fuel, that doesn’t stop it frustrating the living shit out of me.


It all brings to mind A Nightmare on Elm Street as I fondly remember Nancy, Glen, Rod and Tina and their attempts to stay awake when the dastardly Freddy was doing everything but seductively play a harp in their minds to encourage them to cash in on that catnap. Alarms don’t seem to cut it presently as, while ordinarily something of a light sleeper, I now require a palette knife to scrape me out of my slumber each morning. Even movies need to be carefully selected, steadily paced thinking man’s horror would leave me woefully exposed to the slumber demons and I can’t just continually re-watch The Evil Dead reboot on perpetual loop, no matter how attractive a proposition that may sound.


Of course, it’s a given that I shall ultimately emerge from my chrysalis. Granted, perhaps not a fragrant butterfly, but no doubt in better health than when I went under, for the time being at least. You can be assured of one thing however, while under strict lockdown for the foreseeable, the Crimson Quill is right by my side and supplies are plentiful to ensure that I don’t go dropping off any radars. Once paroled I will likely sport the beard of the gods, a gargantuan mossy monstrosity more dense than a woodland thicket and capable of stowing away a boat-load of asylum seekers and half a dozen big-boned squirrels. Actually scrap that, any attempts at facial furnishing have proved woefully unsuccessful in my experience, and I closer resemble Shaggy from Scooby Doo than Grizzly Adams so I guess those fuzzy facial furnishings are a no-no.


I do wish to offer clarity on one thing however. Recently I scribed a piece named To Bleed or Not To Bleed and expressed my desire to halt defending myself or explaining my actions to those who criticize my objectives. This, in no way denotes that the quill has bled itself dry for the final time, in fact that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I simply don’t want to be known for belly aching when my outlook is so unerringly optimistic. Justifying my actions is no longer relevant as the Grueheads know now of my soul and accept their Keeper warts and all I’m pleased to say. Thank God for that as I already spent over half of my life struggling to fit into some other bastard’s plans and have no inclination whatsoever to turn the clocks back now.


So where does that leave us then. That’s elementary my dear Watsons, you can expect the Crimson Quill to bleed furiously over the coming weeks without an ounce of distraction. Any lack of presence on social networks may seem initially disheartening but, rest assured, the rivers are still running red in my absence. No amount of sickness can stem the flow and each waking hour will produce new articles and affectionate writes to fill those Christmas stockings. Once my shell has rejuvenated adequately, I will be leaner and fitter than ever before, and this is my solemn vow to you all. I shall never forsake the Grueheads, hold onto those words always as you’ll find them to be wholly authentic. Right now, I can see no better way to bid you adieu than with the words of the mighty Martin Luther King as pearls of wisdom really don’t come any shinier. Take it away sir.


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”



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