Confessions of The Invisible Man

 

 

Do you ever get the strange feeling that you’re being watched unbeknownst to you? Sorry about that. What can I say? This whole invisibility deal is just so freaking moreish. What began as a harmless experiment has since turned into a way of life and it turns out there are many activities one can partake in whilst imperceptible to the naked eye that would otherwise not be possible. Was it ever my intention to skulk in the shadows? Not at all, merely to further my research into optics and attempt to alter the body’s refractive index to that of air so that it neither absorbs nor reflects light. Nothing dastardly. It just fascinates me that so much seems to go on in the world when backs are turned and eyes averted; so I decided to go deep undercover for the sake of my studies. It seemed like a rather splendid idea at the time. Now if only I had the faintest idea how to reverse the effects.

For the time being at least, it looks like I’m stuck like this, at least until I come up with some kind of antiserum. I fully intend on working around the clock to make that happen but, in the meantime, it seems wasteful not to explore my new superpower and have a little fun with the veil of secrecy that separates me from the rest of society. I wish to make it abundantly clear from the get-go that I have no intention of embarking on a reign of terror or anything unlawful like that. Simply doing a spot of person watching and gathering inspiration for the new thesis I’m working on. Okay you’ve got me. I do plan to engage in a spot of shenanigans while I’m flying beneath the radar but will have you know it is strictly of the mild variety and falls some way short of skullduggery. What gave me away? Am I really that transparent? Actually, don’t answer that as the men in white coats may drag you away to the funny farm for further testing. Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness, don’t you know?

By now you should have a fair idea how this is going to play out from hereon in. Feel free to tag along as my subservient and I’ll gladly elucidate my findings as long as you have no problem with taking notes and your shorthand is up to snuff. Elect to blow the whistle on me however and I’ll be gone way before the morning comes. Moreover, I’ll be totally invisible so watching your back will all be for nothing. Listen, the last thing I want is to come over all autocratic, I despise rules and regulations as much as the next man and glean no enjoyment whatsoever from laying them down. But what I’m doing here is generally frowned upon by the majority and I can’t run the risk of being shopped in by the hired help. Stick around and you may just learn a thing or ten. Oh and one more thing before we set off. You look a little too conspicuous dressed as you are. May I suggest changing your attire and perhaps taking a quick shower to freshen yourself up? It’s going to be a long night after all.

Needless to say I wouldn’t dream of peeking or anything underhand like that. Tell you what, run the water hot as steam will soon give my coordinates away should I decide to play uninvited spectator. What’s that? The hot water’s on the blink you say? How terribly inconvenient, the Coach and Horses Inn comes highly recommended and I find it most unsatisfactory that they’d not get their boiler regularly serviced. What a positively wretched coincidence. Are you still hung up about me catching you in a state of undress? Honestly, you’ve got me all wrong. Fine, I’ll wear my bandages until you’re done but wish to place it on record that I find your trust issues most unbecoming. I could have asked any number of other curvaceous blonde interns to assist me in my research but chose you purely based on your impressive qualifications. It had nothing to do with the chiffon blouse you wore to the interview or the floral bouquet radiating from beneath your petticoat, where the nectar is sweetest. And yes that is my knee trembling but I’ll have you know it’s a trapped nerve.

Anyroad, enough of that eyewash. There is much work to be done and I suggest we attach our game faces as scientific dissertations don’t write themselves you know. For the purpose of efficient timekeeping, I’ve gone to the trouble of preparing an itinerary, just to outline a few of the activities I plan to partake in while getting to grips with my new-found superpower. Given that I’m testing the water here, it would be obscene to go leaping in with both feet; when a dash of quiet observation can glean just as favorable results. Thus I have compiled a short list of places to visit and people to see, and see no reason why any of our subjects should become any the wiser. Details will remain strictly on a drip-fed basis as I can’t go giving away my secrets willy-nilly after the whole prying eyes shower debacle and you should count yourself lucky I didn’t terminate your contract on grounds of gross misconduct, right there and then. At any rate, our first stop this day will be the local library.

Judging by the nonplussed look on your face, I’m guessing you can’t see the logic in that choice. Well here’s the thing. You see, libraries are known as the ideal locales to get your head down, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. They also have rather implicit rules regarding noise pollution and anyone who breaches the acceptable decibel levels is shown the door faster than Bobcat Goldthwait at a Shakespeare recital. I may be undetectable by sight, but stealthy movement has never been my strong point thanks to the club foot I developed after tapping my toes too much to The Pointer Sisters and I’m hoping this excursion may assist me in becoming a little lighter on my phalanges. Of course, there is also the small matter of an iddy-biddy bonus objective just to make things vaguely less mind-numbing. It has less to do with the institution itself and more the draconian defender of its realm, otherwise known as “the librarian”.

Common folklore has it that these stony-faced sticklers for silence are not nearly as conservative in their views behind closed doors and, I have to say, I’m of that school of opinion. Study the facts – glasses signify intelligence and we all know that smarts are sexy; the tight bun those long, lustrous locks are pulled back into symbolizes inner freakiness just straining to be released for no other reason than “because I’m worth it”; stern features and uniform represent authority and we all secretly crave to be domineered; the desk further fuels the fantasy and provides the ideal vantage from which to make us all feel like naughty schoolchildren; and the sheer notion of breaking the rules alone does the rest. They may think they have us fooled with their “thou shalt not speak above a hushed whisper” routine but I reckon they’re far more vocal once relieved from their sentinel duties. To surmise, it is my belief that librarians are all well and truly gagging for it.

So here’s the lowdown. Take a glance over at Betty Bunsen and try not to make it too obvious. She’s likely already on high alert on account of the pencil that keeps mysteriously rolling off her desk as though being guided by an unseen force and the last thing we need right now is to arouse unnecessary suspicion. I managed to sneak a look in the library archives and Betty’s file makes for decidedly enlightening perusal. Formerly a straight-A student, she was head girl at school, and her record is 100% free of blemish. Betty’s personal profile speaks of her interest in ancient Hungarian literature, classical music, and taking long walks along the canal to embrace nature at its most sweeping. Sounds like a stick in the mud right? Well then I’d advise not judging this particular book by its cover as it is my understanding that Betty Bunsen also possesses a considerably darker side.

How else would you explain the cat o’ nine tails she carries around in her handbag? Bookmark huh? Well then, what about the ball gag? What other reason could Ms. Bunsen possibly have for the metre rule she brandishes so ruthlessly if not to spank a couple of well deserving bottoms? And when was the last time you heard a classical composition that included the line “I Want To Fuck You Like An Animal”? I even took the executive decision to flick through her shuffle playlist and do you think I come across a solitary arrangement from Chopin or Wagner? Negative, it reads like an open invite to sexual persecution and that’s precisely how I believe she spends her lunch breaks. Given that she holds a position of great authority, I find her deception most unpalatable. Thus I’m not leaving here until I’ve seen her gash… I mean… exposed her vile treachery. Keep a look out will you as Betty is off to do a spot of “archiving” as we speak and goodness knows what kind of sadomasochistic knocking shop she’s running back there. Be back in the time it takes to knock one out and mop up… I mean… catch our culprit red-handed.

Just as I suspected, Ms. Bunsen is into all kinds of wrong and has a rather tasteless method for punishing late fees it turns out. Were you aware that the penance for tardiness here entails being soundly flogged until you puke, before being ordered to lap it back up from a pair of ten-inch patent clad spiked heels? I wouldn’t mind but I’ve got War & Peace at home and it was meant to be back last Thursday. Fuck it, I’ll just make my return surreptitiously and pray that her suspicions aren’t aroused by a 1,225 page leather-bound novel floating eerily back into its shelf space. At any rate, our work here is done and might I commend you on an excellent job done thus far. Now how are your getaway driver skills? Just out of curiosity. Alright, so I did plan on making a quick stop off at the nearby bank before it closes and making a “transaction”. They may or may not see fit to test out their vault security alarm while I’m tending to my finances and I’d like to assure you that it will be purely coincidental. Better keep the old girl running, that’s all you need to know right now. Back in a jiffy.

GO! GO! GO! Don’t just look at the metal, feed that shit some pedal as it’s about to get mighty manic and, by my estimations and the sound of approaching sirens, we have precisely ten seconds to high-tail it out of here before it all goes Bonnie & Clyde. Don’t give me that look. Oh, you wasn’t. My bad. Actually scrap that, your frown may not be intended for yours truly but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the ache about being placed in such a precarious situation. It’s either that or swollen hemorrhoids and I didn’t spot any hanging clusters when you got out the shower earlier. Now what have I said? Well call me a cab and steal my fanny pack, there’s just no pleasing you, is there? What do you want me to do? Hmm? Open the passenger door and toss myself out of a speeding vehicle into incoming traffic just to prove my sincerity? You do? Fine, well then I… suppose I shall.

There I did it. What do you mean I’m full of shit? Listen, I can’t be held responsible if you missed my daredevil dismount for all the high-octane car racing. I’ll have you know that I grazed my patella pretty badly when spilling to the tarmac like Montezuma’s revenge. Give me 24 hours and I’ll show you my knee scab if you really insist. For the time being, how about applying a little more gas? Actually, take your next right and double back, if you would be so kind. It’s that Betty Bunsen you see. Try as I may, I can’t shake that debauched imagery from my head and feel compelled to return to the library and flirt with a little more detective work. Originally my plan was to swing past the Whitehouse so I could snatch Donald Trump’s hairpiece, line it with asbestos and Frank’s Hot Sauce, then forcibly insert it deep into his rectum while belting out “who’s fired now slag?” in A-minor. But something inexplicable keeps drawing me back to the library and, as luck would blindly have it, it should be closing any minute now. No pressure, but I reckon we could still catch Betty locking up if only you were to discover full throttle.

There she is, looking all sweet and innocent when I already know different. By my estimations, we’ve got a few minutes to hack and slash, as Betty takes her keyholder role very seriously indeed and triple checks every last shadowy recess before fully satisfied that the building is secure. Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on shaking the squad cars and also apologize unreservedly for putting you under pressure like that. It was totally irresponsible of me. Just so you know, robbing banks isn’t ordinarily my style and I wouldn’t entertain such a notion unless… well… invisible.

Some might argue that I’m misusing my superpower and they’re very much entitled to their opinions. But the thing is, I just get so sick of all the constant rules society imposes. Don’t waste your vote, don’t jaywalk, don’t fritter your wages, don’t play with fire, don’t forget to wash behind your ears, don’t forget to recycle, don’t consume too many bad carbs, don’t binge on bar nuts, don’t answer the door to Jehovah’s witnesses, don’t push in front in the post office queue, don’t fart within a crowded elevator and blame it on the oldest lady present, don’t wipe from back to front, don’t share bath water, don’t drill a glory hole in the girls’ locker room, don’t commit grand larceny – it’s exhausting don’t you agree?

I’m not normally this devilishly crafty you know; in case you were wondering. I reckon it’s just a side-effect of being totally within my rights to do whatever the freefalling fuck my heart desires as I never got the urge to act out before. It’s like a scratch that you just feel compelled to itch, a V.I.P. pass when your best suit just came back from the dry cleaners, a once in a lifetime opportunity to act irresponsibly without the slightest fear of coincidence. Besides, it’s nice not to have to shave and I rather enjoy the gentle caress of early evening breeze upon my testicles. The very moment I deal with Betty Bunsen, my sole priority will be searching for the antidote as, for all the mostly harmless horseplay, part of me hankers just to be normal again. You see, I’m starting to realize there’s plenty of stuff I can’t actually do when the world is oblivious to my whereabouts.

Would you believe I posted a selfie to Instagram earlier and it didn’t amass a single like. Indeed, I must’ve flashed my smile to over a dozen strangers this afternoon and received a big, flabby zilch in the way of acknowledgement. I even picked up some litter in the park and a geriatric dog-walker suffered a stroke when I was delivering it to the trash can. Funnily enough though, the thing I miss most about visibility is being able to pull a two-thumbed Fonzie salute in the mirror when nobody is looking. It’s all handy and dandy uncovering freaky librarians and dabbling in felony, but, after this next assignment, I think I’m done with invisibility you know. In which case, what do you say we have ourselves some extra racy hijinks at Betty Bunsen’s expense before returning to our mundane existences? I mean, when are we likely to be in this position again? We’re talking complete and utter anonymity. For me at least. You’ll be required to remain here I’m afraid as someone needs to keep look-out and I simply can’t risk taking you along with me.

You’re disappointed aren’t you? I can see it in your face. Not feeling appreciated, is that it? Come now, dry those eyes as I have a surprise. Given that you’ve been so true-blue in your dedication, I feel it only decent to supply a little audio stimulus, so to speak. Thus I took the liberty of “borrowing” a swanky covert ear piece from one of the bank’s security guards earlier and shall report my findings, as and when they are found. Don’t ask me where I’m going to hook my microphone as I’m fondly fisted if I’ve figured that one out yet. But you deserve to be let in on the action after the stunts you pulled to get us this far. Once I’ve submitted my groundbreaking thesis and collected my Nobel Prize, they’ll likely toss a Time Magazine cover shoot my way and, when they do, I want you standing right beside me. And do you know who three million readers will see? You. Not me, although I do plan to embrace my newly acquired rock star image by spinning a miniature hula hoop on my chubby boner, just so you know. Right then wingman, I do believe we have a serving of beeswax to be getting down to.

Come in Sitting Duck. This is Sneaky Pete. Do you copy? I’m in pursuit of Black Betty and have the bird in my sights. Just about to enter the hurt locker now. That’s her home by the way. Would you mind terribly if I slip out of character? It just seems a little counter-productive to say Alpha-Bravo-Charlie when a simple A-B-C would suffice. No wonder things turn FUBAR. Actually, that one I don’t mind. At any rate, I’ve tailed our hard target back to what appears to be some kind of underground silo and have managed to make it past the perimeter undetected. Something stinks in suburbia and I fully intend on getting to the bottom of it. To be fair, everything appears to be reasonably kosher at this point and there is no sign of any imprisoned underlings or medieval instruments of sorrow. It’s rather a dainty little pad actually. But it’s got a sub-basement and it’s under lock and key so my guess is that this is where the pain and suffering comes into play. Applying extreme caution. One false move now and it could be my last. God knows what this woman is capable of. Actually, I’ve got a fair idea and the almighty has nothing to do with it.

The directive has changed, by the way. You see, it had been my original intention to get my haunt on and get a few supernatural kicks at Betty’s expense, to take her down a notch or two. We’re only talking mild mischief; rattling a few pans and perhaps hiding the TV remote just to put the willies up her. However, that sub-basement has me vaguely curious, as does the keypad alarm panel requiring a five digit code to afford access to the lower level. Should I come unstuck playing poltergeist, then we may never learn the full extent of her duplicity and many more innocent library patrons will endure hardship most horrid. This one is about the greater good; call it may way of redressing karma after making such an outrageous withdrawal at the bank earlier. Therefore I have opted to continue to observe and report from a secure distance and without incident. That’s proving a darn sight easier said than done right now as I just heard the shower faucet spluttering. An eyeful of supple, soapy flesh actually would have slid down smooth right now but it’s like a Turkish sauna in there and I’d stick out like Oscar Pistorius in an I.D. parade if I allow curiosity to get the better of me.

That said, Betty has revealed the first signs of her Achilles heel by leaving the bedroom door slightly ajar to provide an optical sweetener. It could be a trap, of course. This is likely how she lures unsuspecting men to their doom but not I. My distant vantage will do my just fine, thank you Ms. Bunsen. Besides, once you’re all dressed up and have some place to go, I aspire to sneak into your boudoir and claim myself a keepsake from your dirty linen basket. I’d imagine sitting in one spot for ten hours straight would wreak havoc with one’s undercarriage and that leather undergarment must chafe something awful. That’s where a degree in forensic science comes in handy. Regardless of the atrocities I unearth down in your sub-basement, I’ll have you bang to rights just by sliding your horsehide panties beneath my microscope. Your days as a head librarian are numbered Betty.

Speak of the devil, I now have clear visual on our subject and she just dropped her towel to boot. There’s not a great deal to report I’m afraid, not on account of shoddy merchandise, but because my jaw appears to be locked in mid-gurn and speech is not a function that’s coming naturally right now. In all my years, I’ve nary cast my squinting peepers over anything so tailored for my personal preference. Everything is in my kind of proportion, 100% au naturel, complete with glorious imperfection. Those thighs look like they could tame an aluminum monster with a single clench and she has the most adorable dimple just above her derriere that appears to be calling me closer. Naturally, I’ll do no such thing. That said, there’s no harm or foul in just one delicate lick, right? Too late for that, Black Betty is on the move. I repeat, Black Betty is on the move. Not wishing to get all McNab here, but ON ME! Just as I anticipated, she is heading directly to the hornet’s nest and I’m in position to spy the hidden five-digit password, so notepad at the ready. 8-0-0-8-5. Aha, code cracked. I had a calculator once you know.

Really Betty? Is that the very best your fiercely literature mind could come up with? Never mind that malarkey, the eagle has landed and I have her right between my crosshairs as we speak. Bizarrely enough though, it’s not nearly as debauched down here as I had forecast. Where’s the foul stench in the air? The funk of forty thousand years? I was expecting a meticulously arranged bouquet of highly strung manservants and fiendish Faustian apparatus, but instead, appear to have wandered into some kind of sterile workstation. “Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice and I second that emotion as it would appear that Ms. Bunsen has herself a second-string vocation. Given that I consider myself one of the most precocious scientific minds on the planet, I can effortlessly deduce that Betty Black has herself a state-of-the-art laboratory here, complete with protective goggles and test tubes. To be quite honest, I’m a little thrown. I mean, what kind of cruel vials of hate could she possibly be conjuring? Hold that thought my eavesdropping associate as we may just be about to find out.

That’s quite the luminous elixir she’s pouring herself. I’ve only ever witnessed a tonic that lambent once in all my years and have just started to feel a dash of dread creeping in to smother my inquiring mind. I’ll leave you to do the math but, if that juice box contains what I think it does, then I may be about to sail into some choppy waters here. I’d just like to take this opportunity to say what a pleasure it has been working over you and… too late for that hogwash… I’m double done for. The mission has been compromised and our virus has become aware in the most literal of manners. I haven’t felt this exposed since that bad batch of burdock root caused my invisibility potion to wear off midway through the national anthem at the Dodger stadium and that one took some back trekking, believe you me. Abort! ABORT!

Is this thing on? Excellent. Then please allow me to introduce myself to you formally. The name is “Black” Betty Bunsen but then I’m guessing you already know that, considering you’re evidently in cahoots with the sorry specimen currently giving my boot heels a polish with his grubby little licker. Invisibility potions aren’t that troublesome to knock up you know; not when you have the secret recipe. And guess what? You’ve unwittingly contributed to your skipper’s downfall. Cast your mind back to earlier in the library and bear in mind that not seen doesn’t necessarily equate to not heard. Gormless cretins, did you forget that librarians can hear a pin drop from a thousand yards? Tsk tsk on acting as accomplice on that bank job, by the way. But I guess I should be grateful as it made for the most delightful diversion to assist me in a little smash-and-grab of my own. You want to know what tickles me pinkest? That invisibility is rendered null and void once two have quenched from the same elixir.

You should have seen his pathetic little face as I guzzled down my brew and materialized in a two-thumb Fonzie salute, just so he knew he’d been thoroughly thwarted. How dare he snoop around in affairs that need not concern him; abusing his exclusive position by casting judgements on those he deems inferior. Naturally there will need to be a penalty imposed for his despicable behavior and I shall ponder that long and hard while flogging his stinking bones with my trusty cat o’ nine. Consider yourself lucky and I’d urge you to use the obscene amount of dirty money stanking up your trunk to place as much distance from here as possible. You see, you won’t see me when I come. I’ve no time now but, believe me, as surely as the moon will set and the sun will rise I shall be watching you. So run along now as I have a very naughty boy here to reprimand and he’s looking like a squirrel with a nut allergy. You should see his face. My apologies, couldn’t resist that one. Now do yourself a favor and make yourself invisible. Be seeing you.

 

Click here to read Monsters & Villains: Vintage Edition

 

 

 

GREY KEEPER FRAME

1 Comment

  1. Fuckin’ A…..”Allow me to take up a moment of time,
    To pluck out your eyeballs and wrench free your spine,
    I’ll take the best care of them once they are mine,
    Forgive me this one indiscretion.” KeeKeeperThis always has truly and deeply resonated. However the more often I read it the mow intensely it BECOMES……Damn. This truly is a work of brilliant ducking art.

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