Suggested Audio Candy:
Charlie Clouser Saw”
What the fuck? Where the hell am I? What happened to me? This has to be some sort of twisted nightmare. Last I remember I was sitting in my lounge watching shit telly so how did I end up here? It hurts, it hurts so fucking bad. I can’t see what I’ve done to myself as I’m strapped in tight. Whatever it is, it smarts like all hell. I feel like I may pass out any second but, considering I have only just come around, I suspect I’m going to have to bite the bullet for the time being at least. What kind of sick depraved individual would do such a thing? I pay my taxes, haven’t kicked any old ladies’ Zimmer frames away or burst any kids’ balloons. I don’t deserve this. There must be some kind of clerical error, this has to be a mistake!
My cries may as well be careless whispers for all the good it is doing. I don’t recognize this place, God it looks like some sort of industrial torture chamber. Judging by the agony rushing through both ankles right now I would presume that the party started without me. My toes barely reach the cold floor and I am suspended by overhanging shackles which have been fixed way too tight to be considered comfortable. My whole body has been pulled taut and I can feel every ligament straining; it feels as though my bones could imminently vacate their joints and there doesn’t seem to be a damned thing I can do to reverse my fortunes.
Who would do such a thing? We all have our dark side but this takes the piss, what kind of unhinged reprobate would delight so freely in another man’s suffering and what is this meant to achieve? To scare the bowel right out of me? I’m clenching but just a moment’s slackness and I’ll be wearing shit brown brogues. To make some sort of point? I take instruction fairly well, no need to resort to this kind of debauchery to get me jumping through your hoops. Try me, I have within me the capability for change. Cut me loose dammit! This is way beyond funny now; whatever it is you set out to achieve, I’d say you’ve hit pay dirt. If you let me down I shall walk away and never utter a word of this to another soul. You have my word.
“What do you want from me?”
Sounds clichéd I know but it is kind of the topic of discussion right now and these harsh restraints are beginning to cut through my wrists. It’s all pointless anyhow, I’m never getting out of this Godawful place. Judging by the rancid stench hanging in the air I would imagine other lives have been snuffed out within these walls, perhaps recently. The whole place is coated in filth and grime, dried cruor by the looks of it and ignored pleas for freedom which were never likely to be heeded. Ignorance was bliss actually, I rather preferred the ambiguity side of things before my eyes readjusted to the coarse lighting. Each subsequent surveillance of my surroundings heaps on more disparagement, the situation is way beyond desperate.
I think that’s a security camera I spot in the corner, above a nearby monitor. It’s hard to see from here, I’ve lost a lot of blood and my vision is somewhat blurred. Somebody, somewhere nearby, is watching me. I’ll give those ignorant fucks something to feast their eyes upon. When I get free from my bindings, and I will, I’m going to tear their sorry heads from their necks and fuck their eye sockets hard and dry. How dare they, this is more than just some basic denial of human rights. This is inhumane, anyone this cruel deserves to pay grand sum for the privilege. Playing God as though they hold the scroll, there is no God I know who would allow such despicable behavior.
“Reveal yourself to me”
The monitor screen has just flickered into life. I’m struggling to discern from this vantage but it looks like a ventriloquist’s doll of sorts, hair as black as the plague and running into a similarly inked suit. Its eyes are as red as rubies but far less lustrous. There exists no emotion, no empathy, not a flicker of remorse. Holy Jehovah, doesn’t this television have a tracking setting? In the days of HD and Dolby Digital one would assume there would be a better method of communication than a 18″ monitor which looks like it has been birthed from a horse’s vagina. Ironically I have a packet of screen wipes in my back pocket although I’m not about to reach for them. I need to keep a vigilant eye over this demonic doll, something tells me it holds the key to my freedom.
“Hello Richard. Would you like to play a game?”
Yes if it’s Angry Birds and no if it involves me having my spleen removed and used as a loafer.
“You have everyone’s best interests at heart. One of life’s positive little souls, looking to put a smile on everyone’s faces. I like the way you express yourself, it is most insightful and entertaining. However, for as much as you preach to others, you are shameful when it comes to practice. For months now you have lived a wasteful existence, ignored your body’s many warnings and simply pressed self-destruct every time things aren’t going your way. You have people around you that care and yet you shut them out just to wallow in your own miserable self-pity. It sickens me.”
Okay, this guy isn’t pulling any punches. Looks like he’s had his beady eye on me from afar all this time and I have to say he’s got me bang to rights here. I suffer from clinical depression for fuck’s sake, it’s alright for him to sit there on his tricycle and share his observations but I’m the one whose mental health is slipping. So high and mighty, I just wish he’d wheel his rusty little bucket in here so I can throw a spanner in his spokes.
“You shall receive your wish in a moment or two but not before I explain the rules of our game. It’s simple really, should be a doddle for a man of your resourcefulness. Your ties are about to be cut and all you need to do to ensure your safe passage is to make it to the far side door. It’s as simple as that, no more than fifty yards and you will have your sorry life back.”
If the mood lifts in the room then it does so merely temporarily.
“Now for the twist. You see, your metatarsals have been severed. You will be required to look certain defeat in the face and blow it a kiss. Make it across my assault course without screaming for mommy or crying into your pillowcase and the game will be over. Fail to do so and the ramifications will be most disparaging. It just didn’t seem like enough of a challenge so you shall make the journey wearing the helmet on the gurney beside you. Failure to wear this contraption will forfeit the round and the room will fill with a deadly toxin which you will find leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste.”
Helmet it is then. Doesn’t look so bad, admittedly it does appear almost medieval and appears to be rather cumbersome but I’m guessing whoever concocted this nightmarish death trap isn’t about to fart through a floor vent.
“Allow me to explain a little about the headgear you shall be sporting”
Not entirely sure I wish to hear this.
“It is filled with a lethal concoction of chemicals. Inside is potassium permanganate and glycerol in two individual receptacles. Once combustion occurs, there is ample there to burn through your skull in a second. Should the timer reach zero then this will be your fate. It is your choice, fight through the pain to live or die where you fall. How much do you cherish that pitiful existence of yours? Live or die Richard, it is your choice to make.”
With that, the doll disappears in a static haze and the monitor shuts down. At precisely the same moment a countdown timer appears to my left. It signals three minutes, that’s how long I have to make it to the far-side exit before the fireworks begin. True to his word, a buzzer sounds and my restraints slacken. Ordinarily this would be considered a positive but metatarsals are the unsung heroes of your ankles and, without them, I drop face first to the metal grate before me, knocking out two front teeth and breaking my nose in the process. It is pain unlike anything I have ever experienced before and my first thought is simply to crave relief. Not necessarily release in life, death will do, anything to put paid to this agonizing ordeal.
A glance at the timer reveals that thirty seconds have passed and I’m still no closer to reaching my waypoint. The helmet, that huge hunk of alloy. I’m not about to call his bluff so I roll myself to the gurney leg and send it toppling over. The iron mask lands just out of reach, forcing me to summon my energy and drag myself over. Not amused in the slightest. I recall the most painful moment of my life up until now and it has to be the time I unwittingly took to the see saw with a boy of twice my body mass. I must have been a full foot off the seat when he plonked his derriere on the other end and I recall returning to my seat with a thump, only to land with my left testicle firmly under my butt. Don’t ask me how it got there but it fucking did and, I tell you this, it’s a darned sight worse than a simple nut flick or even the old ball/zip combo. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. Anyhoots, this hurts more.
“I shall beat you”
I can’t see a thing through this visor. It’s too late now to bitch and moan as it has fastened in place and I can hear the fluids simmering either side of my cranium. Two minutes on the clock and I’m convinced that timers only grind to a crawl in the movies so that’s not much time at all. I shuffle forward into virtual darkness and make my way towards my destination, wincing with every slide. Suddenly I feel a twinge in my hand, then another, and another still. Syringes, I’m crawling across a shit-load of unwashed hypodermic needles. I’ve done a lot of narcotics in my time but swore never to inject although the choice seems to have been taken out of my hands. I’ve watched Trainspotting, fuck climbing down a Glaswegian toilet which hasn’t seen a Toilet Duck for months. For all I know, there’s a baby shuffling along the ceiling menacingly as we speak, not that I’d know from being trapped inside John Merrick’s metal balaclava.
I brush them away and continue my crawl. One minute thirty. I don’t think I can make it much farther, I feel like I’m about to pass out and, if truth be known, that doesn’t seem like a bad conclusion at this juncture. Live or die, it’s your choice. That’s what he said, he thinks I’m weak, doesn’t believe I have the mettle to make it across this assault course of his. I have to prove him wrong. Next up is a coal hot-plate. How delightful, crispy paws, just what I was hoping for next. I can feel my pelt cinder with every movement and the only upside I can conceive is that it is taking my mind off the tattered tendons which hang on my heels like fleshy laces. Do I roll over and die? Fuck no, I’ve made it this far and don’t intend on dropping the hot potato now.
One minute. An electrified pool of water, this ain’t funny anymore. As if it isn’t enough of a disposition being slow-roasted on the spot like a thanksgiving hog, now I have to contend with enough jolts of juice to ensure I leave here looking like Yahoo Serious and look what it did to his career. Just a little further, the door is in sight. If I can just fight through the pain for a few seconds more I shall be granted the free-range pass I’ve been promised. I’ll leave retribution for another day, sometime when that shit-encrusted doll isn’t aware. I’ll wait until his guard is down and then I’ll raise his bicycle seat a couple of notches. See how he likes the old squashed bollock.
Thirty left in the can. I can almost reach the doorknob from here but didn’t bank on the rabid hounds being released from both sides. I can hear them slobbering as they advance although no there’s visual accompaniment due to the headgear. I guess I can be thankful for small mercies, by the sound of it a tin of Winalot Prime ain’t cutting the mustard here. They grab both arms and begin to jostle with the meat. Am I missing something here? Did I break a fucking mirror or something? I knew that indoor umbrella would never be patented and now it looks like I’m going to pay for my lack of superstition. It could be worse, I was five bucks short of picking up one of Lady GaGa’s meat jacket off-cuts and that would’ve been catastrophic.
Ten… Get down pooches. Go and hound a postman, this isn’t your gig. Nine… I think the scag has started to kick in from those filthy syringes and, I have to report, I’m not enjoying the buzz one iota. Eight… My hands are burnt to the bone. Looks like my piano days are numbered. Oh well! I was shit anyhoots. Seven… The voltage I’m not so fussed about. It appears that my penis is acting as some sort of makeshift conductor and resembles Richard Kiel’s forearm right now. Six… What am I supposed to do with these severed muscles? I know, I’ll get some hooves. Become part-minotaur and roam the land with a devilish glint in my eye molesting badgers.
Five… Maybe I should just give up. Feeling pretty tired if I’m honest. Four… I have admittedly spent a large proportion of the last calendar year wishing for an anvil to drop out of the sky and end my torment. Maybe I should take the easy way out offered. Three… Nobody would really miss me would they? I’m sure there’s plenty of others who could fill my shoes and I’ll never fit my hooves now in them anyways. Two… I’m going to just curl up and take what’s coming. Death will bring me release from this agony. One… No I shall not. What is it they say? Practice what you preach. I have a duty right now to every last soul who I have offered belief. They don’t deserve this, I want to pass away like Rose from Titanic, incompetent, utterly senile and smelling of lavender and piss. I’m out of this shit box.
That’s it, I’ve escaped. I’m free, I’m fucking free. Jigsaw, you can lick my ball bearings and call me Roger ‘cos I’m not coming back to this place. You gave it your best shot and ultimately came up short. Looks like it is I who shall laugh last and loudest. You call that a tricycle, I’ve got a BMX at home with musical mud flaps so who’s the douche now? You have no hold on me now you perishing piece of plastic. Right then, off to get some hooves fitted and find my new groove. Hold on, did he explain how to get this wretched helmet off? No pressure, any time in the next thirty seconds should do it.