A room. Moderate width and height. Winter chill, morning light. Crumbling walls. Adorned by flock wallpaper, smoke darkened. Seaside postcards. Saucy and pictorial. Yellowing and curled at the edges. Cellotaped to dirty rain streaked windowpane. Behind the net curtain. Television set on bare floorboards. Lead yanked out. Before it urine rotted armchair. Empty aluminium cans surround it. Corpse slumped in armchair. Attired in knitted cardigan, cream slacks, tartan slippers. Palm crucifix cradled in skeletal hands. Head black and pulpy. The television set stirs. Snowy picture, lurid colour. On the screen. Montage. Of footage. Plane crash aftermath. Torn bodies of stewardesses floating to the surface of an icy lake. Autopsy stills. Cadaver on a cold slab. Reference number in lipstick on inner thigh. Cock and balls shrivelled and forlorn. Intestines on display, glistening. As always. Clear plastic bags containing heroin on an hairless chest.
Cut to loop.
Static camera angle. Woman naked except for a red bra. Hanging from a wooden beam in a basement. Circled. With studied deliberation. Swarthy pock marked man in Nazi uniform. Armpit. Perspex tube. Fingertips. A rodent, dangling and writhing. Woman screams, mouth contorting silently. Television set fizzes, sparks and expires.
A thousand silver screens, multitude of blank eyes. Absorbing and capitulating in equilibrium. Relax. It is not yet time. A disembodied voice booms, stentorian tones.
"Put on your party hats, whip out the pretzels, bring in the ale, light up a lung bleeder and slouch in an easy chair and enjoy the money shots honeys, the rawest meat for the balconies, we got faces of death we got traces of death in the all new Wave Of Mutilation. Fifty seven sparkling varieties to savour! The finest celluloid atrocities culled from our dusty vaults for your humble delectation. Cold brutal footage of suffering and savage murder, hits home like an hot lead enema.
Children perishing in napalm flames, ten storey suicides, automobile apocalypses, drive by shootings, death on the terraces, men, women, children, suck them fuck them chuck them...vintage newsreel footage of the very best in civil rights violations, sliced and diced. And that's just to shitkick the first in the series!"
Flayed cadavers on meat hooks in a sweaty warehouse gathering flies. Inspected by curious Japanese tourists. White explosion of flash bulbs.
Voice deeply earnest, no perceivable trace of irony.
"Guaranteed to twitch the death nerve of even the most catatonic of viewers, enjoy, Legion of the Damned, enjoy!"
After a decade of failed appeals, stays of execution and desperate attempts at plea bargaining, Ted faced his final showdown with Ol' Sparky. Cracker guards wearing commemorative T-shirts spat on him as he was led from his cell, down a grey anonymous corridor, to the electric chair. Outside the walls of the jailhouse teenage stoners danced around crude wax effigies of the Great Man, their spastic gyrations accompanied by the three chord salute of a middle aged heavy rock band, whilst distinctly matriarchal figures held aloft banners proclaiming 'Fry Ted Fry' and shouting the Christian names of his victims. Ted knew the Florida fling would be his last, and despite his wild dog antics he felt oddly glad about it, why else fuck about in the death belt? He had no inclination to run anymore. Earlier, he had submitted meekly to The Preparation, grinning humourlessly as the prison barber shaved his head. A special lubricant was rubbed on his body for better conduction. Cotton stuffed up his rectum to prevent involuntary defecation. He strolled into the execution room, flanked on either side by a gorilla, and was greeted with an outbreak of rapturous applause. Ted blushed and bowed gracefully to the gallery. The audience, lined up on a makeshift wooden bench facing Ol' Sparky, was comprised of news reporters, B-grade celebrities and an handful of grieving relatives. Ted solemnly nodded at his tearful attorney. The guards roughly strapped him into the chair. Leather gripping mottled skin. Head held in a special helmet. Strap under his jaw taut. Effectively muzzled.
Tissue paper thrust up quivering nostrils to clog the cardinal red that streams from ruptured blood vessels. Someone on the bench, an obscure soap actress high on methadone after a cunt nip and tuck it was later gleaned, shouted, "Save me a seat in hell, sucker!"
Ol' Sparky blazed with temporal life, Ted shivering and shaking as if in the throes of an epileptic seizure, 2,000 volts surging through his skinny frame, blue haze of steam and smoke floating in the air, internal organs nicely roasted. Laughs and gasps as Ted pissed in his panties. The charred stiff fell slack in the chair.
"Show's over folks."
The audience rose as one and applauded. No Albert Fish fuck up. Blow up of a photograph of Theodore on a mortuary trolley, blanket pulled up to his chin, flicker of a smile dancing on thin pink lips.
Bad Jack, countenance advertising belligerent sneer, stares hard at the reflection in the mirror whilst he applies his make-up. Daubs pouting lips gaudy shade of red. Encases squinting pig eyes in black sockets. Smothers rubicund ugly features under a blanket of white. Pauses to smoke a cigarette, idly glances through hard-core homo mag. Wheezing, he climbs into a baggy, black and white striped costume designed to utilise the comic possibilities of his obese figure, chubby hands clad in polka dot gloves, laughs as he looks down at his ridiculously outsize shoes. Bad Jack has gone, Pogo the Clown holds transient sway. Knock on the door.
The clown's mouth dissolves into a grotesque Cheshire Cat grin. Leaves the minimalist dressing room to greet his ritual execution, the final performance of a career sprinkled with stardust, clutching the strings of yellow balloons. Visions of young boys, naked, head and hands locked in wooden pillories, floors covered with semen stained pornographic rags, choking odour exuded by chloroform soaked cloths, dizzying escalation of chaos, crack of a leather whip, bloodied metal dildo, flailed buttocks, mutilated flesh. Decomposing bodies floating in fetid water, emetic stench of methane gas. Genty with a shovelful of adipocere. "You can charge fat ass murder one." The Sheriff spits out a mouthful of chewing tobacco and wrinkles his face in disgust.
Bad Jack possesses Pogo briefly, pops the balloons with a dog-end. Pogo is distraught. What will he now give the children watching him die? Breaks into tears, self pity running down his cheeks. The film jumps abruptly to the bloated form of Pogo stranded on a macadam road, intercut with images of a decaying beached whale. Tethered to each of the clown's limbs is a black stallion. The celebrity starter, pistol in hand, is Ms. Janet Wright, a squat dishwater blonde, who was the nation's cherished rose when her speedy and decisive intervention prevented the Saint Osvald's kindergarten massacre. A paranoid schizophrenic sauntered into the school grounds and attempted to slaughter a group of children playing in a sandpit. Ms. Wright suffered terrible head and arm injuries bravely wrestling the samurai sword into the sand. Now fully rehabilitated, equipped with skull plate and glass eye, she courted ephemeral fame in the tabloids and is slowly receding to her former obscurity. Cue from the sidelines. She fires, the horses charge wildly, tearing the clown apart. Disabled children are manoeuvred into position around the clown's lifeless body by a camp production assistant and his butch companion.
"Taut, keep those callipers taut!"
The little pros respond wearily, straight backs and raised golden scimitars. They slice open the belly of the clown and gnaw on scooped out innards hungrily. Fadeout shot of Ms. Wright pushing a cerebral palsy ravaged adolescent towards a rainbow glittered lush green horizon, pastoral music in the background.
Mind at the end of its tether. Where the hell did that come from? His head hurt. Franks rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. He felt queasy from too much vodka and cigarettes. Stomach lurching as he contemplated the full ashtray on the stained coffee table before him, he hauled his thin body off the badly upholstered couch and walked into the comforting darkness of the bedroom. It was midnight. The wolf hour. He collapsed on the mattress.
Face downwards in the pillow, the tension in his shoulders lessened a little. Then the routine started, the pain behind his temples excruciating. Yeah, he waltzed on some crucifixes. In another life.
I want to be numb, he thought, struggling for objectivity whilst the insect voices began to intensify. The white noise and migraines are preferable, he considered inwardly, To this stuff. The routine was becoming tangible, the characters stretching and yawning, assimilating themselves with their dialogue. He knew the spiel and it bored and disgusted him; a psychic sketch, vulgar and witless, the excreta of a palsied consciousness. Better let it sleep?
"Fucked up the ass, Henry. Why? How? Did ya do it?"
When his wife had left him for a younger man, though not by much, he had assuaged his rage and sought to nullify his emasculated aspect by stockpiling an impressive collection of transgressive material which he had immersed himself in. This had engendered a world view and meaning system which he had blithely adopted and had little correlation to the events and relationships littering his existence. Now he was suffering the consequent fall and depression of his wilful and expensive indoctrination.
"We know how. We got the swabs and dabs, but we ain't got details. Did you fuck, strangle, strangle, fuck. Hot ass, cold. Hot, cold ass."
Some people went into counselling. Some people went on the nod. Some people did what he did. Drink half a bottle and go through a pack of twenty every other night. The clean and sober days pile up on pills and early to bed. He had observed of personally and heard of these traits in other people. People did not differ. Much. There are only so many roads we are allowed to plod down, no matter how you wish to divest your illusory energies. He was unexceptional, incapable of the mildest profundity. Indeed, his sole distinction was his easily discernible and resolute mediocrity. He recognised this and derived solace from it, but it was not enough, he desired the total extinguishing of his moral and intellectual flames no matter how feebly they flickered. The void, the abyss, whatever. Sweet God, that fucking penchant for the melodramatic again, a more worthy receipt for the breath of a flame-thrower he was unable to conjure.
He was alone, in a room cryptically lit by the crescent moon, performing mental sand juggling tricks for what? That audience everyone plays to, unseen and indifferent, whether they are reading a red top tabloid on the toilet or letting tears cascade at a deathbed valediction.
The routine had stalled. Usually, he would remain still and let it unreel, pseudo-biblical retribution for his peccadilloes, him so upright and dull he couldn't choke on his popcorn watching a small child get eviscerated in Man Behind The Sun. Enough. The tightness in his chest.
All he did. Buy mondo videos off the fat fuck in the flat opposite till he got goosed and upped and offed on an humid August night. Knock on the door, furtive, as always, no response.
Franks was able to taste the freedom.
I bought Faces of Death, I, II, III, IV
I bought Traces of Death II
I bought Forced Entry
And the biggest thrill of all, Kilroy Was Here
The alcohol had loosened him.
I bought Savage Man, Savage Beast
I bought Africa Addio
I bought Africa Ultimo Uomo
Franks sleeps. Not OK. Fifty six and fucked. Three hundred titles badly typed on three side of A4 paper. £7.50 each. Wakes up dehydrated.
Obviously, I was part of a crowd. £7.50, a trip to the off licence, booze and fags and salt and vinegar-
Franks rolled over and vomited on the gold picture frame on his bedside table.
The frame contained a black and white photograph of his mother, who was long dead, and the sight of her long gaunt features spattered with half digested steak pudding he found curiously invigorating. Serve the cunt right for slopping me out, Franks thought. Serves all the cunts right, Franks thought, Let 'em all be fucked and chucked. The words he had for his wife, not ex, no he wouldn't give her that, Cunt, Slapper, Whore.
He'd hurled these misogynist touchstones at her, the choicest insults his limited vocabulary would divulge, but the conceit was obvious, rather than a caustic farewell with emphasis on closure his blanched delivery suggested a lovelorn lament. The anger just wasn't there, not in her presence, alone, yes, loosed by loneliness and cheap alcohol, merely to fill his inner emptiness he half suspected. You Chubby Whore (Don't Go!). Come Swallowing Bargain Bin Twat (I Love You!). Fuck Off Slapper (No! No! No!).
All obligatory and defeated. Then he'd fell on the couch and sobbed so hard his body had convulsed. And she was coming round in the morning, initially pleading in hushed tones for a divorce, then dissolving into a withering tirade highlighting his varied and numerous inadequacies, particularly his sterility and impotence, door slammed, after a final wounding reference to his lack of sexual ability. Oh, the old ones are always the best. Thank Christ they were childless.
Stub it out and leave it in the ashtray-
Fuck her. If only he had. Anyone out there? That Samaritans pitch.
DEPRESSED? LONELY? SUICIDAL?
Pinned up next to the taxi rank ads in the phonebox outside the off licence. Yes, all three. Do I qualify for a discount? A little part of my soul perhaps.
Franks stumbled into the bathroom and pissed in the sink. He drank under the hot water tap and tasted his urine on the tepid flow. He had a cutting from a magazine of short horror stories attached with Blu-Tack to the cracked shaving mirror hung over the sink. It was badly written but it touched something within Franks, whose reading matter was immutably pulped.
The images had done little to satiate the viewer's morbid lust for pain and death, and he realised his obsession was slowly destroying him. Final solution time. He had to end the torment. Rid himself of his appetite for the vicarious enjoyment of human suffering before he was beyond redemption.
Franks peered blearily at his dilapidated reflection and thought, Let it all come down.
Franks kneaded the cylinders of spongy tissue, his hand struggling to get a grip on the tiny limp cock. The alcohol had afforded him a sense of disembodiment, and he watched the organ respond sluggishly with vacant regard. On the television screen.
A young boy is tied to a wooden post by the commander of a group of soldiers, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, the child's viridity soiled with terror. The soldiers are resting against a row of empty rusting oil drums, waving their machetes for the benefit of the shaky hand-held camera. The commander takes his revolver from its holster and shoots the boy through the heart at point-blank range.
Franks felt reunited with the subjective consciousness, experiencing a delightful frisson as he cognitively deep throated the images of extreme violence. Boy jerks like his strings have been tweaked, ransacked thorax and splintered ribs. Masturbating his now fully erect penis with three fingers of his right hand, he reaches for the VCR remote control with his left. He rewound the tape to the point where the boy has a black denim bag, presumably a butchered pair of jeans, placed over his head. Short sequence, the boy's face in close-up thanks to the clumsy use of zooms lens, his features motionless, his fear gleaming on grazed cheeks, eyes stark and staring, as if attempting to strike up a subliminal connection with the soldiers hamming it up. Then the hood depersonalises him. This excites Franks, the fetishistic association with the rituals of sexual molestation and assault captured on the VHS format, motives commerce and titillation, commonly known as hard-core pornography. Kilroy. O.K?
He ejaculated synchronically with the young boy sliding down the pole, thrashing wildly as the ropes tethering his extinct body prevent it from assuming the foetal position in death. The commander grins broadly, semen dripping on his combat fatigues.
Fifty six and fucked. The water was run, hot and deep, garnished with a squirt of Fairy Liquid. Set to record, the video camera was focused on the bathtub at an oblique angle to provide a clear overhead shot. Nauseous from the barbiturates washed down with neat vodka thirty five minutes earlier, Franks was worried that his emetic sacrament would spill onto the chocolate linoleum before it had worked its narcoleptic magic. He held the sink, both hands, and swallowed the bile rising in his gullet. To the bathtub. Lowered himself into the suds. The scalding water briefly roused him. His scrawny body was doughy and virtually hairless, courtesy of the gentle caress of a disposable razor and shaving cream, flesh sagging on the bone like the meat of a well cooked chicken slipping off the carcass. His cock, which had always failed him, those years of virginal torment excepted, twenty one he was, it made a change from the sponge and cardboard from a used toilet roll, or the radiator and liberally buttered bread rolls, yes the recalcitrant prick of a dick had seemingly inverted itself , in an ironic volte-face it was probably fucking his colon.
HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
John Holmes, some melanous beach bunny mouth agape under his leaden hose, glassily awaiting the globular emission, like the guy had severed an artery of the stuff. That monster wang, strictly widescreen, surely the rush of blood should hasten a blackout, the balls, those balls, you could nestle a black safely away from a constellation of the reds on the green baize of the Labour Club behind those, pint of mixed for £1.40.
HURRY UP PLEASE
The wearily circling tongue, drearily methodical and as automatously conscientious as a clockwork toy, thinking of coke debts, wallpaper paste mixing with gaudy cosmetics.
Franks: I cannot see the sky.
That fat chick who bit the young bouffanted stud's dick in Loose Ends, she hit home in a way the scalpel carved gym farmed flawless livestock didn't. In basque and fishnets. On top. Grinding joylessly. Tumble of guts. Liver dragged across parched lips. Spirit me off, to someplace kind and sunny, you corpulent death dolly. It's all between the legs.
Franks: I can see the sky.
Looking hard into the camera, thinking of labia sewn together with needle and thread, molten prosthetics, bloodied snatches, Franks slurs, "Multiple copies."
He hopes his instinctive positioning of the camera is correct, Don't topple, Don't be on pause, Don't fuck up.
Franks' jaw lolls on his chest, snug in the wisps of grey hair which had escaped the razor's attention. Lenska vodka, £4.50 a bottle. Prescription pills, illegally acquired.
All for £7.50. All for £7.50.
SEE! A cat killing monkey spanker shove a broomstick, a condom acting as a piss poor facsimile of the tumescent glans, up the arsehole of a putrefying corpse.
SEE! An elderly Jewish actor, fiddled on a few roofs, in white doctor's garb and bad Teutonic accent, pelt the bored buttocks of a dumpy blonde with a cat o' nine tails, then cut to bodies bulldozed into a limestone pit.
SEE! cunts cunts cunts fucked fucked fucked
1.43 am. Franks carves wife's initials on his chest, blood colours the dishwater, the razor thrown in the direction of the camera..
1.47 am. Points stretched anus at camera and farts.
2.01 am Retches and begins to slip into the water.
2.05 am Vomits profusely.
2.10 am Now totally unconscious, head submerged, water seeping into his lungs, Franks' body is gripped by spasms, then, finally ceases. Goosebumps soon.
2.20 am The videotape runs out and automatically rewinds.
Craneshot of amputated stumps