I'm off the weed three days and my concentration is........ 1 Olympic athletes make me feel inferior at nine at night. They're too shaved and I listen to their heartbeat through the television as they tick and ring. The Olympic clock tocking. I went to a gymnasium once when I was a teenager and I felt the communal sweating disheartening. Helen helped herself to a dumbbell, lifted it sideways and I watched it chaff in her areas. My aim in life is not to lift weights but to assassinate people I've barely heard of. Coming off weed is like the art of phillumenism. It begins excitedly but quickly diminishes mood when boredom drags its ugly carcass across your flesh like an insect jester. Who here believes in The Omnidirectional Treadmill? I need something virtual to kill off the negativity. I need Fats Waller first thing in the morning to make the morning real. How do I know the earth is not a treadmill? I'm afraid of being so bored that I simply vanish and what if the Earth decides not to find me? Helen tells me she doesn't exist, that she is just a word on a page, ink and nothing more. I explain that my love of coffee can sustain us through the fictional holocausts cold turkeys bring. My bruised pen is a genius at giving up. Sometimes my writing is so bad it's inspirational. Not everyone can write words in such an order that it makes you want to slice off your genitals. With each sentence I am attempting to transform the reader into a piece of cauliflower. Three days off the weed. Broccolli Prose. Goldylocks Pornography. Helen is afraid because if I don't write something about her then she really believes she will dissolve out of existence. She lights a cigar in the gymnasium changing rooms and sighs and scratches her shin and says: "Kealan what will happen to me when you close this notepad?" I don't know what to say to her. All I can do is keep mentioning her. I even write: 'Helen won the lottery.' But even this fails to console her. I tell her that with her new found fortune she can afford to buy a million refill pads and write her own self and therefore sustain her being. But she cries at the side of the gymnasium's complimentary swimming pool. She moans: "Why do I feel so fictional? Where are all my points of reference? All I have is your ink and your word. I don't like being owned." I pause for a moment then say: "Helen, to you I am the one that's fictional. Every time I close the notepad I am turning off your world but every time you appear on this page an entire universe is created in which you are somewhere. 2 Three days and I feel like a sizzling slug in a cheap sandbucket. Each full stop brings with it a sigh of monumental proportions. I just want to be a person, an actual person with goals and beliefs and recommendations for strangers in search of a decent city salad. I want a girlfriend who hates herself so I can hold her at three in the morning and mutter things like "Death is an option." Where are all the cults? I'll tell you, They've all dissolved into the amateur athletics society. Jim Jones is throwing hammers for money. Three days: Bird in a Blender. From here the virtual reality machine co - ordinates a surprise offensive against my central nervous system. Where's my Promazine? Helen looks at me from the page. Her very name is suicidal. "I want to be the one who decides when, where and how I die. I will not be dictated by the act of turning a page." I inform her that every sentence is a death, every word the massacre of some innocently blank surface. "You don't know how useless you are," she says with slight indignance, "If I was real I'd have a job." I snarl a capture of silence. I tell her: My body is for sleeping, my mind for bleeding. Sometimes I think till my mind is bloody. And besides, my mental illness makes an unused slipper of my soul. "Athletes," she says, "Think about it." 3 Seventy two and something hours of breaking, slowing, closing, folding, bearing, cracking, seeping, locking, tucking, rapping, tapping, napping, dreading, shaving, creeping, sleeping, wearing, fairing, tearing, staring, glimpsing, tipping, dipping, stepping, wrestling, listening, biting, looking, scratching, tacking, stacking, wrangling, dangling.............. 4 Helen beats the weights like they sexually assaulted her beloved kitten. She is very determined for a word. It is utterly devastating because all I can do to keep the scene away is switch the nodule on the virtual reality mechanism from mild to interplanetary. And this omnidirectional treadmill is acting like a spoiled elevator. Helen, tell me again. "Athletics, yeah, athletics is the purest form of self hatred. An act of personal torture that is rewarding. Muscles are proof. See them gleam on strangers who are completely comfortable in public with their shirts off. I can't because a Hairy back. b Nipples that are undecided in the purgatorial state of in and out. c My medication has made me chubby, almost fat, and if I wobble on the high street I'll never forgive myself. Helen giggles because words don't have nipples. Sometimes I envy fictional characters. What? No not you Helen, you are realer than me. You surpass ink, since when are you alone? Okay. Helen meets a man with a kind heart and soppy eyes. Better? I can't say for certain but I think the word 'Helen' is experiencing first love. Warm. Petting. The copulation of the contemporary concept. Three days. Why days? Why not stars? My sense is not making any. Breakdown maybe. Can this continue? Helen you are my rant. Get your hands off me. Right. That's it. Helen is devastated when her lover cheats on her. All the characteristics of bad advise. If you are still reading this then I would strongly suggest you seek medical attention. My eyes are cut raw just looking at it. Discus. 100 Metre. Virtual approximation of 1920's jazz artists. Jelly Roll Morton and advanced gymnastic spectacularaties. Helen, leave. Just leave and never look back. This is a new notepad, you have your whole life ahead of you. Ant wink. 5 Taunting paunches haunted. What's that there? A device to make your neck hard, your arms and legs sturdy. A jogging surface. Sometimes athletes become so fit they literally mock the turning of the earth. (1,670 kph). They get so buff their muscles are a testament to everything that is meaningless. Fit. Buff. And? For what? I only exercise in the runup to a bank robbery. I run with my fingers, hop with words. "Hand over the money or I swear I'll do absolutely nothing." The threat of inaction amuses Helen. 6 Helen, you'll get over him. Keep up your chin. Please just pass me the transactorial sequencial modulator of the virtual reality mechanism's progressive control panel. Inside the viewer I can be an athlete, a magician, I can even be Helen if I want. The virtual reality machine is to me what the sentence is to Helen. Something to hide in. Hurdle. The Long Jump Novella. Still reading? You must really hate yourself. 7 An end without closure. Loop maybe. Triathlon. Helen sobs because she knows once I stop writing she will become extinct. "Don't worry," I tell her, "I'll write you a day every morning. My promise. You may not have an interesting life but you will live nonetheless. Forget about swimming. Forget about your initial romance. Just keep breathing and I'll compose oxygen for your almost true lungs." Remember: One day we will burn down the gyms of the Earth and then trade places. You breathing, me dripping from the flask of the page.