You could say I have a split personality, but that is not it. I have been a ditherer for some time, in two minds, even a dual personality you could say. That is not true. It is as though I am frightened of making a mistake, again. I have done that a lot. I hate it. I wasn’t always like this. I was confident once. I could stand up in front of a crowd and make a little speech, throw in a few jokes, get everyone laughing. I could see that others admired my confidence. That is gone now. I am someone else. I am my identical twin. That confident one has gone, left town, skedaddled and just left Mr. Bumble behind...me.
No, I never had a twin brother; there’s just me. But where have I really gone? I was critically wounded on the battlefield. No, don’t get all patriotic. I didn’t do my time; didn’t do service; didn’t fight baddies; didn’t save the world. All I did was to be in the wrong place at the right time. Or is that the right place at the wrong time. Yes, I think that it is it. I meant to be in Hindley Street. OK so it was 4.00 in the morning. No, I hadn’t been to a nightclub or drinking at one of those 24 hour bars that fill you up until you can’t walk then turn you out because it’s against the law to serve liquor to a drunk in this State.
But I needed to be there to do my job. Yes, do my job. I’m a writer and I needed some material so I wanted to get a feel of the atmosphere of the sleazy world. I must have been mad. I’m I writer couldn’t I cheat a bit, lie, make it up? People will believe anything. If you write it down and they can read it, it must be true, mustn’t it?
So I walked by myself drinking it all in, everything except the booze that is; making mental notes. I wrote it all down in my mind, the crowds, the drunks spreading out across the street, walking through the traffic of curb crawling cars, of young girls in skimpy dresses made up to look like tarts, with the working ladies looking as ugly as sin and as hard as nails trying to drum up some custom. And then there were the pushers and pimps and the minders and the cops. It was like one great whirlpool of filth, of shouting and screaming and laughing and music and even some tears too as a girl who looked about 15 vomited in the gutter.
And then it happened...a volley of shots. The scene changed from the carousel of movement that seemed to have some order, and there was panic and people ran every which way. Away from what ever happened, wherever it was. And what of me you ask? I fell to the ground and kept still. My last real sane thought was that if I act dead they won’t shoot me twice. They hadn’t even shot me once but they didn’t know that did they? Whoever they were or wherever they were. When it was quiet again, I slid away down a side street and made my way back home. I was scared, I had wet my pants.
The next day I could hardly string two words together. It’s as though I have a split personality. Oh yes, that is where I started wasn’t it?