2 July 2013

Rat Boy


A night stand with an empty cup and full ashtray – a book of placebo poetry – pretty words strung together for abstract effect. He garners images like the crumbs of toast itchily deposited on his mattress. He necks his medication after carefully chewing each pill with care.

(ONE to be taken at night. If sleepy do not drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcohol. Swallow this medicine whole. Do not chew or crush.)

He goes for the heavy stone – the obliterative rush. He reaches out for a taste of oblivion and oblivion reaches out to him. He has no fear of falling, gravity is his best friend. That heavy hand on his shoulder – that warm envelope of darkness, it’s the closest thing to the womb – outside of death.

He likes to write. He likes the exercise of assembling the words – negotiating meaning – no obfuscation – there can be no doubt, no room for mistakes. His is a struggle for meaning, it’s more than a mere obsession – it’s a life or death contest. The notebook on the night stand is full of scribbled impressions – most are undecipherable to all but him.

The bedroom window is open just enough to let the night seep in. He feels the hum of the city streets, hears the howls of monkey bands making their way home in the wee small hours. Just before he succumbs to sleep he thinks he hears a scratching sound somewhere in the room.

He dreams of a long corridor with locked doors on either side. He is running from something, or looking for someone. He dreams about a girl, someone strange yet familiar. She is his woman and he has to protect her from something unseen.

He dreams that the girl is pregnant. She gives birth to a rat. However he tries to care for the child he feels revulsion and he cannot help thinking that his is his replacement. It makes perfect sense; Rat Boy is the ultimate survivor. It’s only when the infant calls him ‘Dad’ that he wakes up with a jolt.

The sky is grey, the light is thin. It could be anytime, but his body tells him that it’s six am. He always awakens at six am. He tells himself that it’s a lifetime of routine, but it’s junk and he knows it. His body awakens him every morning screaming for junk. He is less well equipped for survival than Rat Boy, he shudders as he remembers the dream, Rat Boy has no such weakness as junk.



  1. Bethany Wiseblood2 July 2013 at 17:03

    Magnificent! I got a healthy does of the chills reading this! Fabulous

    1. Thank you Bethany - I was trying to recapture a dream - not an easy task.

    2. Bethany Wiseblood2 July 2013 at 21:22

      You nailed it! There is that fleeting moment that dreams are so vivid,then they fade to hazy memories,you certainly evoked the feeling for me so well

  2. I woke up this morning to a dream of someone climbing into my bedroom window to rob me - some blond chick in nicer clothes than mine. Yours tops it though, John. I especially love your description of the need to write and find some meaning in words. Well said! As for Rat The whole thing IS very 'Lynchian' as Lolita put it. Something surreal and disturbing that leaves one scratching their head afterward. Another most excellent and brilliant piece, John!

    1. We strive to impose meaning on the world Ray, but sometimes that's an improbable task. There is probably a sound Freudian analysis to my Rat Boy dream; fear of responsibility e.t.c., But I’ll leave the truth open to the readers interpretation as we each impose our own meaning in any case. Thank you for your kind comment.

  3. Praveen Parasar4 July 2013 at 15:40

    So provoking..a hazy image of inner conflicts, unknowns... you should extend this probably...

  4. Thank you Praveen - this does in fact come from a larger piece - with a few modifications. So glad you enjoyed.