‘…When I am on a pedestal
You did not raise me there
Your laws do not compel me
To kneel grotesque and bare…’
Leonard Cohen from the song ‘Avalanche’
“Taken aback by the exclusive wilderness that eclipsed my ‘Paradise Wasted’ I footslogged best I could, ever onward knowing this neck of the woods was not for me, not one little bit. For here I found myself upon a foundation of outcast fragments, sun-bleached dog’s mess, unstable drabbest grey paving, occasionally a hint of aesthetically tolerable cobble stones, all within a sturdy barricade of mind-numbingly conventional real estate, a place where hosts of small children toted sharp blades, plucked the wings off butterflies and chewed tobacco. All I possessed was what I left fool’s paradise with at the time of my prescribed banishment, namely nothing at all.
Almost crazed, still marvelling at the ungraciousness of Earth’s mortal souls, finally I reached the edge of loathsome synthetic nature, leaving the wicked bystander who named me ‘nought but a sinner and a brazen hussy’, and the silent curious in my wake. Before me, an extensive thorny briar dotted with sporadic silver birch, yet on the far horizon was a fickle, leadened ocean. Hungry, thirsty, sweating like a pig under midsummers black sheep woolly thunder cloud’s clamminess, the soles of my feet, red raw and bleeding, the prospect of, at the very least, soaking in salted water was overpowering. From above and ahead I heard the reassuring caw of the tireless black-backed gull before I saw him. Looking skyward there he was, ever-watchful, gliding this way and that. Most definitely a ‘him’, his arrogant, prowling perceivable swagger in flight gave him away.
In the fullness of time I made it to the furrow where briar gave way to a far-reaching sandy beach. The unbearably sticky, steamy conditions still prevailed. Noting that the tide was coming in and despite my dire thirst and hunger I first took to water’s edge to cool off. Eyes shut tight, arms a-stretch as if…yet not in reality as I cannot swim a single stroke…floating on my back upon rippling waters it momentarily felt my exodus was complete, such was the meditative effect of calming tidal oscillations gently and intentionally, I believe, always trying to lay me down upon the smooth dry sand the tide had neglected. Ultimately, I let the waves have their way and concluded my emptiness would abate if I ate. It was then I chose to forage for whatever edible nourishment I might find. I was not without success. Leaving well alone the harmless ‘beach mates’ I chanced upon, namely the two brown crabs, a lonely lobster and even an off-track sea urchin, I feasted on a salad of sea aster, arrowgrass and sea rocket, although had it been the case I had the necessary paraphernalia to cook with, mussels from a rock pool on a bed of wild delectable samphire would have had great appeal. Whilst not eliminating my thirst, my shoreline dish kept it at bay for the time being.
Even so, my requirement for drinking water was becoming urgent and all-consuming. I needed a plan. It was all well and good making pretty patterns in the sand with my toes, yet such artistic endeavour can only take one’s mind off a pressing issue for so long. However, it was as I was mulling things over I saw, much to my delight, a cormorant pop up from the sea, then skim the surface until she reached a shore boulder whereupon she statuesquely settled in order to hold out her beautiful porous black wings to dry. Then all of a sudden a sound I had never heard before. An ear-blistering, loudest crack, bang, blast, whatever, and in an instance the cormorant fell from her stony perch, dead to the world. Confused, yet not so confused that I had lost my bearings I turned about face and there in the near distance a heavily built man carrying what I now understand to be a rifle, swaggering proudly toward me. Putting two and two together I had little doubt that it was he who had by some means killed the harmless bird. Ever closer he came until we stood face to face. It was he who spoke first. ‘Those fucking birds eat all the bloody fish, at least that’s another one who won’t be stealing from the sea again’ adding, ‘Look at the state of you, luv. Are you asking to get done for indecent behaviour?’ Although minded to engage him in confrontational conversation, I refrained, instead I slayed him.
He had stood before me as if he was the emissary of the one who had abandoned me, yet the God of groomed invention, of whom I never once claimed to know first-hand, would under no circumstances have sanctioned the killing of a living thing for no good reason. The cormorant was merely feeding on gifts from the ocean, as indeed I had myself a little earlier. The one who killed the bird had evil intent. He had surrendered his right to live.”
At this juncture it seems the examining officer conducting the interview pressed for specifics as Eve added, “I simply threw into his eyes the two cupped hands full of sand I had gathered causing his temporary blindness. He dropped his rifle in order that he could use both hands to rub the sand away, all the time calling me, ‘A fucking bitch’, whereupon I grasped the weapon, using its wooded handle to beat him about his skull until he dropped to the floor. As he lay unconscious before me I thrust the tip of the barrel of the thing called a rifle through an eye socket into his brain and held it fast until I was sure he was no-more. Nature’s balance had been restored. It was as I reflected on a job well done I noticed his shoulder bag. Within the bag, a bottle of fresh water. Plainly that was Mother Nature’s reward.”