The Ghost of Vodaphone Past

The final strictly. The cast dance through the audience. The audience have been encouraged to join in, but meat has just been served, they want meat. I look for meat, but find only a stringy, wool substitute. Dogs hide under tables, waiting for scraps. A friend has a long, burnt, flatbread. He chops off the burnt end to give to me.

He is the opposite of generous.

Others leave. Only the two of us are left. We are in a mental asylum, thought to be haunted. A ghost appears, drooling blood, and then another walks into it, it’s face superimposed. This ghost is not mad. He explains, with the use of a black and white film presentation, the decline in the importance of vodaphone business contracts, how everyone used to have them, but now they are superseded.

He finishes, and exits into a cupboard. I shout ‘bye’ after him. My fellow inmate is trying to get the lights to stay on. They flicker like a poltergeist is trying to control them. I leave the room to use the toilet. I knock on the orderlies door, and they escort me. The orderlies ask if I usually spend time staring at and talking to still images. I explain the ghost of vodaphone past. They look bemused.

As I urinate, one of the orderlies stares at the stream of my urine. I realise this must be something that he has to do, as part of his job. I look down and see that I’m urinating into a container with clothes in. My clothes.

My fellow inmates come in. We talk about bad acid in the 70s. I can’t remember our names. I tell them that it’s important, when we get back to the room, to write down our names and job titles.

As we leave the bathroom, we are all younger, and afraid. If we stick together, we will be safe.

Back in the room. It has changed. More like a school room. Paper, covered in children’s scribbles, on every table. We sit together. I look for some paper to write down my name and job title before I forget who I am. There’s a separate pile of folded papers in the middle of the table. I grab some to write on. As I unfold them, I see they are identical Pisces horoscopes. We weren’t meant to see that they are all the same.

People hover over my shoulder, like teachers, watching as I try to write. I grab one guy and hold him down, threatening to rip open his carotid artery with my sharp pencil if they don’t back off. His boss ignores me. The teachers are dispensable. I release him. I just want to write without being closely observed.

I can hear singing. A repeated phrase. The boss teacher takes me into a large, black, hangar sized room, lined with speakers. There’s a spoken phrase, repeated at different pitches, processed until the voice is synthetic. I fly up into the hangar, circle, and land by the boss teacher, punching him in the face as I land.

I must punch him at every opportunity.

As we leave the space, I punch him again, he falls out into the street. He transforms into a cow character, that detaches itself from a building. I am now a stylised lion, of a heraldic type. From a nearby building, a dragon appears, it transforms into a bull and pursues the cow. All the while ZZ Top style music plays, a song about British Beef, the name of the cow. The bull follows with sexual intent.

My lion gives way, at the bull’s request.



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