Saturday, 1 July 2017

Charles and Eve

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

‘Yep! Certainly! Eve must have been a real giant of a woman!’ Charles Evan Jackson had met many metaphorical giants in his homelessness, which was largely ruled by psychosis, and had for the first time considered the giant nature of Eve, the first woman. He was at home in his squat, in Redferne, Sydney, at the start of a wet autumn, 2015. Smoking bongs over candlelight, he wondered if perhaps life could offer more to him: a safe house, running water, electricity, a private toilet all his own.
     He pulled his last bong for the day. He had some for tomorrow but that was strictly for the morrow. Charles was a pothead with eminent control over his pot use.
     ‘Yep! A real giant!’ The trouble was, further reasoned Charles with himself and an imaginary Eve, that Eve ought to have been one of the first voices that he heard, one of the first psychic giants to present themselves to him. After all Charles was God and had come to expect a high level of respect from the voices. So why this neglect? Why had Eve, and indeed Adam, not introduced themselves to him when he first started hearing the voices at age twenty, and thus partake of the party that had been going on in his head for the past three years, having suddenly left his parents’ place to do so? Perhaps if Eve had introduced herself he would have the sooner given up his homelessness, as now Charles was realising that his choice of living in the utter wilderness was a choice of living in utter primitive neglect. Not even a toilet all his own.
     ‘Maybe Eve’s a myth after all, like the atheists say.’ Surely if Eve really existed she would have left some sign of such for him, God, some sign that she wished forgiveness for her Original Sin. But then again maybe she sought no forgiveness.
     ‘l tell you what, Eve,’ offered Charles, wanting now very much to meet the elusive Eve, ‘if you give me one of your ribs to eat, and it must be a giant rib, like your giant self, you can enter my menagerie of very wise voices, living with me everywhere, and always moving onto better things. Forgiven.’
     Charles was the most surprised when he actually found this massive rib a few days later. It was the size of a car tyre, cold, and he had found it on the street corner that he hoped to find it on, ideally. He ate it all in one go: no fat.
     ‘Okay, Eve, sweetie,’ crooned Charles when he had thrown her bone away, ‘you’re really here. Better late than never I guess. And I suppose your actual existence brings Adam with you, the fool. Thanks, Adam!’ Deep in his subconscious Eve laughed.
     This laugh resounded through his mind, a deep, deep toll. Eve was actually real, the first woman, present amongst us. Charles then had no choice but to inform others of this momentous event, bound to alter humanity to its very roots. But where to start? Well, the police was the obvious first choice. But could he trust them? Did he have a choice? No, not really.

*

‘I’d like to report an incident,’ said Charles to the officer at the counter, Newtown police station.
     ‘What sort of incident? Domestic?’ The young attending officer looked thoroughly bored.
     ‘Magickal.’
     The officer did a quick double-take and looked closely at the unkempt, but clean, Charles.
     ‘Magical,’ asked the officer.
     ‘Yes. And very ancient magick. Yea, the most ancient.’
     ‘What’s your name, sir.’
     ‘Charles. Charles Evan Jackson.’
     ‘Do you hear voices, Charles?’
     ‘Yes, all the time.’
     ‘Are they talking to you now?’
     ‘Yes.’
     ‘Well, I’m sorry, mate, but I’m going to have to take you to Rozella because of those voices. I presume you know Rozella?’
      ‘Rozella Hospital! A tangible Paradise: a psychiatric hospital with rare, real heart!’
     ‘Well, I’ll have to take you there, and take you there now, Charles.’
     ‘No problem.’
     Charles, as usual, thoroughly loved his stay at Rozella Psychiatric Hospital. There were many, many people who believed his story of his having eaten Eve’s rib and that Eve, as well as perforce Adam must really be amongst us all. He didn’t mind that the psychiatrists he saw held an opposing view because they were all, being scientists, cut off from the world of feeling and emotion. But Eve was very real to Charles because he could still feel her presence on a primal emotional level, as part of his very physical being.
     Perhaps it was Eve whom prompted him to escape the hospital after two weeks, to just walk off the grounds. Charles certainly felt that it was indeed Eve guiding him, a postscript to having given him one of her ribs. Charles was beginning to think that he bore her a deeper relationship than he realised, and it was only in escaping the hospital that he could provide such a relationship.
     His escape went completely unnoticed for two hours, and then the nurse regularly noting the involuntary patients’ presence noticed him gone. Just as Charles had planned. He had had no plans while he had been waiting for the bus, just to get back to his squat and begin to plan his search for the actual, real, right here, Eve.
     When he did arrive at home two nurses were waiting for him. He really shouldn’t have stopped off for a couple of celebratory beers. He briefly considered making a dash for it but he also knew that that was the worst thing he could do. He went along quietly with the nurses.
     Naturally, as Charles was still insisting that Eve, and probably Adam too, were really here amongst us, he was put into the locked ward. Such a persistent delusion alluded to a much deeper problem in the bizarre, but nondescript, Charles. Mind you though Charles actually liked the locked ward. It was very quiet, very clean, and its old world architecture made him think of quieter times. The food was also much better. Yep, the locked ward was actually quite nice, with the sole drawback that patients were allowed to smoke only once an hour, out in the garden, surrounded of course by a barbed wire fence.
     It was during his first ‘smoko’, in clean, green, cotton pyjamas, that Charles suddenly and completely realised the world thought him and his story about the giant rib were utter garbage. Still, Charles had the proof of his own senses, proof that he had witnessed real magick: he had psychically called up that rib when and where he wanted it. Not only that but this rib of Eve’s could well be her original one; she was tying herself thus quite strongly to Charles and his world. Charles, lying in bed during his first night in the locked ward, decided that he still has a story to tell, that he could still spread the news of Eve’s arrival. He could do so in pamphlets that he had no choice but to print and distribute. The message would take longer to diffuse, naturally, but Charles thought it was worth the effort. Eve was most certainly worthy of such devotion. Maybe he could even somehow sell the pamphlets, hardwiring thus his message into the market. It was certainly worth trying.
     He drifted down to sleep on visions of his future greatness.

*

Needless to say Charles’ pamphlets didn’t sell. He found that out pretty quickly but he still handed them out: a short tale relating his converse with Eve. Maybe they didn’t sell because of their conclusion, that Eve was just on the edges of our society, keen to bring us all into the light. It was hard to believe that all our problems can be so instantly fixed. Maybe it was the fact that they were being sold by someone quite probably homeless, who had wilfully opted out of society and was thus worthy of only derision. Whatever the reason, he persistently handed out his flyers for three months, giving them away for free a week after starting the project, and printed a new batch of two hundred every few weeks (having welfare monies and only food costs he was well able to play the prophet.)
     At the end of the three months, however, Charles had had enough. No-one was listening. Sydney is just far too busy for Eve. He would go out in style though: print up a double batch of pamphlets, do up some extra bright and interesting cover art, and include in each of them an IOU for a drink at a pub of the holder’s choice. Yep, that would be a great way to go out! He handed out his last flyer for the day, bought a couple of beers, and then went back to his squat to plan his graceful exit from an important adventure.

*

Eve though had other plans, plans completely antithetical to Charles’. He saw her whilst he was on LSD, deciding to go out in style indeed. It wasn’t hard to get one in warm Byrone Bay, and he saw the long train ride north from Sydney as physically putting himself between himself and a Truth no-one else wanted. But he was only travelling into Eve’s desires.            ‘Charles,’ she said to him, ‘tell of me no more.’ Charles was lying in the scrub next to the ocean, in his sleeping bag and watching the Universe sparkle and dance. Eve was indeed a giant but appeared only before Charles’ mind’s eye. He could also smell her, hear her long rustling hair, and fully appreciate her complete nakedness, but she was tangible to no-one else. ‘My gift to you was a whim. And it was Father Adam’s rib anyway. We heard your call to me, joking with me in a way no-one else has done before. We thought, “Why not? He’ll eat the rib and throw the rest of the evidence away.” Adam also wanted to remove an extra rib as a protest to God. He’s no doubt Aware of you and your own claim to Godhead so Adam decided to protest our treatment for our very human mistake by giving you one of his ribs. But you weren’t supposed to broadcast the spell. The less said about these sorts of things generally the better.’
        ‘What else could I do? It was a duty.’
‘Your duty is to look after yourself. Don’t worry about saving the world, just look after yourself. And get off the streets.’
     ‘It was the voices though that told me to move onto the streets.’
‘Did they give you their promised riches?’
     ‘Not yet.’
‘I suggest you go back to Rozella and ask them to help you get off the streets and away from all this magick. You’ve too delicate a frame for these forces anyway, Charles.’
     ‘Is that an order?’
‘Yes. My second order is for you to burn the last of the pamphlets right now. Just take them down to the beach and set them alight.’
     Charles did as he was told. After the fire he got into his sleeping bag to await the morning, wide-eyed and smiling. He was going back to hospital.

*

Charles now has his own subsidised one bedroom place but still hasn’t quite forgotten his adventures with Eve. He has a small shrine outside his front door, a stoneworked piece. It has no statue, but constantly refreshed fig leaves instead. He has told no-one of its import, not even his psychiatrist, yet remains convinced that Eve is still listening to him, still attentive.  Who knows?

~~~

If you have been enjoying Fitzpatrick's stories here you may also enjoy his short story collections, and other books, available online as both Kindle books and
paperbacks (go to http://amzn.to/1NfodtN). Other ebook and paperback options are available at  http://bit.ly/1UsyvKD Fitzpatrick is also having a collection of short stories, Aberrant Selected, published by Waldorf Publishing in 2018. You can follow its journey at www.aberrantselected.blogspot.com

     

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