On account of the thousands of hastily assembled dolls, sketches and blurred Polaroid photographs that I have crammed into every nook, cranny and bare, slimy, granite surface this cramped cell has to offer, I am never far from you. Your likeness is never more than six inches from my fleshy corpus. Some have labelled me a hermit, a pervert; living as I do, so far beneath the surface, chewing on rat bones and discarded kitchen scourers, but I always have you. You have been the only company this putrid old bone bag could need. You are the reason I persist with this facade of employment. This mirage of reciprocated service. Let's call an egg an egg and call it what it really is, voluntary slavery. Although Art Brut have made it clear on numerous occasions my services are no longer required, they are mistaken. These 'chaotic ramblings' are propelling them forward in ways they cannot fathom. They stumble around in their arrogant smog not giving a hoot for the common, educated man. Not caring for Barnaby's needs. They will learn. Their boat will soon sail. They've got something coming, right in gene pool...
However this stone box in which I sleep, eat, write and defecate has begun to suffocate. I find myself waking in what I presume to be the dead of night, my mouth filled with sweat, my steel bed rancid with drool, my thoughts stuffed with images of youth. For I too recall my days on the surface. A happier time for myself and occasionally others. Lavish parties, exotic harems, days missing in the back alleys of Khartoum. You see, I spent many joyous years touring the ports of the world in the service of Her Majesty's merchant navy. A magical mystery journey. I have seen things that would cause you to vomit and climax in equal and sometimes simultaneous measure. I joined at the tender age of sixteen, having been discarded on the streets of Wigan by a tyrannical patriarch at six. I had already learned a great many things. An old Jewish fellow had taken an interest in me and along with a rag tag group of other boys we roamed the back allies and piazzas bringing petty crime to Wigan's uncaring upper classes. After a number of months I grew to become the old man's favourite and soon I took up residence in his quarters so he could tutor me to greater effect. It was here I received my education, within those three cardboard walls, for you see Dale was a man of great learning. As if gifted with some precognitive ability he claimed the last whispered words that trickled into my grubby sound pipes, on what I later learned was my sixteenth birthday, contained his last dribble of knowledge. I had sucked him dry.
Thus, there under a small pile of rags, I left Dale's freezing corpse and began the long journey to the sea, thinking that there I would find a new benefactor to feed, clothe and train me. After several months of ambling the highways and byways (I was seemingly misdirected by a travelling tinker), I reached what appeared to be a port. Unsure of nautical procedure or custom, I jumped the first ship that caught my eye and concealed myself below deck in a barrel of, what would soon become rancid, dates. I did not consider it at the time but this would be my home for next three to four years. I existed only in the bowels of the ship, to what must have been the full knowledge of the sailors on board. They, however, chose ignore me or at least pretend they could not see my spindly, bearded form snatching crusts from the jaws of stinking bilge rats.
It was here I met the gentleman I wish to introduce to you, my beautiful network of networks. For I was not the only man to have stowed away on this floating scurvy tin. You see, one day, as I was attempting to source nourishment to hinder the on set of a particularly troublesome bout of rickets, I wrenched the top from a large box of dried mackerel only to discover the gasping, naked form of a man. After several hours dowsing him with buckets of salt water in a desperate attempt to draw him out of shock, he calmed down enough to stutter his name, Mr. Gaylord St. James. He explained he was an actor, from Hollywood no less, and had accidentally become embroiled with a gang of Thai jungle pirates. Having incurred a heavy debt through several weeklong bouts of Hung Pan he had escaped what appeared to be a certain and painful death by flinging himself into the closest and fastest river. As the pirates shook their fists and fired their rusty pistols, the desperate starlet clung to a floating palm letting the river deliver him to the Fates' behest. He was spat, water logged and starving into the ocean, thinking that death here would be a welcome release from the weeks of severe sun stroke and plagues of river parasites. However, as he slowly lost consciousness and slipped silently into the depths he became tangled in the nets of a Dutch fishing trawler. He was yanked aboard but on account of the huge volume of sea life bought up by these Nemoic vessels his eviscerated form was barely noticed and he was processed and cleaned like any other salty kipper. Miraculously he survived and living off a diet of raw fish and rain water he was eventually salted, boxed up and loaded onto my homestead in the port of Kantang only to be released, in the nick of time, by your humble narrator.
So, after days nourishing him to the best of my ability, Mr. St. James regained some semblance of rational thought and slowly a bond began to grow between us. We were both young men at the time and had been craving any meaningful human contact for many months. We sat there in the dark regaling each other with tales of hardship and deviance that some day I may relate to you, beloved Internet, but they are not for these pages. We became close friends. We slept, ate, drank and dreamt together. Then, one day, he was gone. I awoke from another sweaty night terror to find his sack empty, filled with nothing but dried skin and spittle, a final reminder of his generous spirit. I thought him drowned, imprisoned or eaten. Like Dale, another loved one snatched from Barnaby by the seemingly forever-spiteful gods. That is until approximately three weeks ago when, trawling through your lengthy client roster, I came across a passage that could of only been written by one man. A short but concise piece of prose of such wit and insight I half expected it to be a forgotten missive from myself. Gaylord St. James has strolled back into my life. My one, true friend has returned. I have provided a conduit below through which you may reach him. I implore you, sweet Internet, to provide him with as much joy and nourishment as you have given me. Welcome, Gaylord, welcome!
yours with a joyous heart
P.S. I am aware that this not on quite the same tack, but it has come to my attention you have been providing certain entertainment protagonists with the same face. Please see below.
Portugese captain and professional look-a-like, Nuno Gomes
Stopped bothering, reggae loving, musician type, Julian 'gravitas' Casablancas
00's likeable best friend, Jason Segel
80's likable best friend, Judge Reinhold
I look forward to a written apology.