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8. watching the dabs/a tunnel prowler

The super-crammed passageways are only a memory up here now. The sweaty smile-deprived buses that take ages to get down the hill donít need to be recalled. The airless corridors of the department store and supermarket aisles flicker, a careless nightmare from somewhere else. Only lights: the tiny flames boom through black. Life from a distance. I imagine everyone getting on with their day (night) - struggling their struggles but I know theyíre safe, rushing home, battling the fog and freezing winds, quickly slipping back into a cosy front-room or kitchen. Putting the kettle on. A slam of beacons. Orange dabs to make up the dream-weaversí vista. I get into the heads of the others down there. I donít know much about the world so I do what I can, I do the only thing I can: make it up. Lead eight million lives at once, scurrying about the estates, hurrying along the high streets. No idea why Iím so obsessed with the notion of Ďeveryone elseí but I guess it makes me feel closer to the buzz of the city; lets me put an arm around it. If theyíre safe down there then Iím safe up here, weíre feeding off each otherís mere existence. How the fuck else am I supposed to experience anything? Itís a big planet, a big city, but this is my life right here; my stomping ground. Different tribes across from where I am: colonised and designed to live in a harsh landscape. Iíll never meet most of them but the idea that we will exist - are existing - together across the terse terrain bubbles my blood with a positive tone.

I donít want to be cut off by the bad frequencies; the relentless torsion of this overpopulated palace and itís the spectre of kindred souls, scuttling down there, in the concrete valleys, that makes my heart tick over. Finding other beacons against the flow of water. Iíd stay here for hours if I had the time; although I must join them, get my head back in the game, become an almost-invisible ant someone else can pin all their hopes for once.

*

Iím not nauseous, I just canít get enough. This is the same every single time: why do I bother? Iím addicted. I love the smell of that unusual heat when I get close to the tunnels. Nothing else in this people-vista looms like this, is so apparent. Off the bus, straight across the road, down the escalator, go right, head along the tunnel, first left. The pungence of the chalky corridors. Follow the stampede of souls; in both senses of the word, and know itís probably the right direction, that Iíll eventually reach the carriages. A crazy world below the ground - I spend half my days here, Iíve got to know most of the crevices. Passages and stairwells with white shiny-brick walls. Scrapes in the unseen lift shafts. Clocks ticking. Cutting across a scramble of a scrum on another route. Interlinked. Giddy with the subterranean fumes, the whiskeyvodka.

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© Copyright 2013 John Maher