He's finally going to outer space. Outer space and inner space and every other conceivable space. Gob agape. A transcendent smile. A trillion yard stare. Looking beyond everything and seeing all. Eyes shining, bulging, bright and white. Maybe the hint of a tear. He sees into the heart of existence and now he knows EVERYTHING. EeeeVeeeRrrrrrrrYyyyyTHhhhhhhIiiiiiiiNnngg. Oh yes indeed, it's a long way from penny apples you are now Bill.
Running through the meadows of Kildare. A cosmic conglomerate. All is one. What are fences but defences? Defences against oneness, wholeness, indivisibility. Fuck fences. Bill leaps fences. Bollock naked as nature intended. Dogs bark. Birds chirp. The Universe is singing and Bill is part of the tune, dancing from note to note. Immersed in Oceanic Feeling. He's making plans, new and different to any he's made before. He'll fill the Muckross Park Hotel with badgers and squirrels and foxes and rabbits and owls and hares and lobsters, yeah, lobsters. Nature's residents. Eden anew. He'll flood the tennis court at winter and skate upon the ice. He remembers the mixed doubles, him and Jackie versus Gerard and Lisa, tension and concentration, competition, but no more of that. No more winners and losers. One does not have to outdo the other to be the best one can be - one is the other and that's the best both can possibly be. It's a non-zero-sum game and Bill sees that now. Bill sees so much now. Bill sees it all now. The Now! Before and later, all of it together, all of it Now!
Jaysus, he can't wait to tell Jackie about this.
Sunlight plunges through leaves spilling shadows on the earth and the shadows spring and flee and are imbued with mysterious volition. They giggle and squeal and chide, but only playfully. They banish the diminished remains of Bill's ego. Bill isn't in charge here. Bill is being shown the way by entities both apart from him and a part of him. His new board of directors - spirits, elves, pixies, the Sidhe, guiding him on a new venture. He's everywhere and nowhere because everywhere is nowhere. He's all over the place even though there's no place to be all over. It's hard for him to explain. He tries. He really does try. Bill babbles like a brook and water pours out of his mouth from the corners. His tongue tastes funny. He can feel it now, the weight of it in his mouth, moving. He's using it. He's speaking again.
'How bonny are the banks of the Lucinda River.'
Where did that come from?
Why did he say that? What else has he been saying?
...and where is he now? He's coming into land. He's suddenly back. He's down again. He's slipped from the Elysium of Kildare and slid into a waste in Wicklow. He's sat there in the mildewy lobby of the Muckross. What was he thinking? He couldn't fill the place with creatures even if he wanted to. Bastard receivership. Why had the Universe turned its back on him? He used to be right in the middle of it and now... what had Bill done wrong? He worked hard and dreamed big. Weren't they the rules of the game? Nothing turned out how it was meant to. Nothing turned out how it was meant to be. Nothing turned out how he wanted. That's what he keeps saying, bewildered and staggering, escorted to the exit. Shown the way out and locked out. How did he get here? Jackie's not answering her mobile. Feck. He'll have to walk. He looks up and sees a searing circular sun cruelly branded into a tortured sky. Why does it give no heat? Why is it so cold?
Bill struggles to remember what it was he was thinking when he smoked that stuff. He can't recall. Some nonsense. Some rubbish. Some Wizard of Oz thing. That reminds him... he searches his pockets for the complementaries to Wicked in the O2 but he's got no pockets. Where'd he leave his jacket when he stripped off? Bare and bereft. He lost his mind and he's lost the tickets. Front row and all. He's lost the bloody tickets just like he lost the dealership and the hotel. He's lost the lot. He's lost it all. Well, it won't be staying lost. Oh no. Down but not out. No longer high but looking up. You can't keep a good man down. The boy he was. The man he became and will be again. He is a splendid thing, noble and striding. Oh yes. 'I'm on me way home Jackie!'
Then he's splashed. Mud from the side of a country road. All down his front. A car speeds by. Inconsiderate bastard. Bill peers to get a decent look. Wouldn't you fucking know it, the car's a Renault. He's sick of this country. He's been told of a happier place. Ayahuasca. 'Never heard of it but I'll sink a load of it. Sure why not?'
Bill Cullen - from penny apples to God knows where.