[#1 is here.]
My dear Tychy.
It has been over two years since you first hinted that your website would welcome any articles which I could find the time to write, but noteworthy events are rare up here on the moon, and in truth nothing has happened which ever seemed interesting enough to write back to Earth about. I have been lately forced to terminate my Twitter account, for example, after conceding that my tweets lacked a certain colour. I was so excited when I set up my account, but as I primed myself to dispatch my first ever tweet, my mind seemed to empty like a nightclub after all the beer has run out. I sat dithering and helpless for almost an hour, before finally deciding upon “Uneventful afternoon.” The next day was little better – I lay awake half the night wondering what I was going to write, but I was none the wiser at breakfast, and hours of feverish brainwork could produce nothing better than, “Feeling tiresome.” Oddly, upon suspending my account I had over 800,000 followers.
Today I awoke at noon to find myself piled in a heap on the kitchen floor, so hungover that I was no longer able to walk. The night before, I had drunk a bottle of whisky whilst lying in bed and working my way through a box set of Dexter. I had watched over a dozen episodes in a row – they are like Jaffa Cakes in that once you start consuming them, it is very difficult to stop – but my brain had shut down after the fifteenth episode, unable to process any more information. I slept momentarily, before waking with that sudden swooping feeling, when you think that you have fallen out of bed, and I was so surprised that I vomited everywhere. I retreated to the sofa in the living room, assuring myself that I could clean up my bed in the morning, but a few minutes later I woke up again and I was sick all over the sofa. I ended up curled in a ball on the kitchen floor, so cold that my teeth were chattering like a maniac’s piano playing.
I had to learn to walk again. Whenever I stood up, I felt dizzy and my stomach seemed to swing wildly to and fro like a monkey on a vine, so that I could only remain on my feet for about five seconds at a time. In this sporadic fashion, I made my way gradually to the living room, determined to commence my great battle with the vomit which lay waiting on the sofa. I would prepare a bucket of disinfectant in the downstairs lavatory, and then scrub the sofa until the stench of vomit was buried beneath something stronger and thicker. Yet I finally came to a stop in front of the television, where I sank to my knees defeated, like a discarded puppet. I snuggled my face into the carpet and I waited for sleep to come.
When I awoke, the hangover was even worse. I wondered vaguely whether this one was permanent. There is no scientific explanation for hangovers – nobody knows what really causes them – and thousands of years of medicine have produced nothing approaching a cure (indeed, every student knows that the only cure for a hangover is to vomit very heavily.) Whilst leprosy, tuberculosis and the plague came and went, the hangover has remained undefeated by the collected minds of science. I am myself convinced that hangovers are alien to the body, a little like cancer, and that they are essentially extraterrestrial. Only when the body is weakened by drink can it be mastered by these parasitic intruders, which drain it of all its power and dignity. Hangovers fly through the universe – clouds of malevolent vapour looking to attach themselves to unsuspecting victims. I got to my feet, staggered to the kitchen sink, threw up massively, and I immediately felt very cool and refreshed.
I filled a bucket with undiluted disinfectant and I gingerly approached the sofa. My head swam in the smell. After forty minutes of scrubbing, I was satisfied that I might have made some kind of progress. This was essentially a psychological campaign – I had to persuade myself that the place where I relaxed, and dined, and watched television every day smelled as fresh as laundry.
I took my bed sheets out into the back yard and hosed them, before stuffing them into the washing machine. A malodorous damp patch remained on the mattress of my bed, but I poured disinfectant on to it and I then flung open all of the windows.
Returning to the kitchen, I perceived for the first time that the floor was absolutely filthy. My bed and my sofa were not yet ready for occupation, but it was inconceivable that I could lie down on this floor again. I decided to go for a walk, hoping that the house would be back to normal upon my return. I called to my dog, although I felt obscurely aggravated by his presence. When I was drunk, he had blandly watched me crashing about and vomiting over all my things, and it was as if he had no means of telling my normal, civilised behaviour from the most appalling indecency.
Walking across the moon with my dog, I felt blank and empty like a ghost. I would be more steady on my feet once I had eaten some dinner. I collected some sticks in my basket, and I threw some meal to the sheep. Glancing up, I saw the Earth, completely full, glazed and streaked like an enormous marble, and, as with a marble, I wished vaguely that I could pluck it out of the sky, pop it into my mouth, and suck on it aimlessly.
Back at my house, I was still certain that there was a trace of vomit somewhere on the air, lurking distantly, but I sprayed a can of deodorant around the rooms, and this reassured me that the smell was in abeyance. I was less confident in the bedroom, where I was sniffing unhappily, as if on the verge of finally detecting the vomit, and I decided to sleep on the sofa that evening. I was no longer hungry, but I quite fancied a drink, and as fortune had it there was a bottle of whisky waiting for me on my bedside cabinet. This time, getting drunk would be like strolling pleasantly towards sunlit uplands – the last time, when I had ended up drowning in the swamp, had been a one off.
If anything ever happens to me, you and your readers will be the first to hear about it.
The Man in the Moon.