Ex Nihilo

Last one for this year. Written in response to the suggestion my work is irresponsible, nihilistic and likely to provoke youth violence. NM.



You always wondered why it made that noise in movies but not in real life. When someone throws a right hook. It doesn’t sound like that to anyone else. No-one else hears it, same as no-one else feels it. Just you. So now you know.

You have no idea what you might have done or said, or to whom. You’re pretty sure you’ve never even seen him before. You would definitely have noticed that mohawk and all those tattoos, EX NIHILO across his forehead, NULL and VOID across his knuckles. You were just going about your daily business when he came out of nowhere. You stagger, raising your hands in self defence and mouthing, “Why?”

And then..


That’s how it sounds inside your own head when someone smacks you one with theirs. Your nose being driven into your face. The little bone inside. It’s like the sound of a 7” single snapping, some pop-piss you regretted buying and threw in the bin, or the Kit-Kat advert. Take a break. And then..


That was the sound of your jaw dislocating, the tendons snapping under the impact. Hanging there unable to close. You can’t speak. Can’t beg for mercy. It’ll be a long time before you can chew food. A back tooth is out. Iron taste of blood.


Doc Martins. Steelies. You bend double, clutching your busted testicles. They have been shoved so far inside your body they may as well be ovaries. Fuck that hurts.


One to the guts. You struggle to breath but your lungs disobey.


Hollow resonating sound as your head hits the concrete. Like something out of a cartoon.

He laughs. Says your name. Definitely not a case of mistaken identity, then. Tells you to, “Say goodbye, cunt.”


Relentless skull booting like the drums to a hard core thrash band. Big. Loud.


And that.. That was the sound it makes when someone stamps on your head. KkRaAcK! Again. KkRaAcK! And again.

And you know when your old TV finally gave out and the sound went all fuzzy as the picture kind of shrank into the centre of the screen, finally leaving only blackness? That’s what it’s like to get booted unconscious, except that the blackness is much.. blacker. More absolute.

All the pain is gone. You can’t feel anything. Not even fear or anxiety. All gone.


It’s like you’re flying along this tunnel. You realize you’re having an out of body experience. Consciousness beyond the physical. Like in those stories you read in magazines. The ones where people are in hospital and get brought back from the edge of death. You always wondered if those stories were true.


A single most perfect note sung endlessly by an infinite chorus. Ahead, getting bigger and brighter, the purest light. And then..


From nowhere to nothing. Less than even the idea of nothing. Freedom beyond the confines of time and space. A return to that nothingness beyond nothing that is the source of everything. So now you know. And then..


Everybody Loathes a Clown

A clown walks into a bar. Everybody else gets up and leaves. Not a joke. More of an observation. A lot of people are afraid of clowns.

So there’s this clown, in an empty bar. He turns to the barkeep and says..

The irrational fear of clowns is often discussed in terms of a specific phobia – coulrophopia. The term is informal and doesn’t appear in any diagnostic manuals. Nevertheless there are three commonly accepted theories as to its cause.

The first is that some event in childhood left psychological scars, and that something about the image of the clown is triggering. As may happen with trauma the memory may be deeply repressed, inaccessible to the conscious mind whilst entirely colouring its perceptions. So the coulrophobe can hate clowns but never know why, and it is probably best they never find out.

The second theory is that the fear of clowns results from media programming. The clown has become a cliché of the modern horror genre. Like the movie It, which was clearly inspired by John Wayne Gacy aka Pogo, or Killer Clowns From Outer Space, or the Halloween craze of ‘killer clowns’ pranking people in the streets, inevitably leading to genuine murders. Giving us all a bad name.

The third theory is we really are evil. People have good reason to fear us. There is absolutely nothing irrational about it. Pure evil, creeping up on you unexpected. Jumping out at you with buckets of water. Slapping you in the face with a pie. We are everything you deny in yourselves, the meaningless absurdity of the human condition writ large. The embodiment of Khaos, the Abyss into which few dare look for too long..

None of these theories tell the whole story. I’m speaking from personal experience here. I know all about psychological scars, media misrepresentation and the dark hearts of clowns. Pour me another and I’ll tell you about my childhood.

It is still happy hour, right?