As the question rankled in my ankles, we moved on to the topic of change. Is it possible to completely change oneself, in attitude, demeanour, patterns of thought? Or are we chained to our genes forever, destined to hate musicals and love spreadable cheese? Natalie mused on this. “Here’s a posit. Why don’t you, Mr. Micholls, spend a week doing the opposite of everything you’d normally do. See if you can. I bet you can’t.”
I smirked and forked a turnip. “You’re on, Merchant. It’s Nicholls, by the way. Not Micholls.” She supped her shake. “Look like I care?” I shook my mug. “Nut. Not really.”
So, I went home to prove Merchant wrong. I sat down to read a book, then stood up to do the opposite. I suspended the book from the ceiling with a length of rope and lay supine on the floor. I let the book read me. Michel Houellebecq’s Platform read me from head to toe for an hour. Afterwards, it was thoroughly depressed and hanged itself on the rope.
Instead of putting food into my mouth, I inserted it rectally. I masturbated with my mouth and brushed my penis. I went out at nights and had a good time, as opposed to the usual evenings of self-examination and Vimto. I drank alcohol and made believe like I was comfortable among the babbling adults with their talk of mortgages, Steve Martin and the ironies of our age. I didn’t return home, I waited for home to return to me, sleeping in a bus shelter with some kind tramps. This happened for seven more days until I was admitted to Western General with three nails in my scrotum and a debt bigger than Belgium.
I turned up for my meeting with Natalie that Monday. With me, a gang of Mexican debtors. “You couldn’t spot me £400,000 could you?” I asked her. “It is sort of your fault, you know.” She smirked. “Oh, OK. Since you did so well.” She handed Julias ‘I Fuck Your Kids’ Mezzar a £400,000 note. The man grinned and muttered: “It triple now. £1,200,000.” Natalie winced. “Fine.” They went away, not without slapping Natalie first.
“So,” I said, collapsing from the five beatings I had taken that morning. “Does that answer your question?”