In a field near you is a tree you've never seen. You pass it every day, on your way to another broken dream. You never see it shake, its leaves drawn inward. You never hear it whisper. It's very tall now, as high as it will be, and wide and lush in the fullness of autumn. You've helped it grow, although you don't know.
This is your tree. The gateman is sitting beneath it.
He's waiting for you, waiting for Leon Noel, who tonight comes full circle. Waiting for the story to end, watching as time begins it again, as all stories do, do stories all, as again it begins.
If you look out of your window tonight, to the east, towards the field with the tree you've never seen, you'll notice the moon blistering a black sky. You'll feel the air because it's going to be stifling. It's going to be sticky, my pretty, it's a night in need of a wind. And oh boy, you're going to want a breeze in your face, when it all kicks off.
Do you remember a day, 1970, when you were six. When you fell, watching a squirrel climb a tree. Flying through the sky and all the time you were craning your neck, getting dizzy, and losing your balance. And when you woke up what did you see. That was me, my pretty, that was me. You didn't remember that, did you.
You do now, my precious. I planted it in your brain.
The gateman is here to play, hehe.
Do you remember a day, a very pleasant day, Inverness 1974. Ten years old, big boy, tough boy, patches on your sleeves, holes in your trousers, and the gateman met you on the dunes, took you by the water, showed you things, such things, nice things, and oh, and ah, you liked them, you liked them, my lovely, lovely child. Such big, blue eyes. Such beaming smile. Such suchness. Suchaboomboom.
You remember. Course you do.
Cause I told you.
You lost your cherry in '80. Shy little boy, too scared to talk to girls, so Una had to force you, force you, she got you drunk, cider and wine, cannabis divine, and you only sixteen years old. And she stripped you and fucked you and you always liked the girl on top after that. Didn't you, didn't you, fuckaboomboom.
How do I know. How the fuck d'you think, my pretty, my petal, my colossus of rosaries. Who d'you think I am, my dear. I'm the gateman. Read the gateman's nametag. It's me, your heart and your soul, your future and past, your life and your death. And you'll take me and love me and hold me forever, like a good little boy, like a slave in thrall to his master.
D'you remember the day your mother died. I know you do. And I know what you thought. And I know what you felt. Dirty little boy. Nasty little man. Imagine feeling relief at your own mother' death. Imagine looking forward to a motherless life.
I remember. It took too long to happen. Two years. Too few tears. And she'd lie in her bed and stare at you, wonder who you were, why you were there, when she could next have a shit. And she read your mind you dirty little beast. No idea who you were but she knew what you were thinking. How does that make you feel. Not such a big little man now, are you, chuckadarling.
D'you remember the disco. You know the one I mean. Crying in the corner. Little boy lost. Couldn't play with the big girls because you were scared of what they would do. Little you, seventeen and crying.
You weren't though. Nothing wrong was there. Except you weren't getting enough attention, had to share it with the other boys, the bigger boys, fitter boys, handsome boys. Didn't like that did you. So you stopped and sobbed, cried and cried, till Lorna came along. Took pity. Thought something was wrong. Took you under her wing. Onto her breast. Her breast. Onto her breast. You liked that, didn't you. And you call me a bastard. Cheataboomboom.
Fucked in the gym at the school disco, behind the vaulting horse, head crushed against a medicine ball, left foot tangled in the netting. Poor little Lorna. Wonder if she ever knew she lost her virginity to a cunt with no heart. What d'you think. Should we ask her.
I could, of course. I can do anything I want. With the dead, anyway. I only talk to to the dead. That's the point. The point of a gateman. You're looking at me oddly, my little boom boom sausage. She hanged herself, you see. Didn't you know. Fifteen years since. Fifteen years a rotting. Her tree's a bit less lush than yours, now. Bit more rotten. But give it time, heh. You'll catch up soon enough, my cherry blossom pumpkin pie.
Time, it flows in a circle, in a circle it flows. You don't know it, you don't care. Not till it matters, when the dance reaches its end, when you stand in a huddle, all breathless and sweaty, and want it to start it all over again. Aha, we're all Buddhists when the music stops and its time to quit the stage.
"Lord, let me start again. I'll do better this time, I promise."
God knows man. What is doubtful is what man knows God.
Leon Noel sits beneath the tree, eyes closed, hands clasped, trying to look serene in the face of death. He's lived as a devil, now he wants deified. Full circle, over and round, over and round.
When he dies he wears the same surprised expression that most new-cold stiffs do. The one you survivors mistake for serenity. Leon Noel knows otherwise. Don't you. Where the fuck, you think. Where the fuck am I. And who the fuck are you.
I did, did I.