Paranoia up The Hill

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.”
William S. Burroughs

And we need no more of that kind of talk around here. The quarterly battle with the Meter Man is ramping up to handwritten notes, pleading me to let him in. No, no, Meter Man. This is not a place for you to go about your treacherous business without ever offering to take off your shoes. No. I am the king of this castle. And I like my carpets unsoiled by uninvited feet. So, back to the drawing board my friend. There is enough on my plate right now, and things may turn nasty between people who should really know better. Meter Man, you are an enemy with more supplies, but you don’t live here. I do.

I’ve been informed that there are a series of chains – put up in the dead of night – across bits of land that borders mine, and belongs to my dog-breeding neighbour. The chains aren’t his. I investigated. They are thin chains, plastic, and they cordon off an area of no use to anyone. My neighbour is seeing it as an illegal land-grab and is promising to unleash all sorts of stupid bullshit terror if an inter-neighbour war begins. His eyes gave him away, though: red, puffed, huge bags, crepe paper skin. He’s spent. Victory is beyond him. This is a war I will be dragged in to. There was once no good reason to have a Fiskar wood-chopping axe near my back door, but that is changing. Big, bad things begin with chains. Historically speaking.

A huge buzzard is flopping about on the backs of the gardens and up into the nature reserve right now. Such a huge bird to be hunting so close to humans. I’m watching the great thing flap like a pier jumper into an autumn ash tree, then stop to pour scorn at me with its raptor-yellow eyes, seeming to say ‘please turn your back for a second…It won’t hurt a bit’. I must remember to wear a hat when I go out.

I’ve got to stop peering at dog walkers from my back windows, least with these high-powered binoculars anyway. They can all see me. And my name is mud enough without adding ‘Peeping Tom’ to the mix. I can read the writing on the wall, even if you can’t. Dog walkers, or Police Officers posing as dog walkers? Or simply the curious out for a morning laugh at the local village nutjob? Something isn’t right when a man standing against his window with a serious optical instrument – pointing in YOUR direction – causes you to be nervous. Looking out is always better than looking in, surely?

But the wider world can’t see me, that’s almost certain – I stuck a piece of paper over the front facing camera of my laptop. That was the first thing I did when I got it. And, since I live on my own, there is hardly any talk to listen in on. And satellites can’t see through curtains. Not if they’re thick enough and tightly closed at all hours. Only bad comes of surveillance, all ways round: the snooper, the snooped, and the whistle-blowing righteous – who only wanted a minute of fame and to let us all see how we are NOT free.

Julian Assange is toast; all pale and grey. The guy can’t even fake a bad shoulder and get a trip to the hospital. What’s he going to do when the serious stuff starts, like cancer, or falling down the stairs in the early hours drunk on Ecuadorian white spirits? They will get to him. Be sure of that. They may even get me, just for writing his name – they might get you too if you don’t take precautions. This is how it goes. ‘They’ always need somebody to grind up into shark chum. Assange now, your dog next. These are lessons we’ve been taught by History – Slavery, genocide, occupation, bombs, gas chambers, on every continent. Always bubbling under the surface, and always looking for an edge over the next guy, or Nation, or Peoples, chasing the cash all the way across the surface of our planet; a relentless monster that could turn up anywhere at a moments notice.

The Meter Man is just the advance patrol, a scout on the stone prairies of my Village, riding his EON war pony and dreaming of my scalp. And if I am not careful, many men soon come, Kemosabe.

The Native Americans say that if a knock at your door goes unanswered, someone you know will die. How?


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