Hollywood | Mini-Essay | On the Inherent Decay within Conservative Social Systems, by George Ttoouli
When we approached the intimidatingly talented George Ttoouli for a Mini Essay, he gave us this. Anyone who knows George will not be surprised that this is not really an 'essay', or indeed 'mini'. It is bloody worth a read though... as is his collection of poetry and his excellent new Magazine, Polarity.
I was in the park feeding Alka-Seltzers to pigeons when my mobile phone rang. It was an 0800 number I didn't recognise.
"Hello, Patrick speaking," I said.
"Hello sir, is that Mr Geoffrey Malik?"
"Yes it is," I replied.
"Hello," the woman said, after a pause, which could have been due to the distance, "this is Sureisha calling from British Gas. I'm calling to ask you about our services-"
I cut her off. "British Gas is a major supplier of energy to homes in Britain, with a several billion pound turnover," I replied.
She carried on, "As a former customer of British Gas, are you aware of how our services could save you money on your home bills?" she asked.
"I've never been a customer of British Gas."
"Our records show-"
"Listen, Suretta, what are you wearing?"
She hung up just as the first of the pigeons began fluttering and falling over and coughing without letting out air in that stupid way of theirs. I watched the froth building up around its beak, as it tried to right itself. That's the trouble with this world, I thought to myself, but I wasn't really sure why. I knew it was the right thing to think.
Then I thought about calling my mother, but that would have been impossible. Instead I called my local councillor; he was always good about these things, the bloody Liberal.
"Hello, Councillor John, I'm calling to complain about something terrible I saw in the park today."
"Oh, hello, is that Patrick again? Sorry we were cut off last call, usual signal problems. Look, I'm in the middle of something..." The limp bastard was probably in the middle of some amputee prostitution racket.
"John, you're my elected representative for this city and this is really important." I stressed ‘really important’ by punching the air, but it made my bandages chafe against the scars. "Today, while walking home from the doctor's surgery I saw a drunnk - a vagrant! - feeding Alka-Seltzers to pigeons in the park. This is your ward and I want to know what you're going to do about it."
"That's terrible, Patrick, really awful-"
"All well and good, Councillor John, but now I'm standing in a pile of bloody feathers and white foamy bones!" I liked that. White foamy bones. "I thought you were supposed to be making this city a better place for children to live in! They're all over the park!" I realised I hadn't specified whether I meant the children, or the pigeons.
"Now, Patrick, there's no need to shout. They're only pigeons, after all-"
"Only pigeons? What if that drunk - that vagrant! - starts feeding ground up glass and sherbert to children on the roundabouts, then following them into the bathrooms to watch them vomit blood? This is an interconnected web of decay I'm talking about! I want to know what you're going to do about it."
"Yes well, it does sound like something the RSPB ought to-"
"RSPB? What about the NSPCC, or a Special Police Unit? This is one step away from total social disorder. You know how the cycle of abuse perpetuates damage in-"
He tried to cut over me with, "I'm well aware of your views on-"
But I kept talking: "-the social order, by creating a downward spiral of violence in family units and while we stand for a social norm that demands a model of stable two-point-fours and married heterosexual couples, the social mechanisms for establishing that model have a feeble immune system for protecting the model from paedophilia and vagrancy and similar viruses. The pressure to adopt rigorously structured social systems will always leave gaps in the wherein malcontents, child-molesters and deviants - deviants according to the system, of course, not to their own warped versions of reality - will find no room to manoeuvre in a legal fashion, leading to social unrest, outbursts that have no place in the model's utopian ambitions."
He hung up.
"Ultimately, if you abuse a child, that child will go on into a life of drugs and delinquency, struggling, even with the best of support and care, to maintain any semblance of normality. The majority of those people are statistically likely to either become abusers, thereby perpetuating the cycle, or they will find themselves drawn into abusive relationships, which ultimately will lead to them suffering further abuse, and even having families, watching their own children being abused, I mean, when is it going to stop? What exactly are you doing to break the silence? Calling up a charity on the phone and saying, 'We've got a problem, would you mind taking care of it?' That's a great help! I know, why don't we just give everyone guns and tell them to deal with their own problems? Today it's pigeons, and let's face it, they are only rats with wings, ultimately, probably carrying more diseases than your average drop-out, but what's it going to be tomorrow? And who are you going to rely on to solve these issues? You think I should intervene? Should I beat up this drunk? Should I rally a mob and get them to beat up the homeless bastard?"
I was running out of energy.
"We need an alternative system which can allow for the rehabilitation of victims of this subsystem in a humane fashion, without violence! Yet all the examples from political activity and media representations on the television point us towards using violence as the only solution for counteracting such evils. To quote Hari Seldon, 'Violence is the first resort of the ignorant, and the last resort of the incompetent.' Why should we stand for ignorance and incompetence among the tribes that rule us? Give me an alternative!"
The sun was sloping off the sky; I'd only killed a few pigeons today. The war is infinite, their numbers multiply beyond the bounds of their food supply. I had to get to their nests. This had to be stopped at the nest.