As long as I can remember I wanted something more. Christmas morning came, went and I was always disappointed. Even if someone had bought me every last thing on my list I would have found something to feel let down about. While other fifteen year olds were telling the school’s careers officer that they wanted to be teachers or doctors, maybe even join the army. I always told them I wanted to be Sylvia Plath or the female version of Kurt Cobain. The point is that however big a life I might lead I would never be happy. If I was rich I would need to be famous, if I was famous I would have to be tragic and if I was tragic I would yearn to be gone so people would always long for more of me because there was no more to have.
Maybe nothing I have to say will make any sense to you, maybe you will walk away wondering why I made so much fuss about it all and why so much fuss was made over me. The one thing I can guarantee is that there will be a fuss. I have something of a gift for creating a spectacle and I cordially invite you all to the big performance, the finale, the curtain call. And what a hurrah it shall be, oh the sights I have to show you. It is a journey for the bold, the determined and everyone who always wanted more than they had.
We begin at the end. Not an uncommon starting point, and a convenient one seeing as I already know everything that happened, making me a solid candidate for storyteller. We begin not long after dawn of the May ball, the formal gala event of every university student’s life where, for one night, the three years all seem to mean something. The thousands of pounds worth of debt to the government (or whoever actually puts up the ones and zeros for student loans these days); the hundreds of nights you failed to get even an hour of sleep because your time was divided between research and the menial, soul crushing part time job you took on in order to have slightly more money with slightly less time to spend it; the dozens of essays that could have been written just that little bit better and got those precious few extra marks that, in twenty years time, might make a difference for five minutes; and, of course, that handful of moments that actually meant something. All of these were now behind us, the future lay ahead and we sat in the gap between, nervously jumping at every loud noise the world made because we were terrified. It was the kind of fear that can only come from knowing you had absolutely no idea what to do next.
This is what most people were feeling and, I confess, in some strange way I felt it too. I was one of the educated masses with no idea what to do with this so called weapon of knowledge. The debt did not worry me and had not for some time, in all honesty I can not remember the last time I really worried about money. That is not true. I can remember, it just seems like a lifetime ago, somebody else’s lifetime perhaps. Money was not even a consideration if you had brains and will, sadly most people think themselves gifted if they have one; not realizing it makes them twice as prone to disappointment and irrational fear. Early on in adolescence I remember taking a class in religion, not that I believed any of it but the stories fascinated me. Our teacher taught the simple Christian logic – if you are good you get to go to heaven, if you are bad you go to hell. This never sat quite right with me and I found myself wondering what happened if you were too bad for hell? If you somehow managed to become the foulest atrocity the human race ever spewed from one of its million decaying orifices. Do you then get to rule in hell? Mythology is filled with tales of great battles between the armies of good and bad, light and dark, the righteous and the wicked. I conceded that I was never going to make it in to heaven, so I might as well try and make it as high up the ranks of the underworld as I could. Upwardly mobile you might say, although to a limited extent.
I do hope you forgive the somewhat long winded introduction, but it is necessary. I have never been a strong believer in knowing all the facts before making a decision – surplus facts and information tend to cloud the issues that would be oh so black and white if certain people would keep their opinions to themselves and not grey up the boundaries – but there are a few things you have to know before taking the plunge. Concepts with which you must arm yourself and ideas you must be open to if any of this is to have any relevance to you. Hell, even if you want it to make any sense! Please do not feel the need to sympathize with me. I neither want nor need your understanding. I know precisely what I did and why. I am telling you only to fill the few remaining hours before the police arrive and I shall once again be in the company of the Midlands Constabulary.