A picture of Thesiger, all skin and bones, taken from off his death bed, and out of a smoke filled 'tobacco trance' room… I feel myself being firmly shaken and somebody is shouting in my ear, over and over the same words, but I can't understand their meaning. There must be an electric light swinging from the ceiling too, the shadows are leaping up and down the wall, and a bell is ringing somewhere too.
Overdose of excitements, and exotic like Bulgakov's story titled 'Morphine', where the diary entry runs:
"Vomiting in the morning.
Three syringes of 4% solution at dusk.
Three syringes of 4% solution late at night."
Except the eccentric is also a form of protest in a situation where the courts of the land have long ago pronounced their judgements. No antigonal voices are permitted to speak, muffled that well-known story which is an intergenerational tragedy, where the bad stuff is working itself out. Taboo to tell.
I light up another one:
"… Puff. Cigarettes are bad. That is why they are good – not good, not beautiful, but sublime." (Richard Klein, Cigarettes are Sublime , P 3). And nobody can make me stop! Cough.
Sick humour. Quite unlike Mr Wilfred, this one is stood round gawping and slack faced flicking ash, far from the Empty Quarter where the traveller's firm set jaw was razor edged and pointed sharp for going on journeys and heading in certain directions with deep eyes glinting like coals under hooded brows. These ones are decidely blank. Lobotomy comes to mind. Ah yes, when all were to be anaesthetised by order? This one looked so dim, perhaps it was thought a waste to use up a dose on him.
That's so eccentric, says one of the soldiers passing the time of day.