The blaring green blue light of the TV paints the room in an argon glow. The clock on the table is still blinking, it’s 3:16 again, still, 3:16 always. The blah blah blah yammering of the late night programming, keeps you somewhere balanced between awake and sleep. Teetering on that knife edge neither in nor out. One foot in TV shopping, blooper reals and casino shows and the other stretched out across the infinity of dreams. For a long time this has been the case, your mind split like the atom. Fission and fusion not knowing what is or isn’t, where or where not. The blinds are pulled closed, there is no night or day, no seasons, just 3:16, half in a dream. Sometimes the TV is talking to you. Sometimes you are part of the show, sometimes it is part of whatever narrative your brain has pissed out across your cerebral cortex. Part man, part screen. This nightmare, this terrifying shit mix of realities has you right slap bang in the middle of it, ground down into a fine powder, scraped up into lines and then snorted back up that fat trunk of yours. What the fuck is wrong with you?
“Hey Fatty!!” it says “Time to get up and move that colossal behind of yours come on lets dance.” Andy “Showtime” Harris is on and pointing right at you. “Lets get those Abs like slabs, lets get that Butt like WHUUUUUUUTTTTT!?!”
You pull yourself up so you are sitting and stare at his perfectly chiselled face. “LETS GO FATSO” he says. “THATS IT, LETS MOVE” Showtime starts to dance on the spot kicking his legs from side to side, “ALRIGHT!”
You know the drill, because this is the drill, every whatever at 3:16, Showtime Harris takes that fleshy pork chop of yours and works you till you're prime fucking steak. You jump up, oiled and ready for action "YEAH THAT’S IT LARDO, YOU GOT IT. BEND AT THE KNEES, STRAIGHT BACK, YEAH YOU FEEL THAT?"
"YEAH I FEEL IT" You shout while your neighbour bangs on the wall with the muffled cry of "SHUT THE FUCK UUUUUUUUP" but you don't give a fuck, 1000 3:16's ago you were the shape of a boat, a jelly mould of grease and sadness turned out before you'd set. Now you are an Adonis, lean and strong, flexible enough to lick your own asshole clean should that feeling take you. You and Showtime have turned lard into gold and you're not going to let that cunt from next door ruin your party. "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. NOW THE OTHER SIDE!, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10! YEAH YOU GOT IT, GO,GO,GO"
"ENNNNNNNNGH" you groan, your ripped stomach creaking. You are a fine tuned machine, cocked and primed. "YEAH THATS IT YOU FAT PUSSY, WORK, WORK, WORK." You’re running on the spot, you’re kicking your legs up to your hands, you're down on the ground pushing yourself up and down, up and down. You are pushing yourself further than you have ever been. Showtime is shouting, you are flexing, yeah, you feel good. This is it, this is what you were supposed to become! “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH” You are the tip of the spear. Push. Push. Push, “BE! EVERYTHING! YOU! CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN’d Relax", "shake that off", "Stretch it out". “YOU LOOK GOOOOOOOD” you look across at the full length mirror on your living room wall, standing there naked bathed in the green mist of the TV light glistening in layers of sweat and grease, every line and contour of your hard body perfectly defined. He is right, you look incredible. You stretch your arms and tense. Look at those lines. Look at that amazing ass. You are perfection.
"YEAH YOU GOT IT GOOD TODAY", says showtime. "Remember, you know it's your time ‘cause it is Showtime," and with that he's gone a Lycra shaped onesie burned into your retinas.
You slump back into your mould on the sofa and wait for further instruction. You start to cycle through the channels looking for the next step in your evolution. A movie where giant ants invade the earth...click....an infomercial where a tiger tests a mattress....click.....A spinning casino wheel and a male presenter with a face you could replace with any other awhile the is wheel spinning and no-one would notice. Your finger hovers over the remote control but you cannot press. This is a revolving floor of identical talking clones, replicants born for one single purpose, this is their purpose. This battery farm of handsome fuck-wit automaton. TV wrapped like ivy around them, inside them, absorbing all the life-force, hope, joy they could ever have. Powering those glowing screens you are transfixed on right now, until..... until that's it, no more, they run out, on to the next one… melt him down into feed for the next generation of one size fits all presenters they have in the birthing pool…..click….
Its 3:16 and usually at the time your would be cooking up a storm with Denim Fragrance the Cajun Cookery King on 445, but something about those clones jars in you, something about right now, whenever you are, caught in this green, mesmerising time fart makes you stop. Makes you sit, not following the usual routine just staring at whatever channel you're on. Just absorbing the flickering lights on the box. You cant even see what is on there now, it is just patterns of light making shapes, colours swimming in and out of one another. Sounds forming what you assume must be words, swirling around you in abstract murmur. Who are you? You the actual fuck are you? what ever put you here really doesn't matter. What matters is that this is you, you on infinite rerun, forever on, forever repeating. Click any channel and you are part of the show. Watch any movie and you are henchman or a hero, a passer by or a one line security guard at the bank heist “Good afternoon, sure is fine out today,” You are totally connected to every soap, every reality show drama, every news story barked by talking heads sitting at desks speaking only to you. They form your thoughts, drive your narrative. Your mind is not your own it is theirs…whatever they serve you, you consume, you shit out, they serve, you consume, you shit out. You are just a feedback loop that stretches off into the distance. You wave your hand at the tv and there you are, waving on and on and on and on and on and on and on etc.
And there in that moment it dawns on every last infinite one of you that it all could be different, that once upon a time way back when it was 3:15, that there was something before all this. But you can’t remember what it was. Your mind starts to stretch itself backwards, searching for what ever that was before this was all there was. It is there on the tip of your tongue, just right there, you can taste it, something else. It is too much, too big a thought, too much too soon, it is only 3:16 after all. You all reach for the remote fumbling around. Panicked and terrified where did you put it? You had it a second ago! Nancy Warwick of The Nancy Warwick Show fame sits next to you in your house, smiling back to the studio audience of your wall. She is halfway through her introduction already, it'll be your turn sure enough. You still cant find it, she’ll be introducing you any second. What are you going to do? You cant find that fucking remote anywhere and she is going to start fucking talking to you, sort your shit out.
"...a man with half face will be stopping by to show us his fantastic “Some Meat” Tagine recipe....I tried it in rehearsals and I can tell you it certainly is..." She is smiling, her teeth glowing in the TV's warm light, like the radium watch painters at the dawn of the nuclear age. The TV is her camera she is other worldly, a fair ground illumination, the statue of liberty, a goddess.
"Anyway it's 3:16, so without further ado, let's welcome our first guest. They have been waiting long enough. Please welcome....." her voice trails off instead of speaking your name and you wonder if Nancy Warwick even knows what she is doing or why she is here? She turns to you, her eyes in sharp focus. She knows alright, she knows too damn well.
"So how have you been?" She says
"....Well, l..." You start to answer but then realise you are still naked, panicking you try to cover up. "God I totally forgot to get dressed”. A laugh track abruptly starts and stops, Nancy is laughing too, but not at you, its like you've told a joke. She squeezes your thigh affectionately in approval. "You were saying?" She says her face dropping like a stone.
"Sorry what was the question?" Again the start stop laugh track
"How! Have! You been?" She replies you fucking idiot. Start stop
"Oh, sorry, fine, I've been fine," but your words feel more like thoughts and Nancy looks disgusted. That laugh track has a mind of its own throwing out random bursts like morse code.... hahaha....haaaaaa....haaaaaa....haaaaaa....hahaha
"So" she goes on, "You've been inside, for a long time, when are you going to finally get off your ass and go and do something?"
Boo boo boo
"Why are they booing?" You ask
"Because you are fucking disgusting, because you are wasting our time"
The track explodes in riotous applause. Stop.
"But you haven't asked me anything"
"But you haven't asked me anything”, She echoes with mocking whining tone
Are you really gonna take this? Are you really gonna let her talk to you that way? Act like that in front of a live studio audience?
"Well?” Nancy says still looking at you impatient and repelled "Look you need to...." but you don't need to anything. She is halfway through a word as you take fist and start to push it into her mouth. She is still speaking but her words are muffled and unintelligible as you push it further and further into that poison mush of hers. The audience is cheering. The start stop looping like a stuck record. She grips your for arm to try and stop your decent. Or maybe she is pulling you in? you can’t tell.
You are up to your wrist, her body wretches from her hips curling up like breaking wave. Your fingers slide along the tongue to the hanging precipice of the gullet. Her teeth can no longer bite, her jaw is locked and open. "Gan gaaaar gaow gangad" she says, but that could mean anything:
"Can Carman Count Camels?"
"Gran Gives Good Gobjobs”
"Please you're killing me?"
Who knows? Who cares? It's too late now anyway you’re in this to the end. Your hand is dangling on the peak of the roller coaster staring down at the track below, ready when you are. You are up to your elbow now, her head bent back eyes to the sky. Gurgling. You are sliding past her heart and lungs, her body slowly swallowing you whole like a python. The crowd roars on repeat. You are up to your shoulder, they are up on their feet. You wave to your fans with your free hand. Fist pump the sky. They just can’t get enough. Your naked muscular body. Your beautiful face. Your arm to the hilt in Nancy Warwick's mouth. You lean in like your searching for change down the back of the sofa. Fishing around for something, it's in there somewhere, you can almost reach it. Nancy's digestive tract massages you, pulling you on, almost there....Almost....you can't....quite....reach....it. So close. You can feel it against your fingertips. Cold and hard. It's right there.
The crowd are hushed in anticipation, willing you on. Willing it real. Everyone in collective hyper focus. You grimace, one last push. "Eeng" a sudden jolt forward as Nancy’s jaw cracks lolling open and you almost lose your balance with the sudden change of resistance. Fumbling around you can feel it, you wrap your hand around it and looking over at the wall audience you rip your arm out of Nancy’s slack body raising it above your head in celebration. Screams, whoops, applause erupt from the audience record. You have it, the remote control. Nancy’s body slips down the sofa and onto the floor limp. You point the remote at the TV and flick the channel “Click” and it’s gone, Nancy’s dead body, the audience a dead silence. What a waste of time that was, still there is always next time.