I am growing a shell as I grow older; each experience mottles and stipples my spine-leather. Here, I bake and harden under this African sun, where the trials of passage mark me, leaving a register for those who wish to deduce my age and history. From this I can analyse a map, of courses and tracks, with which I can navigate.
The bitterness of a fact is determined by the occasion of its consumption. It is my birthday, and I am far from home.
Safe travel through the belly of what constitutes a city these days necessarily involves animal instinct - within the cathedrals and channels of a modern city the skills of the wild are still necessary. Put that instinct to use - take it to the gym of experience and work it till sinews and veins, muscles and tendons begin to grow and bulge, ready for action. Then you can roam, sure of your homing signal, scything through crowds as they split for an instant, revealing gaps and shortcuts hidden to the rest of the churning mob. Master the art of fluid movement whilst your animal mind carves the path.
Beyond the use of this skill to enable swift passage in literal terms, it can be employed in the management of other, more ethereal parts of life. People on the whole are conducive to subtle manipulation, if you go about it correctly. Body language is a fantastic tool which will allow you avoid or engage as it takes your fancy.
This city is endless, it fills my horizon, I won't live to see the edge of it. I might never make it home.
The instinct is to be found elsewhere, too - in bed, in love, in trouble. I can feel the shell tighten as the images swarm my darting mind - she's screaming, she's laughing, she's got her ass in the air and her hands are clawing the sheet. Witch that she is, I couldn't teach her a thing - which is perhaps why she's getting twitchy. I can't move comfortably any more, my body is getting taught with all this marching.
This city of mine is no longer my home. It scowls and sneers while I peer into shadows of the past.
It's my fucking birthday and I'm walking home, and it may take some time. I look at my reflection and see the carapace; it's creep is almost at my face, edging up my neck like a rash.
And then I see her, and she's as caught as I am in the swerve and whisk of the march. I ask her:
"How much further?"
'You're late for your own fucking party.'
The bitterness of a fact indeed.