The mind is the most deceptive beast of all, wild at heart, impossible to tame, unseen to any. Fighting the mind is like fighting a ghost, punch all you want, you’re only hitting air. I recently had the ultimate battle with my mind, and it did not end well.
It all started several months ago when I received a letter to join a dinner party of fascinating guests, I had another such party that night, in fact most of my free nights are filled with such parties, so I declined. Several weeks later, while organizing a tiger fight for impoverished children, I received a package marked urgent. I opened the package to find a rotten severed head. Inside the mouth was my declining RSVP to the dinner party, below it was a poorly handwritten note in blood asking me to reconsider. Well, anyone who goes to these lengths probably knows how to throw the superior dinner party on that particular Thursday evening, so I RSVP yes and throw an old eyeball in the envelope to further the theatrics. I chuckled to myself as I imagined the organizer trying to find the meaning of the eyeball. I just had one laying around, glad I had not thrown it away.
When the night arrived, I was exhausted returning from a stampede gone wrong in the Serengeti. I thought for a moment about bailing, but then I remembered, I only bail from damaged aircraft and parties that are clearly lame. I put on my best Maori warrior ceremonial robe and called my carriage around. After waiting nearly 18 minutes, I remembered that my carriage was destroyed by the Garulli brothers in a daring chase a few weeks back and that I shall have to take my war era motorcycle. Luckily it has a side car in case there is a lady of interest at the party. I put a large wheel of cheese in the sidecar as it will look funny when I pull up. Also makes a great gift, and I’m not going to eat all that cheese.
I arrive at precisely the right moment. The princess of Monaco is walking in frustrated with her date for not being a gentlemen. I swoop in and offer my services as an escort for the night. She accepts and her former beau is taken out back… The house is exquisite, solid marble interior with the bones of many great beasts adorning the walls. The butler takes us through the grand foyer into the waiting room. We are all offered a choice between three treats; a Rhodesian truffle, a blood red gelatin, or a hibiscus tea, then we are warned that one of the treats is a very strong hallucinogenic. Mmm, my kind of party. I suspect the tea, but that is the obvious choice, what sort of mad man are we dealing with. My first choice is blood as usual, but being a gentlemen, I let the lady pick for both of us. She chooses the blood gelatin, my kind of girl. We slurp it back like classless 10th graders and enter the dining room. Most of the guest have arrived and the butler tells us to choose our seats, but warns us to choose wisely. Each seat has in front of it a salad plate, a set of silver, two goblets, and a weapon of sorts. We see two seats open in the dark corner with a flintlock pirate pistol and a flail with excellent spikings on the ball. The princess sits at the seat with the flail leaving me with the pistol. There is mild chatter amongst the guests, mostly curiosity about the weapons and what treat all had chosen. Most went for the trifle, this should be interesting.
Finally, the host enters the room and explains why he gathered us all here. He went into some long complicated story which quickly lost my interest. The only intel I picked up on was that all of the treats were spiked. Things were quickly heating up between the princess and I and as the hosts story looked to be nowhere near completion, I excused the both of us to break away for some wild lovemaking in an strange place. I could tell you about the sex, but that would require a whole new story, suffice to say, it was grand. We returned to the dining hall to find all had left except for the two who had died right off, typical at these things, part of the reason I excused us. Sure I missed the explanation for the night, and any ground rules, but I find it’s more fun to figure those out for yourself. Most likely it’s a challenge to survive the night.
Do I regret attaching myself to this lovely women that I will now have to protect for the rest of the evening, of course not. Surviving one of these is easy, I’ve done so countless times and I appreciate the extra challenge. Also, my father taught me to never pass up the opportunity to have sex with a princess.
We take our weapons and make our way out through a side door as the foyer is certainly a death trap. We find ourselves in a long hallway with many doors, you would think they would have a little more creativity with these things. No, I’m pretty sure this party was set up by the same guy who plans all of these. He’s hard to get because he’s the best murder night party planner, but after a while, his stuff becomes cliché. Still, it’s better than the second rate guys – boooooooring.
Just then, I feel that all too familiar situation, the hallucinogenics are kicking in. I check in with the princess who is now grinning ear to ear and saying thumbs up to a painting on the wall. I tell her we must keep moving right as she decides to smash the paintings head with her flail, claiming it was speaking in tongues to her. Whatever they put in the blood gelatin was strong.
Now the floors begin to move and I am not sure if it is the drugs or a hydraulic floor system, but when a wall shoots up between the princess and myself, I’m pretty sure this house is rigged. I attempt to kick through the wall, but it is impossible. I hear a scream from the other side and fear that the world has lost a great woman, but the scream is followed by the Moroccan war cry and the sound of a body hitting the floor. All is well for now as that was clearly a man’s body. This princess may be a keeper. I take the only path I can and enter a room filled with toy baby dolls – nice and creepy. Then one of the dolls begins to speak to me. No big deal, I had my own version of a Teddy Ruxpin as a child. It was a real bear that my father had tied a tape player to, similar concept. The doll told me that I was more than what I had become. Clearly this was an open ended message intended for anyone else, for it would be very difficult for me to be much more that what I have become – I’m not the world’s second foremost preeminent professional adventurer. I used my one pistol shot to take out the doll for insulting me, and to add to the challenge. I now go forth weaponless.
There is no exit door to this room, only a mirror that they clearly want me to look into. I do so and say Candyman three times just to add to the fun, and in the off chance that Candyman is real, should I die in here, at least I know he’ll avenge me. Feel bad for the princess though, because no one survives the Candyman. In the mirror, I see the usual site, a rugged handsome man with a twinkle of insecurity in his eye, but then, that image disappears and the mirror is now blank. What is the message here, is it to look inside myself to see the emptiness, or is it that the whole world is an illusion just like this mirror.. oh wait, someone is now standing on the other side mirroring me. No message, just waiting for the guy to switch out. This man is an excellent replica of me, and he is very good at trying to mimic my movements. I touch my nose, he does the same with impeccable timing, I scratch my ear, he is right there. I perform my favorite Japanese kata, he knows it well. I touch my nose then mouth rapidly, he’s still there. So I jab my own eye, he fakes it, you can’t fake tears. He tells me enough charades and goes into his spiel. I am to believe that he is in fact me and that I am the reflection in the mirror. My entire life is just waiting on the other side of a mirror for him to look into. He tells me facts about my life that I have long forgotten. The drugs are in full effect, my mind is starting to accept his story, I am slowly losing my grasp on reality. This man is very convincing, but I know one event the internet cannot have told him about me. I ask him what was the princesses finishing move, he knows he’s caught and does his best to make up an answer.
“The Crab” he says.
How did he know, is my entire life an illusion, am I not the world’s foremost preeminent professional adventurer. I can see behind me that the room is slowly melting away, the man in front of me now has an unnerving grin across his face. He has raised my former pistol and has it trained on me. There is an ominous laughter coming from every direction. My grasp on reality is nearing the end. It has been a great life, I have been in far more harrowing of ordeals, but I cannot fight the mind like a pack of lions, no, because I only fight to kill, and it’s against my religion to kill myself – the religion of survival. I am trapped in a conundrum. I curl up into a ball and begin to weep uncontrollably. I scream out “make it stop” to no prevail. I have lost all hope.
Just then, I hear an all too familiar war cry. My daring princess smashes through the wall like a ravenous Kool-Aid Man, she has abandoned the flail and now carries a scythe which she quickly uses to decapitate the head of my imposter. His blood splatters everywhere, adding to her already blood soaked body. She takes the head and adds it to her belt collection – five kills, she’s been busy. She scoops me up and carries me out kicking through an onslaught of attack hounds that had been released. She makes her way to a third story window that looks out over a cliff. She tells me that I must jump and try to avoid the rocks below. I ask her if she will join me.
“No” she replies, “I must find another way out so it’s not all awkward later.”
With that, she gives me a memorable goodbye kiss then pushes me on my way. It’s a long fall to the icy water below, but I am entranced by her kiss and only remember in the last moments to make way for the rocks, there were a lot of them.
I swam over and commandeered a nearby boat. As I sailed off, I could hear her war cry in the distance. In the end it was she who protected me through the night, perhaps if she hadn’t found me crying of the floor, she would be sailing off with me. Oh well, she may be too much woman for me, besides, she has royal duties to attend to, me, I have surviving to do, and these, these are shark waters. Bring me a storm God.