I’ve always been a people person. They make me tick. I find it important to maintain that front of dependability and wisdom so that people know that they can turn to me. I carry out several roles in public life. I am a school governor, a non-executive member of a hospital trust, a trustee for a charity involved in helping the homeless and a committed Rotarian. I draw tremendous satisfaction from undertaking these roles. Happily for me, my useful contributions to the various boards and organisations also means that I receive delicious fuel from those I work alongside and also the grateful beneficiaries of my largesse. I know a couple of people think that I am quick to cut-down unproductive suggestions and destroy pointless ideas but we are all giving our time voluntarily and rambling meetings serve no purpose, other than to irritate me. I need to drive the ideas forward and foolish comments are contrary to achieving that. I don’t get involved amongst the foot soldiers though. No, I am never going to be doling out soup and bread at the street kitchen or leafleting on a cold night, that is for others. I am far better suited to the bigger picture, the grand design and orchestrating campaigns. I am a leader.
This public face also enables me to ensure that should any of my crazy victims ever try to make trouble they will face an uphill struggle. I have at least one lieutenant in each of the bodies I detailed above. Their unswerving loyalty prevents any attack on my standing with the organisations I belong to. Moreover, such a generous and committed individual to service such as me could never carry out some of the defamatory allegations these deranged individuals come out with. Of course, presenting such a charitable face to the outside world is very tiring and that mask becomes so heavy so I am substantially relieved to remove it once the front door has been closed. Unfortunately for you, this means you are left in private with what lurks beneath. Try and tell anyone about what I do to you and you will not be believed. A behemoth of the community such as me cannot be touched. You would do well to keep that in mind and do as I say to avoid me having to unleash my rage and besides I can’t be long, I am meeting the Chief Constable for a drink at the golf club this evening and it would be very irksome if your behaviour made me late wouldn’t it?
Chances are you are reading this on your mobile ‘phone, a tablet or a laptop, enjoying the mobility that is provided by accessing content such as this from an electronic device. You might be at home, curled up on the sofa or you quite possibly are reading this sat on a stool in the kitchen waiting for a pan to boil or a microwave to go ping. Alternatively, you may be on the bus or train, perusing this latest piece of writing with other people nearby and passing you by. Can you see the bus driver? You can. How did you know that it was him? By virtue of his position at the steering wheel of the vehicle, obviously. His uniform and company livery on his shirt, jumper or jacket might also tell you his role. You may be stopped at a station or some traffic lights and you can see a police officer handling an enquiry, marshalling the traffic, handing out a ticket or just casting a watching eye over the world around him or her. How did you know that he or she is a police officer? The uniform stands out most distinctly, as it is intended to do. Easy to spot isn’t he?
How about the man sat across from you? Who is he and what does he do? He is engrossed in the content of his tablet but you can see that he isn’t reading but is looking at some charts. An analyst maybe? A salesman checking his sales performance? A statistician looking over the latest data concerning crime rates in the city? He could be any of those couldn’t he but you could make an educated guess as to his role. What about the lady who is getting on the bus now, what can you tell about her? She is struggling with a buggy and two large bags of shopping as she is ensuring a toddler also clambers on board. Most likely a housewife and clearly a mother. You can see a wedding band on one of her fingers so she is married. Her husband is probably at work as she attends to the running of the house. You have gathered all that in a moment.
Perhaps you are walking home and as you scroll through this article you notice that someone is walking behind you. You lower your ‘phone and look over your shoulder to see a well-dressed gentleman walking briskly along carrying a briefcase. You do not regard him as a threat and you resume looking at your ‘phone as he catches you up and then passes you without incident. Your assessment of him was proven correct. Just like the time you approached a subway late at night and saw half a dozen tracksuit wearing youths hovering nearby. You were taller than them and older than them but something about the way they were stood made you realise that they were looking for trouble so you decided against taking the subway and found a different route albeit longer and circuitous but your safety mattered more than your aching feet.
You evaluate and assess everyone you meet. In conversations with friends you sit and listen and look for visual cues that they are interested in what you are saying. Poker players scrutinise their opponents as they look for the “tells” to assist their gameplay. Boxers stare into one another’s eyes before the bout begins seeing who will break off the stare first and concede a psychological advantage to his opponent. Judges watches witnesses carefully and through their facial expressions they are given hints as to whether the witness is giving his or her evidence in a truthful manner, this observation allowing the judge to assess the veracity of the witness. In bed with your intimate partner you will watch their face and listen to the sounds they make to ascertain what is working for them and what you should do more of. You can tell by the way somebody is walking through the office that with shoulders hunched and head down they are not in the mood to be approached and asked a question about a forthcoming meeting. That person in the corner of the room at the party is staring at the floor feeling too shy to speak to people. Each and every day you assess hundreds of people and make an instant decision as to who they are, whether you like them, whether you want to help them or if they present a threat to you. You instinctively know that certain ways the eyes look amounts to a warning, the slope of the mouth denotes irritation, the tilt of the head confirms a certain cockiness. The way someone stands, sits, walks and gesticulates all tells you something which you process in an instant. You gather so much from a lifetime of watching nostrils flare, lips thin, chins jut, brows furrow and eyes widen. Assessment after assessment is made and invariably accurate ones which enable you to negotiate your way through the day, through life as you interact with so many people in your private life, in business and socialising. You are highly adept at reading the signals, working people out and anticipating what will happen next. It is a highly developed and impressive skill.
Why do I cheat? I have lost times of the number of occasions where I have been asked this question. It has followed me from my youth, the same question hanging in the air as if uttered by some spectral accuser that never leaves my side. I would play board games with my siblings and invariably they would end in shouts as I was accused of cheating. I never admitted doing so of course. Such an admission would be weak and I know that once you admit to something you become tarred with the same brush thereafter. As I successfully cheated through games of Monopoly (I played the banker and the bank’s notes would invariably drift into my pile), Cluedo (I peeked at the cards before I inserted them in the envelope), Chess (I would distract my opponent and move the pieces to a more advantageous position) and Snakes and Ladders ( I would jolt the table and then move the pieces back into slightly different places, for example moving my piece past the large snake in the centre) I revelled in my victory. To me, the means always justifies the end. If those playing were too stupid to notice what I was doing or they lacked the guile to do likewise, well, that was their problem wasn’t it? Nobody gives you an advantage in this world. I learned that at an early age and I learned it quickly. If you fear that your army will succumb on the battlefield, then change the battlefield. Is your opponent stronger and taller than you in a football match? Kick him hard early on in the game or subject him to a vicious nipple twist as a corner is coming in. It will soon put him off his stride and affect his performance.
My early experiences provided a solid foundation as I grew older and embraced the world. Everything is up for grabs and history never remembers the loser. Break into where the exams papers were kept to gain an early look at them? Why not? Advise other waiting candidates for a job that you are a shoe-in as you golf with the interviewer and watch them slink away not wanting to waste their time. Drug test? Handy I know a paediatrician who will sell me pure baby urine to evade any issue there. Renege on a deal? Complain about the service even though it has been exemplary? Insider trading? Yes, yes and yes. If I don’t do it then someone else will and they will then be succeeding where I should have and I cannot have that. My natural intelligence and charisma aid me in extracting every advantage I can by fair and more usually by foul means.
Before you wag a sanctimonious finger at me, take a look at yourself. You never handed that money in to the police that you found in the street did you? When the sales assistant gave you too much change you remained silent. How many white lies have you told? I know you used a relative’s address rather than your own to ensure your child got a place in that prized school. Called in sick when you could not face work after a heavy session drinking? Yes, I thought you had. I’ve seen you park in the disabled bay at the supermarket when it was raining. You have repeatedly cheated and you are worse than me. I at least admit I do it. Hell, I even recognise I have to do it to get what I want, but not you. You deny you have done anything wrong or you mitigate your behaviour by declaring that everyone else does it and therefore why shouldn’t you?
I don’t know why you do it. Perhaps it is because you are bored and want to generate some excitement. That does not make you too different to me does it? The need to excite, the need to cause a reaction. I know why I do it. First and foremost I am entitled to succeed and I must always be seen to be winning. Secondly, the expressions of dismay and indignant protests at my conduct (especially since I am untouchable) cause me to surge with power as they fuel me. Now, you must excuse me; I have some money markets to rig and they close in an hour.
Oh no she is not. Whilst it is entirely the case that we will have friends, both in the inner and outer circles who are of the opposite sex, you should be aware that whilst that may be their current status, in terms of their ability to provide us with fuel, they once had a different status. The key word here is “just”. We say this to emphasise that this person is a friend and nothing more so don’t think you can pin any blame on us. The reality is that this person was once an intimate partner and has been demoted to a friend but is very much still in play. We keep them hanging on in the hope that they believe they will be reinstated and thus they keep providing us with fuel. Secondly, she will be used to triangulate with you both now as friend v you as intimate partner and later as reinstated intimate partner v you as discarded intimate partner. She will be keen to usurp you because she wants us again. She wants the golden period again. She is the competition and we encourage it.
She’s just a friend, again.
Look who is back? Actually she is not, she is someone else but she fits in the mould of being described as “just a friend” to you in order to deflect those accusing looks you are giving us. Once again this person will be an inner or outer circle friends, maybe “just” an acquaintance but we have plans for her. This is your replacement who we are busy seducing, as we once did with you. This is the person who will be providing us with fresh and invigorating fuel after we have cast you down from your pedestal. It is coming, believe me. This is the competition. Again.
I am so proud of my son/daughter
I am a high achiever and I expect my children to follow in my foot-steps, after all, they are just a part of me, extensions of me and I expect them to do as I desire, rather than find their own way in life. I will push them to succeed at school, in sports, with music and so forth because their achievements are actually my achievements. My son graduated with honours; he gets his brains from me. My daughter won the county athletic championships; I was always an excellent runner. Those achievements are down to me and I will take all of the credit for them , pulling the spotlight away from them and onto me where it belongs. I am not proud of them at all. I am proud of myself.
She abused me
Your predecessor was a horrible person. I did everything that I could for her. Everything. I gave my all for our relationship and how was I repaid? Lies, control and abuse. She stopped me seeing my friends, stole money from me, told lies to my boss so I lost my job, hit me and made my life an absolute misery. I escaped her and she came after me because she cannot ever let me go. She will always want to cause me problems. She seems to thrive on it. There is clearly something very wrong with her since she behaves in this way. If you ever meet her, watch out, she will tell you all manner of lies about me. Don’t believe anything she says, she is evil, pure evil.
Did I mean my ex? I was talking to myself again there.
He is a close and personal friend
Yes that famous actor over there. Do you see him? Yes, that’s him. He is a close and personal friend of mine. I have known him for years. He thinks I am great. We have such a great time together. Of course he is often busy so we do not see as much of one another as we would both like, but when we do, boy do we have a fantastic time. I could tell you a few stories about him, but of course I won’t, I am the model of discretion you see. We met at a film premiere some years ago, I forgot which one precisely, but we hit it off straight away. I always do with people, I am just a people person really, great at connecting with people. I know quite a few famous people to be honest but I do not like to talk about it too much. Will I go and say hello? Of course, he will be probably come over to talk to me in a minute after he has spoken to his fans. He likes to get his obligations out of the way before talking to his real friends. Let me tell you about some other famous people I am friends with whilst we are waiting.
My family are trouble
It is a terrible fact but my family are trouble. I wish it was not the case. I wish they were more like yours. You seem to have such a good relationship with your parents and your brother. I don’t have that with mine. It is all down to jealousy you see. Terrible isn’t it? Do feel free to feel sorry for me. Good, thank you. Yes, I have always been the achiever of the family and for some reason, rather than support me and praise me for my endeavours I get nothing but insults, cold shoulders and nastiness. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do, it is always the same. I get no recognition for the sacrifices I make. I get no understanding or compassion because they are all self-obsessed, too busy screaming “Look at me” to care about me. I haven’t had it easy you know? I may appear successful and brilliant but it has been a tough slog to the top and they have not helped one bit. I hate them. I know I shouldn’t say that about them but you would say the same if you had been treated the way I had. I am afraid you will have to meet them at some point, they will seem all sweetness and light at first, but don’t be fooled. They are evil underneath.
He is a liar
Him? Oh we were once really good friends but not anymore, not after what he did to me. I lent him some money, quite a lot actually. He had hit a difficult time with his job and this meant that his bills were not being paid, at least that is what he told me. I later found out he had gambling debts and rather than use the money I lent him to clear those debts. I would not have minded to be honest, he went and gambled it away and made the debt larger. He came back with some sob story about needing the money for a medical bill and me being the caring fool I am was taken in. What did he really want it for? Oh you guessed it, more gambling. I am such an idiot but I cannot help but try and help people out. I had to say no to him after that and do you know what his response was? Rather than understand and be thankful for all the help that I have given him, he starts telling people that I am the one who owes him money. Can you believe it? That’s why I have nothing to do with him. He lies all the time so watch out as he is bound to try and turn you against me. Thank goodness I got to you first.
It is testament to the intensity of our love-bombing, our seductive charade and the illusion that we create that you feel that we are heaven sent. Nobody compares to us either before after. Our love is like the sun. Vast, burning and immense, so bright and you, like most things on this planet, come to depend on it. The brilliance with which we make you ours by the carefully constructed and elegantly orchestrated ensnaring means you do not notice what is happening to you. All you know that is your dreams have come true. You are whisked off your feet, made to feel special and lifted up on high. And why not? You are indeed special to us. We chose you. From all those appliances out there, from the thousands upon thousands we targeted you, we researched you and we dedicated ourselves to capturing you. That is how special you are. You are particularly special because you are elevated to the position of being our primary source of fuel. What greater honour could my kind ever bestow on someone? You are my life blood. Without the fuel that you provide to me each and every day, succulent, potent and plentiful, I would no longer exist. No wonder I worship you when I first find you. You are the answer to my fears. The destruction of the construct is a terrifying matter to contemplate and I will do anything to ensure that this does not happen. You are instrumental in achieving this and it is through your fuel that I am not only able to exist but function, conquer and attract. You are so important to me that you provide the fuel that allows me to draw in even more fuel. You are the catalyst for all my endeavours, my machinations and my schemes. You are the driving force behind everything that I do, my successes, my ambitions and my achievements. It is because of you I am able to illuminate the world with my brilliance. Now do you understand why my seduction of you must be so absolute and intense? You are my saviour, you are everything that I need and accordingly I must capture you with all due expedience so that you are not plucked from my grasp by some other pretender. It is through you that I am able to transcend the mediocre and mundane, how those words make me shudder. My seduction is borne out of a great ravenous hunger. I need you. To acquire you I must take you closer to the heaven than you have ever been. Does it matter that I do so through the construct of an illusion so long as it serves that purpose to ensnare you? You are worshipped, adored and idealised – who would not want to be revered in such a manner and by one so talented as I? It is a match that was forged in heaven – you give me what I need and I give you what you desire. It makes perfect sense and this ideal matching of you and I must always come to pass. It is written in the stars above.
I pin all my hopes on you. I put every ounce of effort into acquiring you. I strain my sinews, polish my charm and burn brightly in the hope and expectation that you will provide me with the outstanding fuel. You do not disappoint. At least not at first. Yet, the time comes when the fuel sours and becomes stale and that is why my treatment becomes so awful and horrendous. My malice is driven by your failure. Our immortal union was in touching distance. I had you at the gates of heaven and all you needed to do was to keep supplying me with that wonderful fuel. I know you tried. Goodness knows you have told me often enough about all the things you have done and how you tried over and over again to make things work. You were not the only one you know. That sense of having been so close burns through me and the fury that is unleashed is so virulent I am unable to control it and thus it must be spewed over you, drowning you in my hatred, my bilious venom oozing across you, trickling into your open orifices as I seek to smother you in my cloying evil. You promised so much. That is why I promised so much in return. We got so near but then you faltered, you floundered and you failed and it all came crashing down. If there was a different way, if there was some alternative which meant I did not have to unleash hell against you, then perhaps that would be chosen instead but there is not. I know no other way than that which is meted out to you when it all comes crashing down. I cannot control it because you threaten my existence by your failure and I must turn to other means to secure and preserve my existence. I obtain other sources of my precious fuel to avoid my extinction from your negligence.
I wanted to give you the world. I wanted to take you to heaven and because of your failings we had never been closer to heaven and then we had never been further away. Why did you do it to me?