Extracts from Dogtooth Chronicals – At Odds


Wolfgang, the World

 The little bearded man known as Tobias Roe was at odds with society.  He could see himself too easily becoming his parents, arguing about mortgages and convincing themselves that because they used a chiropractor, they hadn’t very quietly and gradually become that alien of things – ‘conservative’.

It was easy to idealise, when you were young, but now your bones creak, and you have to worry about pensions, and providing a future for yourself.  The wilderness absolves this very quickly.  The wilderness tells you that you will die when you are no-longer physically able to hunt and gather…  Your demise will not be drawn out into a pitifully banal tale of incontinence and hip replacements.

There will be no hospital bed, and sense of doom, just the sky and the land, which will suck the last of your sprite out through your irises.  Through the little specs amongst the colours that join so easily with the wind, once the moisture on your lenses has dried to glass.  It might be a slow, lonesome death of starvation or illness.  But it is noble nonetheless, and not so slow and lonesome as living in a flat by yourself, with a special red button to press, should you take a fall.

I read a book written by young Toby Roe and it stuck with me.  Whether he really ever wrote a book I cannot say.  For it echoed so much of Farley Mowat and Jack London, and H. Mortimer Batten, it may have only been an amalgamation of these that I had somewhat dreamed into being.  For all those books and pictures seemed to merge, seemed to speak in turns of the character Nether Ed who Cassie had written of, which in turn reminded me of Cuan’s little skeletal scribbles.

Indeed it could’ve been young Cassie Siddal who dreamed us into significance. She had all the freckles of a Greek goddess of stories and trees.  I think it is funny that the term Raconteur is so very masculine, it describes a ballsy chap stood in a pub, surrounded by eager faces that laugh and listen (with that bird man on his shoulder).  The pages of Lissy Siddal’s stories are half finished and read only by educated squid.  In fact it is not peculiar at all that the word raconteur is so masculine, it is just very bloody French.  But then I would speak ill of the ‘cheese-eating, surrender monkeys’; it was a Frenchman that stole my wife after all.

At some stage in youth we all reach a certain wall, one that is too high to be scaled with the merest of tools our upbringing has laden us with.  I’m off track, I think I was trying to justify lunacy somehow, but I’ve forgotten how, I’ll come back to the wall presently.

Firstly, know that the jolt you experience as you transcend dream to wake – that is your death inside the dream.  That is your soul leaving the dream to return to your waking life.  You will feel that same jolt when your soul leaves your body, this I am sure of, but when it comes to death and the great beyond, that is all I am sure of…

I felt that that was so profound, I then pondered if I was already on page 42…had all of it passed so quickly?

…And Toby Roe.  He had long put aside the path written for him from university into a steady job.  He was walking in the wilderness amongst the wolves and bears, who like man in his hungriest, barest form, could turn on him and take his life.  As dangerous and fearful, some might say, as crossing a busy road every day, so bored with your routine that you barely pay attention to the traffic.  Never lose your fear of the big metal beasts (Toby would advise), for all their gleaming beauty and hypnotic yellow gaze, they are predators.  And push come to shove, if that Toyota is hungry, you are lower in the food chain.  But like the wolves, most of the time you’re pretty safe, he’d rather quaff petrol than human blood.

Most of us are too acclimatised to our society and comfort zone, to do little more than daydream of the wilderness, but Toby’s comfort zone had become the wilderness.  He was inside the changing seasons, the routines of the migrating creatures, the multitude of insect life which held the planet’s eco-system together.

But he’d once had the guts to leave humanity to their lot, and go into the unknown, and now he felt it time to summon up those guts once more.  For all his disillusion with the human race, they were just animals, and he had more than a little affection for a few of those animals he’d left behind.

Back to the wall.  You may know the wall already, you may have conquered it, or it may have cowed you.  We have all been cowed, or will be, no one can be sure of their breaking point until they are broken.  To be cowed is not to be conquered though, the cowed can get back on the horse they fell off.

I have spoken…and it is so.


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