With one hand down my pants, and the other on a cold beer, the horrors of the universe are born again in the tingle within my belly. It’s yellow and buttery like sand, maybe melting plastic, or the custard-like flesh of a girl I once loved who left me for some boy with a more impressive haircut than my own. I wonder where she is now, and to which beast she adores. Sometimes, I imagine her mouth on mine, and others, what she might look like on the slab—as hard and as cracked as the Liberty Bell, no doubt. One day, I shall be on the slab, too, and the nurses will point at my willy the same way they did Michael Jackson’s. I remember the day when I found out he had died. I was staying at my parent’s. My mother had been involved in a car accident. They had to cut her out of the vehicle and take her to hospital. One morning, while she was still there, my dad came into my room, woke me up with a cup of tea, and said matter as fact, Michael Jackson’s dead. When they released my mother, she had a cast on her leg, and I told her that maggots might fester beneath the cast, and when it came to her having it removed, doing so would reveal a colony of maggots that had eaten her leg down to the bone. A few years before that, when I was at university, but back for the summer, my mother walked into the same room on another morning to inform me that there had been a terrorist attack in London. Many dead. But not for the first time, and certainly not for the last. I remember the day I became an adult. It wasn’t the loss of my virginity, or some fight that saw me pulverise the face of a rival with a more impressive haircut, but the attacks on the Twin Towers. Watching the events unfold on TV, the bubble of my childhood well and truly burst. One minute my life contained the promise of sun-kissed moments not yet lived, and then, only sepia-tinged memories of what would never be again.