"To know the world one must construct it."
THE FIRST PART OF IT
by Bryan H. Joyce
A Tale From The Tavern At The Edge Of Nowhere
It had to happen. Victor and Brian came back. I tried all night,
but was unable to get their story out of them. Luckily, Richard
Thrum decided to break his silence and talk to Victor. They
didn't need the psionic device to talk to each other. After all,
Victor was a ghost and Richard was an, er whatever! What would
you call him? A disembodied intelligence trapped inside a
superconductor that had once been his own head? Surely there must
be a buzz word for someone like him?
I was on late shift the night Victor Torus and Brian Jones came
back. It was about nine in the evening when they came in. By
midnight Brian was blasted out of his brain by the vodka and
cider he had been rushing all night. He staggered off to the
'coffins' to sleep it off leaving Victor on his lonesome. The
Tavern was practically empty by this time. I hoped Victor would
feel like talking to me now that Brian was out of the way. He and
Brian had been trying to avoid me all night. Perhaps they were
trying to avoid a confrontation with me. The last time they had
been in, Brian had stolen some of the text from my journal. In
reality, I had more things to care about than the theft of some
disjointed ramblings. I was angry at the time, but that was now
so much water under the bridge. Mind you, that was weeks ago by
my time scale. It might have only been days by theirs.
Anyway, things got quiet so I tried to engage the ghost in
conversation. Things must have seemed odd to the few customers
who still hung about. They couldn't see or hear Victor at all. I
could because of the psionic device that hung about my neck. I
suppose that I could have 'thought' the psionic field bigger, but
it just didn't occur to me at the time. I had been given the
device by Alburt Greshin when he left Richard's head for safe
keeping. The device was the only way to talk to him - or so I
thought until now.
Unfortunately for me, he hadn't felt like talking in the two
months or so that he'd been here. Recently, I had begun to doubt
the validity of the story I had heard about the silvery looking
head that still rested on the shelf, above the mirror, at the
back of the bar. Right on cue, Richard decided to break his
"Stop tormenting the guy and tell him your story!"
"Huh!" I mumbled. Victor looked surprised too. The cheerful
deep voice had come out of thin air.
"It's me! The man in the mirror."
"What?" I said.
"It's the guy in the head," Victor exclaimed. "Brian told me all
about him! He read his tale in your journal."
The man in the mirror! How apt! I hadn't looked at it like that
before! Richard's head was not just silvery in appearance, but
was in fact mirrored.
"Yes!" he sniggered.
"'Bout time you put in an appearance," I said.
"I was meditating."
"For two months?"
"Yeah, for two months. Whatever. I've got eternity in here with
me. Time can pass like the flash of a spark. It's irritating
talking to so-called normal people like you. By my time scale
we've been talking for nearly half an hour. By yours its probably
not even been a minute. I don't bother talking to the likes of
you unless I have to."
"Charming!" I exclaimed.
"Don't be ignorant! Would you enjoy a conversation if an hour of
talk seemed liked days? Days of talk so slow that you could write
a paragraph between each of the other party's words? Eh?"
"Sorry," I apologised, "Why have you joined us this time?"
"To talk to the dead guy. I've never met a real live dead guy
before, so shut up and let us talk! You, what's your name?"
"Tell me your story and hurry up."
"I don't wish to talk to anybody about it at the moment."
"Stop pussy-footing about! You've heard my story. It's only fair
that you tell yours. I need to know. Hurry up!"
"No," Victor said, and meant it.
"Oh hurry up! If you tell me your story, I'll show you how to
interact with reality."
A handful of zed nuts rose smoothly out of a nearby dish. The
nuts separated and began to circle the ghost at high speed.
"Can you do that?" said Richard.
Victor was lost for words. So was I. Then there was the noise of
someone being slapped. Victor's head jerked to the side. His
white face was starting to go red where the invisible blow had
"Or that? Don't you wish you could touch things?"
Victor's mouth hung open in astonishment. He gulped at the air
like a fish.
"Do you want to be able to do that?" Richard repeated.
"Y...yeah!" Victor spluttered.
"Good! Then we've established a point from which to negotiate.
Tell me your story and I'll show you how to enjoy the rest of
And so it was that Victor and Richard began to talk in earnest
whilst I listened in silence. As Victor's story unfolded, I began
to feel an increasing sense of horror and disgust. The horror was
not directed towards Victor. He was a very unusual innocent
bystander. The horror was directed towards a monster whose life
Victor was forced to share for a while. A very human monster. A
monster by the name of Philip King.
* * *
Life began for me, in Scotland, sometime around the first few
months of 1982. I say 'began' because I wasn't born in the
conventional sense of the word. I didn't know the place in which
my self-awareness occurred and I didn't know the year. I've since
worked them out for myself. Brian Jones and I came from Scotland
in 1992. There's a naturally occurring doorway in time near Loch
Ness that leads straight to the Edge of Nowhere. Brian found it
the first time by accident. Since I am haunting him - after all,
he did kill me - I followed. The year 1992 is my point of
reference. The events that I'm about to relate happened
approximately 10 years previous, so the year 1982 seems about
Obviously, I wasn't aware of events occurring before that time.
I picked up some clues from the memories of my host, but most of
the background was filled in much later by Brian Jones.
Philip King and Brian Jones were the best of friends since
kindergarten. They were both science fiction writers. Brian was
quite good, but never attempted to publish anything. It was a
hobby that he enjoyed. He wrote very slowly. Savouring plots.
Using them only as mental jigsaws. Never feeling the need to
progress into the so-called big time.
Philip was quite the reverse. He was a rotten writer. He wrote
fast and often. He was obsessed with getting published. By the
time he was nineteen he had written ten really bad novels and
nearly a hundred short stories. His latest work was a play for
television called "The Last Night Of The Mobile Riot Club." The
play was about CB radio which had just been legalised in Britain
the year before. Years later - after all the nastiness - I had
the chance to read the manuscript. It was bloody good stuff! It
was the first time that Philip had drawn from life.
If the problem that he had for most of his life hadn't come to a
head and manifested itself so brutally in 1982, he might have hit
his goal and sold the play. His problem was simple. He was mad.
Had been for most of his life. I have been unable to trace the
starting point to his problem. He was a paranoid schizophrenic
who believed he was the most insignificant being on the planet.
His constant failure to get anything published reinforced this
warped self image. He took every failure as further proof of his
own unworthiness to live.
In 1982 he finally realised that he was mentally ill and decided
to get help. He used the time honoured gambits of telling his
G.P. that he had a friend with a problem and could he advise him.
The Doctor could only advise that his friend would have to admit
the problem to his own G.P. so that therapy could be arranged.
Philip admitted nothing and never talked about the matter again.
He would handle it himself. He wrote his worries down on a list
and looked at them for a long time. By his way of thinking, all
he had to do was prove to himself that he mattered to somebody
and he would be cured. Part of his illness was an obsession with
violence. He didn't use violence against anyone. It was all
imagined and directed towards himself. Everyone he met - even
Brian Jones - was the enemy. They all wanted to hurt him -
perhaps kill him. Philip decided that if he channelled this
violence outwards, away from himself, he would have progressed in
the right direction for a cure. He had tried to get fame through
his writing and failed. Now he deliberately set out on the self-
destructive path of infamy. He looked at it all quite differently
of course. He just wanted to be loved.
It was about then that I entered his life.
My first memories are decidedly odd, disjointed and frightening.
It was like scenes from a badly made film that had been spliced
together in the wrong order and played at varying speeds. When my
birth intersected that moment in Philip's life, our first shared
emotions were of total confusion and terror. The confusion came
from me. The terror came from Philip. He was in the King's living
room at the time and he was choking to death. He was choking to
death on sweet and sour pork. The key word is 'pork.' Remember
it. It might be of significance when I later tell you what manner
of being I am.
Here is what was happening at that point in time as related to
me by Brian Jones many months later.
"Bloody some walk that," Philip was saying, "Remember the
Graveyard? When the dawn came up? All that mist and drizzle? The
green damp gravestones? All very spooky."
"That's right," agreed Brian, "Near the golf course. I wanted to
wait there at the bus stop, but you were spooked and insisted
that we walk on to the next bus stop." He gave a laugh and took a
large gulp at his pint of cider which he was having with his
Philip put a tape into the video machine and pressed the play
button. The screen was filled with the hiss of white noise.
"Takes a while for the first song to come on," he explained.
"Wasn't spooked," he continued, "Just soaking wet and freezing
cold. It was better to keep warm by walking than standing for
half an hour waiting for a bus that would probably be late."
"Rubbish! You were spooked. First class brown trousers scared!"
He never answered this goading, just stuck a whole ball of pork
into his mouth and with much difficulty tried to chew it.
"Careful, you'll choke your self!"
Just then the video sprang into life and a song by an English
punk band called the Jam came on. They were singing about the
things that people did for entertainment.
"Hey, I like this one!" said Brian as he used the remote control
to turn the volume up.
"Spooked?" Philip mumbled quietly.
"What?" He turned the sound down again.
Philip didn't repeat himself. His face had gone a funny colour.
Sort of grey. His mouth was full of pork and hung open. With
glazed eyes he stared into space. Brian had seen Philip this way
once before. They had done a lot of dope together a few years
ago. Once Phil had dropped some Black Bombers and a few Mandy's
on top of some good quality LSD. Rather a stupid combination
really! Brian wouldn't touch the acid. It scared him. Phil had
freaked out on the stuff. He had looked then, much as he looked
now. Neither of the pair had done dope for years.
"Could this be what is know as an acid flashback?" Brian
thought. "You okay?" he asked.
The family dog, Bristlehound - who had been asleep in front of
the fireplace - woke up and wandered over to see what was
"Spooked?" He mumbled again. This time, bits of half chewed meat
dripped on ropes of saliva from his open mouth. The dog snapped
them up hungrily.
He coughed and then coughed again. Most of the pork fell from
his mouth with a splat onto the smoked glass of the coffee table.
In a flash, Bristlehound was on the table devouring the mess.
Philip collapsed onto the floor and started choking in earnest.
The dog thinking he was playing, jumped back onto the floor and
"No! You idiot! I warned you!" panicked Brian.
He stopped coughing and managed to get to his feet again. His
face had gone bright red and the muscles in his throat were
twisting spasmodically. After a few shaky steps he fell down
again. His right hand - now like a claw - raked through Brian's
dinner leaving lines of blood across the top of the table. Little
red magnifying lenses of blood splattering across the television
screen. Look again Brian? It wasn't blood. It was the red sweet
and sour sauce.
As if in slow motion, Phil's body hit the glass table top and it
shattered. Now there was real blood. Amazingly, it didn't come
from Philip. It came from the side of Brian's face as a small
spear of glass struck his left cheek.
Philip started to cough again and the dog began to lick his
face. By now, his face was almost purple. Brian panicked and
slapped the dog hard on the side of the face. With a loud yelp,
Bristlehound leapt away and ran from the room. Brian grabbed
Philip by the shoulders and shook him violently.
"Don't die in the living room!"
What to do? What to do?
"Don't bloody die you swine!" He turned him onto his side and
began to pound on his back. A final piece of meat flew from
Philip's mouth and stuck to the wall with a meaty slap.
He gave a last cough and then beamed an evil grin. Something
shaped from pure badness lay behind that grin. Something so
corrupt and warped that you wouldn't believe in it even as it was
killing you. He gave a gurgling, wet, painful laugh.
"Gonnie kill them all!" The voice wasn't his. It belonged to
somebody or something whose vocal cords were so rotten that they
had to bellow hard to form even the simplest of words. Brian's
blood ran cold and he almost fainted.
"Gonnie cut them! Gonnie split them! Gonnie eat them all up.
Gonnie do them good! Gonnie do them rude!" He began to laugh
louder and louder until Brian had difficulty making out any
words. Over and over again. "Kill them! Spill them! Slit them!
"Oh my God!" Brian gasped.
Philip suddenly shut up. His eyes bulged as he seemed to
consider for a moment. Then he spoke in that dead voice again.
This time it was just three word spoken with a period between
"Not. My. God."
"This can't be happening!" thought Brian.
Philip began to shout about killing them again. He ran the words
together forever faster and louder until the words became a
continuous throat-ripping screech.
"Stop it! Brian screamed.
And he did.
Phil's face changed - became relaxed and surprised looking.
"Wh...what happened?" he whispered, "My throat hurts?" He sat
"Stay still," Brian said shakily,"You've had some kind of a
choking fit!" His mouth was dry and he was visibly trembling.
"I'm okay. A bit shaky, but okay - 'cept for my throat," said
Phil fingering his Adam's apple, "Which is more than I can say
for you. Your face is bleeding. Your as pale as hell and
"Yeah?" He wiped the side of his face and looked at the blood on
his fingers. There wasn't much. "I'm not surprised I'm shaking.
You gave me some scare." He gave a watery smile and turned the
television off. Bristlehound entered the room slowly and gave a
"Aw, come here old girl! Sorry!" Brian rubbed the old dog behind
the ears. She forgave him and gave his nose a lick. She waddled
over and gave Phil's face more of the same treatment.
"What did you do to her?" said Phil.
"I panicked. She was licking your face and I slapped her."
"Why did you do that?"
"Like I said, I was panicking. Didn't know what to do. I though
you were dying."
"If I was that bad, why didn't you do C.P.R. or that thingamy
"It just didn't occur to me," Brian shrugged.
Shortly afterwards, Brian went home. I later discovered that he
was so upset by what had happened that he went straight to the
toilet and was violently sick.
When he left, Philip went upstairs and filled in his diary. As
he wrote of his choking fit, he laughed. I just watched.
24/October/1982 (Tuesday) Me and B went to the dole. It was
shut. Forgot that it was being moved yesterday. Checked the
letter they sent weeks ago. Not only had it moved, but my
signing date is now a Thursday. Bah! Got the CB antenna fixed
up yesterday. Its a 5/8 wave with a heliptical (don't know how
you spell it) ground plane. B was suppose to help, but the lazy
swine didn't turn up. I managed okay by myself, but my dad
wasn't pleased. I hadn't told him that the antenna was over 20
feet tall and would be stuck on a 22 foot scaffolding pole.
Tough! The screenplay I'm writing is going well. Did ten pages
of dialogue last night. Had a bit of a nasty turn today, but I
turned it to my advantage and scared the daylights out of B. It
was a bad choking fit. At the end of it, I put on a voice and
started shouting rubbish about killing folk. B drank it in like
the moron he truly is. I had trouble keeping my face straight.
I should be an actor instead of a writer. I've started dreaming
about light bulbs again. Wonder what it all means?
And those were my first memories. I wasn't scared because I had
nothing to compare those events to. In fact, the only memories
that I had were those of the host and I had yet to learn how to
access them. Back then, in my first few days of life, I lay
timidly at the back of Philip King's mind and contemplated the
Universe. Who was I? How was it that I could understand so much
without ever having been taught anything? Without ever having
learned a language, I should have been thinking in abstract
instinctive picture form. I was not doing this. I had a mastery
of the English language that was far superior to the host's? What
did I mean by 'host'? Where did I come from and what was I doing
here? Again, who was I? What was I? I would be only a few months
until I had the answer to that last question. The others were
When I learned how to access Philip's mind, I became very
frightened. The mind of a mad man is not a nice place in which to
live. Perhaps I could re-shape this dark tortured place? Prune
the memories? Mould them into clearer cleaner shapes? It would be
dangerous, but I could see a way. It would take a while to
research my plan, but a way did exist. Unfortunately, a few days
later, events forced my hand before I was ready.
It was a Saturday. It was a cold winter night. We were at a fund
raising dance organised by the local C.B radio club. It was held
in the Burlington Soccer Clubhouse. The soccer clubhouse was
pretty normal for any Scottish club except for its unusual name.
Nobody in Burlington would be seen dead calling it by its proper
name. An American business man had put a lot of money into the
club and insisted that the official name was the Burlington
Soccer Club. To all in Burlington it was always known as the
"You want a drink?" asked Brian Jones.
"Cider. Thanks," replied Philip King.
Brian wandered off to the bar. Philip took a pack of cigarettes
from a pocket in his coat which was slung over the back of a
chair. Removed one and tried to put the pack into his right front
trouser pocket. There wasn't room, so he put them in the left
hand pocket. There wasn't room in the right hand pocket because
it contained a large retractable modelling knife.
He lit the Marlboro, inhaled it deeply and looked the place
over. To the right of the table was a small dance floor behind
which was the D.J's booth. To the left was the main body of
tables and chairs. At the far left was the bar and grill. The
lighting was dim and the place was dusty. In places, the
wallpaper was patchy with damp. Even although October was nearly
over, a nearby poster still advertised last year's Christmas
panto. The music was quiet. Although there looked to have been
forty or fifty people there, no one was dancing. It was still
early. Just turned eight. Things would liven up later.
Brian came back. He had a pint of cider for Phil and a beer for
himself. He had also bought a double vodka each. He complained
about feeling very cold after the two mile walk. He had on a
dress jacket with a thin shirt, a tie and training shoes.
Everybody else had been wearing parkas or overcoats.
"Get that into ya," said Brian.
"Thanks," said Phil and threw the vodka back in one swallow.
"Don't mention it! The next round is going to be triples and
you're buying," said Brian.
"Right," Philip croaked, "That stuff is rough! You can feel it
doing you harm as it goes down. What is it? It's great!"
"Don't know. No label on the bottle. Just some cheap crap."
"They could get done for that."
"Shur'up moaning. You seen Sharon anywhere?"
"Nope. She'll not turn up."
"Who's that over there then?" he waved at a girl coming in and
she waved back. She was overweight, had on high heels and a denim
mini skirt. There was no warm coat for her either. Brian and
Sharon were peas from the same pod. Sharon was a server in the
chip shop in the shopping centre. She always gave Brian extra
chips. When she had mentioned months ago that she had a C.B
radio, Brian had went out and bought a legal 40 channel Amstrad
rig and a slightly illegal DV-27 antenna just so that he could
talk to her. Philip had bought a silver rod and a Nato 2000 rig
which was legal to own, but illegal to use - if the chips were
switched - anywhere in the world. This was Brian and Sharon's
"Eyeball the Nowhere Man!" shouted a deep voice belonging to a
short guy with a black beard. He left the bar and headed for our
"Right back at ya, Werewolf," shouted Philip.
"Who's your buddy?"
"This is the Slob," Philip gesticulated towards Brian.
"Right! I was talking to you last night wasn't I? You're the one
with the Amstrad squawk box aren't you?"
"Yeah. Excuse me a minute," said Brian as the went over to see
"Right! Is Golden Girl his seat cover?"
"Not yet," said Philip. 'Seat cover' was C.B slang for
girlfriend. Golden Girl was Sharon's C.B handle.
"Cancer stick?" said the Werewolf offering Philip a cigarette.
"Thanks," he said, taking a tube of tobacco, "Think I'm turning
into a chain smoker. I've just put one out."
"How is the Nato doing? Been down to the crypt yet?"
"Couple of times. Just listening mostly. Talked to a guy down
there called Mike. Can't remember his handle. Think it was a Ham
Jumbo he was using."
"Right! That'll be big Mike Miller. Handle's Judge Dredd."
"That was him."
"He's only been on the box for about a month. By Christ, has he
got some good equipment."
From there on in the conversation got even more boring. Names
like K40, Realistic, and Stalker Nine were thrown about as if
they were important. When they started going on about SWRing in a
tinfoil dipole and talking about ground planes, I decided to go
to sleep for a while.
When I woke up, the music was loud and lights were flashing.
Someone was going on about how his dog had ate concentrated
washing powder meant for dish washers and had died.
"How did it get at it?"
"A bag had burst at work and the boss said it would get rid of
the weeds I'd been moaning about. So, I took it home and dumped
it on the weeds. Stupid dog ate it. Probably its idea of a joke."
"Must have burnt its insides."
Philip wasn't listening to the conversation. He was drunk and he
was angry. The anger was directed towards two young women he was
staring at on the dance floor.
Near the disco lights the two young women were dancing by
themselves. They seemed - to Philip - to be about eighteen years
old, but he wasn't sure. They wore identical, but differently
coloured, clothes. One was dressed in blue, the other in red.
Both were blondes and wore yellow ribbons in their short hair.
They were dressed in flat shoes, fishnet stockings, short thin
cotton skirts and tight fluffy jumpers. Each time the disco
lights in the background flashed, their skirts went transparent.
"I've always had a thing for women in tight fluffy jumpers. Have
you ever thought about getting one Sharon?" said Brian.
"You!" Sharon slapped Brian's arm good-naturedly.
I searched Philip's memory of the events that had occurred
whilst I'd been asleep. Nothing interesting there, but I got the
names of the new people who had joined us at the table.
"Dirty bitches!" mumbled Philip.
"You're the dirty one Phil," declared a redhead named Sara. She
was the Werewolf's wife. Her handle was Lady Love.
"Com'on. Let's dance!" Sharon said and dragged Brian onto the
"Nice legs, huh?" said Ronnie drunkenly gesturing towards the
two young women. Ronnie was the Werewolf's real name. Sara gave
him a dirty look.
"Yeah," Philip agreed, hiding his anger. He knew that the young
women were deliberately taunting him. He didn't have a girlfriend
and they knew it. Somehow they had found out that he was a virgin
and were tormenting him. He knew that they were laughing at him.
They had deliberately positioned themselves so that he - and only
he - could see the curves of their thighs and their white panties
as the bright lights pulsed through the thin skirts. The fact
that most of the male eyes in the room were also watching the
same sight never occurred to Philip.
He looked at his watch. 11.00 pm. It was time. Time for what? I
could read his memories, but it was often difficult to read his
conscious thoughts. Maybe it was because I'd just woken up.
"Nature calls," he said to no one in particular.
The toilets were in a separate part of the building near the
ground floor fire exit. There was no one to see him go out of the
fire exit. He jammed the lock open by forcing a dead match into
the bolt housing and carefully closed the door behind him. He
waited. For what?
I looked in his memories and saw that six months ago, he had
waited in this same dark car park for someone to hurt. It was
over an hour before he chickened out and went home. Perhaps he
was going to go through with it this time?
After a few minutes a guy left by himself from a side entrance a
few yards away. Philip made as if to follow him, but a commotion
at the main entrance made him fade back into the shadows.
"It's the luckiest night of your life, pal," he whispered.
The commotion was caused by the same two women who had been
tormenting him on the dance floor. They were arguing heatedly
about something. Neither of us could make out what they were
"All right! I'll walk!" shouted the young woman in red.
"Well you can do it without your COAT!" screamed the young woman
"Keep it! I wouldn't go near your car if you payed me!" she
"It wouldn't be the first time someone payed you!"
The young woman in blue hurried to her car and the young woman
in red hurried off into the darkness. It started to snow.
Standing there in the darkness, Philip smiled and licked a large
dry snowflake from his lips.
"Bloody TYPICAL!" screamed the young woman in red's voice from
out of the darkness. "Snow! In October?"
"Perfect," smiled Philip.
He ran around the back of the Burlington Soccer Club building
and followed the young woman at a distance. She was mumbling to
herself and swearing a lot. At a crossroads of paths, she paused
and then headed for the park.
"Even better," he whispered, "Nobody but a fool goes through the
park at night."
When she got near the underpass that ran under the main road,
Philip ran up a side ally and crossed the deserted road. He ran
down the only path into the heavily wooded park. The trees were
too bare here. He needed the shelter of the fir trees just a
dozen yards away. It was pitch black, he skidded in a pile of
broken glass from one of the vandalized lights and fell over. He
didn't cut himself. He was only winded. Picking up a heavy chunk
of wood from a nearby vandalised park bench, he hurried into the
fir trees and waited.
Less than a minute later the young woman neared his hiding
place. She had stopped mumbling to her self and was shivering
already. He was also shivering for he hadn't brought his coat.
There was enough light for Philip to see that she looked
frightened. She was probably wishing that she had not decided to
take a short cut through the park. And then, she was gone.
Philip hurried after her. She did not hear his soft footfalls
behind her. The makeshift club was silent as it was raised. As it
arced forwards, it made a tiny wind-like sound. She didn't hear
it. It was too late anyway. I screamed a warning. No one except
Philip heard me. The wood split. Her skull did too. Philip caught
her as she fell and dragged her a few yards into the woods.
The snow stopped falling and the moon came out from behind a
cloud. He stood over her warm body and drank in the sight. I had
to watch too. I hadn't known her in life, but in moonlit death
she looked so innocent. She was beautiful. She didn't deserve to
die in such an ugly way. No one did. She deserved to be loved for
she was lovable. In that still silent moment, I loved her. I
wanted to cuddle her and tell her everything would be all right.
I wanted to rip away these last few minutes of time and make her
live again. I could not do these things. I am no time ripper and
I have no body to cuddle with. Neither did she.
Philip smiled. The adrenaline and testosterone buzzing through
his body felt wonderful. He felt like a God. I saw a misty figure
rise up from her body. The God didn't. I cried and he heard.
"Decided to make yourself know?" he said in his mind.
"You killed her." There was nothing else to say.
"I didn't think you would be back," he said.
"I've always hoped that I would meet you in the real world
Victor. And here you are."
Then I had it. I had been tinkering with his memories. For years
Philip had been using the Silva Technique of meditation to
explore his mind. In it, the person uses various relaxation
techniques and mind exercises to condition their own mind. The
participant imagines a place which becomes the 'office' of their
mind. In this office, they imagine a 'helper'. Philip's helper
was a character from a book he had written called, The Man In The
White Boiler Suit. The Man In The White Boiler Suit's name was
Victor Torus. I had adopted the persona of this character and
inserted characteristics of my own developing personality into
the memories of Philip's meditation sessions. I figured that this
would make it easy for me to slip 'live' into his next session.
Philip often took Victor Torus's advice. I had intended to do a
bit more tinkering with his memories, but now my hand had been
forced. I was too upset to think clearly, but I had to play
things by ear now.
"You have to turn yourself in," I said.
"Of course I will. Eventually," he said.
He unzipped the dead woman's skirt at the side and struggled it
down her legs. What was he doing? Then I realised...
"DON'T!" I cried, "Please don't!"
"Don't worry," he laughed in his mind, "I'm not a rapist I just
want the skirt to wrap the souvenir in."
"I need to leave a sign so that the cops will know its me when I
do the next one."
"Yeah. Nine or ten should be enough. Then we'll turn ourselves
in. We'll be more famous than Nielsen or Sutcliff. Just to prove
we're not sexist, the next one can be a guy. What do you think?"
"Obviously," he said, "Who else but a madman could have a
conversation with a fictional character he'd invented?"
I was too thunder struck to reply. How could he be contemplating
such things without me seeing them in his mind? Are human beings
"Suit yourself," he shrugged and removed the modelling knife
from his pocket.
It is impossible to remove a human jaw bone with just a
modelling knife. He also used a large stone as a leaver. The
cloth of the skirt prevented his hands being covered in blood. I
will not speak further on this matter for I am still deeply
revolted by it. On that cold painful night, so long ago - the
night of the first murder - I was so shocked by these actions, I
fainted. Thank you God! I didn't come round until Philip had long
finished his dark deeds and was fast asleep in his bed.
I cried for a long time.
I searched Philip's memories for my missing hours. It looked to
me as if he had got away with it. He had wrapped the young
woman's jawbone in the skirt. He managed to fish a polythene bag
out from one of the parks few remaining garbage cans. Putting his
memento in the bag, he hurried back to the dance. Removing the
match stick from the fire exit lock, he closed the door and
slipped into the toilets. Nobody saw him. He went into a cubicle
and locked it behind him. For a few minutes he sat there smiling.
"You in there Phil?" someone hammered on the door. It was Brian
"You okay? You've been gone ages!"
"I've had too much to drink. Been a bit sick," he lied.
He opened the door and came out clutching the polythene bag.
Brian didn't notice it. He was too concerned for his friend's
"Christ! What happen to you? You're a mess!"
"The hair kind of suffers when your head's down the bowl," he
"Tidy yourself up and I'll get you a coke. You'll soon feel
"No. I'm going home. Feel really bad."
"Give me five minutes and I'll walk you up the road."
"No. I'll go my self. I've enough money for a taxi. I don't want
to spoil your chances of getting off with Sharon," he laughed.
"Yeah. Great ain't she?"
"Could you phone me a taxi?"
"Sure. What's in the bag?"
"Some of my money fell out of my pocket when I was throwing up.
I thought I'd finished being sick, so I stood up and was promptly
sick again. All over the money," he lied easily.
"I felt too bad to wash the money here. I wrapped it in paper
towels. Fix it when I get home."
"I'll rinse it for you."
"I was sick again. This time into the bag."
"Yuk! I'll give you a fiver for the taxi. You can sort the money
"Thanks. Tell you what, I'll phone for a taxi myself whilst you
get my coat. Could you put the bag in one of the pockets?"
He took the offered bag carefully with a look of disgust. There
was no way he was going to look inside it. Philip went and phoned
a taxi then waited in the car park. Brian came out with his coat
and gave him the five pound note. It was raining hard. There was
no sign that it had ever been snowing. Philip quickly struggled
into his coat.
"You must have been really sick. I felt the bag squelch as I put
it in the pocket."
"I'll be alright after a good night's sleep. Sorry to spoil your
night out, man."
"You haven't. The best is yet to come," Brian smiled.
"Put it this way - earlier on - I visited that funny bubble gum
machine in the gents. When you see me tomorrow I'll be smiling a
lot," just then the taxi arrived, "See ya!"
Philip got into the taxi and told the driver his destination.
"Felt the bag squelch!" he sniggered.
"What?" said the driver.
"Nothing. Laughing at a joke I just heard."
"How'd it go?"
"You wouldn't find it funny!"
Philip King laughed all the way home.
When he got there, the house was in darkness. His parents and
the dog were spending the weekend at the family caravan in Ayr.
He stripped his clothes off and put them in the front loader
along with the dead woman's skirt. He placed the young woman's
jawbone on top of the washing machine and looked at it for a
while. There was a lot of meat still attached to it. Bristlehound
would have loved that. It struck him how ugly the thing was and
decided to do something about it. He ran the hot tap until the
water was warm and filled a small pot. He put the ugliness in the
pot and put it on the stove to boil.
Still naked, he took the modelling knife to bits and carefully
washed the pieces. He dried the parts and re-assembled them with
a new blade. He looked at the old blade for a while. It was
chipped and slightly rusty. It was long and scored with lines
where it was suppose to be snapped off and extruded from the
knife handle as needed. Wrapping the old blade in a towel, he
broke it into several pieces and put them into an empty beer can.
The can was squashed and put in with the rest of the household
Starting to feel the cold, he went a put on some pants and a
shirt. Still cold, he put on his bathrobe.
He went into the living room and turned on the hi-fi and played
the album "Bat out of Hell" very loud. He danced through the
album and then replayed it. Halfway through the second play of
the last song, he turned it off and went back into the kitchen.
The clothes had been cleaned and spun dry. The bone had been
nearly boiled clean. He had assumed that the teeth would have
fallen out as the meat boiled away. They hadn't. Taking some time
to pick the remaining meat from it, he polished the bone with a
dish towel and then wrapped it in the dead woman's skirt.
The water in the pot was dark and greasy. He started to pore it
down the sink and then stopped to consider. It seemed a shame to
waste such a rich liquid. What else could be done with it? He
realised the answer and began to laugh. Checking the cupboards,
everything he needed was there, lentils, stock cubes (not that
he'd need many), onions, carrots, potatoes and all the herbs. It
had been years since he had made some home-made soup. When it was
ready, he turned off the stove and left the soup to cool. Then he
went to bed and slept like an angel.
Next day, he poured the cold soup into freezer bags and hung
them in the freezer to harden.
Philip was in such a good mood that day that he decided to play
music over the main contact channel of his C.B radio all day. I
tried to talk to him, but he didn't seem to hear me.
Brian Jones came to visit that afternoon. Philip never asked
about Sharon and Brian didn't volunteer the information. He
wasn't smiling, so he couldn't have got lucky. He stayed late, so
Philip cooked him some dinner. Not that he went to any trouble
preparing the food. Just put a portion of frozen soup into a bowl
and heated it in the microwave.
"This is bloody great," said Brian, "What's in it?"
"Mostly lentils," he smiled, "And a secret ingredient."
"What's the secret ingredient?"
"Not telling. It's a secret."
Later that night, his parents arrived back from the caravan.
They enjoyed the soup too - Bristlehound truly loved it.
It was two days before some kids found the body. The news
stories said that it had been extremely mutilated. No details
were given. Within a few days, the word on the street was that
the woman's head was missing. Other rumours were a bit more
horrible. All agreed that part of the body was missing. One of
the rumours was that the victim's lower jaw was missing. Most
people discounted that one. Obviously, someone on the
investigating team had talked.
After the second murder - over a month later - the general
belief on the streets was that it was indeed the jaw that was
missing from the bodies. The popular press picked up this rumour
and hinted at a nickname for the murderer. Three weeks later -
the day after the third murder - one of the daily tabloids gave
the murderer a name. The name stuck.
B U R L I N G T O N J A W M A N
C L A I M S C H R I S T M A S V I C T I M
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.