'And you know nothing about the keys Mr Chaterlaine. Keeper of the keys.'

They were both starting to piss me off now. Nathan was grinning like a fat Cheshire cat.

'What the fuck are you talking about? Just spit it out fucker.'

'Remember that talk about the mobius strip? January 2005 in the Potters. Time, chopped, looped and intersecting? And all those nights on e, acid, whatever, when we spoke about the 8, a c-stream, a flawed loop?.

I wasn't going to like it.

'You've just come thorough a bruise my friend - remember school, remember chopping up the strip four or five times, think of the intersections, think about time, events, reasons why things happen. The bruises are where we exchange, the gates. I may be a irresponsible, drug taking, womanising prick to you but I've been doing this for 1000's of years. The world hasn't always existed in your bubble. Your bubble has existed in the world - briefly. I was mates with Khufu you know. He had a bad press but he was good value.'

'You met Cheops once, dickbrain. You got pissed at his post invasion banquet in Libya and then proceeded to vomit all over the captain of his royal army. And you tried to fuck two of his daughters. You only avoided a public stoning by jumping back to the 1980s. I lost you for almost an entire millenia.

Lauren obviously had not forgiven him for this monkey business.


'This is Guy. Strictly speaking cognomens aren't en vouge yet. But we're the elite here.'

It was Nathan

'M. Guida Pal. Cicero actually. Nova Roman you know.' The heavy gold bracelets spilling out from under his his thick hooded cloak said it all.

'I'm a guide too. That's what I've been doing for the last few years. Paving the way. There's a lot to talk about Jake.' Lauren looked guilty.

She handed me some wine. I gulped it. The mosaics were beautiful - Ancient Rome in Africa. Nathan, Guy, whatever his fucking name was, was watching me carefully. He couldn't stop himself from smiling.

'I've been waiting for this day for a long time' he grinned.

The full impact was starting to hit me. I was in another country, another time, in another body and the two people I thought I knew were giving me the distinct impression that what I knew was horseshit. This was nothing to do with drugs. This was serious. I finished the wine and demanded another.

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Brown paper

Up Jack got and home did trot
As fast as he could caper
He went to bed
to mend his head
with vinegar and brown paper

I remember the smell of straw and animals. Background chatter and women crying. Laughing. Always laughing loud and at inappropriate moments. Panda called it 'pub laughing'. People were dying around me as I stumbled after Lauren. Shadowy characters, this was my dream.

I was dragged half-blind into a half-lit stone corridor that went down and down. The flicker of torches allowed the the odd glance to get my bearings. This was the underground connection between the amphitheatre and the main Roman villas in the the town. Smashed and rebuilt before Tiberius extended his rule into northern Africa. Somehow it made sense.

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Pain - eyes. Red rims - need to open. Motion sickness. Gonna be sick.

'Get up, for fuck's sake get up you fucker'


'It's OK but we need to move now - quickly. You'll feel a little disorientated - it's perfectly normal.'

Legs, arms. They're not mine. Heavy.

The smell. Where am I?

'You need to take the weight of your legs. You'll be fine but we need to move. '

Whose legs?

'Jake - fucking move!'

Churning. I'm up. Fuck. Eyes opening.



Jake carefully checked the back of his mobile for some unseen detail, flipped it over awkwardly and dropped it. A surprised, feral-like squeak escaped his throat before he bent down to retrieve the phone from the floor. He keylocked the pad and slipped it into his breast pocket.

He tilted his head back and took in a huge gulp of air. His eyes darted about the full vista of the park and, when he was convinced that no-one was watching him, he pursed his lips, emptied his lungs in short bursts and blinked deliberately. Out, out, out with bad karma.

He reached the north end of the park, zigzagged through the gates, and felt for his phone again. He should ring Nathan.

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Our little place

(Jake: 3 June 2003)

I’ve just been to Alex Park and sat under the slide tower. Lauren and I shared many ‘moments’ here. This just 'appeared' on my mobile:

‘J, don’t panic but you’re in danger if you don’t follow this message to the T. Tonight you will revisit a dream. You’ll be in the amphitheatre at El Jem. Hide in the shadows – I will find you. Don’t try and find me. Go home, call Nathan and wait. "The statement on the other side of this paper is false". Lx’

I thought that life would start to make more sense without the prescription drugs. This sort of crap makes me panic.

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Read me!

(Lauren: hack to blog 3 June 2003)

LaurenSorry Jake, I needed to get a message to you urgently. I can’t explain now but if you see this before 12pm on 3 June 2003 go straight to ‘our little place’ at the park and turn your mobile on. Lx

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How to use human_salad

By now, dearest reader, you may have gathered that human_salad is a sequence of key events that lead to the final days of Jacob (Jake) Chaterlaine. Jake’s original blog entries have been republished here and punctuated with useful narrative by jofa_non. Bear with us - for the strands are about to knit together.

Thus far, Jake remains largley unaware of what is about to happen to him. He is about to find out that his prescious long-lost girlfriend is not who he thought she was. He will also discover that his dreamy little world of booze, drugs and perulie thoughts was just a simple distraction while others set things in place. Our friend is about to ‘stumble’ on the first c-stream intersection. Fear not, Lauren will be there to hold his hand – it is a love story after all…

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(Jake: 2 June 2003)

Food. It’s not been a bad day, work was an autopilot kind of situation. I’m just starting get the cramps now. THC will help, It always does. Hungry. Can’t be fucked to cook. Haven’t been able to get hold of Lauren, her mobile number’s not recognized. I think she took my email address, maybe she’ll drop me a line or something.

I’ve started to think about making a definitive list of celebrities that are annoying and shit. It could be useful for future reference. The hall of shame would surely include the likes of:
Dennis Norden (is he dead?)
Pauline Brant
Vernon Kaye
William Roach
Richard Blackwood
Davina Macall
Fucking Michael Winner
Richard Stilgoe

The above make people’s lives a misery on a regular basis and should be made to pay. I could go on indefinitely but I must seek instant gratification from junk food.

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(Jake: 1 June 2003)

‘I love you.’

‘I know.’

I’m going to write a series of short stories about the adventures of Han Solo. Hopefully, one will be made into a film. SOLO I’ll call the first one. He can shoot motherfuckers up, be cool, and screw space chicks in spaceships that he wins in card games. Fuck James Bond man. Han is hardcore. Casting could be a problem though.

I’m pretty chill about the whole thing but it was crazy to see Lauren again, I haven’t laughed so much in years. I want to eat her.

She’s just like Princess Leia.

Anyway, Nathan lent me The new breed on VHS. Better git me old man out otherwise I’m gonna go crazy. MDMA is coursing through me and I need to fuck. Anything.

I’ve been tasting goods both sides of the street,
In a phase of broken days,
I cut to be clean,
I’m ungodly – but serene,
Time is a stream

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James Anthony Barrett

James Anthony Barrett was happy with 'adminstration'. It wasn’t his fault that the key-stream had fallen into disrepute. He decided that it would have been ideal if the children had just blown themselves to smithereens rather than meddle in things they didn’t understand. Why should he give a fuck? He was eternally damned anyway.

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Want human salad with that mate?

Ancient civilisations were hookwinked by a succession kings and queens. The Son of Ra experience became a popular sabbatical. It became so saturated that nobody could remember the original chain of events. The framework of time had fallen into disrepute. The bodies had become vehicles for experience. It was a great shame. But it was evolution.

Human Salad was far more banal.

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(Jake: 31 May 2003)

Erm, Lauren's back in my life. Not sure if it's right or wrong. We found each other last night. It's a small world. Can't remember what happened to Panda and Mum.

I think we’ll eat breakfast and each other for the rest of the day. You’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts… Say hi Lauren...

Hi. Fix me eggs Jake and I'll Love you forever.

None this seems real.

Grow up. You'll understand things a bit better later on.

What do you mean by that? It sounds a bit freaky.

It is.

Are you a murderess?

For fuck's sake...

We finally got up around 2pm. I dozed and played with Lauren’s hair, got dressed, grabbed my keys and went to the shop for bacon, eggs and bread. She says my blog is childish.

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Nathan Judd

Nathan JuddIn many respects Nathan was quite a successful character. His well-paid job writing code gave him some very interesting connections in the hacking world and his wages allowed him a comfortable, two-dimensional, lifestyle. His turbo-charged Toyota MR2 was a hit with the ladies, as were his boyish good looks, charm and quick tounge. However, those that knew him well referred to him as a ‘bit of a cock’. His behaviour erred on the side of immature and he was renowned for his collection of T-shirts sporting cheesy motifs, including: ‘Barbie’s a slut (by Sindy), ‘Re-hab is for quitters’ and ‘Smoke crack, worship Satan’. He was wearing the latter when he found Jacob in the queue at the post office one hot afternoon.

‘Hey, alright mate?’
‘Alright. Um, Nathan isn’t it?’
‘Yeah. Good craic the other night eh, Jake?’
‘Yeah, sorry about that. I got a bit messy.’
‘Nah, that’s cool. Can’t fucking remember much apart from that fucking TV theme hits album on at full pelt.’
‘Jesus. That’s right, ‘bout 4ish that was.’
‘You were dancing to Minder mate. Those pills were lunatic.’
‘How d’you know Jonti then?’
‘Known him years. He’s alright – lost it a bit though.’
‘His bird’s well stacked isn’t she?’
‘Yeah, and she takes it in the Gary Glitter.’

The number of people queueing in the boiling heat was considerable and, thanks to the unsavoury conversation, tensions were running high for some of the older customers. Nathan beamed proudly and puffed out his chest for optimum T-shirt slogan effect as he caught the eye of the local rector who had just popped in to renew his car tax.

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Nathan and Lauren

‘He still has no idea you know’

‘Don’t panic, things are starting to click into place’

‘Well I suggest you click a few more things, Lauren – Fallen Fat Angel Barrett’s getting too close’

‘Yes, well you haven’t exactly helped have you?’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘I told you to keep and eye on him while I was away and what did you do? Feed him psychoactive drugs and mess his head up even more. All you’ve succeeded in doing is drawing more attention to him’

‘Don’t turn this shit on me. How else was I going to pacify him and keep him here? You were gone for more than a fucking year.’

‘There are other ways and means, Nathan...’

‘Just go and see him, your highness. Put him out of his misery’

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(Jake: 30 May 2003)

It’s not me, the world’s gone crazy. It’s my birthday today and I suspect that if candles are involved it would create a health hazard. Heh, Heh. Last night was fun but a dismal failure so far as casual sex was concerned. Four of us ended up going to Bar 22. I know… I know… but everywhere else was closing. The bouncer wouldn’t let us in because Jonti was too pissed. Too pissed to go into Bar 22 – for fuck’s sake, what the hell is the world coming to?

I had a good chat with Mum today. She’s a top lass and does part with golden nuggets of information now and again. I like the smell of her hair. It reminds me of being little. Alice bear came round too. It’s all been arranged for tonight. I’m not sure exactly sure what we’re doing or where we’re going but I’m looking forward to indulging in rough sexual congress with a nameless, painted harlot. Hot dang mumma, I’m coming home in a box

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Max penetration

(Jake: 29 May 2003)

I’ve had that roundabout feeling again today. It must stop at some point so that I can get off. Even Jaz Man mentioned the carousel in his disappointingly, sugar-coated shit, non-hit wonder. I think it would be in my best interests to listen to more rock music. Maybe I’ll dabble with a bit of Slayer to pep me up a bit before I go out tonight. Fuck that, I need Sex Pistols. I’m feeling a bit anxious and aggressive for some reason.

I’ve arranged to go meet Nathan and Jonti in town later – just a few drinks to ease me into the weekend. I’ll probably get a bit sauced and end up leering stupidly at young women in the mistaken belief that I’ll take one home and neatly fuck her on my kitchen table for maximum penetration. Oh, I can smell the cheap perfume already.

I must get this down quickly. It’s all to do with Lauren. I had another dream about her last night – well, at least I think it was her.

Walking and talking.
Pitch dark, ruined amphitheatre –
like the one in El Jem.
I was walking in straw, crossing a courtyard
Fuck, I’m back here again
Shadowy characters, gathered in corners.
They were looking at us and muttering.
A fat man stopped me and asked me for a cigarette and, for some reason, I said: ‘Sorry mate, I don’t smoke’.
He knew I was lying and became demonic.
He chased us into a room with peasants rolling about on straw.

I panicked and woke up at this point. I’d seen the revolting fat man on the train.

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Fallen Fat Angel Barrett

The fat man’s body was cumbersome and getting heavier by the minute – the gatecrasher was exhausted. He read the note one last time to memorise its contents:

Node: TN’51.5022’-0.1121’27.05.2003’17:56’
Loop: Ch005
Directive: Intercept and remove migrant. Erase diary. Destroy node visitation audit trail. Detain Lauren210572.

"The statement on the other side of this paper is false"

He was too tired to think straight. And he didn’t want to be back here. Instead of destroying the note, he flopped back into the seat and decided to rest his eyes for a minute or two.

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Spinning a yarn

(Jake: 28 May 2003)

It's a small world – I bumped into Nathan on the train last night. We had a bit a laugh actually, but it does unsettle me slightly that he’s fucked my sister. I know somebody had to do it at some point but he was the guy who took her cherry. He was Panda’s ‘first love’ and she was hung up on him for ages after he dumped her. I didn’t tell him she was gay these days.

It always throws me when people call her Alice. With great drunken enthusiasm, I told him the story of when she came home from school with two black eyes. He seemed vaguely interested and told me an equally exaggerated story of when he fell off a shed roof and broke his collarbone. Evidently, one of his mates had dared him to break into a deserted house up the road and have a sniff around. It turns out that the old lady who used to live there had gone completely mad and was dragged out in a straight-jacket a few years earlier. He reckons that the house was completely untouched – there was even food still laid on the table, covered in cobwebs. He was mooching around upstairs, heard some weird voices, bricked it and tried to get out of an upstairs window onto the shed. The twat fell off and had to go to hospital. We talked about drugs then.

Anyway, I went into work today and finished the article and sorted out a few other things. Pretty uneventful day on the whole really. I may have a quick look at Tabitha in my Buttman magazine in a minute.

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Le grand désordre

As the train lazily pulled out of the station, the protagonist (young Jacob for sake of clarity) stole his last glance at the myriad of blackened, crumbling town houses and graffiti-soaked railway properties. The view became an infinite loop of human salad – a huge demented battery farm. He tapped away at his laptop for a moment but his thoughts were interrupted by a rasping noise that escaped from the man sat opposite. The clitter clatter of the train’s progress caused the sleeping man’s limp head to jerk sporadically, painting a greasy '8' on the window with his dirty hair. Jacob’s initial feeling of amusement was replaced by one of revulsion as the man’s flabby jowls vibrated again and again, producing saliva that was starting to collect as a white froth in the corner of his mouth. Averting his gaze, Jacob’s attentions landed on a small slip of paper on the table in front of the fat man. It was upside down and the writing was very small.

He was too distracted with wandering puerile thoughts to digest its contents. Besides, his nicotine receptors had other plans for their host. He made his way to the smoking car to smoke – and render himself inebriate on warm cans of Stella. It was apparent, at this point, that the generic fat man was becoming increasingly slipshod in his work and had missed a perfectly good opportunity. His superiors would be pissed also.

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(Jake: 27 May 2003)

Today was divine payback for an unhealthy weekend and blagging yesterday off. I had to go up smoke to cover an expo in Angel. Luckily they had shed loads of media information to hand – just as well as I spent most of the time smoking rollies and drinking ludicrously overpriced coffee.

I’ve just got on the train back and, for once, I’ve actually got a seat. I’ll finish this later.

All I can smell is my chemical BO and the city slime clinging to me. I’m shaking like a shitting dog and need more sleep. I don’t need prescription drugs – I need a fucking drink.

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(Jake: 26 May 2003)

Sat on my fucking ass, drank Sainsburys’ American-style root beer and watched shit daytime TV. I should have worked today but feigned stomach-related illness on the basis that work is a contributory factor to my shaky emotional state – and being in a shaky emotional state gives me bad guts. In fairness, I did eject a wretched tide of diahorrea filth this morning but I think this had more to do with my weekend’s misdeeds than any non-specific ‘tummy bug’.

I sat through a bland diet of cringeworthy discussion programmes featuring moronic and misinformed members of the public, sugar-coated shit DIY shows hosted by twat-faced C-list celebs, soul-crushing news and thin Australian soaps. On the soap front, I did enjoy Libby Kennedy from Neighbours – she has great tits and a dirty wry smile that strongly appeals. I like her freckles too. Should Kym Valentine, who plays Libby, need a vacuous, scrambled egg-brain to shaft her senseless and put fruit in her arse, I’m definitely her man. Stephanie Scully is pretty foxy too but I’m afraid that she’s just not well endowed enough: tits like fried eggs. Oh baby Jesus, why am I so obsessed with crap female celebrities?

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The key

The C-stream (or key-stream) was a loop, or a channel. Phrenologists packaged it as the collective unconscious. The dualists couldn’t get past the ghost in the machine. The vast majority struggled to think outside their gorgeous little bubbles at all. But a few enlightened individuals devised a model in the form of a mobius strip. A continuous, linear timeline that, when divided, intersected with itself at historical events.

Some had been using it for prehistoric holidays since time immemorial.

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(Jake: 25 May 2003)

As per usual I’ve done fuck all with my free time. My afternoon ‘drink’ turned into several and then, by the early evening, it seemed entirely necessary for Jonti to score cheap pills off some bloke in the toilets.

Anvil on my lungs. I’ve cained all my pot and got a cold and sweaty feeling. I’ve not slept properly yet but had a strange waking dream.

It was monochrome and silent.
I was travelling on a train.
The interior was luminous white: tables, seats, fittings, everything.
A dark city looped past outside
in a cartoon-background-kind-of fashion –
deranged animals chase after each other with axes.
A woman slid in and sat opposite me.
She was looking over her shoulder and was trying to tell me something.
No sounds came out of her mouth.
An inspector appeared and she FREAKED.
It suddenly dawned on me that it was Lauren.
She was tired and older
but, still the beautiful green eyes.
The inspector dragged her away by her hair as she kicked and screamed.

It was all a bit fucked up really.
I’ve just looked in the mirror. My cheeks are rosy and I can’t stop licking my puffy lips. Surely it must be time for another toss? The phone seems to ring constantly but I can’t face any interaction today. Panda and Mum left messages.

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(Jake: 24 May 2003)

Cat Deeley is a naughty little blonde minx. Annoying? Yes. But she’s dirty. I caught a bit of CD:UK this morning and I’m convinced that the sparkly-eyed host is an animal in bed. Should she ever ask for my hand in marriage, I would have to gracefully accept. However, in the pre-nuptials I would insist that one of her A&R friends would give me a multi-million pound record deal as part of the agreement. Oh yeah, and that I could put her over my knee and smack her bare bottom whenever I fancied – and in public, should the need arise. She might go for it.

The sun’s shining right into my balcony this morning. It’s lovely and very life-affirming. I’ve had a dodgy rocksteady vinyl on at full whack this morning; a bargain at 50p from Help the Aged. Panda rang – she says that there’s a new girl started in her office who I would really like: dark, beautiful, intelligent, GSOH etc etc. I do love my sis but she gets on my tits sometimes. Shame she’s not mates with the Cat though.

Just going out with Nathan for a couple of cheeky looseners at the Potter’s.

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Need help with this?

The software had outgrown the hardware. That was patently obvious. The chink in the armour was that the software had evolved from the hardware. Inexorably connected. No visible means of escape.

Most of them looked in the wrong direction – and they gave it romantic names: death, high, heaven, hell, god, alpha, love. Some gave it a belief framework. Peyote shaman engorged in cerebral rapture were not ready not explore the other side of the room. They all worshipped the vehicle too much.

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(Jake: 23 May 2003)

I am now officially leaving the jam jar. I took the last tablet exactly 14 days ago. Do two weeks constitute an adequate reality/fog buffer zone? It may all be a touch melodramatic actually. In truth, I’m not sure I notice a whole lot of difference at the moment – apart from the odd electric shiver and the fact that I am experiencing the most painfully rampant sex drive since my teens.

Having unsuccessfully managed to decide what I wanted for dinner tonight, I’ve spent some three hours systematically smoking gear and cracking off over some dog-eared porn that I keep hidden away for just such emergencies. The need was so great that I ransacked the orderly little piles of papers and knicknacks in the loft and, in the process, discovered some forgotten pictures of me and Lauren.

After my sex fury had finally subsided I spent some time going through the holiday snaps. Lauren and I had booked a last minute thing two years ago. She looked so beautiful. I so fucked it up. I think I still miss her.

At this point I really should really try and do something constructive. Perhaps I could finish off that fucking song. No doubt I’ll spend the last hour or so drinking, and jotting down mindless buzzwords or drawing grotesque pictures of cocks in one of my special books. Chin up, it’s the weekend. It’s not all bad – I could be you.

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