Episode 1 – Storm
1)     Storm
Porktraddle is heard playing his old oil-tin ukelele
Poet:
All that summer there had been a nagging, fretting wind
So that, even on the clearest days, visitors on the beach had huddled behind wind breaks
And left early because of the fine sand
That rasped and scarified bare burnt skin
While the anxious surf sucked and sighed.
 
In a tumbling tin shed in the corner of a field above the dunes,
Beneath the crackling humming pylons
Buried behind barbed wire and brambles
Beset by gulls by day and owls by night
Eamon Porktraddle wrestles with a bigger problem 
Driven mad by the broken ring pull on his last can of Special Brew
Driven mad by the electricity in the air and the corrugated banging in the wind
Driven into darkness by the pictures he is seeing in his head
Driven into darkness by the visions he is seeing on the screen in front of him:
Dreams of life and death
And everything in between
Something just out of reach
Like the Special Brew inside its can
Something is fundamentally worng
 
Porktraddle:
Bloody bastards, bloody can.
Bloody Gulls and bloody owls,
Bloody sheets and bloody towels
Bloody spades and bloody trowels
Newton Einstein Heisenberg Heineken
 Newton Heineken Heisenberg Einstein 
Heineken Heisenberg Einstein Newton
Heinekin Brexit Trump and Putin
 
Poet:
This is the planet Kyarra where the voices of the mermaids sing to him when he can’t sleep.

Mermaids:         
Papa November, Papa November, Papa November.

Poet:
From this distant place he looks down on the whole of the universe and spies the tiny glow of the third planet circling an insignificant star in the remotest galaxy. 
He watches horrified by the seven and a quarter billion that inhabit that place.

Porktraddle:
I can see you.  I can see what you’re up to.

Poet:
Even from up here a foetid stink fills his nostrils making him gag and retch.
He cannot decide whether it is him or them. 
The owls, the gulls or the stinky billions
Is it Jeyes fluid and pine mountain fresh lavatory cleaner
Or the warm pustulance of his crawling underarm lice pits.
 
Porktraddle:      
I smell.

Poet:
He smells Fear filling the air with its rank stench. 
Fear crackles and sparks with an unearthly blue glow.
Fear of failure, fear of stuff, fear of washing machines, and fridges and Breville sandwich makers. 
Fear of Dyson vacuum cleaners. 
He hears people crying.  They fear death with no-one at their bedside. 
They fear fire and thought and hope and dreams.
They fear the darkness at night and the sunlight at dawn. 
They fear themselves and they fear other people.
 
They fear inadequacy and knowledge.
They fear the past and their trivial misdemeanours, misjudgements and debts that might catch up with them one day.
They fear the future with its tumbling into chaos
They fear now because it is neither the future not the past
And they are giddy with the nowness
They fear knowledge. 
They fear truth. 
They fear reality.
They fear the blame that is accruing to them for their inadequacies.
Most of all they fear emptiness. 
They are terrified of silence, of loss.
 
He listens to the seven odd stinky billion that inhabit the planet.
 
Porktraddle:
I can hear you.

Poet:
And the 7 and a quarter billion said:

The Seven and a Quarter Stinky Billion:
We’re a short time living and a long time dead
Give us this day our daily bread
We’re a short time living and a long time dead
 
When we were at school we were all mislead
We’re a short time living and a long time dead
We were told in school
To believe in Newton
And The whole of infinite universe of time and space will be predictable
We can live our life on rails
And sigh with pleasure at the end
A job well done.
But chaos theory, string theory, membranes
Throw up walls, gates, barbed wire entanglements
We are in the control of forces entirely outside our comprehension.
The equations no longer make any sense and nobody know what we’re meant to do about it.
When we were at school we were all mislead
We’re a short time living and a long time dead
 
Poet:
Truth is now an elastic membrane that stretches and reforms
Porktraddle extends his finger and aims at the people one by one.

Porktraddle:
“They cried to me in their hour of need and I did not answer them.”  She took all the money and the kids. She took the house, left me on the skids. Listen to me: There are no owls.  There are no owls
I’ll put you all out of your misery.  I ought to.  That would be kindest.

Mermaids:         
Papa November, Papa November, Papa November 

Poet:
The world he knows is slipping away from its inhabitants.
There is one last assay to be carried out.  One last test of himself and the Universe.  One more sacrifice.

Porktraddle:      
If only I could think what it is

Poet:
 If only he could drown out the voices of the mermaids.

Poet:
He can see the pullulating mass of rottenness
That promises to burst through at any moment
Porktraddle retches and gags
And at last he finds a screwdriver to open the can and he can sleep soundly.
 
Porktraddle:
Oh fuck.  It’s gone all over me.

Episode 2 – Beach
2)     Beach

Porktraddle is singing to himself

Porktraddle:
 When every day was filled with charm and fascination
But everything decays these days
And, falling earthwards in a daze, 
We see our lives as through a haze,
Crawling with the worms of putrefaction
 
Whoops.  Better out than in.

Poet:
On this, the last dawn of summer the air is calm and still.
A chill in the air says that nothing lasts forever.
              
Porktraddle:
See over there, those tattered tents
The circus of half baked intents
Containing the deranged laments
Of doubt and hesitation
The limping lions of lunacy
Have not divined that they are free
Cowed by the withering whips of literality
Wielded by the clowns of desensitisation
 
Poet:
The world changes, stretches, twists.
Mermaids cling to his arms with icy fingers.

Mermaids:
Come swim with us.  Swim with us.  Swim with us. Come on in.  You know you want to.

Porktraddle:
Leave me be.

Poet:
He feels the warmth drain from him
He shakes them off like a couple of toddlers.

Porktraddle:
Leave me be.  I’ve got work to do.

Poet:
Minute by minute a foggy greyness creeps up upon the land.
The sea is oystershell grey and mother of pearl smooth
and rustles slightly like the plastic bags he carries in one hand.
The bags will soon be full of
 
Porktraddle:
Empty ice cream tubs, cola cans, plastic glasses, condoms
Not used, thank God.

Poet:
And he thinks: 
Somewhere a clock is ticking.

Porktraddle:
Here who are you keep telling me what I think?  I got enough going on as it is.

Poet:
Come on Porkers you can do this.

Porktraddle:      
And don’t keep telling me what to do I could go on strike. Who are you, anyway?
Get out of my head.

Poet:
Come on.  You know it’s all in there.

Porktraddle:
I’m not listening.

But everything decays these days
And, falling earthwards in a daze, 
We see our lives as through a haze,
Crawling with the worms of putrefaction
 
Poet:
Porktraddle continues his work
Picking up the dew-sodden paper plates
And sauce-smeared tinfoil of last night’s blaring beach barbecue
Porktraddle tries to combat the chaos. 
To push entropy away into the dunes
To return everything to its pristine newness for the new day.
              
Porktraddle:                             
I’m not listening.
 
Poet:
Sometimes he comes across the personal props that the holidaymakers have dropped. 
 
Porktraddle:
A half full bottle of sun-tan lotion, a pair of sun-glasses,
a book as fat as an airport terminal, or a toddler’s pebbledashed beach shoe.
 
Poet:
Sometimes he finds a bottle of something left over from the party.  With the cork still in. 
But today he is disappointed.

Mermaids:
Come swim with us. Swim with us. Come on in.  You know you want to.

Porktraddle
You’re doing it again.  Filling my head up.  There isn’t any more room in there. Not more disappointment. Not with those blinking mermaids and the memories.

Poet:
Today there is merely a cheese sandwich still sealed tight in its wrapper.

Porktraddle:      
I can fucking see that. I’m not stupid. I’m going for a paddle.

Poet:
He kicks off one of his old worn sandals and clad only in his baggy green shorts he wades knee deep into the surf.  It is champagne cold although it is many years since he has sampled well-chilled champagne.  The surf does not know he is here every morning rain or shine.  Hail or snow or gale and late winter have not prevented him.
The mermaids sing to him from the surf.  They are singing of sadness and disappointment and a universe not complete. 

Mermaids:
Six, seven, eight, nine. Six, seven, eight, nine. Six, seven, eight, nine.

Porktraddle:     
For Christ’s sake.  Clear off.

Poet:
He bangs his head with his fist trying to block out their voices and folds the tin foil plate around his head.

Porktraddle:
Not yet.  Not yet.
Someone will always have to clear away the dreams. 

Poet:
He wanders back to where his sandal is lying.
The mermaids sink out of sight beneath the waves.
Porktraddle turns the sandwich over in his hands.

Episode 3 – Sandwich
3)     Sandwich

Poet:
Porktraddle.  Give me and opinion on this sandwich:

Porktraddle:
I know this. Used to know this…
The formula for cheese is:
Ementhal E
Is made from Milk M
Expressed as Curds of Casein – C squared.
E = MC²

Poet:
By an extraordinary quirk of coincidence, E=MC² is also a formula worked out by one Albert Einstein to show the equivalence of Energy and Mass.

Mermaids:
Sieben, neun, sechs, acht  Sieben, neun, sechs, acht  Sieben, neun, sechs, acht  Sieben neun sechs acht.

Poet:
So following Einstein’s formula, this gram of cheese is equivalent to the following amounts of energy: 24.9 million kilowatt-hours  Enough for a Breville sandwich maker to make:

Porktraddle:
300 milllion toasted sandwiches. At a value of…

Poet:
 £3,436,200

Porktraddle:
21.5 kilotons,

Poet:                   
that’s thousands of tons
of TNT-equivalent energy
Roughly the size of the atomic bomb used on Nagasaki
 
Porktraddle:
So, this cheese sandwich can be said to be equivalent to between 39 and 80,000 human beings.

Poet:
Mr Porktraddle.  Mr Porktraddle.  Room Nine, please.

Porktraddle:
Where did they all go?

Mermaids:
Note that no net mass or energy is really created or lost. Mass/energy simply moves from one place to another. This is merely an example of the transfer of energy and mass in accordance with the principle of mass–energy conservation. No responsibility can be taken for the destruction of the world by nuclear annihilation.

Poet:
Porktraddle’s finger hovers over the button.

Porktraddle:.
Not yet.  Not yet.

Poet:
Mr Porktraddle.  Room Nine.  Urgent.
Attention!  Room Nine is now critical.
Episode 4 – Hope
4)     Hope
Dee:
Good morning Sun
Poet:
Dee, who owns the café on the corner of the bay
Is rolling up the shutters
And with a mop and bucket
Is sluicing down the pavement
Dee wrings the mop by leaning on it
Her attention is caught
By the intricate endless patterns
Of whorls and spirals
Purple blue and grey
That every single paving stone reveals
A thousand, thousand once living creatures
Compressed in every slab
Under countless unheeding heels
As the soapy water drains away.
 
Gloria in Excelsis!  Gloria, the town Mayor rises like the sun in her apartment above the Square.  Clad only in her magnificence she enters her polished marble and chrome bathroom and haloed by unguents and sweet wafts of oriental mysteries she pauses by the window and gazes with steely benevolence on her domain.

Poet:
The first two visitors walk through the town.   A young man and a young woman with hair as skimble-skamble as the blackberry bush they slept under.   Medical students.

Gloria:
Our hope for the future.  They may wear old jeans and torn jumpers and carry backpacks from which hang a mess of coloured ropes and clips and karabiners and nuts on wires.  But they are accumulating days and weeks of life.  Soon they will be replete.  Building up. Becoming useful. Not like some I could mention.

Poet:
They turn away from the beach and head up the hill towards the cliffs. They are going to climb down the v.diff Mama’s Big One to the sea and then back up the Double Krustyburger v.severe before having lunch near the lighthouse and spend the afternoon sunning themselves on the rabbit cropped, dropping dropped, scuffed thrift watching the far blue horizon.

Gloria:
They are all hope and longing. Soon, we will draw them in.  Draw them to us. We will screw them tight to us.  Building the future. Their future.  Our future.

Poet:
But they are completely unaware of anything outside of this moment.   This here and now and the morning and the apricot sun and the pale blue sky and their expectation of danger and love.

Porktraddle:
I can see you.  I can see what you’re up to.

Poet:
They do not see the lone figure of the elderly gentleman in baggy green shorts and sandals holding the lives of 80,000 souls in his hand.  Their vision of the future extends no further than the cliffs and the coming excitement. Porktraddle points to them, finger extended like a gun.
He wants to warn them of what might come.  They do not hear his rattling cry or see his pointing finger.  
For them, this is the moment of zen perfection.
Episode 5 – Kitty
5)     Kitty
 
Porktraddle:
It seems like only yesterday
We wandered in the field of fantasy. 
Crushed beneath our happy feet  
The meadow grass that smelled so sweet
 
Poet:
Porktraddle likes to sing. 
 
Porktraddle:
 Of happy anticipation
 
Poet:
His songs are the only things that make any sense to him.
 
Porktraddle:
 And all those pretty meadow flowers
That gave us all those perfect hours                                                                       
 When every day was filled with charm and fascination

Poet:
He acknowledges the gestures of the drivers of the early morning traffic
 
Porktraddle:
Whoops.  Pardon.  Whoops.  Better out than in.
 
Under lanes of high speed cars
On a saucer bound for mars
While Some of us stood and watched the stars
With no further expectations

Poet:
As he crosses the road
A marmalade cat,
Garish orange coat glinting in the sun
Bars his way.
She opens wide her pink mouth
To show her pearl sharp teeth
And miaows.
 
Kitty:
 Truth is what you want it to be.
 
Porktraddle:
Good pussy.  Good puss. 

The limping lions of lunacy
Have not divined that they are free
Cowed by the withering whips of literality
Wielded by the clowns of desensitisation

Poet:                   
Porktraddle stoops down and scratches her head
 
Porktraddle:
Good pussy.  Good puss.  Look after yourself.
 
Kitty:
Truth is no longer is guided by reality.  Rationality has no place on this new age.  Truth is relative.
 
 Porktraddle:
The ragged army of our dreams
Is nothing like it ever seems
Passing by despite the screams
Of disappointed men and women
Now I find it hard to cope
I pinned so much on rosy hope
I’m slowly sliding down the slope
Towards that silent screaming

Kitty:
Truth is what we want it to be.  Truth is no longer is guided by reality.  Rationality has no place on this new age.  Truth is relative.

 Poet:
Porktraddle extends his finger towards the cat and clicks his teeth. 

 Porktraddle:
Good Pussy.  Good puss.
But everything decays these days
And, falling earthwards in a daze, 
We see our lives as through a haze,
Crawling with the worms of putrefaction

Poet:
The voice of the kitty swirls round inside his head. He should be able to understand what she is trying to say.  And then in a brief moment of clarity he thinks… 
         
Kitty:
Now.  Do it now.  You know you want to.

Porktraddle:
 Get out of my head.  I’m not listening.

Poet:
He turns away to see the sun smearing up orange and then lemon through plum coloured streaks of cloud.

 Kitty:
Now.  Do it now.

 Porktraddle:
Leave me be.

Poet:
She circles him
Leaning hard against his legs in ecstasy
Then walks off, tail held aloft
Looking for another victim.

Kitty:
Now.  Do it now.  You know you want to.

Porktraddle:
Why wouldn’t you want to listen to this day? This could be your last, you know.
Under lanes of high speed cars
On a saucer bound for Mars

Poet:
Truth pulls tighter and stretches until it is paper thin.  Truth is what we want it to be.  Truth no longer is guided by reality.  Rationality has no place on this new age.  Truth is relative.
Porktraddle pulls his tinfoil hat closer and screams silently.  He has already forgotten… something.

Episode 6 – Cafe
6)     Cafe
 
Poet:
The day is warm but a slight morning mist has gathered at the mouth of the bay. The lighthouse, where the medical students are climbing bleats out its warning. It is nearly time for the visitors to pack up and leave.  For the residents to take back the town. They are already jockeying for positions.

Gloria:
In Dee’s cafe a few of us locals have taken some of the pavement tables. We always sit here.  They are our tables.  We frown at anyone who tries to take our tables.  Mr. Jones and Mr. Brown are sitting at a table near Patrick and Slobodan who are eyeing each other nervously and stubbing out cigarettes one after the other in the tin ashtray shaped like a rose. 
These are the people of the town.  They have the town wound up nice and tight.

Poet:
Copies of the Daily Mail are wafted vigorously as Porktraddle passes.
As the pages are turned
The coffee drinkers are busy hating :

Gloria:
Immigrants
Gays
Gay immigrants
The unemployed
Unemployed gay immigrants
The disabled
Disabled unemployed gay immigrants
The weather
Scientists
Weather scientists
Global warming
Disabled unemployed gay immigrant scientists
And all foreigners
Aliens
And those of mental weakness
And Zombies

Poet:
How is it, thinks Porktraddle, that the very thing that has made the human species rise up and achieve the possibility of a rich and fulfilled life for all, has been subverted through advertising and propaganda and downright lies into a strangulation of the soul to bring riches beyond comprehension to a very few and misery to so many?
All the coffee drinkers hear, though, is something like:

Porktraddle:
Beg pardon.  Whoops. Better out than in.

Poet:
And he lets a fart ripple through the morning air
Copies of the Daily Mail rustle.

Poet:
A woman passes by pushing a baby buggy with a bundle wrapped in a blanket.  As she gets nearer Porktraddle sees that the bundle contains a large euphonium. 
Truth pulls so thin it starts to tear. 

Mermaids:
Why not now? End it all now? You don’t need this.

Gloria:
Sometimes we are alive and sometimes we are dead.  And some of us leave nothing to be said.

Porktraddle:
But not yet.  Not yet.

Mermaids:
You don’t need this.

Porktraddle:
But not yet. 

Poet:
And then it is that spare hour between coffee time and lunch.  What do you do in a place like this? 
 
Gloria:
I shall spend an hour or two at my hairdressers.  I want every wisp in place.  Every wave cemented to perfection.  This afternoon is the town council planning meeting.  We are in charge and we will plan the hell out of this town.  With my beautiful coiffeur and eyes pulled tight.

 Poet:
The mermaids are whispering sweet nothings in Porktraddle’s ears.

Mermaids:
Zero.  Zero.  Zero.  Zero, Zero.  Zero.

Porktraddle:
Not yet. Not yet.  Not yet.

Poet:
He catches hold of a Patrick’s arm.  He wants him to understand.  Somehow the words do not say what he means.  This is what he wants the words to say:

Porktraddle:
I want to be milk
Blue in the jug.
I want to be the smile
On your mug
The electric serotonin
Stoppin’ you moanin’
Coursing through a brain.
The brain of the chipmunk
Or is it the friar
Frying chips
Moving his lips
Reciting boundless prairies
Of the encyclopaedia Britannica
(Now published in America)
Giving reasons for fairies
And the birthplace of eels
And definitive reasons for
The diminution of wagon wheels.
I want to be the tablecloth
At the picnic
At Stalin’s dacha
Where the Georgian cossacks
Danced the night away
With Margaret Thatcher
I want to be dark matter
I want to be the echo of the waves
In the Tilly Whim Caves
Balanced on the edge of
Dancing Ledge.
The waves so hard and flashy
I want to be an interchange of expletives
At the junction between
Crasher and crashee.
Fragments of glass twinkling in the first rays of the frosty sun
Amid the bloated corpses of dead badgers
And the hares whose course is run
Like the clappers
And sandwich wrappers.
I want to be Jean Paul Sartre and to be Nietzsche
And Flossie the cow Yellow and peachy
And  the hero Dan Dare
And the Mekon’s cold glare
And the knocking down rubble
And the building up trouble
And the autumn fields stubble
And at the finish
I want to eat spinach
And parsnips
And pie crust
And space dust
And, if I must,
If the asteroid strikes
To be space dust.
 
Out here among the stars
The dying fires
The distant light
The very emptiness conspires
With darkness
And This cloud of night
That bends the very space
Deflects the solar wind
I am the coffee grounds of loneliness
Made into thunder cloud
A vacuum in a vacant place
A stillness where I’m pinned
By constant distant unintelligible radio chatter
I am 70% of the universe
I am Dark Matter
I am black coffee
 
Poet:
What Patrick hears is: 

Porktraddle:
But not yet.  Not yet.

Poet:
Porktraddle Becomes animated and brushes Patrick’s glass off the table onto the pavement where it smashes into a thousand glittering, diamons fragments. Porktraddle gazes hypnotised by the beauty of the jewel heap he has created.

Mermaids:
Why not now?  End it all now.  You don’t need this.

 Porktraddle:
Not yet.  Not yet.
Episode 7 – Helicopter
7) Helicopter

Gloria:
Enthroned in the big leather chair. My big leather chair. My lunch-time throne. Tubes and wires enter the big silver helmet that encloses my skull. Hot air blasts. White coated attendants twist and twirl at my behest. My eyes closed. My fingers unconsciously tapping out the numbers that will set the plans in action. That mean that all the controls are in place. Stand by… three, two…

Poet:
And then the big red and white helicopter flies low overhead. The shadow seeps across the small town like a virus. Spreading from one to another. Without knowing how, the population knows what has happened. The whole town stands rigid, faces upturned to the sky. On the cliffs, the two early climbers have left their rucksacks at the top and one of them has found an easier route down that they could ever have imagined. He is currently swinging on the end of a purple rope. Washing backwards and forwards in the surf across the dragon’s teeth rocks that have just dashed his brains out. His companion is too dazed to do anything constructive. She stands with her mobile phone frozen to her cheek watching the rope see sawing backwards and forwards across the rocks.

Mermaids:
Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Poet:
Truth bursts.
For a moment, time stops. Hope is dripping away in the silence. Entropy increases.
Listen, this is sound of entropy as it bubbles and grows. Listen.
Porktraddle crouches on the pavement. Hands over his ears.

Porktraddle:
Not my fault. I didn’t mean it.

Poet:
Patrick says:

Patrick:
Sit quite still in your room and dirty plates accumulate in the sink, the floor becomes littered with takeaway pizza boxes. Wine bottles roll under the sofa. Energy moves from here where it is packaged tight to here where it is free and spreads out like a bar of Cadburys dairy milk left on a radiator. There goes Slobodan stubbing another ciggy out. The law of the Universe is entropy. Get it?

Porktraddle:
Yes. No. Yes. Yes. No. Yes.

Poet:
Patrick reaches into his wallet and pushes a five pound note into Porktraddle’s hand.
Porktraddle looks at the five pound note

Porktraddle:
What’s this about then? Eh?

Patrick :
You’re on your own Mate.

Poet:
Porktraddle is not afraid. Not yet. He is sure that will come later when the Special Brew runs out. Porktraddle asks himself would he be afraid of? For now, he is disappointed. It is the waste. It is not being able to make a difference. It is being forgotten. It is returning to the nothingness that surrounds him and from which the whole Universe is made. Sitting on the pavement outside Boots He clips another can and he begins to sense the edge of that bliss that is his passport to the planet Kyarra.
Episode 8 – Launderette
8)     The Launderette.

Poet:
Bleary from the beer Porktraddle has retreated to the planet Kyarra. But the sign over the door says Launderette.    There is a gnawing in his guts and chest.  It’s getting stronger, even though he doesn’t yet know what’s causing it.  He is surrounded by great one eyed silver machines that stare at him malevolently like huge robotic cyclopes. He blinks hard. This is not Kyarra.  A group of lads are doing something unspeakable to the detergent dispenser. They stop and look at him shiftily as he sways between the rows of machines.  
Then he remembers that sometimes he writes poetry here.  Carving tiny words into the paint on the wall behind one of the tumble driers.
This is what he wrote last time:

Porktraddle:
Poetry is a form of madness. 

I used to know this.

It makes us say things we didn’t know we wanted to say about things we didn’t know we cared about.  Why in the vastness of eternity are we sometimes alive and most of the time not alive? 
Chaos mathematics says that even by running the simplest of formulae there is no way of predicting an outcome. Results branch and spiral round and round.  There are no straight paths from here to here. 
And entropy decrees that there is no way if retracing the steps that were made to get here. 
We’re here and we’re stuck here like a dirty vest in a tumble dryer with the dial turned to the eternity setting.
And if we don’t understand, if we cannot find some sort of explanation, are we right to be angry
Can we afford NOT to be angry at a Universe that seems so indifferent to us? 
No – more than that; That keeps changing the rules?
A Universe that treats us with utter contempt
and leaves us feeling… something
From certainty to uncertainty
Newton. Einstein.  Heisenberg. Heineken

Poet:
He scratches at the wall underlining the words angry, angry angry until the plaster chips off and the word itself is obliterated.
He doesn’t notice that the lads who are keeping their eyes firmly fixed on him while edging towards the door.  The gnawing at his innards is like a nest of rats
Porktraddle glances at the clock on the launderette wall.  Suddenly he remembers… Something.

Porktraddle:
Late. It is getting late. Get out of my way. It’s getting late.
Episode 9 – Health Centre
9)    Health Centre

Poet:
Opposite the station and the bus stop is the Health Centre.  An incongruous red-brick modern building amid all the grey stone.  It is not so much a sore thumb as a great heaving crimson sun burnt back amid the dunes.  But it is a popular meeting place for the lonely and elderly and no-one minds its architectural inadequacies passed by a nod and wink by the planning committee against the day when privitisation makes its grab.
In the doctors’ waiting room there is a fish tank and vacant chairs.  No-one wants to be ill when the sun is shining.  Soon, it will fill with holiday makers with bitten fingers, with wasp stings or those who have forgotten their medication.  But for now, there is a sprinkling of summer colds, repeat prescriptions and a white faced girl of about sixteen.  She is huddled in a large puffy coat and her mother sits at her side, not too close and with a distracted look.   We all know why they are here. Porktraddle stares at the fish tank.  The fish circle, ignoring him malevolently.

Porktraddle:
Whoops.  Better out than in.

Poet:
As he stares the mermaids begin to sing to him over the tannoy.

Mermaids:
Entropy.  Entropy.  They’ve all got it Entropy.  Not long now.

Poet:
The fish continue to circle, unaware of how small their world is. How fragile.  How vulnerable.  Porktraddle aims his finger at them and clicks his teeth.
Truth spews out guts and worms and a foul stench
That writhes and crawls over the patients sitting in ice stillness.
Oblivious of the horror that is curling round their feet
Oblivious of what is to befall them and
The clock that is there to remind them to be afraid
 
Porktraddle suddenly thinks:
 
Porktraddle:
My life tilts up and slides me down into the green undersea
There are no straight lines any more
Ideas buckle, bend, twist and shake
Rumba, salsa and gyrate.
They skid off sideways to a roadside verge
Somewhere north of Chipping Camden.
Walking towards each other
Our paths describe a parabola
Orbiting one another
Our paths crossing in deep space
The gravity of big things bends us
To its will
We spiral inwards towards what we want to say
But never reach a point
At which all sense is spoken
All meaning meant
Before the gravitational force of interest
Spins us off on another twisting path.
I should have said I love you.
 
Mermaids:
Mr Porktraddle.  Mr Porktraddle. 

Poet:
As he lurches from his seat, his elbow catches the fish tank which teeters and crashes to the hard tiled floor. Weed and gravel and water spread out across the floor.  Fish flail and gape amid the debris
But Porktraddle is already moving down the street. Ears ringing, guts heaving. A gale of bad farts accompanying his progress.
And, as if in sympathy, Somewhere out there, in the vastness of the ocean, there is a movement, a ripple of energy from the eternal wind that has gathered itself into a wave almost as though it is waking into consciousness. Awareness is beginning to fan out across the deep.

Episode 10 – Town Hall
10)     Town Hall

Poet:
Spike Milligan says everyone has to be somewhere.
Where Porktraddle is now is standing on the stone horse trough donated to the town by Mrs Emilia Grunt one hundred and forty-eight years ago. 

Mrs Emilia Grunt:
I have enormous pleasure and satisfaction in donating this entirely suitable stone edifice that will last for a thousand years.

Poet:
The horse trough now contains a fine display of wilting pansies.  It is placed outside the Town Hall and it is many decades since a horse entered these hallowed precincts. Porktraddle is using it to stand on and peer through the grimy glass of the Council Chamber window.  He sees the brown envelopes being passed round from member to member.  These contain the proceeds from the planning meeting. The future is coming a few pounds closer.   Round and round the envelopes go.  From hand to hand. One to another. One to another.  Porktraddle follows the progress of the envelopes one by one with his extended finger.

Porktraddle:
It’s in there.  Somewhere.

Poet:
Porktraddle screws himself tight. As tight as truth.
Awareness begins to heap itself up like a wave and in the passing of the envelopes Porktraddle recognises The Truth. 
In his excitement Porktraddle lets rip a mighty siren call like a brontosaurus calling to its mate across the vastness of time. The fart echoes and re-echoes through the Council Chamber, out across the town and onward into the starry wastes of the Universe. Gloria pouring a glass of water with a self-satisfied grin, surfaces from their starry-eyed greed.  She drops the glass and shouts:

Gloria:
Alien.

Poet:
The sudden movement alerts all the others. Porktraddle points his finger and clicks his teeth

Porktraddle:
Click-click click-click.
 
Gloria:
Stop him.

Poet:
She pulls herself up to her full height and, it seems to go on, getting bigger and bigger her concrete hair exploding from its set hard fastness,  now blue, now green like tendrils of seaweed covering her head.  Her eyes begin to flash and rotate.

Gloria:
Alien.

Poet:
The councillors see Porktraddle’s quizzical face and pointing finger and they pour out of the chamber like a wave of effluent and into the street where they pursue him in full cry. Gloria like the Empress of some distant star cluster her seaweed hair writhing and curling like a snake haired medusa.

Gloria:
Launch him.  Out of sight.  To the stars.

Poet:
Everyone has to be somewhere and that somewhere is the result of everything that has happened in the Universe up to now.  That somewhere for Porktraddle is the High Street leading down to the sea.
And every little thing you do – every sandwich you eat, every kiss you give, every little kindness and meanness, every fart and belch, effects the great multidimensional puzzle of the Universe in the future.

Porktraddle:
I AM THE FUCKING FUTURE

Poet:
The glass smashes.  It cannot be put back together. We cannot retrace our steps. And we cannot foresee the future because the future is not made yet. It is to be constructed out of the here and now and, in part, what we do now. But chaos theory means we can never predict the outcome. Entropy means that order naturally moves to disorder. 
The law of the mermaids is entropy. 
But Entropy is also letting go, it is passing things on from here where there is much to here where there is not so much.  It is the very flatulence of being. Better out than in.

Mermaids
Papa November.  Papa November.  Papa November.

Porktraddle:
Woops.  Pardon me.  Better out than in.

Poet:
 The energy of the Universe passes through us and on outwards to the stars.  Generously.

Porktraddle:
Not my fault.  Nothing to do with me.

Poet:
THERE IS NO FAULT THERE IS NO BLAME

Porktraddle:
That lot don’t think so.  Christ I’m done for.

Poet:
Keep going Porkers old man.  You’re nearly there.
Because there is no past and no future to set it right.
We are only aware of time because of entropy.
It is the cosmic clock whose hands point to our end. 
But for that brief flash of time – our time – How should we make use of that little packet of energy that we have been given? 

Porktraddle:
Breathing is good.  I like breathing. Dreaming is good.  Breathing and dreaming.  And being drunk.

Poet:
As he runs, he dreams he hears the sound of the town band practising in the bandstand
In the field of Fantasy above the promenade where the band is practising the grass borrows energy from the sun,
Here a Jersey cow chewing slowly and listening to the laborious notes of the raggedy band cannot make sense of all that din and sad eyed returns to her cud. The methane she produces has raised the temperature of the world by one ten millionth of a degree.
 
Porktraddle:
I have borrowed a little of this energy from Flossy’s milk when it is passed on to the cheese in my toasted sandwich. My legs need that energy now.  Keep running legs. The Empress of Quazzzkugh is on your heels.
And when the Universe has done with me, entropy means my energy spreads out, changing from me to heat as my body burns, cooling as it passes my energy out to the air, to the sky to the rest of the world.
And the vision of the Sainted Paul Dirac shows how the universe popped into being, out of the void, out of the nothingness.  A quantum fluctuation in the vacuum that grew and coagulated like curds out of the milk of the universe.
And the nothingness was cancelled by the something. 
As it always will be
And the something became a cheese sandwich…

Poet:
Which became, in turn: Porktraddle and the Mermaids and shards of glass and the planet Kyarra and the rest of the Universe including the knot of late holiday makers gathered around the bandstand and the instrumentalists.
And Porktraddle explains to the startled wind players:

Porktraddle:
I’ve got it.  I’ve got it.

Band members:
We’d rather you kept it.  You foul smelling piece of rancid air.

Porktraddle:
I was not alive and then my mother borrowed a little energy from the expanding Universe to pass on to me in her milk and then I was alive and I made use of it for a little and now I will pay it back and my aliveness will be alive in the Universe.

Poet:
A growing swell of sound surges towards them.  The baying of an indignant angry crowd.
Out at sea, the wind blown wave travels onward.  The water moves up and down as the wave passes through it but then is still again. 
Porktraddle is trying to explain.  He gabbles, he has so little time. He seizes the arms of an elderly couple who have armed themselves with cardboard cups from Dee’s.

Old Lady:
Careful young man.

Mermaids:
Now.  Say it now. Now.  Say it now. Now. Say it now.

Porktraddle:
This hot cup of tea is heavier that your cold cup of tea.  The mass that is created by the interaction of the quarks and gluons in a gluon field.  The quarks electric charge, mass, colour charge, and spin.  Quarks can be green, blue and red or magenta, yellow and cyan. They are a thousand glittering, diamond fragments.
 
Poet:
Porktraddle gazes hypnotised by the beauty of the jewel heap he has created.  Is creating.
They spin backwards and forwards, the go up or down, they can be charm, strange, bottom or top.  A future of beauty.
 
The band is playing louder and louder trying to drown out the kerfuffle.
Porktraddle seizes the microphone off one of the band members.

Porktraddle:
Sea quarks form when a gluon of the hadron’s colour field splits; this process also works in reverse in that the annihilation of two sea quarks produces a gluon. The result is a constant flux of gluon splits and creations colloquially known as “the sea”.
The quarks and the bosons.  They are you. they are me.
They are coffee, they are tea,
They are waves, they are the sea.

Poet:
Something is fundamentally grown

Gloria:
Alien

Poet:
Down the High Street like a tide in full flood the councillors run.  Gloria at their head like a green seaweed haired empress.  Others run with them.

Gloria:  
Alien

Poet:
 The surge grows and becomes a tsunami wave bearing down on Porktraddle.  The shouts of the advancing councillors joins with the sound of the band into a great roar that breaks on the sea front.

Gloria:
Launch him out of sight to the stars.

Poet:
Porktraddle is finally ready for his great experiment.  He wades into the melee.  He flails his arms and makes contact with human flesh. Joining hands to hands in the melee he creates a great interweaving chain of humanity.

Poet:
The bandstand throbs and pulses like an alien ship readying itself for departure.

Porktraddle:
Let us launch the ship of the future together. I am ready.  I have the key. If I take your hand, I can pass a tiny amount of warmth on to you and you can pass that on to someone else.  The energy runs between us like a wave.  We are part of a wave.  We are a particle and a wave together.  Uncertainty unlocks us from definition and conformity.
Episode 11 – Ship
11) Ship
 
Poet:
Time, the time of the dance passes.  One two three four. Time passes.  Life, however short is not a defeat by time, it is an affirmation. It is the thing itself to have been alive, for however short a time. To have contributed to the onward dip and rise of the universe.
Now Porktraddle is ready.  This part of the journey is over. He gazes upwards to see the great gap in the universe where his work of art exactly fits.  The singing of the mermaids is loud in his ears and out at sea, the wind-wave travels onward towards the shore.
Little fragments of memories of sights and sounds and smells.  Circle each other, tentatively at first then begin to coalesce to form – something – in his brain.  They hang together like pearls.  Each fragment jostles and joins with another, haphazardly at first but then…  Porktraddle is gazing at – himself.

Porktraddle:
I feel in tremendous shape.  I’ve never felt so…

Poet:    
 He understands how his very being has become a thing, a statement against entropy.  For once less is more.  As the entropy lessens. And now a phase change
a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

He can follow the curve of entropy forwards and backwards.  Becoming himself, becoming the universe.  The universe … himself in a long, ever living cosmic dance that will last as long as the universe itself exists.

Mermaids
11 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds. 11 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds.

Poet:
Porktraddle kicks off his sandals and clad only in his baggy green shorts he wades knee deep into the surf.  It is champagne cold although it is many years since he has sampled well-chilled champagne.  The surf does not know he is here every morning and evening rain or shine.  Hail or snow or gale and late winter have not prevented him.  Now he climbs hand over hand swimming strongly up towards where the great starship is waiting.  He will complete the great work of being part of it at last.  And like Mallory and Irving on the South Col he is last seen climbing steadily.

Mermaids:
Five four three two one.  Five four three two one. Five four three two one.
Zero zero zero zero zero zero
Now say it now. Now say it now. Now say it now.

Porktraddle
11 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds There is no reason for harmful…

Poet:
Later, at the tide’s edge, the lift and swell of wave that has come so far up channel at the behest of the wind travels inland a few centimetres and, with a sigh, raises the temperature of the fine, rasping sand of the beach by one ten millionth of a degree. The mermaids luxuriate in the foam and then dive down fathoms deep out of sight and out of sound.

Poet:
The sea continues its work.   When it comes to the sandals the hadron sea of baryons and mesons swirl round them.    It does not know they are here every morning rain or shine.  Hail or snow or gale and late winter have not prevented them. The water laps over them and covers them in a fine sand.  One, two more wavelets and they are buried completely.  During the winter they will be buried deeper and deeper until the sand itself is turned into stone by the weight of the passing ages above.   But all that is left today is the imprint of a single foot pointing out towards the sea.

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