Tra la la. Diddly dipsy dee. Look, there goes a person of unhinged mien. But does an unhinged mien betoken an unhinged mind? Let us find out. Let us follow him on his way. Let us follow him to the ends of the earth. But the earth has no ends! It is a globe, and one can go round and round and round forever, or until one drops, panting with exhaustion, without ever reaching an end. Yes, yes, I know one can come to a strand or a foreland or a cliff, and be faced with the sea – so vast, so wet, so merciless – but one simply hops into a boat, any old tub will do, and sooner or later there will be more land upon which to proceed. There are no ends.
So let us follow this person of unhinged mien wherever he should roam, and if he hops into a boat, well, we too shall hop into a boat. But not the same boat. It would not sit well with our sense of safety to be alone aboard a boat with a person of unhinged mien. His unhingement may be of maniacal bent, and under that cloak of his he may be armed with weaponry, lethal weaponry. Think a sharp sword or perhaps a loaded blunderbuss. Think upon that, though it does not bear thinking about, for we could end up with fatal wounds, toppling from the boat into the sea, there to flail helplessly and drown, if he is indeed a maniac.
Better by far to hop into a second, different boat, and follow. We need not even navigate, simply steer the same course as is being steered by the person of unhinged mien, his cloak now swapped for the blazer of a yachtsman. Its fit is too trim to conceal that sword or blunderbuss, but he may still be armed, a dirk in his pocket or a shiv tucked up his sleeve, ready for the wielding, and the blood and the toppling and the flailing and the drowning in that damnable sea.
Let us follow, them, at a safe distance, until such time as he, and we, spy land ahoy, and disembark upon it might be golden sands or it might be wet impacted mud. He swaps his blazer for a macintosh, like Hitler’s. Is he Hitler? Not dead after all, but on the lam, heading for a villa hidden in the mangrove swamps of South America? Of course not! I am running away with myself. Perhaps I, too, am becoming unhinged, in mind if not mien.
It would not be the first time. There was that big bleak soot-black building high on a hill, Pang Hill, behind iron gates, doubly, no, triply padlocked, where I was kept for years, among persons given to raving and gibbering, and warders, done up in starched white tunics, who patted me on the head and gave me fizzy pop in a plastic beaker, which I slurped with gratitude, though a largeish portion of pop dribbled down my chinnychinchin, the warders dabbing at it with rags. Sometimes, at night, chained to my iron cot, I have fantastic dreams, in which I imagine I am still there, behind high walls on high Pang Hill, and not in some faraway land, across the vast wet merciless sea, in dogged pursuit, to the ends of the earth, of a person of unhinged mien. Tra la la. Diddly dipsy dee.