I awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to discover I had been transformed into a Beatle. Somehow, uncannily, I was Ringo Starr! So unnerving was this experience that I bashed myself repeatedly on the head with a pair of drumsticks I found at my bedside and knocked myself out, relapsing mercifully into unconsciousness.
But again, I had uneasy dreams, and when I awoke I discovered I had been transformed, but not this time into a Beatle. Now I had become an entirely new Me. Outwardly – indeed, inwardly – I was exactly the same as I had been the previous day. Yet it was clear to me, as I leapt out of bed and plunged my head into a bucket of icy water and shuffled into my kitchenette for a breakfast of devilled hare and jugged kidneys and turned on the radio to listen to an early morning concert of argumentative German improvised racket, that something had changed, something decisive and irreversible. But what?
I decided that the simplest way to work out what had happened to me would be to go about my usual routine, but to monitor myself. So I spent a profitable three or four hours faffing about with the inner workings of my wristwatch. When I was done, it would not only tell the time, but it would keep a continuous check on the state of my soul. If all my tweakings were correct, then at nightfall, when the day was done, my watch would spit out a printed report, with handy bullet points. I could pass this to a consultant for analysis.
The difficulty would be to find a competent analyst. I did not require the services of a brain-quack, but of someone learned in such fields as ornithology, geology, origami, athletics, trellis work, and rustic wisdom. If necessary, I would have to consult separate experts and then correlate their findings. It was going to be an uphill struggle.
Luckily, I am used to uphill struggles, for my chalet is at the foot of an important mountain and every day I have to clamber across scree and up treacherous snow-covered slopes to get to the newsagent’s. That is the first part of my routine. I buy a copy of The Daily Hatchet and a pint of warm untreated goaty milk sloppings, and then I climb ever further up the mountainside, panting, until I reach my other chalet. I have always thought it best to have two chalets, one in which to sleep and ablute and eat breakfast and another in which to while away the day staring out of the window at snow and sky and the various types of birds which flit and swoop in that sky. There are of course other elements to my daily routine, manifold and multiform, but they need not detain us here. Or do they? All of a sudden I am assailed by doubts, and I am only part of the way across the scree. My legs are like jelly. On impulse, I turn back, back to my morning chalet, and I unlatch the door and slam it shut behind me and collapse on the carpet, across which I can see a beetle scurry. An insect, that is, not Ringo.
I lie on the floor wondering if the newsagent will be alarmed by my absence, and by his unsold copy of The Daily Hatchet. Will he call the helicopter police? Will they come in search of me, swooping across the sky, just like the birds? Unlike the birds, will they come scrambling down on rope ladders and kick in my windows and Taser me and haul me up into a chopper and ferry me across the mountains to their sinister compound? Will I be dragged to a cellar and tied to a chair and interrogated under Klieg lights? Will they mistake me for Ringo Starr? Will I be forced to sing Octopus’s Garden, or will they demand that I tell them tales of Thomas The Tank Engine? All these, and other panicky questions throb in my brainpans until I remember that I am not Ringo, I am neither a Beatle nor a beetle. But what have I become? I get up and I go to my cupboard and I take out a hammer and nails and planks and I barricade myself into the chalet.
I have blotted out the daylight, so I deploy an array of blubber candles here and there, on sideboards and mantelpieces and tabletops and counters. When lit, I gaze at the flames, one by one, and I ponder how curious it is that this light is brought to me by what was once the innards of that mighty sea beast, the whale. Will my own innards, in some future state, shed light upon the world? Is that to be my destiny, in my transformed state? Hours pass, with no hint of police helicopters, and one by one the blubber candles sputter and gutter out, and I am left in darkness. Is this, then, my fate, to become some kind of nocturnal being, like an owl or a bat? There are worse fates.
I rummage through the nooks of memory to try to recall what I have learned of the bat and the owl through years upon years of study. I remember little, save for sounds of squeak and hoot and that both bat and owl have the gift of flight. Can I, now, in my transformation, fly? I flap my arms, testing the air, and discover that, yes!, I can fly. I rise so fast that I crash into the chalet ceiling and bash my head and knock myself out.
When I come to, from uneasy dreams, I find I have been transformed yet again, this time into my final glorious state. Look upon my works, ye puny, and despair! For I am become Yoko, and I shall prevail!