Jeremy Clarke

Literary intercourse

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A Christian acquaintance sends me a typed newsletter once a month. She lives 'by faith' (no job) and at the end of her newsletters always invites me to contribute to her ministry either with my prayers or with a cheque. This month she praised God for a serious illness, which she thinks brought her closer to Him, and for finding her a convenient parking space in the high street on a busy bank holiday. Sometimes I send money, sometimes I pray. If I were to reply with a newsletter of my own, it would go something like this:

Dear sister,

Well, it's been a struggle, but I haven't looked at the Internet porn site Tight Anal Sluts for over a week now, praise Him. Or, Chicks with Dicks. I've been spending so much time looking at porn lately it has affected my work and consequently my finances. The Buddhists from whom I'm renting the house keep ringing up from their yacht on the French canals about the unpaid rent. At present there are 17 messages on the answerphone, all from them, saying how worried they are about not hearing from me. I didn't think Buddhists worried. I've apologised to them and given them false hopes so many times, however, I just can't bring myself to speak to them at the moment.

The fungus that has spread from inside my stomach to my mouth, neck and armpits is retreating at last. Eating raw garlic and bathing the affected parts in petrol finally did the trick. Hopefully, its imperialistic adventures are over for a while. It's ruined my suntan. I am continuing to shave my groin, chest and armpits. Originally it was a strategy in my campaign against the fungus, but a bald body feels much cleaner and sexier, so I'm keeping it up. The tackle looks bigger too. Next month, the doctor says, he is taking me off the Prozac - which is a great pity. I was hoping he'd keep me on it till he retired. So it's back to school for Jeremy! Please pray for me.

The ban on me at the King Bill has been lifted. Sharon has gone to the Rif mountains in Morocco with her new boyfriend. So for the time being I can go in there without bumping into her and getting the shakes. Before they went away, her new boyfriend confided to me that he is going to sew cannabis resin into her knickers, so maybe I won't be seeing her again for some time.

Last week in the King Bill I foolishly told another customer I wrote for a living. The following day he presented me with a manuscript. It was his life story. My heart sank. Would I read it and tell him what I thought of it? I did read it, and to my surprise found it laugh-out-loud funny. He describes the trials and tribulations of converting his garage into a grow room and cultivating skunk while his marriage is failing. The skunk venture succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, then he goes to prison for two years. I am currently copying it out and modifying it just enough to publish it as my own.

I am also stealing items from shops again, sister. In the last month I have stolen a bottle of champagne, a hat, and a book called The Sexual Life of Catherine M by Catherine Millet, which I think I was meant to read. My hand must have been guided. It has given me all sorts of ideas that I would never have thought of on my own. Funny how you come across seminal books like that while shoplifting. I'll lend it to you if you like. And focusing on the bright side still, our local health-food shop is selling a high-strength zinc supplement for half price this week!

I'm back at yoga again after a two-month lay-off. (Yes, I know we Christians disapprove!) At the end of the classes we're chanting a new Sanskrit mantra. For anyone interested to know what they are saying, our teacher has passed round a printed translation. It turns out we are prostrating ourselves before Patanjali, an incarnation of Adisesa, white in colour, with a thousand radiant heads (in his form as the divine serpent, Ananta) and human in form below the shoulders. Please pray that I am protected from this serpent.

Weather changeable here. Our yoga teacher says these winds herald the end of a cosmic year, when the universe spins 'with the clutch out' as it were, so if we lack energy at the moment we mustn't worry about it.

From your brother in Christ, Jeremy.