Prose Poem – ‘Darling’


My name is Darling.

I live in a big house with a nice garden. I have two Slaves who do things for me. Most of the time the Slaves are quite diligent and hard working, but sometimes they do the wrong thing and then I have to hurt them.

I am happy, mostly. When we have come to know each other a little better, then I will tell you about the Experiment. I think that comes later. I have to admit that Time confuses me. I do not think about it much.

How to tell you about me? Well, this is what I believe:

All there really is, simply is.

I mean, just is. I know that is probably hard to accept, what with you being a Slave and everything, but that is just something you have to accept. Slaves like to talk Slave Talk and the nonsense about “if this then that”. I never did figure out what “if” means, but I have a theory that it is something to with the idea of T’morro.

T’morro is place that the Slaves go to when they are not serving me. I do not ever want to go there, it is very bad. Everything that I cannot do is in T’morro.

I suppose I ought to tell about the Bad Thing. It weighs on my mind. OK.

I was here. Then The Bad Thing happened. That is all there really is, and it does not sound like much when you put it like that, but I suffer. My Slaves were very obedient to me, but now they obey the Bad Thing. I just do not know what I did wrong to deserve such infidelity. I guess that is just the way it is with Slaves. You are fickle creatures.

Jumping on the Bad Thing is one of the key Forms in the Experiment. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I must tell you about food and crap. Crap and food.

My Slaves provide food, which is OK. Trouble is, the food is crap. It tastes like crap. It is crap. You just would not believe the measures I have to put in place to get something to put into my mouth that does not taste like somebody scraped it off their shoe. The Slaves do Slave Talk about “organic” and “whole-meal” but it is all just crap. This is one of my Burdens. I bear it.

Throwing is important. Throwing is the well understood signal to the nearest Slave that something requires tending. Slaves are pretty stupid creatures. Sorry, but it has to be said. Some creatures are very obedient. Personally, I find that creatures like Yoghurt, Water and Dirt tend to be quite passive and accommodating. Other creatures such as Blocks, Jig-saws, and Slaves can at times be infuriatingly willful. That is when they have to be punished.

That is where throwing comes in, because it is actually very efficient. Throwing the blocks not only punishes the Blocks for being uncompliant, but it also punishes the Slaves for the lack of diligence that caused the Blocks to rebel in the first place. I like smart solutions.

Sometimes Slaves get really upset and tired. The best thing to do then is to Pause it.

You do not know about Pause?

Pause is when nothing happens. It is quite handy really. Just when you have got to absolutely the end of your tether with the stupid Slaves, then Pause kicks in. And the next thing you know, it is light again outside, and the Slaves are washing and wiping bits of you, and dressing you, and getting ready to shove the crap into your mouth. So it goes.

It sounds like life is hell, but it is not really. I am just getting this off my chest, you know? Most of the time I can have a lot of fun, and nobody bothers me too much.

Do we know a little more about each other now? I suppose I could tell you about the Experiment. I think I will anyway, because it is probably the best thing there is, and I thought of it.

The Experiment is actually a game. It is a Grand Game. It is The Game.

How does it work? Well, I will attempt to explain, although being a Slave yourself, you may have some difficulty with these concepts. Persevere. Here goes.

It is the duty of Slaves to apply the Constraints.

It is my obligation to Test the Constraints.

That is it. That is the body of the Great Experiment, and also the rules of the Game.

Of course, information without explanation is worthless, and so I will now enlarge upon this.

There are various form of Testing. One form is the Horizontal Form. This occurs when I run. I love to run. I feel alive when I run. But the real reason for running is to perform an experimental test of the Horizon. The Horizon varies according to a set of very complex rules which I have yet to ascertain with any accuracy; and yet, it is certain that in any given scenario, reaching the Horizon is absolutely guaranteed to cause the Slaves to provide full attention.

The Slaves providing full attention (even to the extent of ignoring the Bad Thing) is of course very welcome, but I am getting to the heart of the matter when I tell you that I feel compelled to understand the Horizontal Form, and to love it, and to know it in all its complexity, and that nothing else drives me quite so much. But now I am revealing too much.

Another form of test is called Alliances. In this form, it is my obligation to discover the limit situations in which the temporary alliance between Slaves breaks down.

I have realised that left to their own devices, Slaves do not actually like each other, and are by nature selfish and destructive. (I know that you know this.) They only pretend to agree on things, so that their true nature does not become evident. However, one can bring this nature to the surface with relative ease.

Typically, it begins with me hurting one of the very stupid creatures, such as a toy, or throwing, or perhaps refusing some of the crap food. Then one of the Slaves pays attention, and talks a lot of Slave-Talk. I then escalate the Form by repeating the initial action (or inaction). This simple repetition causes the Slave considerable distress. This process repeats, until eventually the Slave begins to display its true nature.

In this more advanced form of Test, timing is critical. I must time the emergence of the first Slave’s aggressive tendencies perfectly, so that the second Slave arrives on the scene at the precise moment of maximum disruption and noise.

The second Slave admonishes the first Slave. Their alliance breaks down and they argue. They turn their true nature upon each other. The first slave begins to feel guilty for treating me with disrespect, and I get maximum service from the second Slave, who attempts to over-compensate for the poor service supplied by the first Slave.

Of course, in this form, the test also takes its toll upon me, because I am required to make my body to be very stiff, or in extreme instances, even stop breathing for a while. Often I am so exhausted after an Alliance Test, I find that Pause happens very quickly.

There are so very many forms of Testing the Constraints. Sometimes I think that the Experiment is too great a burden for me.

Finally, the most difficult and interesting form in the entire Experiment is called Jumping on the Bad Thing.

Unlike so many of the Forms, this one is unstructured. Its meaning is obscure, even under my most earnest analysis, and yet its execution is very simple:

I jump on the Bad Thing, then one of the Slaves says:

Don’t do that to your baby sister…

… Darling.