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June 09, 2008

Freud and the first years

On the 3rd of March 2007 and on the 4th of April 1920, two workmen (John Parisman and Ulum the Bold) were doing excavations on the same stretch of the space-time continuum not far outside central Coventry. Some paperwork in head office had gotten crossed and consequently, when Parisman laid down the chrono-pipe in 2007 Ulum screwed it in in 1920 with a right-handed monkey wrench that wasn't due to exist for another two billion years. Thus it was that the following conversation snippet:

"Yeah, but what if you don't have a father? Steve - big Steve - he hasn't got a dad. So why would he want to do his mum then?"

Fell backwards in time from the mouth of the first-year undergraduate who had uttered it in 2007 while waiting for chips and arrived, more or less intact, at the ears of Sigmund Freud while he sat at his writing desk in the office over his practice. As often happens in cases such as this, the words were translated into German.

For a moment Freud sat in silence.

"Kein Vater." He said, softly. "Kein Vater."

With great solemnity he took up his pen and jabbed it into the leather surface of the desk. Twisting it to a violent angle he snapped the nib, hurled the pen-stub against the wall where it spattered blue ink. Pushing back his chair with sudden violence he rose, grabbing the unfinished manuscript for "Das Ich und dad Es" and pitching it into the smouldering awls lining the fireplace.

"Kein Vater!" He yelled as the flames took to the pages. "Kein Vater!" The cheap ink boiled from the paper and turned the smoke rising into the room a filthy purple. The clouds whirled in lazy purple whirls until Freud opened the windows and the dirty gas was drawn out. The wizened man screamed out across the cobbled street:

"Kein Vater! Was wenn man Kein Vater hat geschehen würde? Was! Kein Vater, oh mein Gott, kein Vater!"

He grabbed hold of the ivy clinging to the outside wall and pushed out of the window, emerging in a swirl of purple, his flat shoes skidding against the flints of the wall. He swayed unevenly for a second and then began to clamber up the thick ivy, occasionally putting one hand around the drainpipe for extra leverage. By the time he had reached the roof a crowd was staring.

"Kein Vater!" Freud screamed, slipping from slate tile to slate tile. "Kein Vater!" He yelled at the gulls. "Kein Vater!" He yelled at the clouds. "Kein verdammt Vater!" He yelled at the world.

Eventually he was shot by a passing mountebank with an inordinately accurate catapult, cracking his temple and sending him hurtling to the floor like a limp sack of books.

This was all sorted out in the same instant when George Potts came back on duty and gave Ulum and Parisman a loud drubbing and a pay drop.

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