The Entire History of You: Dark Age

Written as something of a follow-up to Black Mirror’s “The Entire History of You” episode, Liam Foxwell deals with the consequences of his actions during a therapy meeting: in which we learn that going “grainless” isn’t always so merciful. NSFW, but it is Black Mirror after all, so you should know better. 

Hi, my name is Liam. Liam Foxwell.

My name is Liam Foxwell. Foxwell …

Hah. Fancy, aren’t they? Worms. We’re all kind of guinea pigs here. Uncharted territory and all that. A bit of work on that volume quality control issue though, huh mates? Nah. I’m rambling. Just like I did in my bachelor days, before I met Ffion at that dive bar back in … Cardiff was it?

Heh. Yeah. Can’t very well have a re-do now, can I?

Can’t very well have a re-do …

Anyway, I’m … actually doing a lot better these days. You know, ever since I cut myself and housekeeping found me near the bloody bathroom mirror. Literally. They actually called my ex and whatever else happened between us, she got the authorities there. Been here ever since. Hell, she even visits and brings Jods. Jodie. She’s my daughter. At least, I thought …

Right. Funny how hard it is to tell a story in order without a grain. Kind of hard to, well, see your reactions too. Guess that ends any career in stand-up. But I guess that’s the point.

… without a grain … kind of hard to … see your reactions …

That damned whispering. Colleen, a friend me and my ex-wife’s, told me they’re still working on these worms. Just slithers right into your brain. But is that really different? But Colleen, I always thought she was a bit of a know-it-all, you know? Kind of stuck-up? Well, she’s a grain specialist. They’re still working on trying to fix mine. Yeah. She really stepped up after Ffion asked her. Even after everything, you know? She’s been nothing but good to me, even after what a right passive-aggressive prat I was.

But right. I was a barrister, you know? I could be pretty direct. Before I … well, gouged myself, the firm I was at said they thought of having me handle some cases. Stuff about suing parents based on the memories of their kids. I thought it was bollocks. The whole appraisal was so insincere. But barristers are, by our nature, full of bullshit. That was one thing I hated about grains. Keeping score. Dwelling in the past. Living there. I did it all the time. At work. During travel. And … at home. Seeing as I will never be able to practice, at least for a long while, you’re probably wondering.

If I hate grains so much, to the point of mutilating mine, why is Colleen trying to get mine fixed while we’re working on this worm sub?

I hate grains so much …

Well, there’s a bit of background to go over. Jonas, my ex’s friend, Jods’ … Jonas and my ex had an affair. Doesn’t excuse anything I did, mind you. Not one bit. You see, I was a mean drunk. That’s one part of my therapy here. Haven’t had a drink in ages. And you know what? I’m glad. I don’t like the person I was when I drank. I said ugly things when I got drunk. Went on about my ex’s, well, ex Dan and I stormed off for a few days. I guess you can say that’s where it all began. Alcohol’s just as bad as grains, really. My wife … my ex, got drunk with Jonas. Knob-head didn’t take advantage of her, I saw that much. They were both knackered and they had their history — especially their histories — and, well …

Grains. Heh. Here I am rambling like I’m on my fifth bourbon. No, you know what grains remind me of? The thing that keeps repeating, like the whispers of these worms in the air, in my head, is the Sandman. You know. My mam used to tell me that every night the Sandman would visit you and sprinkle some fairy dust right into your eyes. Every time you wake up, next morning, there’s that dirt in the corner of your eye. Mucus membrane. Mam called it grains of sand. Like in a glass. Like that ear-worm “Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream …”

I’ve been listening to audios. The Classics. Don’t have much to do and I have enough insurance to keep at this program. What I can say, had a good barrister and some Worker’s Comp. Nervous breakdown a hazard of the job now. Been listening up on The Aeneid. Vergil. Talks about Aeneas, the hero who makes Rome, going to the Afterlife while he’s still kicking. He finds out about Rome’s glorious future and tragedies. Like he’s remembering something that didn’t happen yet. Talk about an idea for a grain. Maybe I should patent that. Anyway, Aeneas has to leave. And he’s told about two doors. Gate of Horn and Ivory. Gate of Horn’s all about Prophecy. Truth, right? And Ivory, well, you can see what I’m getting at. It’s where dreams come from. It’s what you see when you sleep, but instead of visions, it’s all pretty much lies.

… instead of visions, it’s all … lies.  

So what does any of this have to do with anything? Well ladies, gentlemen, and other human beings of the jury, grains are supposed to be truths. Little bits of truth embedded in our necks. They keep us honest and there’s only so much you can erase until people can see the gaps in the grains. But they’re also like breadcrumbs. They pointed the way to my wife’s … indiscretion. Her lies. And here I had the perfect life, almost. I was a barrister, well-off, in a good country, with a beautiful wife, good social scene, nice house, and little charming dirty pumpkin of a baby daughter. And that was the lie. One of them.

It was all Ivory. And the grains made it. We kept living in those grains. I’d slip my cock into my wife’s pussy and we’d dream about better times, convulsing against each other, as I got one off in her. Our eyes getting into that diluted grey. Colour of spoiling milk. I used to hate talking like this, like Jonas talking about his wanking to my wife at that last dinner party, but it’s so intoxicating. You know, at first it was just a kinky thing we did. A little bit of fun. But then it was all the fun. Something to numb the arguments, and the hollowness.

I was angry at the dream. At the lie. At that feeling that I wasn’t good enough. It’d been burning for a while, long before the appraisal, or meeting Jonas, or suspecting Ffion of being with him. It all seemed so fake. So insincere. I hated it. I hated myself.

What I did to Jonas … even after all that, wasn’t acceptable. He should’ve called the cops. Like I said, I was a mean, angry drunk but before Jonas I didn’t think I could be a violent one. It was the least I deserved. I apologized to him. Part of the therapy, right? I definitely apologized to Ffion. She lied to me, but I hurt her first. Following every breadcrumb and grain of sand …

Liquor and grains. Spirits and sandmen …

It’s a work in progress. I even got to see Jods again. She’s probably not my biological daughter. Ffion didn’t have to take her here, to me. She barely even knows me. It would’ve been easier for Jodie to forget me.

… forget me …

Jonas is actually paying support for her. Helping. And Hallam. Poor girl. She was with him … when I snapped. She’s grainless too. We talk more now. I told her I was sorry. Can’t imagine what it was like, seeing me and not being able to call the police, to show them what was happening. I was a right bastard. I think, maybe, she visits out of guilt. It was that party where she talked about getting attacked and having her grain removed. She said she liked being grainless now. Maybe she thinks that’s where I got the idea, instead being the purely desperate bastard that I was. She kept her vision and me …

Well. Here I am, right?

Except, that’s not entirely true now, is it? You see, I did try to gouge out my grain. But, what I didn’t say is, I didn’t get all of it out.

Not everything that isn’t true is a lie …

I still see it. I still see Ffion the day we moved into our place. I still see us by Jodie’s crib. I keep seeing us making love. Or at that dive bar. I tried to take my grain out to make them stop: to take my re-do ability away. Like looking at old photos from your exes. But I also see me threatening Jonas’ life. I see my crashed car. I see me being an asshole to our babysitter. And that shattered look on Ffion’s face. Over and over and over again.

But somehow I still see blackness.

I can’t control them. And when I don’t see them, I hear them whispering, whispering into my brain. You’ve told me that they are just echoes, psychological trauma. Like a phantom limb. Phantom vision. It’s black and I can’t see and I know that my ex and Colleen and Hallam tell me that my eyes are still grey as all fuck: like I’m redoing, but I’m not. We’re hoping that it can be fixed and I’ll be able to turn the damn thing off. To move on. That’s what I wanted, you know? To move on with whatever this is. And the worm, in the meantime, is there to help me record information, to adapt to this as much as possible.

And then there are these therapy sessions. Just in case the fix, the process, whatever it is is in my head. I guess, all I want now, is to make these flashbacks stop. I don’t care about Aeneas’ Horn or Ivory. Dreams or lies. I just want to wake up, you know. That would be nice. To be able to see or be silent. To live again. In the present.

I just want to wake up, you know.

I just want to wake up …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s