Wednesday 27 May 2015

The Kübler-Ross Model

a short story by Jared Woods

Note: This tale is a sequel of sorts for The Triangular Theory of Love. While both stories work independently from each other and it is not necessary to read one without the other, they will be better approached as a single unit for a more improved understanding.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 1: The Journalist

Chapter 1: The Journalist

This article was first published in the OIAC Varsity Paper, second fortnight of May, 2015.

I’m very lucky, or so I have been told. A 21 year old? Working for the biggest college newspaper in the Goat’s Nest? Landing the juiciest story of the year? When you break it down into such a rudimentary state, I can sympathise why a word like “lucky” might be applied to such insignificant details. And even I, once upon a time, may have agreed with you. When our little four person strong team at the OIAC Varsity got the call directly from the Deep Thoughts building, we all knew this was no small event. Rather, it was a big enough deal to potentially pave the way for a full-time journalistic career in the big leagues, a dream all of us have had for too many years to count. A coin toss later, and I was the chosen one to deliver the message, so very very lucky indeed.

The thing is, as I sit here and write these very words, the idea of this job being anything but a curse has drained all slices of excitement I may have once worn for the project. I've had countless conversations with many opposing people as to why I have lost all forms of gratitude for this piece bestowed upon me, and I have become very good at arguing my point across by dividing it down into four bite sized pieces so that the rest of you can understand my apprehension. As follows:

The first reason is that there was no actual luck involved with OIAC paper getting the scoop. We are small, granted, but our reader base is dedicated, generally considered the second strongest news publication in the Goat’s Nest—the first, of course, being the mighty Daily Oracle. Now, with all the brewing rumours about some war between Deep Thoughts and the Oracle herself, did you really think that paper would be granted such an opportunity? No, obviously not. We were the only logical next choice. There is nothing lucky about that rational.

The second reason is that this story came with legal implications. If we chose to accept the job (and, naturally, we always would have), we had to sign into an agreement, one which placed us as the voice of Deep Thoughts, revealing the truth of the matter to the people. This meant, by law, we had to meet every party involved and present their stories as accurately as possible. Deep Thoughts never had any say over the content nor any editing power, but the contracts did force us and all the relevant people to follow a procedure of interviews in order to compile this article. Which now makes me, reluctantly, a part of this horrific story. Once again, not what I consider "lucky".

The third reason is that, despite being granted access to any file I liked as soon as the ink on my binding signature had solidified, I didn't come up with anything substantial which satisfied the only question I hungered an answer for: why did he do it? Why did the famous Nigel Coaster feel compelled to act so heinously when his lifestyle already granted him everything anyone in the world would want? I read the court transcripts back to front; I was not only allowed but legally enforced to read the otherwise highly classified police reports; and of course, I had to interview the incarcerated criminal himself (along with every other person connected to the case), only to come out dry with no real clues as to what makes a monster, a monster. In fact, the backstory to Nigel and his rise to superstardom/fall to criminal insanity is, in reality, a rather boring tale.

For some, Nigel Coaster (better known by his unimaginative stage moniker DJ D8N) was already a well known public figure. While he wasn't exactly a household name, his past achievements were enough to push his recent antics to the forefront of every Goat’s Nest inhabitant’s bitten tongue. I doubt any of us forgets the day, when this celebrity was arrested for charges which included false imprisonment, torture, assault causing bodily harm, attempted murder, and rape. We were all shocked as to how someone in his position could be capable of the horrors he orchestrated, especially to such a calculated degree as this story.

I’ve spent countless hours attempting to piece it together; where is all went wrong. You’d be forgiven in assuming, like me, that there had to have been some trends or patterns in his history which indicated a brain unraveling, but I am sorry to break it to you: there are none. His youth was as straightforward as yours; born into an upper class family barely a stone’s throw from Orbit Street, performing above average in school and described by his classmates as ”funny” (as in ha ha funny, not kidnapping women funny). He was popular enough with fellow students and teachers alike until he graduated, going on to study sound production for year, then dropping out to turn his attention to DJing full time. Back in those days, such a scarce skill was highly sought after in this town, and it didn’t take long for locals to notice his talents, especially once he won the Itchy Award for Rising Star back in 2001. After which, we know the rest: he was contacted by Dr Icehole to join the then new Religious/Anonymous Records outfit Potato Milk, the band escalating into massive success shortly afterwards.

His role was minimal, and Nigel was sacked shortly after their debut was released, but the short stint forever blessed his filthy CV, and work was never hard to come by from that point onwards. He was always playing somewhere: clubs, parties, weddings; you name it, he was there, earning a hefty paycheck and flocks of admirers from his name alone. Still to this day, he is recognised as one of the wealthiest “musicians” in the Goat’s Nest, perhaps even more so than some of his former bandmates due to his rigorous work schedule and shameless willingness to perform just about anywhere.

But despite his moniker appearing on any given flier on a weekly basis, it is the incidents and rumours from the last seven months which he will truly be remembered for, his claim to fame now having very little to do with his professional achievements. I know you've heard the story before—you've probably followed every angle of it since the day his face was torn off. The gossip ran through the town’s veins like a poison, and it is because of you, dear readers, and your sick perverted fascination for the celebrity crime scene, that the pressure on Deep Thoughts for solid details manifested into a legitimate obligation to give answers. And that’s where this article comes in, instructed by the powers that be to tell this tale, and by the time you reach the end, you will realise why this task was not something anyone would want.

Which brings us to the final reason, Reason #4, the worst of all as to why I consider myself anything but someone to envy.

It started the very same day I was invited into the cold room at Crayon Underground Prison, staring into the misaligned stoned eyes on Nigel’s disfigured face. Our separation of bulletproof glass did not ease my stomach as I tried my best to remain as professional as possible while he openly told me in great detail about the things he had done. I asked few questions and made notes as he held no reservations, sometimes in deep shame, other times in an almost proud fashion, as if interviewing two completely different people. He would attempt a smile, yet would fail due to the facial injuries which tore the youth out of his features. He would appear to cry, but no tears could be produced from the ducts fused shut from the accident. But he would never look away, as if he was taunting me, as if he was warning me, as if he was casting a spell into my mind which no glass barrier could protect me from. These are things which will haunt me forever. I met something else in that room.

I haven’t slept much since then, and many have sympathised with this trouble, consoling me, suggesting the meet of DJ S8N would bring the fear of insomnia for any normal person. But fear isn’t quite the right emotion, even if it isn’t miles far off. Rather, I am plagued by confusion; some overriding discomfort that Nigel wasn’t all himself, as if his head injury rooted itself so deep in his brain that the surgeons couldn’t find it, and now he is lost within a situation he remembers creating without any clue as to why; part cocky and intelligent and self righteous, part scared and uncertain and remorseful. I worry about him, despite everything he has done. I cannot stop thinking about him. And if this article will prove anything to you, it’ll be that I am not the only one.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 2: The Perpetrator

Chapter 2: The Perpetrator

The following account is adapted from an interview with Nigel Coaster (16/04/15). These are his own words.

It’s fascinating to me the nature of human beings, does it not fascinate you? A man will get shot in Bergie Town and it hardly scrapes the front page, and yet when a woman—in particular, an attractive woman, such as Roxy—gets kidnapped and tortured for a couple of days, it’s the hottest talk in town. But, believe me, I do not disappreciate the value of such a tale. When a young lady crawls out from the Jay Woods’ bushes with those extreme injuries and a story like she had—I get it. Lest we forget, I, myself, changed drastically on that day too.

I'm not sure what’s already been reported or not, but I would assume my home has been extensively raided and my research on the matter is probably already common knowledge. But if not, allow me to educate you as to why the so-called “victim”, Roxy, was not the target of my obsession, but rather Alan, her abductee. It seemed such a waste to me, everyone throwing their arms up about this poor girl and labelling Alan the villain without truly grasping the genius that he was. Alan was a visionary—an artist—and it is a tragedy that nobody recognises these factors like they should have.

Alan was in love with Roxy, a true romantic to the most disgusting degree—and love is disgusting. It’s irrational and it’s insane, and there is no greater representation of this emotion than taking the object of your desire and then performing your affection upon them. But the level of his intelligence, to torture this girl based on Robert Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love? That is above and beyond the profound madness anyone could even fathom when it comes to infatuation.

Do you remember what he did? He dug a deep hole in the dirt of the woods and trapped her there, re-imagining each point of Sternberg's said hypothetical triangle as a method of torture. This clever theory which claims that it takes three components to define true love: commitment, passion and intimacy; now distorted as ways to mutilate a human being who would never reciprocate the feeling. Alan, you crafty mess! He sewed her dead husband’s ring finger onto her hand to represent commitment, remember? He even stitched a fucking dick inside of her vagina, for God’s sake! These delightfully sick tokens of affection cannot just be written off as one of a lunatic. He had style. He had ingenuity.

So, yes, I got excited, and read as much as I could about this Alan guy. I couldn't care less about Roxy's little sob story, the heroine of the drama who ultimately murdered and escaped from this man who should have been praised above persecuted. At first, it was just a hobby, collecting information about the guy and his history, until my thoughts turned into voices within my mind, asking me how I would have I done it differently. Asking me if I had ever loved anyone so much as to trap them and torture them. My own thoughts, mocking me, because I was not as clever as this Alan fellow. It started to drive me insane, all day and night, whispers in my head, and they broke me down. The topic consumed me and I was no longer satisfied with myself. I was bored of me. I didn't want to be Nigel. I wanted to be Alan, or I wanted to die.

And that’s where this adventure begins, I suppose. The one you want to hear. I contemplated Alan and I contemplated myself and I listened to the voices for many months until one specific voice presented me with an idea. It pointed out that Alan’s dedication to Roxy, while admirable and the key to such a heartwarming tale, was also his downfall. Even had she not escaped, he would've never got away with it for too long—his connection with the victim was far too direct, far too obvious. Instead, it was I who was in a much better position to perform my art, for no one would suspect me. No one would consider such a successful musician with everything at his fingertips to be connected to the disappearances of those miserable girls chosen, especially because I didn't even know them personally. I was at an advantage! My absence of a specific target rendered me untraceable! And yet ... I was still missing one valuable aspect. A theme! To torture people without a subject would be so ... tasteless, am I right? I had to honour Alan. If I was going to follow the work he had started, I needed to find a concept.

Of course, I knew I was already losing control at this point, and I am so regretful for what I ended up doing. Believe me, I attempted to kill myself long before any of this happened, but I wouldn't let me. And eventually, I just went with it. I had no choice. I accepted my fate, and gave in to the voices as they advised my next move.

And the next move was simply to scour the internet until we found an approach we were satisfied with, which eventually came in the form of the Kübler-Ross model. For, like Alan, and like any worthwhile story, it needed to be rooted in love—of course, of course. At first, it seemed like nothing more than a respectable approach, an excuse to perform my craft. But the more I allowed the idea to swirl around the pallet of my mind among those chattering voices, the far superior my story seemed to become. It was the next level, one above Alan—a sequel of sorts—instead of focusing on what creates a strong bond between people, I was focusing on the stages one goes through after such a bond is over: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Grief, and Acceptance. Oh, how clever I felt the more I thought about it! Especially because the true beauty lay in the fact that there were five points, meaning five different games! You see, that’s the fun that Alan missed out on. He only had one explicit individual on his mind. I had five complete strangers on mine. And that’s why I am certain you general public type probably consider me as the greater monster, and I'm proud of that. I took Alan’s idea and I multiplied it, I improved on it, and I beat him at his own game. I only wish I knew what he would have thought, hadn't Roxy so selfishly murdered him, poor man. I hope I honoured his story, but we will never know.

Now, there are so many complex pieces to this part of our tale, and I am trying to summarise, but one aspect you people must have already discussed at great length is how many advantages came with my social position, one of fame and fortune and the like. One such advantage is that I have come to realise you can find anything you like in this deteriorating town, because I've seen it all. And in this case, all I needed to do was speak to the rats. The rats! Yes, the fucking rats, those dirty little vermin who infest our sewers and spread their AIDS throughout our the tube lines, with absolutely no political ties nor moral objections as long as you have the cash. In fact, let me tell you a little secret: there is this small shitty café a few houses down from the Oracle Tower, you see, called [name removed]. I suppose they’ll have to relocate once you print this, but how does that affect me now? Anyway, this dirty café is a very special place, the truth hidden by the wrong assumption that it’s just your run-of-the-mill rat joint, a cheap diner where you can eat for cents and have the runs for days following. I guess it’s kind of a novelty for tourists, as you get served by a giant rat behind the counter named Thorn, at least five foot tall and just as wide, taking your orders of cheese burgers whilst the fat from the oil cooker drips off his whiskers. It’s repulsive! But people still eat there! God, I can’t imagine why, I gag when I think of it.

Okay, but here is the secret: in this city—a city where there are more ears than there are people to wear them—this restaurant is one of the very few places no Oracle nor Deep Thoughts can hear you. I don’t know why, it’s just a shitty little diner, hardly bigger than the cell I sleep in now, and yet somehow it has escaped the prying radar of Big Brother. And if you know this, and if you pick your time wisely when no one is around, and if you slap a 100 Credit note on the counter, you can talk to this diseased infested giant rat about whatever you like without judgement or fear of being caught. Rather, he’ll know exactly who to speak to, what, with a fucking thousand strong army of rodents behind any cause with money.

I can’t remember how I knew any of this nor how I even knew where to go, but one day I caught myself standing in that diner, confessing to that giant rat my whole secret plan. I nearly choked, absolutely no memory as to how I got there, but as it turns out, it was the right thing to do. For that very night I found myself in a private meeting with about a hundred or so other rats, which is no walk in the park, let me assure you. Some of them were as big as my forearm, some as big as a toddler, and one was even taller than me on his hind legs, no fucking joke. I only met that rodent once, never got his name, but he was obviously in charge as he did most of the talking. I think that’s how the rat system works, the bigger you are, the bigger you are, you know what I'm saying? Whatever, the point is, they all stank like a wet dog had been crushed through a garbage truck and I had to hold my breath, but dared not argue. This is not because they could have picked me to the bone within seconds between them, mind you, but rather because they totally convinced me of their abilities to my cause. Rats are resourceful fuckers, so many ideas and a dank knowledge of this city as well as almost everyone in it. Do not be fooled, whoever you are, there is a rat who knows you by name and knows exactly what you do after hours, and in that regard, they are actually much scarier than anyone who you may think is in charge here. A brilliant species, really. Great allies if there ever was such a thing. The true unsung villains of my tale.

And, of course, it didn't take long before they grasped my concept. In fact, at points I feared they grasped it better than I did, as if I was now on a runaway train I had set in motion, but had lost any control of, and it was too late to avoid the wall coming straight for me. At times I felt like a pawn in an act I didn't even design and it quickly became apparent that this was the rats’ game, with their frequent contact and new ideas improving on my original proposal. These were the things that provoked the sweats from me whilst fear shivered throughout the days leading up to the main event. I can’t tell you how many times I nearly backed out, but was too embarrassed to say so due to the rats’ excitement, and so I rather spending every day silently questioning my sanity or insanity, every minute considering just paying these rodents a ridiculous sum to forget the whole thing. I should be dead now. I wish I was dead. I wish I had killed myself right then and there. But before I could reach any such conclusions, the day arrived. They had found the perfect first girl, and what could I say after that? And truth be told, she was the perfect girl after all.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 3: Denial

Chapter 3: Denial

The following account is adapted from an interview with Holly Vegemite (20/04/15). These are her own words.

I’m not crazy. Let’s just get that out of the way right fucking now, I am not crazy, ok? That’s been the theme of this whole ordeal, even during the trial it was all “oh, she’s unstable, we can’t take her account seriously, she’s cah-raaazy”. Fuck that. Yes, I was in St. Skeetor's mental ward, but I was self admitted, got that? Self. Admitted. It’s just ... look, let me put it to you this way. When I was a kid, I had imaginary friends, loads of them, millions, my imaginary friends had imaginary friends, that kind of deal. A lot of children have that, it’s normal, but as I got older I just never really lost that side of me, you know? My imagination, it’s like ... whooosh, all over the place. I'm 34 years old now, I've held down a job for most of that, but I’ll be the first to admit that something isn't quite right in my head, I make no excuses for that. It’s just ... reality, you know? It’s weird, I never quite “got it”. Call it dissociative identity disorder like them nurses do, call it whatever you like, but I just can’t really grasp what exactly is supposed to be real and what is not. Maybe I see a clock on the wall, maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re here, maybe you’re not, I honestly have a hard time working that out. But I’m not crazy, I am talking sense, right? So as long as we get that clear, we can do this interview and I’ll explain it the best I can and you take from it what you want. I am honestly so far past the point of caring by now.

Alright, so what do you want to know? You want to know about Nigel? About DJ S8N himself? Oh, I’ll talk for years about that guy, I’ll tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Who better to do so, for I was his first girl after all, you know, please hold while I take a bow. So where would you like me to start? The rat, right? Well, yeah, that was weird. This freaking rat comes into my ward room one night and starts telling me all these things. Silly things, stuff like how I was the only one who saw life like it really was, how I was special and how I shouldn't be in this loony bin blah blah blah. Such an asshole rat, it’s like he knew exactly what to say, exactly who I was, my whole history, probably ’cos he’d just read my file or whatever. But yeah, it was to the T of what I wanted to hear, the type of shit someone in my position had been waiting to hear their whole life.

I'm an idiot, though, ‘cos that wasn't the first time this type of hallucination happened. A few times in my life a stuffed animal would tell me to quit my meds or a worm would crawl out from under a fingernail and teach me the best way to cut myself—that’s why I have all these scars, see? I dunno, a part of me thought I was long passed that point, and yet here was this goddamn rat in my room, telling me he knew exactly how I felt and that he knew how to sneak me out and how I would see he was telling the truth once we got into the parking lot. So yeah, I followed him, who wouldn't have? And true to his word, he knew the precise moment the security’s back was turned and we slipped out like psssh.

So then I’m in the parking lot, all like “ok Mr Rat, where is my crown of awesome,” and then before I know it, like, a million rats were pouring out from every angle, out of sewers and from cars and shit, crawling up my legs and covering my whole body like a fur coat, even shoving their fat bodies into my mouth when I tried to scream. Traumatic, man. I mean, as I say, reality was never my strong point, but I've never had an episode like that before. I can still taste the fuckers if I think about it, puke.

Anyways, so whatever happened next, I dunno, but when I came to, there was Nigel, dabbing a wet cloth to my forehead. Of course, now I know who he is, but at the time I didn't have a clue, music and clubbing and stuff doesn't really agree with my ... condition, or whatever.

But I remember he knew who I was, he was like “oh, hey, Holly, how are you, are you hurt, are you comfortable,” etc etc, and I'm just thinking “woah, this is a trip, man,” a proper full blown one where I’d literally never seen this room in my life. For a long time I thought I had finally lost it and fallen inwards into my mind once and for all, which I either have and I'm still there, or that bit is for real like you people say, I dunno.

So yeah, anyways, what else you wanna know? The room? Yeah, it was really big with five beds in a row, as we all know by now, and I was on one of them, on the far right. It was a very plain room when I arrived, a few objects lying around here and there I think, possibly, I can’t really place it now. Anyways, the point is, Nigel was sitting over me and playing with my hair and telling me I was safe and that I can leave any time I want to, and then the weirdest thing is that he starts crying and telling me he was sorry, it’s just the way it had to be, and so I'm like really fucking confused, I don’t even think I spoke that whole first meeting until he left me alone. That’s the thing about Nigel, something isn’t right with him, he had a tendency to be either really arrogant and mean, or sweet and apologetic, you never knew. This happened from the beginning to the end, and I really felt for the guy, even then.

Anyways, these interview things are always hard for me cos I don’t really know what’s relevant or not. For example, one thing I remember is the notorious wolf who snuck into the room during the first few nights, and he would chat to me, telling me I was in trouble, telling me this isn't what I thought it was, it was some sort of sacrifice for a prophecy, and then he’d offer to make me tea but would never fulfill the promise. I have no doubt that one wasn't real ‘cos I've seen that wolf before, I knew that wolf. Many nights during my youth he’d curl up and sleep at the foot of my bed until sunrise, so I never believed a word he said but it was good to see him again, really. But ever since I first mentioned this to other publications, there are countless conspiracy theorists on the internet who totally swear that the wolf was speaking the truth—that there was something deeper to this—so I find the whole thing very confusing. Maybe I'm the only sane person left, I don’t know.

The game? Oh, yeah, well, I dunno, my game was “denial” so I think the idea Nigel had for me was that I kinda always felt like I could up and leave whenever I wanted to. He left the door open, I was the only girl he did that for, for some reason. Sometimes I would be like “ok, time to go,” and I’d head towards the stairs leading up out of the basement, completely forgetting about the chain he had superglued to my ankle, drying it with a hairdryer of all things, talk about overkill. Yeah, that chain was a nuisance, but it was just long enough so that I could reach the tiny en suite toilet, and that was nice enough of him. However, as soon as I headed towards the exit, it would be like clang, oh ya, I actually can’t leave. I’m stuck here, despite what Nigel would say.

Oh, like, there was this phone in there too, and it worked and everything, I could get the dial tone, but Nigel and his stupid superglue, he had like stuck some of the numbers together, so you couldn’t press one number without pushing down another, which was like really frustrating ‘cos you’d feel like “if I just press the right order of something, I could get through to someone, and then they could help me.” He also has this massive bunch of keys scattered all over the floor, literally hundreds of them, as if to mock me that one of them could unlock my ankle chain, but I could never find the right one or even remember which ones I’d tried before. I’d bet my bottom dollar none of them would have worked. I guess that’s the simple game I was, always with the aura that I could escape if I tried hard enough, but I’ve come to accept now that Nigel was too smart for that, bless him. I was trapped like all the girls were trapped.

As I say, it’s hard for me to really remember this timeframe, especially because I didn't have my medication so I was lost pretty fast into the ordeal. There were days I thought I was back in the hospital having group therapy and then it would be like “oh wait, no, I’m in this room still,” it’s a blur. It’s confusing.

But despite what everyone assumes, and this is really important, Nigel never touched me inappropriately. He always spoke to me real polite and was full of remorse about keeping me there, he apologised all the time. He mostly fed me well and kept telling me I’d get out when I wanted to but until such time, he’d never harm me, I dunno. He’s a weird guy, in many ways a heap load more fucked up than I am, which I think is the reason why I never held anything against him. I saw through his madness because I know madness, and beneath it was a really beautiful soul. We always got along, and no matter what any of the girls say about him, he is essentially a gentleman who lost his mind, that’s it.

So yeah, all things considered, that first month was alright, I always felt like everything was gonna be ok. Well, that was until B showed up, of course. You spoken to B yet? Oh God, you’re in for a treat.

We at OIAC are sorry to report that Holly died shortly after this interview on account of a car accident, officially ruled as an unrelated incident to any of the circumstances stated in this article. Our condolences to her family in this difficult time. RIP Holly Vegemite (16/10/1980 - 01/05/15)

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 4: Anger

Chapter 4: Anger

The following account is adapted from an interview with Betty “B” Dean (23/04/15). These are her own words.

You wanna know why I was chosen for “anger”? White. Male. Privilege, that’s what we’re really talking about here. It’s because that’s what boys are like when they see a black, lesbian feminist such as myself—they get scared and they assume I’m a threat, they assume I'm angry. Well, you know what? I am angry, at this whole misogynistic racist oppressed society we’re living in.

You have to ask yourself, why are us females taught, as children, to play with Barbies and fake cooking toys and such, hmm? It’s because we are raised as slaves, a subservient Disney generation after generation, trained how to bow to the perverts that are men. Oh, you don’t think I noticed you glancing at my breasts when you came in here? Don’t try deny it, white boy, you did, I saw you. But I guess you can’t help yourself, am I right? I guess it’s hardwired into your genetics, isn't that so? Disgusting, the lot of you, filth. “All men are rapists and that's all they are,” as Marilyn French put it, and that’s true. You rape, every single one of you, and even if you don’t rape, you think about rape, and you don’t even know it. As Valerie Solanas says, “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo,” and that is also true.

Have you ever considered that maybe if you all shut the hell up for one second and just listened to yourselves, you’d realise how stupid you sound? But no, you never will. You’ll just go on cat-calling us women on the streets and sending us your dick pics on your phones, and you think if you buy us a drink then you’ll get into our pants? Nuh-uh, it doesn't work like that. Or if it does, it’s because them girls are as dumb as you lot are.

What people don’t seem to see here is that we, the sisters of our planet are the victims, and we’re not gonna stand for it any longer. Like Sally Miller Gearhart stated: “The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” It’s ideas like this which is why I'm glad I was chosen, really, I am. It gives me a voice. It gives me the same voice as Sharon Stone, who once said “The more famous and powerful I get, the more power I have to hurt men,” and that’s exactly how I feel. I now have a platform to show you dirty males how us ladies do not want to be told that we have a nice ass, nor do we want our clitorises cut off, because I know deep down that’s what you men want. You want to cut up our genitals to look like children’s genitals and make another sandwich joke then shut us up when the football is on because your testosterone is so high that there isn't space in your little chauvinist world for us strong females. When will you realise that the white man has been the leading cause for war and violence and assault throughout history? Men are the problem, and we are sick of it. It ain't necessarily about man-hating either, as some have accused me of. It’s about feminism and you need to learn the difference. Although I must quote Robin Morgan, who said “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honourable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them,” thank you very much.

So as you may have gathered, I don’t need no man in my life, you understand? When I'm in the kitchen, it’s because I am cooking for myself, and as it just so happens, that’s exactly where the first incident took place, the kitchen. I was cooking some of my signature faun leg stew, when one of them rats came crawling in. It was the biggest rat I ever did see too, the size of a dog or even bigger, but I was not afraid. You probably think a defenseless woman living home alone such as myself was afraid, don’t you? Of course you do, but I was not. I was just thinking of the best way to punch that bugger’s lights out really, because as you may have noticed, I ain't no small girl. Society tries to tell us that plus size ladies such as myself are something to be avoided, something undesirable, with them magazine covers and Tyra Banks booties, but that’s because the white man is scared of a woman like me. I’ll kill a white man with my bare hands, I will, and they don’t like that. They like control. You all like control. And that’s why I feel the rats were symbolic, like what was that quote from Grease? “Men are rats, they're fleas on rats, they're amoebas on fleas on rats.” That just about sums up everything you need to know.

Yes, anyway, so I'm screaming the devil at this vermin, and I can see it’s afraid of me because it’s running all over my house, and I got this frying pan in my hand like this, see, gonna smack its face right off its face, but at some point it ran up my wall, almost to the ceiling, no word of a lie, and then jumped on my head, knocking me to the floor. It took me by surprise, is all, it got lucky. And then before you know it, I'm covered in hundreds of other rats, much smaller these ones, but pinning me to the carpet while I'm cursing in ways my mama never raised me. That’s why if you look back to the papers round about this time, there was some article on page three or something about my disappearance. The neighbours, they heard me, but by the time the cops arrived, I was already gone, and the summary of me could have ended right there on page three of the Daily Oracle. You think if some rich white man had vanished like I did, it’d be forgotten on page three? I don’t think so.

I can’t really tell you what happened then and there, and that’s as frustrating to me as it is to you, as it is to the papers, and the court, and everyone else. I was on my floor at home, covered in rats, and then I awoke on a wooden surface, chained all arms down, with Nigel wetting my face with a dirty cloth. He was trying to tell me something, but I was having none of it, cursing my mouth as best I could, snapping my teeth at him, I would have bitten his arm right off if it came anywhere near me. I wouldn't let him get a word in, not for the whole month even, to the point that he eventually gave up trying and just let me be. But that first night, I remember pulling on them chains, and I remember Holly telling me I was going to be ok, and I remember spitting and screaming until my voice stopped working.

Now, no offence to Holly, but that is one dumb ass white girl. She’s as bad as a man, she is, subservient to Nigel from the very beginning. They had some connection I never understood, all the girls noticed it. Of course, she did have it easy, her month with Nigel was spent alone, the “denial” game, well fed and always granted a glimmer of hope. Her spirit was intact when I arrived, she hadn't been broken, even if her mind was all over the show, laughing at the bricks in the wall and whistling into her hand like it was a walkie-talkie.

But when I came in, her little comfort zone went out, and in a way, I’m glad. As you know, Nigel’s twisted plot was all based on that stupid Kübler-Ross thing, and it was in the script for me to fulfill the anger part which affected the both of us. What did he do? Haven’t you read the police report? He just tried to annoy me, is all. Like, there was this tube light, for example. He fitted it with this faulty red one, which just flickered all day and all night, never settling on an active or inactive state, humming and popping while it strobed the room with the colour of blood. That grinded me, I wanted to punch him every time I heard him enter the room, I’d pull on the chains and swear and bounce on the wooden bed so viciously that I’m surprised the slats didn’t break. It’s silly, I know, childlike even, but he got to me, and I got to him too. I could see he was scared, and he came in less and less during my month, poor pathetic Nigel.

Looking back, I did feel sorry for the guy—even then, in a way. He’s just a stupid male, and he couldn't help how lost he fell into his hormonal mess of a mind. His perversion consumed him, the sickness in all men took over, and we can only blame society for such insanities. And, boy, was he insane, you never really knew which Nigel you’d get during the whole stay: the good one or the bad one, if such polar opposites even existed. Although, it has to be said that despite what everyone always assumes, he did not rape me. I’m sure he thought of it, of course he thought of it, but he never acted upon it, and I respect that as much as someone in my position could. It was never part of the game, I suppose. The game was to simply piss me off, and I admit, in my designated time, he pissed me off real bad.

What else? Uhm, well, oh yeah, this was a big one. He’d always be blasting a vinyl in the room, either that screamy metal music or some of that harsh electronic rubbish the kids listen to these days, but he’d blatantly scratched the hell out of the records, so they skipped over and over, sometimes the same two seconds would loop for days before he changed it. That’s the kind of stuff he’d do. I swear, I literally felt my sanity slipping in those moments especially with Holly talking backwards in Latin to herself, the whole time I'm thinking “why me, why me”. But now I can see why me. It was always going to be me, I was the only one who could have been that victim, and I'm glad it was, you hear? Because now you people are finally listening to old Betty. But, Lord, if you knew how much I wanted to kill Nigel in that first month, and how I thought of doing it too, shoo, you’d probably think I was more evil than he is.

And Holly, she was cracking hard. When she was lucid enough—and believe you me, that wasn’t often—she’d tell me how when she first got there in that basement, she’d had a nice mattress and a different meal every day. I couldn't believe that. Now we lay on wooden slats with no cushions and were fed cold mash ‘tatoes and peas caked in hard gravy, almost every meal. She also told me how she used to have only one chain around her ankle rather than all of her limbs, and she could reach the toilet like that. Imagine my rage! Hearing these things while we shat beneath ourselves, covered in our own waste as them ‘tatoes came out almost exactly the same how they went in. It stank real bad in there, I almost forget how bad it stank, it’s a miracle we never got sick. Lord knows how that works, probably something to do with the injections he’d administer on a regular basis which made me fall asleep, I guess to shut me up or something. But when I was awake, I was mad. Madder than I've ever been in my whole life. Mad just like Nigel wanted, that terrible lost fool.

Holly, she didn't get mad though, she got depressed, and I know why. It’s because she was Nigel’s favourite, right to the very end. And then there was this one night when I woke up and I heard them whispering to each other, and Nigel was crying all feeble like, explaining to Holly how sorry he was and all this stuff. And she was being so sympathetic, idiot girl, telling him it was ok but also begging him to let us go. He just kept on whimpering and saying it wasn't that simple, it was too late, the rats had taken over or something, and I guess that was the night I kinda first caught a glimpse of what a tortured soul he really was, you know? I didn't even feel like swearing at him right then, so I just pretended to be asleep and listened. I think I calmed down a bit after eavesdropping on that conversation. He was in too deep with something bigger than him, there was a deal he couldn't get out of, birthed from a silly scheme he definitely regretted. It was like a representation of this whole messed up world we live in, and I couldn't be any madder at him than I was for everything. I was simply a part of an idea that went too far like any form of oppression, and looking back, I had to reach towards my inner Jesus and forgive the sickness of all men. That didn't mean, however, I had to do so quietly.

But it wasn't long after that when things got better, anyhow. Nigel came in, stuck another needle into my arm, and when I awoke, I had been cleaned up and was wearing nice new warm pyjamas, all comfy and on a decent mattress which was at the right angle. The red light had been changed, the record player was gone, my hair had finally been brushed away from tickling my face, and even though my limbs were chafed raw from the superglued shackles, at least they were free par my left ankle. It was impossible to know how long I had been in there back then—it felt longer than a month, anyhow—but the anger game was finally over, and I was grateful for that at least.

Of course, that’s when the “bargaining” game started. That’s when Sarah came in.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 5: Bargaining

Chapter 5: Bargaining

The following account is adapted from an interview with Sarah Slipseat (24/04/15). These are her own words.

First and foremost, you must understand that I believe the Lord works in mysterious ways and I believe the Lord tests us everyday in our lives. I refuse to play the victim here, and have to keep faith that everything is part of a bigger plan. Well, wouldn't you, darling? After what I've been through?

This is not my first interview on the matter and so by now you should already know my glorious backstory, but I am aware of how you journalist professionals work—you want my own words to put into your own words, don’t you? Ah, predictable! Well, here you go then: my name is Sarah Slipseat, I am approaching my 50s faster than I’d like to admit, and I live in a glorious apartment on Orbit Street, a few doors down from the Juice Nothing building, prime real estate there. My husband—Pastor Slipseat, as you know—and I have recently gone through a fairly written about divorce, which I find amusing. He simply couldn't take the pressure of all this nonsense, what, with his public face to take care of, and he refused to be the Christian leader with the wife who stole the attention. I'm not bothered, mind you. In hindsight, I realise how unhappy I was with the man for so long. He has, in fact, spoken to me more in the last month during the settlement than he has for years. You wouldn't think the admirable Pastor Slipseat was like that behind closed doors, now, would you? He’s an asshole, really, a sanctimonious prick, and you can go ahead and print that. I have enough of my own money not to be concerned over legal implications.

You see, I, myself, am a lawyer, you've probably read. I was even once an attorney for one of Potato Milk’s historical dramas over royalties, don’t you know. Funny that, isn't it? How life goes in circles.

But yes, what’s important here is to remember that I have a strong faith in God. Perhaps never as vocally as my husband ... ex-husband ... but I do feel like this kidnapping business—or adult-napping business, whatever you want to call it—was a sign. You see, I've struggled with a bit of anxiety in recent years, but now all of that seems a touch ludicrous. I can’t for the life of me even remember what I was so anxious about in the times before, but I was. Every day there would be an exciting panic attack awaiting me around any given corner, to the point that I stopped leaving the house unless I really had to. Perhaps it takes being locked in a basement for a human to re-evaluate the importance of her life, but whichever the case, I definitely feel more grounded now than I ever was.

So you want to know about the rats? Oh, darling, I loathe repeating myself. Can’t you just lift a few lines from S.H.I.T.V. or Body of Christ Weekly? The story bores me to tears now if I'm utterly honest with you. So please, for the love of God, take note this time.

I was in the bath. I always have my bath before dinner. Dinner alone, I may add. My husband, the pastor—too busy preaching the word of Jesus to someone more important than me—wasn't home, and hardly ever was. I believe this may have been intentional, perhaps he hated my cooking? Which is a joke, you must explain, for I am an excellent cook.

I digress. I was soaking in my tub—which, by the way, was a luxury I missed most highly during my absence—when I heard this noise, like a glugging sound, as if someone was drowning. At first I thought it was my taps, but realised otherwise when that enormous rat presented itself from my toilet, half choking to death but very fixated on me. Tell, have you ever seen a two foot rat when it’s wet? It looks frighteningly contagious, and so I did what any lady in my position would have done, and jumped onto my feet in order to scream properly. I slipped, naturally, and fell face first into my Fereghan rug. I must admit, I felt rather foolish in that moment, all nude and dazed, sprawled out over my floor, almost embarrassed that the rat had seen me like that. But once I managed to compose myself, stupidly covering my private parts with my hands as I did so, I quickly realised I had bigger problems than ensuring decency.

There was not one rat scratching out from my loo, but many. It’s the kind of incident you look back upon and say to yourself “surely not,” but how I remember it is like an ocean of rats, all identical in every way, pushing eachother outwards as they overflowed from the bowl and scurried towards me, dripping with water and squeaking like an army of chew toys. Which I only saw for a few seconds, as I promptly fainted, which a part of me is grateful for.

Which brings us to the main event, the one you've all been anxiously waiting to hear. I regained consciousness, and found myself in this large warm room on a reasonably comfortable bed, and I looked around to notice three things: (1) I had been clothed in a shabby but prettyish, kitschie nightie—not something I’d be proud of wearing on my own accord, granted, but better than lying naked covered in rats (laughter). (2) I noticed a cuff and chain were tightly fixed to my left ankle, and (3) I became aware that there were two sets of beds on either side of me; to the left, empty ones; to the right, occupied.

Now, unlike the girls before me, I found out, I was not awoken by Nigel's caring touch, as he did not get home in time for my awakening. However, I got all the information I needed from the lovely Holly and Betty, who explained to me the nightmare that they had endured. Some sort of a game, they said, where Holly was always teased with the idea of freedom, while Betty was always provoked into fury. Well, of course, it only took me half an hour or so to connect this all to the Kübler-Ross model, a theory I was well acquainted with, and deduced that I must be the bargaining part. Naturally, I was right.

It makes me laugh when I think back to my first meet with Nigel. His face when I told him I knew his plans before he even greeted me was a classic one. He came in all smug and mighty, and I immediately began to tease him, guessing what he was going do to achieve my role in a satisfactory manner, as well as theorising what type of girls he was going to pick for grief and acceptance. I had spoilt his grand entrance and the whole mystery of his project, and he got so flustered and upset that he left the room in tears. Holly thought this was hilarious. I’d completely thrown him off, put a lot of pressure on him to perform, and I guess that’s why my month was so simple and silly. Unimaginative, even.

As predicted, my games consisted of tasks and rewards. God knows why I was chosen for such a thing, but I assume it had something to do with my lawyer profession, the stereotype that I would be up for a debate. Well, I was, so cheers on him. How it would go was like this: Nigel would come home with a roll of wallpaper, for example, and if us girls plastered the walls well enough, we could get something in return, perhaps a TV or he’d drag in a large bucket of warm water for us to bathe ourselves with. Our chains weren't long, but we could just about reach every corner of the room, which meant within a few days, it was already taking on a much more homely appearance, which I will accept a lot of credit for. My chain was the longest, you see, mainly so I could reach the bathroom from my bed, which was an appreciated thought on his behalf, but did mean I had to upkeep the whole one side of the room by myself.

Before we go on, I do want to go back and elaborate on something I mentioned earlier, something many have found rather peculiar about all of this—I never felt anxious in that basement, not from the moment I awoke until the very end. On the contrary, it was all rather exciting, albeit weird. Negative or positive, no one can deny such an experience to be highly stimulating, and the surrealness of it all gave no room for self-pity. I felt like I had a job to do, and so I did it. And I loved my fellow ladies, I really did. Holly was a spacey girl, always mumbling to herself and never really there, but she’s a sweetheart at heart, totally harmless and actually rather amusing once you get used to her moods. Even Betty started to lighten up and see the funny side, and she is one tough lady, never far from a knot about something. But I have nothing bad to say about her either, as we connected on a spiritual level. She too was raised a Christian and we even started saying prayers together every night. I suppose the matter of the fact is that one cannot be anxious under such circumstances. You just get on with it. You realise the fundamentals of happiness aren't dictated by material objects when you are deprived of almost everything but your own thoughts.

And we grew as people, the three of us, a team, each day faced with a new challenge from Nigel, generally something to do with fixing the place up. We’d clean the bathroom or we’d sew some blankets or we’d polish a mirror—domestic stuff like that, you know? Well, Betty refused most of the more “feminine” cleaning assignments of course, but she could hammer a damn nail into a wall with hellsfury, I’ll tell you that. And with each proposed task, we would haggle with him. We’d ask for books or pens or sushi, and he’d try talk us down to something smaller until we reached an agreement. You see? Bargaining. My game.

And Nigel wasn't all bad for a psychotic loony, even then. Sometimes he’d sneak in at night and wake only me up, and we’d whisper for hours. Of course I asked him what he was doing with us, and he’d talk to me in great detail about Alan and his obsession with the Triangular Theory of Love. It was fascinating, and the way he spoke of it with such passion and upset, I could see he was consumed by something on a level much deeper than even he could understand. I felt quite worried for poor Nigel in those moments, I really did. He was a lost soul, you know. Too much money, too much fame, too much boredom, and then he got himself caught up in something he could never really explain the extent of. Believe me, I've seen the effects of the spotlight first-hand on my own husband, it can make a man crazy. Maybe not quite “abducting people” crazy, but whatever the result, I find you can’t really blame a person for their circumstances. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and that's all we can truly take from this.

Anyway, I really appreciated those chats when he helped me understand the best he could about what was going on. He let his guard down for a bit and he’d forget what his mission was, sometimes even seeming remorseful, on the verge of tears, all apologies. But other times, you would hear an audible click, and he would be back in game mode, telling me some rubbish about how I had to realise what I had to give him in order to be set free, which I knew was utter bullshit. This was a game, and there was no escaping until the bitter end. And yes, I am aware of what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing, and offered him sex on multiple occasions for my freedom. But he refused. He never touched any of us girls in that way, except for Holly maybe. Oh, she said he didn't? Well, I wouldn't know, I just always noted a special connection between the two of them, they’d often laugh at in-jokes or chatter quietly to each other, it was a bit unsettling. Maybe they just related on some messy psychological type of way, I'm not sure, but that would make some sense in hindsight.

I guess to summarise my wonderful chapter of the story, I have to say that I am appreciative about how painless my month was in the greater scheme of things—much less painful than Betty’s month, I understand—and by the end of it with all the goals we’d achieved and rewards we’d gained, the room was looking rather quaint, something to be proud of. We had flowers and decorations, new beds, and even a stove to cook our large bag of rice on when we got peckish. It was all quite cosy in a strange way, except for the bloody chains superglued on our ankles. However, I think I was the only one who knew where this Kübler-Ross concept was going, yet I dared not talk about it too much. I knew grief was coming. And, boy, did grief come.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 6: Grief

Chapter 6: Grief

To protect the innocent, the name of the victim in this report has been changed to Girl-X. The following account is a loose adaptation from an interview with said victim (28/04/15). These are her own words.

Hello, my name is Girl-X and I am four and a quarter years old. The day of the mouses I woke up and mommy put my bestest dress in the whole world on me ‘cos it was Friday and mommy is always nicer on a Friday. Sometimes mommy sings to me on a Friday and kisses my head ‘cos mommy is happiest on Fridays. Then I ate breakfast and then I fed Roger and then I brushed my teeth and then I went to school also like Monday and Tuesday and all the days so that’s where I went.

At school we did maths sums which was nice ‘cos Mr Kernick is my maths teacher and he’s very nice and friendly, he has a face like a hamster, you must see it, he looks like his face is squashed like this. And then after that Sally sat with me at lunch on the swing and Sally is normally mean to me but on the day of the mouses she said we were friends and mommy gave me a cheese sandwich like mommy always gives me cheese sandwiches but I don’t like cheese but mommy forgets and Sally had peanut butter so we did swaps and I like peanut butter more so she had my cheese one.

Sally normally eats her sandwiches with Georgia but Sally said Georgia pood her pants so she likes me more and it’s really funny ‘cos Georgia always poos her pants, oh my gosh, we call her “poo face” all the time and she gets real angry ‘cos she knows we call her that but I think it’s sooooo funny.

Oh, Sally also said she liked my dress and I liked Sally’s dress also, so we both looked very nice and so Sally said we should go out and look at the big bum (editors note: the “big bum” refers to the Grandiose Asshole near Budstop Preschool, one of the official Ten Wonders of the Goat’s Nest) ‘cos I’d never seen the big bum only in pictures and Sally said she knows how to get there and it was real close. I knew it was bad to run away from school but also Sally said it would be ok ‘cos it was so close and nobody would see us go and we would be back before Mrs Dobsin knew we were gone.

But I never saw the bum ‘cos when we got out the fence, that was the day the mouses came. The mouses weren't happy mouses, I don’t think, not like those magic mouses in the Roolarde cartoons, and there were like, a billion mouses, this big! As big as a house, some were bigger than a whole house! And oh my gosh, they smelt soooo bad and I got such a fright but I didn't cry ‘cos lots of stuff smells bad, like my daddy, sometimes after he drinks he smells bad but he gets real mad if I say that so I still love my daddy even though he smells bad sometimes and the mouses weren't so bad I guess, so I thought, you know what? I love my daddy so I just closed my eyes like this and that was the day of the mouses.

After the mouses I don’t know what happened but that’s when I was in the room. It was a nice room, nicer than my room at my house even ‘cos there was a TV and my bed was humongous, like 10 times bigger than my bed at my house, and everything was real clean. But also it was also very scary ‘cos I didn't know anyone there and I missed Roger so much. Roger is my bunny, who is also my best friend, and mommy doesn’t know how to feed Roger like me, so I was worried about Roger a lot, and I cried because everyone was a stranger and I wasn't at school and I knew I’d get shouted at if daddy found out I wasn't at school, and also there was this chain on my foot like in the movies and so everything was bad.

But everyone in there was real nice to me, so that was good. There was, uhm, first there was Mrs B who I liked, she’s ok, but she gets mad alllll the time, oh my gosh, and she’s a bit fat and gross sometimes but promise, you mustn't tell her I said that! She was always shouting at Nijool about me ‘cos I'm a kid she said. I don’t know, everyone was real nice but I'm not stupid, I could see they were real sad I was there ‘cos they cried all the time when they hugged me. Everyone cried all the time and I think it was my fault and that made me cry even more because I didn't want people to be sad because of me.

I was ok though, the sorest thing was my foot, I had a chain like stuck to it and we all had one so it was real sore to walk around, it was always sore. And Nijool was really scary sometimes ‘cos everytime he saw me he’d whisper to me stuff about my mommy like that she would never see me again and he said Roger might be dead and that I was going to be dead also soon and I just wanted to go home until I cried. Nighttime was the saddest time for me also ‘cos I couldn't sleep without saying goodnight to Roger, and B and Sarah would try say goodnight like me and Roger did but they never did it right. And when I cried they also cried and we were all real sad at night time.

And, boy, they were sooo mad with Nijool, like Holly would get so mad sometimes and she would say a swear word and I know that’s not good and she’d pretend she said something else but I’m not stupid, I know what she said and I’d tell Sarah and she’d shout at Holly and that’s why I like Sarah. When I grow up, I want to be just like Sarah ‘cos she’s rich and she gives the nicest hugs. But I like Holly also.

In the truth, I thought I would never see Roger again, ‘cos Nijool he said so and even though I cried real loud all the time no one ever came, and I was so scared of Nijool ‘cos sometimes he’d be real mean and give me a toy like he gave this one giraffe toy to me one night but then the next day he took it away and I cried so much and the ladies shouted at him but he just did mean stuff like that to make me cry, and then everyone would cry, and even Nijool would cry also. And like, sometimes, Nijool would show me a mirror like this and I looked and my hair was so messy and ugly and that made me cry too. And sometimes there was even no food and it was so cold and I just wanted to die.

But Sarah, she kept telling me that it was only one month and then it would be nicer and she made little drawings on the wall so we could see how long a month was and even though it felt like a million months she was right. Nijool changed to be nice after that and that’s when Lorrie came and it was even nicer.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 7: Acceptance

Chapter 7: Acceptance

The following account is adapted from an interview with Lorrie McCarthy (30/04/15). These are her own words.

I know how you media-type like to portray me, and I don’t give a shit. I am and forever will be DJ S8N's biggest fan. The man’s a genius—a superhuman—and he never gets the praise he deserves. Have you ever been to one of his shows? He is a God on the decks, a true master, he knows exactly how to control a room, the vibe is at his mercy and he manipulates emotion from his fingertips. It’s inspiring.

That’s why this whole thing is so weird for me. Since I was thirteen, the walls of my room have been plastered exclusively with his face—or what his face used to be, anyhow. You see, I never knew my Dad, and so I am rife with “daddy issues” or so they say. I guess he became a father figure to me. Well, a father I’d fuck, if that’s a thing, so go ahead and psychoanalyse that shit (laughter). I wrote to him all the time over the years, and he even wrote me back a few times, I still have those framed next to my bed, I’ll never get rid of them, even now. I’d also met him a few times too, before this whole drama, at store signings and after gigs, and he was exactly what I wanted him to be as a human being. Really kind. Really gentle. Really grateful.

That’s what people don’t get. He’s an uber sensitive guy, quite shy even, but he does what he does for his fans and for the love of creativity. And this whole “kidnapping” ordeal is proof of that. I mean, who had even heard of the Kübler-Ross model before any of this? Had you? It just shows how deep he goes.

So anyway, yeah, I was his “acceptance” girl, and that’s cool with me. I am his biggest fan in the world, as I say. It makes sense. It could only be me. But that’s the one thing that pisses me off about the whole business, and I told him this, is that he never had to send the rats after me. He could've just asked.

It was right after one of his shows too. I’d just got my purse from the cloakroom, drenched in sweat like everyone is after one of his killer gigs, a little wasted from that ecstasy pill and maybe some coke or whatever, and I was waiting outside, freezing my tits off, hoping he’d come out of the stage door. There were a bunch of other sluts out there too, probably hoping to suck his dick or something, but I knew he wasn't like that. Believe me, I've tried that angle, I used to mail him naked photos of myself all the time so he’d recognise me, but he always just gave me a smile or a wink in person and that was it. He’s not your typical DJ star. He does it for the love.

Anyway, he was taking his time, and so I remember looking down at my phone. I was texting my girl Jen, I think, when out of nowhere this rat jumps past my head and snatches my mobile out of my hand. Damn bugger nicked my finger, cut it open on its tooth, was really painful. I got such a fright, but I could still see it scurrying away—it was a fat bastard, as big as a rugby ball, so it wasn't going fast or anything especially with my phone in its mouth.

Of course, I know now that was its plan, and I did everything it wanted: I chased it. I should have known something was up, because every time I started closing in, it’d pick up the pace, maintaining a certain distance from me. And every now and then it’d pass a drain pipe, the perfect size to accommodate its body, and I’d think “ah shit, there it goes,” but instead it’d run right passed it. It took me for such a fool and I fell for it.

So after ducking and diving down this alleyway and the next, I turn one corner and there it was, facing me, phone still in its mouth. And behind it was an army of identical rats, hundreds of them, all with different phones in their mouths, it was fucking weird. So I yelped and spun to get the hell out of there, and of course, found that a similar amount of rats with mobiles had collected up behind me, blocking any escape route. I was surrounded, and they kept coming; out of windows and sewers and over fences and whatever else, more and more rats building around me, and all of their gazes locked onto my person. My senses went into overload, I was paralysed by fear, their smell was so thick I could taste it, and the only sound I could hear besides my heart in my ears was this very low growl they were all making, like rrrrrr, thousands of rats almost purring, kinda like a very quiet washing machine, all around me.

Time stood still like that forever until a phone rang. It wasn't my phone, I'm not sure where it came from, but it was like their cue, and they pounced. I remember, like, a split second of this, a tidal wave of rats swarming in on me and up my body. I don’t even think I had time to scream.

Now you have to imagine this from my point of view. I've had countless fantasies where I've woken up in DJ S8N's arms or with him standing over me with a plate of bacon or something. So when I came to and he was there dabbing my forehead with a wet towel, well, it took me a few moments to grasp the situation, to say the least. It’s like when you know something is real, but the pessimist inside of you won’t believe it. Looking back, I really wish I had said something smart or sexy to him, like “there you are,” or “what took you so long,” but instead I kinda just gasped and let out a little squeal and that was the best I could do. I think I may have even peed myself a little (laughter). But it didn't matter, he just smiled and wiped my face, winked at me, then stood up. And that’s when I noticed the other girls.

He introduced me to them, and they all looked really tired, I remember thinking. Naturally, this makes sense, as I later learned what they had been through, the genius game they’d been subjected to, which if anything made me jealous. Anyway, so he kept talking but I was so giddy with excitement and wrapped up in his presence that I can’t really remember his speech, but I do recall everyone seemed really relieved I was there. I was relieved I was there. And yes, my ankle was chained up like all the others, but if anything I found that quite kinky.

From then on out, things were fantastic, a dream come true. I heard all the horror stories about how the mattresses we lay on weren't always as nice, and admittedly I felt very sorry for Girl-X when she cried for her rabbit at night, but once the whole concept had been explained to me, I got what was going on. It was all necessary. It was art. We were art. And nobody can take that away from us.

Ok, so yes, maybe I would have seen things differently if I’d been there from the beginning—my darling mother is always quick to remind me of that. I won’t even argue the point, I heard all about the stresses DJ S8N had calculated, I am part of this story, remember? And I’ll be the first to admit that DJ S8N was a little bit different than I recalled him from before. He seemed more distracted, more muddled and irregular, but still very warm and sensitive, and none of these contradictions put me off in the slightest. I was his “acceptance girl” anyway, and so my piece of the puzzle was one of great alleviation for everyone, where DJ S8N really revealed his compassionate side—his true side. Every day, he’d ask us what we wanted, and pretty much whatever we said, we’d get it within the day. We got fed like you wouldn't believe, three course meals with dessert and wine on a candlelit table. I gained weight in my time there. Another thing he apparently only started to do during my stay was cleaning our ankles with disinfectant on a daily basis. He did loads of other stuff too, like, for example, he surrounded Girl-X with fluffy toys which she really responded well to, and he bought some clay for Holly so she could work on her pottery skills. And it didn't end there either, books and newspapers were coming in every day, the works. Of course, every now and then we’d find an article had been cut out of the Oracle or whatever, and we knew it had something to do with our disappearance, but I understood. He didn't want to upset us.

The only resistance came from B really, and I guess to a lesser degree, from Sarah. No matter how much I tried to get them to chill, they just wouldn't. Well, Sarah was ok, give her a thick novel and she’d shut up for a while, but B was something else, always ready to shoot assorted harsh words towards DJ S8N. But he would never retaliate, he’d just sit there and listen to her and answer any questions she had and then bring her whatever she wanted. Eventually I was actually convinced she had a crush on him too, as dykey as she is, because there was always a hint of tease in her taunts, especially near to the end.

In hindsight, I reckon everyone had a crush on him, Holly in particular. During my month, DJ S8N managed to get her some medication, and so she started to make sense after a while, and the two of them seemed far too close in my opinion. Was I jealous? Yes, of course I was jealous (laughter). But she had been around the longest, and I don’t have anything bad to say about Holly. She was definitely one of the group and always happy to help. I have my doubts anything happened between them, I was probably just being paranoid.

Anyways, I didn't care, I was happier than I’d ever been, like my prayers had finally been answered. When I’d hear him coming down the stairs to deliver a new lamp or flowers or to read Girl-X a bedtime story, my heart would flare up like match. And I think my vibe rubbed off on the other girls too eventually, as we spent our days together chatting and singing and laughing and decorating and cleaning, until the room really became a warm home, or at least for me. Maybe the chains around our ankles were a pain, but after a week or so of my stay, DJ S8N got the bright idea of lining them with this thin foam material, which really helped and we appreciated the gesture. Although, the whole ankle thing was pointless for me, where would I go if he took it off? There was no place I’d rather be.

Time flew like crazy, and when Sarah told me a month had nearly passed and the next unknown stage was coming, I couldn't believe how quick it had all gone. Actually, though, it must be said that if you saw how the place had improved during my stay, it wasn't all that surprising. The walls were freshly painted a deep red, with bits of art from each of us stenciled in black over the top, reflecting our personalities. Like a stick rabbit figure that Girl-X drew, her bunny from home, or Jesus on the cross from Sarah. I painted a vinyl, it was DJ S8N’s idea. And all around were colourful lights and pretty ornaments, it looked liked Christmas every day. Music was playing all the time and we’d dance around, sometimes DJ S8N would even come in and join us, each of us taking turns to show our moves. Oh God, those were the days, and I was falling in love with him more and more—we all were. Sneaky bugger, he played us in a way, it was true to the name of the game. The other girls had come to accept his presence and their situation, laughing at his jokes and asking him how his day was, stuff like that. We were one big happy family, Girl-X stopped crying, and we grew stronger as unit every day. I wanted this life forever, but as like every month, my month ran out too.

And that was it. That fateful day, the last day. The day my dream slipped through my fingers and the fantasy died.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 8: The Last Day

Chapter 8: The Last Day

The following account is compiled from separate interviews with all participants. These are their own words.

And then the day had finally arrived. The last day. The day I hung up my hat on this whole barbaric game and resigned to throw my life away. I remember standing at the top of the stairs, and man, was I nervous. It’s kinda funny, really. I can perform in front of a thousand strong festival crowd and not even realise I’m there, but to face these five ladies one last time was doing my head in. I was basically in tears from the shame and I’d never felt so feeble in all of my life. But I sucked it up. The end had come. Everything had gone so well and according to plan that I knew I couldn’t back out now. I had to follow through, because of the rats.

I recall hearing his footsteps coming down the stairs, and, of course, we all knew that day meant something. I had been keeping a pedantic tally of the months, you must understand, and we all knew the time of “acceptance” had come to an end. There was much discussion about what exactly this may or may not entail, but I for one feared the absolute worst. It made complete and utter sense to me that Nigel was going to murder us, otherwise how would he keep up our captivity for much longer? People must have been looking for us. Naturally, I didn’t breathe a word of this presumption out loud. Poor Girl-X didn’t need to hear such things.

Honestly, I found the whole thing kinda funny looking back. Nigel came into the room and he was shit scared. I’d never seen him like that, shaking all over the place like vrrrrr, so nervous, quite adorable even. And he stands right in front of the TV, pretty much center room, and he begins his little speech about how we all knew this day was coming and what this all meant and how remorseful he was. Personally, I was just trying not to laugh, it was very comedic, I couldn’t take it seriously. But I think I was the only one who saw it this way.

And Nijool, he said lotsa stuff like, uhm, how he had been a naughty man and how he kept on saying sorry and stuff and I could tell he was very sad and that made me sad also. Then he said we must go home now.

So Nigel gives us his sob speech which sounded far too scripted if you ask me, and then he brings out this key and starts removing all of them damn ankle chains with adhesive thinners and antiseptic cream, finally. God, that felt good. First he did Lorrie, then Girl-X ... he did everybody else first and then me last. He was probably scared of me or something, scared I would kick his ass and run, ruining his whole grand finale. But truth be told, I was far too shocked that we were actually getting our freedom back to even think about nothing else.

Once all of our chains were off, he kinda just pointed at the door, like saying “you’re free now, fly little birdies,” or something, but no one moved a muscle. It was surreal. I felt like I’d just got there and now I had to leave? I couldn’t bear the thought.

And that’s when Lorrie, God bless her, just started rambling. It was very peculiar at first, the poor girl was in hysterics. She spluttered on about how much better her life was in that room, which is ludicrous for you to hear, I’m sure, but she was making some sense. She was quick to reflect this onto the rest of us too, pointing out how I had a dreadful husband who was never around and loved his job more than me. And she was right, you know. As I’ve mentioned, my anxiety had completely disappeared in the time I was in that room, and I’d never felt quite so at home anywhere else before. Absolute insanity, really (laughter).

Lorrie totally hit the nail. She asked what was on the outside world for me, and I realised there was nothing. I had been living in a fucking mental hospital, and I didn’t want to go back to that existence. My life beyond the room was a mess, balancing the doubts of my sanity with sedating myself to normality without any friends who weren’t imaginary. It was no way to live. I mean, you must remember I had been in that basement for five months at this point, and while a lot of it was hazy and a bit uncomfortable, I did feel at home after all. This felt like my life now, and it meant the world to me on some strange level. I’d never thought of it before Lorrie had said it, though. Strange how one wants their freedom until they get it.

That Lorrie girl, ooh, she made my blood boil with that blabbering, accusing me of being a bitter black lady living alone and all that. I wanted to punch her, I really did. But the thing is you see, I’m a stubborn woman, I know this, so it’s hard for me to admit things sometimes. But if I think back, yeah, I was happy in that hole Nigel had made for us, especially in the last month. Those girls were my friends, my sisters, and I didn’t want to lose that. I didn’t want to be alone again.

So this is about the time I realised I’d lost control of the situation. It seemed my “acceptance” round had worked so well that not only had these girl accepted this as their reality, but were actually clinging on to it, making it theirs. It had gone too far, and it made no sense, they had turned me into the victim, offering me help like they were suddenly experts of psychiatry or something. I was ready for them to run out the door and then I was going to kill myself before the authorities showed up, but instead, they refused to leave. Can you imagine that? They wouldn’t even let me get a syllable out of protest. It was pure madness.

I don’t know where the words were coming from, but they just poured out of me along with my tears of desperation. I’d do anything to keep this thing going, and I was just saying whatever to try and convince the other chicks to stay too. But I had no idea how true it all was. Everyone took their turns breaking down and confessing that they felt the same as me. We all were much happier there. But then, of course, there was the issue of Girl-X. We were all worried about Girl-X and what we would do with her. I think it was Sarah who suggested we let her go home at least, while the rest of us stayed put.

I didn’t wanna go home! Sarah was my best friend ever and Nijool was the strongest man I’d ever seen in my whole life. I said I had to stay, I had to! I even said that!

Girl-X was just crying and crying, bawling her darling little eyes out, begging us to let her stay, until we started to rationalise the truth of the matter. We couldn’t honestly let her go, for how long could a four year old keep such a thing secret? It would only be a matter of time before enough questions slipped the confession out of her and the cops came knocking, destroying the whole dream anyway. No, if we chose to stay, then we all had to stay, end of story. And whatever Nigel had got himself into, whatever disaster mess he was dealing with, we could support him through it. We knew with the right understanding, together we could fix him and keep this life going for as long as it took.

I actually liked the idea of Girl-X staying with all of us, to be honest. She was a large part of the dynamic. We could raise her as our own, teach her things no school could. I don’t know if it was fair to think like that, but I had a feeling her parents weren’t the nicest of people anyway, and God knows Nigel had enough money to give her everything she needed. We could just keep decorating the room, or better yet, move into our own rooms in his house—it’s bigger than any house I’ve ever seen, there was definitely enough space. I figured we could make a real home there. Figured it was the least Nigel could do.

I liked this talk cos it made me feel special cos they said they could all be my mommy. I’d have four mommies!

Eventually, everyone was shouting, getting far too excited whilst begging Nigel to let us stay, but I think I was the only one who noticed that he wasn’t listening to shit. That’s the thing with me and Nigel, we have this weird connection which no one else seems to realise, and I could tell he was overwhelmed to breaking point. He had this dazed look in his eyes. I’d seen that look before on other patients in the ward, it’s kinda scary. I tried to say something because I could tell he was about to explode or melt like plghhhh or whatever, but my voice got drowned out by the other girls until it was too late. I remember him giving me this sorrowful look just before he made his move, and that was the last time I ever saw Nigel. That’s how I will always remember him, with that stupid fucking doped up look on his face.

I couldn’t take it anymore. Those girls were crazy. They wanted to stay and help me? The lunatic who had kidnapped and essentially mentally tormented them for months? I mean, really, does that not sound a little crazy to you? So I just left. Walked out of the room, up the stairs and out my front door, gone. I could hear the silence vacuum the room as I did so. And before I knew it, I was running full sprint towards A-Soft Train Station. I don’t know what I was thinking, I had a perfectly good rifle in my attic all prepped to blow my mind out according to plan, but I guess I had fantasised about being home alone when I did the deed, not surrounded by five yapping girls. I suppose I just couldn’t be in that house anymore, and by the time I got to the platform, it made complete sense as to what I had to do. I waited for a minute or two for the train to arrive, and then as it pulled up, I took a deep breath, pushed all thoughts aside and then dived face first in front of it, smashing my head in between the track and the wheels.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 9: The Perpetrator

Chapter 9: The Perpetrator

The following account is adapted from an interview with Nigel Coaster (16/04/15). These are his own words.

I don’t know if you remember this, but a few years ago a little girl had jumped in front of that very same train. Japan was her name, you must have reported about it, she was somewhat of a local celebrity at the time, I’ve since found out. Had some weird ageing disorder or something.

Well, her little scene had traumatised the witnesses so much that the council had to look like they were doing something about it, and spent a fortune on fitting their trains with that Salt feature. I’m not sure how it works exactly, but I think the driver can press a panic button which sends a shock so extreme to the hippocentaur pushing the thing that the creature totally seizes up and pretty much dies, its fallen weight grinding the train to a complete standstill in less than a second. Obviously, the train basically tears right down the middle in the process, but the theory was that in a moment’s notice, any given driver could cease all movement, just like that, snap. Apparently I was the first time it’d been used in action, aren’t I so special.

Let me tell you, it fucking works. The wheels shattered my arm and ripped my face right off my skull, but my brain went untouched. I hear the sudden force of the train stopping was so severe that an old lady in the carriage face-planted really badly, breaking two vertebrae in the process, so she actually came off more injured than me. Of course, I had passed out long before any of this.

Anyways, it just so happened a fan was on the platform and recognised my tattoos, and so while I was busy being rushed to the hospital, the cops went to my house and obviously found the five missing girls, I imagine to be still sitting in that basement with those stupid gobsmacked looks upon their faces. Which meant by the time my plastic surgery was done and my stitches had just about dried, I was already being carted off to a holding cell to await my judgement. I was dazed, but I knew this wasn’t good. I was in some deep shit.

I got questioned unnecessarily for hours even though I admitted to everything. You should have seen the cops, they were losing their minds because they were so sure there was more to the story. That’s what cops are like, they had finally found their man and wanted the heroic tackle to match, one where they saved the day, not one where they didn’t actually do jack shit and got handed the ending on a silver platter. They were fuming with frustration and probably still are, to a degree.

But what really pissed them off, I think, was that the girls refused to press charges. This made the case very difficult to bring to trial, because the quote unquote “victims” didn’t consider the incident to be some massive crime. Sarah even tried her best to stand as my attorney, but of course, they would never let that fly. She was too close to the case, yet you can imagine how much this further damaged the prosecution against me. I was beyond grateful, God bless her, really, but still ... you have to admit that’s really fucked up. These girls were that attached to me. It still makes absolutely no sense, it’s nauseating and I do not pretend to understand, even if I completely appreciate each and every one of them for sympathising towards ... whatever happened back then.

But, of course, there was little Griefie [Girl-X]. As she was considered incapable of knowing what was going on due to her age, her parents became her legal voice and pressed every charge in the book against me. I don’t know what manipulation they used on the poor girl, but I suddenly found myself slapped with five counts of false imprisonment, assault causing bodily harm and torture—which is fair—but also of attempted murder and statutory rape, which was utter bullshit. If I wanted to kill any of them, how easy would have that been? As for rape, the very thought makes me sick, not only in context of this story, but always. Sex is disgusting, I would have never gone down that route. But, naturally, once you confess to trapping five people in your basement, it becomes slightly difficult to fight any accusations regardless of their accuracy.

And I suppose that brings your little article up to date, doesn’t it? I was found guilty in a court of law on all counts charged, and sentenced to life here, in Crayon Underground Prison. The whole thing feels like a million years ago already, not just a few months. I’m going crazy in this joint, I tell you, man. I might be in a secluded cell and all, but the inmates, they don’t take kindly to high profile cases, and the verbal abuse keeps me awake at night. But I know how that sounds. Who am I to ask for sympathy, right?

So, do I regret it? Well, that’s the million dollar question right there, isn’t it? Yeah, of course I regret it. I know I am to blame even if I can’t remember half of what happened, and I can only guess that I simply lost control of my own thoughts. I am an idiot. I played God, and I look upon myself with such disdain and repulsion. I hate myself. Many have pointed at the fame itself for what happened, and that makes sense. For a while back there, I had everything mapped out and figured I was invincible. I had seen everything, stupid people followed my every word, I had more money than I knew what to do with, and that kind of lifestyle becomes tiresome, believe me. But still, that doesn’t quite excuse nor explain it. I was never like this before. I was a good guy once upon a time, and then ... I became stupid, somehow. Overnight, even. I just wish I could go back with the foresight to blow my fucking brains out long before I made any deals with rats.

In the end, I don’t care what you say about me, man. I can’t stop you either way and probably won’t ever get the privilege to read the words you write. No matter what, it's probably all been said before anyway. I’m a monster, fine, I can understand that, I’ll accept that. But if you believe in journalistic integrity whatsoever, then please print that I am innocent, at least on some counts. Above everything else, this was a game, albeit an extreme one. There were five stages, and once they were done, I did the right thing. I am not a rapist. I am not a murderer. My life is not some sensationalist painting or a fucking dramatic movie made from poison. People deserve the truth. Yes, I stole a bunch of miserable girls, and yes, I treated them as my own person art piece, and for those mistakes, I am paying my time. But I never raped Girl-X and I never tried to kill anyone. There is something else going on here, something ... look, just print that, ok? I never did what people are saying. Please. Just print that, because I will never get the chance to say it myself.

And, for what it’s worth, I am so, so sorry.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: The Kübler-Ross Model: Chapter 10: The Journalist

Chapter 10: The Journalist

And, really, what choice did I have? I printed that. I printed everything, and yet I know I can’t be alone when I conclude with this: I am still not satisfied. There are far too many unexplained mysteries and unsteady inconsistencies from what the police report stated to what the court ruled, in comparison to the statements from those who were actually involved in the trial; the statements you have just read.

Personally, it’s not difficult for me to agree with locking this man away until his dying day. Without a doubt, he is guilty for the majority of accusations. Women were snatched from their daily lives and held captive to entertain some sick game, and that is unquestionably unacceptable and rightfully highly illegal. Such a criminal mind is a definite danger to society, and we cannot allow people like Nigel to run around with freedom. For the safety of everyone, I am glad he is where he is.

But even in that, there is some turbulence. With each girl denying the ordeal as anything too harmful and refusing to press charges, as well as standing together in general consensus that no sexual nor murderous intentions took place, the case does fall a bit injured, and presents the official reports to look a little less than genuine and a little more fabricated than before. There is no doubt in my mind that these girls all loved Nigel, as they sold him well with much fondness despite the anguish I can only imagine they endured.

And he would have got away with it too, if it wasn’t for Girl-X and her parents, the only weapon the accusation had in their power—which as we know, turned out to be more than enough due to the already undeniably problematic character Nigel admitted to becoming. Interestingly enough, the poor young girl herself was said unfit to stand as a witness, but less to do with her age and more as a consequence of post-traumatic stress, the court heard. However, two different doctors stood under oath and confirmed there was evidence of sexual injuries to her body, despite no actual testimony on her behalf stating such an occurrence. To me, however, the most incriminating evidence against Nigel was a very short tape shown in the hearing which I have had the “honour” of watching myself. Here, Girl-X reluctantly confesses on film all sorts of things under bubbles of tears while the man behind the camera artistically focuses from her crying eyes to the raw shedding skin around her ankle. She mumbles about observing all parties partake in group sex, drugs, and vicious methods of torture, and I can only imagine the vile hatred of the jury when watching something so emotionally painful. This evidence was only fueled further when tests found each girl had been drugged by various substances throughout their stay, including heavy doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and (to a lesser degree) dissociatives. That didn’t help, and for some, is enough alone to erode DJ S8N’s account and validate his incarceration.

However, there is another juicer side to this story, one of diverse conspiracy theories which I will dabble in without fully subscribing to. There are strong rumours running through the more saucier publications which suggest there was a sixth girl named Margot McCarvo whose similarly timed disappearance seemed to closely follow the patterns of this case, and some have suggested that Margot died in captivity, completely erased from the story somehow. Even more curious is the hypothesising of what can only be described as a Satanic ritual, one where the girls were drugged and brainwashed to develop feelings of sympathy towards Nigel, a carefully orchestrated occult like procedure, curated by the rats themselves which was never fully realised due to the criminal’s mistaken survival, disallowing the story to die with his death, but rather live and thrive, pushed into mass awareness. Said story is eerily comparable to Holly’s wolf hallucination, one where some act was to be performed in order to fulfill an ancient foretelling, designed to aggravate the end of times. In certain versions of this narrative, Nigel had very little to do with the acts which took place, but was rather a scapegoat for a much bigger program in which the rats were in complete control. But as their renegade political stance is so far removed from anything, they were impossible to reach for comment except for one vicious letter from their paws, threatening my very own life if I reported anything on their involvement. I can only hark back to that ridiculous proposition that I am so-called “very lucky” to land this article, when my own demise could come as a result of these contractual obligations. Regardless, I feel little desire to waste time entertaining such loose allegations just yet, because even as unsubstantial as their evidence is, the very idea would probably drive me crazy.

However, whether a man blinded by his own illusions of grandeur to the point of raping and torturing girls until he rewired their persons, or a tale so dark that these factors barely scratch the surface of a much more sinister motive; my own opinion is as unexplainable as the contradictions surrounding the drama, leaving more questions than answers. But what I can say is this: I met Nigel Coaster. I spent quite a great deal of time with the man. And I can’t get him out of my head no matter what I do. There is something wrong with him, but I don’t mean in any obvious manner like the demon he has been illustrated by every journalist with a pen and an audience. No, instead it’s as if he is no longer a full part of his own person, more a bystander, a backseat driver who occasionally claws at the wheel with all the shame he could muster, before being pushed aside by some sort of a devilish figure, arrogant and vain within his accomplishments, as if these two personalities aren’t even aware of each other’s presence. Because of this, I understand where the girls were coming from, as I now reluctantly come from the same place. Nigel had charm and he had charisma which worked as a pile of soil to bury the gentle human beneath, and anyone who gives him a moment’s chance will realise that something very bad has happened to him. He was not always this way, there must have been some incident that broke his character, I'm certain of it. As a result (and as irrational and dangerous as this may seem), I find myself in a unique position which I must pursue, and formally announce my intention to spend the rest of my journalistic career studying this case until I find out exactly what turned DJ S8N into the criminal we see today. And if this provokes rats to crawl through my keyhole and bite my face off during the night, at least you will all know I was onto something.

I am now part of this story. And if I'm lucky, I am going to find out the truth about Nigel Coaster.