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Opinion Pieces Three- the Present Fella and James Bond
Patton woke from flat, unpleasant, verbal dreams at 3.17am on Saturday morning and made a note on his iPad, which he kept switched on and by his bed every night – “Similarities between James Bond and the Pope.”
He lay on his back (a position he never could get to sleep from) and he thought-
“The present Pope takes his name from St.Francis. He, like the saint, seems to be a very nice man. The problem with the Pope (the present fella as we call him in Irish Catholic circles; no matter what part of the world we find ourselves Irish Catholics in) is that the nicer he tries to be the more he highlights by contrast the horror of the church he represents (THE Church, as we also say in Irish Catholic circles). Francis says women who have had a abortion shouldn’t have to go specially to a bishop to be forgiven FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY as if it were a supermarket special offer and most people don’t think ‘Oh, how nice of him and how progressive’. They think instead ‘What the hell, do they really have to do that, God,( ironically,)  that’s backwards’. The nicer the Pope tries to be the more he points up the brutal nastiness of the organisation he happens to be the figurehead of.”

“James Bond has a similar problem. The only way to make a really good movie that is a James Bond movie would be to make one which gave full vent to the murderous and sexually criminal (read rape) characteristics of Bond. Alan Moore has done this in his graphic novels but if you were to film them, those movies would certainly be banned. Instead, the more they try to make the recent movies ‘edgy’ the more they point up how very ‘unedgy’ they in fact are.”
Yes, that was good. He turned over and felt satisfied. He tried to fix the words to the note on the device, something he had done many times before. He thought and rethought the thoughts until he felt confident that the words were his. He smiled and turned onto his stomach. He fell asleep like a safe and happy child.

The alarm sounded at 8. Patton stood up; as the German’s have it, and made the bed. He went to the kitchen and made a cup of artisan coffee (Mocha Italia, imported, Dorset Coffee Company imported); He retrieved the note from his iPad and read-
“Similarities between James Bond and the Pope” Hmm, what had that been about now. He couldn’t quite bring the connected ideas to mind. What was more, he didn’t seem to care. The emotional connection wasn’t there. It didn’t seem all that important.

This was a new feeling for him. Their was no urgent grasping for the clever idea, the cutting turn of phrase. He hung form the  chin-up bar in the doorway and felt sad, sad from the outside, a sad image to view from the ceiling- like Dali’s Christ (no that was way too dramatic). The writer of opinion pieces without words or opinions. A decent portrait, a good painting.. but no damn use to him.

His head was foggy. He wondered for a moment if he had overdosed on caffeine, if this was what adrenal fatigue was like. That might be so but the feeling was so deep, so emotional, felt like it had been coming for so long. Anyway, after this next coffee (Australian Skyberry he thought) there would be no more coffee for a few days. He would see if that helped.

In the short-term however, he was still, to use a technical term, screwed. He remembered a television programme that must have been at least ten years old now- “The Mrs. Merton Show”. It was a mock chat show hosted by a fictional housewife played by Caroline Aherne. Mrs. Merton was somewhat lacking in self awareness and so was able to ask some rather telling and very funny questions of her quests- “Debbie Magee, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?” was the first to come to Patton’s mind.

What he was remembering now, however, was a segment of the show in which the audience of pensioners would be asked to take part in an obviously contrived and overblown discussion. Mrs. Merton would introduce the bit my announcing with some enthusiasm “Let’s have a heated debate.” The implication that it was going to be a debate for the sake of sensation only was brilliantly drawn.

Over the next few days Patton, who suffered from intrusive and obsessive thoughts at the best of times, could not sit down to write without that line “Let’s have a heated debate!” exploding in his otherwise exhausted mind.