Joseph Conrad you say? Heh, I knew such a man once, he was, what you might call ... a Pole. Therein lies the problem you see, for he was not what might be described as a thin rounded piece of wood, perhaps adorned with a flag, perhaps not. Nor was he an extremity of an axis through a sphere. No! Begad good sir! He was a native of Poland. You see now, he was an impenetrable mystery, that Conrad - always cadging for blow too, but that's another story. Wait, no it isn't.
His early life you say? Well, 'tis presumptuous to assume I would provide you with this particular chap's tale. Yes, I may be an old seaman, but yarn spinning is not my forte good sir. No indeed, one can probably tell from my unsophisticated vernacular that I, Marlow, a man of humble origins and humble endings would have such oratory skills. But Conrad, my God man, he had eyes that could pierce a man's soul; his lips were thin and pale like eels; his very skull seemed to cry 'I am depressed!' or something of that nature. One night he came to me in my quarters, screaming, and I quote: 'Marlow! Marlow! It is my fate that I should wander these halls like a ghost, festering away my ... genius! WHY should such a man as you presume yourself beneficiary to this ship eh? What? Speak up man!' Needless to say I was startled, not least because than man was fully nude. My word. Crack is one hell of a drug, I could tell you that twice, but I shan't for brevity is man's saving grace and I shan't waste your time dilly-dallying hither and thither with no clear end in sight, indeed that would be a tedious practice for all parties involved, not least myself, or any other party for that matter.
His early life? Well I have already touched upon the subject, he was a Pole - not in the magnetic sense of course, that would be a most unusual tale indeed, far too abstract to get any sort of pleasure from the telling or the hearing. But Conrad, eegads the man was fucking insane, no I do not mean to tarnish his name, but he was a most unusual man. He was born in that cesspit of corruption and depravity known as Cracow, yes I would not be surprised to find the Old Gods themselves in that old town, gambling away their ambrosial souls for cheap thrills and giddiness. Sir I have seen the place of his birth, and to put it frankly it was of the style of habitation not fit for inebriated swine. My God. Oh he left soon enough, and who can blame him?
Me, that is whom. Yes well you may think of me as 'old dull as dishwater Marlow' but that is merely half the tale indeed.
Conrad, upon learning the course of his soul, had decided to inhabit that centre of all pomp and superficiality that is Paris. Aye indeed the bright lights were too much for Joseph, far too gaudy for him to resist. Oh you would not understand, well perhaps it is my nature to merely hint at things that are of no consequence to men such as you. But, as I have no doubt previously mentioned Conrad was a Pole, that is not to say that he was either of two oppositely charged terminals, as in an electric cell or battery, indeed that would be quite impossible for such a device to gain sentience and become a novelist. No, Conrad was Polish, and, such is their native custom, the young lad set about undermining local plumbing businesses with his accursed cheap prices and ridiculous work hours. Oh the French did not take to him, oh, no sir. He was shipped off to the French Caribbean faster than you could say ' A l'eau; c'est l'heure’.
Conrad embraced a life at sea. Maybe it was the calmness of the ebbing tides, possibly it was the joy of discipline and naval camaraderie, perhaps it was all the bootleg cocaine, I can't be sure, either that or it was the numerous hookers. Whatever the case Joseph spent the next 4 years scurrying hither and thither betwixt the Caribbean islands, it would have been perfect were it not for all the black people. Ah C'est la vie. . It was here that Conrad also found love, for hours he would tell me of this beauty he had encountered on one such island, her deep-set frown expressing the misery inherent in existence, the listless eyes flickering incredulously at everything they gazed upon, the tits perked in such a way as to take the form of sharpened coconuts. Ah, but it was not to be, Conrad woke up one day robbed, and handcuffed to a telegraph machine wearing nothing but a hula skirt. Alas we have all experienced this. Conrad, the literary fellow that he was, responded by shooting himself in the chest. Why not the head, I hear you yammer? The heart, you see, has the symbolic advantage of portraying one's inner anguish, and if fired correctly one can completely miss the heart and gain sympathy thereabouts for one's plight whilst retaining life, whereas the man who chose to shoot his cerebrum out could only hope for revenge via necronomical reincarnation of the voodoo variety, insomuch as one can believe in such practices. But anyway I’m waffling.
It was a murky morning that Conrad set sail for that vile fortress of squalor, the 'greatest' town on earth, London. Impenetrable clouds concealed the sun that day, and it seemed that the sea flowed into a great and unfathomable heart of darkness. Cruel shadows creeped along the grimy walls and it was to be seen that no shaft of light could pierce this blighted land. In other words: It was dark. After being humiliated by the French, Conrad decided to do what any self respecting Pole would: he ran away with his tail between his legs, or so the saying goes, for he did not literally have a tail, otherwise I would have already mentioned that, Begad! That would surely deserve a tale upon itself. Joseph enlisted into the Royal Navy, despite the rumours of rampant homosexuality and set sail for the far east in a ship that he himself christened: 'HMS Depressing'.
Ah, the sea; she is a harsh mistress... Anyway, Conrad found himself many years later to be on a stirring voyage into the Belgian Congo. As a strapping young lad, Conrad dreamed of going to the most depressing places of the earth; The North Pole and the Belgian Congo, but as the North Pole was supposedly full of Black people, Conrad decided to embark on a journey into the Penguin infested Belgian Congo. Unfortunately years of drug abuse and failed suicide attempts had taken their toll on Conrad's perception of reality and as such he was bitterly disappointed when the local negroes refused to perform amusing water-based stunts, no matter how much krill he tempted them with. Ah, but that is that. The verisimilitude of that harrowing journey tormented Conrad for the rest of his life. The wilderness itself seemed to personify itself in a man known only as 'Brando'. Begad sir! He was the fattest starving man I had ever seen. Death itself stalked that accursed land, men lay half dead, diseased, eating food that did not suit them, chained together like dogs. These men were not criminals, not enemies, yet they were handed tools that were foreign to them and forced to work day and night. They dropped like flies, hundreds a day, maybe thousands, the rivers ran red. Oh the nightmare will forever haunt me. Still - we made a killer profit on the ivory we found, so it wasn't all bad.
That Congo business had a terrible effect on Conrad, and as such, he settled down to become a celebrated novelist. By 1904 he had become so depressed that he had actually developed his own gravitational pull, by 1924 the problem had exacerbated to such an extent that he literally collapsed into himself, becoming the first human being to literally implode. Ah, it was a fitting death, it was how the old chap would have wanted to go, such was his nature.
- Arse of Darkness
- The Secret Gaygent
- The Penguin of Narcissus