The Non-stop Dancer

CHAPTER 1

In the beginning…

The light fantastic swayed before him, pulling him closer, like a semi-drunk date at a high school dance. He raised his arms to the ceiling and closed his eyes. The rhythm held him, and shook him to the core, a tsunami of life, a margarita of triumph, riding a wave of consciousness to the steady shores of understanding.

The colours danced before his very eyes, twisting and spinning, and turning and groaning, like a kaleidoscopic yogi dead set on impressing a much younger student. His legs, legs that resembled chicken drumsticks upon closer inspection, moved on their own, an entity separate from the motors that drove him. The arms that flailed before him, drew celestial shapes in front of him.

The dancer was no longer mortal, no long human, he had transposed, he had reached a new level, he was electric. He plucked items from the imagination of the carbon dioxide that surrounded him as his heart pumped a heady rhythm. There were big fish, there were little fish, there were cardboard boxes. It was the sermon on the mount, and he was Jesus, he was hope, the light and our salvation.

And the Lord said ‘let there be light’ and there was.

CHAPTER 2

0 Hour

At what moment do we humans begin to exist? At the moment we are set forth, freed from the testes of our fathers on our suicide mission to the giant eggs of doom, precisely what runs through our minds? As our tails beat out in desperation through the canals of our mother’s interior are we conscious of the consequences of not coming first?

It has been said by significantly wiser men than me, that we are from the moment our consciousness is awoken. It has not been said by anyone even stupider than I, that what if our consciousness is inborn but our memories are defective? What if babies, who spend nine months with little else to do than pontificate upon
 the nature of the universe have gotten it all figured out? What if after nine months in the prison of the womb, babies have figured our life, death, the universe and everything, and the sole reason why they cry and then do not speak in any comprehensible manner for a number of years is a direct consequence of knowing that life itself is at heart fucking awful. If the consciousness of self does not exist in the tiniest members of our society then there would be no learning in this god awful universe.

The building that gave birth to the Non-stop Dancer was housed in a rundown town centre in Little England. It was the kind of town that was built with all the ideals of a post-war socialistic paradise. The local facilities, most of which had long closed down, had originally been calculated per head of the population. It was meant to have been a green paradise. A place where the displaced from war could start afresh, like the pioneers heading out to an extremely drab, wet and not particularly wild west. In reality, most of these families had moved onwards to better places. It had become an overspill zone for the big cities, bringing with it big city problems to a small town with a short memory. Practically the only resource that had survived the extremities of modernisation were the roundabouts. They were like gremlins, they should never be fed after midnight, never gotten wet, and most importantly of all, on no account ever should a local business be allowed to sponsor them or they breed like fleas on a wild dog.

When the Non-stop Dancer stepped out into the light the first thing he did was squint. It was not a particularly bright day, as in England it never is. It was the drab morning grey of misery with a teaspoon of regret. And yet the pull, the magnetic attraction of compulsion, the indescribable agent of so much doom and disaster was omnipresent. The reason he knew that everything was about to change was due to the most conclusive of scientific evidence known to man, he could feel it in his loins.

CHAPTER 3

+1 Hour

The human awakening does not follow a predefined timetable. A clear example is adolescence. At some point in the human experience, a person becomes first aware of an attraction to another human being. At the initial onset, little thought is given to the consequences. In a child’s mind, sexuality, and the bestial act of consummation have little relation to their own set of life experiences.

When a baby is first conceived it lives for nine months as an invisible leech. It festers in the tummy of the mummy, whilst forcing her to consume twice as much pizza and a significantly lower amount of wine. Its existence is entirely confined to the imagination of every person apart from the mother. It is only once the baby is delivered that the baby is able to penetrate the minds of people.

Ideas, attitudes and beliefs can also reside in an incubator of sorts, free from probing examination. An idea is only born once it penetrates the consciousness of a wide enough circle of people. Prior to it spreading like a virus, it resides at the back of a dark, forgotten drawer, marked ‘kook’.

The moment the universe at large was awakened to the idea that there was indeed a Non-stop Dancer, was precisely the moment the Stoner first set eyes upon the Non-Stop Dancer. The Stoner was neither poet or scribe, he was a teenage boy, that liked little more than the feeling the tetrahydrocannabinol trichomes gave him when they struck his lungs.

The Stoner would later recall that he was walking home in the rain, which was not any different from any other day, when he passed in front of the oldest McDonalds in the town and first set eyes upon the Non-stop Dancer.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, oh my fucking god what are you doing?” said the Stoner between breaths as the giggles grabbed ahold of him and took ownership of his brain. “What do you look like?” squealed the Stoner with delight before his automated response system took over. Being a member of the insta-generation, no longer capable of independent thought, the Stoner was, in fact, a well-honed machine, able to respond to stimuli without pausing for a millisecond and not a blink of an eye more. Unconsciously, he removed his mobile phone from his pocket and started recording the scene playing out in front of him.

CHAPTER 4

+2 Hours

The earth was a magnet and his body was a gyroscope. The rain hammered down around him, each droplet a casualty to the rhythm of life itself. He gyrated, his hips wiggling as if they alone were solely responsible for the conduct of the weather. His arms pumped furiously, carving shapes from the mists of time, pulling memories of material history, he was changing a lightbulb, switching hands, sometimes changing two lightbulbs at the same time, he was the electrician of God, the handyman of destiny, he was the past, the present and the future, he was dance itself.

This was no longer dancing. The Non-stop Dancer had transposed onto a different plane of existence. He could see demons and cherubs, the spirits of time immortal, he could see movement, he was the fountain of life.

Sweat poured from the pores that prickled his precious person. They entwined themselves in the droplets of rain and descended slowly like parachutes to earth, where they soaked into the soil, fertilising the ground with the power of dance. For the briefest of moments, the Non-stop Dancer opened his eyes and saw that it had happened. He had danced his way to dawn. He bit down on his lip and danced harder than he ever had in his life.

CHAPTER 5

+3 Hours

A slow news day is a generic term which does little to dispel the myth that journalists are little more than the vampires of misery. News is not cyclic. If journalists were earnest they would announce a no news day, instead of investing vast quantities of time in the creation and distribution of non-stories.

In these heady times of click happy technotronic zombies, journalists have realigned themselves as data collecting social fishermen. Their bait comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and nominally consists of a headline designed, for all intents and purposes to rile up the minutest of brains.

When the Journalist saw a video entitled ‘Look at dis Nonstop Dansing Wanka’ the first thing that struck him was the view count. Before he even gave the screen a cursory glance his eyes were drawn to the numbers. The first read ‘1 day ago’. And the second said ‘13,289,663’ views.

On the screen in front of him was a street with some ugly, weather-beaten wooden benches and the reflections of a closed fast food restaurant. A middle-aged man with hair that was so concerned by its predicament that it was actually pointing in every single direction at once, was wearing a multi-coloured leotard that looked as if a unicorn had vomited all over it. The strangest thing was that as he swayed and bounced, as his arms shook like tree leaves in a breeze, his movements appeared for all intents and purposes be intentional, and that he was for want of a better word, dancing.

The Journalist squinted at the screen in front of him and struck a button to turn the volume up. Again, and again. The screen displayed the volume at maximum and the Journalist shook his head. The wanker was indeed mad. He was dancing without any music. All of a sudden the speakers coughed into life.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, oh my fucking god what are you doing?” spluttered the voice on the screen, and for a moment, a fleeting, brief, millisecond, the Journalist wondered if the question was not actually directed at him.

CHAPTER 6

+4 hours

Kindness is a bestial cousin of folly. It would not matter if it rained kindness on the surface of the earth for a number of weeks. Human behaviour is driven by baser instincts, and the desire to assist others despite being spiritually advisable is rarely prudent or even beneficial.

Times when kindness is genuinely strategically useful: when the kindness itself
 is directed at somebody we wish to have sex with. This is why men open doors for women, priests open doors for children, and women tell other women how wonderful they look. Other times when kindness is useful: never.

The notional existence of an ego can bend our depth perception. Thus it is possible to do something good for someone in the mistaken belief that it will make us feel good. The truth is that you cannot shower people with kindness and expect them to reciprocate. Alternatively, some cultures promote the idea of karma as reason itself to behave in an extraordinary way. The truth is that kindness should never even be a question. The trouble that surrounds it is the only evidence that human beings lack sophistication and have not evolved much further than the animals we once were.

The Good Samaritan was walking to work with two little ear buds in her ears, protecting her senses from being invaded by the universe. The tinniest of drum beats leaked out from her earphones. If she had the misfortune of sharing the bus with herself on that particular morning, she would perhaps have been extremely disappointed by her lack of consideration for others and absolutely would have said nothing to herself but perhaps would have frowned and maybe even sighed in an exaggerated manner. However, on account of being the same person whose complete lack of respect for others was so galling, she did not and continued along the path to the hive where she made honey for the faceless drones that she had and never would meet that lived in houses considerably bigger than her own.

The Good Samaritan pushed her hands deeper into her pockets as she rushed head down, through the main thoroughfare in the town centre. She was taken by surprise when she bumped into a strange man in a brightly coloured leotard.

“I’m sorry,” she uttered without removing her headphones. The man stood in front of her, hips gyrating like a hypnotist’s pocket watch, he span, his arms a windmill of destiny riding on the winds of hope itself. The Non-stop Dancer turned away from her, bouncing on the balls of his feet. The Good Samaritan removed one earbud and watched him whirl like a true dervish. A light rain began to land around her as if the angels of heaven were suppressing their giggles. She walked around the Non-stop Dancer like a visitor to a Greek sculpture exhibition as he hammered the nails of dance into the wood of existence, he was serene, a madonna of modern dance, he was breathtaking. “Excuse me,” she asked, “are you feeling okay?” The Non-stop Dancer met her eye and smiled the smile of the self-satisfied supernatural superhero that felt completely at one with himself and his place in the universe. In that moment she felt a pulling that started in her heart, and she rode the wave of life to the tips of her fingers and toes, until in the blink of an eye the rhythm had her, and was never going to let her go.

CHAPTER 7

+5 Hours

He was light itself. It emanated from his centre, a laser beam of consciousness sent to free the world from the planet humanity had built themselves. The Non-stop Dancer rode an invisible horse, his muscles aching, caked in sweat, but he could not allow himself to stop. This was all that mattered, freedom, independence and the sanctuary of dance for his fellow man.

The Non-stop Dancer tossed an invisible lasso with one hand and held the reins of the invisible horse with the other. His knees leapt with visceral intensity. He glanced at the Disciple as she swayed like a willow tree in the breeze and found himself growing stronger, more steadfast and determined, comforted by her, he fed off her energy and readied himself to devour the entire universe.

CHAPTER 8

+5 and a half hours

The blight of the nosey neighbour has existed as long as time immortal. Throughout history, human beings with absolutely nothing else to occupy themselves have gotten their kicks by making life considerably more awkward for others. The original nosey parker went by the name of Judas. He preoccupied himself with spying on his neighbours and complaining to the authorities until finally, they took action and really nailed the bastard that lived halfway down his street.

Nosiness, or the condition of obsessively observing others, dates back to when human beings first started identifying themselves through possessions. As soon as the cavemen of old developed the first comparative adjective which, incidentally, was ‘Ugg-Lee-Aaarrgghh’, a competitive dam was broken, and the flood waters of jealousy swept through mankind.

As objects evolved to beliefs and in most normal countries, back to objects again, the evolution of technology offered an abundance of methods for disturbing your neighbour’s life. On this particular day the disturbance took the form of a telephone call to the emergency switchboard that went something like this:

“999 which service do you require?”

“Police.”

“What is your emergency?”

“There is a man.”

“Sorry?”

“There is a man and he won’t stop dancing.”

“You do realise that it is an offence to waste time by prank calling this number?”

The first call was never likely to succeed as it is rare that ordinary people can see the busybodies view of the world. Not one to be deterred our caller located a phonebook, unbelievably they do still exist, especially if you happen to hoard a library of utter garbage inside your own home, and called the local police station, albeit, equally unsuccessfully.

“Good morning, you are through to the police.”

“Good morning. I would like to report a man.”

“Doing what exactly?”

“Well, he is dancing.”

“That’s hardly a crime.”

It had taken a visit in person to the local police station to make the Community Support Officer realise that a man dancing is hardly acceptable behaviour in the twenty-first century. Especially without music.

After a considerable amount of tea, the Community Support officer, a Special Constable, not because he was not a real police officer, but because at least he thought he was special, made his way through the town centre and first set eyes upon the Non-stop Dancer and his disciple.

The first thought that the Community Support officer experienced was one of the most natural of all for a formerly real police officer to have. It was, which crime can I can charge them with? The problem the officer faced was that it was not a breach of the peace, as they were dancing without any music playing whatsoever. It could barely have been anymore serene if it was a silent disco at the National Convention of Librarians. Similarly, they could not be charged with a public disturbance on account of there being no sound to disturb people with. The longer he looked the more fascinating spectacle it became, it was like the aftermath of an accident. They were not threatening anyone, not bothering people at all. There were no two ways about it, there was very little he could actually do.

When the Community Support officer transmogrified from a policeman he was convinced it would make his life considerably easier. Although he had absolutely no idea what being a Community Support officer entailed, he likely supposed that it included a great deal of cheering, but most importantly, less time being punched or vomited on by members of the public. It was in the community spirit that the Community Support office made his decision. He was going to do absolutely nothing. Except support the community. From a distance. Next to the bakery. With the doughnuts.

CHAPTER 9

+6 Hours

The scene of any event is remembered in two ways. The first and more honest is in the same vein we remember the time Uncle Frank shat in his trousers that Christmas. It is a part shudder, a cup of regret and an unquantifiable sadness driven by the recognition that life can be an unquestionable bitch sometimes.
 The other manner in which we remember an event is by attaching ourselves to it. A story is infinitely more interesting if we can personalise it and somehow give it credence in our own lives. This is why people so often talk about where they were when John F.Kennedy died, or when Princess Diana died. Perhaps it is banal to question their motivations as it is certain that unless they happened to be baking a pie at that particular time on that particular day the entire meanderings of the universe at large would likely have been different.

Journalists are paid to do both. The lower ranking the journalist, the more they recollect moments in the first vein. In the modern world of insta-news, it is more and more important to be first. It does not matter the quality of the story, or even the subject, it only matters that you catch a trending topic and be the first to report it.

The Journalist found himself in the new town at a time far too early to be considered reasonable. After he presented the idea to his editor he realised that the Non-stop Dancer had already garnered over twenty million views online. Thus he was despatched with a cameraman in tow to a town he thought he had left behind a long time ago, to report on a story that even he did not believe was newsworthy, for the simple reason that he suspected he had an extremely good shot of being first to the scene. As his cameraman set himself up, the Journalist watched the Non-stop Dancer and his sweating, red-faced disciple as they bounced and gyrated, and span and leapt, and realised they looked like fleas on the corpse of fresh roadkill.

“Are you ready?” asked the Cameraman. The Journalist nodded as he was counted in.

“For almost six hours, possibly more, this man behind me, unidentified so far has gone from nobody to somebody. An online video of him dancing has been viewed over twenty-million times in less than six hours. In this time he has not, amazingly, stopped dancing,” the Journalist tossed his head towards the Non-stop Dancer and the Cameraman followed him. The Journalist approached the Non-Stop Dancer directly. “Can you tell the viewers at home, erm, why you are dancing?” the Journalist prodded the Non-Stop Dancer with his microphone to no avail. The Non-stop Dancer had nothing to say, he merely wobbled with the breeze, his hands were glove puppets on a seesaw of destiny. “Why are you dancing?” tried the Journalist again. The Non-Stop Dancer merely smiled manically through a sweat-bathed fringe, turned with the pomp and flop of a distressed woman in a 1930s American Hollywood love story and danced off into the distance. “Fuck,” mumbled the Journalist.

CHAPTER 10

+7 hours

The morning after the night before is something that happens to some people somewhere, every, single day. It is not a particularly contrived notion. Life is cyclic in nature. It always continues. The idiotic nature of man means that many, many people forget that.

Recreational drugs have an intentionally daft name. Rationally speaking, the opposite of recreational drugs must be work time drugs. Let’s be honest, if there really was such a thing as work time drugs, there would be absolutely no unemployment in any country on earth. The danger of drugs is that boring people do not like them. The people that do try them encounter a significant disconnect from time. It is for this reason they are the primary form of escapism for millions of people.

Drugs have a habit of slowing down time itself. Two hours quickly become six.
 An eight-hour sleep easily becomes a twelve-hour sleep. It is one of their most addictive qualities. On a primal level, most human beings are afraid of death, thus a narcotic that presents the illusion of an entirely different pace of life would indeed be popular as it nudges the individual’s perception towards tasting the notion that they are indeed immortal.

When the fifty-seventh notification flashed upon the screen of the Stoner’s mobile phone he briefly stirred. He had not even made it to his bedroom. When he returned home he had collapsed like fallen timber onto his sofa and fallen asleep. The living room was a battleground of lost evenings as the decaying corpses of half-eaten pizzas, discarded cigarette papers and empty beer bottles repurposed for ashtrays were scattered around, creating a striking reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica. Had the Sleeping Beauty been woken from his sleep he would have seen the message that read ‘Your video has been viewed twenty-five million times’. Such news, even containing such an extraordinary number, would have been completely irrelevant to the Stoner. Even on his soberest of days, he would have no way been able to comprehend that twenty-five million fingers had pushed a screen or clicked a mouse twenty-five million times. The vast majority of them would likely have belonged to different people and it, to a millennial, would mean absolutely bugger all.

Instead, the Sleeping Beauty slept on, completely oblivious to the fact that his video has travelled to seventy-three countries. It did not matter to the Stoner how people adjudged the video. He had never stopped to consider how it could impact anyone, not even himself. It did not matter whether the Non-stop Dancer had a wife, or children, or a job. It was merely the way the Stoner thought. It was simple, nobody had ever taught him that actions have consequences.

CHAPTER 11

+8 Hours

The most important man in a small town is most often the most important man because he often thinks that he is the most important man. Largely it is not exactly a quantifiable topic. Importance is the blurriest of yardsticks, as an infinitesimal number of things have to happen to produce a conclusion.

What if the day Newton discovered gravity he had happened to stop in Starbucks, or its predecessor ‘Warm Mud’ and been delayed by a spotty, incompetent student, who got his order wrong, wrote his name ‘Isuck’ on his thin, insufficient, paper cup, and served him a cold cup of mud. Such a catalogue of errors would have had disastrous implications for the fate of mankind as Sir Isaac would likely have become red-faced and ruddy and let forth a cannonade of swearwords in frustration, causing him to argue impetuously and impeachably, and subsequently would have been late to sit under the very tree where inspiration struck him in the form of an apple. Indeed it is correct to assume that the apple still would have fallen, only it would never have struck Sir Isaac Newton upon the head, causing man to never discover the theory of gravity, and thus continue to live in ignorance and waste vast amounts of time in vain attempts at jumping all the way to the moon. The point, as laboured and ludicrous as it really is, is quite straight forward. Importance is as useful a yardstick as a matchstick is in the hands of a blind arsonist.

The importance of an individual, or at least in the individual’s own opinion
 can most easily be recognised in the very manner in which they walk. Important men walk everywhere at a speed that is only theirs. It is important as it must, as defined by Chandler’s Handbook for the Etiquettely Excellent(1846) states ‘be faster than a peasant on his way to market with a pocket full of beans and a stomach full of ardor, and slower than the richest man, back bent with pockets lined deep with gold’. Although for the untrained eye they resemble pissed gibbons swiping bottles from the bar of a public house, they are in fact the most powerful men that walk the streets of our country.

The Member of Parliament pushed through the crowd of gathered gawkers with the authority of someone that believes they have authority. When he reached the front of the assembled throng he turned to face the people that stood before him wearing an expression which said ‘it’s me’, which would had he been in an opera house have made the desired impact, regrettably, he was at an impromptu piece of street theatre, most likely both conjured by lunacy, and spectated by lunatics, thus the only way the Member of Parliament could have appeared more invisible would have been shouting ‘ha, ha, ha, you fools, I’m invisible’. The entire issue was further confounded by the very fact that not a single throngee in the said throng had any clue who he was.

“What the devil is he doing?” mumbled the Member of Parliament, which had he purposely thought of a sentence that he could utter quietly to give an exact depiction of precisely where he saw his place in society, he quite likely would not have been able to produce something more apt. A man with a single strap bag turned to the Member of Parliament and spoke aloud. Yet all the Member of Parliament could hear was blah de blah blah blah.

“It’s just not British. It’s bloody embarrassing.” uttered the Member of Parliament. The man with the single strap bag wrote something in a notebook and scurried away, smirking the smirk of those that know that although victory is impossible, an ambush is always possible and deeply, deeply satisfying.

CHAPTER 12

+9 Hours

When confronted with crass stupidity, no religious person ever considers the fact that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. It is a considerable problem for those that look at the entire universe with eyes the size of a rat’s. By convincing yourself that the world is explained by a bearded cloud dweller and his mysterious ways you never have to face the fact that you are ignorant.

The notion that a single being is responsible for everything is extremely silly. On largesse alone, Santa Claus appears more rational than the pagan rituals. Consciousness, the poison of many a man’s soul is responsible for creating a vast number of problems. Humans are driven to seek understanding and when you remove that innate drive we become little more than blobs of jelly with inexplicable pockets of unnecessary hair in places where it is most redundant. Religions seek to manipulate that drive and to utilise it to drive our money into their pockets.

People will always ask why. They will always look towards community leaders that they can ideologically identify with, in the scant hope of not a rational, but rather a believable explanation. This is why in times of the greatest of tragedies, we often send our zealots and bigots in first. It is often their job to sufficiently dilute the truth, to make it more palatable for average Joe.

The Vicar adjusted her jacket to ensure that her dog collar was visible. Her job came with few perks, and the fleeting moment of panic that appeared in people’s eyes the moment they saw it could buy space in the most crowded of places, could steal people’s innermost secrets and most incredibly of all, occasionally earned her a free cup of tea. As she left the betting shop she was cornered in the doorway by a member of her flock.

“Have you seen it, Vicar? Have you seen it? It’s a bloody travesty is what it is,” the question was in no shape or form a question. It was a question raised with the sole intention of continuing to speak.

“Seen what?” the Vicar asked, despite feeling certain that the answer would be forthcoming irrespective of her own engagement.

“All those people. Dancing around like a bunch of looneys. There is not even any music to dance to. In my day my parents would have given me a kick in the arse if I pulled a stunt like that,” the Vicar snuck through the doorway and headed up the High Street.

Condescension is not the name of a Spanish woman. Nor is it a characteristic becoming of a lady or man of the cloth. And yet it is rife on this particular island, as common as precipitation and as welcome as a single day without rain. The Vicar spotted a crowd ahead of her, focused on something indistinguishable. There wasn’t a sound to be heard.

The Vicar pushed through the crowd until she could get a clear view of the perpetrator. There were a number of people swaying and turning to the heady sound of silence. Some of them had even removed their shoes. Before the Vicar had any opportunity to compose herself a dictaphone was thrust under her long, and rather unbecoming, nose.

“……. Star. Any comment on the Non-Stop Dancers?” asked a spotty little man. The Vicar made a sound which once upon a time may even have been considered as a ‘harrumph’ which in reality was much more like a ‘huh’ but sounded much more sinister due to the fact that her chin was pushed down atop her collar.

“It’s. It’s. It’s. It’s just not Christian,” she muttered reluctantly into the dictaphone as she took in the sight before her. Despite the proclamations of common sense that resounded inside her she was quite sure she lacked the temerity to be incensed. In reality, at least in her reality, it was little more than, she took a moment to consider the correct collective noun, a hoard of looneys. It was moments like these when, if she was truly honest with herself, she realised that she wasn’t cut out to be a woman of the cloth. No matter how hard she tried she truly could not force a single drop of rage from her body over something so trivial.

CHAPTER 13

+10 Hours

Every single molecule in his body screamed out for him to stop, but he powered on, feeding off of the most under-utilised source of energy in the known universe, love. Around him a mass of molecules bounced in different directions, a forest of limbs, entwined like reeds in the wind, they danced and swayed to a tune that absolutely nobody could hear.

The Non-Stop Dancer smiled the smile that only a smiler can smile but not a smilee as it was a smile that was almost a smirk of a smiler that not only knew the truth but actually owned it. He raised his arms above his head and turned in an extremely slow circle, the sweat leapt from his body in a tsunami of pure love. He opened his eyes and saw that the people had followed. It was a pirouette of light, energy and completeness. It was happiness. It was love. He truly was the light.

CHAPTER 14

+11 Hours

The momentum of a moment can change as quickly as the wind. The force can increase, the direction can be renewed. It is merely the nature of the beast. The skilled amongst us, those individuals that shall be sought out by society and identified as leaders, as fashion icons and success stories are those of us that have licked our fingers, held them in the air and had both the integrity to trust our judgement, and the stomach to follow it through too.

The moments that define our society in the clearest shades of grey are those that marginalise us, that divide us into two groups and that offer a linguistic ingenuity rarely observed outside of extremely bad rap music. Defining moments create iconic words that penetrate and permeate our existence, that enrich us with a refreshing reminder that we are the captains of our own ship, that convince us once and for all that we, the human race, are the conquerors of all we encounter.

“So why do you think the Brancing resonates so widely with people here?” asked the Journalist as he pointed his microphone towards the Member of Parliament.

“The what sorry?” replied the Member of Parliament as he flicked back his mane of somewhat wild, or perhaps marginally discontented hair. “Brancing?”

“That’s what they are calling it?”

“Brancing?”

“Yes,” replied the Journalist somewhat uncertainly, “Brancing, as in British Dancing.”

In millions of homes across the Greatest of Great Britain and some of the significantly worse parts, the camera zoomed in on the face of the Minister of Parliament, penetrating every pore and sore. He was a pixelated demigod, a freeform philistine, every single facial muscle naked, in front of much of the nation. Some say it began with his left eye. It started as the tiniest of twitches, barely discernible to those poor enough to own a television smaller than thirty-eight inches in diameter. Some say it was like watching a brontosaurus egg hatch. Wherever the bonafide truth lies, this is precisely what happened.

A tiny little fly. Not rebellious. Not angry either. It is worth noting, with no political affiliation whatsoever, flew directly into the Minister of Parliament’s cheek.
 It was gone in the blink of an eye. The Minister squinted, his brain recognising
 his actions as those of a blinker, and proceeded to release a single tear to clear his eye. Inside the Minister of Parliament’s brain, a furious calculation was taking place. On the televisions inside of people’s homes the violence of a prolonged silence attacked their eardrums, before suddenly, with all the brutality of a deceased fly farting inside a bowl of cabbage soup, it happened.

The Minster of Parliament impetuously grabbed at his tie and unsuccessfully tried to unknot it. He reverted to loosening the knot before lifting it over his head and impatiently stuffing it inside his pocket. The Minister of Parliament awkwardly began stepping from side to side to an invisible beat so irregular it made jazz seem normal. He looked very much like a small child that had returned home early to find that his parents are out whilst suffering the excruciating vindictiveness of a bladder quite determined to rid itself of its contents.

“You know what I think,” said the Minister of Parliament, his breath already betraying his level of physical fitness, “I think I have waited to assess this matter fully and can… finally announce that I support the will of the people of Britain in their determination to decide their own futures.”

With that, the Minister of Parliament shrugged off his jacket and danced his way into the throng.

CHAPTER 15

+12 Hours

The Non-stop Dancer was exhausted, every sinew of his body screamed in rage, blowing pistons, and burning muscle wherever the white water river of dance took him. He could barely move. As he looked at the stream of wavering limbs around him his neck burned, his body drenched head to toe, but still, he smiled.

The colours he saw before his eye were messages from the angels. The whirlpool of human skin that moved as he moved, that stepped when he stepped, were a synergy of light, love and happiness that was blinding to all that stared asunder. The Non-stop Dancer looked upwards to the heavens and raised his arms. Behind him there was a sea of limbs, clasping at the passage of light sent from heaven itself.

They were no longer individuals. United in dance, joined in the ecstasy of becoming one, they were a new species, a new organism, a dangerous warning from the power of unity. They danced atop mountains, they danced into a new dimension, they were the heralds of a new dawn, they were the new crusaders, singularly, via the medium of dance, they had created an entirely new reality, a new beginning, it was as if the future had been laid at their feet.

The Non-stop Dancer dropped his arms to his waist, and slowly limped through the remnants of his moment, of his second in the spotlight and stopped for an instant, face to face with the assembled crowd of onlookers, gawkers and stalkers that had originally observed him with contented amusement. The Journalist pushed himself to the front of the crowd, a cameraman scurrying behind him. The Journalist held out a microphone and waited, hoping that silence would do the work for him. Slowly the crowd hushed and the ocean of limbs slowly froze into a winter’s lake.

“I have never been and never wanted to be a Non-stop Dancer,” pronounced the Non-stop Dancer. The crowd of gawkers almost frowned in unison. Had they made a noise it would most certainly have been a collective ‘ooh’ rather than a supportive ‘aah’. “My aim in dancing was to get people out of the shadows and onto the dance floor. That is why we started dancing twelve hours ago, and that is why I feel I have done my bit.” The Non-Stop Dancer pushed the microphone away and started walking into the crowd.

“Excuse me, but what do you plan on doing now?” asked the Journalist excitedly. The Non-stop Dancer turned to look at him, his face red and coated in sweat.

“I couldn’t possibly dance any more than I already have, and so I feel it is right that I stand aside, and let somebody else lead the dance,” said the Non-stop Dancer calmly. He pushed passed the Journalist and limped through the crowd of onlookers without looking back even once. Had he had the foresight or inclination he would have seen the lake full of refuse that he left behind.