By Alexander Taylor
Bottom of the Class
Staring blankly at the monitor, I realised I was bottom of the class.
Stone-cold, Flat-earth, Rock-bottom.
It took me a whole minute to work out. There’s another Alex & Joe in the class, who are frankly,
garbage. Pure dumpster fire. Never produced any good work in their lives. Ants.
For a second, or sixty, I believed Joe & I had sky-rocketed to the top. Alas, first the cocaine high, then
the cocaine crash.
My brain scrambled. Panic stations boys! Open the serotonin gates immediately! We’ve got a code
red, I repeat, we’ve got a code red. Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts! Quick!
Apples! Juggling! Swings and long walks in Battersea! Morning coffee! Questionable pornography!
Mayday, boys, mayday! We are going down.
Bottom of the class.
The feeling settled a little like lead on my brain. I have never actually put lead on my brain, but
imagine it feels a bit like depression. Heavy. And stupid.
Boy, did I feel stupid.
I turned to my only vices. My good friend Tarun, and strong liquid morphine. Oh, gentle Tarun. Oh,
gentle opium release.
We arrived at his house and slapped our bodies down on the sofa. We both kind of looked upwards.
Whenever I’m sad I notice my upward gaze into nothingness. Perhaps that’s why the Doctor thinks I
have neck problems.
I’ll take an interest in my surroundings. My eyes will traipse up and down the roof lining. You know,
the bit where the wall meets the roof. It’s almost as if-
“C-C-Can we have some liquid morphine now, Al-“
“Not now, Tarun. I’m having a moment.” I barked back at my comrade.
He gently cooed and scratched his arm. Like a puppy. But with heavy withdrawal symptoms.
As I was saying, my eyes often drift off in times of crisis. I could stare at a wall for an hour and feel
like I’ve thought of the whole world.
Kufungisisa, a Shona word from Zimbabwe, quite literally translates to thinking too much. And that’s
how I feel sometimes. One self-criticism leads into the other far too quickly for your mind to work
out what’s what. Like commentating on a football game in the middle of a hurricane.
“And the balls gone that way… and now there… there’s a player somewhere… right lads, I’ve got to
be honest. I haven’t a clue what’s happening and frankly, I fear for my safety. Bye.”
I wonder if I belong to this school. I wonder if anyone else feels like me. I wonder if anyone on this
Earth has the sam-
“H-H-How about n-now, Alex?”, the puppy-dog asks.
I look at him with pity.
“Fine. Bedside drawer. Clean needles in the bathroom cabinet.”
He beams from ear-to-ear and bounds off in search of drugs. Oh, Socrates. To be a fool satisfied.
Then I remember I’m bottom of the class.
… back to the ceiling then.