“’There Must Be Someway Out of Here’, Said the Joker to the Thief”
Existence is a curious thing. One minute you can be happily floating in oblivion, the next you are plucked from the comforting darkness and blinded by all the gloriousness of consciousness. Well, that’s how it goes for most people anyway. Our hero was not brought into this world because of the love of a man and a woman. Our hero was brought into this world because of the hatred a man had for himself. When you first come into consciousness life stretches out before you with infinite possibilities, and fantastic promises. That is, of course, unless you were born into the head of Yakov Petrovich Goliadkin.
Mr. Goliadkin was nothing to write home about. He goes about his insignificant life completely devoid of any ambition or wherewithal to advance his lot in life. He works as a mere office clerk in a not-too-prestigious office, he can barely talk women, and has the most curious and annoying habits. He is by no means assertive, and lets the scum of the earth walk over him. Even his man-servant Petrushka has no respect for him. He is a homely as a mule, with about as much hair as one… well except for on his head. He is as short as he is fat, and the clothes he wears are for a man much fitter. This was the life our hero was birthed into, doomed to share a body with a lay about, a slubberdegullion, a man born under a Threepenny, Halfpenny Planet, never to be worth a groat.
For most people, being born into such a predicament would incite a great deal of ire. But not our hero, no, he thought about this situation calmly. He had a plan.
“So this layabout calls himself Goliadkin, eh?” our hero thought to himself “Then that’s my name too I suppose. Well Mr. Goliadkin, it’s time I took over this mess.”
Our hero was no layabout, quite the contrary. Once he got his bearings he immediately set to work laying the groundwork in the subconscious. He would plant doubt in the back of Mr. Goliadkin’s mind. He would make it seem like the entire world was out to get him; if he could make Mr. Goliadkin paranoid he could wrest control. “I might not even have to do anything myself,” he thought happily as he toiled away. “This man is already paranoid as it is. All I have to do is make it seem like he’s crazy. If he believes that then I can take over this body.” While our hero toiled away in the bowels of Mr. Goliadkin’s subconscious, Mr. Goliadkin himself went to work. He had spent the entire morning in an awful bustle. He stopped first at the Gostiniy Dvor, where he agreed to purchase a full dinner, tea service, a cigar box, and a shaving kit made entirely out of silver for no less than 3,000 banknotes. He whole-heartedly promised that he would come by the very same day, the absolute very same day, and pay for them. Next he stopped by a fabric shop, again purchasing a whole assortment of things, promising whole-heartedly that he would stop by the very same day, the absolute very same day, and pay for them. Dashing out of the store followed by several sales clerks asking for a deposit, all of whom he whole-heartedly promised that later in the day he would stop by and put down a deposit, the absolute very same day, he ran into yet another store. This time he went to a clothing shop, where again he whole-heartedly promised that the same day he would come by and pay for what he had purchased, the absolute very same day, without fail. And thus it went for the entire afternoon. Our hero, looking on from inside Mr. Goliadkin’s head couldn’t keep himself from laughing. “Those poor shopkeepers,” he said between gasps for breath. “What kind of man takes pleasure in this? What kind of shenanigans is he going to get into tonight?” Our hero would come to regret that question. High on confidence, Mr. Goliadkin Sr. jumped into his carriage and barked at his man-servant Petrushka to take him to the Izmailovsky Bridge. What Mr. Goliadkin Sr knew, but our hero did not...
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