Video: available on rotten.com
(the camera is high up, as if a security camera on a wall, looking down into a bare room, grey carpet tiles on the floor. White or cream walls. One door slightly ajar on the right hand of the screen, through which a pinkish light is visible. Another door is on the left, this is closed. There is a power socket three quarters of the way along the skirting)
A naked man, of middle age, stands directly below the camera. He looks directly up at it. The distortion of the lens makes his body seem a flaccid afterthought to his face, his good teeth and carefully groomed hair. He speaks as if giving a well-rehearsed pitch, there is something of the salesman, and something of the confiding friend about him.
“I want to show you something- you may not believe this, but don’t just believe your eyes…believe what your feelings tell you too. You will see this, and your feelings, your gut will tell you this is possible. We all spend too much of our lives saying to ourselves “I can’t do this”…we train ourselves into thinking that so much is impossible for us. “it can’t happen, not for me”…….well, I am going to show you something, and believe me; it can happen even for you. There is no trick here, and there is nothing special about me – I don’t come from a good family, I didn’t go to a special school, I had no particular advantages. But I changed all that.
“Look at your life – look at it…don’t you feel that you have something in you that is aching to get out? Don’t you know that you have something inside that you know you want to share with the world? But you can’t-
“O,K. I was like you; and I know how it feels. That thing you can feel there, it has a name – it’s called potential, and that is what is truly you. You might have people around you, people who are holding you back. And they might say that they know you – they might even say that they know what is best for you; and because of that, they will say, kindly, with the best of intentions: oh, that’s not him, or her; and he, or she, can’t do that. But they are lying. They might not know it, but they lie. They don’t know the real you, that one that you can feel, that’s right inside here.” (at this point, a clenched fist is banged against the chest, above the heart).
“They don’t know your – and here’s that word again – potential. You might well find that they don’t like the true you, and try to stop it from emerging. When you show the world your true face, you will find that you don’t need these people. But once you have made up your mind, once you have made up your mind to something; remember this – you cannot be stopped. There is a way to release that, and show the world your true face. This is what I am going to show you”
the man stays still, looking up at the camera. It seems as if his face creases, he frowns. Then the frown lines grow deeper and darker. He relaxes, but the lines stay. He makes a grimace - like smile, exposing his perfect teeth. This adds another web of wrinkles, crosshatching his face. He relaxes his features again, his face seems to sag. He nods his head, then flexes his shoulders, nods his head again. Suddenly he looks older. His lower lip is dangles loosely, almost touching his chin. Dark crescents are expanding beneath his eyes as the lower eyelids droop away from the underlying muscle. Then his brows follow, softly slipping down to cover his eyes. The man’s face is peeling away and downwards from a tear that follows his hairline. The flesh coming into view is pale pink, with white, reddish patches of small blood vessels; moist, like the flesh beneath a freshly peeled scab. His eyes stay fixed on the camera throughout. The man holds out his arms, and his hands seem to have a second pair dangling beneath them, he rolls his shoulders again and his chest falls away. The skin of his upper body is now hanging in empty folds from his waist, the new flesh gleams with spots of lymph and specks of blood. With a ghastly smile and still holding his arms out, hands palm upwards, he speaks again. His teeth glow like bone in a wound.
“I have done this before. As you can see, I’m in no pain, aside from a mild stinging sensation. Savlon, or some other mild antiseptic can take care of that. You too can bring out what’s inside…Start a new life today…Ring the number below for details and brochures on my seminars and special mentoring scheme. Do it for yourself, for who you really are.”
He holds his pose for another twenty seconds or so, staring into the camera, then leaves through the door on the right. His skin left discarded on the carpet like a pile of old clothes. After a while it seems to start twitching; small, almost unnoticable movements.
The camera keeps running. The sound of running water, perhaps a shower, can be heard faintly in the background. Then the skin starts to roll. It turns over itself, looks as if it’s turning itself inside out and back again. It makes no sound, there is just the sound of the shower in the background as if in another room. The skin keeps rolling around itself, around the floor on the grey carpet tiles. Then suddenly it stands up. It shakes itself slightly, maybe to remove creases. It almost looks like it is patting itself, brushing itself down. It looks like the man it has just been stripped from, but flatter. The jaw is slack and the eyes are holes. It moves in a way that suggests dead leaves being blown along rather than something inhabited by will or volition. It exits the room through the other door.
TO BE CONTINUED...