Dan, the man, the lamb chop

By Frampton Jones

 

Some of you will remember how Dan “the man” Lam “Chops” got his curious name. It was that terrible winter seven years ago when those of us who did not starve to death mostly wished that we had. For some of our citizens, hunger lead to hallucinations, and so it was that three people in the street saw Dan Lam, and thought him to be a tray of freshly cooked meats. They fell upon him, but soon discovered that his hat, scarf and coat were neither tasty nor easy to swallow. A man less prepared for the cold might easily have been eaten alive in such circumstances.

In the embarrassed aftermath, someone managed to explain what had happened, and thus the notion that he was both man and lamb chop took hold.

If, like me, you have ever experienced a powerful hallucination, you will understand what I am about to write. Others may not. Afterwards, there remains that lingering feeling, that the hallucination exposed something real. A truth normally hidden from sight. Once you have felt the suspicion that all is not as it seems, it is hard to trust what your senses tell you, for the senses may lie to us. To this day, I cannot look upon a baby without a creeping sense of horror.

The story I have managed to piece together is a troubling one. Some weeks ago, Dan took to lying on tables in The Crow and the Squid and Teapot. Jack Ephemery had to remove him from the kitchen having found Dan trying to get into the oven. Fortunately the oven was cold and no one was hurt in that incident. A week ago, Dan caused consternation by setting himself out on a large board in the street, covered in a herb garnish and little else.

I can only conclude that Dan had come to see himself as a lamb chop. Citizens of Hopeless Maine are about the usual distance from starvation this winter and thus no one was moved to take him up on the implied offer.

Dan was last seen heading for the mermaid-infested beach, where the black dog is assumed to still be at large. No one has been to see if there is any evidence there – myself included. It seems likely that he threw himself to the hungry dog.

Perhaps I will not be the only one to wonder if the hallucinations revealed a deeper truth. What are we, any of us?

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