What if I told you not to think of a pink elephant? That’s right. You’re thinking about it right now, aren’t you? Funny how it works, isn’t it? The urge to disobey must be wired in us from birth. I tell you not to think of a pink elephant, and instantly the image pops into your brain. So, what if I told you not to think of Mr Patches? Bingo. He’s the only thing you can think about.

But, isn’t that a bit odd? After all, up until I said His name, you’d never even heard of Mr Patches before, had you? Yet, now . . . now you know Him so well you can see Him as clearly as you see me. You recognise His tatty, over-sized blazer that’s coming apart at the seams. You know that claret-coloured ascot. And you’re all too familiar with that patchwork face of stitched together skin. Of course, recognising Mr Patches as well as you do, you also know what thinking about him means.

I’m sorry for that, I really am. It’s okay to be angry at me; I was angry at first as well. I was just like you. Some guy I’d never met came up and asked me if I’d heard of Mr Patches. I hadn’t, obviously. But as soon as he said it, I could see him, and he could see me. I still don’t know why that man told me about Mr Patches. Maybe he thought he could, I don’t know, somehow transfer Him onto me? And, by doing that, he would save himself.

It didn’t work. Mr Patches still came for him. So, I guess you’re probably wondering, if I knew telling you wouldn’t save myself, why do it? I guess misery just enjoys company. But, saying that, I think there is some power in passing Him on. After all, you’re the sixth person I’ve made think about Him, and He’s come for the other five already. So, you’ve got two choices; you can either tell someone else about Mr Patches, and hope to buy yourself some more time, like me. Or, you can stop thinking about Mr Patches. Sure, I can see you trying now. But it’s like the pink elephants, isn’t it? The more you try not to think about Him, the more vividly you see Him. You can hear the joints in His knees crack as he takes those long, loping steps. You can smell the mothballs that still cling to His coat tails. And you can hear the groans muffled by the strip of flesh that’s been sewn across His mouth.

I think only one of those meditation fanatics could truly stop thinking about Mr Patches; but, even then, I wouldn’t put money on it. Feel free to try though, I’ve done the same. I still am, actually. I’ve even tried thinking of pink elephants instead! But, every time I close my eyes, there He is. One step closer. Still, now that I’ve told you, maybe he’ll come for you first. Maybe I’ll be lucky and

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