The Bourne Substitution

Remember a few years back, when Paul Greengrass did ‘Green Zone’, and it had Matt Damon in it, but it wasn’t a Bourne movie? But that the studio wanted to remind us, all the same, that it was from the director of two Bourne movies and that it had Jason Bourne in it? But it wasn’t actually anything like a Bourne movie?

Or when ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ came along and they told us it was like ‘Inception meets (you’ll never guess, really) Bourne’? Well, why not keep everyone happy and take practically every film Matt Damon has been in and substitute the titles with Bourned-up versions?

I did.

The Martian

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“The Rug”

Even now, I can’t bring myself to tell my mother about the rug.

At some stage, every little boy has a fire phase. A fascination with the flame, if you will. It calls out to each of us at some point. And it sang its song, luring me on to the rocks, or on to the hearth, when I was about twelve years of age.

Circumstances aligned each weeknight beautifully while that fascination lasted.

My mother, my very house-proud mother, worked nights, in the bar of a theatre in the city centre. And to make it there on time, she would have to leave and head off into town in her blue Mini City at ten to seven.

Now, my father didn’t arrive home from the factory he worked in as a welder until a quarter past seven, typically. So that gave me roughly twenty, twenty-five minutes to work.

To experiment. To play. With fire.

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“The Hole”

I don’t like dogs.

But that’s not enough to do what I want to do, what I would like to do.

Maybe if it was a cat. I can’t fucking stand cats. It’s their… let’s call it insincerity, their dishonesty, their slyness. Sneaking into your freshly dug flowerbed to have a dump in the clay when they think you’re not looking. But at least cats have a purpose in mind, even if it’s just to take a shit.

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“The Descent”

“You know, pressing the button again and again like that won’t make it get here any faster.”

“What difference does it make to you?” The man didn’t even look back at George. He just kept his eyes glued to the numbered display above the elevator doors, mashing the button like he was playing an arcade game. The car was still ten floors above them, stationary. It was not descending, as George had pointed out, any faster, despite the man’s impatience.

“It makes the difference between me losing my temper. And not losing my temper.”

“Is that right?” said the man, turning around at last. “Well, let’s see.” He put his hand behind his back, reaching for the button, and looked George in the eye. He resumed pressing the button, faster and faster, fast enough that a sheen of sweat formed on his lip.

George took a deep breath.

The man smiled, registering the rise and fall of his shoulders. “Maybe you should try counting to ten.”

“That’s pointless. I lose it way before I get to five,” said George. He took a step forward and grabbed a handful of the man’s long, greasy hair, looping it around his fist until he had himself a good, strong handle. It would have been very painful for the man, George wrenching at his scalp like that. But before he could find the words to replace his screams, George had already started smashing his head into the same button he had been pressing.

By the time the man had lost consciousness, sight in at least one of his eyes, most of his teeth and many years off what was left of his sad, brain-damaged little life, the elevator arrived.

“What do you know?” muttered George, as he let go of the man’s hair and let his bloody head follow his crumpled body to the floor. “Maybe you were on to something after all.”

Photo by Max Muselmann on Unsplash