Numb | Cassandra Voices

Dublin, October 1992.

Well he hugged me and he said that it was time for a change. We need to get closer to nature, to believe in hope and he started saying things about the harvest and…

Where was he this time?

South Africa. It seems that he spent an afternoon in Mandela’s farm and probably they chatted about agriculture.

Brainwashed by Mandela.

Jaysus, he couldn’t stop talking about him, about his wisdom, his efforts, his fucking antelopes.

Tell me honestly, does he want to write stuff about Africa? Fela Kuti style?

No, thank god he didn’t mention it. He just said something about the real nature of sounds but I dropped the conversation.

I like Afro stuff.

Shut up Clayton.

And, funny thing, Mandela gave him vanilla seeds as a symbol of universal peace.

Doesn’t it grow in places like Madagascar?

Not in Killiney for sure. But you know Paulie? He bought a glasshouse.

So compulsive.

Well, he showed me a machine that can reproduce a microclimate with a constant humidity of 95%. But really, he was talking too much.

I think I know what you mean.

Anyway, there is a good thing about that. He wrote some commandments to let vanilla grow properly.


It’s a list of things that you don’t have to do. Like a negative mantra. Things like don’t whisper, don’t talk, don’t run if you can walk or don’t grab, don’t clutch, don’t hope for too much. He put a blackboard on the glasshouse wall and he wrote commandments down. Seriously. And he insisted that I read and repeat them before entering the glasshouse. It was 37 degrees, no oxygen inside and Paulie kept talking about Mandela and I had an idea for a song.


Yeah, It came out quickly. It’s me repeating things that you don’t have to do in the same key. Simple as that. I want to call it Numb.

Like I feel numb.

Shut up Clayton!

But Paulie doesn’t have to sing. He would sing it too much and he would ruin everything.

Do you think he will agree?

I wrote some vocals for him to sing in falsetto on the chorus.


Yes, I know. Probably we’ll have to create a mystical explanation for it. Something about, I don’t know, the voice of angels or shit like that.

I think we need Mandela to convince him.

Well, do you remember when he wanted to shoot a video on the top of the Column of Victory in Berlin and they told him that it wasn’t possible and he started shouting and crying and he wanted to talk with Helmut Kohl?


Well, Helmut Kohl called back. He said he is sorry, we can make the video. I was thinking about telling him the good news and maybe…

We have to find Mandela’s phone number.

You are probably right .

Thank to the effort and the intercession of Nelson Mandela, the song Numb was released as a single in June, 1993.

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About Author

Walter Comoglio is an italian writer, currently based in Dublin. His short stories has been published in different literary magazines and anthologies. With his first book La sera che ho deciso di bloccare la strada he won the 2017 POP prize Italy for best debut of the year. Since then he’s always working on a new project. To reach the complete awareness, he does things like keeping odd position and being very kind to the oldies on the bus.

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