Secrets Behind the Chapter Titles - Poisoned Rationality
by MRS Jeevas

Why 'Poisoned Rationality'?

I thought I was being so clever. I really did. If rationality is poisoned, then it's infected, it's not good. Damaged rationality = madness. The title should therefore be a huge clue as to what is going to happen in this story.

But that wasn't the clever bit. As the reader begins with the prologue, they will quickly discover that Matt dies in this story. Halfway through the gasping and panic, those who got the clue would be reassured. It is, so I believed at the time, a lyric from Panic! At the Disco's 'I Write Sins, Not Tragedies': 'It's better to face these things with a sense of poisoned rationality'.

It was only a few weeks ago, months after this story had been read by thousands of people, that the wonderful Sacred Heart of M worked this out. She very gently explained to me that I'd misheard the lyric. What is actually sung is 'It's better to face these things with a sense of poise and rationality. I'm still dying with laughter.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 00 - Prologue

This is self-explanatory.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 01 - A Shred of Heaven

This is from a description, within this chapter, of the iconic image in the manga.

'The whole church was ablaze, only its steeple cross too high as yet to catch alight. It looked like a shred of Heaven rising over Hell.'

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 02 - Chaos

Chaos sums up the state of the world for just about every major character at this points.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 03 - The Hunt Saboteurs

The hunt saboteurs are the members of the Elite Hackers' Consortium. The imagery was supposed to evoke an idea of Mello and Matt as foxes. I had been having a conversation with Catmoongirl. She also uses foxes as a metaphor for this couple.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 04 - Subjugation

The way in which Matt sleeps is in an attitude of subjugation to Mello. 'Subjugation' is also a track from the 'Wuthering Heights' soundtrack, by Ryuichi Sakamoto, which I was listening to at the time.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 05 - Dangerous Creatures

The room is full of Yakuza and one Mafioso. They are dangerous. However, as far as Mello's considered, the most dangerous of all is Matt, for verbalising the fact that they were going to trust Near to complete the case.

The actual wording of the title is me misremembering something. I thought that 'Heavenly Creatures', a film about two murderous schoolgirls in New Zealand, was called 'Dangerous Creatures'. Oops.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 06 - The Wasteland

'The Wasteland' is lifted straight from the Holy Grail romances, which I became familiar with via Welsh mythology.

In this chapter, Matt quotes Chrétien de Troyes. I thought that Matt would be more likely to have come across his 12th century version (which is more widely reprinted) than the Welsh Triads. Therefore I went with de Troyes symbology as well.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 07 - Kira

It's the only chapter in my stories where Yagami Raito is actually present.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 08 - Imbolc

If I'd called this chapter 'February 1st' or 'Matt's Birthday', then you'd have known before Mello did what the date was.

I'm a Wiccan and Imbolc is one of our Sabbats. It tends to be celebrated on or around February 2nd. No-one would blink at celebrating it on February 1st. Technically, it's supposed to occur when the sun reaches fifteen degrees of Aquarius anyway.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 09 - I Dare You

Mello and Matt end up playing a game of chicken against each other. That usually starts with someone saying, 'I Dare You'.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 10 - Probing

Mello's probing, because he doesn't really get where Matt's head is at the moment. There's also the physical probing at the end.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 11 - An Exchanging of Words

This one should be blatant, as Matt quotes it part way through the chapter. It's a lyric from 'I Write Sins, Not Tragedies'.

Oh, well imagine; as I'm pacing the pews in a church corridor,
and I can't help but to hear, no I can't help but to hear an exchanging of words.

For those who got the hint from the title of the book (so I thought before I learned I'd misheard the lyric), then this is one last prompting. Things are about to go severely downhill and the prologue tells us that Matt is dead. I'm reassuring the reader again - I write sins, not tragedies. *grin*

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 12 - 5.22

'Wives, submit to your husband, as to the Lord' The Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians, chapter five, verse 22. It's Matt's way of suggesting that the Bible tells Mello to sexually dominate him.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 13 - Chiquitito

Chiquitito is the Spanish for little boy. In this chapter, Matt's infancy starts to be recounted.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 14 - Barricades

The physical barricades of Matt's childhood live on in the mental and emotional barricades in his mind and personality.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 15 - Linguistics

There are a lot of different languages spoken in this story, plus a meeting with a linguistics genius. The language that is truly being sought though is by Roger. He is trying to work out how to speak with Mello in a way that will communicate what he has to say.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 16 - Out of Control

There's a lot of anger in Matt and a lot of angst in Mello, as the aftermath of the Kira case starts to tell in their minds and emotions. Mello has already told Roger that he things himself and Matt are out of control. With Matt's reckless driving, Mello feels like he's losing control of his lover.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 17 - A Rush of Blood to the Head

The title jointly refers to the effects of the oxytocin spray on their love-making and the album, by Coldplay, that's on in the background.

The album, 'A Rush of Blood to the Head', was put on in the first place because Mello was trying hard to tell Matt how he was feeling. Mello's reeling a lot in this chapter, from learning about Matt's past and from all the things that happened before. In the end, Mello ran out of words and put the album on so that Matt could listen to 'Green Eyes'. That's the tune then which I'll use the illustrate the whole album which named this chapter.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 18 - Red

Red is the English translation of the Spanish, rojo. It's a nod to one of the few parts in this whole story where I cried as I wrote it. It's the part where Big Bird doesn't respond to the infant Matt telling him that his hair is red.

Also red is the colour of passion, danger, blood. You're supposed to stop when you see the colour red. It's a good colour for this chapter.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 19 - Ocuvaj Nas

Ocuvaj nas is Croatian for 'save us'. In the wider context, the prayer from which it is lifted is: 'Oh my Jesus! Forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven especially those who have most need of your mercy. Amen.'

It's basically Mello screaming for help.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 20 - Defeated

Mello and Matt both feel defeated in this chapter.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 21 - The Thwarting of a Genius Mind

Ostentatiously, it's Mello thwarting Matt's mind; but more subtly, it's Matt thwarting Mello's mind. There's also a huge element of life in general thwarting Mello's mind right now.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 22 - The Abyss

Nietzsche wrote, 'Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster; and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you'.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 23 - Comfortably Numb

When Syd Barrett suffered a mental collapse, the rest of Pink Floyd congregated in his flat to try and get out of him what was wrong. Syd tried to explain and some of the words he used that night were later used as lyrics in 'Comfortably Numb'. Matt's feeling 'comfortably numb' in this chapter, though the song itself might refer more fully to Mello.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 24 - Awakenings

This title is lifted from the 1990 film, 'Awakenings', which is about encephalitis lethargica (sleeping sickness) patients. These are people who basically fell asleep in 1917-18 and are still comatose in 1969. A new drug awakens them.

The shock of the previous days events, plus medication and a sedation-enforced sleep, sees Mello awakening to try and piece together his life again.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 25 - He Moves Me Differently

It's a quotation from one of Mello's favourite books, 'Wuthering Heights'. He states in this chapter that the first time he knew that he loved Matt was whilst reading these words in this book.

'He moves me differently; and yet if I could do it without seeming insane, I'd never see him again. You'll perhaps think me rather inclined to become so, if I try to describe the thousand forms of past associations and ideas he awakens or embodies.'

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 26 - Trashed

Trashed describes the state of Matt's flat and also the outlook for Mello and Matt's relationship.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 27 - A Kind of Penance

Mello knows that he has committed a sin. No 'Ave Marias' are going to cover this one, so he sets out to do a penance appropriate to the situation.

Mello's self-defined penance is to restore the flat, regardless of the fact that either he may be leaving it or they both will.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 28 - In The Presense of Deity

The presense of the Christian deity, revealed in statuettes, medallions and other Catholic paraphrenalia, is all over the flat. Then Matt compares Mello's dancing to that of Ishtar.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 29 - A Challenge

The challenge set for Mello to complete is to find a new home for them. It had to be to the following specifications:

'Their ideal home had to be close to a city, but with no neighbours and it definitely couldn't be in the countryside; it had to be big enough to house a library of books, a massive computer collection, a study for Mello to have peace and quiet in and, but this was negotiable, a paintballing room, but it also had to be small enough to be able to be kept clean without hiring any staff; it was to have no garden, unless that could be turned into a racetrack, but it had to be able to accommodate at least two cars, one motorcycle and, possibly, a helicopter depending on whether Mello bought one or not.'

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 30 - A Wire Slowly Stretching

This is a lyric from 'Turn Away' by Justin Sullivan. He wrote it about a friend who took a lot of drugs. I think that the friend eventually died. Anyone who has cared for someone with problems like these will know what it's like. There ultimately comes a point where sanity dicates that a choice has to be made. You can care all you like, but that person is pulling you down too. You could end up going insane just trying to save them.

Justin and his partner, Joolz, decided to save themselves. Faced with precisely the same situation, Mello has to decide if he hates himself enough to want to save Matt from himself. To be honest, until I wrote it, I didn't know which way Mello was going to jump. This chapter is very indicative of the strain on Mello and Matt's relationship at this point.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 31 - Bat Signal

In the Batman series, a bat signal is what is shown in the sky to summon Batman and Robin to where they are needed. Earlier in this story, at the Yellow Box, Matt had spoken with Near.

Matt shrugged. "In a minute, Mello and I are going to walk out of here and you might not see us again. That's just the way it is." His fingers squeezed the boy's shoulders. "But maybe, if you send up a bat signal, and it's important enough..." He nearly fell over as Mello kicked him.

This chapter recounts the moment when a bat signal was metaphorically shone on Near's behalf.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 32 - Cyberpunks

Matt self-identifies as a cyberpunk. Camden is the cyberpunk capital of Great Britain. The title of this chapter is a nod to all the cyberpunks running around in it.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 33 - Like a Wild Horse

This is a lyric from Sinéad O'Connor's 'Three Babies'. It was randomly on my playlist as I wrote this chapter and I got all maternal about Mello, Matt and Near.

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 34 - Netrunner

In cyberpunk parlance, a netrunner is a hacker. In this chapter, Mello puts a collar on Matt and then asks him, '"Does this mean I'm a netrunner or I've haxored you?"

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 35 - Waking the Serpent

Percy Bysshe Shelley's fragment of a poem, written in 1839, was 'Wake the Serpent Not'.

Wake the serpent not - lest he
Should not know the way to go, -
Let him crawl which yet lies sleeping
Through the deep grass of the meadow!
Not a bee shall hear him creeping,
Not a may-fly shall awaken
From its cradling blue-bell shaken,
Not the starlight as he's sliding
Through the grass with silent gliding.

Shelley was writing about his feelings over his dead son. He was asking people not to make him feel this or else he might go over the edge into insanity. He's saying that it's better to not awaken the passionate intensity inside, but to let him continue to just feel numb. Mello echoes similar sentiments in this chapter, but doesn't take Shelley's advice. He awakens the serpent (feeling and emotion) inside himself by basically telling Matt that their relationship is over.

Poisoned Rationality - Epilogue

Poisoned Rationality Chapter 37 - Ty for 1000 Hits

These two are self-explanatory.