I write this on a day of ritual. From the overt, to the sublime, I came to see it all in good time. Even more specifically, in time. There is not much time left now. As I watch the first mosquitos of Armageddon starting to buzz into my very own apartment, my fingers mind this, my own eulogy. The road to Revelations was quite a long one, but we made it all the way to the Revealing. The curtains fold back, and the main players take a bow. That is determinism -- manifest destiny if I ever saw it.
Still, I wonder if they will miss it? You know. Our world. Stupid as us every day folk may be, there is something about us which is just so curious. Like the man who would write a story, make-shift on a piece of toilet paper in the stall, right before their interview with death. It is that same aspect which of course must be quelled. The aspect which chooses free will in the face of insurmountable odds. I think we do it all of the time but perhaps do not realize it. Is that not what art is? Of all the ways it could be said, we’ve defied the odds and made it matter somehow, somewhere. Is that not what life is?
Oh sad, ironic writer, I begin, choosing my wording carefully, as I may only have one shot at it. He awaits his love hiding out in the most curious of places.
Part 1 -- “Conditioned Responses; Epiphanies.”
Waking up for work was the hardest part of this whole....experience, by far. This day was special, but also no different than most in this regard. The process of life has evolved itself into my brain like some kind of Pavlov parasite. Nothing more than a rat in a cage, waking up not because of my alarm clock, but simply at the same time. The noise tears through the air, and everything else in it without prejudice. There is no way I could wake up to the radio --those voices-- so instead I choose the buzzer. It sounds like a Hades infant, squealing for more of my anger juice. I mix up a strong one. It’s amazing -- the vulgarity, the displeasure. It’s to no one in particular, but they know who they are. All that emotion all in such a little amount of time. You’d think it would wake me up but it doesn’t. It just shows me how useless anger is.
(Perhaps that is the point here: be happy in a world that has been streamlined into producing nothing but the most foul of emotions, with just enough light in its structure so as to not fall apart. The other planets in the galaxy wobble; shaking sarcastically at these ridiculous antics. They must, there is no need for a planet to be malnourished. The tattoos, the god awful barium cologne -- just a lopsided psych problem all together. Earth, the cult member planet. Jupiter summed this up perfectly with a statement of gravity: “The thing about earth is that It’s all north pole thinking -- and her humans hardly live there! It’s attention is fixed on the serpentine loop of Draco, and totally in denial about it.”)
I blink a few times, stretching and rolling over on my bed yawning.
What is this? Where have I found myself? A paradox consortium of some kind it would appear. It’s thick. A smokey gathering in a crowded room. The door is unlocked, but not the brains. The only thing I can see is what I’m supposed to: a world painted in the colors of the profane. Units of flesh powered by external notions of the echelon outside. That is, hosts ruled by viruses; voices ruled by television, thinking ruled by a hate of anyone who has the energy to truly try.
I sit up in bed. Time to go to work. All of these avenues
Another day, another barcode scanned. I slide by the great cashier, so small on the moving conveyer, but large enough to purchase. Why not just go back to sleep? I always think. Sometimes I do.
* * *
Waking up when I don’t have to work is normally when I sit back, content to stay on the surface for a while and think about the reasons for working in the first place. Yes, I’m one of those people. With my trusty philosophy degree hoisted under my arm, I stroll through my mind with a monocle, and a bell which summons various things like logic, and other posh, witty, and out-spoken butlers who help with the chores.
There are always so many: Why philosophy? For instance
I don’t know about my bunkmates at the Ivory Tower, but I joined up because someone told me philosophers get a cool little keepsake stone. I was sold on it. I graduated from college but no stone. I was shaken. I wasn’t exactly sure to do without the stone. I figured it would at least double as a car or something. Philosophy doesn’t get you too far in today’s world. Fortunately I would not have to wait long, as I would get my wish one night as I sulked in the corner of the universal party. An agent of death had ushered me into a private, psychotropic auditorium for another diploma. I kid you not it was an actual scroll, all rolled up and everything.
Contained within the spiral of paper was a crude stick figure drawing of a figure I recognized in my memory as the Black Sun. I accepted it without questions, partly because I wasn’t going home without some sort of stone, scroll, or whatever the fuck. I needed something, even if it was an occultist symbol -- and a black one at that. I hadn’t learned it in any particular class, but you just got the feeling from the authorities to stay away from the black stuff. Ivory towers and all that, remember? Still, it was something tangible: a notion I could hold and make sense of, rather than the ghost concept diploma which haunted one particular frame in my house.
The room our exchange took place in felt like a train car, like it was moving. She sat on a chair of cognition in the archetypal outfit of shadows -- an attractive woman, but then again all Jungian goddesses are. She flapped her scythe’s blade back and forth on the ground with her foot, causing me to look down at the sharp black talon. I only looked at that blade once, and that event goes everywhere that water goes. It’s pulled by the moon.
“It’s the ego.” She stated, taking off her hood and motioning towards the blade. “I wouldn’t look at that too much if I were you.” Her eyes were a shallow water blue. They looked sad, for such a beautiful face. She reminded me of someone.
“I won’t. What is going on here? Where are we?”
“Where are we? We’re at epiphany!”
I liked being there. The neurochemicals in my head let go of each other’s hands. Caution now, with an elevated sense of novelty -- at last something was happening to me! Theory no longer!
“...really?” was all I could muster.
“Yeah” she laughed. “Done deal.
“Yes. You’ll see.”
"Who do you work for?" I asked, clutching the scroll a bit harder.
The blonde remained silent, and I was about to ask another question. “Let’s just say I got a different scroll” she said finally. Somehow this made sense to me. Yeah, I knew she was going to say that. It was my mind, after all.
I looked around the train car and saw the passing countryside melding with the wispy orange clouds above. I had nowhere to go, so I was stuck in the moment. “Are you a part of my mind, or in it somehow right now? Will you reap my soul, eventually?” I asked, starting to think about things a bit.
“Everyone dies, but we’re not around for all of them. We only get to a small percentage, actually. They-- I’m only supposed to get certain ones.”
“You never answered my question.”
The triteness, be it my subconscious or something else, was getting to be annoying. I went on the defensive: “We? So you’re not death then? Just some henchwoman? Nice one then.” I forced a laugh.
“Oh I’m death!” She laughed at me, seemingly more genuine. It was as if she was enjoying this -- just talking. I wondered about her at this point. I did not want to see her sad, despite her attitude. Where would she go later? Is she a slave to someone, or free?
“Whatever.” I grunted. Things had changed. Now I felt confused -- it was the genuine part of it, though -- confusing, for an epiphany. “So what happens now?” I asked, listening to the metal wheels on the track below, not knowing what to say.
“What happens?” She laughed. “You’ve proven you’re not like that already.” She pointed at the scroll. “When you look at that, what do you see?”
I looked down, pondering her question. I unravelled it again to the same image I had seen before. “Well, I see a symbol. You know? There’s options sort of on what I see.” I concluded, rubbing my chin.
She shook her head. “All I see is a train ticket -- time to get off, big boy.”
I found myself back on the ground, looking up at her as she hung out of the open door of the train car. “Who knows? You could be right, kid.”
I watched her move away. She stood there on the edge of the car, taking in the countryside.
* * *
The thing is, every morning I woke up without the scroll. I can conjure it up in my mind -- I can see every little grain of it’s ancient fiber, the twelve bent lines of the black flame, but I cannot hold it.
Sometimes I wish I had jumped back on the train with her, and travelled somewhere else. Somewhere fair, and filled with divine purpose. But I didn’t. The dreamer. I came back because I wanted to, evidently. Back to a world of utter control and tyranny. A world where emotions do not come from within, in a spurious lottery of perfection; but rather from the top. From the capstone. From above; the living skies.
Part Two -- “The Exoteric; Grey Men.”
“I’m a slave....”
“Yes, sir, I am sorry about that situation -- but it’ll be three fourty-five for the large light roast.” The teenager at the counter smiled politely, looked about to vomit, and then smiled politely again.
“I’m going to drink this, and I’ll feel a bit more awake. More importantly, though, I will be a little bit happier. Not because I’m awake -- no, why would I be? -- I’m going to work. Just because that’s how coffee works: it makes you sort of happy to be working. Just a little bit, but then it’s amazing how you can forget you’re being whored out, along with the earth.” I explained calmly to the barista at the drive-through window.
“Listen, man. You’re at Starbucks -- I’ve heard all this shit a thousand times, by guys even more eager to show off the fact they know something, than you. English grad students even. We are the area of absurdity: the more educated people in society pretending to discuss issues in the steamy columbian air of hypocrisy. Now take the coffee. Or do you not want it now? Want to break free of the binds?”
“Nah man. I want the coffee. Not being a hypocrite is really hard.” I took it. It warmed my hands.
“No. You know what’s really hard?” the kid asked me, surprisingly. “Thinking about what my generation is going to do.”
* * *
So I eased into normal morning consciousness. I drive to work without music mostly, but never the radio. I work at a radio station, and I try and leave work type things where they are. Yes, the tower of audio traffic; one of many public poolings in the great condensation. Worst yet (for my choice of music) is that I work for “The Pulse -- 99.9” which is, as we describe “All Hits.” Our music certainly hits. It is one hypnotic jungle beat at a time, molding culture down a path; a frequency. I am miserable there. When I am sober, at least.
I loaded the weed into my pipe while sitting at a red light. It was pre-ground; I would often just pinch some into the glass womb on certain mornings -- it had to do with astrology, mostly. The light turns green, and I lead the procession of cars with narcotics billowing from the driver’s side window. Pace car. Looking in my rearview mirror I see a man with a mustache crinkle his nose and blink, presumably as he smelled what I was burning. There was a small, forced smile -- a look of disagreement, yet understanding. This is rare. There is something about his reaction which stays with my attention. Like a mental laser pointer he kept drawing my gaze back to the big presentation. It was not until he got out his cellphone, looking rather grave, that I decided maybe I should turn on the radio for once.
* * *
Earlier in the car, I had anticipated walking into the office and having it feel surreal. Like I would be moving in slow motion, with everyone else in a panic around me. Or maybe they would be moving in slow motion.... In any case, things were surprisingly subdued. Sure, a national crisis was going on, somewhere, but things had to carry on until everyone was told how to feel, and towards whom.
“Any new developments?” I asked a few people on the way to my desk:
“We’re still waiting on the press releases”
“Waiting on.... you know. The news.”
“Umm... I’m not sure -- who sends us those things again? Don’t we have a news room?”
The Pulse building was fairly basic: two floors -- the upper for the studio, and it’s periphery; the lower, main floor for the offices. My cubicle was on the first floor, beside (one of) our IT guy’s desks. He had a couple he worked at.
In between me and my desk was an obstruction.
Mindy, our accountant, looks and sounds on edge. She is determined to engage. To anyone, really. Instead of walking towards he waiting hysteria, I stop to scan the room. I could hear a few radios on people’s desks -- mostly other stations. In the break room I could see the television was set to CNN. The three televisions embedded into the back wall of the first floor were muted video feeds to the studio upstairs. A visual connection for us lowly workers. I could make out the morning DJ’s basking in their own private evenings, yet trying to process the morning’s events with subdued expressions.
“Yes, Mindy, I heard.” I reply as much as I can to her questions, moving past her rose pattern muumuu-type dress towards my desk.
She mused on, repeating media phrases in some patch-work pseudo logic. Thankfully, our IT guy Alan shot himself out of his cubicle, and into our vicinity on his roller chair. I didn’t even look up from taking out my things to know he had the feverish look of debate in his eyes.
“Mindy, what do you think? -- about Newspeak I mean. Does O’Brian wear a turban or, to perhaps put it in more recent terms, bare a patriot flag?” Alan asked, looking up from his chair with a wolf’s grin. The resident intellectual did not wear glasses, but he certainly wore quite a few looks.
“Well I think it’s those Arab terrorists -- who else would it be?” Mindy responded, crossing her thick arms over her proportionate chest. “Those savages are simply reprehensible.”
Alan started quaking like a duck for some reason, and this caused me to finally look up. I watched Mindy as they continued to argue.
Our accountant, from what I had heard, was quite good at her job -- a number cruncher. The live-in calculator. Still, for Mindy the math within was concrete, like the divorce of 1 and 2. I could see it all, looking at her. She could not envision that 3 had been in the bed, making lustful conversions; adding remainders. No, for Mindy, the world is awfully small. She’s someone who defines life by what it is not.
.....yeah and you know what that’s called? Suburban reasoning. Here’s a tip spreadsheet, turn off that TV and maybe read a book for once.”
“Oh yeah, it’s the TV -- you sit in front of a computer all day, and all night. You don’t have a life. The internet is not life, and that’s what was lost today. So why not show some respect for those unfortunate souls.” She was beginning to steam over. Logical bubbles bursting, over the side of her hot hot pot.
Allan asked her if respect was watching TV.
The overweight woman was about to respond but I cut her off. “Respect is simply doing whatever Mindy wants. We all know that.” I nodded at Allan sagely. Cause closed. I thought. I wanted to talk to Allen as an intellectual, but he seemed enamored in flying around aimlessly with Mindy, the PC drone plane.
“Except her ex-husband.” He retorted dryly. Flashing me a grin.
I laughed a bit at this, but to my surprise Alan did not. He was serious, wanted to debate, and that’s where we always differed: it’s usually a waste of time. Like here: debating with Mindy is like listening to a drunk, uneducated mother heckle at an actual debate. Despite never learning, she knows what deduction is. It’s a feeling.
“Yeah, well respect isn’t such a bad thing you know. People my age still have a semblance of respect. We’re not all cold, distant, arrogant assholes who think they have the world figured out.” Mindy snapped back, her eyes turning on me. “I haven’t received a disciplinary notice. I don’t come into work high on god knows what you pump into yourself.”
“So? What is it you think drugs do, Mindy? You realize what goes on upstairs, right? I could do your job with the right side of my brain alone, an inch from an overdose. Anyone my age could, really. You’re a glorified calculator who thinks she’s better than people because she’s sober -- is that why you work here? Of all places? You’re not better; baseline existence is all you can handle. Congratulations, you’ve reached the generation gap. You actually like being here at work, making money for the sake of making more. Where is it going? Why don’t you care?”
Thinking isn’t cold, Mindy” I said, but with it I looked down, hearing a lie from myself. “At least...it shouldn’t be.” I trailed off. Dammit. I’m a liar. I am cold.
If anything I should be patiently helping Mindy to understand the relevant perspective on world and state issues. What do I do? I let emotions get the better of me.
“I don’t know why you have to twist everything around into some philosophy thing.” The account snapped. “Why can’t you just focus on the issue at hand here? I know why: because you can’t. You can’t handle what I have to say so you try and get around it with big words. You’re so pathetic. No wonder she left you.”
“Most men would sooner die than think -- indeed, most do.” I stated, restraining my anger. I couldn’t believe she’d bring Sophia into this, but I didn’t want to give that bitch the satisfaction of seeing me mad. Fuck you microwave dinner bitch! I screamed in my head, all of the emotions connected to Sophia flooding back to me. It was a rush to extent I felt nausea even getting in on the act.
All of it just from a thought. A face. A smiling beam of light.
“Bertrand Russell” Alan replied immediately to my quote. I would have been surprised if he had not. I know Russell’s influence on philosophy. I would imagine he knows Russell’s influence on everything. “...and this gets back to my point...” he continued on, his attention shifting between me and our accountant, whose eyes were already starting to glaze over. “These people are eugenicists, and all these false flag events are leading us towards a....”
I had heard it before. The stark naked truth. “Lord” Bertrand Russell; the appearance of nobility in the first place. It was scary how much Allan knew, actually. Not because of the fact he lives at the library, but because of the content. It made too much sense.
I stood up. “I’m sorry, but I can’t take the history lesson again, Alan. Not today. I know you’re right -- anyone with a working brain can see democracy is a joke. We all just keep marching ahead with whatever this agenda is.” I reached up with both hands to rub my head, exhaling. “I just mean....fuck! That could have been us that got hit -- what are we even doing here at work?” I shook my head slightly. “What are we doing, period?”
“I need the money.” Mindy said eventually before she stormed off.
* * *
Liquor is such a spiritually cold exercise; it’s funny how it can warm you up.
I was upstairs in the studio lounge now. A few shots of vodka in, and feeling less paranoid about the whole situation. Still, there was the sense I was going backwards. Not all drugs have to move in that direction, but it would seem that the dark stream follows the path of least resistance. “Hey man, you know what? Life is like booze.” I announced. “It all follows... the... Err, wait...what was it again?..... Weird, I’m having deja-vu.”
The other three people in the room watched me silently, but with the energy of mutual amicability. It was a room of people with bent halos; the usual suspects around the office -- 3 of them at least. ‘Kiev’ the husky female presence, J-Hook, the DJ, and also Benjamin They are even less suspicious than I, apparently: I remember Mindy telling me, “At least they have an excuse. You’re not even interesting.”
“Frig. Anyways.... I had this joke but now it’s gone.” I shrugged.
To my surprise this brought more laughter than I expected my joke would have.
Kiev, the female of the two hosts for the morning show was the drunkest of those present. She pointed to me, her finger swaying a bit. “You. You’re smart, but you’re not an ass about it like Allan is. You shoulda heard that guy earlier this morning. He’s such a downer.”
“He’s right about a lot of stuff, he just sort of phrases it awkwardly, I think. He’s got tons of brains, but he hasn’t got the best empathy skills.
“He looks sad all the time.” The switchboard operator for the morning show stated. His nickname was ‘The Butler’ because he was from London, and so had the consequent accent. (“It writes itself” had been the official explanation when I asked. This came from him, surprisingly.)
There were a couple nods. “I gotta agree, Hugh” I said, because I did.
Public appeal had Hugh speaking a bit On Air before too long. Hugh had a knack for talking to begin with. Recently I could tell he had been hanging out with the name-brand gang more, and more, and so dipping into the silly account more, and more. I could tell he had a knack for that too.
“Speaking of happy -- what’s the deal with you and Sophia?” Kiev, one of the hosts asked before putting back another Jager-bomb -- liquor and energy drink. “Woooo!” she let loose to a few sets of raised eyebrows.
“How many is that, Kiev?” -- J-hook, the morning DJ. He’s the psychedelic guy. We would smoke joints together every now and then.
“Who cares? Today is fucked. I’m getting smashed, I don’t even care.”
“Well we gotta go back and help Franko, Kiev. I mean it’s not fair to just leave him in there.”
“Oh I’ll go back.” She smiled devilishly
I answered Kiev’s initial question: “Me and Sophia have been split up for a while now.”
“Too bad” She commented, almost to herself. “I think she really liked you.”
I nodded and gave Kiev a forced smile. “So any news on what this actual event is? All I’m hearing is ‘attack’ and ‘terror’ and stuff.” I threw it out there, not expecting much, but also trying to dodge the topic. It doubled back on me; a boomerang question. Have you ever actually caught a boomerang? I haven’t, they’re pretty hard to manage -- sort of like the company I had in that room. These people were in the grand league of talking. Lateral leprechauns; they simply operated so fast it was impossible to steer conversation. They could hit you with comedy bombs at any second. They steered conversation. I had seen Allan lanced, harpooned and viscously quartered many o-times while trying to fill them in on the so-called truth. To Allan everyone who doesn’t agree with him is just an idiot. I tend to agree with this. It’s just conveying what we mean that is the hard part. Five years I studied at school and all I found was an over growing chasm in modern communication. If we crossed it, I think we’d agree we all agree -- except for maybe the psychopaths.
“Couldn’t tell ya, man. We’re probably going to see some new laws, though.”
“Yeah. Jager bomb will be terrorist talk. Jagermeister? That sure as hell don’t sound American I’ll tell you whhhat.”
* * *
I finished off my drink, and took a Jager-outburst for the road. As I stumbled through the threshold, and the station, into this next scene, I couldn’t help but laugh. The institution and the name-brand gang chose vodka to have on hand in the studio area out of some sort of courtesy. Never mind hearing one, no one likes to smell a drunk, right? You might as well just shout out ‘I’m full of shit’ to the whole world.
Look at the way society operates: the radio goes everywhere, truly, in a uniform fashion. So many towers, but one overriding content: Hypocrisy of the highest order for those who have a knack for listening carefully. From the base, to the top of the mountain, and beyond into broadcast -- the sound contains nothing of it’s content.
Beats and (bio)rhythms of absurdity for mother earth, and her many ears.
* * *
I took bold, confident (albiet somewhat sloppy) steps along the checkerboard tiling of the main studio level hallway. It was a cool contrast. Basic, but sort of cool in that old occult way. I sometimes wondered why they didn’t have same tiling downstairs. One thing that the downstairs had, however, was the large ‘Broadway’ street sign near the receptionist. The idea being that the station was so ‘the street’ that it had signs puncturing it. Tricky, right?
That’s when I saw him. I hadn’t been paying attention --I was looking down remembering to explain the checkerboard-- and now we stood face to face. “Holy shit.” I was my graceful response.
“Yes, it’s me.” Rap superstar ‘El Victus’ said, breathing in some sort of respect that seemed to come from a personal sized machine he wore under his clothing.
“Yeah I know it’s you.” Cocky bastard. “I just didn’t think you’d show up today.” This question caught him a little bit off guard. It’s fun to see the stars flounder, for they shake the heavens, and man’s navigation. I thought I had him, but looking back that didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
I laughed, walking past him. “Never mind, man, just go give your 20-word vocabulary fist pump into an air of the gas gold you must brush your teeth with. After you could check out the news.” I hit him with my best; but to my surprise, he came back -- hard.
“Stop, college boy.”
He said this rather matter-of-factly, but for some reason I did, turning to face him.
“You’re right, I will go in there and give a 20 word vocabulary. I’ve been appointed by the people. I know what rap is: It’s a closed-system of self-referencing metaphors and smilies which all revolve around the three pillars of modern music: sex, materialism, or glorified violence.” He talked pretty fast. He paused for a second, breathing sort of heavy. “And Country...” he added. “That good enough for you, homes? Jackass motherfucker. Now, I asked you a question, I would appreciate an answer.”
“Man, I don’t know if you’ve been in a K-hole all day and are just coming out, or what, but we’ve been attacked. Like, big time. I though I heard someone mention the phrase ‘the magnitude of 9/11. What the fuck, man. Don’t you got family or something you should be with?”
He smiled at this, ever so slightly. “Is that the TV says?”
“So... what if we get hit? You wanna spend what could be the past couple minutes of your life talking into some microphone?” I realized how this sounded after I said it.
El Victus gave me an odd look. “I can’t think of a better way to go, mang.” My acquaintance in The Hall. He called me mang. “Bud-dy, listen: rising out of the ghetto made me realize just how big this world --the game-- really is. You want more, you have to learn more, and learn I did.
"More of what? Money? Surely you have enough....? I mean why keep going? Instead of using the black community, why not teach ‘em something? How bout.... dictionary rap? It could work...."
“I don’t see that working. Why keep going? Cause it’s the plan. I used to be a dreamer too kid. But then I woke the fuck up, and blew up, so what’s up? Life begins at forty, and I'm showing off with thirty-four at twenty seven. I ain't desperate; I play my part in this here art, and I know things you will never. They gave me the means to the beans, upstairs teams and dreams. Some of their producers are magicians. The end goal is to see inside that top hat. I want to shake the crowd, you know? Believe or not, I love it with all that I am.."
“...I’m sure you do.” Copout. I thought to myself, unsurprised. Another labor mule on the crankshaft of clandestiny.
“Music I mean. Rhyming and stuff.”
“Yeah I got you.”
The tall dark man loomed over me like a light pole shadow, continuing on with his makeshift speech. I wondered if was trying to convince me, or himself.
"Like a scientist loves being a scientist, it doesn't mean he don't kill those mice. What is a culture anyways dawg? Something grown in a dish, scientifically. Boom -- head spin right?" He was silent for a moment. He looked around quickly. "You know... back in my earlier days, I used to ship coke" he stated rather bluntly, but it started to make sense as he went on: “You can see the way crack will alter an entire society. Music is no different, ultimately. You feed the body’s crave. You harness the power of nature. Bass; rhetoric.”
I rubbed my chin for a moment, shuffling my feet on the black and white squares. I noticed a line of gray which ultimately separated the black and white squares from one another. "Ok let me ask you something....” I started, wondering just what sort of brick-layer I had on my hands here. “What is evil, do you think? Is is whoever would planned the attack today? Or do you think there is a type of meta-evil which sort of connects all the crazy people in the world?”
"Well, evil is sort of like a line.... depends where you are...." he started, giving the standard Kabbalistic response. I pictured the reaper on the train car, riding those black lines, and nothing else.
“How do you find your boss?”
A shot of disgust shot across his face. I had hit a sore spot! “Those... “ he shook his head. “He thinks he made me.”
“You don’t think so?”
---“Grampa blue says that he made me
It’s coo if it’s true
Prove to me, go’on make another V”
At this point the door the studio busted open, and Kiev could be heard screaming something about knights, and a guy with a sash -- I couldn’t make out most of whatever that joke was, but she seemed to be into it. She seemed to be into a lot of things, from the sound of it. All this from an inebriated slur through the door. You get to know your co-workers so well.
I shouldn’t be noticing things like this, on a day like today. I shouldn’t even be here.
J-hook poked his head out into the hallway from the commotion. “We’ve just been hit again. Looks like Des Moines, this time.” he announced with a somber face. "Ok, El -- you get in here, let's get you ready to go." He motioned the man over with a small nod and a slightly nervous smile. When the superstar had walked past him into the room, J-hook gave me the 'let's smoke later' signal. It was a kind of a rock star gesture.
* * *
I stood there like a pawn. "Another attack....geez." Fear was there of course, begging to be seen, but at this point, it was in retreat of reason. I stood there, determined to think for one of the first times in my life. Ok... reason, go:
--I do not want to be at work, I could die today.
--If I’m going to die, I have to see her one last time.
--Because she’s beautiful, and makes everything around her beautiful. Like a heaven leak.
Hello, you’ve reached the heart. Logic will please depart, and perspective will please prepare for ineffable emotion.
I braced myself against the wall with one hand. What a switch.
The subtle and the overt of that day had begun to pile in my head. I needed the one thing that could help me to understand: my bridge; my love; my angelic soul shrink. Before you read on I warn you of her innocent prowess, her coursing connection to higher physics of love. Her smile ripples reality itself into a friendly curve, which helps with the light. She is so pretty.
A bird will always know the math of flight better than any physicist, and she will always know of our love better than I ever could. I wish she could write this part of the story. I wish I could finish it.
* * *
I had seen her car when I came into work that day. So I was hoping that she had not already left to go see ‘Derrek’ -- her new boyfriend. He’s a joke. So wrong for her I’m not even going to describe him. So, I was equally hoping that he had not already shown up here, in my story, for more of his melodramatic bullshit. I could envision him sitting in her office like he always does, smelling of fail and insecurity. I was relieved to arrive and not find his stupid cologne burning my nostrils, nor Derrek himself hogging up the room.
“Heya stranger.” Sophia greeted me warmly, looking up from her work. Her desk was simple, and meticulously maintained in proper working fashion. “You’re late” she teased through a grin.
She seems fairly happy, I thought. A little too happy for a day like today, but then again look at how I dealt with it. I hope my breath doesn’t stink.
At this point in our story Sophia is the vice president of marketing for The Pulse, but in the not so distant past she was still a marketing assistant, and we were a couple. Everyone in the office said it wouldn’t last, and they were right. At the time I think I chose Percocet and re-reading Hegal over our relationship. The breakup was a mutual thing, and I guess that’s how we stayed relatively good friends. Eventually I came to realize that I’m a moron for letting her get away. It kills me I had to read those books while I was with her to figure that out. It’s what a cruel paradox; a sassy little sideways eight by fate.
“Heya Soph.” Just saying it gave me memories of the hugs, and the kisses which would follow that statement. I smiled. The colors got brighter. The laughs came easy. I could see god running around behind the scenes. “Sorry I’m late, I was actually just talking to El-Victus upstairs.”
Sophia laughed a little, her voice tickling my side into a smile. “Look at you, do you have a new rap CD coming out soon too? I think I might have to buy that one.” She joked, glancing at me from over her glasses as she leaned her elbows on the desk. “Wanna do a little freestyle for me?”
I laughed, shaking my head. “I’ve love to hear you freestyle though.”
“Oh you haven’t seen my ‘Myspace Music’ page with the songs I produced in my Dad’s computer room?”
I laughed harder at this. Humor is such a direct route to the soul, and I could see ours starting to dance together again, weaving in and out of our bodies playfully. I love you. I miss you. I wanted to say, but what came out was this: “So how are you? I see you’re....doing work.” I finished finally, leaning forward to see what was on the desk.
She closed the folder. “I know: why do work on a day like this? Why not drink some vodka and talk to celebrities?” her tone was not hurtful. It was hard to pin down what she was getting at. She seemed distant all the sudden.
“...um....pretty much, yeah. I was thinking we could go shopping for a new girlfriend for Derrek, then maybe make out after that?”
This sailor had clearly just gotten off Captain Morgan’s boat. I expected her to get mad, but to my surprise she laughed. “Don’t say things like that. Derrek is nice. He’s around, and sober.
“Does he make you laugh?”
She forced a smiled. “Yes.”
“Anyways... what do you think of the attacks?” I finally said, as the small-talk quota ran out.
She pursed her lips, thinking. “I think, since hearing about them for the first time today I just....” She stopped, looking up at me. Blue eyes; stormy skies.
The colors dimmed a bit.
“I haven’t done any work today....” She said, sort of motioning to the closed folder.
“Oh, well that’s ok -- neither have I.”
I was confused, but I could see a dam breaking in her mind. I got ready.
“I can barely write” she whispered, tears welling in her eyes. “And you... you’re late.” She started to cry softly. Each drop landing on the circuitry in my heart, sending jolts of pain throughout my existence. Nothing more than a robot: Self Absorbed 9.0 -- now with the Tear™ processor.
“Sophia, I’m so sorry....” Not just sorry, but so sorry. Nice one, right? Pathetic. The words of an utter fool. The jester, juggling Saturn's rings; the universal laugh clown of the epic.
Derrek was in Tampa this week. “He isn’t answering his phone -- why wouldn’t he call?” She shook her head, her eyes looking around for something unseen.” She took off her glasses and I could see her eyes were welling up with tears again.
I wondered how long she had been sitting here, pretending to work, in shock. I was late. I hadn’t changed like I thought I had. I’m a jerk, and a loser, I thought.
“Com’n” I got up and walked around to her. I led her from her desk by the hand to the small couch near the window in her office. Outside it was overcast, but the ominous cloud shape kind.
She hugged me and I hugged back.
“You were always such a good hugger.” She said, a small smile blossoming two red pedals into dimples. She nestled in closer to me and I laid my head against hers. We shared dream space. I felt guilty: what if Derrek was dead? I did not want that. I did not want to think. I was overrun by pressurized emotions quickly, urging to get out and dance with hers like a sound lusts a beat. We hugged so tight, leaving a trail of warmth behind us in space, in time. “No matter what happens, I’ll stay with you Soph” I told her softly. “Always.”
She hugged harder. I hugged harder.
We fell asleep in blankets of love; shielding us from the brimstone vapors which wafted about the city of fear.