It was not going to be a good show today, but it didn’t matter. There was a need to speak out, even if he couldn’t speak about the thing that made him want to speak out. This was his only home, this is where he could find himself every now and then.
But a doubt came in his mind. Maybe this home will taken from him as well.
The topic was less than hopeful.
”The children read stories starring magnificent animals,” started Harry, ”those animals don’t exist anymore. We wiped them out. When I was born, most of the damage had already been done. My mother told me there were people warning us, giving us countless evidence but nobody would listen. It just became worse. We believe this world belongs to us, all the other creatures just have to make space for us…”
He took a gulp of a vodka bottle next to him, trying to numb the effect of this particular intrusive thought: where he would see the head of decapitated boy, rolling senselessly around in circles. The worst was the sound. He was still calling out for his mother.
”…They even continued diminishing restrictions on how to slaughter animals. The bullfighting went on for years. When the bull won, they would slaughter his offspring. They would shoot bears when they were hibernating. Even now, with the advancements we need cloning, there’s still a large demand for the meal of live animals, even though cloned meat is exactly the same, but they don’t believe so. There’s all these Disney movies and we think them cute, we humanize them, but what did we do in the end. All these beautiful creatures. We knew what we were doing. We fucking knew…” another gulp.
”But even before the massive floods, before the constant hurricanes, before the hundreds and even thousands of deaths due to global warming, we could have prevented it. It’s just that nobody listened. Nobody fucking listened. They even shut down the EPA for a while, just so they wouldn’t be telling these things to people. The poor died. Those beautiful animals died. For us. So that we can do what we want with this place. I keep thinking about these animals. I keep thinking about them. And I think that perhaps, it was better that none of us were here in the first place. We could call this evolution 101. Simple biology. Survival of the fucking fittest. But do you like that story? I don’t. I don’t like that story at all…”
Harry was silent then. He didn’t know what to say. No words seemed reasonable anymore. He had already strayed far from his script, he thought he was going somewhere with this but maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he’s going nowhere, maybe that’s the point.
Dead air for almost a minute. Dale waved his arms around wildly, hoping to catch Harry’s attention on the other side of the glass. Harry saw him but did not respond. There were no words.
Dale knew something was wrong with his boss. Despondency was normal with him, but there was a despair in his eyes that went beyond the regular depression. Those were the eyes of a man that saw something and knew he could never come back.
The rolling head, the call to his mother. The telephone, a call from his mother. Pick up the phone, somethings wrong. For god’s sake pick up the phone…
We have some unfortunate news to tell you…
We are very sorry…
I never knew she could do such a thing, I always thought she was the strongest persons alive.
Rumors were abound that she suffered from a mental illness. We need to have more awareness about mental illness…
This is the absurd world we live in.
I’m sorry mom. I’m so sorry…
The words came back: ”…There’s a viciousness in the human animal that no other animal can match. My mother used to speak about that there inherent good inside us, it’s just that most of us don’t know what to do with it. If we could just tap into the good stuff and use it in the right way, we would figure out what to do with this world. But I think my mom, always known for someone dishing out the heavy truths, was naive. She wanted the return of true believers, but the truth of the matter is, there were just not enough of here. There never was. She believed that if only people understood what is going on, if they understand the truth, that people will do the right thing. Maybe this could be true if enough people had faith, but there’s too much cynicism, too much misanthropy, too much goddamn darkness we take for granted. A mind-virus went into our heads and spread from child to child. Adam ate from the goddamn apple. Pandora’s box has long been opened. It’s too late. We are damned. There were some that were immune but they could never find a cure. One would think common sense could be the cure. But we are too emotional for common sense… I ..”
Another gulp, a sigh and then: ”I was supposed to talk about something else but I forgot. Tell you the truth I don’t care. I’m supposed to tell the truth here but I can’t. There are things I just can’t share with you. I’m not here anymore. I’ve lost myself. I’ve lost myself a long time ago…”
Silence, then: ”this will be my last broadcast. I hope you are well there. I hope I inspired something positive to your lives, to whoever is listening. Take care of each other, for the love of god, take care of each other..”
End of final broadcast.
”I’m sorry Dale,” said Harry when he joined him in the sound-booth, ”I should have told you, but to tell you the truth I didn’t know before I was talking. I will make sure you will get an advance. I’m sure you can find a place. I’ll give my recommendation if it’s worth a fuck.”
”That’s alright man, come sit down please.”
Harry sat down in front of him, Dale offered a him a joint and Harry shook his head. ”I’m drinking today,” he said, lifting up the vodka bottle.
”Does any of this have to do with Stone?”
Harry swallowed but then quickly shook his head, ”no I… just need to move on.”
”I know he is your friend and all, but I don’t trust him. There’s something about him. My mother had this about people too. You can just feel if something is off. She always said that the devil could never fool her. I hope I can consider myself the same.”
”You’re right, there’s something very wrong with Stone. The devil hasn’t fooled you at all.”
Dale took a deep puff, ”you sure you want to do this man? Where are you gonna go?”
”I don’t know. Maybe I’ll wander the world. I don’t have much money, but maybe there’s a better place for me out there.”
”I’ll miss you man.”
”I’ll miss you too. It was a good ride wasn’t it?
”It wasn’t always easy but it was an honor working for you man. I really believed your words.”
”I never thought you really listened.”
”I always did. But I’m not the only one. I hope you realize there many out there who listened to your words. I hope you will remember this and not remain silent for ever. You made the world a little saner every week.”
”Thank you Dale. If you need anything, maybe a nice severance package, let me know.’
”I appreciate that Harry.”
Harry got up, they shook hands.
”Do one thing for me Harry?”
”Follow the music. If you know where the music is, you will find your way. I don’t know what I would do without the music.”
”I’ll do my best to listen.”
The shake quickly turned into a hug. They said goodbye one more time and then Harry left the building.
When Harry was walking toward his car, he noticed someone sitting in his passenger seat. He didn’t care who it was, he just got into his car, sat down, sighed, lit a cigarette. He offered a cigarette to the passenger.
”Tell you the truth, I didn’t like today’s episode that much,” said the preacher, ”the message just didn’t sit well with me.”
”I got pall-malls,” said Harry, passing the preacher a cigarette.
”Thanks,” the preacher lit his cigarette. They shared a silence.
”These are better cigarettes, gotta admit that.”
”I’ve got good taste.”
Harry took a deep puff, he looked at the preacher and noticed a big envelope on his lap. ”Is that for me?”
”Yeah, I was supposed to just leave this here for you. But I thought I’d give it to you in person. I thought it was better, considering what happened. I don’t think it’s right to even give you this, but he thought you should know.”
”He saw what happened.”
”Yes, but he doesn’t blame you for it. He didn’t expect it would happen though. He had heard about Stone and knew he was an evil prick but this surprised even him. Though, upon further research, this is not the first time he did such a thing. That’s the thing about evil men. We consert with them. We befriend them. And when we look back upon the carnage, we wonder how we couldn’t see it. But deep down, we knew the signs were there.”
”It’s a shame he didn’t see it. Maybe we could have prevented this.”
”it’s nobody’s fault but him”
”Did you know him?”
”No, he wasn’t part of our clique. But that doesn’t matter. He didn’t deserve this.”
”No he didn’t. Then again, that’s the way of the world. So many walk around who deserve worse or better. Ain’t no justice in this world. There’s just chance.”
”I can tell you again that it wasn’t your fault but we know you aren’t going to listen. Just as it wasn’t your fault about what happened to your mother.”
”I don’t want to talk about it.
”No you don’t.”
”Maybe we don’t. We just know it hurts.”
”So has he lost interest in me?”
”He hasn’t, but for your sake and for others, he’s gonna leave you alone. This is going to be last message for a while.”
”For a while?”
”When you’re ready, he will return but it’s up to you.”
”I guess I want to be left alone then. Would have saved everyone a lot of trouble if he did this in the first place.”
The preacher sighed and quoted his favorite author, ”there’s love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.”
Harry took a deep puff and replied: ”good luck to you preacher.”
”Auf wiedersehen,” said the preacher who got out of the car, left the envelope on the passenger seat and walked away.
Harry finished his cigarette before he grabbed the big envelope. On the back it said: YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THIS, IT’S UP TO YOU.
He opened the envelope, it was a file. It was about young man named Alan Kurd. He had been an orphan, lost his parents when he was twelve years old in a car accident. His mother had initially survived but died in the hospital, little Jimmy was there, he cried out for her to return. He became a delinquent. Didn’t do well in school. Arrested for being part of a terrorist hacker group. Missing.
Harry began to cry, ”you didn’t deserve it,” he began to mumble, ”you didn’t deserve it.”
The boy had a name now. It’s always harder when it has a name.
Art by Alwy Fadhel