Our Disease 21 (ending)

    A Brave New World 

A man in an overcoat was chasing a naked man to the sea. They stepped on sharp sea-shells, blood would seep from the naked man’s feet. The naked man’s clothes were behind him, a trail to follow. There was a high-wind, there seemed to be a hurricane on the horizon. The overcoat flapped into the wind, its long collar would flap against the man’s determined face. Particles of sand would be blown away, its eolian effect seemed like an elegant dance. The naked had a crazed smile into his face, but there was no fear. He stood upright as he headed to the water. The water would be cold, the naked would freeze to death. There was high-tide, waves kept crashing in on each other, a soapy puddle on the shore. They were the only two people on the beach.
”You know this what they always wanted,” screamed the naked man through the howling wind, his head turning back as he walked forward ”this was their mission all along. It was all about me, it was never about me. You were were just weak enough to do their bidding.”
The man in the overcoat said nothing. He just walked forward, like a sheepherder moving his sheep towards the edge of the cliff.
”You’ll never get away with this. Once you do this there’s nowhere you can hide. I matter in this world! People will look for me! It’s not that they miss me, it’s that they depend on me!”
The naked man saw the water coming closer, a streak of fear touched his heart. ”I was your friend you know. I only wanted the best for you. Nobody understood why I bothered for you! But I did! For some fucking reason I cared!”
He stopped then, just an inch from the water. He took a deep breath.
”Move,” said the man in the overcoat.
”It’s cold out there Harry, please don’t make me do this.”
The man in the overcoat pointed his revolver to the back of his head. The naked man, Stone, turned around. They looked into each other, Stone tried to see doubt in his eyes but he could see it; this man, this old friend, was about to kill him.

A day before, they were in Dale’s apartment. It was a small yet modest apartment, it was filled with photographs and posters of the wall of all the greatest musicians of history. It showed Dale’s sophisticated and diverse taste. A poster of Frank Zappa’s Tinseltown Rebellion album cover, a enlarged photograph of Frank Sinatra taken by Anton Corbijn, a poster of Dr. Dre’s classic album The Chronic, B.B. King, they stemmed from the time when music meant something, when albums were appreciated. When people laid down to listen to the whole album, in sequence of each song, appreciate the flow of each song, sometimes a story or a message would be found there. His music ranged beyond the American plains, there were foreign albums covers Harry had never heard about. He had never been inside Dale’s apartment and he was certainly impressed.
”I’m glad to see you man. Tell you the truth I missed you, this Reilly dude is a fucking nutjob,” said Dale sitting on a chair infront of Harry and Stone who were sitting on his couch.
”I missed you too Dale,” said Harry.
Stone was a little annoyed by the camaraderie. He sensed there was something wrong with Harry, he was silent most of the way. He felt belittled somehow. He knew Harry always considered himself morally superior but now it was something different, almost as if he considered himself a higher human being.
”I love your place. You surround yourself with icons. True believers.”
”Thanks.”
”My mom used to debate Sean Reilly. She always said he was a creep. Can’t say I was surprised after the scandal broke out.”
”Shit man, he’s a moody motherfucker. Heard his meltdown on the internet?”
”We will do it live! Fuck it!” yelled Dale animating Reilly, which annoyed Stone deeply. Dale and Harry were laughing.
Stone took a big gulp and started to talk: ”You are old-school, aren’t you,” said Stone.
”I listen the modern day music too. I just like the culture of when this music came out. It was much more special then. There’s so much now. So many movies, so much music. We got hardly time to appreciate it all.”
Dale’s hair was shorter, there were a few wrinkles but apart from that, he looked the same.
”I would still like to hear some of your music though.”
”You can probably find it Online,” said a sighing Dale as he licked the joint shut. This surprised Harvey as he remembered that he always wanted the music to remain with him.
”Really?” said Stone, a bit too theatrically, ”I thought you were all about the authenticity of your art?”
The TV was on, it was mute. TAXI DRIVER was playing. Travis just shot the pimp played by Harvey Keitel.
”I am but someone hacked my laptop, stole some of my music,” he lit the joint, took a deep puff.
”Really?”
Harvey looked at Stone, enraged.
”Yeah, it nearly destroyed me man. I mean, most of my music I got tucked away safely but some of the stuff was good man. My babies. I didn’t think people would steal it. Nobody’s ever heard of me.”
”Well I’m sorry dude, that’s really a shame. Did you see any reactions of your music?”

”Yeah, people were raving.”
”Well that’s good. That must have felt good.”
”I don’t care. It was mine. It was my music…”
A silence, Dale passed the joint to Stone, ”you know nothing about that do you?”
”Off course not!” said Stone, smiling, ”I resent the accusation.”
”I remember you were so adamant about hearing my music.”
”You can’t blame a guy for being curious.”
Dale said nothing, he still didn’t trust him.
”You know Dale is dating Tara,” said Stone turning to Harry, ”you remember her? She was the hooker that was with me a few times last year? Apparently she quit her job and is now seeking an honest living. Would you believe that?”
Dale turned away, becoming angry for Stone’s words about his lover, ”You made her an honest woman! You should be proud of that Dale!”
”That’s enough Stone,” said Harry, ”leave her out of it.”
”What? I’m happy for him,” said Stone taking a deep puff, looking into Dale’s eyes, ”though it’s a shame though. She was really good at her job.”
Dale got up from the chair, walked up to him angrily, as if he was about to pounce him. Stone laughed at his effort.
”Oh what? Am I supposed to be threatened.”
”You can leave now Stone, I don’t want you here.”
”You are the one that started it. I come here in good faith. I bring you drugs and alcohol, even a friend you thought was dead. And this is how you thank me?”
”Please get out of here Stone.”
”Nah, I don’t feel like it.”
Dale stood there, he didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t a fighter. He knew there was a force inside Stone that he could not beat. It was not his strength, or his ability to fight, it was something else. It was the lack of mercy, his deadly seriousness. The casualty of bloodletting. The will to win no matter what.
Harry got up, ”let’s go Stone.”
”You know I could make a call and make you disappear. Your girlfriend could call to the police and they wouldn’t do a thing. You know why? They would get word from their captain by me, that they shouldn’t bother and they wouldn’t. Cos I’m the man. I’m the man that has ruled this country since its inception. And you don’t fuck with the man!”
Harry lifted up Stone from his collar, looked at him with ferociousness that surprised Stone, ”l said let’s go!”
Stone smiled, nodded, ”fine, fuck this little hipster pad.”
Stone moved to the front door, yelled back, ”say Dale, if your girlfriend can’t find a job, she can always come and ask me for money. I have things for her to do.”
He opened the door and left. Dale took a deep breath, he almost felt like crying.
”What are you doing with him Harry? You return from the fucking dead with him?”
”Don’t worry about him. I’ll make sure he won’t bother you again.”

”Where did you go Harry? What’s up with you? There’s something up with you. You aren’t the same.”
”I’m better Dale, I swear, I haven’t been this happy for a long time.”
Dale looked at him skeptically, ”it’s a crazy world out there, people can get lost. People can find them in places and never come back. Even when they think they’ve escaped, there still really there.”
”Dale, one day I’ll tell you what I’ve seen, one day you will see the world as I saw it. One day I will take you with me.”
”Take me with you? Where?”
”I can’t tell you yet but you will see. We will make you see.”
”We?”
Harry suddenly hugged Dale then. He hugged him for nearly a minute. Dale didn’t know what to do. The hug was an intimate one, almost like a goodbye.
”I followed the music Dale, just as you said. And it was beautiful, it was so beautiful…”

They were on their way to Stone’s rented beach house. Stone was driving, smoking a joint as he did. Harry was looking out the window, it was nearing the night. He could see a storm coming.
”Would you believe that guy?” Laughed Stone, ”unbelievable. The arrogance of some people really astounds me.”
”Did you steal his music?” asked Harry.
Stone said nothing for a while but handed him the joint, Harry took it but didn’t smoke it, he just looked at him and asked again: ”did you?”
”That little fucker was so arrogant about it, I just had to know if it was any good. And you know what? It wasn’t. It fucking sucked.”
”You shouldn’t have done that Stone. It wasn’t for you to listen or to judge.”
”Oh please. He put it on his computer. His own fault. If it’s on your computer it belongs to everyone. If he wanted it to remain private, he should have made an effort.”
”Doesn’t matter Stone and you know it.”
”You gonna smoke that joint?”
”You can have it.”
Stone angrily grabbed the joint, ”what’s up with you anyway? I don’t like this new version of you. You’re too quiet. You were always in your head but now you’ve been spacing out all day. You didn’t smoke and had barely anything to drink so somethings up.”
”I’m fine.”
”Oh yeah, you’re fine. Sure. Well I hope you appreciate what I’ve been doing for you. I’m trying to show you a good time and you’re acting like a fucking zombie.”
”Thank you Stone.”
”That’s more like it. Wait till you see this house I rented. It’s too cold and windy to swim now but it’s a sight, it’s such a beautiful sight.”
”I bet it is,” said Harry fondling his revolver in his overcoat.

They finally got there. He parked next to a delicate little wooden beach house. The sky was turning gray, the night was coming. Stone got out of the car, ran towards the beach, stopped, lifted up his hands and yelped as he look towards the beach, the high-waves crashing and turning.
”Isn’t this beautiful Harry? Surely this is something you and I can share. Doesn’t that make you feel peaceful listening to that? Doesn’t the waves center everything in your head? I could listen to this forever. We might be able to swim but I’ve got a jacuzzi and…” He saw Harry pointing the revolver then. He laughed at first, ”what the fuck is this Harry? You getting a sense of humor?”
”Walk to the sea and get undressed while you do so.”
”What?”
”What to sea and get undressed while you do so.”
”Oh go fuck yourself Harry, stop playing…”
Harry pointed the gun to the sky and pulled a trigger. The gunshot echoed and shook both Harry and Stone. The sound, its loudness, changed everything. Harry had to pause before he pointed the revolver to Stone again and said: ”this is really happening Stone. Do as I tell you…”
”I’m not getting undressed…”
”I want to see the emperor without clothes. I want to see wolf without sheep’s clothing. The demon without a disguise…”
”Harry come on…”
He shot another warning to the sky, the sound made Stone shiver.
”Come on,” said Harry, a smile coming to his face now, ”let’s take a walk together. This is something we can both enjoy…”

A man in an overcoat was chasing a naked man to the sea….
”I don’t want to die. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to die. I thought about death, I accepted that it could come sooner or later but no, not like this. Not here. People like me aren’t supposed to die like this. We are supposed to die old, in our sleep. We never get punished.”
”There has to be some accountability. There has to be some justice.”
”For what? The boy?”
”For the boy, for all the boys and girls in the world. You all get away with it. Everyone of you. We fuck up and we pay for life. You guys fuck up and everyone suffers and you get another clean break. It’s not fair. There has to be some consequences…”
”We make things happen. We make the engine run because you guys have no idea what to do with this world. So we take a little extra for ourselves. We deserve it! We aren’t like you guys who can only bitch and moan about how things are not good enough! We actually make a difference! The only way you can make a difference is by killing me! That’s why they go crazy out there, because they can’t make a difference, they can’t change the world. So they go around shooting people, hoping to kill the right person. And it doesn’t solve anything. It’s just another senseless tragedy. Life moves on…
The adrenaline stopped Stone from freezing, but he felt panic going through him, he refused to show it, ”you people just want to be coddled, want everything for free. You want the roads fixed, you want free health-care, an affordable car. None of you has the vision, none of you has what it takes to make this country great! We even give you a vote and look what you do with it? You still complain even when you get what you want! This country is the way it is because of you guys! Not us! You outnumber us!”
Harry said nothing, just stared him down, panic became overpowering, ”You kill me, you end your life too. You’ll be in Mexico somewhere and someone will hit you over the head and you will die alone. If you have a girlfriend there, they will kill her too. Cos this world is shit. It’s all shit. It’s like my daddy always said: it never changes, the people will always be shit. It’s always supposed to go like this. It’s destiny! A period of relative sanity until we go fucking ape-shit again. We’ve passed the Rubicon now. The end is nigh. Maybe a few centuries more and that’s it. We won’t live to see it, but we can see the machines taking over. We can see it! You can see it too, can’t you Harry?”
Harry’s hand was trembling, there was a fear he couldn’t do it. He had to remind himself:
”I’ve had this dream, that they will one day take me there. They were angels. They were with me all the way. I was never alone. They would stay with me. I just had to go all the way. I just have to be prepared to do what is necessary.”
”It’s just a dream Harry, it’s not real. They were just using you. They were just fucking with your head…”
”It has to be real Stone, if it isn’t real then there is no point…”
”Harry we can find a solution together. I know I’m a piece of shit. I know I’m an evil motherfucker but if you give me a chance than we can make a difference. We can make it a better world! Old America and new America. We could combine the two. We could make a world full of dreamers again!”
”I’m sorry Stone.” Harry stepped forward and Stone stepped back, he felt the water now, it was so cold, he yelped.
”Fuck it’s so cold Harry please, please…” he ran to the side away from the water, ”please don’t make me go into the water, please…”
”I just want the bugs to go away. I want to cure us. You are the disease, you’ve been festering into our consciousness for millions of years now. I don’t want to do this but I have to. In order to make a change, we have to be prepared to do what’s necessary, to lose something of ourselves…”
”This is fucking murder Harry! You can’t do this please!”
”…You thought that by killing the boy, Alan, that you took away my innocence. But no that blood is on you. This blood will be on me, but it will be necessary. You’ve helped them for far too long. The world is changing. The revolution is coming. And this is your guillotine, the blade is coming down…”
”I’m your friend Harry! I’m your friend! We’ve known each other for years! Please, I don’t want to die. There are things I want to make right! I just need another chance please…” Stone was on his knees now, begging. Harry pointed the gun to his temple, his hand trembling again.
”You can’t help the way you are. You are a parasite, you are programmed to act this way. In a way I know you think you are doing the right thing. I know that…” Tears were streaming down his eyes, ”I just want to go to that place. I want to go back to mom. She is proud of me you know? She is waiting for me.”
”She’ll be proud of you if you put the gun down Harry!” He then turned his head, seeking any soul to save him, ”help! Please for the love of God help!!”
”My dreams will come true. I will be a hero. They will reward me, I will fall in love again. I can be an angel too, guiding the next person…”
”She’s proud of me. She forgives me. She told me that, this is what I need to do…” His hand steady now, Stone saw the glare in his eyes. Stone got up and ran, tripped and ran in desperation, crying as he did so. Harry closed his eyes when he aimed and pulled the trigger, Stone’s right shoulder exploded in gore, he cried in pain, tripped but kept running. Harry ran after him. The waves kept on crashing in on each other, the wind kept howling.
Harry shot again, he hit the back of Stone’s leg. Stone felt to the sand, the cold water crashing in on him. He crawled towards his waves, crying for his mother as he did so. The coldness reminded him of death approaching. The end, the nothingness that was upon him. He cried that he was sorry for everything.
Harry looked up at the gray sky for a moment, clothing his eyes, taking a deep breath, smelling he air. Time seemed to stop for a moment.
The waves pushed Stone back to the shore but he crawled right back into the waves, as if it could save him. Harry opened his eyes. When Stone was pushed back again, he turned around, looking at him, a last plea for mercy.
Harry looked back, they said nothing for a while.
”It’s true,” said Harry, ”the waves, they center everything in your head. It’s transcendent. I could listen to this forever.”
Stone smiled bittersweetly, ”I know, I wanted to share this with you.”
”Thank you,” said Harry pointing the revolver at him. Stone didn’t move. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath. He smelled the air.
A hole exploded behind the back of Stone’s head. He was dead instantly. Harry looked at his dead body for a while, the waves pushed him to closed to the shore, as if rejecting him. Harry sat down, looked at him, his lifeless eyes. It was always the most disturbing part, the eyes that said nothing anymore. The eyes locked into the void. Harry reached out and closed his eyes.
”I’m sorry,” Harry said, wiping his tears. He threw the gun into the sea and sat down next to the corpse of an old friend, a sacrifice to the Gods.

He sat there, looking to the coast.  It was night, close to midnight. He was ready, waiting for them. There was the fear that Stone was right: maybe it was all in his head, maybe there was no such place, maybe there are no angels. He couldn’t think like that, you have to believe, keep the faith. He started the revolution, the new world was coming for him.
There was a light far ahead, a boat perhaps. It was coming his way. Harry smiled, he couldn’t wait.
The light flickered, disappeared for a while and then came back. The waves kept crashing in on each other, the wind kept howling. One could listen to this forever.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania winslow homer
Art by Winslow Homer

The end

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Our Disease 20

Kill the Bug

It was a beautiful dream. It was a dream full of angels. He had a sudden mission in life: to return to the world and save mankind from the bugs eating their brain. If he did this, they would come for him. He would be allowed to live among them, in the place that followed the promises of his country, promises he had heard about since he was a child at school. Promises that were broken again and again.
There was a preacher, an old friend who he could never say goodbye to, his mother, the lover that would one day find him, there was the demon that turned out to be an angel. There was no fear, we conquered it. We were ourselves, we were free to explore our eccentricities, it would be explored on paper. So many people were lost in the old world, now we found each other and made sure nobody got lost. Everyone was welcome, the tired as well as the poor. If we could only see ourselves for who we are, if we weren’t so afraid, this world could be ours.
He had asked the angels what he was supposed to do.
They told him to watch for the sign, you would understand then. Everything would be clear.
But you must go all the way, it’s the only way to escape this world. The only way to escape this prison.
Reality is the dream, all you have to do is wake up and pull the trigger.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania david lynch i fight with myself
Art by David Lynch

***

 

 

Our Disease 19

    The Return

The waiting-room used to be filled with darkness, a faint light, its walls were scarlet red. There were windows now, light shone brightly inside the olive green room. It was a pleasant place to be, a man would feel calm here.
Her next patient sat there, smiling around him. It looked much better than before. A woman came out the room and smiled at the person in the waiting-room, he smiled back. Perhaps there was a certain attraction the man thought, perhaps I still got it.
The patient entered Dr. Benway’s office. To Dr. Benway, it was like seeing a ghost.
”I really like what you’ve done to the place. It looks much better now.”
”I can’t believe it, it’s really you.”
”It’s me, I’m back.”
He sat in front of her, looked around. The room was another pleasant olive green. There were paintings on the wall. The paintings evoked the natural beauty of this world, a transcendence one could capture if we were to really look.
”When you called I thought it was some practical joke.”
”You recognized my voice did you?”
”You didn’t sound the same. You sounded like a different person.”
”I’m the same person but with a different state of mind.”
She looked him over, he looked better. The scruffy hairs were gone. Clean clothes. His eyes were clear, it evoked even a calmness that seemed so unnatural to him.
”You look good.”
”Thank you, so do you.”
”You’ve been missing for over a year Harry. You can’t blame my reaction. People naturally assumed you were dead.”
”I needed to wander the world a bit, be invisible, do some soul-searching. I needed to get acquainted with America.”
”Where did you go?”
”I’ve been about everywhere. I’ve met a lot of people, so many beautiful people…” Harry paused, as their faces came back to them, ”I’ve fallen in love with his country again. For a long time, I thought it was lost, without a chance of salvation. I forgot how beautiful this country really is. I went to all these different states with different laws, I’ve talked to people. People took me into their houses. I’ve even been with a few women,” Harry smiled, thinking about the young girl he had, the older woman, a woman of his age. How beautiful they are. How there was nothing more beautiful than a woman.
”Maybe I’ll tell you about this one day, but I’m only here for a few days. Hitting the road again soon.”
”So why have you come back?”’
”I wanted to come clean. Been doing a lot of thinking on the road. Even about the things I didn’t want to think about. You were there for me for many years, you’ve tried to make me confront them. And now I have. I wanted to thank you for pushing me as far as you did.”
”Well it’s my job,” she smiled, feeling touched.
”When Sheryl left me I was a wreck. Deep down I knew it wasn’t going to work. I spend years convincing her that I was worth loving, but it shouldn’t have been like that. Her love had faded, it was her choice. When she left me, I lost it. I was a wreck…”
He took a deep breath.
”During this time, my mother was enduring a relapse. A failed relationship had brought her over the top, she called for me. I didn’t answer because it was too painful for me to admit that my relationship had ended. She killed herself and I blamed myself.”
He took a deep breath, it still hurt, he went on: ”It wasn’t my fault. I should have picked up but I didn’t know what was going on. There were signs sure, but you can’t blame it on yourself. She was a troubled person. I loved her and she loved me. She wouldn’t want me to feel guilty about this neither.”
”No she wouldn’t Harry.”
”So for years, I locked myself in a little sound-stage and committed myself to my weekly podcast, leaving my literary ambitions behind. I think I’m going to write again, though I still miss my podcast. I had an audience, even met some people who loved my show.”
”I miss it too Harry.”
”I really miss mom. She was my angel. I like to think she’s still around. I like to think she’d be proud of me.”
”She would be. I’m sure of it.”
”It still hurts and sometimes I want to hide again, but I’ve learned to deal with it. I’m ready to move on.”
Dr. Benway smiled, she felt paternal over Harry, just like she did with many other patients. She was so proud of him, so hopeful.
”I need to go now Dr. Benway, I have a schedule to keep.
”So where are you going to go?”
”I don’t know. I still think there’s this place in America somewhere, where there are people like me. People who want to devote themselves to truth, the values of what America once stood for. Maybe I will find that place and if not, that’s okay too.”
He got up and when they shook hands he said: ”life is an absurd fucking place. Sometimes I don’t see it. Sometimes it looks like an endless series of human tragedies. But then I look beyond, then I think of you, I think of my mother, I think Crispin, Dale, all the people that I loved, all the people that loved me. And things seem better.”
They wished each other good luck on their journey. When he left the room, he said ”auf wiedersehen.”

They were packed and ready to go, when there doorbell rang. ”Could you get that!” she yelled from upstairs as she was finishing up her make-up in the bathroom.
”Honey, you better come downstairs,” her fiancée called out.
When she went downstairs, to the front-door, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
”I’m sorry I couldn’t be at the wedding,” Harry said, ”but I just heard about it.”
”Harry,” Sheryl said, her fiancee patting her shoulder, ”you were messing. It’s been a year… We thought you were..”
”Yes, I know. I’m sorry for making you that. It was selfish of me. I was in a different place back then. I just wanted to say sorry for this and congratulate you on your engagement.”
She held back the years, it came so close to bursting. For a period of time, she had blamed herself for his disappearance, even mourned him. The romantic love had been long gone, but she still cared of them. This will always be, even if they did not share the same bed together.
”I know you probably blamed yourself for a while, but you shouldn’t. You should do what’s right for you, and I’m happy you moved on…”
”Thank you Harry…” She didn’t know what else to say, she felt like hugging him but composed herself.
Harry turned to her fiancée. A year ago he saw him making love to Cheryl through a webcam footage. He watched it in a wail of tears. Now this memory was laughable. You have to laugh at the absurdity of life.
”I’ve heard your a good man,” Harry said, ”I know you’ll take good care of her.”
”Thanks, nice to finally meet you” said the fiancée who was in a loss for words as well, ”We are going for a little road-trip, meeting some family.”
”Good, it’s a beautiful world out there.”
She could see he was the old Harry, the happy person she fell in love with so long ago.
”I’ve got to get going now, but good luck on your journey. I always wanted you to be happy. In the end that mattered most.”
She reached out to hug him, she told him she was sorry. She was sorry she couldn’t love him the way he needed to be loved. He said there was no need.
”I’m glad your back,” she said.
”So am I.”

It was a cheap hotel-motel room, but it didn’t matter to Harry. A luxury life was alien to him to him now, if it were offered to him, he wouldn’t know what to do with it. On the road, you have to give things up. There was a king-size bed, a TV screen on the wall, a closet, a tiny bathroom, that was it. He would be only there for a few days and to be fair, that was all he could afford anyway. He was running out of money, the trip back had been expensive to him. The savings were almost gone. He didn’t know what he was going to do for money, but he didn’t worry much. He had made some friends on the road, people would try to help him. In America, the people are there for you. In America, you are not on your own.
When he entered his small room, there was a box in the center of his bed. Walking up to it, he saw that there was an envelope taped on top of it. A familiar voice then: ”you expected a package?”
Stone came out the bathroom, steam following from the shower. A towel was covering his middle, just like the last time he saw him.
”You remember what you told me last time we saw each other?”
”I do.”
Stone looked worse than he did before. There was a bigger gut, an unshaven white beard, receding hair but with a long mullet at the back. There was a tiredness in his eyes. The ferociousness was still there but the year has aged him rapidly.
”Am I supposed to be scared,” smiled Stone, walking up to him, inches away from his face.
”I don’t think you get scared,” said Harry, smiling back, ”it’s not in your nature.”
”You know, you look good, I thought you would look worse but you look better.”
”You look worse.”
”My lifestyle, however thrilling, comes with a few sacrifices,” Harry grabbed a chair and sat down, grabbed a cigarette from the pack on the table and lit one. He offered Harry a cigarette too, Harry shook his head.
”For old times sake.”
Harry took it then, Stone lit it for him.
”They just let you in this place?”
”I said I was an old friend and then I gave the manager some money and he didn’t care either way.”
Harry sat down on the bed, ”you’ve been busy I guess, knowing what’s happening with the world.”
”Yeah, president is not doing such a hot job. Tell you the truth, I don’t think I can save him.”
”He hasn’t changed much after the campaign, he pretty much seems like the same guy.”
”He was the people’s elect. The rumors were there in the campaign, the signs were all there and the people were still stupid enough to vote him. They got what they voted for. Don’t know why people are shocked.”
”How have you been Stone?”
”I think I should ask that question to you.”
”You thought I was dead?”
”For a while I did, it took me a while to find you. You just disappeared into some black hole. My guy eventually found you in some fucking hippie commune in the west. Then later you were in Alaska for some fucking reason. I thought about confronting you there but I was a busy and I thought you needed some time.”
”I would tell you I’m sorry but to tell you the truth, I wanted you to think I was dead, but I wasn’t naive to think that I could pull that off.”
”You were hoping I would take you down, just to be safe?”
”A part of me hoped this in the beginning.”
”Shit man,” Stone took a deep puff, ”you still don’t see me as a friend, do you?”
”I’ve thought a lot about you.”
”Did you figure me out?”
”In a way, I do think you wanted to help me. But I also think you were enabling the worst in me, that my unhappiness was a prove of your success. That your dream, your America, was the superior than my America.”
”Now you’ve returned. Did you expect to see me?”
”I expected to see you eventually.”
”You happier now?”
”I am.”
Stone smiled, not sure if he was happy about this myself, ”so my instincts were correct. You needed some time with yourself. I guess my handling of your situation…”
”The boy’s name was Alan Kurd.”
”The boy’s name doesn’t fucking matter,” said Stone ferociously, ”what matters is that you never bothered again.”
”They send me the boy’s file, that’s all.”
”Good,” Stone was tapping ash from his cigarette on the floor.
”How long are you staying?”
”Not for very long.”
”Let’s have a couple of drinks.”
”I don’t drink anymore.”
”Come on, for old times sake. We can go see Dale, you know he’s working for that piece of shit Sean Reilly? He went from you to Reilly, poor guy. He’s not even allowed to smoke weed in the sound-booth.”
”I wanted to see him before I go.”
”Perfect, let’s go then, I’m gonna brush my teeth,” Stone went in the bathroom, ”I’m really happy to see you Harry. It’s easy to lose touch with old friends. Hope we can pick up where we left off.”
Harry said nothing, but turned to face the box. He ripped the envelope lose and opened it. There was a piece of paper, it said: ”WHEN YOU’RE READY.”
Harry took a deep breath, got up and opened a door of a cabinet attached to the wall. There was a box full of separated cutlery, he grabbed a knife. He used this knife to open the box. Inside the box was another wooden box. Harry looked back to see if Stone wasn’t coming. Stone was brushing his teeth, whistling a tune as he did. Harry opened the box. Seeing what was inside, Harry knew what was expected of him.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania paris texas painting
Art by Thomas Pramhas

***

 

Our Disease 18

The Sad Man in The Coffeeshop 

There was a man that walked into a coffee-shop. He stood in the center of the room, looking around. It was as if he was looking for something. Sometimes he would stare at a corner of a room, the customers were thinking that he was looking at them. There was a sadness in his eyes. He remained standing there for over an half an hour, finally a kindly barista walked up to him, asked him if he was okay, if there was anything she could do for him.
”No thank you,” he said, ”I’ll be leaving soon. I don’t mean to bother anyone.”
”It’s okay,” said the barista, ”would you like to sit down? Did something happen?”
There was a pause before he answered, ”there used to be a playground here. There was a sandpit there. A swing right there. They demolished it long ago. I never really cared. We shouldn’t, we should move on. But I’m looking back at things, even if it might hurt. I think this is a good place to start…” A pause, he looked at the barista who listened intently, she was only a teenager, ”my best friend died about your age. He would have become a great man. We lost touch before it happened. So many could have become great men, so many didn’t get a chance.”
He looked at the teenager, smiled for her, yet his sad eyes remained.
”Thank you for listening, you take care of yourself,” he turned around and headed out the doorway, it was unusually bright outside. The barista would see him leave and disappear into the light. He made one final remark before he left: ”and for god’s sake, take care of each other…”

He was sitting next to Crispin, both on a separate swing, gently moving along with the wind. Crispin, still looking like the sprightly twelve-year old, was sucking on a lollipop. There was darkness above, the rain was coming soon.
”You want a lollipop?” asked Crispin.
”Why not,” said Harry and Crispin handed him a lollipop from his pocket.
”It’s strawberry, your favorite.”
”You remembered.”
”We remember everything here.”
Harry ripped open the plastic and put the lollipop on his mouth. They both sucked on the lollipop for a while, enjoying the silence.
”There are some who fall to deep and were never able to come back up,” said Crispin.
”I know.”
”In the end it’s very simple but not very easy.”
”I’ve seen people who were lost in there. I’ve seen their eyes. It happened to the one of the people I loved the most.”
Crispin turned to Harry, ”you know, she’s very proud of you. I hope you know this.”
”I think you are just telling me that. I don’t think that’s true.”
”I think you are telling yourself the opposite because you have trained your mind to do so. I think that for a man who values the truth, you lie to yourself all the time. This is what we do. This is what we train our minds to do. It’s the disease. The bug is making us lie to ourselves.”
”Well I guess I’ll figure that out. In the end, I’m supposed to realize you are right and I am wrong.”
”This is not a competition. I don’t want win by being right. I want you to be happy.”
”I find it hard to believe that’s possible in this stage.”
”It’s going to take some time.”
”How long?”
”This depends, each person is difficult. You gotta get through your own pace. You’ve already made some pertinent moves, believe it or not. You’ll get there. You just gotta have faith.”
Harry sighed, he could feel him coming closer.
”I’m scared Cris,” said Harry, ”I’m really scared.”
”I know, it’s normal to be scared.”
He could see him coming, his white face and dark eyes.
”It’s going to hurt a lot.”
”Yes, you will have to confront the pain. You will have to wrestle with it. Eventually you’ll be free.”
Harry began to swing forth and Crispin followed his league. He was swinging back and forth, getting higher and higher. He was coming closer, he was so close.
”I never said goodbye,” said Harry, ”I never gave you a proper goodbye.”
”You never have to.”
Suddenly the swing, the cable that held it, disappeared and Harry felt himself falling. He screamed and reached out to the dark skies. It began to rain. There was a strike of thunder. Then everything went silent. Harry couldn’t even hear himself screaming.

Art by Jeff Lemire

***

Our Disease 17

 Alan Kurd 

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?”
”What?”
”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.
”We understand…”
”No you don’t.”
”Maybe we don’t. We just know it hurts.”
Another silence.
”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.
Podobny obraz
Art by Alwy Fadhel

***

Our Disease 16

     The Disease

There had been a big debate between the nations most popular political commentator. The first was a right-wing pundit by the name of Sean Reilly. The second was a politically moderate- or someone who merely upholds ‘sane’ positions as she would refer to it- by the name of Anna Snyder, who also happened to be Harry mother’s.
It had been filmed the previous night, the mother and son were watching it, each eating a bucket full of buttery popcorn. Popular consensus- though this naturally depended on which media you were watching- said that she had annihilated Reilly’s every argument.
”The question is who can we trust? The businessman or the politician,” said Reilly behind the right side of the debate table, ”and all it depends individually off course. But I would argue, that a country is a business, American is a corporation and it needs a good CEO. That’s what the president should be, a good CEO. A traditional politician thinks in nations and peoples but that’s not how the world works. There was a time when we needed politicians, but that time has long ended. There’s a new vision of America. A politician will sell you dreams, a business will teach you how the world really works.”
”The world works that way because we gave them the freedom to do this. This freedom needs to end.”
”That’s left-wing extremism!” balled Reilly ”you want to go back a regulated market, where government forces pick-pocket hard working Americans or ‘job creators’, so they can continuing financing a corrupt system. It’s my money. Why should I give those people my money I worked so hard for!”
”Now let’s settle down,” said the moderator who sat in the middle of the table.
”I’m not asking for a socialist-utopia,” said Anna, sipping from her glass of water, I’m asking for a regulated market, because this supposed invisible hand, you and your disciples are all so keen about, has a tendency to fill the pockets of the rich. It’s not just you. This is not your country. This is our country. We made you and you made us.”
”I made myself.”
”Your daddy and mommy did help you didn’t they?”
Sean looked at her furiously, then sighed, ”This is the modern world. We can’t go back anymore. Reagan started something beautiful. And we have to finish it.
”Look at the world your disciples have created. Look at this century of deregulation. This Americana penned by Ayn Rand, inspiring the Trumps of this world, the winners and loser mentality. It’s a rigged system, it’s rigged because this is what you always wanted. It lapses toward authoritarianism when it’s necessary. There’s the denial about what we are doing to this planet of ours. Our place on this world, our continued dominance precipitated the sixth-extinction. So many beautiful animals had to pay the price for our wants and needs. We didn’t treat our fellow humans any better. Just look at the epidemic of unemployment caused by automation and yet still, even with little cost to themselves, they fight over universal income. The job creators who refused to give the people health-insurance. The robots of this world get better care than the poor.”
Sean sighed, he knew he’d lost, and he seemed tired, ”’It’s always the same. We are the dumb ones. The left are the smart ones. If you had been in charge the world wouldn’t look much better.
”Like the left has always been the rational party. Like you were going to make the world a better place…”
”Again, I’m not a left-winger, just because I uphold certain left-wing positions just as I uphold right-wing positions. We just have a different definition or to be frank, you are just polemicizing this debate because that’s how you’ve always won. Not by reason, but by playing on your base. I don’t do that. I win and lose so many fans of mine because sometimes I turn to the right and sometimes to the left. I don’t compromise my reason but that’s my business; the academic, scholarly, journalistic fashion. You are in the pundit business, things have to be one side. Things have to be in two. You don’t give a crap about reason…”
Sean’s face turned red as he started mumbling, trying to find the words. Harry and mother were laughing loudly. She was sitting in a big lazy chair, her son lay on a comfortable couch.
”Can you believe the Breitbart poll has him winning by over eighty percents?” said Harry, who then shoved popcorn in his mouth, ”the gullibility of these people is hilarious.”
”Yes,” said Anna, who couldn’t see the humor in this, her smile decreasing, ”it doesn’t matter what I say to them. They got to them, they got them for good. For a century they’ve been told not to trust us. To distrusts journalists, historians and human rights workers. They indoctrinate in schools and churches. We will never reach them again…”
”Fuck em” said Harry, who didn’t pick up the hint of melancholy in his mother’s voice, ”it’s tiresome debating these people. If they can’t accept certain fundamental truths what hope is there? Eventually you just gotta spread the good word, no matter who it offends.”
”Well Harry, that’s where I came from. Those are my people.”
”You’re better than them.”
Anna didn’t say anything, but after a while, she got up and left the room. When Harry realized she was gone, he called out for her.
”I’m on the balcony.”
Harry got up, went to the balcony. They were on the top floor of a high-rise apartment, in a reasonably affluent neighborhood in New York. She was staring out into the starry night. The sounds of movement below, faint voices. Harry stood next to her, gentle brushed her shoulder.
”Mom, you okay?”
”I’m okay, just the futility of what I do gets to sometimes.”
”Oh mom, you’re just making a living. You’re not supposed to change the world.”
”You tell yourself that, it’s just a business. But you get to a point where you think, that maybe you can make a difference. Things have to mean something.”
”I’m not much of a believer mom. The age of true believers have long gone.”
”I don’t want you to become like them, Harry. I want you to be better than them.”
”I believe in the good things mom, I just don’t believe this world is one of them. It’s too much history. Every moral experiment, ends with people doing what’s good for themselves. Man is a selfish animal, there’s nothing else to it.”
Anna kept looking into the starry sky, she singled out one star, imagined going down with it. We all fade into stardust.
”This world is stacked with good people but something is holding them back. There’s a sickness, a disease. It’s been spreading for so long now. The people that spread them, these mind-viruses don’t even know it. It takes so long to break the chain of history and so many new monsters are build in that momentum. There’s so many bugs in our system. The bugs are everywhere.”
”Mom, did you take your medication?”
Anna didn’t say anything for a while, she felt herself slipping into a dark place. A voice inside asked for her to snap out of it: you are with your son. He’s leaving tomorrow. Make it a nice time.
”Let’s finish watching the debate,” said Anna, turning around and hugging her son. ”You’re such a good boy you know that?”
”Oh mom. If I am, it’s your fault. I would be nothing without you.”
She held him, a bit longer than usual. It worried Harry, but when she stopped and kissed his cheek and smiled at him, she seemed like was normal again.

Twenty years later. Harry was on his computer, scrolling through pictures of his mother. There was an old one, where she stood next to the father he never knew. The one from his wedding, when she had been quite inebriated. There were many more. One in particular, probably one of the last pictures ever made for her, she looked so happy, on the beach looking into the blue sky of Hawaii. He never realized how beautiful she really was.
Her words came back to her, how ashamed he was. The decapitated boy kept appearing in his mind. Even though it was not his fault, he still blamed himself. It was his initial input that put his death into motion. It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t his plan, if it wasn’t for him, the boy might still have been alive.
Stone came back from the shower, a towel was covering his middle. He entered his room, saw his ‘friend’ scrolling through the pictures.
”She was a helluva woman,” said Stone who stood next to him now as Harry kept scrolling ”she could have been a game-changer, ”she was the most fearful enemies of people like me. Most people might had the wits but they didn’t have what she had. A fearlessness, this uncompromising nature.”
Harry refused a speak a word to him, he mindlessly scrolled to another. Stone noticed it but pretended he didn’t.
”Boy she hated me. She saw right me, that beautiful woman.”
Silence. Stone sighed, ”look you don’t need to worry. None of this will come back to you. The boy wasn’t from around here. Nobody, nobody that can cause any problems anyway, will look for him. You’re safe.”
Again silence. Stone continued: ”perhaps the show should have been PG-rated. Perhaps I went a little too Jihad on the kid, but I hope you can understand that I was merely helping her. It was the only way. It would have taken too long. You’re already in a fragile state. Who knows what could happen if they keep messing your head for another two weeks. It’s in your genes pall. You’re a smart guy, but like you’re mother, your prone to some extreme neuroticism.”
Still no word. Stone felt like punching him, ”I couldn’t do this without something from you Harry. I don’t need your money, but I wanted something. I wanted your innocence and you paid your debt. In time you will thank me. Don’t get any crazy ideas about reporting this, they won’t listen to you, you know that.”
Harry kept scrolling through pictures, he came across one with him and Sheryl in Amsterdam. Stone sighed, didn’t know what to say.
”Well, I’m gonna be away for a while. They really need me. I’ve been here longer than I was supposed to anyway. I’m not sure when I see you again. I will leave a number you can if they keep bothering you. Just say that you are a friend of me. These guys are good, the best. I will leave you some stuff that will keep you from sleep or will knock you down in a good sleep, whatever you prefer tonight. The next time we will see each other, everything will be back to normal” Stone patted Harry on the shoulder, ”don’t you worry about that.”
Stone headed out the door when he finally heard Harry’s voice: ”If you ever come here again Stone. I will kill you,” Stone turned around, faced Harry who was staring back at him, ”I don’t care what happens to me. But if you ever come to my house again I will fucking kill you.”
Stone looked into his eyes, he couldn’t be sure if he could do it or not.
”You’re show is on tomorrow right? I will be listening don’t you worry. I never miss a show.” Stone blinked and left the room.

In his dreams, he was in the playground again. Crispin was sitting on a swing, wearing a red raincoat. When he saw Harry walking toward him, he quickly jumped off.
”I’m not supposed to talk to you.”
”Why not?”
”They say you won’t listen anyway,” Crispin shivered in the cold rain.
”I’m listening now.”
”Nobody listens. Everybody’s always in their own world. You were supposed to be better than that.”
”I’m trying…”
”It doesn’t matter. You can’t do it. Maybe you never will.”
”You don’t believe in me.”
”You don’t believe in yourself.”
Harry was wiping his wet face. The rain just kept pouring. There was an explosion in thesky. A lighting bolt.
”Is it my fault? Is the death of the kid my fault?”
”Why do you ask me? You won’t listen anyway. You made up my mind.”
”Just tell me.”
”You never forgive yourself, that’s your problem. You keep putting it all on you. You’re just like your mother…”
”Is she here? Can I talk to her?”
”I told you, you won’t listen anyway. I have to go before I get into trouble.”
”Please, I’m all alone out there. I don’t want to go back.”
”We are all waiting. We will always be waiting for you. But we can’t push it too far. The work is up to you…”
Crispin turned to and ran away, Harry was about to run after him, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He had a feeling who it was and he began to tremble.  When he turned around to see if it was him, he woke up.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania david lynch painting

***

Our Disease 15

There is so much pain here

There is so much pain here, too much in fact. It’s in the streets, in the person that passes you by. It’s in the highest buildings that goes up into flames and men jump down because it’s the only way. The politicians and preachers promise a cure. There is non, but we have to pretend there is. There’s music about the pain, it gives it meaning. People are broken, yet they live on. We die inside and move on.
 Oh Harry, you should have jumped… 

Harry was still wandering the streets when suddenly a car parked in front of him, blocking his path. Harry stood there passively, too tired to curse or protest. Two humongous men, bodybuilders in black suits stepped out the car, one from the driver’s side, the other from the passenger side.
”Are you Harry?” said the driver without a trace of emotion.
”Yes.”
The night was coming, the light will be gone.
”We work for Miguel Stone,” said the one from the passenger side, ”he requests your presence.”
”Where?”
”You don’t know the place. You’re not supposed to know the place. You will not know the place. We will blindfold you.”
”I’m going nowhere.”
”That’s the idea.”
Harry looked the car over. It was a nondescript Honda. Not Stone’s style. Not fancy enough. Harry realized then that this car was not supposed to be seen by anyone.
”There’s no choice in the matter is there?
”It’s a front-row seat,” said the passenger, ”you don’t want to miss it.”
Harry’s stomach churned. He knew that getting into this car and going wherever these men will take him is a bad idea. There’s something there. Something that will change everything. He thought about running but he had no energy. Before he could make up his mind what to do the Driver had walked up to him, gentle grabbed his shoulder leading him to the back door of the car which the Driver opened and, gently putting his head down- even telling him to ”watch his head’- and then Harry found himself in the backseat. The two big men followed after.
”The blindfold is next to you,” said the driver and Harry saw a kamikaze bandana next to him, ”we suspect that you can tie it around your head yourself. The more you see the worse it gets for you.”
”We were told you to treat you like an important person,” said the driver, ”you can choose to listen to whatever radio channel.”
”How long will the ride be?” asked Harry, the bandana covering his eyes in darkness.
”It gonna take a few hours.”
”Choose something peaceful, I might want to catch some sleep.”
They turned to the classical channel, the car started moving. The music was beautiful but ominous at the same time. It was Richard Wagner: Parsifal, his last opera. It was a slow ride. The bodybuilders did not want to attract any attention.
Harry would find sleep but only briefly.
There was a dream where he was stuck in a dark well. He screamed for help, his screams came back in a deafening echo. Above, there was a light so bright, it would blind you.
The voice of a boy, a voice so familiar:
”You have to get out of there! You have to get out of there now!”
He recognized that voice then: ”Crispin! Crispin is that you!”
”You have to get out of there! He’s coming!”
”Who? Who is coming?”
”Get out of there!”
”It’s too far.”
”You can reach me, you just have to try.”
Harry stuck his hand out but it seemed impossible, faintly above, he could see Crispin through the blinding light above.
”I can’t! It’s too far!”
The sound of a wild animal, it came from the well. Harry looked around and in that darkness, he could make out the shape of a white face. It became clearer, it came closer. Before could scream for help he woke up to a voice saying: ”we are here.”

It was night by now. Harry followed the two bodybuilders toward an abandoned and dilapidated factory. The bodybuilders looked around, stopped him for a moment, stood still, as if they heard something. They moved further then to a large door.
One of them knocked three times. The door was opened.
”Ah you made it! I’m so thrilled!”
Stone was wearing an old fashioned butcher overall with a hairnet covering his hair. The three of them went inside. It was too dark inside to see anything.
”Why am I here?”
”Cos I promised you a solution to your problem…”
He heard a switch being lowered, the ceiling lights went on one by one, flickering as they did, electricity struggling to light the room.
In the middle stood a Webcam facing a tied naked man sitting on a chair wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Harry stood there petrified. He should have jumped out the car. It was too late now.
”What the fuck is this?”
Stone gently grabbed his shoulder and moved him to the middle of the room, ”I’ve done some digging Harry,” said Stone and Harry noticed he was holding a large and noticeably dirty machete, ”this Mr. Anonymous is a hard guy to find. He’s linked to several disappearances. The persons seem to have finished from the earth. So whatever he’s got in store for you, it is not good. Fortunately for you, your Uncle Stone’s got some intimate connections and knows how to deal with people like that. But to tell you the truth, these hacker fucks are hard to find, I mean, you will find them eventually but takes time. The best thing to do then is to make sure they back off…”
They were in the middle of the room now. The naked man’s head was down, he was mumbling something. There was blood pouring from within his mask.
”Who is he?”
”He’s a kid, barely twenty-five, linked to the Oblivion network. He was blackmailing some senator when we caught him. He was supposed to do life, but he was valuable, so he worked for the government for a few years. But now he’s not so valuable anymore…”
The poor kid yelped a desperate moan of pain.
”…So when I called about your little problem, they gave them to me as a little present. And we are going to use him as a warning.”
”But what if he isn’t even linked to the guy that’s after me?”
”Doesn’t matter, it’s all about the message.”
”I don’t want any part in this.”
Harry turned around but the two big bodybuilders were already there, blocking his way.
”I’m afraid I can’t exclude you from this. This is a show you’ve gotta see.”
”I don’t need to see it.”
”So you just want to turn a blind eye and thank me for helping you, pretending you don’t know what I’ve done?”
”I don’t want this. I never wanted this!”
”I’m not doing your dirty for nothing. My demand is that you see it. It’s only fair. You must be complicit to this fully. I’m not a charity case. I might provide you for free drugs just cos it’s so much fun for me, but in this case I want something in return. All you need to do is watch.”
”Then don’t do it. I don’t care about what happens with me. Let him go.”
Stone laughed, ”You don’t want me saving your life?” Stone was circling him, playing around with the machete, throwing it to one hand and then other, ”those people vanished, poof! You think they went to so magical place where everything is hunky-dorry? No you are part of some sick game from some sick fuck that gets his kicks from fucking with your head. The problem is that most of the guys he targeted weren’t that important. You know how it works, you are only getting the help in America of how much you are worth. To tell you the truth, without me, you aren’t much worth. I’m your most valuable asset…”
Stone stopped now, walking up to Harry, pinching one of his cheeks, ”without me you would have gone missing in a few days too. Nobody would have fucking cared. But I do. You’re my friend. Even if you don’t like me. Even if you won’t piss on my head if my head was on fucking fire…”
”Why are you doing this for me?”
”Cos you amuse Harry. You are old America and I’m new America…” Stone pointed to the bodybuilders and then to the webcam, ”you think the American experiment is still ongoing but I’m the end result.”
”Please let him go. Don’t do this please. You can take me instead!”
The bodybuilders clicked on the webcam, the red dot in the center seemed so menacing now. ”Ha! I’m not going to trade you for this piece of shit! I like to have you around cos you remind of why we people like me win constantly, because you just don’t get it. You just don’t get it. And it’s sad but, you can’t help but love the little guy…”
Stone fidgeted around in his pockets, retrieved a pink sky mask and put it over his head, ”you see if the message isn’t strong enough, the people won’t listen. You speak from the truth but you gotta speak from the heart. That’s what the people really want to hear…”
Stone touched the neck of the boy, he shivered. He mumbled something again.
”You talk about a study to prove something, well that means you’re right but people won’t listen to it. But if you speak from the heart, even if its bullshit, people will follow you. But the message needs to be strong, it needs to stick to people’s heads….”
Stone then looked at the bodybuilders behind the webcam, ”make sure he watches. He has to see everything.”
”Please stop! I beg you!”
”Shush, this has to go right in one take. If it doesn’t we have to find someone else. You want that?”
Tears streamed down Harry’s face, he knew there was no other way. Stone raised the machete. The boy mumbled something again. Harry turned to run but one bodybuilder stopped him, lifted him up from the back. Another bodybuilder pasted two tapes above his eyelids so that he would keep watching. The boy kept mumbling and howling in desperation.
”Please…”
”And here we go…”
Harry could hear then what the boy was crying about, he was crying about his mother…
The boy didn’t suffer long. The first slice hit the artery, blood pooled everywhere. The second slice made his head hang loose, it took Stone three more times before the head fell on the floor. Stone would pick up the head and stare at the camera.
”You leave my friend Harry alone. If you don’t, it might take a while but we will find you eventually. This is just business, but when we find you, we will do it out of pleasure…”

There’s so much pain out there. We have to close our eyes and pretend we never saw anything. If the truth won’t leave us alone, we must trivialize it, act like its normal. This is the way world works. It’s a tragedy but this doesn’t happen to just anybody. Somehow this person must have instigated these forces of nature against him. The claim is not that he did this to himself, you’re not insensitive. But perhaps, he knew, instinctively, they must know somehow, that their lifestyle could end this way. It must happen to the people who should have known better. There’s not an innocent men alive and if there was, we must pretend there isn’t. To acknowledge we are like the subject of tragedy, is to acknowledge that none of us are safe.

This is what went through Harry’s mind at the end of the night. When he thought about the young man, his final cries. They were driving back, heading home in another unknown car with Stone driving while the two big men were out there getting rid of the boy’s body.
He didn’t need to wear the blindfolds anymore, it was just for show Stone.
”Trust me Harry, this boy had it coming,” Stone said behind the wheels, smoking a joint, ”we all look like children when we face death. When he asked for his mother, it was helplessness, not because there was any innocence inside him. It’s what the mind does. It just wants to survive.”
Stone passes the joint but Harry shakes his head. Stone sighs.
”You should have read this file. The stuff he did to other people. The sick things he’s into. He’s hurt a lot of good people Harry. Not just people with low moral scruples like me, but real people. People you might even respect.”
Harry didn’t say anything, adrenaline was still rushing through him. He felt like was shaking from the inside. The sight of the boy’s murder and all its gory splendor would not leave his mind. The blood soaked to his every memory. He did not know the world anymore. This was hell and it was going to get much worse.
Harry looked the passenger window. They were driving past a club with the name-written above the entrance in Pink-neon letters-:
NO TOMORROW. There were many young people outside, anxiously waiting in line, waiting to lose themselves. A young girl in line said: ”I heard it’s beautiful there. I heard that even stars go there. They say that when you go in, you never want to leave.”
Witches' Sabbath (1823) - Francisco Goya
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