Our Disease 4

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a dream at all

Whenever Stone’s around, there’s hardly time for sleep. He always has with him a suitcase full of mysterious chemicals making sure there’s always time for a party. They were spending most of the time in Stone’s luxurious hotel since Harry’s place was a mess and Stone always loves to create havoc in some upper-class hotel. Occasionally there were complaints but nobody in the hotel was as rich or connected as Stone so in the end, it didn’t matter.
Despite their differences, the last few days there was much boisterous laughter, long meaningful talks into the night, a connection that wavered on and of. There were moments when Harry didn’t feel so alone more, felt part of the mad scheme of the universe. But in time, as he suspected in the back of his mind, the high faded away and then the crash happened and then everything felt even worse.
The crash was happening now.
On the leather couch in the living room, Stone was having a dispute about Russia with an high-class escort called Tara. Tara was a busty blond, nearing her thirties, her voice almost that of a child. Harry sat in front of them, smoking a cigarette, wearing a fake smile.
”Listen to me young lady, the Russian people just don’t know any better. We tried to give them more rights in the nineties and look what they did? They gave it all away because they need a strong leader. They want someone to point at people and say: ‘we must annihilate these kind of people.’ That’s what people want deep down. They want to be part of a big good vs. evil story.”
”I have more faith for the Russian people…”
Stone started bawling in laughter, winking at Harry.
”We just have to give the right example. We just have to reach the people somehow. Expose their president for the monster that he is.”
”The people have been brainwashed for centuries now. We can’t penetrate their media and we will lose the information war. He’s got them locked in. You have to understand, when it comes to propaganda, the Russians know what they are doing. They’ve perfected it. It was so good, it has even infected the hearts and minds of Europeans and Americans. It’s over darling.”
”But if we showed the human rights statistics then…”
”They will say it’s fake. Western-Propaganda.”
”But it’s not.”
”They will: how do you know?”
”You want to help them and mean good but they don’t want your help. They think they need to protect themselves from you.”
Tara looked sad, drank a sip of their wine.
”I’m scared about the future of our country. We aren’t there yet, but we are getting close.”
”We are almost there, we just haven’t gone to the acceptance mode yet.”
”It’s going to be alright,” said Harry, his eyes getting watery, knowing deep down, that it won’t be alright.
”You really think so?”
”My friend is just pessimistic. There’s good in us. We will prevail in the end.”
Stone started bawling in laughter.
”Just make sure you keep remembering who the monsters really are,” said Harry, getting up and heading towards the bathroom. In the background, Harry could hear the conversation between Stone and Tara continuing. Harry threw the cigarette in the toilet bowl and dropped to the tile floor, lying there, staring at the ceiling.
He thought about slashing his wrists, about bashing his head against a wall until it was a unrecognizable pulp of gore. He thought about jumping from the window, falling three floors and hopefully dying in front of the bellhop. In the end, it all boiled down to one thing; he missed her, oh a god he missed here.
He knew damn well he shouldn’t. But then he did it anyway. The time alone was egregious but he had to hear her voice.
”Sheryl Palmer speaking.” This was alone felt so painful: she took his last name.
”I’m sorry, I’m really sorry,” he began, ”I just don’t who to call. You’re the only person I can turn to.” A barrage of cliches. Sometimes the extent one’s self-loathing has no bounds.
There was a sigh, contemplation. Her voice sounded a little drowsy, she hadn’t been in a deep sleep when he called but she was about too.
”It’s okay,” pause, ”what’s up?” This was a mistake but it was too late now.
There was her coldness, her refusal to express any emotion. She had given him too much already. She was already giving more. There seems to be no end.
”Well…” he didn’t know what to say. Whatever he could say would just aggravate her. But he had to express himself, he had to tell her that he loved her, even if he couldn’t say it outright.
”I had this dream. It was so beautiful.”
”What dream?”
”That’s the most painful thing. I can’t remember. It vanished from the mind. The brain just doesn’t think dreams are important to remember I suppose. But I know it was beautiful. And I know you were in there.”
”Oh Harry, she said, sighing, then: ”it was only a dream.”
It was a reasonable but nevertheless painful statement.
”It doesn’t have to be.”
”Are you drunk?”
”Yes. I’m in a hotel bathroom. Stone is discussing Russian politics with an escort.”
”You be careful with him. He handle the abyss. You can’t.”
”I wouldn’t be doing this if…” if she was still with him, ”if I knew what I was supposed to with my life.”
”Maybe you need to leave that podcast of yours alone. It’s just isolating you.”
”I can’t. It’s my world. It’s the only place that still makes sense.”
”Are you still doing therapy?”
”Not for a while.”
”I know all the answers and I don’t like any of them.”
”You know I care about you Harry, but I can’t help you. I can’t come too close. You know that.”
Harry didn’t say anything, as the happy memories came, so the tears streamed from his eyes.
”I understand, sorry to bother you. I shouldn’t have done this.”
”It’s okay. You should get some sleep Harry.”
He wanted to tell her that he loved her but instead: ”I always hate waking up.”
”Sweet dreams.”
He hung up. The conversation in the living room was still going on. Harry closed his eyes. He imaged himself running in a rye field, trying to catch the shape of his beloved dream. He got close so many times, but the memory kept slipping away.
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Art by David Lynch



”The people will vote with their common sense!” The leader poses for a picture among his electorate, he’s one of them, on their side, fighting the enemy from within and without. All the others just don’t understand. The others are a cancer that needs to be cut out. They have no faith. The Western parasites have infected their brains with the promises of the flesh. The men will let loose, become the savage animal that only Allah can contain. The females will turn from their duties, the children will be lost. Men will lay with men. The children will forget, the children will forget all that is good for society.
The Western media and their ominous messages: they talk about the end of democracy, the subjugation of free speech, the assault on objective reality, the rumors about what happens to those who defy the leader. They talk about the rise of an Islamic dystopia. A caliphate. Whatever happened to the dream of our republic? Doesn’t this leader betray the constitution of this country?
They don’t understand. We must dream bigger now. This is new world. The system we had was just a failed experiment and now we must return Allah into our government.
You will see what faith will can bring us. Yes mistakes will be made. But we will keep trusting our leaders. We will reject the negativity from dissidents and the Western media. We will only listen our chosen leader, the man that will save us. He is the only man strong enough to counter the demons of this world, the movements that try to infect our minds with false knowledge and false gods. Who are trying to take away the veil of our beautiful women, who want to take away their purity. He’s our star. Our light.

And sometimes I cry when I think about how I got from here. I was once like them. Protesting for the old world. We all got captured. I was surrounded by the same walls for months and months. Maybe longer, I don’t know. Time doesn’t mean anything when all you have is four walls that keeps coming closer and closer…
I said I cared about the truth. Truth was what I believed set me free. But I misunderstood what truth was, I didn’t see that there was a greater truth, truth beyond this world. I kept writing about the outside world and I didn’t see the glory of the outer truth, the truth that led so many people to following this great man.
And sometimes I cry about the men who remained stubborn. Those who saw their brothers being shot and still refused to pledge their lover for the leader. I made myself forget all their names. It’s no use to love then anymore. They ruined it for themselves. I will never see them again because they are in hell and I won’t go to hell. If you follow the prophet, our leader, you will remain in the good grace of Allah.
And sometimes I can’t sleep. I can feel the drop of water that kept pounding on my forehead. I can feel the things that put inside my body. The anticipation of another beating, each worse than the other. They said you’d get used to them. I never could.

But it’s all in the past now. Now I cry because I have been saved. Now I write to you telling the truth beyond this world. Join us. The voting will soon be over. You still have a chance if you have been doubting so far. If you are a dissident, tell the authorities where you are and where the rest is. You can make something of yourself still. There’s still a chance. Common sense will prevail. Allah will prevail. Our country will finally be free by rejecting freedom and subjugating us the will of the leader. The endless war will soon be over.

We will be cured. Tears will trickle down the sides of our nose. But it’s alright, everything will be all right. The struggle will be finished. We will win the victory over ourselves. Love shall prevail.

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They were told to protest; ”if you care about the world around you, if you care about the future world of your children, you will march with them, hold the signs up high and scream for justice.”
They were still boys, but they believed themselves to be men. They had to believe they were men, you couldn’t perceive yourself to be a boy in such a world. Boys get eaten, men survive.
They were taught revolutionary dreams. The recruiters showed them pictures of the young boys who were hanged for treason. ”You must honor their memory, you must resurrect their spirits. Dying is a luxury, silence is our greatest sin.”
Even in those few years before manhood, the only games they knew were the games they played as children. Unlike the parts of the world where kids can distract themselves with the affluent choice of video-games and shows, here they had to do with whatever the state allowed them to play with; whatever the children from the Western world were bored to play with, whatever the president didn’t want his children to play with. Many of these boardgames were stolen however, then put in circulation all around the country. So before these boys would protest, before their lives would never be the same, they played a game of tag. In this game of tag you couldn’t just be ‘tagged’ by being touched, you had to be touched on your bald head. You see all of those kids had bald heads. None of them had been allowed any exotic hairstyles. The state made the schools shave their heads weekly because they had decided that boys with too much hair on their heads, looked too much like ‘them”, those people that defied God and most of all; the president. If there was a holiday, it was up to the parents to remind them. Any boy caught with too many hairs on their heads, would be arrested and the parents could expect an egregious fine. This was as long as the boy hadn’t been affiliated, even mildly, with some dissident group. If so, the boy could be put behind bars. The trial would be delayed for months, sometimes years to come.
The recruiters knew that these boys’ life would change in horrific ways. But they believed that this terrible sacrifices was worth it in the end. In order to enforce any changes, leaders must lead children to their deaths. The likes of Michael Collins or Che Guevara led young men to their deaths for a greater good. If enough children suffer, enough people will rise up and demand regime change.
They told kids that they will be seen as heroes. People will read them in history books, they would tattoo their faces on their bodies. ”We must stop this new law,” the recruiter reminded them, ”if this new law passes, the police will have even more power. If you have enough passion you will inspire others and if you inspire enough people, we can topple our corrupt president. This is not a fight for justice, this is a fight for a dignified life. Any bruise, any broken limb, any mental pain is part of this revolution. Don’t be scared. March until the end of days.”
The boys marched with worn-out sandals. Sand would fill the insides of their toes. The boys would talk about the microcosms of bugs that lived in their toes. They wore clothes made by boys like them, with different colors and shapes of eyes, but ultimately made for boys who live in the Western world. They saw many families flee to that direction and never come back. Some came back and would venture to that world again. It used to be easier they were told, but now the Western world was cracking up on any uninvited visitor. They said these visitors brought unwelcoming cultures in their own much more superior cultures. Some of them had managed to mate with women in the Western world, which scared many that live there. There were instances of violences done by men who hated the Western world and these visitors, even if they despised such acts and perpetrators perception of the religion they themselves adorned, were affiliated with them- mostly by political leaders with weird blond hairs. Like the president; they would become ”them”, people to be feared and despised and thus had to be stopped and locked away- or in this case, made to leave to whatever country of origin. One hopes that those that never came back, were allowed to stay and didn’t perish on their way there, as has happened many times before.
There were girls marching too. Unlike the bald heads of boys, they wore scarves around their luscious hairs. The boys talked in secret about being close to these girls and about what they wanted to do with them. The girls did this as well, but you had to be careful and not speak to loudly about this, especially if you were a girl; girls had always been expected to be more ladylike, while the antics of horny boys was deemed typical in their natures. Certainly if a boy and a girl got too excited and actually started to meet in secret, they better not get caught or else they would be considered deviants, and there was nothing worse than being a deviant in this country.
But there came a point in all these children’s lives that they wished that they had been more courageous because none of them would ever receive the kind of intimacy they had longed for. The country in this time had been especially watchful and harsh against expression of dissidence and the kids hadn’t even marching for an hour until teargas was shot their way. One boy had lost sight in one eye because a teargas cannister hit his eye. One boy, who had been especially passionate, had been beaten so bad, he had spent months in the hospital before he was send to prison and the blows he had received on his head were so bad, that he was never the same again. All the children, boys and girls alike were put into buses and immediately send to the penitentiary. Unbeknown to all of them, they were all put in the ”anti-terror” law, something the president had decided as an emergency precaution to all those showing any form of dissidence. This meant that trial could delayed indefinitely, that for the time their family could not visit them and that they were not allowed contact with the outside world.
The boys and girls were put in separate prisons of course- this was after all a conservative country! The moment the boys were there, they were stripped naked and hosed with water. They were forced to march to their overcrowded cells while they were forced to chant the same thing while they were protesting. As the bars closed for the first night each of the boy knew that they had made a terrible mistake and none of them spoke to each other. Any word, hopeful or otherwise, would hurt too much.
It would take about a year before the outside world began to hear about the abuse they endured. The endless humiliations; having to walk around like dogs, eat food from the floors, beaten when they were ‘bad dogs.’ Their ethnicity from the specific region they hailed from was constantly being mocked, it was ”the lowest of the lows,” they said, ”you are actually being treated like royalty here!” There were the forms of torture that amazed them in its horrors; that nightmarish drop of water, the bastinado, hot water, cigarette burns, the choking. There were the guards that liked to touch the boys a little too much and there the guards that liked too much. The boys were barred from medical attention, it would raise too much attention. There were the suicides and attempted suicides, one boy in particular said that when he thought about his mother, he just couldn’t do it.
When reports came of their abuse and spread about in human-rights court and finally in some little publications in the country, the president came to the rescue. He would move them to a different facility, one where they would serve their punishment honorably. It would be nice if the horrors ended this way, but then again, don’t underestimate this country nor humanity; the horrors can keep coming, things you can never imagine.
Boys were send to prisons and received their own solitary cell; to compensate for the abuse they endured, the walls of their cells were painted with clowns with floating balloons. The boys missed each other then, some of them would never see each other again as they were send to a different facility. ”You think they can’t take more of you, but then you realize they can. And they can probably take more than that,” one boy said in a report. The guards in question were never punished, even some of them were send to the prison facilities were these abused boys were. Some of these guards, for some inexplicable mad token revenge against these kids for speaking out; received a promotion with a hefty wage hike. The publications that spoke about this prison were seized and its journalists put in prison for ”disturbing the peace” or ”aiding ‘them”,” whatever was more convenient at the time. The boys grew up in these prisons surrounded by clowns and floating balloons, some of them growing mad by solitary confinement, some of them nearly starving, some of them suffering the same abuse over and over again. In time, some of them had been allowed visitation from their parents but when they met their parents they had no idea what to say and some of them, didn’t seem to remember who they were. It was a different life, a different world, a world that didn’t seem to exist no more. ”It was just my imagination,” one boy said to himself one day, ”I’ve always lived in here. I’ve never left.”
The memory of people who have read these reports, faded. Mostly willingly; it was better not to ponder such facts in life and focus on how good you and those around you have it. The good people, especially little boys and girls (whose abuse was no less terrible and deserves to be written about by someone courageous enough to explore it) are supposed to have happy endings. But being forgotten by the lucky ones outside these prisons was not something they had been at all surprised with. There had been some hopes when they managed to speak out about this and when the buses came to move them away, but when they entered their cells and saw the clowns and floating balloons, they smiled before they cried for the last time of their lives.

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I thought I knew him. I thought I looked into his soul. He was the first foreign leader to call my office personally after our country was under attack. He offered me extensive military intelligence, even troops, whatever it took to strike at the enemy.
”This is nothing to do with diplomacy,” he told. ”Sometimes two people from different worlds recognize a common enemy. This is about the greater good. This is God sending us a sign to stop being so stubborn and work together.”
On our first summit-meeting we spoke about God. History told me that his country despised religion, that it closed down churches, hunted down religious dissidents. The last century his country was dominated by a secular utopia. People had to confirm to a Godless universe or else the State will make you disappear. Like many great powers, it went too far to submit its people. The history of my country is in many ways similar. It’s build on blood like all others. The difference is that it was always founded on liberty, but in order to obtain this kind of liberty, a lot of people had to sacrifice themselves. Even now we haven’t perfected it yet. The fact that we are still so strong proves that at least some part of our dreams were true. The country of my foreign friend however, had to collapse before it realized it had to chase a different dream. But by then too many lives were lost and gone. Maybe the dream was beautiful to begin with. So say they all, after the nightmare is over.
You wonder when it’s too late., when redemption is no longer an option. The soul of a country depends on its people. We helped them out as much as we could. Send them money. Helped them create a new declaration. But the reports weren’t good. There was no democracy there. My foreign friend in question squashed any hope of this.
But after our hopeful meeting, I thought I judged too quick. A country that ran on such a troublesome history, needs the time to build its democracy. You can’t force it too quick or else it won’t work. He told me this; ”I know what you’ve heard doesn’t make me sound like a good guy. Some of it is true. I admit. Yet, my actions are not out of malice, nor are representative of the whims of a ruthless tyrant. It’s about creating stability in what is so far chaos. I make as many reforms as possible. Infusing a different mindset into the people so that Western-democracy can grow. I enforce it into our educational system, in our market system, into my speeches. You have to understand; I’m a good man that must do bad things in order to make sure the bad people don’t take over again. They spread an endless amount of propaganda about me because I’m screwing with their money. They want you to condemn me. They want you to take me out of the G8 meetings. Please believe me. I just want what’s best for my country.”
We spoke about God, mourning the loss of his presence in every continuing generation. He quoted my favorite verse: “but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” from Isaiah 40:31.His state made closer ties to its biggest Christian following, in order to popularize religion once more. It wasn’t the Christianity I follow but any Christianity, as long as it bases itself on his teachings, is valid. I believe, just as he said he believed, that evil can only be destroyed if we value the sacrifice Christ made. If we understand his selflessness and our willing to follow his path then maybe we can eradicate evil from our hearts and from our people.
In a way, though it sounds nonsensical now, I felt that I had to strike at the enemy as hard as I did, even with its massive collateral damage, in order to make the point to the enemy, despite my feelings about the innocent loss of lives. A part of me wanted to stop. Only send in drones perhaps. Maybe a few ground troops but not total war. I didn’t want all of it on my conscience. But in order to make this world a better place, just as he said, we have to do bad things just so the bad guys won’t take over. I had to sacrifice my virtue in order to make this world a better place. All this destruction and violence, I’m horrified to say, I thought it was what God wanted.
I thought what our country missed was idealism. Too much realpolitik. I thought we needed a return of exceptionalism. But maybe I went too far. Maybe I dreamed too much. I knew my presidency was a failure even before my second term. Maybe I shouldn’t have run, but I felt like I had to. I had to prove it to my father, my country and myself that I could uphold the promise of our nation. Make it exemplary in terms of uncompromising moral standing. I knew I couldn’t do it but I couldn’t let anybody else know this. I had to keep the charade and the people were dumb enough to vote for me again.
Then it happened; my so-called foreign kin, the man whose soul I misjudged, proved himself to be the monster that they said he was. Even worse. When I saw the pictures of all those kids with oxygen masks, all those tiny bodies covered in white cloth, I knew the devil had fooled me. See those eyes of those who survive: it’s too much horror too handle.
By then, it was too late. When I called him all his words seemed hollow. Kicking him out of the G8 didn’t matter to him, by then he had already achieved enough power to do what he wants in his country without needing the approval of me and the other G7 countries. The other nations needed him anyway for his national resources. He would be fine. They would tell him that they were concerned about some his actions but they would continue making deals with him anyway. Dead children aside, business is business.
I might have permanently weakened the enemy, though I could never kill its leader, but I wonder if any of it had any meaning. After the enemy was down, another enemy appeared from the dust. They just keep coming and coming. It resurrects; maybe it has a different name but it has similar rhetoric. Evil never goes away, I should have known that and maybe I did, but you get swept away in that all that patriotism that it’s easy to fool yourself. Evil evolves.
Now my replacement has to deal with the mess of the world. I’m glad I’ve become a civilian. I have no stomach for this anymore. I wonder if our country will hate him as much as they hate me.
Sometimes I’m not sure if I believe in God anymore. I don’t tell anybody this. Not even my wife. It’s best not to open this door.

I’m afraid my replacement will make the same mistake I made. I’ve seen him on TV, talking about how he (my former foreign friend) wants the same things we do. But he does not. He doesn’t care about the same things we do, he never did. He’s set to meet him soon. I’ve tried to call him but they keep telling me he’s unavailable.

I keep thinking about those children. Maybe if I saw the devil for who he was, maybe those kids would still be here. I dreamed about having one of those kids in my arms, surrounded by dust and rubble.  I put the oxygen mask into his mouth, turning the nozzle. I mouth a prayer.

Please. Just this once.

Nothing worked. It was too late.

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Camp of Saints

(Note: this piece of prose is not meant to be taken as my political views. It’s only to illustrate the certain ethnonationalism that I see rising in our political discourse and Western society. This worries me and thus I wrote about it. I hope this will be clear in reading in this.)

Today the leader signed an executive order to secede from the union of nations this country was once a part of. A small majority considers this a victory the spirit of the country, the other country fears a return of isolationism that has given leaders in the past the freedom of absolute cruelty. Many say it won’t be so bad. All these horrible things are part of the past. There won’t be more place like this. People will always be free to speak their minds in this place, no matter how offensive their statements might be to the leading regime. ”We are safe and we will always be safe, don’t you worry.”
These same people talk about us progressing. ”We are becoming a better human species the more time passes. There is an increase of civil liberties, the meek will be protected, our victims will be avenged. We are building the moral arc that will push the laws of society towards absolute justice. One day we will become perfect. One day we will create heaven on earth.”
This one night, some supporter of the referendum talked to me. We had some beers and as it goes, our political discourse heated up. Tell you the truth, the more I listened to him, the more scared I got. My friends tell me I don’t need to be scared. They say it will be bad, but not this bad. But I don’t know what to say or to think and after he was done talking I ran home and tried to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. His words kept me awake:
”This new referendum will change things for the better. Just wait and see. It’s only a small step forward. We don’t need those other nations anymore. We can be in charge of our fiscal, monetary and best of all; immigration policies. No more will we be forced to take in strangers that don’t respect our culture and values. Finally we can be proud of who we are. We won’t be forced to apologize. We don’t need to fear offending the sensitivity of people who don’t respect us anyway.
No more political correctness, unnecessary diversity or countless genders. We can joke about whatever we want now. No more censorship from the liberal media. Our prophets won’t get fired from their shows anymore. They can see how things really are and nobody will stop them.
We will educate our children, we will stop them from indoctrinating our children. All this tedious talk about the evils of our ancestry.
All this tedious talk about the evils of our ancestry. Always trying to make us feel bad. This is a different world now. The evils they speak about have long stopped existing. It’s time to let this go and let go of those who keep pushing us back. We need to move forward and they can either come with us or move out of the way. And if we have to, we will push them forward and if they still refuse, we will push them away. Sometimes you must be willing to do something you never thought you would approve of, just to maintain order.
This referendum will separate us from the regressive, the ones that feed on white guilt. Those who fight modernity. Stop harking back to the price others had to pay so that we could have it this good, just look around you: we are the most advanced societies on the face of the planet. You might even say it was worth it. The obsession of our opposition about the feelings of others. The comeback of evil that we have long ago purged from our beings. It’s time to stop caving in to those barbarians who demand our respect and our hard-earned taxes. If you are not willing to pay the price or if you enter our country illegally, we will make you swim all the way back to the flagitious deserts you came from.

No more appeasement. Not one concessions. No more mercy to the people who just can’t abide by our universal laws. No more history for that matter, we will focus on the future. History is overrated. There is no need to keep looking back. Keep looking forward and dare to dream. That’s the problem of this world, people stopped dreaming and they kept looking for answers in the past. They needed scientific verification while sometimes you just have to go with your gut and see what happens.
One day, when we are safe and sound in our newly established border, will you understand. It will all seem so simple then. One day you will see that all this suffering, all this surveillance, all these hard measures and unfortunate deaths, will all be worth it.”

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