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?”
”Because…”
”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.”
”Why?”
”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.”
”Harry…”
”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.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania david lynch  art love
Art by David Lynch

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Our Disease 3

    Modern Men

An old friend called Harry around 2 in the morning. Harry only made a sound when he picked up the phone, he was too tired to anything resembling a word.
”It’s me, the enemy of the people.”
”Ah fuck, is that you Stone?”
”Meet me in the Interzone. We have lots to talk about.
”I was living a different live in my dreams. I prefer it than the one I’m actually living. Could we have lunch there at twelve?”
”I’m all wired. There’s no sleep for me and I’m in town. See ya soon old buddy.”
He hung up. At first Harry just closed his eyes again. Soon enough he realized that he would never return to his dream anyway.
”Goddammit. Fine,” mumbled Harry, ”I’ll go.”

It’s hard, maybe impossible, to describe to what kind of clientèle The Interzone markets itself too. At first glance it’s your typical American diner with a nostalgia for the fifties. There’s even a jukebox filled with American songs. But if you would take a closer look you see it is a place in search of an identity. There’s African, Chinese, English, even Russian art on the walls. A Catholic cross hangs on the walls as well as a Jewish star. A confederate flag but it’s painted in the colors of the rainbow. A Gadsen Flag but it’s rattlesnake seems to have a pleading smile and the words below say: ‘Tread on me, but don’t squash me please!’
Sometimes you catch people looking absently minded at the architecture. They stare at a piece of foreign art. Most of the time nobody is paying attention. They are wearing their glasses and the glasses take them to different worlds.
There’s a hint that its fractured dressing is intentional, maybe ironic. But then again, there are more places like this. This place used to mean something, now it doesn’t know what it wants to mean. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything now and maybe that’s the point.
Miguel Stone loves it here. Harry doesn’t.

”You find yourself in the weirdest places and discover that you’re finally home,” said Miguel Stone, smiling, gazing through window to the night illuminated by pink-lights. ”I met so many people that rejected the weirdness of life. Everything has to be plain. By the books. The life they know. The life their parents lived. People like me, however wicked in the eyes of the unimaginative, we accept ourselves and are rewarded by God himself.”
It wasn’t the first time they would meet like this. Stone is all over the world sometimes. You have to make time for him, he won’t make time for you. They haven’t seen each other in almost a year now. Stone always drifts in and out of Harry’s life
Harry doesn’t really understand why he wants to meet him and why Harry always agrees too. They are both completely the opposites. Stone doesn’t have any morals and therefore became a very wealthy man. Harry does alright, there’s still enough money coming in from book sales that Harry can live the rest of his life, doing his podcast. Stone, a lobbyist who runs his own firm, goes all around the world, working for mostly Kremlin backed candidates and doing a helluva job- they don’t even have to falsify the election as much because of his help.
From outward appearance, you could already digest that these two come from very different worlds. Stone was twenty years older, with pearly white hair and teeth and immaculately tailored and colorful suites. Stone doesn’t give a fuck what you think. He knows that most people hate him. Perhaps this even gives him strength. Maybe he even thrives on soft-hearted liberals or morally righteous republicans.
Harry doesn’t care about his appearance. It’s a crummy T-shirt, some faded logo with a checkered shirt to cover it. Stone’s face is bald from his thorough shave in the morning with the straight razor. Harry hasn’t shaved in months. Stone, even at his ripe old age of fifty-five still works out and is in great muscular shape. Harry is sagging all over the place. Harry tries to do the right thing, Stone prides himself of being the villain.
Perhaps it’s Harry’s genuine nature that Stone respects so much. Perhaps it keeps Stone in touch with the common man. Perhaps it’s just Harry’s humanity.

”You look like hammered shit,” smiled Stone smugly, not a hint of concern.
”I was having this beautiful dream when you woke me up,” Harry said, rubbing his eyes.
”Maybe you should thank me for it. That’s the problem with America. People dream too much.”
”You don’t need to dream.”
”I don’t need to dream. I am the dream,” Stone smiled, grabbing cigar paper from his pocket and a cigarette case. ”That’s why I love Russia. People stopped dreaming there long ago. They know themselves. They know the limit of the freedom they can handle. Give them too much freedom and they’ll give it back. Americans are the same. Slowly they’ve been giving away freedoms. Yet they still act as if they are free.”
”And you represent what dream exactly?”
”I am the true face of America. I’m filthy rich and I act like it was due to my god-given talents. I don’t admit that I’m wrong to anybody even if its very obvious. I look beautiful and I sleep with beautiful women. Sometimes even men. I’m a perfectly contended Patrick Bateman but without the bodies in the closet- though who knows,” Stone winks and opens his cigarette case: showing thick green leaves of marijuana.
”It sounds like a nightmare to me.”
”That’s because you’re human.”
”And you’re not?”
”I’m enlightened. I’m a special case.”
”And what am I?”
”You’re a dinosaur. A beautiful dinosaur.”
”Schadenfreude. That’s why you are here.”
”Maybe it’s general affection.”
”Are you even capable of having genuine affection for anyone other than yourself?”
”I don’t know. I like to think so. Maybe I hang around you for nostalgia. Back when people knew who the fuck they were.”
”Before men like you took control of the world.”
”Men like me always did. We just want more this time. Your freedoms aren’t enough. We want your reality.”
Harry sighs and sips his coffee. A part of him enjoys this conversation, no matter how it infuriates him. Stone’s presence validated Harry’s view of the world. In a world where every view seems valid, this was a comforting thing.
”Answer me this, why do I agree to meet you?” Harry asked.
”You don’t have many friends. You lost most of them. You stopped appreciating them. You cling onto the asshole that’s left.”
Harry looks out the window, a man in a torn t-shirt, with faded letters stating ‘make America great again,’ walks by the window, mumbling to himself, waving his hands around. Stone sees him too, he smiles as he reads the rambling bum’s T-shirt.
”I remember Trump when I was a teenager. That’s when the fun started.”
”I just got born then. But I’ve read enough about him.”
”One day we will manage to clone him. Hope I’ll be alive to see that.”
”So how’s the world stage? How is managing democracies?”
Stone laughs and licks his joint shut.
”It’s beautiful chaos. Especially with Oblivion around. They can’t control them. Even the most powerful men are afraid of them. Many of their firewalls have been breached already. It’s great when powerful men are scared. It means they need people like me.”
”I heard you were targeted. You tweeted about it anyway.”
”Yes I was. Some asshole threatened to expose my sexual activities if I didn’t stop lobbying for those Ukrainians. I responded by just admitting it on Twitter. I don’t care if the world knows about it or not. There’s nothing they can blackmail me on. And if they find something, I’ve got enough of them in my employ to spin the story. I can spin everything. We make dictators look like bleeding heart liberals. There is nothing they can do to rattle me.”
”I talked about them on my podcast some time back.”
”I know, I never miss a show. I thought it was hilarious.”
”I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
”I know you weren’t baby. It’s still hilarious to me.”
Stone lights up the fat joint, inhales smoothly, passes it.
”I probably shouldn’t.”
”True, you probably shouldn’t.”
Harry takes the joint and inhales.
”Has the president been targeted to?” said Harry blowing smoke, ”he denies it but that doesn’t mean shit.”
”Tell you the truth I don’t know. I might be friends with him but he doesn’t divulge everything to me. I don’t have that kind of clearance. But I think he is. The way he’s cozying up to the Eastern bloc makes it seem that way.”
”Are you proud for having made him president?”
”It’s not just me. The people voted for him.”
”Did they?”
”Maybe. Does it really matter Harry? He’s president and he will be for another four years if the constitution doesn’t gets changed again.”
Harry passes the joint. Stone looks at the joint proudly.
”I made this shit legal again. I changed the presidents mind on the issue. My finest hour. Don’t ever say I never did anything good in my life.”
”You are a regular fucking saint.”
”How are you Harry?”
Harry sighs, looks out the window. The bum with the ‘Make America Great T-shirt’ is sitting on a bench, laughing heartily about something.
”I’m fine.”
”No you’re not. You’re still sulking.”
”I’m not sure I would call it that.”
”There are probably better words. But the word you should be looking at is ‘moving on.’ She is gone. She left you for someone more hansom and successful. The healthy thing to do is find someone more hansom and successful too. Even if its just to piss her off.”
”I don’t mind being alone.”
”We all mind being alone. Even people like me. Even people who don’t even like people mind being alone. You’re the kind of person that thrives in a relationship. Without one you’re lost. Like you are now.”
”Maybe it’s the world. Maybe it’s just getting to me.”
”That’s why you need a woman in your life. A woman that keeps you grounded. You need a deep connection. I don’t. I just need power. I don’t need to be connected with anyone. I just want to have a good time being around them. That’s enough for me.”
”I don’t know. I don’t feel like I could really connect with someone again. I’ve played the game long enough. Every time I think about it makes me tired.”
”You need to get out of your soundstage and into the world my friend. Write again. I know some connections. You could write some shitty horror movie. You will meet people, fuck around.”
”I don’t want to leave my soundstage. It’s all I have.”
”You know you lost nearly half your listeners after you vehemently opposed the president.”
”I know.”
”Those people don’t care about you. They will stop listening to you the moment you break their reality. Information is a vast market but you care too much. Most people don’t. Either start caring less or do something else. The work will otherwise destroy you.”
Stone passes the joint. Harry takes a deep puff.
”You don’t like my answers Harry,” smiles Stone, ”because you know I’m right.”
Harry doesn’t say anything, he just keeps puffing. He feels his mind going to weird and mysterious places.
”I don’t think I will be able to sleep anytime soon.”
”That’s okay, I’m here.”
Outside, the drunk man with the Trump T-shirt began to cry.
”But I was having a beautiful dream…” Harry came close to the beautiful dream but it kept slipping away.
”It’s better not to dream. Especially in this world…
In my dream I was almost there…


Art by Ralph Steadman

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