Our Disease 12

The Impeccably Dressed Man in the Woods

Harry was frantically pacing back and forth in his living-room, smoking a joint at the same time. Stone watching with amusement, said smiling ”it’s not paranoia if they are really out to get you.”
”Go fuck yourself Stone. This might not have happened if it weren’t for you.”
”What the fuck did I do?”
Harry stopped at his track, pointed at Stone with the joint in his hand and yelled, ”cos you led them to me!”
”I led them to you?”
”You are the incarnate of the fucked-up political system! Your the demon of Americana. It’s really you they want to destroy!”
Stone laughed, grabbed the joint from Harry’s hand and took a big hit.
”It’s just a bunch of e-mails…”
”And a letter in my car!”
”Oooooh!” Stone said, smiling, waving his hands around in mock-fright.
”I had this dream last night.
”What was it about?”
”I’m not sure but when I woke up I didn’t feel the same anymore. It was if I returned from a different world, the existence of which we are not supposed to know.
”It was just a fucking dream.”
”What if they’ve gotten into my head? Transferred these beams through their e-mails? What if I dream and never wake up?”
”There’s no such world. There’s only this one. Don’t be dreaming about others.”
”I can’t help it!”
”Relax will ya! You think they didn’t try this shit with me? I’ve had them trying to screw around in there,” Stone tapped his the side of his head, ”trying to screw things up around there. They pull this shit on me every year, but I let nothing get to me. They never really find the juicy stuff and everything else they find is gonna be useless because I am not ashamed of who I am. Neither should you. Just open up to me Harry, what is it you’re so afraid of?”
”I just want them to leave me alone,” said Harry pacing the room again.
”They won’t leave you alone unless you they are finished with you or you make them.”
”How do I do that?”
”At times like these, it’s best not to run away from yourself. The best thing you can do now is look at yourself in the mirror and see who you really are. If you can do that, there’s nothing they can do to you.”
”I don’t like looking at myself in the mirror.”
”Well there’s your problem right here. There’s something you’re ashamed about. Something you are possibly guilty about. Just come out with it Harry, what is it you fear? What is that thing that won’t leave you alone.”
”I don’t know. But the thought of this certain thing, if its just one, scares the shit out of me.”
”You know,” Stone said getting up, walking towards him, moving in front of him, blocking his pace as he hands him the joint, ”your mother was the same way wasn’t she? She feared things that weren’t really there.”
Harry leaped at Stone, grabbing his shoulders and pushing against the wall. Stone was shocked at first but laughed wildly, ”what the fuck are you doing you silly boy?”
”Don’t mention my mother again, you got that? I told you before. I don’t want to talk about my mother,” Harry said as smoke billowed out his mouth, as the joint still clung to his mouth.
Stone looked in his eyes deeply, as if seeing how far he could go. He then grabbed the joint from his mouth, taking a deep drag.
”Well I guess we have the nerve right there. The thing that haunts you. It was right around her death when things went sour didn’t it? It started the decline of your marriage. It was the start of your alienation from the remainders of your family and friends until you are all alone, in your little podcast booth…”
Harry squeezed his cheeks, pushing them closed. ”I haven’t got much sleep Stone. I’m in a volatile state of mind and you’ve been feeding me liqueur and drugs for the last few days. I’m liable to do anything.”
Stone’s arms leaped from below, pushing Harry’s hands away and before Harry could react, Stone had already punched him in the stomach, hard enough so that Harry’s breath escaped him. Harry went on his knees, clinging on his stomach, gasping for air. Stone stood over him, calmly smoking the joint.
”You went a little too far there Harry. I’ve got my limits too. Come on…” Stone pat his shoulder, ”come sit down with uncle Stone.”
Stone led Harry on the couch and as Harry was regaining his pace of breath, Stone handed him the joint.
”You’re right, maybe they are trying to get to me by getting to you. Though I don’t understand why they think this would work. They tried getting through my ex-wife and that didn’t work and shit, I think I might even loved. But don’t worry Harry, you’re going to be alright. If you can’t look at yourself in the mirror, we simply have to scare them away. Lucky for you, uncle Stone’s got a lot of resources. I can make some calls, we’ll get to the bottom of this. We might not get the guy, but as long as he gets the message that you aren’t somebody to be fucked with, that’s important.”
”How will you transfer the message?”
”You let me worry about that. But don’t worry, you’ll get first class tickets to the show.”
”You handled these guys before? You made these guys stop harassing your clients?”
”Once these guys know that they fucked with someone who knows and worked for the most powerful people in the world, many of them still owing a substantial debt to him, they will leave you alone.”
Harry sighed. It felt wrong getting help from Stone, but it felt like the only way. He just wanted life to be back to normal.
”I don’t want to go sleep today.”
”Don’t worry,” said Stone, fidgeting in his inside suit pocket, ”I’ve got just the thing for that.”

That night, Stone fell asleep on the couch, his escort Tara having fallen asleep on his chest. Harry hadn’t notice this as he was sitting next to them, in the midst of an amphetamine fueled rant: ”….I just to believe in guardian angels you know? I just to believe there was always someone or something protecting you from harm. Like, you could never get to too dark of a place because this force would stop you before you went too far. I felt like this for most of my life. I believed in cos my grandmother told me this story once, when she was lost in the woods, I think somewhere in Arkansas, hiking. She was walking around for half a day and she couldn’t find a way out. Eventually she encountered an impeccably dressed man, like a three-piece suit, something you wouldn’t normally see there, not to mention it was hot and he didn’t look like he was not even breaking a sweet. She gasped and asked him for directions and he told her she had to go this way and that way. She remembered that he spoke in a beautiful English accent. Something she always loved. She asked him if he was English, he said he was. He told her he had to be going and wished her good luck…”
Harry noticed then that Stone and Tara had already fallen asleep. Harry continued on anyway, ”when she started to leave, to the direction he had pointed to, she looked back one last time and he was gone. Boom. There was nowhere he could have turned to. Maybe there was, but at the time there seemed no way. His directions were correct, she found her way home…”
Harry sighed, ”I used to believe there was something protecting me, I believed this until my late thirties, when I was still married and happy. But then things just got worse and worse. And when you think things can’t get any worse, it can. Maybe it’s something I did that made the angels leave. I don’t know. I would do anything for them to come back to me…”
He thought about Sheryl, how her smiled seemed so precious now. Maybe she was the angel he disappointed. The only person that stopped from going the deep-end. It seemed like everything went downhill when she left. His mother would lose her mind right around that time. He would lose the creative drive to write something interesting and his ambition for it seized as well. If he could get her back, he could repair his broken life.
Harry reached into his pocket, grabbed his phone, turned to Sheryl’s number and fondled the call button.
”There’s no use, there’s no fucking use” mumbled Harry to himself when suddenly his phone started to ring.
It said: Anonymous. Harry stared at it. The scream from his dream last night back to him. He could clear it clearly in his mind though he didn’t know where it came from. He dropped his phone on the floor in fright, looked down at it as it kept ringing. Harry closed his eyes, waited until the ringing stopped. He could hear his heart pounding away.
Then it stopped. He looked down at his phone, grabbed it. Suddenly the sound of a text message, Harry dropped it again in fright. He took a deep breath before he grabbed his phone. The message was as terrifying as he had suspected:
YOU’RE RIGHT. THERE’S NO FUCKING USE.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania bukowski  paintings
Art by Charles Bukowski

***

Our Disease 9

Mr. Anonymous

Like every noted social-commentator, Harry would receive hundreds of e-mails everyday from loyal listeners, some praising him for preaching reality in such a distorted world, others demonising, even threatening him for poisoning the minds of others.
In the beginning, Harry would spend days replying to them but in the past few years, Harry would only peruse them and in the occasion he would find a thoughtful e-mail, he would reply in the best way he could.
In some cases, it was Harry’s fans that bothered him the most. Many of them misconstruing his words. His criticisms about Islam would be perceived as endorsements for the current president, who had the tendency to placidly endorse white-supremacists, or at the very least, would not go all the way to condemning them. His critique on the government has often been seen as endorsing anarchy or a Randian style government, much like it is now, where the elites are playing the free-market to become unimaginably powerful. Harry’s mission was to bring some much needed nuance in society, to show the people that both sides, all sides, had their miscreants and misguided viewpoints. Instead, being harsh on side, on an issue that seemed so obvious, would be perceived as being for the other side and the side that’s being critiqued would see him as a traitor. It never seemed to the end. You had to choose a side or else you didn’t belong anywhere.
Harry perused his e-mails (he had two e-mails, one private and one public, but somehow, most of his e-mails managed to get into his private e-mail). These were some of the things he read (more than often times they included monstrous spelling errors):
You are the last patriot of America
Lying snowflake piece of shit!
You bring much needed sanity into an absurd America…
I know you are working for the deep state….
It’s hard to be a sane American and you give me much needed solace…
I totally agree with you that we need to get rid of Muslim scum!
I’ve heard you are single…
The president is just trying to save our souls, I’m glad you see this…
Harry was perusing them while gulping from a flash containing some potent liqueur, he wasn’t sure what, but it came from Stone, so it was probably something exotic and something that would, hopefully, get him drunk very fast.
Eventually he came across a cryptic e-mail from an Mr. Anonymous. There was no subject title. It just had this sentence:
YOU’VE SLEPT LONG ENOUGH.
Harry didn’t know what to make of it and frankly he didn’t care. He replied to the e-mail:
whatever.

He got up from his chair, turned around in his living-room, where Stone lying back in Harry’s smoking a joint, was having a lengthy conversation with Dale who was sitting on a chair across from it.
”…I don’t need people to hear my music man,” said Dale, ”I just want to play it. When people listen to it, they will want a piece of it. It will change and I like it the way it is. Art is always focused on what other people think of it. But what about the artist himself man? Why doesn’t the artist matter most?”
”Because art like anything else in this world, is nothing more than a commercial commodity,” said Stone handing Dale the joint, ”it is distinguished by the fact that it doesn’t serve any practical purpose, nobody really needs music or letters or images. But we create them because they give meaning to our lives, or better yet, it makes us feel special. That’s all that art is. Art is a business that gives people mental hand-jobs.”
”Yeah I don’t believe that man. The music saved my life. If I didn’t create music I don’t think I would be able to stand myself.”
”You just proved my point there Dale. You create music because it makes you feel better. Cos it makes you feel more special. You know what also could make you feel more special? Having lots and lots of money.”
”Don’t listen to him Dale,” said Harry, sitting next to Stone on the couch, ”this man is the devil himself.”
”I’m not the devil, I’m just a symbol of human nature,” grinned Stone, ”So why don’t you let other people hear your music? Why don’t you me hear your music? I know some people Dale. I know the right people. If they see potential in your music, they can make you very rich. You won’t be as rich as the musicians were in the good old days, the Internet stole that away, but there are ways to tap into the market correctly.”
”You never ever heard my music, what makes you think you will like it?”
”It’s the feeling I have with you. I think you are special. I think you are the real deal. So many people think they can make music or art, but most of them don’t. You’ve given a great deal to the music, I can see that. That’s why your music will be something special. I can feel it.”
Dale smiled, thought for a while and handed him the joint, ”thanks for your confidence in me. But I prefer to keep my music to myself.”
Stone nodded and took a big drag and handed it to Harry, ”I can respect that. You don’t want to sell-out, even though I don’t really believe there’s such a thing. Maybe it’s better that way. You don’t wanna know how many losers become famous and then regret it afterwards. Perhaps the integrity of the music is best served for your ears only.”
Harry took a big drag, laid back on his couch and closed his eyes. There was a vision of Sheryl, his ex-wife. Her face against naked chest, her mouth agape in an orgasm. There was a smile on Harry’s face. Then came the vision of her hiding in the corner as he was destroying the living room, punching holes in the wall, demanding her to love him.
”You going to pass that joint frendo?” The voice of Stone bursts through his vision. Harry opened his eyes. ”I’m sorry,” and passed the joint to Stone.

That night, the three of them were each lying on a separate garden chair, looking into the starry night. Dale had already fallen asleep, with headphones attached to his hear in which his own music crescendoed him into a peaceful slumber. Harry was on the verge of falling asleep when Stone suddenly asked about his mother:
”You ever miss your mother Harry?”
The memory of his mother, caressing his forehead.
”I don’t want to talk about my mother.”
Stone ignored him, ”She was a stone-cold bad-ass. All my peers feared facing her. She was an idealist like you, but she was tough. She would not back down for nobody. She was a force of fucking nature. If more like her were around…”
The memory of a young twenty-eight year visiting his mother’s place, calling out his mother’s name. Hearing sounds upstairs….
”…the world would be a better place. People like me wouldn’t win so much…”
Harry entering his mother’s living-room, seeing his mother siting naked on her bed, shivering. Her skin red as if it was scraping it clean. She looked at Harry, her eyes moist with tears. ”I’m sorry, it’s happening again…” she said.
The memory made Harry get up from his chair, turning around, heading back into his house. ”We have to face our memories Harry!” Called Stone after him, ”We can’t reject them when they visit us! We have to be honest about their nature or they will always come back!”
The memories of Harry’s mother came flooding into his mind:
I’m sorry mom, I don’t know how I can help you. I’m sorry, I just don’t know how I can help you…

Before Harry went to bed, he checked his e-mail again. From Mr. Anonymous: I’M SORRY, IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania painting lost highway lynch
Artwork by Massimo Carnivale

***

Our Disease 6

 The sheep

”Not my president!”
”He will not divide us!”
”Lock him up!”
”Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are welcome here!”
”Love! Not hate! Makes America great!”
They had heard their familiar chants. These were cries for sanity or perhaps for a return of their preferred brand of madness. Madness will always rule this world. This is not the problem. As long as you can handle the narrative of the madness. As long as you can play by the rules or find a way to break them without the madness breaking you. As long as you are able to laugh about the absurdity, you will be okay.
Harry and Stone were among the crowds of people watching the protesters marching in circle in front of city hall. The mayor was an avid supporter of the President and despite the majority absolutely loathing him, the magic of Gerrymandering kept him in power. Some protestors were holding apocalyptic signs and one of them struck a nerve with Harry: ”All of this used to mean something.”
It was an early saturday afternoon, the sun was beaming on all of us, as if encouraging the political unrest. A militarized police force was watching, some even through sniper scoops. They were dressed in body armor, holding massive assault weaponry, as if it was a warzone. That’s the thing about America: it isn’t a warzone but people act like it is and sooner or later, you can’t be surprised if the streets become to look like one.
A few months ago they decided to break up a march which erupted into violence. This has also become a fairly common occurrence in America, from all parts of the world. In fact, the violence was rather mild. Only three people died, all of them were protesters. One was shot dead on the street, another died in the hospital, another in custody (in rather unsurprising peculiar circumstances). A police officer stomped someone’s head and the victim became paralyzed. There were mass protests about this but the president had their back. According to him, they did ”nothing wrong,” and the protesters were just a bunch of thugs.
It was a small march, barely a hundred people. Such protests happens at least once every two weeks, depending on what ridiculous statement the president makes to bolster the fury of identity politics. Despite Harry mostly agreeing with the politics of these protesters, it saddened that none of them realized that this wasn’t going to do any good. As long as the party remains as disorganized and fractured, none of this was going to do any good. A strong leader was needed. Someone that could appeal to the more popular and lucrative anti-establishment sentiment but also someone incorruptible, a true believer. But true believers are in short supply and most of them are too disgusted or disillusioned to even consider politics.
”This must be how God feels,” grinned Stone with a giant blunt in his mouth, ”watching his creations pray to him as if he was ever going to intervene. I’m sure he gets a kick out of every time people thank him for something he didn’t even do.”
”It saddens me,” said a melancholic Harry gulping from a beer bottle.
”That’s because you’re a true believer. If you’re a true believer this hurts, because this used to mean something, this used to be the ultimate form of political dissent and now it has become the complete opposite: it’s engineered so that people aren’t seeing what’s really going on behind the scenes. While they are doing this charade, protesting whatever stupid fucked-up thing the president said, he’s sneaking another through the senate that will diminish the already fleeting democracy.”
He passes the blunt to Harry who takes it mindlessly.
”And let’s be honest here, most of them are also hipster liberals with only a passing interest in the lives of the real people that are suffering in this country- and around the world. They worry more about their colleges remaining as hostile to right-wingers than about the desperation and loss of meaning in the lives of millions of Americans.”
Harry passes the blunt, blows big smoke from his mouth and then takes another chug of beer.
””The consistent losses of elections has also made them more extreme, to the point that the average Joe is looking at two whacked out groups, not knowing who to join. People splintered from both these groups, engineering more political brands of extremism, disrupting whatever unity could be had and in the end, giving more power to the current and glorious president of America.”
Stone passes the blunt and after Harry pulled a big drag, he states: ”I need to get some sleep.”
”You hope to dream of a better world but you know very well, that you will always wake up in this one.”
”Maybe I was thinking of the big sleep.”
Stone looked at him and laughed, ”you think the soul is at peace there? You have no idea what’s waiting for you there old friend.
Suddenly the roar of of different chants could be heard in the distance:
”Hail our America! Hail our people! Hail our victory!”
”They will not divide us!”
”Lock them up!”
”Let’s keep America great!”
then their signature chant: trollollollintrolllllling….
”Oh god, not them,” said Harry while Stone kept smiling.
In the distance they could see a large mass of people dressed in white with black bowler hats with huge white cup supporters.
”Not the fucking droogs.”
There were less of them, though they matched their opponents fury. Many of them were carrying sheeps on a leash who were bleating desperately and wanted to stop walking. They would hit them and kick them and many of them were bleeding badly. The cops were smiling when the Droogs came. Harry suspected that they knew about their arrival.
When they came close enough, an encore of senseless screaming would commence. Both sides screaming their favorite obscenities. The droogs seem to be having the most fun. Many were throwing bananas at them- a racist reference to a previous American president of African-American descent-, putting their trousers, mooning them. Some made loud farting noises. It was a cacophony of madness and Stone was loving every minute of it.
”This could get ugly,” said Harry.
”We could only be so lucky.”
Many people were already leaving, feeling the oncoming of violence. The police seemed pumped but nobody tried to stop them. Perhaps, for many of them, it was more fun to let it escalate.
Harry then turned to Stone, realizing something, ”did you engineer this?”
Stone didn’t say anything but gave him a serious look, if only for a few seconds: ”does it matter?”
As if on cue, the two groups began to charge at each other. Harry turned and walked away. Stone stood there for a while, watching the spectacle. Harry could hear the manic bleating of sheep alongside the screaming of man, the loud screech of microphones and finally bullets. Harry began to ran away.

Forty people were arrested, five people died. None of the sheep made it.

Art by Norman Rockwell

***

Blame it on the Deep State

The Russian trolls are getting to people. Fake News is like a parasite of the brain, it latches onto the subject’s preconceived notions of the world, its natural distrust for Western authorities and makes the subject share it to his friends and families. The message is clear: ”we are all being duped people. This is the truth. Don’t trust the mainstream media. This is what’s really going on.”
The establishment did this to themselves but perhaps, it was inevitable. We enraged the demons long ago and these demons will always be there. The more we fight them, the more fire we leave behind. The fire always comes back.
Globalization was never going to make us like each other better. It’s too hard to understand the world, the people and ourselves too. The more information we receive, the more we realize that it’s far more complicated than we had initially suspected. So we simplify. We seek a comforting reality. We find the kind of news that reflects our world view. Leaders come around and tell us what we believe. Their colorful language makes them seem different. Maybe this guy is different. Maybe this guy is telling the truth.
Putin saw this happening long ago. Maybe the credit should go wider. Russian history is full of managing popular opinion. A former KGB-man, someone who spied on his people and considers himself a patriot, knows very well that the truth is too painful. The truth can ruin everything. Gorbachov can tell you this: just look at what perestroika and glasnost did! It opened borders and gave people the right to question the history of their glorified empire. No. A populist, a leader with authoritarian knows the golden rule: you close borders, you demonize the enemy and you get the journalists in line. Journalists are a pesky sort. Make sure the people hate them. Tell them they work for the establishment, that they write fake news.
Another one that’s popular today is the DEEP STATE. The opposition-this time Robert Mueler and his legal team- within the government is secretly trying to get Trump impeached. They are all using it. Not sure who started it. Perhaps it was Roger Stone. I sort of like Roger Stone. I mean I don’t like him as a person, he’s basically everything that’s revolting about humanity, but he’s upfront with it. There’s a genuineness about him. He’s pure evil and he knows it and he doesn’t care. He’s an entertaining sort of demon.
Even Newt Gingrich mentioned The DEEP STATE. This useless and irrelevant tub of lard says the president cannot obstruct justice- except if he received a blowjob, something that enraged Gingrich when he tried to get Clinton impeached. There’s also Sean Hannity, a man with such a hard-on for Trump that he wouldn’t be surprised if he was writing fan-fiction about him.
All of these supposedly respectable people have been infected by the Russian Troll. It could very well that the Trump support is just a niche market, but especially in the case of Hannity, they seem like true believers. There’s just something about about his charms, that they just can’t resist.
Watching Trump’s cabinet taking turns sucking Trump’s dick (metaphorically speaking) was painful. How could it ever get this far? I know they all have some financial stake in the game but I don’t think I could do this. Maybe if my girlfriend was taking hostage and I was forced to do this to save my life, then maybe, maybe I would consider it. But I don’t understand how they could do this and not immediately watch their mouth with soap. They had to have been high when they did this. Maybe it’s like a game of who can suck up to him the most. It was like a staged scene of Russian propaganda. Did Trump really think this was convincing to the American people? Well since many of his voters actually think he’s a Christian, I guess it could.
Meanwhile Putin is smiling, high-fifing Pepe the Troll. The divide in America was so great, it made it easy for his Russian Trolls. The infection is spreading meanwhile. Even in Holland, the message board is full of Putin supporters. There are educated people who say that perhaps Putin’s vision of the world isn’t quite so bad.
And anybody who’ve seen a glimpse of Putin’s world, knows why I’m scared. This is a world where facts are subjective, we don’t know who to trust, we don’t know if this event or that event was planned by the state, perhaps even the opposition is bankrolled by the state. Everything is a joke, nothing means anything anymore. People turned mad by the state, hunting for opposition leaders- or maybe those mad killers are bankrolled by the government? The most shameful history is warped into something glorious. The heroes could be the villains and the villains are the only ones we can trust.
Many people have been fooled by the Russian troll’s narrative. This Free Press reveals our shortcomings and in turn could instigate our own kind of perestroika and glasnost, but in reverse: close borders and a suppression of dissent. This story has been told before. It’s nothing new. Institutions can fall easily, it’s only as strong as its people. If just takes enough fools on election day.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania ralph steadman nixon

Art by Ralph Steadman
***

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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