Monday, February 28, 2005The steel basin was filled with tepid water, casting sharp reflections on the surface and emitting low, wholloping thuds from within as the water shifted from left to right. Other then that, the house was quiet. The smell of mildew laced the stale air, strong enough to notice over the putrid rot of the century old floor boards.
Darren hadn't been back to the house since he was just a boy, young enough to have someone else tie his shoelaces. His memories are few and often unclear , but they still remain, potent enough to draw tears from his eyes. Tears he thought had all but dried up. Tears that sting with the bitter contempt of innocence not lost but taken. Stolen.
The rainwater from last night's storm had washed away most of the dirt from the old walls, the roof unable to offer much protection anymore, finally retired and defeated after a fine career. Now, in the twilight of a crisp Octobre evening, all it has to offer is to gently bring out the beauty of the full moon, framing it perfectly through its broken skin of shingles and tar.
Maybe it was the damp air, maybe it was the mildew, but Darren just wasnt able to stay any longer. He tried to tell himself it was better for him not to catch cold, he couldnt afford the time away from work, not with his promotion in the balance. He tried to tell himself, but he wouldnt listen. He had something stolen from him, and he was going to get it back, one small child at a time.
Darren began to contemplate the gossamer fidelity of the paltry relationships that people seem relish with their pets. He wondered how so many people could discover satisfaction in a relationship that had so little offer in the way of intellectual indulgence. Animals could offer a rare unselfish love, an unquenchable affection that most people would tire from giving. But beyond that unquestioned, under developed, unpalatable truth, there was nothing.
He was a man who liked to nurture ideas, grow them, share them, and cultivate and gather seeds of cognition from others to fertilize his imagination. Animals had nothing to offer Darren, other then a readily available source of food.
These thoughts preoccupied him as he walked to the underground, on his way to catch his train home. He was returning home from his precipitant visit to that dank, rotting house. He was preoccupied but not utterly so, as he was acute enough in his senses to take notice of a stray dog that had followed him down into the tunnels. Darren knew had a fury inside of him, rash and brutal, that was pleading with him to be released. It whispered in his ear with romantic intonation, so sweet that any young virgin would have succumb if the message had not been so remarkably homicidal. Darren was also a man who prided himself in his depth of character and strength of will. The rage would go unindulged tonight.
The dog limped by, never to know how close it had come to an unspeakable demise. Not because of a trickery of fate or the randomness of the events that had transpired and the chaos of the ones that remained unplayed, but because the beast could not think, it retained no sentient ability nor any function to be rational. Darren thought all beasts contemptible for such reasons, and paradoxically, gifted. He sometimes yearned to be deaf to the madness that whispered with the tenderness of a lover every night.
His will is strong, but so is the rage. Tonight he is tame, albeit exhausted from the fight. But he does grow weak, and the madness has begun to rapaciously burn its way to the surface. For now he is tame, but not much longer...
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
The bastard son of a thousand fathers, and the bane of his mother's existence, Darren was no stranger to rejection. Growing up is always a test of hardship for any young boy, but it only grows more complicated when it must be done in utter, devastatingly complete solitude. Darren didn't even allow himself an imaginary friend. Most of his idle time was spent in reverie to the tune of life in far off places, traveling the world on pirate ships and hot air balloons and speeding trains. To him these weren't just images to build phantasmagoric escapes, but real, obtainable endeavors. To him these things were the only thing real even though he had only read of them in books.
In his blossoming manhood, rejection was never too far behind, always there to remind him that it had never left. He had spent so much time in the landscape of his mind, frolicking and exploring its cavernous depths, that he didn't ever really know his way around the drab world he saw when he rancorously opened his eyes. He had given up and embraced his ignoble disposition. He actually began to prefer it. He rationalized that a world that could not embrace him, and within which he could find no place of his own, must surely be a world second rate to the one he had created himself. He found no flaw in his logic, and thusly, found no flaw in his plan to avoid living in the world of others at all costs.
This plan was only reinforced the day he met Christopher. He was walking home from school that day, cutting through the secluded labyrinth of back alleys and industrial parks as was his routine, one he enjoyed for its inclination to ease him back into his own custom-tailored microcosm, when, in his dedicated state of building castles in the sky, he tripped on a broken piece of jagged concrete and fell. The wound was shallow but deep enough to draw a healthy amount of blood. The pain was extraordinary if not only for its strange ability to bring a smile to young Darren's face, but it was the deep crimson of his blood that really lit the fire in his belly. Touching his fresh wound, he was frozen in awe struck fascination at the stickiness and viscous texture of his own blood, something he had never really seen in this light before. Later in life, he would learn to associate these same feelings with the new feelings every young man begins to feel at that certain age. He would never question the association, there was never anyone to ever tell him any different.
As he sat there, distracted and absorbed, he hadn't noticed the sound of approaching footsteps. Christopher, a man 20 years his senior, with the fervent look of rage, lust and wild impetuousness all mingled and broken down into one absolute emotion, was upon him. Darren would never be the same again.
Thursday, March 03, 2005How many times over have we had the urge to commit an unscrupulous or immoral act fueled simply by the knowledge that we know it to be wrong? Countless times over, we as a race have dipped into that area of sanity that hinders on perverseness and borders on depravity only to know what it would feel like to understand the rules and break them reckless abandon. It is said that the primary difference between the sane and the mad is the ability to yield from those capricious acts and to listen to our ubiquitous voice of reason, to desist from the temptation of impulse and to abide by the restrictions of clarity and common sense.
Darren knew this was the consensus among most men, but he was convinced he had outsmarted them and taken that thread of logic one knit further. The statement, in regards to its completeness and authority, was a contradiction in itself. If there was always that struggle within us all, that black and white battle to suppress the evil and let reign the good, then our dichotomy of character in itself would be a moot point. If everyone has indulged at one point, then no one by definition was sane. The labels of normality and madness were defined by people in a constant struggle to maintain a synonymously agreed upon state of sanity, and that by their own ironic definition could not produce an absolute. Lines blur and tables turn.
Darren prided himself on his outwitting of the rubes and boors that he was constantly surround with in that world he didn't ever care to mention. His logic was just as valid as theirs, and to him their sense of sanity was completely inane and utterly insane. Those dreadful lowly creatures, living under a veil of falsehood. Darren could only muster something close to, but not quite, pity for them.
There was no good and no evil in Darren's world, there was never any need for such a classification. There was only what satisfied and disappointed him. Even at an early age, an age where he still needed someone to tie his shoes, regardless of the sad truth that there was no one around to perform such an act, Darren was fully formed in his faculties and had already rescinded all other variations of logic.
Walking in the backyard he would often trip on his untied shoelaces, frustrating him with every tumble, and confusing him as to why he needed them. He spend countless hours sitting alone in the backyard, perched on the wet grass until his clothing had almost all but absorbed so much water it looked like he had just come back from a swim at the beach, trying to teach himself how to tie his shoelaces but never to any avail. You can imagine his frustration. You can imagine his delight the day he saw that stray cat wander into his yard and soon into his clutches. That was the day Darren became the man he was to become much later in life, that was his awakening. That cat was going to suffer for something, he was going to help him expend all of his anger and frustration and fury with a rare unselfish love, an unquenchable affection that most people would tire from giving. He was going to love that cat the only way he knew how, and he believed that cat would love him back.
Grabbing his new friend by the scruff of his neck, a small handful of black hair and what felt like the soft skin of a fat newborn, he carried it over the metal basin not 10 feet away. The water shifted from left to right, casting sharp reflections on the surface. The deep walloping thuds of the water synchronized with Darren's racing heart. He couldn't remember when he had been so happy.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005Christopher was a man that most other men looked down up with a disgust that can only come from that unnamable, intangible place in your belly that breeds the most lucid of emotions. The emotions that bring a person to sometimes become light headed, nauseous, disoriented, and even occasionally, physically ill. Those were the things that Christopher drew out of the people around him, those were the things that nourished him, those were the things that defined exactly what kind of man the world had chosen him to be. And he embraced it.
Much like Darren, Christopher had no concern, nor much use for, anything to do with the state of his appearance. He had no use for hygiene, or suitable clothing, or even teeth to replace the ones he had lost so many years ago. He was a man with a mission to which, although he had never asked for such a thing, a path meticulously laid out for him, a path he was chosen to walk, and for a man of such intent, of such explicitly identifiable purpose and conviction, there was only one primary objective: the solitary struggle to reach the destination.
Although he learned to revel in the journey, he knew that he was meant for one thing above all else, and that one thing would be attained when he finally reached the end of the path that had been set out before him. He saw himself as a noble soldier, self sacrificing for the greater good. He was able to disable his capacity for fear, sadness, and longing at a remarkably young age, the same way a determined student will bypass common needs for instant gratification, making sacrifices in the now to finally see their long term goal come to fruition. He learned not to question his motives, but rather to trust in the paradigm to which he was a believer, to trust that he was a member of an elite gentry, guided by universal forces far greater then the wretched, insipid men who looked down upon him and harked of such tame things as disgust and revolt. He was certain that he was going to change the world, for better or for worse. He could just never decide which.
A preacher without a congregation is surely unworthy of building a church. And a church Christopher was to build. He knew me may not have a building to house them, or a book to give them, but he did have a sermon to bestow upon them, a sermon he was sure would build his fellowship from the one to the many. He and his disciples would rise from the bowels of mankind and preach down upon all of those who had so easily cast them into the gutter, and all those who stood in their way would be destroyed. Christopher had no problem with the act of taking another man's life, it was something he had done before on several occasions in places where no one would go in the dark, and to people no one would ever know were missing. He did it for proof. He wanted to fortify with steel threads of certainty that he had been conscripted into a legion of malediction and allowed to walk that path without the laws of man igniting the fires of outrage and morality in his way. He had killed, and he had waited but no one ever came. There was no one to light any fires. With that, he began to build his church one brick, one follower, at a time. Darren was his first.
Friday, March 11, 2005
The calming sanctuary of a man's home flows forth a sense of relief unmatched by any other comfort. The feeling of being protected from the harsh realities that lay mere feet beyond the thin walls and brittle doors is enough to sooth the tumultuous array of pressures that can build within a man's overwrought psyche. Even when that sanctuary is nothing more then a single room, fallen prey to time and neglect, filthy and unorderly, and is shared as kingdom to a colony of bellicose cockroaches, it is still just enough to calm the tides of madness inside Darren's tempestuous mind.
Feeling the pangs of hungry claw at the soft lining of his belly, Darren, now inside his castle walls, made his way over to his refridgerator as he did almost every night at the same time, more out of habit then instinct. He knew all too well that the fridge was bare, along with the cupboards and the drawers, save for the scavenged bits of mold and moss left by armor-backed insect soldiers. Darren's dinner would be found the same place he found it the night before, and the night before that: the garbage. The rain soaked alley that striated the cluster of dilapidated apartments to which this was one, was the cornucopia from which he would feast every night.
Tonight he would stray from the famine in his belly to satisfy another more impending sense of hunger. He had already suppressed the gratification of one hedonistic indulgence this evening, and for that he was proud, but there would have to be something to replace the void that pulled at him from within. He knew that it wouldn't let him rest until it was sated, if it wasn't going to feast, it would at least need something to stave off the sinful appetence. That something was lust.
Conveniently enough for Darren, the same alley that provided him with nutriment, was the same alley that provided him with salacious nourishment. Right along side the dumpsters and the alley cats, and the rusted steel fire escapes are all of their human counterparts, warm in the flesh: the prostitutes, the pimps, and the drug dealers. Almost frustratingly so, Darren knew he was so easily able to outwit these degenerates that he was filled with a sense of chivalry unmatched by even the most brave of war heroes. He stalked his jezebel of choice from the shadows, and when the time was right, he would approach her in a very calm manner, and simply ask the time. He almost wanted to yell aloud right to their face that he was going to use them, abuse them, cheat them, and hurt them, because he almost felt sorry for such a defenseless creature. Almost.
They always gave the same reply. Darren knew they didn't have the time, he knew they didn't have a watch, he knew they most likely didn't even know what street they were on, or when they had last bathed in clean water. And he didn't care. He would ask for the time for a reason far less banal then a simple need for punctuality. Reading people was always easy for him, one moment in time, that moment when they looked him in the eye before they told him to leave them alone, fearing they were being mocked, was all he needed to know if she was the one. One glimmer was all he needed to see, and then he knew if she was a person or a beast. Darren had no interest in people.
Tonight he was lucky, he had reeled a trophy catch into the boat his first time out. A creature that even though it had lived in the same environment its entire life, knew nothing of that which housed it. What seemed like mere moments later, boring moments desperately lacking a sense of challenge and perplexity, he had his trophy catch bound and gagged on the floor of his sanctuary, deep within his castle walls. It would scream and it would struggle, but the thrill of dominating such a helpless and souless beast soon grew weary. His needs would be met, and tonight the madness would remain unindulged, despite all of its romantically murderous supplications. In the morning the beast would be put back with the trash unharmed, save for a few cuts and bruises, and maybe a revived sense of hatred and contempt, feelings which Darren was sure it could only imitate but could never truly experience. After all, it was a beast, a husk of a person, an illusion, nothing more then a shell, and such a creature wasn't privy to such things. Such a creature was mere fodder to sustain the predators much higher on the food chain, and Darren, a skilled bird of prey, was ready for bigger game.
Saturday, March 12, 2005Every morning at the same time Darren would awake and dress himself in his finest suit. The finely tailored pinstripe miracle was a diamond in the rough, a harsh contrast, delicately covered in plastic as it hangs in the closet, to the utter decrepitude of the apartment. It was time for work.
Over the years he had held many different jobs, some of high stature, others of a more menial inclination, but for the last ten years, this has been his routine. Darren was the usher at the local cinema. He felt comfortable there, at ease watching all of the old films in the aging theatre. Not many people frequented the movie house anymore, it was just a shadow of its former self, a opulent and baroque palace fit for the patrons of any red carpet back during the time of Hollywood Babylon. Long past are those glory days, and long since dead are its patriarchs, but its essence still remained in the heart of at least one man. Darren loved his job, and was hoping to soon be promoted to manager. It was here where he could truly live in a world all his own, immerse himself in fantasy and fiction played out before him in wonderful black and white. He was never late, and he was always polite and vigilant with his duties, but that hadn't stopped the owners from firing him three years ago. But he just kept coming.
They had to release him of his duties because he was a member of a dying breed, theatres no longer needed an usher to great the customers as though every screening were a grand premiere of paramount importance, fit to go down in history. These days, it was all about business, efficiency, numbers, and money. Darren was aware they had fired him, but that didn't deter him from doing his job. He had a responsibility and he intended to see it through. His suit wasn't a reflection of vanity, a symbol of pretention, or even an attempt at hygienics, but rather a vestiment of pride and of honor. It was his uniform and he was in the service of this theatre and its legacy. He had no need for an acceptable public appearance, but he did relish a sense of prestige and veneration, and this suit was simply a tool to peruse such needs.
At first the owners tried to ban him from the building, but as with all situations that deal with such a devout sense of resolution, it was to no avail. He would always find a way in, and once he was in, there wasn't a chance that he was going to leave before his duties were done. They called the police, and he would be removed, but they couldn't do much more. They jailed him, they fined him, they threatened him. But he still came back. They eventually just learned to live with him, pushing his presence out of mind, until he finally became nothing more then a ghost. In the end, he actually came to be somewhat of an attraction. His reputation would precede him influentially enough that people would come from far and wide just to watch a screen gem in Darren's theatre. That secured his sense of purpose and guaranteed he would never leave.
They even gave him a key.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
1 Beyond death and taxes there is only one absolute in the world. People choose to ignore it, pretend it wont ever happen, live and play amongst fantasies of perfect harmony and happy endings, but in the end, after death and taxes, it is absolute. Everyone, eventually, will let you down.
2 People are endowed with an opposable thumb and beyond that, a sense of free will: that which separates us from animal.
3 People grow: fond, bitter, gracefully, licentious, and even, rarely, they grow to appreciate the meaning of life. To appreciate it, is to know what it is.
4 To feel, to experience, to gather knowledge, to become more, that is the essence of life. Hedonistic in nature, and yet when the artists and the poets illustrate the world for us to see, they talk of eternity: eternal love, eternal friendship, eternal bonds.
5 Nothing is forever. No one will be there for you forever, no one will hold you forever, no one will befriend you forever, and no one will love you forever.
6 You are alone. Accept that and use it to cherish the time you have with the people you are with now, in time, everything will change.
7 Seizing the now is all a man can ask for, experience and appreciate the chapter that you are on, turn over every stone, look inside every shadow, and once its all consumed and digested, its time to move on, and grow. New chapter.
8 Everyone is on their own path, pursuing the same hedonistic goals. On your deathbed all you have are memories, the good and the bad, weaved together into the fabric of your mind, blowing idly in the indifferent winds of time.
9 Don't expect too much of people, they aren't meant to give you want you want all of the time, it would be counter productive.
10 Be your own rock. Rely on yourself to make it through the maelstrom of heaven and hell. No one else, despite how you might value them now, will be there to help you forever. Be your own rock, and you will be all the more powerful for it.
11 Disregard the societal theories of wrong and right. Moral relativity is strong in the nation of your mind, and in your life. Make your own rules.
12 Do not intentionally seek the negative, don't intentionally seek the destructive, but if a choice arises that would to most people seem unfair, foolish, underhanded, or even cruel, and you are inclined to take the path less traveled, then go forth unabashed by the fear of those around you.
13 Live your life to the rules that you are, and will be, struggling to write to the very last breath in your body has escaped. This is the essence of life and of happiness, even if you break a few hearts, lose a few friends, or burn a few bridges, along the road, they can call be replaced or rebuilt.
14 Your actions and decisions influence those involved in the situation at hand, they will use that experience as they see fit, you have simply provided them with the raw information, an element of nature. Move forward, live on.
15 Build your own mystery.
Monday, April 11, 2005Dropping like suicides from the walls, most of the picture frames fell with the grace of a dying bird. Glass shattered, wood splintered, memories crushed. Reminiscences of times long since past dismembered, briefly disseminated about the playground of idle thought one last time before finally being disregarded. Darren was getting ready.
It was finally time for he and his savior to preach their gospel unto the world they way it was meant to be heard. Tonight the theatre would be full, and they would have a captive audience. The doors would lock behind them, the alarms would be cut, and the double feature would be cancelled. Tonight was a world premiere.
A cleansing was needed before such an undertaking could be executed. The stripping away of all the clutter one man can accumulate in the recesses of his mind, can impede the quick, rational thinking required to fulfill such a strenuous task. Emotions would run high, guilt would rear its vicious head and strike ginger flirtation, suckling on your ear as it whispered sweet nothings of self-reproach and disgrace. If you weren't prepared to fend off such a mistress, you might easily succumb to its enticing offers. That could not happen. Darren would ascend. Satisfaction would be his.
The world had always been unkind to Darren, and he learned, it had been unkind to Christopher in much the same way. They were connected by their sense of fear, and ironically, brought together by their almost congenital sense of isolation. The world hadn't taken kindly to the words they felt compelled to evangelize, and they could not seem to break through the cynicism and harsh indifference of most men and women. They needed to bring attention to their cause. They needed to show how much love they had to give. The theatre would be their basin, and the people would become a litter of kittens: helpless, attentive, and ready to receive.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
No expression. That was the way Darren wanted to be remebered. He wanted to make sure his face was the last they would ever see, but he wanted to make sure that when they looked upon him, their savior, their defender, their purveyor of that empyrean gospel, he showed no expression. No love, no hate, no contempt, no compassion. Just deliverance. When they were held warmly in the breast of death, waiting for the moment to come, for the fear to abate and the pain to finally release them, they would see his face and find peace in his neutrality. No longer would they have to live in such a cruel world, no more madness, no more daily race, no more insecurity, no more tomorrow. How wonderful! And they would all look at him when the moment came, the man with the face of indifference, the eyes of moral lethargy.
The doors were locked. The windows barred. The alarms disabled. The fire burned hot. People screamed, children cried, chaos was abundant. But in the midst of it all stood Darren, calm, serene, and well dressed. Not moving. He would not fail in his task, he would not let his congregation ascend without the guidance of their preacher. He would evangalize his message with nothing more then his silence, and carry it through with his own sacrifice. He too, would burn. When Darren thought of that, he finally was able to break his stolid shell of non-emotion with a faint smile, he was finally able to feel. It rushed over him in long, undulating waves of excitement that tease and taunted his insides with a touch that could only be described as erotic. It excited him to be engulfed in a force of nature so much more vast then he, something so much more connected to the universe and all of its quantum chaos and unpredictability. Intangible, the fire burns only to create. Darren was certain that with such a death, he would be resurrected, a martyr, rising from the ash like the Pheonix. These were the teachings of Christopher, and so it shall be.
His skin began to bubble, his suit began to incinerate, still clinging to his body. His hair began to curl and burn, the sweat on his brow began to boil and sizzle. He was dying, but he felt no pain. And still, there was no emotion to be found on his stone face. The pain couldn't break him, pain was something people feared, and he had no use for people. He had outsmarted even pain, nothing more then a signal from synapse to synapse, controlled by our minds. If there was one thing that Darren was absolutely certain that he had control of, it was his mind. No one could take that from him. Pain was nothing. Pain could be removed and ignored. But there was something that struck him true, something that knocked him from his immovable throne of certainty and volition...
A young child had fallen in front of him, not from panic, not from pain, not from fear. He had come to this theatre regularly for months. Alone. He snuck in the back and never paid for a film, he needed a place to stay. He would come in, bruised and broken, but never showing any sign of unease or chagrin. And there he lay, unmoving, in front of Darren. He had tripped on his untied shoe laces.
Searing agony leapt up and bit Darren in places he had never counted on existing. He was rocked cleanly out of his conviction, and was beginning to flutter. He needed guidance. Only then did he remember that Christopher was the first to ascend, hours ago, upstairs in the office with the managers, three lead slugs to put out the lights, for each of them. Again he was alone, and this was the only time in his life that he had ever hoped to have someone there to help him, ironically, moments before he was preparing for it to end. The irony made his mouth salivate and sting in the pockets of muscle behind his rear molars, as though he had just eaten something far too sour to digest. Panic. Back, forth, back forth, back, forth...forth...forth...forth....
Once again the steel basin would wallop. They all burned until there was nothing left but blackened charred rubble, like dry timber that was left over night in the campfire. Everyone except for Darren and the child.
This was a sign. He had indeed risen from the ashes and was reborn. This child would be his path to undo the reticence in his conviction. He would be the teacher, and the boy the student. Darren learned that salvation comes in many different shades and tones that day, painted along the canvas in bold strokes. And so they continue on, adventurers in a world with no rules, no boundaries, no love, no hate. Only determination. Only destination. Only one path.
The church had burned. The basin had walloped. The message had been delivered. And now they would charter their teachings to a new land and bring down the wonderful wrath that was their sermon on as big a litter as they could find. Together.