SHORT STORY 7
R E L A T I O N S H I P S - A N D - T H E I R - D I S C O N T E N T S
SHORT STORY 7
RELATIONSHIPS AND THEIR DISCONTENTS
There is no such thing as an objective experience. You cannot read this anymore objectively than I can write it.
She came walking down that sunny, cobble-stone street and directly toward me. The color of all those trees in the cool breeze held my attention for a few moments longer, before the curvature of her hips redirected my retina.
"Was machen Sie hier?!" she demanded, crossing her skinny arms beneath the shade of that overhanging canopy.
Slowly stepping up to that twenty-something-year-old, I examined her formal, sheer black dress from where I stood. I leaned in closer and took a laborious sniff of that serious blonde. I smelt nothing. Nothing at all. But how many hot meals have I had without tasting a single fucking thing. You're all the same numbing insignificance.
"Sie sind spät! " she snarled, while recoiling from my hunched posture. "Komm, beeilen Sie sich! Sonst werden Sie ihn nie wieder sehen!"
That pale girl in blackened heels, then marched off around the ruins of an iron gate that was thickly coated in bushy vines. While watching her tight ass disappear up that private driveway surrounded by enormous branches of every possible leaf variety, I heard a mandolin creeping through the bird calls in that overlapping foliage. I ignored the departing footsteps of that snotty little bitch. Moving away from the driveway, I continued a few paces along that country road to where the forest gave way to a view across a quaint vista. Although this was Potsdam, just south of Berlin, I pictured The Wind In The Willows. There was a long, descending field of grass, boarded by clusters of trees, above a small glistening lake. A shallow ridge lay beyond, and there I counted all of three houses. I could just imagine a cute little woodland bunny strolling down that gentle hillside on his hind legs with a tiny fishing rod slung over his shoulder. His best friend, Mr. Dragonfly circling Mr. Bunny as they laughed about good, decent small-talk, and neither had a single fuck to give that day. I wanted to join them. But ah, the pathetic fallacy! Nature was whatever the fuck it had to be, regardless of any of my human delusions of escaping the bonds of circumstance. Yet what the fuck was I without those unavoidable associations? All experiences were tainted by past encounters. I was not and will never be a clean-slate. Without that accumulation of junk-thought, I would, quite simply, not be me. After all, I'm just a filter. A piece of meat filtering between the internal and external world. A fucking foul-mouthed filter interpreting whatever I perceived, and then expelling solipsist shit that was hell-bent on seeing what the fuck I could get away with. There was no soul behind the eyes of Bruce Stirling John Knox. No individuality, no identity that mattered except manipulation. Like Alan Watts said, "To be is to deceive."
A car came quietly rolling up that remote road. Turning my back on the sun, I watched a black Rolls-Royce cruise smoothly toward that one and only driveway. As pretty as the landscape had been, it still held no competition against a girl in pantyhose and expensive stilettos. Curiosity got the better of me, so I followed the car, though really, I only followed that impatient blonde. The path immediately twisted, turned, and steepened significantly compared to the previous terrain that my ramblings had taken me. I'd traveled to Potsdam less than a handful of times in the past ten years, yet my slant on the place was always the same: a small town of rich and reclusive old fucks who considered themselves too good to live within the actual shadow of Berlin itself. And as I came through those neat hedges, I looked up at a building perched on top of a slab of granite at the summit of the hill. Again, I was reminded of how old-money seemed as detached from the rest of civilization as civilization was to the natural order of things. The house was like a giant stone block, three-stories-high, with big windows locked behind lace curtains and iron bars. It seemed like a mini, first-class state-prison. The gravel beneath my dress shoes curved up to the foundations, where steps carved their way through a tall iron fence and up to the front door. Yet there was no one around. Even the Rolls had vanished – until a hand touched my shoulder! I nearly broke my own fucking neck as I whipped around! My first thought pinned this elderly chick as a dead-ringer for Kylie Minogue's doppelganger. I was glad my Wayfarers concealed my freaked-out expression of: seriously-where-the-fuck-did-you-just-come-from?! As she walked passed, I noticed her weird limp, and realized that she was burdened with a prosthetic leg under her chic black dress – no twerking for this fifty-five-year-old MILF.
"You're not meant to be here, are you?" she spoke in perfect English, while glancing over her shoulder. Gently circling around, she eventually confronted me face to face.
"In what sense?" I asked.
"In the sense that you're clearly not German."
"Take that as a compliment."
"It wasn't intended as one."
"Won't let it keep me up at night."
"Explain yourself. What are you doing here?"
"Same reason as you, cutie pie."
"I've never seen you before in my life."
"Should get out more."
Ms. Kylie paused but smiled.
I smiled back.
"How were you acquainted with the recently departed?"
"You look pretty good for a corpse."
The petite woman was taken aback. "You have no idea who I am, do you."
"That makes two of us."
"Come!" She twisted and held out her elbow. "Escort me."
"Okay, but this doesn't mean we're swapping spit in the shower."
She chuckled with salacious delight, and then, with arm in arm, we scaled the steep front steps. When in unusual situations, you're only whatever the fuck you appear to be in the present tense pretense. People had a tendency to fill in the blanks as long as you seemed like you had the god-given right to be exactly where you stood your fucking ground. Others will capitulate to your lack of volunteered information, because the vast majority of assholes really don't give a flying fuck about your Kafkaesque, background sob-story. We're all just psychic-victims fulfilling some bullshit succinct role someone else sees us as. Strangers are all reduced to simple conceptualizations that the eye of the beholder easily compartmentalizes. Whether you liked it or not, once that first impression had been made, it was almost impossible to get anyone to accept you as any different. But why not let that gullible assumption work in your favor, and parasitically maneuver those blindly willing to let down their guard without even knowing diddle-squat about the wolf wiping his ass on their sheepskin rugs. So, fuck it. I had time to kill, let's see how far this day might lead me astray.
It was a funeral. Or the reception. Or both combined. Who's to say what's the normal protocol when it comes to displaying the dead in their own home. The people in that room looked like they were from that top 1%, yet I would have assumed that the mere idea of such an archaic ceremony was miles below their highbrow intolerance levels. Anyway, there I was, standing in that ornate lounge draped in antique gloom and becoming increasingly claustrophobic from all the ancient furniture buried beneath countless foreign trinkets and dust-clogged memorabilia. There was barely space to stand despite the room's vast size. The dead body itself wasn't lying in a coffin, instead, upon some kind of grand platter, like a goose about to be served up. He was surrounded decoratively by flowers, ornaments, and an oil painting of the Spanish Inquisition. The deceased gentleman lay upon his final throne of imperial oddities wearing a tuxedo from what looked like the nineteenth century. There was an array of military medals upon his chest, along with a formal sash, while a slender sword was sheathed and rested upon his torso in both veiny hands. He'd been a big guy, well over six-foot-tall, and somewhere in his sixties when he'd kicked his diamond-encrusted-bucket. Even though I was standing a good thirty feet from the dead man, the extensive scars across his entire face were clearly visible, giving his nose a jagged disfigurement that made it appear as if his flesh was made of shattered marble. Apart from Ms. Kylie and myself, there were only three others, not including the dead meat. An old dignified chap was dragging on a cigarette as if he'd just run in the front door. The smoke seemed to be the only thing keeping his bones upright. A large chunk of a woman with even larger black hair, and a million jewels around her nonexistent neck, was seated upon an entire sofa. She stared sideways at the relics towering next to her. The last old guy stood in an expensive charcoal suit. He glared out a window with both hands behind his back while he arched forward as if he were about to pass out. Ms. Kylie then left my elbow and moved slowly toward the carcass that seemed like some life-size parody of a wedding cake placed on top of that pyramid of museum artifacts. While she paid her respects, I noticed a glass cabinet containing several metallic disks with geometrical symbols etched into them, very much like something Dr. John Dee would have created. I was about to take a closer inspection, when someone else passed by the doorway. It was one of those so fleeting glimpses, but the hook was cast and sunk into my unconscious. The next thing I knew, I was returning to that catacomb of a corridor, where I saw a little maid slip around a distant corner just as she glanced directly back at me. For some reason I stopped. This was a trap! She was the bait. But then my fatalism kicked in and I remembered: fuck it. So, I strolled on down that corridor. Glancing at melancholic paintings of desolate landscapes in elaborate frames, I took a deep breath and found that the dry air in that old house was delicious. Suddenly that little maid marched back around the corner and straight into me! Glass shattered on the hardwood floor, and we both lurched backward. An angry grin crossed my face. The little maid retreated, spouting, es-tut-mir-leid-this, es-tut-mir-leid-that, es-tut-mir-leid-for-every-fucking-thing-under-the-sun. I wasn't, however, sorry for jackshit. But then, a battery of German audacity came shouting down the corridor! Turning my captivated eyes away from that little maid with her hypnotic hips, I glanced spitefully at that miserable fucking cunt still blabbing at the jowls and stomping closer. His guy had midget-like legs and a swollen head that made him seem grotesquely off balance. I then spotted a small bronze statue of a Greek athlete nearby, as the urge to crack open that prick's fucking skull filled my ventricle – when Ms. Kylie stepped up and placed her palm on his shoulder. Much like I myself had done outside, that furious little German froze in his tracks and snapped his head to attention. I was curious what she had said to that human-Chihuahua, as he didn't breathe another word after that. He just sneered his bubblegum-pink grimace in my vague direction before storming off. Ms. Kylie gestured for me with her outstretched hand. It was funny how she was now my number one advocate. I was suddenly above incrimination simply because she liked my company. Rolling my jaw, I thought about that cute little maid with her timid voice, but then Ms. Kylie spoke up, "Would you care to go for a ride?"
Looking across the Brandenburg countryside, I saw heavy clouds approach and had no idea in which direction the Mercedes was heading. Glancing at Ms. Kylie on my left, I took note of the rigid way in which her index finger typed her smartphone as if she had just learned the alphabet. She may have been in her fifties, but she sure was a foxy little number. I especially enjoyed her perfect posture and her aristocrat eyes. But how she sat so upright in that beige backseat was beyond me. I stretched out with my elbow on the door-frame. Our body-language said plenty about the both of us. Who you think you were was irrelevant in the face of the perception of others. How you portrayed your actions was what really mattered, as in the end, just like your dead body on display, that was all that people saw. The soup of bullshit thoughts and capricious impulses inside of your head meant nothing if you didn't actualize any of it. What adds or subtracts from your attraction, boiled down to what you allowed others to see within the context of the given situation. You had to adapt to the appropriate environment with a shrewdness of understanding how best to manipulate your opponents. Remember, no matter how much your best buddy says he's on your side, or how much your lover claims she loves you, every ideal had an exception given a long enough track-record of human behavior. Ms. Kylie then looked up and smiled beautifully at me. I just slowly turned my head toward the passing scenery. Her Mercedes-Benz soon left the main road, and before we reached a big wooden gate, Ms. Kylie told the driver to pull over. Apparently only her voice was good enough for the intercom. Sitting where I was, I gave a languished scowl at that huge, red-brick mansion lying just beyond the trees. I then watched Ms. Kylie's prosthetic leg stretch back into the car. Her stockings covered the molded metal, but her tight dress accentuated the hinges. She stared at my intrusive gaze, and I slowly extended my inspection all the way to her full breasts, and then up to her dignified pout. I've only seen a few elderly ladies worth a closer look, and this was definitely the best of them. We both shared that mutual moment of transfixed temptation, before the car gently pulled up to that enshrouded building.
"Wait here," Ms. Kylie whispered, stepping out.
What, and no pat on the head like the good little dog she fucking expected of me? Fuck that shit! Exiting the vehicle, I watched that tiny female limp toward the arched front door. Glancing up at those tall, cathedral-styled windows on the second floor, my eyes were then drawn toward a significant area of the roof that had been blackened from fire and was left yawning. However, I had had enough of this stranger's company, and walked away. It had been an early start to the day, and my eyes were drying out beneath my sunglasses. Strolling away in no particular direction, I knew that no matter how lost I might get, there was always plenty more motherfuckers ahead of me. This wasn't a desert, this was central Europe! In no way could I avoid human interference. I might climb a fence and cross the next field and head down into a forest, but soon enough it would all end with another road leading me toward more human settlements. This wasn't even the countryside, this was just those empty spaces between city states. It never ended. I was trapped here. Trapped again. Had I returned to my former life last December just for more of this inconsolable misanthropy?! It seemed like a good idea at the time, coming back to rebuild. And so far, it had worked. But at a cost. A price measured in euros. As for the toll on my personality, well, as Mara liked to criticize, only during December had I truly seemed honest. 'Seemed' being the operative word there. Yet her constant nagging since then, during the honeymoon of our relationship, served only to denigrate everything we had done together. But hey, no lover I've ever sodomized had been above calling me a piece of shit on a regular basis. Still, she wondered why I resorted to my old wicked ways. Every new relationship inevitably became just like every past one. Therefore, according to my petulant lover, if I'm the defining factor in the destruction of my past, then I must be the one at fault! It wasn't long before the black Mercedes came creeping up beside me.
"What do you think you're doing?" Ms. Kylie asked, through her open window. "Hurry up. Get in. We don't have all day."
Yeah, fuck this walking shit! I climbed back into the car and saw that Ms. Kylie now had a leather satchel upon her lap. As we drove off, I asked, "Where to?"
"Unfortunately, we must invite one more guest for dinner. I owe him that much." She looked less than thrilled about her duty-bound errand and continued talking about the last-minute arrangements for tonight’s event.
However, I zoned-out, thinking about that little maid with all her es-tut-mir-leids. I hoped for another look at her penitent posture. The more I thought about the little maid, the more her image built up a resentment for coming along on this ride.
Once we reached the front gates of another reclusive son of a bitch, Ms. Kylie again exited the vehicle, this time saying, "Are you coming?"
The car remained at the gate, while we walked up the drive way. This house was taller than the previous. It was five-floors-high with bright white woodwork. We didn't even make it to the front door when a servant in a black suit came marching toward us with a silver platter in hand. Ms. Kylie stopped dead in her tracks as the butler silently held up the platter with its domed lid. Suddenly out of character, Ms. Kylie stared anxiously at the platter. So, I faked a fleeting smirk at the butler and lifted the shiny lid myself. Well, shit on me! I couldn't help it, I roared with gut-wrenching laughter at that sight of a maggot-infested deer fetus! But then the putrid stench slapped me across the face, and I spun away, manically trying to vomit that stink out of my flared nostrils! "Jesus-fucking-Christ! I can taste it!"
Ms. Kylie slammed the lid over the fleshy mess before handing the leather satchel over to the butler. She immediately walked away, leaving me standing on the driveway, still blowing snot out my violated nasal cavity. I squinted at this weird exchange, as my thirst for coffee really began to leave a bad taste at the back of my maggot-flavored mouth.
The black Mercedes with its appetizing leather, soon drove through the forest roads again, and became a sedative to my defenses. I'd always loved being taken for a drive, especially considering that the temperamental weather was once again turning the color of a doomsday prophecy. The last road-trip I had taken was through Israel, just over a month ago. I'd found the Holy Land to be a fascinating example of civilized contradictions. Just like my reasons for going. Mara wanted to introduce me to her family, which was itself a sign of how serious it was getting between us. So, I played the part of the decent-suitor seeking the blessing of those I needed no validation from. I could be a good boyfriend and play the game.
At the start of April, I had been invited to a pajama party by Commi-Star, a fat-titted burlesque icon who'd always reciprocated my flirtatious innuendos. Half-way through the evening, I was getting some air on the street with some young artists and old whores, when one of the local drag queens gave me the queer-eye after I mentioned that I was about to travel to Israel. The queen's shock was mostly directly toward the fact that I had managed to date a Russian Jew, until he sternly questioned what exactly I would be doing while in the Holy Land? This perturbed me. What was he accusing me of? Mara then joined us for some fresh air, and that's when I learned that this drag also happened to be a jolly old Jew. I never could tell ethnic groups apart, or even subcultures, or whatever specific fucking genre of music I was listening to anymore. The more people talked about their delusions of equality the more everyone was so fucking desperate to categorize exactly what type of social-elitist-scum they identified with. Heading back into the party, I soon found myself in a bedroom with all those girls in nothing but bathrobes. A boylesque performer who was fresh of the boat, also brought up the topic of what my Israeli plans were. However, he abruptly ended the conversation by quipping, "Well, when you're over there, try not to be a dick!"
Try not to be a dick?! I didn't even fucking know this fag! Who the fuck was he to assume if I might go dick-out or not?! Why would he even suggest such a thing?! Did I look like a dick?! Did he think that I alone could seriously start World War III by just being a little dick during my brief time in the Middle-fucking-East?! Or was it more localized than that, did I have to watch my fucking mouth whenever I was in the untouchable vicinity of any precious fucking Jews?! Was my girlfriend included?! Or was this fag merely suggesting that my own personal sense of humor was a wee bit ignorant, ever so slightly intolerant, and perhaps a touch on the possibly insensitive side?! Bitch, please! I couldn't even tell a Jew from a Turk from a Russian from a Mongolian from a Korean from a Filipino from a lady-boy. Besides, according to evolution, ultimately, we all came from China, like all of our fucking clothes did! Or were we all eventually becoming Chinese? Was I a dick for asking? One thing was for sure, I was far too much of a cultural-Bolshevik ever to be associated with Nazis, you dimwitted Philistine!
On the 12th of April, for our fourth day in Tel-Aviv, we planned a trip to Jerusalem, but first we had to fuck the rain away. The unseasonal weather soon turned to shit again, as our GPS accidently led us on the scenic route through the mountains in the West Bank, where razor-wire fenced us in on either side of the highway. Mara's concern about our location seemed understandable once she explained how the locals would check license-plates to see if you're Israeli or not. Though, once we came out of the mountains, the clouds cleared, and the blue sky welcomed us into the Muslim sector of Jerusalem. We circled the Old City before finding an underground parking-lot. Surrounding the Jaffa Gate were glorified window displays of capitalism at its finest. Ralph Lauren, Versace, and Christian Dior glistened in the sunshine. Esprit, Adidas, and Zara lined the polished pavement, while Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Giorgio Armani sipped on coffee in that pristine arcade. To be honest, I don't really know why, but I was sickened by that repugnant stench of profit. What can I say, Jesus had days like this? But of course, the three wise-business-men-of-marketing relished the phenomenon of supply-and-demand. Wherever there were large numbers of humans seeking spirituality, there will always be those loyal disciples of commerce. Who needs a golden calf when you have a Lacoste logo on your fat fucking tit! We entered the Old City of Jerusalem through the Damascus Gate into the Christian Quarter. Narrow streets were cluttered with tiny stores selling everything from butchered carcases to cheap Persian scarves. Our sense of direction grew misguided the further we went into that labyrinth of alleyways thick with multicultural incense. The stink of burning perfume was fortunately dulled once the rain returned. Perhaps the city itself didn't want us finding the Church Of The Holy Sepulcher, for we kept coming across dead-ends with dead-bolted doors. Yet the crucifix upon the church's highest point mocked us from behind stone walls. I felt so rejected, shunned even, like god didn't care for the likes of a cunt like me.
We next found ourselves in the Jewish Quarter as the rain intensified. That's about all I have to say about that. The Jewish Quarter was not so remarkable. Bland, but definitely in much better architectural condition than the rest of the city. We totally skipped the Armenian Quarter, not out of callous, but because seriously, who gives a shit about the motherfucking Armenians? Leaving a courtyard, we found ourselves huddling under the umbrella upon the summit of a staircase overlooking the distant Temple Mount. I could smell the history in that chilled air as I scanned the clouds. My eyes followed the tight-knit settlements that covering the hills and stretching up to the Mount Of Olives above that golden Dome Of The Rock. Below, we looked upon the Western Wall itself.
Mara and I descended that myriad of stairs, until we entered the empty expanse in front of the Western Wall. There, we had to part ways as, after all, the feminist movement didn't mean a thing around these parts. If there were any women's rights activists about, they were all packed into their significantly smaller portion of the worshiping zone. As I strolled through the drizzle, with the evening encroaching, I glared up at that arrangement of uneven blocks of stone. I saw three-thousand-years of war and suffering pouring over every fucking inch of it. So, this was the only surviving remains of the Second Temple. It was just a weed-infested foundation. If humble-pie was what you were looking for, then Bingo was god's name-o! Yet where the fuck were the devotees? Was a little rain enough to keep the masses of touring pilgrims locked up in their five-star fucking hotels?! However, like a wet day at Disneyland, the wet weather made it incredibly convenient for a sour-face infidel to have the whole Western Wall to himself. It wasn't until I was standing beneath that cliff of pale stone slabs, that I remembered that the pious flocked here not only to pray, but also wrote laundry lists of ransom demands on pieces of paper, that they stuffed into the cracks. Not wanting to seem peculiar, I plucked one of my Bark stickers from my pocket. Folding it, I then reached into the deepest gash in the rock and buried my message among the papier-mâché of a million other unanswered prayers. Scowling upward with the rain in my eyes, I winked at god – when movement caught my attention and I glanced to the left. There was an arch in the stone that extended westward from the Western Wall. A gaggle of Orthodox Jews gathered within the shelter, and I understood why the men had dibs on this particular side of the wall. Into the depth I wandered and discovered a hovel that was part sanctuary and part library. I may have been dressed in black with the hoody under my suit jacket pulled up over my head, but I still stood out like a sore thumb compared the strict uniformity of the Orthodox. I needed a white shirt in order to complete the look. As I made my way through that sauna of earnest Old Testament penguins nodding fervently toward an inanimate wall, I found the whole situation rather amusing. Perhaps it was the irony of someone like me standing uninhabited in such a holy environment. Or, was it due to the observation: that the only time a man truly seemed to respect a single thing was when he was preoccupied with his stringent prayer – that was, until he finished. Then, just like a whore, he returned to his petty life of a sinner. But shit, you needed the contrast in order to see the hilarious futility of everything we hold precious. How did the Joker-Paradox go: The Jester's job was to remind the King that it's all a fucking game, and yet, at the same time, he encouraged the King to keep on acting as if it's not a game at all! So, I walked through the oblivious Orthodox with my Teflon impunity. For the devil feels no pain stepping upon your holy ground. It is the light that must make the effort to hold back the shadows! And then, at the far end of the library, out stepped an old rabbi in black robes. Two weeks earlier, in the middle of the night, that same guy had been standing in the middle of the street outside Mara's building, staring at me with sunken eyes. I had ignored the catatonic prick at the time, but at the Western Wall, that bizarre old buzzard stared straight back at my hesitation. It was definitely the same guy. I clearly remembered his loose eyelids that glistened as if he had just been crying. Once again, like on the Berlin street, he didn't move, just locked eyes with me and barely even blinked. He seems at home surrounded by all those other fanatics, where the rituals of the other Jews finally drew my attention. Turning away, I watched some Moses-wannabe slowly wrap leather straps around his left arm, before placing a wooden cube upon his forehead. Groups already in prayer, joined in with others at the chorus in of some song. Focusing on an intricately carved altar in front of yet another big-bearded rabbi, I wondered if this was what went down in every synagogue. I had never been to a synagogue, yet there I was, in Israel, standing in the very heart of Judaism. Maybe Mara should be a good Jew and take me along to a local service on the next Sabbath. To my left, I saw that my stalker was still watching me. Perhaps I was being paranoid. Though, ever since spending time with Mara, and listening to the stories about high-profile spooks and international security-threats, I seemed to have become a tad bit susceptible to the Jewish-condition – believing that everyone's out to get me!
When I left that alcove of cattle-car-packed Jews, I suddenly realized that I hadn't arranged a rendezvous with Mara before we had separated at the wall. Glancing across the twilight at the armed soldiers guarding the entrance to the courtyard, I knew that Mara wouldn't have gone far. And within a minute, I spotted her stomping through the rain. She was none too pleased about my momentary disappearance. I will forever remain in awe of how the tiniest storm in a teacup could metastasize into a malignant exchange of artillery within the briefest of intervals. No matter how much you assure a female of your credible intentions, no comprehensible explanation will ever suffice. Drama requires a malicious agenda with deliberate a set of actions. Because if I hadn't vindictively decided to abandon her, then it was just an inadvertent miscalculation, and you can't righteously blame someone for an honest mistake. Not true! Blame can always find an excuse to shit on you. So, when she demanded I apologize, I simply refused to take sole responsibility for our parting ways without deciding where to meet, and then the mood went stale. As we drove away from that Holy City into the night, I remembered how much I cherished these kinds of hostile discourse. Only during serious relationships have I ever indulged in such spiteful interactions. Some say, "Relationships are about surviving the tough times." I say, they're about provoking the extremes in each other, both the good emotions and the real fucking bad ones too! Only a lover has ever managed to bring out the worst in me, which is, by all accounts, the very best of what I am: unadulterated hatred! Perhaps that was my problem. Just like how the Western Wall represented the pigheaded-psyche of the dogmatic, I had an impassable mental block that was worshiped every time it was run into.
Israel had at first seemed to be a miniscule country, that was until the seventh day, when we drove south of Tel-Aviv. I'd never been to a desert before, and I found it fucking beautiful. The vegetation slowly faded into a landscape the likes of which I imagined a primordial planet once resembled. I wanted to keep going further and drive until we ran out of dirt and came to the very fucking end of everything. Yet over each crest on the horizon, there was always so much more. As dominant as we homo-sapiens liked to think we are, that place was so much greater with its apathetic grandeur. We haven't even scraped the surface of our infinite potential at contaminating these realms of emptiness. I wanted more nuclear disasters, more environmental pollution, and more toxic spills, until the icecaps melt, drowning this entire cunting world in suffocating misery! The depth of the desert showed me the enormity of my own barren existence. But this appreciation was of my own doing. The road didn't see these things, nor was it responsible for enlightening me. The desert was just one more affirmation, showing me how envious I was of all those horrors I had yet to achieve. The brighter the sun, the more focused your shadow becomes. Mara drove for hours, with the rock formations growing more arid with craggy ranges either side. Suddenly we came around a bend and were right at the edge of Makhtesh Ramon, where the ground simply dropped away, exposing the very ribs of the planet. As the car cruised down the northern cliff, my eyes took a while adjusting to the severe scale of that landscape below. The size of that rift was magnificent –
Disembodied, I saw it all. The clouds tore open as a thunderous sound shattered the sky! A huge ring of ominous clouds expanded as though a neutron bomb had just detonated in the stratosphere. The blast-wave slowed down but the sky itself faded as if night was bleeding through the shattered atmosphere. The very fabric of reality was straining to hold its integrity as that blackened stain stretched above. Even though the gales swept up mountainous plumes of dust, I saw the great fall of a tiny shape of white light piercing the huge smoke-ring. Despite the insignificant size of that celestial being, the force with which he was expelled from the grace of god sent ripples throughout every atom in the heavens above and below. Shock-waves of disrupted air continued expanding from his most indignant descent. The closer to the surface of the world he got, the more violent the storm increased. This was not the destruction of innocence. It was willing corruption! All that havoc was caused by a collision between an ethereal dimension violating this plane of crude material. Elemental forces failed to hold the continuity of time and order as suddenly, in mid fall, that shell of light encasing the Morning Star burst open and burned for the last time! A naked form of grotesque derision plunged with a new kind of fire incinerating his splendor. Engulfed in his very first flames of damnation, a devil struck the Earth with such an impact that for a moment it seemed as if nothing had happened, like he had disintegrated upon contact. But then the entire desert buckled! The sand bulged all the way to the horizon in a terrific upheaval! A second later, the swollen landscape cracked open into a million burning mountains! That diabolic clash with this young world caused such a tremendous explosion that it set the whole sky on fire! The expulsion of the defeated cut a hole straight into this land with such a ferocity that the very penetration made room for the foundations of hell itself –
The car pulled onto the side of the highway at the bottom of that gigantic basin, where the cyclone-like winds were still relentless. Standing in the middle of that boundless vista beneath the beating sun, a daunting thought arose: if the car broke down, we might as well be on the fucking moon. Yet, for thousands of years people had no choice but to walk these hostile wastelands. Though, fuck walking out here without any nice smooth roads leading the way. Still, people had done it. The fucking balls on those cunts! As we drove on, I quietly watched as we traveled over mountains only to face more of the same endless rock. Those who had the fucking gumption to trek out into this inferno on their own two feet in the blind hopes of ever finding another living thing, indeed, had balls. We inevitably found that we weren't alone out there. At the southernmost point of our journey, we drove toward what looked like a cargo truck slowly making its way down the highway. It wasn't until we were overtaking the truck that I realized it was transporting an armored tank on its trailer. We then soon passed a small military camp where clusters of other tanks were lined up like blondes on a beach. I was not surprising at that point, considering we were right on the border with Jordan. No matter where we went, we were constantly reminded of the literal threat of war all around.
Pulling into a petrol station, we needed gas and refreshments. The usual welcome mat was laid out before us as we were greeted by Snickers, Coco Cola, and Pringles. The universal factors of globalization were the asphalt on the road, the junk food in the corner store, and the bullets in the assault rifles of the soldiers that looked as if they were guarding the M&Ms like a national treasure. I soon realized that those kids in dirty uniforms weren't guarding shit. They were just like everyone else, getting high on sugar while in transit to anywhere but here. Mara told me about the conditions that the Israeli soldiers had to live with. Every citizen, once they come of age, was obliged to serve in the military – which seemed reasonable considering the genocidal-threats facing the country from every side, including from within. But the fact that these kids with guns were paid barely enough to afford a pack of cigarettes, seemed a little neglectful. If you're commanding the loyalty of your troops on a daily basis, don't be a fucking Jew about it, pay them a respectable wage! The soldiers weren't even given transportation back home on their downtime, which explained why we saw several of them hitchhiking. It was also a common occurrence that Muslims went berserk and ran people down with automobiles, including soldiers trying to get home for the weekend. That really killed the romance of hitchhiking across country. Living rough in the military goes without saying, but this was borderline humiliation. And you should never embarrass those whom you need to protect you. Humiliation leads to resentment and betrayal. Spare the rod and spoil the child, is one thing, but excessive disrespect was the womb of rebellion. Netanyahu must be glad that his military believed in the same granddaddy deity in the sky. As Voltaire once said, "There is no God, but don't tell that to my servant, lest he murder me at night." So, the inevitable question arose: on whose side was I? And what about the plight of the Palestinians? Yeah, I saw the graffiti that Banksy had done during his little visit to Gaza. Artists were apparently the heroes of radical thought. Which explained why ISIS wanted to behead them all and film it. Yet if extreme Islam deplores any image which could be misconstrued as a false idol, then why were they creating propaganda videos playing at a frame rate of 29-images-per-fucking-second? Wasn't the very production and distribution of those snuff films an act of the same blasphemous-narcissistic-worship that they claimed to repudiate? The point of those videos was to recruit the young into a war against the hordes of infidels, yet the movie-stars of those public-executions were then praised by psychotic fanboys who adored their protagonists as if they were Muhammad himself. Their extremist sacrilege reeked of hypocrisy! Shame on ISIS for the false idols that they promoted in every propaganda film that they have ever broadcast! But then Mara reminded me that I was being pedantic. Perhaps, but wasn't that what it meant to be an extremist, to lose your shit over even the tiniest of details. Wasn't the devil in those very fucking details?! She then cautioned me, that even by suggesting such sarcastic-criticisms I might inadvertently raise my own name to the top of their shit-list. But the bottom-line was, I didn't need to draw a satirical portrait of Muhammad to know that ISIS wanted me dead! Every aspect of my lifestyle condemned me in their cunting eyes. I knew my fucking enemy, and I didn't have a choice about which side I was on, because they already deemed me as damned. Wasn't Salman Rushdie still in hiding? It had only been twenty-six-fucking-years since the fatwa was slammed on his ass. There was something reassuring about being in Israel, knowing that every neighboring country wanted to wipe this entire civilization clean off the map. Too often the current cushy empires of the world take their position of power for granted and assume that there wasn't anybody out there who was going to invade or stir shit up. What an arrogant delusion of the modern-metrosexual. The day you let down your guard or couldn't support yourself, you became the fucking Gaza Strip! Countries were won by force! As for the West Bank, it wasn't even marked on the map here. It had long been adsorbed and there simply was no discussion about it. Just like no one seriously discussed whether any nation should be handed back to any indigenous people. Because if you pushed the argument hard enough, it became so regressive that you ended up deconstructing people's entitlements backwards through time until you were talking on a species-level, and then referring to which fossilized animals owned the continents long before homo-sapiens even grew thumbs.
The drive north led us into the howling night where we approached the Salt Ponds at the southern end of the Dead Sea. We passed an enormous refinery before complete darkness covered the badlands. There was one last military checkpoint on our way as we turned up into the mountains. A cluster of cabins were waiting for us at the summit where the gales ripped into that exposed ridge. That night it rained as if old man Yahweh had sent a new flood, but I slept like a baby.
In the morning, we found our porch was coated with mud from the torrential downpour that had seemingly blown itself out in the small hours. The folk at the breakfast hall were themselves bemused by the peculiar monsoon that had come out of nothing for the first time in recorded history. After coffee, Mara and I took a stroll to the edge of the cliffs, and I got my first decent view of the Dead Sea. Wow. And I don't mean: wow, what a pristine blue lake surrounded by palm trees. No, I meant: wow, the lake really was disappearing as if some Goliath-sized plug had been pulled and the water was half-way drained out of that tectonic bathtub! The terraces where the water level had once been, looked like the layers of bone from a skull that had been worn away with a grinder. Mara informed me that all the salt mining and the very heat of the desert was drying up the Dead Sea faster than it was able to replenish itself. Against that dreary backdrop, I watched Mara make her way further around the edge of the cliff, and I saw how unique she really was. Entering a relationship held parallels with annexing a natural resource. You suddenly had access to places and people you would otherwise have had little connection to. After all, I didn't know anyone else in that region of the world. Yet she had been there for me last year at my lowest when no one else had come. I knew the answer to the ultimate question of what would happen if I was left to my own devices, but she had changed that all for me. Therefore, she was so important that I couldn't even compare her any past lover. She believed I had some kind of intrinsic value, which in turn gave me a sense of self-worth, and thus circled around and produced a value denomination within myself for her. Though the conundrum being: was this reinforcing spiral expanding or shrinking? Expanding and slowing down like ripples in a pond, or shrinking and accelerating like a ball on a string tightening around a pole that it was hurtling toward?
On the drive down the mountain side, I finally gauged how high up we had actually gone as Mara raced a little too fast for my liking down those steep roads. Who needed a roller-coaster ride to freak the living shit out of you, when you had a girlfriend who giggled at your traumatized grunts while she sped around hairpin-corners. The cliffs might have been beautiful rock formations to behold, but I was too busy straining my neck against the extreme inertia to appreciate anything beyond the edge of the road. Mara always enjoyed boasting about how Israelis were all assholes when they drove. That's nice, but did she really have to live up to such a fucking reputation while I was clinging to my safety-belt right next to a hundred-foot precipice?!
The only intervention that finally managed to force my deranged little chauffeur to hit the breaks, was when we came to a landslide that crossed our path. Last night's deluge had washed huge channels down the massive walls of stone. However, Mara wasn't so easily intimidated by the dried-up remains of an avalanche, and she drove right over the debris – until the car's center stabilizing system couldn't even handle the stress! An alarm rang out as the wheels slid on the sludge and the car went sideways! My fingers drug into the fucking dashboard, but Mara merely chuckled and drove on over the top.
The sun came out and we soon parked beneath a collection of gaudy hotel towers. Accompanied by dozens of fat Russian grannies, we ate ice cream on the beach. Skinny-dipping wasn't an activity I was renowned for, however, after getting ankle-deep in that revolting water, I shied away from another step. The slimy content of the Dead Sea wasn't something I had bargained for. It was more like a lake of baby-oil than water. My refusal to go swimming was met by a dissertation of disdain from Mara, and yet she herself wouldn't go more than knee-deep. Typical. As I watched her paddle about in the shallow water's edge, I couldn't help but wonder what she was getting out of our relationship. We had had our first break-up a week before flying here, and since then everything was on probation. She didn't trust me and I couldn't trust her. That was all we were in agreement upon. Would time be the test of our broken communication skills? Might things work out even if we were diametrically opposed? But if we were fundamentally against compromising our principles on the concept of honesty, then why had she come back knocking on my door? Was it really such a good thing that I was there with her at all? Though really, what 'good' ever comes from anything? And I recalled a lecture by Alan Watts, "There's a Chinese story, a kind of a Taoistic story, about a farmer. One day his horse ran away, and all the neighbors gathered in the evening and said, that's too bad. He said, maybe. The next day the horse came back and brought with it seven wild horses. Well, they said, aren't you lucky. He said, maybe. The next day his son grappled with one of these wild horses and tried to break it in, and he got thrown and broke his leg. And all the neighbors said, oh, that's too bad that your son broke his leg. He said, maybe. The next day the conscription officers came around gathering young men for the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. And the visitors all came around and said, isn't that great, your son got out. He said, maybe. You see, you never really know in which direction progress lies."
Once we left the Dead Sea, we drove north and reentered the Old City of Jerusalem and happened upon the tomb of King David. Just like at the Western Wall, men and women went their separate ways to pay homage to this founding father of foreskin-mutilation. The small stone chamber had a concise collection of Orthodox Jews gathered around, and then there was me. The sarcophagus was covered in a blue cloth, so I found the Orthodox themselves of more interest. All of them were wearing black suits, white shirts, and either black kippahs or wide brimmed hats. There were a few old chaps with Spanish-moss-like beards. A couple were faithfully swinging their whole bodies as they nodded while muttering prayers. Before this trip, I had no clue as to how many ginger Jews there really were, those soulless fucks! Then there was one homeless looking old guy, ranting to himself in a corner like any nut-job you would see in every city in the world. Then, just to remind me of what century I was living in, I spotted a kid on his iPhone checking his Facebook. Distraction respects nothing. Next, we were told that the Temple Mount was only open on Sundays. I was denied from the Holy of Holies once again. Leaving the Old City out the Damascus Gate, we headed down a narrow road that lead to the Garden Tomb. A second supposedly venerated location where Jesus of Nazareth had been crucified and then buried. Mara and I had wandered from Orthodox Jews, to Muslim hecklers, and into a den of fat fucking American tourists – what an ethnic smorgasbord of spiritual congestion! However, there was one truth that you must remember at all times when visiting such sights of historical controversy: these places have been razed, attacked, and rebuilt by conflicting cultures countless times. Any claim that even a single pebble on the road was in the slightest bit authentic, had to be taken with a grain of salt. That said, let the tour group lead on. As those cow-people shuffled up the path between those Eden-like trees, I heard a voice enter my head and take over my body. Mara looked up, watching as I hummed the melody to New York, New York, by Frank Sinatra. A smirk creased my lips, while Mara shook her head and giggled. With a skip to my strip, and old Frankie-boy in my head, I found myself staring up at the Rock of Golgotha, a forty-foot-high cliff that vaguely reassembled a skull, where Jesus had supposedly been nailed upon his precious fucking cross. Immediately, our tour guide began making figurative excuses about the fact that a bus-depot currently resided directly below that ridiculed sight of god's public humiliation. Mara and I paid no attention to our ad-lib tour guide after that, and made our own way down to the Garden Tomb itself. Being an atheist Jew, Mara didn't give a fuck about any of this religiosity, but she enjoyed taking me to these places because I was curious. Standing in the cool shade of the possible resting place of Jesus, the motherfucking King Of The Jews, I again heard Frankie-boy singing in my head, "I wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep. And find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap."
On the 18th of April, Mara and I said our fair wells to her parents after they drove us to the airport. At the first security checkpoint a female guard took our passports, asking us to wait while she collected the head of security, another gorgeous female in uniform. She never said a word to me, while grilling Mara about our visit to Israel. The head of security occasionally gave me a glance, and I frowned at whatever they were both smiling about. Then we were on our way through the departure gates. With a sideways chuckle, I asked Mara what that had all been about. She said she had been asked why, if she had known me for the past four years, had we only just gotten together in the last five months? She told the head of security that it was because I'd always been with other girls, so she had to wait. All three girls had then shared a sympathetic giggle. Those moments were special. The sort of situations that you remembered for years. The idea that Mara actually admitted waiting for me, revealed something of how she felt.
After constant pestering, on the 9th of May I went along to my first one-on-one counseling session. Mr. Brody was the second choice on my short list of therapists, yet he still came highly recommended. It had been a clear day and I'd taken the afternoon off work to visit Mr. Brody's office. He resided in a self-contained building within the courtyard of a west Berlin block. The Asian adornments, pastel colored furniture, and his mellow tone of voice made for a welcoming environment – if I was looking for a spiritual guru that is. One of the few questions he asked, was why had I chosen him? I told him that it was because he was male, older than myself, and his first language was English. I was being systematic. So, a sexist, ageist, and cognitive-bias to begin with. Though, if I'm aware of my own personal preferences, is that still a psychological hang-up? Wasn't accepting your limitations the first step to unconscious freedom? Or, instead, should I have sought out a female foreigner, half my age? Although, that sounded more like my sexual inclinations rather than someone who might actually have the possibility of gaining my respect. During that session, I learned how to correctly categorize the main types of therapists. Mr. Brody was neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. Psychologists talk about shit, while psychiatrists could deal out drugs. Mr. Brody himself was just a counselor. A guy who could listen. And so, a cringe began to grow behind my chiseled expression of conceit. We went through a rundown of when the police took me to hospital last December, and I ended by reminiscing about my childhood growing up in the sun. While briefly discussing my art, Mr. Brody asked if I'd ever considered why I had all these violent thoughts. I shrugged and confessed: we're a violent species, we're all capable of atrocities given the right circumstances, and I'm fine with that. He nodded, inhaled pensively, and then brought up the only question that I myself had wanted to ask: what had I wished to gain from therapy? I sat back and returned the question, yeah, what was the point of all this? He said he wasn't there to tell anyone what to do, it was up to the client to decided what they sought to achieve. I suggested that the real reason I was there was to mitigate my girlfriend's aggravated insinuations. It wasn't because she sincerely believed that I was still suicidal, but because deep down she knew that I had cruelly trapped her in the emotional gravity of our passive-aggressive relationship. Mr. Brody then summed up my therapy-experience perfectly: I was ambivalent. I instantly agreed. Ambivalent! Exactly! I was utterly fucking ambivalent about the idea that this fucking conversation could solve shit! I wasn't there because I felt some desperate need to share my masochistic-Oedipus-psychosis. I was there to prove to Mara that there was no one else who could help me if I had already been consumed by my own Shadow! So, I felt a great sense of relief as I left that first session. My breakthrough having been as simple as: I have no need for therapy until I know exactly what I need therapy for.
On the way back to Mara's place one evening, we were both in a joking mood, but the discourse soon went from a little lighthearted teasing to a full-blown shit-storm! The premise of my argument being that 'absolute honesty' didn't exist as our unconscious wasn't even honest with ourselves. Mara therefore accused me of lying about every-single-fucking-thing! Of course, that led to the subject of our first break-up: my communication with the French girl, Amelia. Mara had found our correspondence after snooping through my phone. Yet, when I'd awoken upon the morning of our first break-up, I had found Mara reading my diary from last year (which I'd given her because I had trusted her to understand why I'd done what I did last year), however, I realized soon enough that Mara had only used my diary as evidence against me for fixating on Amelia. How disappointing. We were both at fault for breaking the trust of one another. And so, we broke-up. Yet we went to Israel and everything was fine. But there was no point in persisting in this travesty, once trust was broken it was broken for good! These weren't idle thoughts! Even after showing Mara how much of a respectable boyfriend I could be, she still never forgave me! NEVER! And why should she? I was the living example of why utopian civilizations could never exist. Claiming that you're 'just being human' was the easiest excuse for being an evil piece of shit! And yet still lovers tolerate it! Women didn't just deserve to be abused, they needed emotional-vampires to relentlessly victimize their self-loathing because that was the only way that they could ever feel anything! So, I we broke-up for a second time. Though, how quickly she revealed her bluff and back-peddled. This was suddenly too small a reason to end it. Exactly! If it was such a small thing, then why did she always blow everything out of fucking proportion?! Mara then began crying and hugged me, begging me to stay. Her sobbing reminded me of an incident a week before hand, when Mara's work at the ISB (International Spook Buddies) gained us an invitation to an evening with the philharmonic. It was commemorating the fifty-year anniversary of Germany and Israel working together. On the train to the event, Mara was looking stunning in her Prada heels, but then the ticket-collectors came around. We continued our conversation, when suddenly the Brazilian tourist sitting right next to me burst into tears while she spoke with the ticket-guy. Slowly turning my head from Mara, I found this woman blubbering like some melodramatic pig. She had the wrong ticket but was adamant that this was merely a misunderstanding. While she pleaded how she hadn't maliciously intended to commit a crime, I silently sat there soaking in this fantastic example of Male Vs. Female dynamics. The young Turkish guy looked hesitant as he dealt with the weeping woman, especially when she resorted to explaining herself in Portuguese. Another female passenger tried to mediate in German, when a second ticket-collector, an older guy, came to see what the problem was. He immediately dismissed the tourist's sniveling, it was she who had fucked-up, they were just doing their job. But the Brazilian stuck to her game-plan and begged as if she were on trial for her life. The train then reached the next station where the two collectors decided that this wasn't worth the hassle, and they backed away from that whimpering sack of misdirection. I applauded that textbook case of crocodile-tears. Tears that let females to get away with anything. But I shook my head in disgust at the ticket-collectors for their pathetic lack of resolve. The older guy should have had enough life-experience to see straight through the facade of wounded innocence and understood the clear manipulation: make everyone in close proximity feel as awkward as possible until the overwhelming trend-sympathy pressures those provoking the dilemma into simply abandoning their position. Misdirection, you little minx of the winning argument! Could you imagine a man behaving like this, a grown adult male weeping uncontrollably? The whole train would look at him like he was mentally-impaired, and most likely the police and an ambulance would have been called. Whenever females let the waterworks gush, you know that their argument was so weak that they had nothing more of substance to offer. But no weeping female would ever get one ounce of fools-pity from this fucking son of a bitch. A crying female is a lying female!
Ms. Kylie and I made it back to the dead man's house by early evening. By then the only person I was interested in seeing was the guy behind the bar in the elaborate parlor full of thousands of antler trophies. Give me coffee and don't you fucking dare go cheap on the sugar! It had been a long day since waking up at 4am for the first train to Potsdam, before catching another to my remote hotel – which I still had to walk back to. Though, all I could think about was coffee. Sweet, creamy fucking coffee. The espresso that arrived left me less than grateful. I hate shots of black bile! Fuck off with that shit! So, I had to settle for a decanter of water, and I downed that jug like a triathlete. As I sat in an armchair, I was having some serious doubts about whether I should trust Mara or rely on my own bitter fucking intuition. And then in came that little maid, announcing that dinner would be served momentarily. She stared directly at me for a little too long, and I glared harder into her tight dress as she slipped away. Even after violent make-up-sex with Mara last night, I was still easily distracted by temptation – because I'm a fucking human being!
I don't know where all those guests came from, I hadn't heard any other cars arrive, but that elongated dining table was full to capacity. There were about thirty already seated when I strolled into that big room full of esteemed power-players. I was half expecting to be told to trot off like a good little gimp and collect a bottle of the finest chardonnay – but that same little maid gestured toward my seat right in the middle of that grand spread. The thick wooden table was heavy with candles, flower arrangements, and two bronze statues of blackened stallions. It was the massive tapestry on the wall ahead of me that caught my initial interest. The gloomy tone of that image had faded from the centuries, but it still brought out a smile as I digested that portrayal of skinned women in a circle. Their limbs had been removed, along with their heads as they sat, tied together within a bonfire that roasted their flesh. Their heads were impaled upon tall spikes that all burned in the center of that golden hellfire. I fucking loved it! The loud conversation eventually drew my eyes downward to those surrounding me. The guests were dressed in suits and ties, and so much funerary lace. The first individual whom I focused upon, sat opposite. He was a lopsided old guy with some kind of skin diseased that had left his sagging face looking grated raw and horrifically inflamed. My eyeballs casually rolled to the left, where an elderly chap in military formals was missing his entire bottom jaw. To the right of the poster-boy for skin-disease, was a woman wearing masses of pearls beneath a face that was so badly burned that the scarring had left her looking more liquid than human. This was an exclusive gathering of the rich and powerfully disfigured. The guy to my immediate right looked as though his countless swollen tumors had deformed his entire body to the point that he appeared to be comprised of nothing but potatoes held together by his tuxedo. The unidentifiable person on my left was barely a torso with twig-like, thalidomide arms under a face raked with scars. However, apart from the extreme physical constitution of each guest, they all seemed deeply engrossed in conversation with one another – well, at least those with a mouth did.
"Und, wie geht es dir, mein Schatz?" Mr. Potatoes asked, but he was then distracted by the arrival of the entree. Platters were carried in by a succession of slender beauties dressed in the same smooth black as the little maid that I was so fond of, though, I couldn't spot her this time around.
"Hey, how's it hanging, Bob?" I sneered, still examining the servant girls one by one.
"Bob? Oh, how delightful! I always wanted one of those rough and tough names," Mr. Potatoes wobbled, as a plate was placed before him. "To everyone else this evening, I'm The High Priestess, but you can call me Bob if you so please."
"The High Priestess, huh," I said, frowning toward what had just been set in front of me. Within a silver bowl was a clear soup, soaking a squid-like tentacles knotted around the hairy hand of a tiny primate. Leaning over to Mr. Potatoes, I added, "You can call me Scat-Perv, then."
Mr. Potatoes gave me a look of indignation, as if my title was any worse than that bowl of repugnant liquids and body parts. I was glad to discover that I was without a spoon. However, I realized that no one else had any cutlery either. Mr. Potatoes then cautiously whispered in my direction while he glanced around the table, "Saw you with The Devil earlier."
"Pardon?" I looked up, as the servants returned, carrying more platters with small instruments upon each one.
"The Devil. You arrived with her this evening."
"Ah. So, why isn't she sitting on my left?"
"Ha! So, you're The Hermit!" Mr. Potatoes barely managed to contain himself. "Am I right or am I right?"
"What part of 'Scat-Perv' don't you understand?"
"You're The Fool, then?"
"Probably. But not tonight, handsome."
"The Hanged Man, perhaps?"
That was when all the guests reached for the new platters, picked up the six-inch black matches and set their entrees alight. At least I didn't have to taste that disgusting dish. Following suit, at that table of Tarot Card titles, I lit my soup on fire, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the aroma was quite delicious, like roast ham mixed with marinated muscles. Someone at the far end of the table then stood and began a lengthy speech in Deutsch. I gazed around, admiring all the golden candle stands that led my eyes toward the center of the big table where there was a wide empty area without any ornaments. I assumed that that was where the main course would be carved up for everyone's viewing pleasure. My pupils wandered up to the sparkling chandeliers at either end of the dining room. I liked the gold-trim on the emerald walls, though I couldn't tell if the lighting had dimmed or if the burning bowls had tricked my eyes into thinking that the room had grown darker. The whole gathering then repeated some riddle in unison. None of them seemed to care that I just sat in silence. I watched as another guest then arose from his place. The old guy had only one arm, and a really bad limp as he walked around the long table. As he went, he touched each member on the shoulder lightly, while whispering to them. He muttered so softly that I couldn't even hear what he said when he came to me. Standing above his own burning plate in front of that vacant space in the midst of the table, the old guy whispered slightly louder, and again the whole group participated in verse. It definitely wasn't my eyes, the chandeliers were out. Only the flames on the table illuminated the one-armed Mr. Mumbler as he lifted a chalice and slowly poured a pale sand onto the vacant space on the table. As soon as a wide circle was drawn with sand, Mr. Mumbler began picking up candles and pouring wax into even placements around the circle. By that point they had my intrigue, and once the wax was set, Mr. Mumbler plucked a dagger from his own flaming bowl and scratched a symbol into each puddle of freshly solidified wax. I was wondering what exactly we were about to feast upon, when in came an assembly of other distinguished freaks. They had to be the Minor Arcana accompanying the seated Major. Theatrics always did make for a memorable evening. Though, with so many others without a place at the table, I was curious about what strings The Devil had pulled in order to get me a VIP spot. I then suddenly got suspicious that I was the one on the menu for tonight's carnivorous cripples. That was until the deathly silent crowd parted, and two small children were led to the table. They both stepped upon Mr. Mumbler's ready thigh as he took a knee and guided them up into the center of the circle. There was a boy and girl, both no more than nine-years-old. The boy was wearing a white suit and tails. The girl in a knee-length white dress with her straight blonde hair hanging either side of her cute blue eyes. With the flames from the bowls shimmering ghastly upon the faces of everyone in the room, those two kids seemed to glow in the light as they stood back to back like they were in a trance. I was beginning to doubt that dinner was ever going to arrive – when an outburst shattered the calm! It was that obese woman who I'd seen earlier at the deathbed. Lunging from her chair at those two kids, she yelped like a ravenous sea-lion! While grinding my teeth against the shrill pitch, I also shuddered as Mr. Potatoes joined in, screaming at the two children! His voice was no longer a camp parody of his flamboyant homosexuality, now it was cracked with absolute abhorrence. Glancing up at the kids, I watched them flinch, and then all hell broke loose. Every other guest at that obscene funeral congregation surged toward the table! My chair was slammed into from behind as bodies pressed tight against the table. Shrieking voices tore through the dank air like some kind of riot. Using all my fucking strength, I pushed my chair back just enough to spare my ribs from snapping against the edge of the table. That was when I realized what the purpose of the circle was for. The thin barrier of sand and wax inscriptions was the only thing holding back the horde. The few random sentences that I could decipher from that torrent of screeching Germans were petty attacks about appearance and anything those two kids might ever hope to become. I didn't really know what the fuck I had found myself part of, but it was fucking psychotic! Those influential degenerates seemed to be getting their rocks off by shitting on two pristine perfect examples of idolized purity. Surrounded by the depth of human scorn, I found it spectacular. Like a lynch-mob at a witch trial. Scanning slowly from side to side, I watched all those finely dressed lunatics screaming savagely, until I rested my glare upon the fevered rantings of The Devil, or as I'd come to know her, Ms. Kylie. She was somewhat transformed from the dignified lady who had previously held her mannerisms with grace and cool reserve. Now she foamed at the mouth like a pit-bull as her hair spilled about her enraged snarl. There was something precious about seeing people go ape-shit. Witnessing the untamed human animal was like discovering their true self.
However, as much as I enjoyed those deafening screams, my thirst was simply a higher priority. There had to be someone in the kitchen who could make me a fucking coffee. After squeezing through the gathering, I looked back, daring Jehovah to turn me to a pillar of Dead Sea salt. Yet as I reached for the double doors, I saw the two children begin to undress for the appeasement of the climatic cries of the crowd. Fuck that. I needed caffeine if I was ever going to walk back to my hotel that night. Strolling along a corridor, I was starting to wonder how far that gig was going to go. Was this some high-class pedophile party? Or was it all kosher as long as no one touched themselves or the kids? The whole child-abuse subject was always a wasp's nest of opinionated outrage, just like what was going on in that dining room. Maybe that was the very argument they were all engaged in. Yet the hypocrisy for the relativity of the 'age of consent' always put a smile on my face. For you could fuck an eleven-year-old in one part of the world, and then later brag about it in another country where the legal-age was twenty-one. It was moral-relativism at its most essential. But fuck it, the kids could go fuck themselves – which they all did anyway! Give me a nice pair of titties and some feminine-shaped hips any day! And right then my favorite little maid stepped around a corner and walked directly toward me.
After the little maid brought me a coffee in a far-reaching corner of the house, we hurried upstairs into her tiny quarters. She gasped, as I bent her over, unzipping her dress straight down her back, before I yanked her up close. Her hands grabbed at my pants and I grinned, glaring into her dark eyes while both of my hands squeezed that superb ass of hers. Spinning the little maid around, I pulled her dress, panties, and stockings all down to the floor in one controlled movement. She removed her bra herself leaving her butt-naked on all fours in front of me. I shoved my crotch toward her ass, but my erection was still trapped inside of my pants. I loved stripping a girl while I'm still in my suit jacket and shoes. The little maid stood up, still grinding her ass against me as I reached around and slipped my middle finger straight into her sopping wet vagina. My fingers sunk inside with such ease that I immediately hoped that her sphincter would hold a little more resistance. She then spun, dropped to her knees, and stabbed my hard-on into her impatient mouth – when I stopped her. I actually stopped her! I put my big hands on either side of her warm round face and said, "No."
Raising her worried eyes while she continued to suck, she eventually stepped back while I stared at her sublime figure. She was the image of Jules Joseph Lefebvre's classic nude, The Grasshopper.
"You have no idea how much I'm dying to fuck the crème de la crème right out of your ass... But..."
"You have a girlfriend."
"Which normally wouldn't stop me. So, that must say something about how I feel toward her."
The little maid smiled. She was surprisingly understanding about the situation. In fact, she seemed even more attracted to me after I admitted this. However, as tasty as that little maid may have been, she was nothing but meat. I felt nothing for her. She wasn't Mara.
Leaving the little maid's room with a strange sense of pride, I quietly shut her door as I glanced down the corridor at another distant room – where that same decrepit rabbi from the Berlin street and the Western Wall was now staring back at me! I lunged down the hallway, just at a swarm of servant girls came up the marble stairs and filled the passageway. Struggling through the awkward girls, I saw the door at the end of the corridor gently close. Fuck this bullshit! I shoulder-barged the last servants out of my way and hammered my fist against that locked door! The formerly chatty servants all stopped and stared in grim silence as I furiously thumped at the door. The eerie stillness was like someone pissing on my back, so I turned toward that herd of female scrutiny. But as soon as I had my back on the door, I heard it gradually creak open.
"Well played, motherfucker. Well played, indeed," I whispered, watching that group of girls disperse down another corridor. Taking a breath, I finally turned around. That tall, bearded scarecrow slowly raised both hands. His right index finger went to his lips implying that I keep quiet, while his left hand held up a large playing card. I glanced at the card for only a second, before the view behind him compelled my eyes aside. Ever since the end of last year, once I had decided to stay at my old flat, something had started to grow in a corner of the ceiling. Some days it wasn't there. But every time that I became aware of its presence, it had increased in volume. It was like a porous mass of pale flesh, almost like a sponge riddled with hundreds of deep black holes. Each pore was about the width of a one-euro coin. By now it was about two-meters-wide, and yet no one else seemed to notice it when they visited. But there, in that dead man's house, behind that rabbi, I saw the exact same phenomenon covering the entire ceiling!
Just then, I heard the little maid exiting her room – suddenly that looming mass shot forth a thousand worm-like black serpents! The old rabbi shoved me away and slammed the door shut right in my face!
And then I was grabbed from behind!
Ripping my arm free from the confused little maid, we both looked at each other with an expression of what-the-fuck-is-your-problem?! But it was silent. There wasn't a sound coming from behind that door. Nothing. Grinning, I shook off my cold sweat, and caught the little maid by her elbow, marching her away from that room. I hadn't realized that it had gotten so late, and once we were downstairs, I found that it was well after midnight. The little maid didn't say a word and scurried off back to work, leaving me standing next to that dark room where the dead host still lay. With one last look toward where the little maid had run off to, I reluctantly showed myself the fuck out.
After another night of only a few hours of sleep, I took the first train even further south to anywhere. Staring out the window, back the way I'd come, I watched as the sun slowly rose with those black clouds always right on the tail of the train. The shit weather was following like a fucking curse. Despite that whole freak-show banquet from the previous evening, all I was preoccupied with was how could I have let the opportunity to fuck that sweet little maid pass through my fingertips?! Was it because I was in love with Mara?! If so, why then, whenever I had wanted to tell her exactly how I felt, had the conversation always disintegrated into some ruthless fucking argument? It wasn't until this second break-up that she even let slip that she was actually in love with me. Was I too shut-down at the time to confess my own affections, or was my unconscious deliberately sabotaging our coexistence? Or were we really not meant to be together? I was never afraid of putting my heart on the line before, so why was I hesitant about admitting my feelings this time? If I truly was too untrustworthy for Mara, then why hadn't I fucked that little maid's tight ass? Didn't that alone prove my commitment to Mara? But then again, if I ever told her about this indiscretion, she would crucify me for even getting into such a compromised predicament! I have often heard people talking favorably about the polyamorous lifestyle, yet, like getting musicians together in a band, the more people involved the harder it becomes getting everyone to agree. Finding others who endorse an openly sexual relationship might work in theory, but I have found for practical purposes, deception was what maintained the structural integrity of simultaneous relationships. Lies, and only lies have kept the good times rolling, baby! The definitive results that honesty have produced, were disbelief, eating disorders, and females regressing to toddler-tantrums. And why shouldn't they spit the dummy? Everyone, most especially in a serious relationship, suffers from THE EXPECTANCY OF PERPETUAL IMPORTANCE. Yet, no matter how good of a partner you are, the reality of couples was doomed by the ego. You could never fuck someone enough, you could never love someone enough, you could never be enough for someone else. We will always disappoint those who want more! And we all want more! To remain alive, you must constantly consume! Those who scoff and claim to have reached a point of satisfaction in a relationship, are merely experiencing a passing phase of complacency. The future-self, however, will despise this dismal lack of ambition. So, fuck pandering to anyone! How someone says they want to be treated, is not how they really wanted to be treated! The premise of Relationships And Their Discontents (as with civilization) is: you must sacrifice some freedoms in order to gain greater security, thus leaving you discontent. The great compromise. But in the end, it's all a fucking lie, because no one is safe! Life is tragic without any kind of love to keep you company, yet true-love in its essence is absolutely fucking tragic! It's a no-win situation. Just like how Mara held me in such high regard, and yet had such a low fucking opinion of me. The only way to have your cake and eat it too, was through deception! Play the game! Pretend to be Prince Charming, and milk it for all it was worth! Or else, sooner or later, you would become one of two things: either too predictable, or too unreliable. There was no long-lasting middle ground without the cohesion of lies!
My mind was made up, I'd never tell Mara about this trip and how well I had managed to resist the little maid's temptation. Yet how could she believe anything I say and not suspect that it was all part of some intricate orchestration, sadistically designed in to gain her confidence only so that I might break her heart at a later date? I had, last December, stated quite clearly with ominous overtones of foreshadowing: Throughout the day, more and more resentment coated my teeth with the bile of my contempt. And after dinner, I finally looked at my phone and found a plethora of ignored messages from Mara and others. Staring at the rain, I wondered what was the worst thing I could say to Mara right at that point? "Come over."
And then the train broke down.
Catching the next train to an even more obscure destination, I soon found myself in a township with the name of which I never even looked up. Without a goal, I walked away from the station and toward a cluster of hills leading up into a forest.
She came walking down that sunny, cobble-stone street and directly toward me. The color of all those trees in the cool breeze held my attention for a few moments longer, before the curvature of her hips redirected my retina.
"Where did you disappear to last night?" Ms. Kylie smiled.
With my head repelling in a slow-motion double-take, I ground to a halt in the middle of the road while reeling from this overwhelming Deja vu. Two large men in suits then stepped up behind Ms. Kylie and their staunch presence broke the spell. Collecting my skepticism, I replied. "Make you a deal. Tell me how you found me right now, and I'll spill the beans on anything, including how I lost my virginity to a watermelon."
"What's your name?"
"A little late for introductions, isn't it."
"You're name!" Ms. Kylie insisted, as the two men leaned in closer.
I was about to say, 'daddy', but Ms. Kylie looked too hung-over and in less than a congenial mood.
"What is your name, junge?!"
"Junge? Well, if you're going to get personal, then you really must be The Devil. But if The High Priestess, couldn't even guess my name, then why in the fuck should I tell you?"
Ms. Kylie then turned her back on me, as the two thick-set men in Hugo Boss advanced.
"What's the fucking world come to," I sneered, immediately thinking of the card which the rabbi had held up, "when The Ace Of Cups can't even take a walk in the park without a leash around his throttled fucking throat?!"
© 2015 BRUCE STIRLING JOHN KNOX