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

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-stoned 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 with my side to her. Craning my neck down to that delicate blonde, I leaned in close and took a laborious sniff through my flared snout. I smelt nothing. Nothing at all. But how many hot fucking meals have I eaten in my life without tasting a single fucking thing. You're all the same numbing insignificance.
"Sie bist spät! " she snarled again, while recoiling from my hunched posture. "Komm, beeilen Sie sich! Sonst werden Sie ihn nie wieder zu sehen!"
I was never a fan of Nirvana (the concept or the band), but for some reason that last song that they ever recorded, You Know You're Right, came to mind, "No thought was put into this. Always knew it would come to this. Things have never been so swell. I have never felt this well." That pale girl in blackened silk and heels, then marched off around a stone pillar and the remains of a ruined iron gate that was now coated thickly in bushy vines. I watched her tight ass disappear up that private driveway surrounded by enormous branches of every possible leaf variety; when Gerry Spence, the trail lawyer who never lost a criminal case, then began rattling behind that nagging song in my head,"The most satisfying losses I have experienced are those I have joyfully plotted." And then Robert Downey Jr. joined in with all those web-like abominations that made up those charming thoughts of mine, "Listen, smile, agree. And then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway." After all, I'm just a filter. A piece of meat filtering between the internal and external world. A fucking foul-mouth filter interpreting what I physically experience, and then expelling a solipsist ego-shit that was hell-bent on seeing what the fuck I could really get away with. There was no soul behind Bruce Stirling John Knox. No individuality, no identity that matters beyond appearances. And appearances, as we all know, can be deceiving on every perceivable fucking level; just like what Alan Watts said, "To be is to deceive."
I faintly heard a mandolin creeping through all those obscure birds in that overlapping foliage, and so I ignored the departing footsteps of that snotty little bitch. Moving off from the driveway, I continued a few paces along that country road to where the all-encompassing forest gave way to a view across a quaint vista. Although this was Potsdam, just south of Berlin, I pictured my childhood ideas of that very British, The Wind In The Willows. There was a long inclined, overgrown field of healthy looking grass, boarded by clusters of trees, above a glistening lake, with a shallow ridge behind, and there I counted all of only three houses. I could just imagine a cute little woodland fox strolling down that gentle hillside on his hind legs with a tiny fishing rod slung over his shoulder. His best friend Mr. Dragonfly circled Mr. Fox as they laughed about good decent small-talk, and had not a single fuck to give about a goddamn thing 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 fucking 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; and quite arguably, I never fucking wanted to be one. For without that accumulation of junk-thought, I would, quite simply, not be me.
A car soon came rolling quietly 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 uneven 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, looking up at that chunk of a building perched on top of a hefty slab of raw granite at the summit of that 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. That house was like a giant stone block that had been dropped straight out of the sky onto this slight peak, with its sole responsibility being to govern that forested domain with unflinching scrutiny. Three-stories-high, with big windows that were all locked behind lace curtains and iron bars, the old structure seemed like either a mini state-prison, or the world's most inconvenient local bank. Either way, it didn't look like the sort of joint you'd ever be welcome in without your gangster Godfather's written consent. The gravel beneath my pointy-toed dress shoes curved up to the base of the granite foundations, where steps carved their way through a tall iron fence and up to the front door. Yet no one was around to yell, GET, or else they release the hounds. Not even the Rolls was anywhere to be seen. Until a hand lightly touched my left shoulder – I nearly broke my own fucking neck as I whipped my head around toward that phantom drifting on by! Another intermittent swarm of clouds then eased the sweat from my brow, though I was glad my Wayfarers concealed my freaked out fucking expression of: seriously-where-the-fuck-did-you-just-come-from?! Upon staring at that ninja-like silent assassin, my shock quickly subsided as I focused on her tiny composure. My first thought pinned that elderly chick as a dead-ringer for Kylie Minogue's doppelganger. Though, soon I noticed her weird limp, and I 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 elegantly with her perfect English. While glancing over her shoulder, she gently circling around till she confronted me face to face.
"In what sense?" I asked.
"In the sense that you're clearly not German."
"I take that as a compliment."
"It wasn't intended as one."
"I 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."
"It's a big old world, you should get out more."
Ms. Kylie paused but then smiled. "Excellent deflection."
"From insults to flattery in less than ten seconds. I'm touched."
"How did you become acquainted with the recently departed?"
"Well, shit. You look pretty good for a corpse."
That petite older woman, with killer tits and plump lips, was then very much taken aback.
So I gave her the slow once-over, and overtly let her know that I was totally checking her out with my bitter fucking eye.
"I haven't been spoken to like that since college."
"How'd you know I have a thing for school girls?"
"You have no idea who I am, do you."
"That makes two of us."
"Equals in our ignorance."
"Speak for yourself." I couldn't help but smirk.
"Come!" She twisted and held out her right 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 those steep front steps. When you find yourself 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 to look like you had the god-given right to be exactly where you stood your fucking ground. Others will capitulate your lack of volunteered information, because the vast majority of assholes out there 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 reduced down to a simple conceptualization that the eye of the beholder can easily compartmentalize. We're all casualties of everyone else's former prejudices, and whether you fucking liked it or not, once that first impression had been made, it was almost impossible to get anyone to perceive you any fucking differently. But why not let that gullible assumption work in your favor, and then parasitically manipulate those blindly willing to let down their guard without even knowing diddle-squat about the egregious wolf wiping his ass on their sheepskin rugs of unquestioning naivety. So fuck it, I had time to kill, let's see where the day led.
A funeral. Or was it the reception? I don't know. I've only been to two funerals in my life before this, so who am I to say whether it's normal or not to display the dead body in their own fucking home. Those people looked like they were from that top 1%, yet I would have assumed that the mere idea of such archaic ceremonies was well and truly miles below their highbrow intolerance levels. Anyway, there I was, standing in that ornate lounge draped in antique gloom, morbidly imprisoned between scarlet and gold framed walls, and becoming increasingly claustrophobic from all the ancient furniture buried beneath so many countless foreign trinkets and dust clogged memorabilia. There was barely space to stand despite the room's vast scale. The dead body itself wasn't lying in a coffin, instead, upon some kind of grand platter, like a fucking goose about to be served up, while 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, a formal sash, and a slender sword sheathed and placed upon his torso within both of his veiny hands. He'd been a big guy, well over six-foot-tall, and must have been 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 pasty 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 the Kylie-look-a-like 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 the four-minute-mile. The smoke seemed to be the only thing keeping his aching bones upright. A large chunk of a woman with even larger black hair, and a million jewels around her nonexistent neck, was seated, or more accurately, dominated an entire sofa with her wide-load. She just stared into the piles of relics towering either side of her. And that left the last old dude who stood in another expensive charcoal suit. He glared out a window with both of his hands behind his back that arched forward as if he were about to pass out. Ms. Kylie version 2.0, departed from my elbow and moved slowly toward the carcase that seemed like some life-size parody of a wedding cake placed on top of that pyramid of museum artifacts. While she paid her last respects, I noticed a glass cabinet containing several metallic Dr. John Dee-like disks with geometrical symbols etched into them. I was about to take a closer inspection, when someone else passed by the door. It was one of those ever 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. And so I strolled on down that corridor. Glancing at melancholic paintings of desolate landscapes in elaborately adorned frames, I took a deep breath and found that dry air was utterly fucking delicious. Suddenly that little maid marched back around the corner and straight into me! Glass shattered upon the hardwood floor, and we both lurched backward as an angry grin crossed my face. The little maid instantly 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. Though, I never did understand how waiters managed to avoid pouring steaming hot lattes over the fat faces of stupid fucking customers when they run around cafes like chickens with their fucking heads lopped off. But then again, I'm still amazed that people in cars don't just constantly run over any old cunt on the sidewalk every fucking chance they get – I would! God help you all if I ever actually find the time to learn my driver's license. But then came a battery of German audacity that we all know from every World War II film that ever portrayed that stereotypical Gestapo member ordering you onto your knees to suck his Luger dry. Turning my captivated eyes from that little maid with her hypnotic hips, I glanced spitefully at that miserable fucking shit still blabbing at the jowls and stomping my way. His midget-like legs and swollen head made him seem grotesquely off balanced. I then spotted a small bronze statue close to my hand as the urge to crack open that ridiculous prick's shiny fucking forehead filled my ventricle – when Ms. Kylie stepped up from behind that approaching shit head, and placed her palm on his shoulder. Much like I myself did outside, that yapping ball of frustration froze in his tracks and snapped his head to attention. I hadn't the foggiest idea what she actually said to that human-Chihuahua, but he didn't say another word, just sneered his bubblegum pink grimace in my vague direction before retreating. Ms. Kylie gestured for me with her outstretched hand. Funny how she was now suddenly my number one advocate and I was automatically above recriminations – for no fucking reason at all. 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?"
The black Mercedes Benz with its chrome grill and appetizing leather, soon curled through the forest roads like a sedative upon 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 took was through Israel, just over a month ago. I'd found the Holy Land to be a fascinating example of civilized contradictions. Firstly, I'd gone there to visit my girlfriend's family, which is unto itself a sign of how serious shit was getting between us. Yet we were both quite clear about our distaste for marriage and procreation. But still, I'm an expert at playing the part of the decent-suitor out to prove what a Prince Charming I can be in seeking the blessing of those I need no validation from. See, I can be the good boyfriend. I can play the game – most of the time.
On our fourth day in Tel-Aviv, we planned a trip to Jerusalem, but first we had to fuck the RAIN away. And then out came the sun. But the unseasonal weather soon turned to shit again, as our GPS led us on a scenic route through some rugged mountains in the West Bank where razor-wire fences surrounded us on either side of the highway. Mara's concern about our location seemed understandable once she explained how the locals would always check license-plates to see if your Israeli or not. Though once we came out of the mountains, the clouds nicely cleared and the blue sky found us driving directly into the Muslim sector of Jerusalem. I'm not sure which version of the same monolith god was working in mysterious ways, but I found his sense of humor to die for! We eventually circled the Old City before finding a parking-lot, and my first impression was quite simply to say, Jesus had days like this. Surrounding the Jaffa Gate were those glorified window displays of capitalism at its finest. Ralph Lauren, Versace, and Christian Dior glistened in the sunshine. While Esprit, Adidas, and Zara lined the polished pavement. Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Giorgio Armani sipped on coffee in that pristine arcade, and to be honest, I don't really know why, but I was sickened by that repugnant stench of profit. Perhaps because this place was praised as such a pivotal fucking point in those three Abrahamic religions. Yet of course the three wiser business men of marketing all relished the phenomenon of supply-and-demand. Wherever there were large numbers of human, there will always be those loyal fucking disciples of both commerce and spirituality. 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. It could have been a set from an Indiana Jones film. Narrow streets with countless tiny stores selling everything from butchered carcases to cheap Arabian scarves. Our sense of direction grew misguided the further we went into that labyrinth of alleyways and multicultural incense. That stink of burning perfume was fortunately damped down once the rain returned. Perhaps the city walls were being rapscallions and didn't want us to find 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 other sealed stone walls. I felt so rejected, shunned even, like god didn't care for the likes of a cunt like me.

We 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. I guess that says something about the place. Bland, but definitely in much better architectural condition than from whence we had just come. Though really, it could have been anywhere in any modern metropolis. It lacked character.
We totally skipped the Armenian Quarter, not out of callous, but because seriously, who gives a fucking shit about the motherfucking Armenians? Do you? Honestly, do you even know where Armenia even is on the fucking globe? It's between Slovakia and Latvia. Idiot! No it's not! But who fucking cares?! In fact, for me, writing this is putting more thought into the Armenians than I've even done in my entire fucking life. And this is probably the last time I'll ever have a reason to. Fucking Armenians! My disregard impressed even me. And it felt pretty fucking good. We then left a courtyard and found ourselves huddling under the umbrella upon the summit of a staircase looking out over the Temple Mount. I could just smell the history in that chilled air as I scanned the distance. My eyes followed the tight-knit settlements outside the Old City walls that covering the hills and stretching up to the Mount Of Olives above that golden dome of the Temple. Below we could clearly spot the Western Wall itself. What the fuck was I doing here? Oh, that's right, I wanted to set foot upon the Holy of Holies and tread upon god's sacred soil! Amen.

Mara and I descending a myriad of stairs, until we entered that near-empty expanse outside the Western Wall. There we had to part ways, as after all, the feminist movement didn't mean piss around those parts. If there were any women's rights activists there, then they were all packed into their significantly smaller portion of the worshiping zone. As I strolled through the drizzle, with the evening quickly encroaching, I glared up at that patchwork arrangement of uneven blocks of stone. I saw three-thousand-years of war and suffering pouring over every fucking inch of it. So this were the only surviving remains of the Second Temple. Could it be any more of a dismal ruin to beg before? It was just a weed-infested foundation with practically no structural detail to give it any kind of allure. If humble-pie was what you were looking for, then Bingo was god's name-o! Yet where the fuck were all those devout motherfucking Muppets? Was a little rain all that it took to keep the masses of touring pilgrims locked up in their five-star fucking hotels? How pathetic! However, like a wet day at Disneyland, the weather made it incredibly convenient for a sour-face infidel like me to mosey straight up and have the whole Western Wall to myself. It wasn't until I was standing right there beneath that cliff of pale stone slabs, that I remembered how the pious flocked here not only to pray, but also to write their laundry lists of ransom demands on pieces of shit paper, and then stuff the cracks in the wall with their mortar of banal bullshit. So not wanting to seem peculiar, I plucked from my jacket pocket one of my Bark stickers. Folding it with a smirk, I reached into the deepest gash in the rock, and buried my sticker amongst 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 my left. There was an arch in the stone that extended westward from the Western Wall, and a gaggle of Orthodox Jews gathered within the shelter. I then understood why the men had dibs on this particular side of the wall.
So into the depth I wandered, and discovered a hovel that was part sanctuary, and part library full of the same old book again and again – you got to love that sweet illusion of choice. I may have been dressed all 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 typify my incognito. But as I made my way through that sauna of earnest Old Testament penguins that were all nodding fervently toward an inanimate wall, I found the whole situation to become rather amusing. Perhaps it was the irony of someone like myself standing freely and uninhabited in such a holy environment. Or, maybe it was simply because I was out of the rain, and the clammy warmth was drying out my shoes. Or, then again, was it due to the observation: that the only time a man truly seemed to respect a single goddamn thing was when a man was found preoccupied with his stringent prayer – that was, until he finished; then, just like a whore, he then had to return to his petty fucking life of a sinning fucking ape. 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 just a fucking game; and yet at the same time he must encourage the King to keep on playing, which of course means acting as if it's not a game at all! So I walked through those oblivious motherfuckers with my Teflon impunity. For the devil feels no pain stepping upon your holy ground, as it is the light that must make the effort to hold back the shadows, not the other way around! And then, out stepped that old guy in black robes at the far end of the library. Two weeks earlier, in the middle of the night, that same ancient fuck had been standing in the middle of the street like a stray dog staring at me with sunken eyes. I had just ignored the catatonic prick and gone my merry little way. But there, at the Western Wall, I stared straight back at that bizarre old buzzard. He seems quite at home surrounded by all those other fanatics. It was definitely the same dude. I clearly remembered his loose lower eyelids that glistened as if he had just been crying only a moment ago. Once again, like back on the Berlin street, he didn't move, just locked eyes with me and barely even blinked. The rituals of the other Jews then caught my attention, and I turned, watching some Moses-wannabe slowly wrap leather straps around his left arm, and then placed some weird wooden cube upon his forehead, before chanting out aloud. Random others, who were already adamantly in prayer, all joined in at the supposed choirs. The tall altar in front of that big bearded Rabbi was intricately carved, and I wondered if this was what went down in all synagogues. I had never been to a synagogue, yet there I was, in Israel, standing in the very heart of Judaism. Maybe my girlfriend should be a good Jew and take me along to a synagogue on the next Sabbath. Naturally, Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, came to mind. Glancing to my left, I found my stalker was still watching me. Perhaps I was being Paranoid (how many Black Sabbath references could I have in one stream of thought?). Though, ever since I went steady with my girl, she would tell me stories about high-profile spooks and international security-threats, and especially after she had introduced me to the show Homeland, I myself had become a tad bit susceptible to the Jewish-condition – that everyone's out to get me! Remember, after the Charlie Hebdo incident, artists were now the new heroes of dissent. Yeah, yeah fucking right! And then the riff from, Into The Void, cranked up inside my brain-stem, and I looked out to the rain. So once more into the – whatever.

When I left that alcove of sardine-packed Jews, I began to wonder if that was what it smelt like in one of those cattle-cars heading to Auschwitz. Then I suddenly realized, I hadn't arranged a rendezvous with Mara before we'd separated at the wall. Glancing across the twilight courtyard at the armed soldiers guarding the entrance, I knew Mara wouldn't have gone far, but still, if I had lost her, how might I explain my way out of this country without a guide? I knew I'd be fine. That unshakable self-reliance was something I'd become consciously aware of ever since hitting rock-fucking-bottom. Every other death-threat was put in perspective as being little more than hearsay.
When Mara finally did come stomping through the rain, she was none too pleased about my momentary absconding. And that's an eternal truth that no amount of dealing with your own demons will ever appease: the insatiable nature of women! You can assure them of your credible intentions, but no amount of rational disclosure will ever suffice. And why should she be happy with dry comprehensible explanations. Drama needs malicious agendas with deliberate motivations aimed at personally insulting those you care for. Because if I hadn't vindictively decided to fuck her over, then it was just an inadvertent accident, and you can't seriously blame someone for an honest mistake. But without the act of shaming another, life is just a tedious fucking yawn! Besides, admitting a mistake would be conceding a lack of control, and no female gives a fuck about a guy who had little control over himself. So when I refused to apologize, she painted me as the misogynist, a title I've always deemed as a double entente. For a misogynist was both attractive and destructive to females: the very essence of Relationships And Their Discontents!
It had gotten too late to visit the Temple Mount, but as we fled that Holy City in the bleak shade of night, I was reminded of how much I cherished those kinds of hostile discourse. 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. Only when I have been in serious relationships have I ever indulged in such brutal interactions. All last year, during my self-imposed isolation while writing Bark, I may have had my own devils dragging me down, but with no other equal and opposite force to crash head-first into, I had become manically imbalanced. 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! Conflict is desirable. Conflict is the greatest source of creative energy. Conflict puts your character to the fucking test. 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, ego-saturated hatred – My Unholy Guardian Devil. Perhaps that was my very problem. There the Western Wall represented the pigheaded-psyche of the righteous, an impassable mental block that was revered every time it was run into. What if the worst of me was this exact same kind of wall?
Israel itself turned out to be a fucking miniscule country geographically, that was however, 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 out into a landscape the likes of which I imagined a primordial Earth once resembled, long before any single-celled anything swam in the sea. This was somewhere far from everything familiar. Whenever I had made one of those departures from civilization, I could summarize the experience as relating to the concept of when a shaman would leave his place in a primitive society and becomes a hermit out in the wild. Once alone, without the necessity to maintain a contributing role, he would converse with nature in order to discover who he truly was. I wanted to keep going further and further. I wanted to drive until the Earth ran out of dirt and we came to the very fucking end of everything. Don't stop driving. Keep going. Further and fucking further. Yet over every crest on the horizon, there was always so much fucking more. There I realized something callous: as dominant as we homo-sapiens liked to think we were, that place was so much greater with its indifferent fucking grandeur! We haven't even scraped the surface of our infinite potential to contaminate those realms of wastelands. I wanted more nuclear disasters, more unjust police violence, more motherfucking toxic shit that would completely erase the icecaps and drown the entire cunting world in flaming human misery! I saw hell! The epic depth of the desert showed me the enormity of a barren existence that stretched in all directions right beneath my very fucking feet. 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 confirming that I was both the devil himself, and nothing like him at all! Hell was an internal and external force so fucking immense that I could scarcely grasp the magnitude of its wrath. The desert simply flowed through this human-filter, showing me how strong and envious I was of all those horrors I had done and had yet to achieve. For the brighter the sun, the more in focus your shadow becomes!
Mara had been driving for hours, with the rock formations gradually growing utterly arid with craggy ranges either side. And then, suddenly we came around a bend and were right at the edge of Makhtesh Ramon. It was a massive crater-like valley that apparently hadn't been caused by meteor impact or volcano. As the car cruised down the northern cliff, my eyes eventually adjusted to the severe fucking scale of that landscape below. The size of that rift was bewildering. I've lived by the ocean and seen the extreme horizon countless times, but that broken desert stretching into the faded reaches of the globe's curvature, left me mesmerized. It was as if the ground there had just dropped away exposing the very ribs of the planet's origins. It was moments like this, when you grasped the edge of your seat as you witnessed something magnificent, while your girlfriend sped recklessly down a cliff-side road, that were the very reason why it was worth getting up in the fucking morning! That's when I saw it happen. I saw a vision of how that place was created –
Disembodied, I was above this land, looking down at a bleak desert of dust without any remarkable features at all. Suddenly the clouds tore open as a thunderous sound shattered the sky! Instantly the air turned into a tempest! A huge ring of ominous storm clouds expanded out as though a neutron bomb had just detonated in the stratosphere. The gargantuan blast-wave slowed down but the sky itself continued to thicken into some kind of filthy liquid. The very fabric of reality was straining to hold its integrity as that obsidian stain stretched across the entire hemisphere. The shock-wave then struck my out-of-body-experience, but it felt as vivid as if my terrestrial body was very much with me and getting the shit kicked out of it! Against the shredding gales and all that regal lightning that ripped up that huge smoke-ring in the sky, I saw the great fall of Satan himself! From this distance he was like a tiny ball of white light being cast face-first toward this uninhabited world. Despite the insignificant size of this divine being, the force with which he was expelled from the grace of god sent ripples throughout every atom in the heavens above and below. Waves of disrupted air continued expanding out from his indignant descent. The lower he got, the more violent the storm became. This was something that was never meant to be! This was not the destruction of innocence, this was worse! It's willing corruption! All that havoc was a collision between an ethereal dimension violating this plane of crude material. This was as unnatural to the universe as its own creation had been to the abyss. Elemental foundations failed to hold the continuity of time and absolute order. The shell of light that encased the Morning Star then burst open and burned for the last time! A naked form of grotesque derision plunged with a new kind of fire that incinerated his own splendor. Engulfed in the very first flames of damnation, Satan struck the Earth with such brutal impact that for a moment it seemed as if nothing had happened, like he had simply 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 had caused such a tremendous explosion that it evaporated the storm clouds in an instant, and reduced the whole sky to scarlet flames! That expulsion of the defeated one had cut a hole straight into the Earth with such a ferocity that the very penetration gave birth to hell itself –
Once trust is gone, you've completely destroyed the origins of what was once praised as the most sacred identity.

The car pulled into a vacant plot next to the highway at the bottom of that gigantic basin where the wind was less than welcoming. My vision had passed, but the cyclone gales were relentless. Standing out there with that boundless vista beneath the beating sun, I wondered if the Curiosity Rover had anticipated winds like these up there on the red planet. The longer I stared into that unremitting desolation, the more I felt like I was not only isolated, but somewhere truly alien. Another daunting thought arose, if the car would shit its pants out there, then we really might as well be on the fucking moon! Yet, for thousands of fucking years people had no choice but to simply walk on through such hostile wastelands. Fuck that shit! Especially fuck walking where there weren't any real nice smooth fucking roads to lead the way. Still, people had done it. Walked right through this fucking hell. The fucking balls on those cunts! As we drove on, I remained primarily aware of traveling up the mountains, only to face more of the same. Over another space devoid of anything, we travelled toward another ridge, and then again, upon reaching those heights, we were confronted with nothing but a fuck-load of more fucking desert. Seriously, the balls on those fucking people that had come walking out into this shit in the blind hopes of ever finding another living thing, was insane. It blew my fucking mind. I mean, I thought building megalith cities, engineering hydro-electric dams, and creating Asian-girls-love-anal-porn in HD was impressive; but those who had the fucking gumption to trek out into this inferno on their own two fucking feet, well shit, they had balls, balls like a sack of coal dragging between their legs and making their hike so much more fucking uncomfortable. Though we weren't alone out there. At the most southern point of our journey, we shot past what looked like a cargo truck slowly making its way down the mountain highway. It wasn't until we were overtaking the truck that I realized it was transporting a fucking tank on its trailer. We soon passed some small military camp where clusters of other tanks were lined up like blondes on a beach. After all, we were right next to the border of Jordan. No matter where we went, we were constantly reminded of the literal threat of war all around. Yet I remained the blissful tourist here without a fucking care in the world.
I'd been visiting Bordeaux last August (and stalking a female), when I had been watching CNN's coverage of Israel's latest conflict with the Gaza Strip. At the time I had no vested interest in either side. I just enjoyed the sheer entertainment of the indiscriminate carnage with all that rhetoric justifying whatever. I didn't need a reason to delight in that kind of modern day savagery. But then this year, at the start of April, just before Mara and I had departed for the Holy Land, I had been invited to a surprise private pajama party. The fat-titted host was a burlesque icon who'd always indulge my flirtatious innuendos about sodomizing her perfect rectum, so I couldn't refuse the invitation. Later that evening however, I was getting some air on the street when one of the local drags gave me the queer-eye after I had told him that I was about to travel to Israel. He was mostly shocked that I had managed to pull a Russian Jew as a girlfriend, until he then got all stern while questioning what exactly I would be doing while in the Holy Land? This perturbed me, what was he thinking I was thinking of doing over there? Mara then joined us for some fresh air, and that's when I learned that this drag also happened to be a jolly old fucking Jew too. I had no fucking idea that they were every-fucking-where. I never could tell ethnic groups apart, or even subcultures, or whatever specific fucking genre of metal I was listening to anymore. Is this doom, sludge, crunchy, monster, funk metal, or was it just Starbucks latest Frappuccino? 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 fucking identified with. Oh, but of course you're not a fucking hipster, I wouldn't fucking dream of calling you such a fucking thing. Seriously, I don't think the kids today know a more awful insult than being labeled as a miserable fucking hipster cunt. Looks like 'nigger' is back in the good books again thanks to Die Antwoord. So I headed back into the PJ party, where I soon found myself in the bedroom with all those girlies in bathrobes. A boylesque performer fresh of the boat also brought up the conversation about what my Israeli holiday plans were. He ended it abruptly by quipping, "Well, when you're over there, try not to be a dick!" What?! 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?! Try not to be a dick?! Why would he even suggest such a thing?! Did I look like a fucking dick?! Did I have a history of being a motherfucking dick in the presence of that fucking smug little son of a fucking whore?! What was this fag's thought process, 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 fucking vicinity of any precious fucking Jews?! Was my girlfriend included?! Christ, I could see why this guy was here, he'd fit in perfectly with all those other PC Germans pussyfooting around their fucking holocaust-guilt. 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. The world was far too fucking globalized to claim separate racial ideologies anymore. Besides, according to evolution, ultimately we all came from China, like all our fucking clothes did, or was it that we're all eventually becoming Chinese? Fuck, all I knew was that you couldn't dress like a cheesy stereotypical fucking Mexican without committing intellectual-suicide in the eyes of Jon Stewart. But the racist I'm-not-a-racist-butt in my greasy fucking asshole wasn't allowed to shed a single fucking tear whenever I saw endless college girls dressed in miniature versions of what was once meant to be the sacred kilt from my frolicking fucking forefathers. I mean honestly, I wouldn't be that offended if all those delinquent juveniles would honor the Scottish tradition by never once wearing any of those tiny white, cotton nickers under those sweet, sweet pleats of theirs. Was I a dick for asking?! Or to put it in a more eloquent and convoluted way: I was far too much of a cultural-bolshevik to ever be a fucking Nazi, you dimwitted philistine!
So there we were, driving up highway 90 with Jordan directly to our starboard, and the sun setting on this Israeli desert to our port. We soon pulled into a petrol station for refreshments and called ahead to the cabins that we'd booked so they'd know that we were running late. The wind was fierce upon that convenience-store-oases, that was also being bombarded by several bus-loads of gawking tourists that had just arrived as we did. The usual welcome mat was laid out before us as we were greeted by Snickers, Coco Cola, and Pringles upon every fucking shelf. The universal factors of global homogenization was the asphalt on the road, the junk food in any crappy corner store, and the bullets in the guns of those automatic rifles. Rifles that could kill you just as efficiently whether those soldiers in the store were on your side or actually only paid to guard the M&Ms like they were a national fucking treasure. I soon noticed that those guys in dirty olive-green uniforms with several days of stubble, weren't guarding shit. They were just like everyone else in that dust ball in the middle of fucking nowhere, there to get high on sugar and food coloring while travelling to any place but there. Mara had told me about the conditions that the Israeli soldiers had to live with. Every citizen, once they come of age, was obliged to serve for a couple of years 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 who were responsible for the very security of this Holy Land, were paid barely enough to buy a pack of cigarettes per month, seemed a fraction neglectful. Now I was no bleeding heart, but if you were commanding the loyalty of your troops on a daily basis, then don't be a fucking Jew about it! I winced when Mara told me how the soldiers didn't even get any sort of transportation back home on their downtime, which explained why we saw several of them hitchhiking cross-country. Was my 'wince' uncalled for? Well, shit. Just keep in mind that before we ventured to this lovely land, Mara had shown me multiple news clips where random Muslims suddenly went berserk and ran people down with any fucking automobile they could get their hands on. See, now that made the whole hitchhiking-with-a-fat-target-on-your-fucking-back lose all its fucking romance. Living rough in the military goes without saying, but this was borderline humiliation. And you should never humiliate those whom you need to protect you. Humiliation leads to resentment and betrayal. Spare the rod and spoil the child, that's one thing, but excessive disrespect was the womb of rebellion. Netanyahu must be glad to know that all his trained killers believed in the same granddaddy deity in the sky, or, 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: whose side am I on? Oh, the contentious politics of Middle-Eastern allegiances, here we come! I could already hear the liberals screaming, Bruce, fuck your girlfriend-bias, why haven't you mentioned the outrageous plight of the Palestinians yet?! Ah, those poor sweet underdogs. I haven't forgotten about them. Yeah, I saw the kitten-graffiti that Banksy had done during his little visit to Gaza. See, I told you, artists were the apparent fucking heroes of radical thought. Which is why ISIS wanted to behead them all and film it. Which always perplexed me. If extreme Islam deplores any image which could be misconstrued as a false idol, then why the fuck were they creating propaganda videos playing at a frame rate of 29-fucking-images-per-fucking-second? Wasn't the very production and distribution of those selfie-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, down-trodden, and easily susceptible, into a war against the hordes of infidels; yet the movie-stars of those public executions were represented by moving images that were then doted over by psychotic fans who adored their protagonists as if they were Muhammad himself. We all know that fiftteen-minutes-of-Youtube-fame could go to the head of any right-thinking lunatic. Thus, their extremist sacrilege reeked of hypocrisy! Seriously, shame on you ISIS for the false idols that you've promoted in every propaganda film that you've ever fucking broadcast! But then Mara reminded me that I was just being fucking pedantic! Perhaps, but wasn't that what it means to be a fucking extremist, to lose your shit over even the tiniest of fucking details. Wasn't god in those very fucking details? She then cautiously warned me, that even by suggesting my sarcastic-criticisms I might have inadvertently risen my own ugly name to the top of their shit-hot shit-list. I cocked my eye toward her. Was there a single ideology on the face of the Earth that I haven't pissed off already? Even the humanitarian fucking German government wanted to sue my ass out of existence for my art! There was nowhere safe for true free expression. No one lived in a fucking vacuum! We all had haters out there, and we weren't even aware of 99% of them. But the bottom-line was, I didn't need to draw a bullshit 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 without actually knowing I even fucking exist! And still people say that we lived in peaceful times. Wasn't Salman Rushdie still in hiding? It had only been twenty-six-fucking-years since the fatwa was slammed on his ass. Yeah, real harmony. Yet despite the clear and present danger, there was something reassuring to me about being in Israel, knowing that every neighboring country wanted to wipe this entire fucking civilization clean off the fucking map. I found that to be very fucking human trait, and I was remarkably comfortable with it. Too often the current cushy empires of the world would take their position of power for granted and assume that there wasn't anybody out there who was going to invade or stir up shit. 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! There, my hat was officially in the sociopolitical-ring. Countries were won by force! That's history, baby. As for the West Bank, it wasn't even marked on the map of Israel that I had picked up from the airport. Why? Because it had been long since adsorbed and there simply was no discussion about it. Just like no one else discussed whether any fucking nation should be handed back to any indigenous fucking people. Because if you pushed the argument hard enough, it became so fucking 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 should own a continent before homo-sapiens had even left the African planes. Fuck it, I reckon fish should inherit the whole fucking planet! But dolphins and whales had the right idea, by saying fuck this dry-ass fucking shit hole! Back into the deep blue sea my mammal brothers, sisters, and comrades in arms. Leave the land to the foolish reptiles!
The drive north led us into the howling night where we approached the Salt Ponds at the southern end of the Dead Sea. Just before all was lost from the gaze of the sun, we past an enormous refinery. A factory that was quite plainly put, sucking the sea dry! What a spectacular sight to behold indeed. Out of so much abandoned badlands, industry was thriving on a natural resource that, for all intents and purposes, was death to every other living thing. I could just imagine back in the days, back before the pharaohs, when those weary nomads had come tramping for weeks across that vast expanse, only to discover that this delicious fucking sea was comprised of so much salt-content that it made a liver-failing alcoholic's piss taste heavenly. Quickly enough, we were driving through the dark, and it all seemed a bit too familiar with thoughts of Loch Ness under my skin. Through one last military checkpoint, we then turned up into the mountains. A cluster of cabins were waiting for us way up there in the black where the gales were doing their worst on that exposed ridge. That night it rained as if old man Yahweh had sent a new flood in order to scare me the hell out of Dodge. Seemed like when the desert had a storm, the shit goes balls to the fucking walls! I slept like a baby.
In the morning, we found our cabin's porch was coated with the slick mud runoff from the torrential downpour that had suddenly blown itself out in the small hours. The folk at the breakfast hall were themselves bemused about the peculiar monsoon that had come out of nothing for the first time in a million fucking years. 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 didn't mean: wow, what a pristine blue lake surrounded by palm trees as seen in some fifties Hollywood movie. And I didn't even mean: wow, what a bleak day so shit that it seemed as though I was viewing the entire valley in black and white – which it did appear. But no, I meant: wow, that lake really was fucking disappearing like some Goliath plug had been pulled out and the water was half-way-drained out of that god-size-like bathtub! The gradient terraces where the water level had once been (beneath where the highway traveled), looked like the layers of bone from a skull that had been worn away with a rusty grinder. Mara informed me that all the mining for salt, and the very heat of the desert was drying up the Dead Sea faster than it was able to replenish itself. How marvelous. Yet out there, against that dreary backdrop, as I watched Mara make her way further around the fencing at the edge of the cliff, I saw how unique she really was. I had always found that entering a relationship held parallels with annexing a natural resource. You suddenly had access to places and people you would otherwise have little connection to. After all, I didn't know anyone else of significance in that region of the world, and if we hadn't come together, I would have no overt reason to be there at all. She was one in seven-billion. What were the odds? Pretty slim. Yet she'd 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 changed that all for me. Therefore she was so important that I couldn't even compare her any other 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. For the pet will love the master for the begotten love, as so too the master loves the pet for the love reciprocated. Though the conundrum being: was this reinforcing spiral expanding or decreasing? Expanding and slowing down like ripples in a pond, or decreasing 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 whipped around hairpin-corners as she just avoided random boulders that were dangerously scattered across on the entire road. The rugged cliffs outside my passenger-side window might have been a beautiful rock formation to behold, but I was too busy straining my muscle-locked neck against the extreme inertia to appreciate anything but the altitude. Mara always enjoyed boasting about how Israelis were all assholes when they drove – it's a cultural thing. That's nice, but did she really have to live up to that bad fucking reputation while I was clinging to my safety-belt right next to a hundred foot fucking precipice?!

The only intervention that finally managed to force my deranged little chauffeur to hit the fucking breaks, was when we faced a landslide that had coated our path. Last night's deluge had washed huge channels down those massive walls of stone, and if the little highways man happened to get in the way, to hell with them. But Mara wasn't so easily intimidated by the dried-up remains of a rocky avalanche, and onwards we went – until the car's center stabilizer system shit its pants! An alarm bleeped out as the wheels slid on the sludge and we went sideways! My fingers drug into the motherfucking dashboard, as Mara chuckled and just drove on through.

The sun came out and we soon parked beneath a collection of gaudy hotel towers. There we ate ice cream on the beach at the Dead Sea, accompanied by dozens of fat Russian grannies. Sunbathing wasn't an activity I was renowned for, but I wasn't afraid to show off my huge pentagram tattoo even in the stinking hot Holy Land. However, after getting ankle-deep in that revolting water, I shied away from another step. I would go skinny-dipping in a loch in the dead of winter, but the slimy content of the Dead Sea wasn't something I had bargained for. No fucking thank you! It was more like a lake of baby-oil than water, and once it touched your clothes, let's just say it left what could only be described as 'sex stains'. My refusal to swim 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 our first break-up a week before traveling to Israel, and since then everything between us was on probation. She didn't trust me and I couldn't trust her. That was all we were in agreement upon. So why had she gotten back together and then introduced a piece of shit like myself to her family? Would time be the test of our communication skills? Might things all work out in the end even if we were so diametrically opposed? But if we were fundamentally against compromising our principles on the concept of honesty, then why did she come knocking back on my door? I understood that it wasn't as simplistic as just saying: because I had some principles I was more attractive than someone without any – but that was the only logic that seemed to hold up. Was it really such a good thing that I was there at all, staring over that body of salt-water with Jordan on the distant shore. 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."

We drove northeast and reentered the Old City of Jerusalem, this time, the sun shining as we happened to stumble upon the tomb of King David. It wasn't the fanciest tomb I've ever come across, but 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 grave was a chunk of unbecoming basic rock, so I found the Orthodox themselves to be of greater interest. All of them were wearing black suit pants and jackets, white shirts, and black kippahs, some with wide brimmed hats. There were a few real old chaps with their Spanish-moss-like beards. A couple were faithfully swinging their whole bodies as they nodded toward the tomb while muttering prayers. Before this trip, I had no clue as to how many ginger Jews there were, those soulless fucks. And of course there was at least one real insane, homeless looking old guy, ranting to himself in a corner just like any nut-job you would see in any city anywhere. Then, just to remind me of what fucking century I was living in, I spotted some young Orthodox kid on his iPhone checking his Facebook while in the presence of this supposedly sacred fucking religious figurehead. Fucking A! The devil worked in mysterious fucking ways.
Later, we learned from some bored-as-fuck guard outside the Western Wall, that the Temple Mount was apparently only open on Sundays. So I was denied from the Holy of Holies once again. That's okay, I prefered fucking a girl in the ass anyway – get it? The Holy of Holies...
Leaving the Old City out the Damascus Gate, we headed down a narrow road that lead to the Garden Tomb. It was the supposed location of where Jesus of Nazareth had been both crucified and then buried for those three-Eastern-Bunny-days of chocolate-egg-binging. So from Orthodox Jews, to Muslim hecklers, and then into a den of fat fucking American tourists we went – what an ethnic smorgasbord of spiritual congestion! However, there was one blunt truth that you must remember at all times when visiting such sights of historical controversy: Jerusalem itself had been around for the last six-thousand-years, it's been razed, attacked, and claimed by conflicting cultures countless fucking times. So you always had to keep that in mind when you were being told that even a single fucking pebble on the road was in the slightest bit authentic. That said, let the tour group lead on. I wanted to see that fucking rock of Golgotha where Jesus fucking Christ was crucified on his cross. And as those fucking cow-people shuffled up that path between those Eden-like trees, I heard a voice enter my head and take over my body. Mara then turned, watching as I began humming the melody to New York, New York, by Frank Sinatra. An ecstatic smirk creased my lips, while Mara just shook her head and sniggered. So with a skip to my strip, and old Frankie-boy in my head, I immediately found myself staring up at that forty-foot-high cliff that vaguely reassembled the face of a skull. There, without hesitation, our tour guide began making figurative excuses about the fact that a fucking bus-depot currectly resided directly below that apparently ridiculed sight of god's public humiliation. A disembodied embarrassment still going strong two-thousand-years after JC's debatable execution. Frankie-boy then sung 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." 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. I'm not sorry to say that the situation was just too irresistible, and I had to raise my hand with the goats-up for a photo within the final resting place of Jesus the motherfucking King Of The Jews. I am the great Desecrationist, Bruce Stirling John Knox! Please don't forget to tip your waitress.

Israel though, was a more than a month ago. Paying attention to the Brandenburg countryside, I saw heavy clouds approaching again, and I had even less of an idea about where I was or in which direction the Benz was heading from that funeral of eccentric strangers. Glancing toward Ms. Kylie on my left, I took note of the rigid way in which she typed upon her smartphone, like she had just learned the alphabet, and with no thumbs involved. She may have been in her fifties, but goddamn it, she sure was a foxy little number. I especially enjoyed her perfect posture beneath those glistening aristocrat eyes. I didn't know how she sat up so straight in that beige backseat, I preferred to stretch out and relax with my elbow on the door-frame. I had no shame about taking up a large area of space for the comfort of my long legs. Our body-language said plenty about both of us. For our internal side was reflected by our external, whether we liked it or not. Who you think you were was irrelevant in the face of the perception of others. What you did and how you portrayed your actions were what really mattered. That soup of bullshit thoughts and capricious impulses never meant a fucking thing if you didn't actualize any of it. Attraction was based on the tangible-illusion presented. We were all magicians. We were all fucking liars. What adds or subtracts from your attraction all boiled down to what you allowed to be seen based on the context of the given situation. There was no universal pretty face. You had to adapt to the appropriate environment with the shrewdness to understand how best to manipulate your opponents. Remember, they were all out to fuck you over! No matter how much your buddy said he was your closest friend, or how much your lover said she fucking loved you, every ideal had an exception given a long enough track-record of anyone's behavior. So keep your fucking secrets to yourself, or everyone would turn and shit all over you from a great fucking height. Ms. Kylie then looked up and smiled beautifully at me. I just sneered in disgust and slowly turned my head toward the passing scenery.
The Mercedes Benz had left the main road some time ago, and just before we reached a wooden gate, Ms. Kylie told the driver to pull over. Apparently only her voice was good enough to inquire at the front gate's intercom. I stepped out of the car and took a languished scowl at that huge red-brick abbey-like mansion lying just beyond the trees that lined the gravel driveway. What the fuck was I doing there? Why had I even left for this fucking trip? Oh, that's right, Mara and I had just broken up for a second time. There wasn't anything I had to do right now. So I slumped into the backseat and then watched Ms. Kylie's prosthetic leg stretch in before her. Her stockings covered the molded metal, but the hinges were accentuated by her tight dress. She stared at my intrusive gaze, and I slowly extended my inspection all the way up to her full breasts, and then to her dignified pout. I've seen only a few elderly ladies worth a closer look, and this chick was definitely working it. Quietly we both shared that mutual glad-eye of transfixed temptation as the car gently pulled up to that enshrouding mansion.

"Wait here," Ms. Kylie whispered, stepping out.
Wait here? What, and no pat on the fucking head like the good dog-boy she fucking expected of me? Fuck that shit! Exiting the vehicle, I watched that tiny female limp into the shade of the arched front door. Glancing up at those pointy, cathedral-styled windows on the second floor, my eyes were drawn to an area of the roof on the left wing that had been significantly burnt and was left yawning and blackened. However, plugging in my headphones, I walked away from that classy joint listening to the new track from Manson, Slave Only Dreams To Be King. I had started this day early as fuck, so my eyes had begun drying out into prunes beneath my sunglasses despite the clouds chilling every-earthly-thing below. Strolling away in no particular direction, I knew that I was a big boy and that no matter how fucking lost I might get, there was always plenty more motherfuckers ahead of me. This wasn't the desert, this was Europe central! 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 lattice of roads leading me toward more human settlements after human fucking settlements. This wasn't the countryside, this was just those empty breaths between distorted habitats that made up the guidelines that kept mortal men on track toward an overdue fucking grave. Why the fuck had I even returned to Berlin in December?! Just to come back to this echo-chamber of inconsolable misanthropy?! Well, shit. It seemed like a good idea at the time, coming back from an all-time low just to see if I could rebuild. And so far, I had fucking done it! But at a price of course. A price merely measured in euros. As for the cost on my personality, well, as Mara liked to criticize, only during that last December had I truly seemed honest. 'Seemed' being the operative word there. Yet her constant nagging that I had apparently been a better fucking person only during the honeymoon of our relationship only served to denigrate everything we had done together since! But hey, no lover I've ever sodomized had been above calling me a piece of shit on a regular fucking basis. And yet she wondered why I would resort to my old wicked ways. I found that every new relationship inevitably became just like every past one. Or is that ultimately my failed state of mind? Well, according to my petulant lover, if I'm the defining factor in the destruction of my past intimacies, then I am the factor at fault! Thus, recently I was pestered into my first one-on-one private counseling session just a few weeks ago.
Darren Brody was the second choice on my short list of therapists. My first being an advocate of Carl Jung, but he was fully booked. Yet Darren Brody still came highly recommended. One of the few questions he asked, was why I chose him. He was a male, older than myself, and his first language was English. I was being systematic. So a sexist, ageist, and racist cognitive-bias to begin with – a load of baggage right there. But 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? Instead, should I have sought out a female foreigner, half my age? Although, that sounds more like my sexual inclinations rather than someone who might have at least some possibility of gaining my fucking respect. Well, it had been a gorgeous Berlin day and I'd taken the afternoon off work to visit Darren Brody's office. 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 doormat – if I was looking for a spiritual guru that is. It was during that summer's day that I learned how to correctly categorize the many faces of therapists. For he was neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. Psychologists just talk about shit, while psychiatrists were like doctors who could actually deal out psychedelic drugs. But Darren Brody himself, was just a counselor. Just a dude who could listen. And so a cringe began to grow behind my elegantly chiseled expression of conceit. But fuck it, let's move on. We went through a rundown of the situation starting with when the police took me to hospital last year, and then I ended up reminiscing about my lovely childhood growing up on a sun-drenched island. We briefly discussed my art, where Darren Brody asked if I'd ever considered why I had all these violent thoughts. I shrugged nonchalantly with a charming grin and confessed: we're a violent species, we're all capable of atrocious violence given the right circumstances, and I'm at peace with that. He nodded his gray beard, inhaled pensively, and then brought up the only question that I myself had wanted to ask: what did I wish to gain from therapy? I sat back and returned the question, yeah, what was the fucking point of all this? He confessed he wasn't there to tell anyone what to do, it was up to the client to decided what they wanted to achieve. So I tilted my head, and suggested that the real reason I was there was merely to mitigate my girlfriend's aggravated insinuations. I wasn't there because she sincerely believed that I was still suicidal, but because deep down she knew that I was a truly belligerent fucking prick who had cruelly trapped her in the emotional gravity of our passive-aggressive relationship. But I had no interest in talking about intimate dynamics with anyone else but the subject of my objectification. And then the one word that summed up that therapy-experience was brought to the proverbial round table of open dialog: ambivalent! With a hearty enthusiasm, I instantly agreed with Darren Brody. Ambivalent! Fuck yeah! 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 with a professional eardrum my fanciful fucking masochistic-Oedipus-psychosis. I was there to prove to my girlfriend that there was no one else who could help me if I had already been consumed by my own Shadow – as Jung might put it. And so I felt a great sense of relief as I bid Darren Brody a schönen tag. My breakthrough-facepalm-moment having been as simple as: I have absolutely no need of therapy until I know exactly what I need therapy for.
It wasn't long before that Mercedes Benz came creeping up beside me.
"What, pray tell, do you think you're doing?" Ms. Kylie asked through her open window. "Get in. hurry up. We don't have all day. We need to stop by in Herzberg, that vulgar little sty."
Yeah, fuck walking. I climbed back into the car. Ms. Kylie held on her lap a leather satchel beneath her slender fingers with all their gold rings. As we drove off, I asked, "What's in Herzberg?"
"Another guest that unfortunately must be invited to this evening's reception." She looked less than thrilled about her duty-bound errand. "I owe him that much."
Ms. Kylie nattered on for a while longer, but I zoned out thinking about that little maid with all her es-tut-mir-leids. I hoped this evening's reception was back at the home of the deceased, so I could get a better look at the little maid's penitent posture, all hunched and regrettable. However, my mind drew itself back to the airport at Tel-Aviv when we were in the line for the departure gates. At the first security checkpoint a female guard took our passports, immediately asking us to wait while she went and collected the head of security, another female in an airport uniform. She pretty much ignored me completely, instead she grilled 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. And then suddenly we were on our way through the departure gates. With a sideways chuckle, I asked Mara what exactly that had all been about. Mara 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 had then told the head of security that it was because I'd always been with other girls, so she had to wait. That was why the ladies at the checkpoint had all shared a sympathetic giggle. And even if it wasn't the whole truth, it still made me feel fucking awesome about myself. Just the idea alone that Mara, little Miss Impatient herself, actually waiting for me, revealed something of how she felt about me. Those moments were interesting. The sort of moments that you remembered for years. The moments that were to everyone else just a trifling insignificant event. But they were important as fuck to me. 'Me' being my ego. My 'ego' being me!
The drive to the unheard of Herzberg took longer than I'd anticipated, and the conversation in the Benz had been virtually nonexistent. But once we reached the gates to some reclusive son of a bitch, again Ms. Kylie exited the vehicle.
"Are you coming?" she asked this time, but not waiting for my reaction.
I didn't know what the deal was with all of her shut-in buddies, but this time the car stayed at the gate while we went by foot up that cured drive way. This house was taller than the previous. It was five-floors-high and white like a five-star hotel. 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 his hands. Ms. Kylie hesitated and nearly stopped dead in her tracks as the butler silently held up the platter with domed lid and expected someone to open it. Glaring at Ms. Kylie, I hadn't a fucking clue why she was suddenly acting so anxious, so I faked a fleeting smirk at the butler, and then whipped off 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 baby deer! The putrid stench, however, slapped me in the face, and I spun away literally trying to spit that stink out of my flared nostrils!
"Fuck, I can taste it!" I yelled, still laughing, as I reached for my phone to take a photo. "That's some rancid fucking shit, right there!"
"Put that away!" Ms. Kylie hissed, slamming the lid over that fleshy carcase before I could even switched on my phone. Passing the leather satchel to the butler, Ms. Kylie immediately retreated toward the car. Standing there on the driveway, still blowing snot out my violated nose, I squinted at this weird exchange. My thirst for a coffee was now really beginning to leave a bad taste on my maggot-flavored tongue.

Ms. Kylie and I made it back to the dead man's house by early evening, and by then the only little maid that I was interested in seeing was the one behind the bar in some elaborate parlor full of a thousand antler trophies. Give me coffee, and bitch, don't you fucking dare go cheap on the sugar! It had been a stupidly long fucking day. I had gotten up at 4am in order to catch the first train to Potsdam, where I then caught another train to my remote hotel – the hotel that I still had to walk back to from this cheery old estate. Though, all I could think of was coffee. Sweet, creamy fucking coffee. However, the espresso that arrived brought out an 'espression' on my fucking face that was less than grateful! I hate shots of black bile! Fuck off with that shit, and get thee to a nunnery! Drinking coffee without milk and sugar was the equivalent of licking that black crust between a hobo's fucking toes! And don't give me that bullshit about you being somekind of cunting coffee connoisseur! I knew the fucking difference between what tasted like puke and what got my dick hard! These days there were too many Berlin fucks endorsing the rancid coffee at wood-paneled cafes run by inbred fucking Australians! Coffee-whores who were only interested in perchasing some quality-grade recognition of their location-validated Instagram post! When in reality, that shit coffee tasted like the sweaty scrotum of a decomposing fucking yack that had been stewing in a fucking cesspool of diarrhea sodden diapers for a fucking month! Fuck your fair-trade, cock-flavored, organic-shit-grown coffee! So, unfortunately, I had to settle for a decanter of water. I downed that jug like a triathlon. Taking a seat in a leather armchair, I then recalled the last week that had led up to this little trip south.
A group of friends and I had gone to the Kino for the release of new Mad Max film. It had been a decent flick, though there wasn't nearly enough blood for my liking. On the way out, we were all in a joking mood; but during the ride back to Mara's place, the discourse between her and I had gone 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 truly honest with ourselves. Mara then therefore accused me of endlessly 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. Correspondence that Mara had only found 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 over Amelia. How disappointing and yet reassuring. We had both been at fault for breaking each other's trust. And so we broke-up for the first time. And then, after Mad Max, we broke-up for a second time. For that evening, I had snapped and said that there was no point in persisting in this travesty, as once trust was broken it was broken for good! You could never fix broken trust! I knew this from every past relationship that I had ever had. These weren't idle thoughts! I've thoroughly proved this point with the ex who wished to carry my child; after showing her how much of a perfect boyfriend I could be, she still never forgave me! NEVER! And why should she? So why should Mara? I don't fucking deserve to be forgiven! I was the very nature in humanity that wanted every last one of us drowned in the lake of fire – just to see if I could get away with it! But that was a lie. I didn't want to fucking get away with it! I wanted to get caught – just to watch that agonized look in your cunting eyes after I told you how much I loved every fucking moment of you soul's destruction! I was the living example of why utopian civilizations could never coexist. Claiming that you're 'just being human' was the easiest fucking excuse for being an evil piece of dog shit! And yet still they fucking tolerate it! I have confessed to every god that I've ever mocked, how I'm truly not worth a damn; but then you chimed in, saying that that's just my insecurities talking. My insecurities? Well, I know that's a fucking buzz-word everyone loved to throw into arguments simply to stir up actual insecurities, but if you couldn't see that I had deliberately shit upon you from the very beginning, while in complete control of my faculties, then you really were a fucking moron! You didn't just deserve to be abused, you fucking needed emotional-vampires to relentlessly victimize your own self-loathing because that was the only way that you could feel anything, you unoriginal fucking casualty of depression-obsession! So I broke-up with Mara a second time. Though, how quickly she revealed her bluff, and back-peddled. It was suddenly too-small-a-reason to break-up. Exactly! If it was such a small fucking thing, then why did she always blow everything out of fucking proportions? Mara then began crying and hugged me, begging me to stay. Her sobbing then reminded me of an incident a week before Mad Max, when Mara's work for the ISB (International Spook Buddies) had gained her an invitation to an evening with the philharmonic.
It was an invitation to commemorate 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. No big deal, we continued our chitchat about her colleagues, when suddenly the Brazilian tourist who sat right next to me then burst into tears while she spoke with the ticket-guy. I slowly turned my head from Mara toward this creature blubbering like some melodramatic fucking swine. It seemed that she had the wrong ticket but she was so very fucking adamant that this was merely a misunderstanding and that she hadn't maliciously intended to commit a crime. Oh, please can't you forgive her, please god, help her, please, why, oh, why?! I sat there silently restraining my glee at this fantastic example of Male Vs. Female dynamics playing out before my tantalized eyes. The young Turkish guy looked abashed with uncertainty as he dealt with that weeping chick, especially when that whining Brazilian resorted to explaining her justifications in Portuguese. That was when another female passenger tried to mediate in German with the ticket-guy. The second collector, an older dude, then stepped up to see what the problem was. I liked him, he immediately dismissed the tourist's sniveling, for it was she who had fucked-up, they were just doing their job. But the Brazilian stuck to her game-plan and moaned and pleaded as if she were on trial for the life of her whole fucking family. The train then reached the next station where the two collectors just decided to say fuck it, and they backed the fuck away from that whimpering fucking sack of misdirection. Oh, how I applauded that textbook case of crocodile-tears which allowed females to get away with anything! And how I shook my head in disgust at those two ticket-collectors for their pathetic lack of resolve! I was sure that the older guy would have had enough life-experience to see straight through that facade of wounded innocence, and see the clear manipulation that it ultimately was – make everyone else in close proximity feel as awkward as possible till the overwhelming trend-sympathy pressures those provoking the dilemma into simply abandoning their position, no matter how completely valid they were in the first fucking place! 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 a female let the waterworks gush, you must always remember that her argument was obviously so fucking weak that she had nothing more of substance to say, so she resorted to attention-seeking tears instead! But she would not get one ounce of fools-pity from this fucking son of a bitch. Never reciprocate once you've ended the conversation, never give them an inch, or you would never get out of there.

So after Mad Max, I broke it off with Mara, took my keys back, and left her sobbing on her bedroom floor along with all my things. I don't need things! And yet after several days, when that iron of our aggressions had cooled, we met for a coffee. She then crawled up close, accepting that she had been wrong and apologized for everything. However, I wasn't amused. Staring at some young lovers at another table, I just wanted to burn their shimmering happiness, as I sodomize the female, while I crushed her boyfriend's throat with a fucking crowbar! I then glanced away from Mara and saw a magazine with Cara Delevingne on the cover, but I could see myself cutting Cara's fucking face off, wrapping it around my dick, and masturbating all over her peeled fucking eyeballs! Finally looking at Mara, she then gave that classic line about how her 'feelings were beyond rational control'; but then in the same breath, she demanded that I had to stop my own conscious behavior! That was exactly why I wasn't going to listen to anymore of those double-standards, for how could she blame me for being in greater control of my own feelings than she was of hers?! Please spare me this do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do bullshit! My ego-walls were up and I refused to listen. That was until I walked her to her front door and then left her there... That time it felt bad. Bad in my bones. What if she was right, that this was too-small-a-thing to end it over? I couldn't get that line of logic out of my mind. So later that evening, I returned to Mara's place and fucked her brains out! Which was fucking awesome, except, I had to wake up only a couple of hours later for this very trip to Potsdam. A little trip that I had hoped would clear my contorted fucking head.
But as I sat in that armchair in that dead man's house, I was having some serious fucking doubts about whether I should trust a fucking female or rely on my own bitter fucking intuition. That little maid who I'd been curious about, then entered the parlor, stating that the 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 hot make-up-sex with Mara last night, I was still distracted by easy temptation – because I'm fucking human (AKA unscrupulous). I once knew a female who had demanded of another girl how she could still be friends with me after she'd read something I had written which she had assumed said that I supported the patriarchal rape-culture crippling our society. My so-called friend squirmed out of any direct answer, choosing to neither deny nor condone my stance on any subject. No surprise. I had plenty of friends who were highly intelligent people that privately agreed with many of my sentiments without the slightest qualms about my polemic narrative. Though, that said, those same allies almost always admitted they themselves would never publicly express the same opinion for fear of the stigmatic judgment of the mob. But of course, and that made them decent politicians, and made me, ironically, a far more honest artist. For I knew of no one who I simultaneously respected and also had to be pandered to! Respecting another means that the other was also of sound mind, capable of engaging in the complex contradictions of the intricately profound. Those who had to be pandered to deserve nothing but ridicule and spiteful antagonism. Keeping in mind, that they say, "All humor is based on some form of malice."
I don't know where those guests came from, I hadn't heard any other cars arrive, but that elongated dining table was full to capacity. I' would estimate that there were about thirty individuals already seated when I strolled into that mix of esteemed power-players. I was half expecting someone to tell me to trot off like a good little gimp and collect a bottle of the finest chardonnay – but that same cute little maid then gestured toward my seat right in the middle of that grand spread. The thick wooden table was heavy with candles, morbid flower arrangements, and two large bronze statues of blackened stallions. But it was the massive tapestry on the wall ahead of me that distracted my initial interest. The gloomy tone of that image had faded from the centuries but it still brought out a smile on my thinned lips as I digested that portrayal of a circle of skinned women. Their limbs were all severed, along with their heads being removed, as they sat tied together within a bonfire that roasted their juicy flesh. Their beheaded grimaces were impaled upon tall spikes that all burned in the center of that golden hellfire. I fucking loved it! That was when the loud conversations in Deutsch drew my eyes downward to those persons surrounding me. The guests were all 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 left, upon an elderly chap in military formals who was missing his entire bottom jaw. The cavity of his mouth sunk away into that huge hollow of his throat that gleamed wet from his spit that trickled lavishly onto his buttoned-up collar. To the right of the skin-diseased poster-boy, was a women wearing blinding white 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 mouths.
"Und, wie geht es dir, mein Schatz?" Mr. Potatoes asked, but 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 that 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 his entree 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 with a frown toward what the fuck had just been placed in front of me. Within a silver bowl with a clear soup soaking a squid-like tentacles that was knotted around the hairy hand of a small primate. I then leaned over to Mr. Potatoes as I added, "Well, then you can call me Scat-Perv. Deal?"
Mr. Potatoes gave me a look of indignation. Yeah, like my title was any worse than that bowl of repugnant liquids and body parts. That's when I was glad to discover that I was without a spoon. However, then I realized that no one else had any cutlery of any kind either. Mr. Potatoes soon cautiously whispered in my direction while glancing around the table, "I saw you with The Devil earlier."
"Pardon me?" I blinked up as I saw the servant girls return with more platters that had some small instrument upon each one.
"The Devil. You arrived in her auto this evening."
"Ah, that's her name. Figures. So then why isn't she the one sitting to my left?"
"Ha! So you're The Hermit!" Mr. Potatoes barely managed to contain himself. "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 other guests reached for the new platters, picked up the six-inch black matches, struck them and set their entree alight. Thank fuck! At least I didn't have to taste that dish of disgust. Following suit at that table of Tarot Card titles, I lit my soup on fire, and I 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 glazed over and admired all those golden candle stands that led my eyes toward the center of the big table. There was a wide empty area where no ornaments cluttered the table's surface. I assumed 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, and I admired the gold-trim on the near-black emerald walls. I couldn't tell if the lighting had dimmed or if the burning bowls upon the table had tricked my eyes, but the room seemed to have grown darker. The whole gathering then joined the oration, repeating some Deutsch riddle in unison. None of them seemed to care that I just sat there in silence. And I watching as another guest then arose from his place. The old guy only hand one arm, and a really bad limp as he walked right around that stretched table, and as he went he touching each member on the shoulder lightly. He whispered some rite to each guest, a muttering that I couldn't even hear when he passed by me on his way back to his seating at the center. Standing above his own burning plate in front of that vacant space in the midst of the table, the old guy whispered ever so slightly louder, and again the whole group participated in this swearing of alignment. It definitely wasn't just my eyes, the chandeliers simply no longer lit shit. Only the bowls in front of the guests illuminated the one armed Mr. Mumbler as he lifted a chalice and slowly poured a pale sand in the empty space on the table. He was reaching so far out with this only arm, that I was sure he would lose his balance and face-plant the table top, but alas, no. As soon as a wide circle was drawn with the 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 golden 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. Or whom? Speak of the devil, and in came an assembly of other distinguished freaks, of which I could only guess they were the Minor Arcana to accompany the seated Major. Theatrics always did make for a memorable evening. Though, with so many others without an honored place at the table, I was curious about what strings The Devil had to pull in order to get me a VIP front row seat. I then suddenly got suspicious that it was this little Scat-Perv who was actually 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. A boy and girl, both no more than nine-years-old. Both dressed in white. The boy in a suit and tails. The girl in a knee-length dress with her straight blonde hair either side of her petite face. With the flames from the bowls shimmering upon the ghastly faces of everyone else in the room, those two kids seemed to glow in the direct light as they stood back to back as if in a trance.
I was beginning to doubt that dinner was ever going to arrive – when an outburst shattered the calm! It was that fat chunk of a woman who I'd seen down stairs earlier, she yelped like a ferocious mutt, lunging from her chair at those two kids! Grinding my teeth against the shrill pitch of that fucking cunt, I then shuddered as Mr. Potatoes also joined in, barking in Deutsch at the children! His voice was no longer a camp parody of his flamboyant homosexuality, now it was cracked with absolute abhorrence and he had a punch to his tone that gave Al Pacino a run for his money. Glancing up at the two kids, I watched them flinch. They could clearly comprehend the abrasive words better than my limited German dialect could grasp. And then all hell broke loose! Every other guest at that obscene funeral congregation surged toward the table! Everyone screaming bloody murder at those two children! My chair was slammed into from behind as lunging bodies pressed tight against the table! Shrieking voices tore at the dank air like some kind of riot! Using all my fucking strength, I pushed my fucking chair back just enough to spare my ribcage from crushing my lungs upon the edge of the table. That was when I realized what the purpose of the circle was for. That thin barrier of sand and wax inscriptions was the only thing holding back the horde. The few sentences that I could decipher from that torrent of screeching contempt were petty attacks about appearance and insults toward 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 hilarious! Those influential degenerates seemed to be getting their rocks off by shitting on two pristine perfect examples of idolized innocence. I was then reminded of 1984's "Two Minutes Of Hate". Surrounded by the depth of human scorn, I found it spectacular. Scanning slowly from side to side, I watched all those finely dressed lunatics screaming with savage throes. 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 rage-strained snarl. It reminded me of watching a female's face orgasm. There was something precious about seeing someone go ape-shit for the very first time. Witnessing the untamed animal in another, was like discovering their true self.
However, as much as I enjoyed all those deafening screams, my thirst was simply a higher priority. There had to be some motherfucker in the kitchen who could make a fucking coffee somewhere in that deplorable fucking madhouse. Just as I squeezed my way through the lurching mob, I looked back, daring Jehovah to turn me to a pillar of fucking Dead Sea salt. Yet as I reached for those towering double doors, I glimpsed the two children begin to undress for the appeasement of the climatic cries of the crowd. Fuck that fun show! I needed some fucking caffeine if I was ever going to walk all the way back to my fucking hotel that night.
Strolling into an unknown corridor, I started 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, kind of like what was going on in that dining room right that moment. Fuck, who knows. Maybe that was the very argument they were all engaged in, and that was why it had so abruptly exploded into a god-awful pissing contest. 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. Moral-relativism at its most essential. Fuck it, I didn't care, the kids could go fuck themselves – which they did – give me a nice pair of titties and some feminine-shaped hourglass-hips any fucking day! And right then there they came slyly slinking my way as my favorite little maid stepped around a corner and walked directly toward me.
After the little maid had crafted me three handmade lattes with a fuck-load of sugar in some far corner of the house, I was then hurried into a tiny servants quarters. She gasped as I bent her over and unzipped her dress straight down her back, and then I pulled her up close. Her hands grabbed at my pants and I grinned, glaring into her shy eyes with both my hands squeezing that superb ass of hers. Shoving her forward, I spun my little maid around and finished pulling her tight black dress to the floor along with her panties and stocking in one controlled movement. She removed her bra herself and then she was butt-fucking-naked on all fours in front of me. I shoved my crotch into her ass, yet my erection was still trapped inside my pants. I loved stripping a girl down to the skin while I'm still in my suit jacket and shoes. But I hesitated... She curled around like a kitten hungry for you-know-what. Her paws clawed at my belt, unbuttoning my fly with her open mouth at the ready – when I stopped her. I actually stopped her! I put my big hands on either side of her warm round face and said, "No."
She raised her worried face and sat back as I surveyed her sublime figure.
"You have no idea how much I'm dying to fuck that crème de la crème ass of yours... But... I..."
"You have a girlfriend?"
"Yeah. Which normally wouldn't stop me," I frowned. "So you see, that says something about how I feel about this one, if you know what I mean."
The little maid smiled, surprisingly cool about the situation. In fact she suddenly seemed more attracted to me for admitting this. But I just felt lonely. As cute and tasty as that little maid may have been, she was nothing but meat. I felt nothing for her. Just meat. She wasn't my 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 fuck from the Berlin street and the Western Wall was now standing, staring back at me! I lunged down the hallway, just at a swarm of other servant girls came up the marble stairs in the middle of the passageway. Struggling through all those awkward girls, I saw that door at the far end of the passage slam shut. Fuck this conspiracy bullshit! I shoulder-barged the last servants the fuck out of my way, and then hammered my fucking fist against that locked door! The formerly chatty servants had all stopped and stood in grim silence, scowling at my impatience as I tried bashing open the said door. The eerie stillness was like someone pissing down the back of my neck, so I eventually turned toward that herd of female scrutiny. But as soon as I had my back to the door, I heard it gradually creak open. It was one of those movie-moments, when you just had to shrug and nod in acknowledgment, knowing that a serial killer was about to stick a hatchet through the back of your fucking skull.
"Well played, motherfucker. Well played indeed," I cherped, however, that group of girls just dispersed quickly down another corridor, so I carefully twisted around.
That tall bearded scarecrow slowly raised both of his hands. His right went to his lips with this index finger implying a hushed, "Sssssssssh." While his left hand held up a large playing card.
I glanced at the card for only a second, for it was that thing behind him that compelled my vision aside –
Ever since the beginning of the year, when I decided to stay at my old apartment, there started growing something in the corner of my 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 shapeless sponge with hundreds of deep black holes. Each pore was about the width of a one-euro coin. It didn't do anything, it just clung to my ceiling, until it was about two-meters-wide. No one else seemed to notice it when they visited my place –
But there, in that dead man's house, behind that bearded old sack of bones, I saw the exact same porous phenomenon consuming the entire ceiling.
Just then, I heard my little maid exited her room back down the passageway – suddenly every black pore in that chalky mass shot forth a thousand serpent-like oily black worms!
That old man immediately shoved me away and rammed the door shut right in my face!
What the fuck?!
My arm was then grabbed from behind!
I ripped myself free from the confused little maid, who in turn, lurched away from me in shock. We both shared a frozen expression of what-the-fuck-is-your-problem as I listened to that sheer silence. There wasn't a sound coming from behind that door right next to me. Nothing. Instantly grinning, I shook off my cold sweat, and then caught the little maid by her elbow while marching the fuck away from that room.
I hadn't realized that it had gotten so late, but when we went downstairs, I found that it was well after midnight. The little maid just scurried off somewhere and left me alone next to that lightless room where the dead host still lay. With a last look toward where my little maid had run off to, I reluctantly showed myself the fuck out.
I thought about heading straight back to Berlin and making amends with Mara. But instead, after another night of only a few hours of sleep, without a preplanned thought guiding my route, I took the first train even further south to anywhere. No one could know where I was going if I didn't even.
Staring out the window, back the way I'd come, I watched as the sun slowly rose with those fierce black clouds always right on the tail of the train. That shit weather was following me 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? Because I was in love with Mara! Though, whenever I had wanted to tell Mara exactly how I really felt about her, the conversation had always disintegrated into some ruthless fucking argument. It wasn't until this second break-up that she had let slip that she was actually in love with me! Yet I was too shut-down at the time to confess my own affections. Why was my unconscious deliberately sabotaging our coexistence? Or was it that we were really not meant to be together. I've never been afraid of putting my heart on the line before, yet why was I so reserved about admitting my feelings this time? But if I truly was too untrustworthy for Mara, then why the fuck hadn't I fucked that little maid's tight ass? Didn't that alone prove my commitment to Mara? But then again, if I actually admitted this little indiscretion to Mara, would she crucify me for even getting into such a fucking compromised situation? This was like one of those frustrating sitcoms where the audience screamed at the idiot on the screen not to admit it! But everyone loves a tease, I'm no different! And I encouraged it! Or else, where's the fun in any interaction if there was no tension nor temptation? But when you're told to explain yourself, your motives, and you intentions; the very act of elaboration kills the attraction! Much like the Joker-Paradox, it's a game, but don't tell anyone that you know it's a fucking game! I have often heard people talk about wanting a polyamorous lifestyle, yet, like getting musicians together in a band, the more people involved the harder it becomes to get everyone to agree on anything. Finding one other person who condones an openly sexual relationship, might work in theory, but I have found for practical purposes, that it has only really worked when deception maintains the relationship's structural integrity. How do I know this? Well, I've had four dualist, long-term relationships in the last nineteen years. Lies, and only lies, have kept the good times rolling, baby! The only results that honesty had ever 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 placate yourself to become, 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. For we will always disappoint those who want more! And we all want more! To remain alive you must constantly consume more! And for those of you who have scoffed and claimed to have reached a point of satisfaction in a relationship, you were merely experiencing a passing phase of complacency. Your future-self, however, would despise your dismal lack of fucking ambition! So I say, fuck pandering to anyone! How someone said they wanted to be treated, was not how they really wanted to be treated! Having to ask permission, was belittling the very action and maternalize the object. However, it was a slippery slope. Removing all dependency, such as the desire for sex, so that no one else had power over yourself, could leave you disassociated, and then people became nothing but blocks of protein, passing you by no more noticeable than tumble weed. Yet if lovers became the only individuals that had any real physical contact with you, then that made them vastly more persuasive predators and prey. Though, if you blindly surrendered all autonomy to anyone who demanded your unconditional servitude, you denounced your character into nothing but chattel. The discontents! The conflict! The Alpha and the Omega of all relationships. To have any security with any other person, both had to sacrifice a percentage of their freedoms. Or as so many desperate parents have had to put it: it was the great compromise.
"I've never been able to be friends with any man. Why would I? Women are for friendships, men are for fucking." Samantha Jones.
Life was tragic without any kind of love to keep you company, yet true-love in its essence was absolutely fucking tragic! It was a no-win situation. But even those that say that they had won in their relationships, had in fact, already lost by trading in some innate part of their instinctual behavior. Just like when Mara held me in such high regard, yet had such a low fucking opinion of me. So at the end of the day we're all fucked! 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!
So my mind was made up, I'd never tell Mara about this trip and how well I had managed to resist that little maid's temptation.
It was in that exact moment that I suddenly realized that I hadn't listened to Pantera all fucking year! Becoming, let's get it on!
And then the motherfucking train broke down.

Catching the next random train to some even more obscure destination, I soon found myself in a small township, the name of which I never even looked up. I walked away from the station and toward a cluster of hills leading up into a forest.
She came walking down that sunny, cobble-stoned 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 thugs in suits then stepped up behind Ms. Kylie. Their staunch presence broke the spell, and I collected my skepticism once again. "I'll make you a deal. If you tell me how you found me just now, then I'll spill the beans on how I lost my virginity to a watermelon."
"What's your name?"
"It's a little late for introductions, isn't it."
"You're name!" Ms. Kylie insisted as those two automatons leaned in closer.
"My girlfriend, if I still have one, calls me a Scat-Perv," I began, 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 pissy about it, then you really must be The Devil. But if Mr. Potatoes, The High Priestess, couldn't even guess my name, then why in the fuck should I tell you?"
Ms. Kylie turned her back viciously as her two thick-set henchmen in Hugo Boss advanced.
"What's the fucking world come to when The Ace Of Cups can't even take a walk in the fucking park?!" The only thing I could come up with, was that card that the old bearded dude had held up before he had slammed the door in my face.
Ms. Kyle paused, and so did her two trained fuck-heads. And that was the last I ever saw of them.
After I returned to Berlin, I was sure I had made the right decision to try and fix it between Mara and I. For how many heretical deeds had I enacted without fear of divine consequence, and when given a chance to commit an adulterous affair, I'd let it go, because I found my current relationship to be something more sacred.
However, a few days later, a good friend, Burroughs, had his own heart broken after his girlfriend left him for another. While Mara expressed her sympathies for his unfortunate devastation, I chose not to incriminate myself on the subject of relationships while in the presence of my own Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The only consolation I offered Burroughs, was the analogy of Schrödinger's Cat: the cat was both alive and dead at the same time, figuratively speaking. You had to see a fresh break-up as the cat itself. Sure, it was dead, and yet so often these most traumatic of occurrences can just as abruptly resurrect themselves as if nothing had happened at all – just like how Mara and I were now back together.
But who the fuck was I to have any understanding on the universal truths of happy endings? For a week later, Mara broke it off with me for a third time – simply for refusing to confide in her about my Potsdam trip! So I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't! Everything had seemed fine one minute, and then the next I was being told that it's over. There was absolutely no security when encapsulated in a relationship with any other autonomous individual!
As it turns out nothing was fine from Mara's point of view.
Due to a recent intervention by Mara's Yoga instructor, because of Mara's extreme lack of energy and loss of body-weight, Mara had finally learned from a legitimately-objective-expert that I really didn't 'treasure her enough'. For if your Yoga teacher said so, then it was the fucking law! Because apparently, external parties always had the best insider-knowledge about others private lives. Of course people like to meddle under the guise of being a do-gooder, but you had to remember, anyone assuming that someone else needed professional help, had reduced that person to a floundering infant unable to breathe by themself! So Mara's Yoga teacher looked down on Mara the same way that Mara looked down on me. Condescension begets condescension!
Though this left me questioning how I was able to tear down a grown adult into nothing but a shell of person by just being in love with her?
Was the very act of writing this short story a self-fulfilling prophecy?
But I can hear you all scream: seriously Bruce, how could she believe anything you say and not suspect that it was all part of some immensely intricate orchestration sadistically designed in order to gain her confidence only so you could break her heart at a later date? You all know that the devil needs no more reason to possess a victim other than the opportunity of a chance encounter. And you all read my last short story where I stated quite clearly with ominous overtones of foreshadowing: "The more I dwelled throughout the day, the more resentment coated my gums 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 out at the wet streets, I wondered what was the worst fucking thing I could say to Mara right at that point?
"Come over." And she did."
Who knows what's true anymore. So why profess my innocence if people will fucking choose whatever the fuck they want to believe, regardless of any evidence that you might have to support your case. Truth has become a religion unto itself. A dangerously delusional belief built on a blind faith. Honesty hailed as the infallible God, Lies for the Devil, and Trust completing this Holy Trinity as a Holy Ghost wholly unobtainable without that intangible concept of Respect. Although some, like Yuval Noah Harari, have said, "You cannot run a division with thousands of soldiers the same way you run a platoon. Successful family businesses usually face crisis when they grow larger and hire more personnel. If they cannot reinvent themselves, they go bust. How did homo-sapiens manage to cross this critical threshold, eventually founding cities comprising tens of thousands of inhabitants and empires ruling hundreds of millions? The secret was probably the appearance of fiction. Large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths."
The premise of Relationships And Their Discontents is (as with civilization): you must sacrifice some freedoms in order to gain greater security, thus leaving you discontent. But in conclusion, it's all a fucking lie, because no one is safe!