SHORT STORY
2016
T H E - M U S E U M - I S L A N D - M U R D E R S

DISCLAIMER:
This roman à clef might be a halbwahrheit if I have any Amor fati.

A BLACKMAIL ACCORD

"Get in the car," the young Israeli spoke up, as he stepped out of a 2016 Aston Martin Lagonda.
"I prefer to walk," was all I gave, continuing down the riverside with the Reichstag at my back.
"It wasn't a suggestion."
"And I give a shit?"
"I don't know, do you give fuck about Mara?"
Turning into the freezing breeze, my eyes slowly scanned over the Friday night city lights, and then focused on the angular features of that average-as-fuck, little guy.
"I'm worried about her," Aviv stated, gesturing back to the car. "Come on, I'll drop you off wherever."
My attention was drawn toward the other guy behind the wheel as he glared back at my suspicion. The situation reminded me of moments in the X-Files, when Mulder took rides with shady informants that pushed the plot toward some sort of convoluted conspiracy about implied incitements.
"Get in the car."

While turning down Friedrichstrasse, a light drizzle smeared the headlights into a golden glow. Considering how Christmas obsessive-compulsive Germans had always been, I wondered why they had stopped hanging the decorations along this stretch of Mitte. Berlin winters always were an ordeal, but at least the festive markets seemed to postpone the gloom until after the New Year's hangover.
"I know you're cheating on her. You may have had your fun, but I'm not going to stand back any longer and watch you tear Mara down for your own sick fucking entertainment!"
And I'd only just begun to warm up in that nice Aston Martin.
"You're a fucking Nazi!" Aviv declared from my left. "And I can prove it."
"You can drop me off just over there," I smiled, tapping the driver's shoulder. "Over on the corner of Gendarmenmarkt, thanks."
The car however drove straight ahead.
"You're not going anywhere," Aviv said in a calmer tone. "Not until you tell me exactly what I want to hear."
"What you want to hear?" I sneered. "If you apparently already know what you know, then why would you bother needing to hear it from me?"
"You're going to end all it all tonight. End all your interfering, and break up with Mara, or I'll expose the extent of your fucking deception." Aviv then pulled out his iPhone. "It's up to you. If you have any semblance of dignity, you'll spare her the humiliation. But it's over between you two, tonight!"
"I love your subtly," I said, watching Aviv switch on the voice-recorder. "And yet I thought you guys were meant to be masters at the smooth-talking art of interrogation. Is this what you calling gaining my trust?"
"Where did you really go during your summer vacation?" Aviv spoke quietly. "Either you admit it here and now, or in ten minutes Mara will hear it coming from me. Including all the disgusting details. And you know, you really don't want that happening."
Taking a deep breath as the car came to rest, and I looked down Leipzigerstrasse. It was just after midnight, and the traffic was thickest at the intersection. In the distance, to my right, post-modern Potsdammerplatz towered majestically. I'd just come from watching a film at the kino, but then pre-war Berlin crossed my mind. "Did you know, back in early 1939, there was a little known series of murders that took place right here, in the center of town. They were swept under the carpet of bigger monstrosities that, of course, soon came to unfold."

Aviv gave me a sideways glance.
"They were called, Die Museumsinsel Morde."
This time, Aviv glanced out his window.
"I have a proposition for you."
"No."
"You don't want to hear me talk?
"This isn't an negotiation"
"Of course it is."
"No, it's not."
"You're spooks, aren't you?"
"You're not making any deals here."
"You're a funny guy."
Aviv glared into the back of his driver's head.
"Why would you try and convince me to confess, unless you had a weak argument. If you were confident in your accusations, then you would've gone directly Mara and held no fucking punches."
Aviv listened.
"You want something from me, and I reckon you can help me with something that I want. It's a win/win situation."
"You're going to lose, no matter what happens tonight."
"You're probably right."
"And you're a real piece of shit. You don't even care about what happens to Mara."
"I'll tell you what. If you help me access the locations of all thirteen historical crime scenes, then, just then, I'll confess to, whatever, until the cows come home."
"No."
"Listen chump. Do you seriously think I can't handle domestic conflict? Especially when it's coming from a sniveling little cunt like you talking shit? If you want to play it the easy way, take a left. But if you want to dictate terms, then boy... I love it when they play hard-to-get. Now it's up to you, how do you want to play this fucking game?"
With tight lips, Aviv's pupils darted about, before he replied, "What do you want exactly?"
"You mean to say: what's in it for me?"
The traffic lights turned green.
"Take a left."
Reluctantly, Aviv nodded to the driver in the rear-view, and we set course for Fisher Island.

1. HACKESCHER MARKT BAHNHOF


Aviv and I exited the car next to the tram tracks.
"And?"
"Relax," I smiled, as we stood on the south-side of the west-entrance to the Hackescher Markt train station. "It's an easy start for beginners."
"What? This is it?" Aviv shrugged, glancing around the night-goers coming from or heading toward the station. "You better not get any stupid fucking ideas about running. You'll fucking regret it!"
"I have no doubt. You'd probably go all Krav Maga on my scrawny ass. That's not a fight worth betting on."
"So what's the big deal? What's so fucking special about this spot?"
"I'm terrible with names, but I remember the faces of the victims."
"What victims? Who died here?"
"Seriously? How long have you lived in this city? Haven't you ever noticed all those brass stumble-stones around this area? And you call yourself a Jew?"
"You're testing my patience!"
"I know. The night's young."
"There aren't any stumble-stones here. So what's so fucking special about this place?"
I closed my eyes, visualizing those black and white photos of the thirteen slaughtered females.
"You didn't need my help. This is a public square. What the fuck is the point of this?"
"Hush now," I whispered, clenching my leather-gloved hands. "If the newspapers had had their way, as with old Jacky boy, perhaps this would have been a different story. But you know what the Gestapo were like. People today complain about the system, always comparing it to 1984 or the tyranny of Hitler. But things today aren't a fraction of how it was in 1939. For fuck's sake, they literally starved entire neighborhoods to fucking death. People have forgotten the utter fucking brutality of the fucking past. The police themselves were told to ignore these murders, for no more reason than they were ordered to. Can you just imagine that kind unquestioning obedience. But, you know how Germans are. Love their fucking paperwork. You can find a whole heap of skeletons in the Humboldt libraries, if you spend long enough looking."
"A lot of shit happened during the war," Aviv grunted, "Who gives a shit about any of this?"
Turning slowly toward my escort, I paused before I spoke, "And that's exactly what people at the time said. But remember, those people were Nazis."
Aviv took an aggressive step toward me.
"You see what I did there."
"You're the only Nazi here! So watch your fucking mouth!"
"She was found with her throat cut to the bone. She had the face of a young Shailene Woodley, but with short hair, like Ruby Rose. One green, one brown eye. Her lips were plump, like some Pixar-designed porn-star. She was naked, and had been gutted like a pig. But all her internal organs weren't found anywhere around here."
"This is bullshit. This is a fucking stupid place to try anything like that. It's too exposed."
"I agree. It's a fucked location."
"So why the fuck would anyone try?"
"Excellent question," I conceded, looking up at the train station. "But wouldn't you rather I confessed to something on your long list of indictments? Quid pro quo, so to speak."
Aviv squinted, "I don't think that's how that works."
"Maybe."
For a long moment, that ISB Special Agent thought about his next words. "I want to know about what happened between you and your sister. What did she mean in that long email. The one about your family's secret past."
"Motherfuckers," I grinned, as a tram rattled by. "Snowden really wasn't kidding about you guys."
Aviv waited.
"Fuck it. Fuck it, what does it matter."
"What was she talking about?"
"What the fuck has that got to do with my relationship with Mara? Oh, I see, I get it. You're trying to go all Freudian on me. Okay. Good luck then. Let's open that can of worms, like a give two fucks about that ancient HISTORY." I reached into my black overcoat's pocket and pulled out my phone. Aviv started to react, but he eased back as I took photo of the pavement where the dead had once been dumped. "I knew nothing about any of it when it happened. Didn't even hear about it until I was in my mid twenties. Honestly, I don't even remember how the conversation came up with my mother. I can't even recall where I was when she told me. I remember my bewildered what-the-fuck response, but that's all. So, anyway. Apparently, when I was, I guess a teenager, my parent's had a priest bless our family home. Yeah. That's it. Exciting secret, I know."
"Why would they bless the house? What happened there? But I thought your parents weren't religious."
"The stalker has done his homework. You are correct, sir. But my mother has, let's just say, a tendency toward vague spiritual inclinations. Anyway, my sister was a fucking cunt as a child. Somehow however, at some point, my parents were led to believe that there was something, some entity in the house that was causing my sister's manic behavior. You see, personal responsibility wasn't, and still isn't, something my sister adheres to."
"Did the priest..."
I waited with a frown.
"Did the priest find anything?"
"You mean, did my sister's head spin 360, before she puked green shit all over the priest's face? No. Not as far as I know. But fuck, maybe."
"You never saw anything in the house?"
"Well, shit. If you want to know about the horrors I witnessed in that place, that's a whole other story. I saw things that terrified the shit out of me. But I'm not saying that whatever I experienced had anything to do with anything. Yet my sister did have a room in one of the oldest parts of the house. I once had an experience with this snake-like thing that was hiding down the side of her bed. Freaked me the fuck out. But it was probably just a bad dream. See, the original house was small, and well over a hundred years old. I have no idea when it was actually built. No idea. There had been several extensions built onto to. That doesn't mean the fucking house was haunted though. However, as kid, I had a very real fucking fear of the dark in that house. Had reoccurring nightmares about this rat-like thing leading me down the back hallway where this other giant thing always came out of the shadows. Had plenty of other nightmares about invisible hands behind the big curtains in the living room. And of course, there were those black fingers that watched from the trees ever since, I don't know, since forever. I just had an over active imagination. Eventually, I learned to deal the nightmares. Unlike my sister, I taught myself to get over those fucking things. I owned them. I stood my fucking ground. And you know what, a fucking exorcist couldn't even get rid of me."
"Did your sister's state ever improve after the blessing?"
"You'd have to fucking ask her."
"You don't even give a fuck about your own family? Where's your familial-bond? What the fuck is your problem?"
"My young Freudian friend, that's your job to analyze my logic. But if blood is thicker than water, then I don't have any reason to give a shit, because they'll still remain family no matter what I do. That's what family is, the perpetual illusion of a bond. And even if my family treats me the same way as I do them, then no one is holier than thou. Yet we're still fucking family. Whoopty-fucking-doo."
"That still doesn't explain why your sister's so mad at your mother right now. Why is she bringing up something that happened twenty years ago?"
"Maybe it's because it was mother who invoked the thing tormenting my sister. Or would fucking Freud just call that shit, Oedipus?"

2. DIRCKSENSTRASSE


We could have walked to the next location in a few minutes, but Aviv insisted that we drive. I didn't argue, it was too fucking cold.
"The Spree used to be where this street is now."
"What are you talking about. The river was never here."
"Sure it was. You do know that this town's gone through a few changes, right?"
"Changes are one thing. Moving a fucking river is something else."
We stood on the north side of the train line, just east of Hackescher Markt. It was an unremarkable section of that long curved street. There were restaurants, hotels, and office buildings, but I focused on the section of the overpass where another street crossed under the tracks.
"Are you saying a body was dumped out here? On the wide open street?"
"Yep."
"This guy wasn't exactly a fucking genius."
"And yet this was only number two."
"Who was she?"
"She was a blonde. Petite. Looked a bit like Rooney Mara. Her two small dogs were found with her body. They were fine. The vegans can relax. Not a hair on their heads had been harmed. She however, had her throat slit, and was left naked and gutted."
"Here?"
"Approximately."
"Out in the open?"
"Pretty much."
"Bullshit."
"If you say so."
"Someone would have seen something."
"Maybe."
"Of course, someone must have."
"Are you forgetting the context?"
"Yeah, yeah. 19-fucking-39."
"People were either too scared to look, or thought it was none of their business, or were told to look the other way. Remember who was in power at the time."
"What's so fucking fascinating about these deaths after a hundred years?"
I took a photo of the street, just as a couple of trains passed each other above.
"How did you even hear about them?"
"Stay on point Special Agent. Why are you so fascinated with my SOCIAL indiscretions?"
"Because my old college is dating a racist!"
"Ah, that's the true spirit of 2016. Apparently we're all born-again racists in denial. There, I admit it. Now can we please move on to some real insults. Like when an anti-feminist says, I wouldn't even rape you. Being unrapeable is the new N-word."
"You don't know what you're talking about."
"I know that it's dark out, like a nigger's asshole. That's Polish poetry for you."
"What the fuck?!"
"I've seen equal amounts of positive reactions to events like Brexit and Trump, as I've seen negative. I've watched both sides mock and call each the other racist. The right is racist because of Pepe the Frog. The left is racist because regressive SJWs have made everyone the bad guy. Everyone hates everyone else who opposes their own vested interests."
"That's not true."
"Why would I make that up? Why would I lie about people from both sides screaming about how racists the other guy is? I'll give you an example: I was on the remain-side of the Brexit referendum, yet I saw no justification for calling the leave-side racists. But both sides have demonized the other, and now everyone's a racist, no matter what your argument."
"I didn't say everyone is a racist. I said that you're a fucking racist!"
"And now I'd like you to present your evidence."
"I don't need to present anything! I know what you're like, and you're as racist as they come!"
"You know what I'm like? You know me better than my girlfriend?"
"I've seen how you treat people, and I've read the shit you've written."
"Again, I'll ask for evidence."
"It's just what you are."
"I saw an interview a while ago, where the host said that he thought the word 'racist' was being thrown about so often that if had lost all meaning. The other guy firmly rejected that notion, saying that when you call someone a racist, it has a shit-load of emotion punch to it and will always cause some degree of damage. He argued that that's why it's such a potent label, no matter how much we hear it."
"Yeah, and you are one! Whether you own up to it or not."
"Are you talking about my implicit-bias?"
"That's right."
"So we're indentured to our destiny? Therefore we're all racists, rapists, thieves, liars, and murderers. In fact, fuck it, you convinced me. We're all murderers. Evolutionary evidence suggests that we only developed larger brains once our ancestors started eating meat. So we're all murderers today because our unconscious actions control us more than those worthless big brains. We're either directly or indirectly murdering people every single day. And you can't deny that anymore than you can deny the meat-eating structure of your teeth. Holy shit, you should feel so liberated knowing that you're a murderer. However, what if you still don't feel any guilt. Fuck, what's wrong with you? I know, the only way to make everyone happy is to allow everyone else to murder you for your murderous unconscious. But I'm confused. If you let others murder you, then they're doing exactly what you hate yourself for. Who are they to murder, and yet you must not? Aren't we all meat on the inside, especially women! But wait a second. Let's use that meat-eating-big-brain of ours, and realize that you haven't directly murdered anyone. Which is a bit confusing. If you're a victim of your implicit-bias, then how can you, the individual, decide what is right from wrong, and when to restrain yourself? If determinism says you can't decided for yourself, then surely you're absolved of any and all responsibility. So if you're born a murderer, yet haven't actually murdered anyone, then maybe you need to murder in order to become who you really are. Unless you've been conditioned into thinking that you should murder. Which is the exact same thing as having no conscious choice in the matter. So what you're saying is, you don't have to commit a murder in order to still be a murderer. Having the potential to commit a murder is just as bad. You're saying potential is the same as action. Guilt by association. There is no room for your own agency. You're guilty. You're a murderer. And you're also a victim. Are you starting to feel bad? You should have this huge weight on your shoulders. Like you're personally responsable for the deaths of every living thing on the planet. This knowledge might start doing something to you on the inside. It'll break apart your self-esteem and replace it with self-loathing. Do you feel small and helpless, weak and insignificant? You have no control over anything. And yet, compared to those who have actually murdered, what exactly have you done that you need to be held accountable for? Or are you just lingering in pathetic self-pity over the future possibility of maybe committing a murder? But there's nothing respectable about an adult behaving like a deflated masochist. You must use that murderous meat-eating-mind to learn for yourself right from wrong, to discern guilt from innocence, and to build some character with individual responsibility. Yeah, that logic should make your self-esteem feel much better. It's a good thing you weren't raised in an environment where you was told from birth that you were born with original sin! Could it really be said that it's healthier to educate children to see each other as autonomous humans being, and not as shameful murderers from day one? But hang on, people are still murdering each other. Shit, human nature is really is dangerous after all. Yet how is denial of your potential equal to committing murder? Maybe it's ultimately better to embrace your murderous unconscious, at least then you're being honest. And then you should go ahead and murder people, eat them, and then shit them out, and be proud of it! But then you wouldn't be deciding for yourself, you would be no better than an insect. A meat-insect. Even if you do choose not to murder, that doesn't prove that you have any free-will, it might only prove that you were incapable. A failure! A waste of potential! And yet still, a murderer who doesn't murder is still a murderer! Everyone is being murdered because of you! But who is being murdered because of me? Show me the proof. Oh no, wait. You don't need to prove anything. You'll just tell me I'm a murderer and I better believe it or you'll fucking murder me."
"You're a dick."
"But that doesn't make me a racist."

3. ALEXANDERPLATZ BAHNHOF


Soon Aviv and I walked into the busy train station at Alexanderplatz. Drunk Germans, stinking bums, and squealing teenagers packed the place as if it were rush hour. I stood in the center of the big old station, trains above and below, trams either side. The TV tower was to the west, Christmas markets to the east.
"In here? Even in 1939, this had to be one of the busiest train stations in the city. Are you trying to saying someone was killed and mutilated in here. Right fucking here?"
"I didn't say that."
"What are you fucking saying then?"
"I didn't say they were killed at each location."
"Then how did he carry a dead body in without anyone noticing?"
"Are you kidding? Look at all these wasted fucking cunts around us."
Aviv didn't even need to turn around to notice the homeless guys sleeping in the doorways, punks huddled around trash cans, and underage girls stumbling over their own two feet.
"She was found with an empty KaDeWe bag lying on her body, like she was just another piece of garbage in this fucking place," I said, staring at the floor. "She looked like a sixteen-year-old Scarlett Johansson. With a dirty blonde ponytail and a big round ass."
"And was it the same?"
"The same what?"
"Method of execution?"
"Naked, slit throat, and gutted."
"That's it?"
"Three deaths and you're already bored. God bless your blood lust for exponential violence."
"Just because we don't share you morbid infatuation with a serial killer, doesn't mean I'm as indifferent toward human suffering as you are!"
"You're right. I know nothing about you. You're the one claiming too know everything about me. Yet demanding I answer all your questions."
"Yeah, so where did you go on your summer vacation?"
"That was never a secret."
"I know you're lying."
"I had first noticed the silver Mercedes-Benz SL-class roadster outside the hotel in Hanover when I arrived in town. Returning to the hotel after the thirtieth birthday party of an old ex, I was accompanied by an old couple in the elevator. They both eye-balled me, and I took note of their overly tanned faces. There's something off-putting about old folk with too much color for their sickly features."
"Get to the point."
"Come on, let's walk to the next location. The stench of piss and vomit in this fucking station makes me want to rinse my mouth out with napalm." I said, leading the way outside and following the S-Bahn further south. "People on the street are no different to cars. If they aren't attractive or functional, then they mean nothing to me. Nothing but insignificant objects moving by. But when that silver Mercedes drove slowly down the main road at the same time that I arrived in Bacharach, I couldn't help but dismiss it as merely a coincidence. There had to be more than a few of those cars in the country. Whatever. Get over it. So I checked into my adorably traditional German hotel, and looked forward to exploring that picture perfect village while I relaxed and read Bark. But the first morning there, I found myself sitting in the dinning room, staring at that same old couple in their Tom Ford sun glasses at the far end of the otherwise empty breakfast buffet. Still a coincidence? Perhaps."
"Who the were they?"
"You're asking me? I thought they were with you."
"What?"
"I mean, I thought that's how you knew what happened on my vacation."
"It was your phone's GPS location that–"
"Oh, so that's how you did it."
Aviv just stared straight ahead.
"You know, all the meta-data that the NSA has been collecting, isn't that the pure empirical evidence for determinism? But seriously, if that old couple weren't retired Israeli spooks working for you, then perhaps they really were on a coincidental vacation."
"I know where you went for those two days that your phone didn't move."
"No, you don't. If my phone didn't move then you couldn't track shit."
"I know you went somewhere."
"Somewhere? Seriously? Some-fucking-where? That's your justification for calling me a cheater? Are you sure you're not a chick? I mean that's some flimsy fucking evidence. Do you make all your accusations based on such non-existent intelligence? Come on, you're smarter than that."
Aviv was clenching his jaw as his eyes slowly looked away. "Where did you go for those three days?"
"Admit it, you don't have a fucking clue!"
"And you admit that you had another agenda for you vacation!"
"Reading Bark was my only priority."
"You left and went somewhere!"
"Yes, I did."
Aviv paused. "What?"
"First off, for the fucking record, I had no idea that an ex (who no longer talks to me) had moved to Portugal. So get that right out of you fucking head. I wasn't stalking that fucking cunt! It was Chloe who had arranged the detour in my vacation. And no. It's not like that. She's not my cup of tea. Get you're filthy mind out of the gutter. She could be my mother, for fuck's sake. Well, maybe not, she's not that old. Anyway, I wasn't having an affair, or stalking an ex, or invoking devils in a small town in the south of France again. I was in Lisbon. There you go. Happy?"
"Who is she? How did she get you to leave your vacation? Why did you leave your phone?"
"It was her idea. I received a call on the hotel's land-line. She was very insistent that I leave my phone. After twenty-four hours of train travel, there was only a brutal fucking heat-wave welcoming me to town, and no more Mercedes. I'd never been to Portugal before, but it was fucking hot as shit. There, are we done?"
"No. Not at all!"
"I told you what you wanted to hear. I went to Lisbon. End of story."
"No. That's not the end of anything."
"Sure it is."
"What exactly were you doing there? Who is this Chloe? Why would you suddenly travel half way across Europe over a phone call?"
"It was my vacation. I was free do whatever."
"What exactly were you doing there?"
"Hmm. You know what I found noteworthy while on that epic train trip? Whenever you crossed borders, only small groups of cops walked down the carriages looking at the passengers. No one actually asked for passports. Europe really does have wide open borders. I could've had a human head in my fucking suitcase, and no one would've even looked. I love that concept."
"This isn't the deal. You're not answering my question. Why did you go to see this Chloe woman?"
"She wanted to talk about Doggerland."
"What? What's that?"
"It's a place that doesn't exist anymore. She wanted to show me her research about certain underwater standing stones from prehistory. She's a bit of nut. But don't tell her I said that. Fanatics can be a little fanatical. You should know, being a Jew and all."
Aviv was silent as we strolled toward the Alexa shopping mall.
"The last time I saw that old couple in their Mercedes, was the night that I arrived back in Berlin from Bacharach. Coincidence, I don't think so."
"And you think Mara had them follow you?"
"I don't know what your loyalty is to Mara, and I don't know what you've experienced with your own INTERPERSONAL relationships, but what I do know is that you think only the worst of me. You seem to believe that I'm beyond the benefit of the doubt. So you assume that every time I'm alone, I must be up to no good. But you'll never truly know, because you were never fucking there!"
"That's because you're a cheating asshole!"
"Exactly. And what 'seems' is what matters. Reality means nothing next to your reputation. If it seems like someone is this thing, then no amount of objective persuasion will ever convince you that your perspective is wrong."
"You're the one who's wrong. You've abused Mara's trust, and she deserves better! What exactly have you ever done to redeem your fucking lies?"
"You know, when I was younger, I used to write poems and love letters, almost on a daily basis. For the usual reasons that lovers do so. An explicit declaration of adoration. But I stopped. I don't write them anymore. I refuse to quantify my affections into an easily packaged construct. I cherish those I love for their indefinable essence which is the very source of that singularity. Feelings like that are meant to be felt! They are infinite – for a finite period of time. And anyone that demands that you love them or that you must create art purely for their vanity, should never be humored!"

4. AMTSGERICHT MITTE


"What's this place?" Aviv shivered as he stood outside the arched facade to a wide building.
"I believe it's a District Court," I shrugged, staring at a cluster of security cameras watching us. "But I'm no lawyer, so what the fuck would I know."
"What do you know then?"
"Not much, apparently. Especially about law. Or science. Or anything of expertise. But the more you focus on a profession, the more you should appreciate how little you actually know about any other specialist areas. Yet what you should think is not what you do think. Those with only the vaguest perception of law or science, always seem to claim how they know it all inside and out. Like those who read one book on a subject, and then suddenly become an expert on the topic. Even though the author himself is never beyond reproach. You merely absorbed your own interpretation. You only take note of those parts that you deemed relevant. Just like you're doing right now."
"I'm not even listening to you, motherfucker. It's too fucking cold for this shit."
"Then shall we."
"Shall we what?"
"After you."
"What? This place is closed."
"No shit. Why do you think I brought you here?"
"You want to break into a fucking court of law in the middle of the fucking night? Are you fucking insane?"
"No, but I have a PhD in psychopathy."
And just then, the Aston Martin eased down the street.
"You've had it easy so far."
"I never agreed to this."
"And you call yourself a fucking spy. James Bond is rolling in his grave."
Aviv backed away to the car.
"Relax, sparky-ass. Come on."
The driver slowly followed, as we went around the block toward a passageway next to the underground parking lot. Aviv reluctantly entered that narrow courtyard, where he muttered, "What's you're fascination with these murders, anyway?"
"This one looked like Sofia Boutella. She was found just over there, so help me over the fence, would you."
Aviv glanced around the darkened space at the rear or the court, with to the train tracks above us to our right. There was a ten foot gate separating the back yard from my goal. "We can't go in there! There's got to be security guards around!"
"If you hurry the fuck up, we'll be gone before anyone notices, for fuck's sake."
"No!"
"We just have to go over there, to the center of the building."
"No, we can't!"
"Look, you can see it. There's nothing in our way. No one is going to catch us."
"Someone will come!"
"You're way too paranoid. Look around. No one is anywhere."
Aviv swallowed, then grabbed my foot and boosted me over the top of the thick-framed fence. I looked back just as Aviv scaled the barrier like a good little Israeli Defense Force boy.
"She was lying right here. A rusted pram was next to her butchered body."
"I don't fucking care about these dead whores! Tell me why the fuck you're taking Mara to these fucking rituals! These Gnostic Masses!" Aviv barked at me in a hoarse whisper. "What the fuck are you trying to do to her?!"
Another train cruised by above, as I savored this location. We stood in a narrow space on the complete opposite side of the building from the ornate front door.
"Mara's always been an atheist. She's shown no signs of interest in any form of SPIRITUALLY, until she met you. So what kind of cult behavior are you indoctrinating her in?"
"You forgot to suggest that I was sacrificing babies to the Satan while circle-jerking with my Illuminati co-conspirators."
"Exactly! Who knows how these fucks are warping Mara's mind."
"Yeah, you're totally right. Thelema is all about brain-washing, conformity, and false-idol worship."
"How did you do it?"
"Do what?"
"How did you subvert her?"
"I didn't make her do anything she wasn't willing to do."
"You fucking enabled her!"
"Perhaps. But she apparently had an interest in the occult long before I entered her life."
"What did you do to pervert her?"
"Tell me, do you know what the word 'occult' means? She's the one who kept asking me about some of my symbolic art, and I told her what I'm telling you now. It's a fucking secret! Accept it and move the fuck on!"
"No! I want to know!"
"You sound just like her. And I have no time for those who can't keep a secret."
"Tell me!"
"Some things can't be told, you need to see for yourself. All I did was suggest some people, some books, some ideas that she might find useful. The rest is up to her."
"You took her to a Gnostic Mass. These weren't just ideas."
"Christ, have you ever been to one? Have you read the Satanic Bible? What do you think is the difference between any of that and your own Jewish faith? Have you spoken to anyone that practices Kabbalah?"
"I'm talking to you!"
"Oh, touche."
"Tell me what you did to her?!"
"I've been going to these lectures at a small book store this year. I really enjoy the variety of speakers they have. Practically loved the female professor from Argentina. She did this talk on Machiavelli. Said that we were all students of The Prince and its insidious influence. I enjoyed the lecture because I disagreed with her premise. Most people have never even heard of Machiavelli. Christ, I knew this shit long before I had even read his work, but it resonated with me. He didn't create the modern world, all he did was make an astute observation of human nature. We're all intuitively Machiavellian. I don't believe he made us this way. Sun Tzu wrote similar concepts in The Art Of War, yet his work isn't regarded as evil teachings. For whatever keeps a species alive isn't evil, it's necessary. The genius of Machiavelli, was knowing that morality is important to the masses, so you must appear to be one thing, while understanding that you should never let principles get in the way of doing what has to be done. And the professor agreed. There's nothing like confronting those who have an opinion on a subject, like Machiavelli or magick, by pushing their assumptions to the limits. There you usually discover that they know little to nothing about the fucking matter."
"You admit to corrupting her then!"
"I admit that her concept of magick is not the same as mine, which is not the same as yours."
"That doesn't make sense."
"You mean, individual thought doesn't make sense?"
"You can't think for yourself if you're being brain-washed!"
"If she's being brain-washed by Thelema, then she isn't following her true-will. And then Crowley wouldn't be very happy with her pursuits in the magical arts."
"Who?"
A security guard then raised a flashlight and yelled at us from within the court house!

5. STRALAUERSTRASSE


After running back to the car, the driver quietly submerged into the nearby traffic, and I directed him around to the next stop.
Aviv was still catching his breath as we stepped back into the cold, right next to the river.
"Alright, what's the significance of the locations of these murders?"
"Why would there be any significance to their location? Why would there be any significance to anything I do? The world is meaningless."
"You obviously know why the bodies were dumped here. Where's this leading to?"
"Does a psycho needed a reason for his insanity?"
"There is no consistency to these locations. Train stations, streets, and now an empty park. What's the connection?"
"Do you really think this was always an empty park?"
"I don't fucking know what was here a hundred fucking years ago! So you tell me why the murderer chose these fucking places to leave the bodies!"
"You might be a mind-reader, but I'm afraid, that's a skill that I lack."
"If this was a park in 1939, then this is the first place that wouldn't raise any suspicion."
"Now you're thinking like a linear assassin. But that doesn't explain the other populated spots, does it."
"What aren't you telling me, asshole!"
"She looked like Chloe Grace Moretz, but instead of the body of a chubby little boy, this one actually had a great shape."
"Was her throat cut?"
"Yep."
"Innards removed?"
"Like a turkey."
"So there must be a connection between the victims."
"Well, duh."
"They all knew the murderer before he killed them."
"Perhaps."
"Perhaps? What the fuck do you know about the victims?"
"That they were all fucking meat!"
"There you go again, always dehumanizing women."
"Absolutely. I'm a misogynist, some of the time. I'm also in love with women, some of the time. Human's are capable of both emotions, you know, depending on the context. If you've ever had a fucking relationship with another fucking person, then you should understand what it's like. It's easy to hate the ones you love, but it's never a perpetual sentiment is it, or else you'd never spend any significant period of time with anyone. People hate people, and then they get over, and get on with their fucking lives. Only a poorly developed antagonist in a bullshit Marvel movie would express one emotion without alteration."
"Once a misogynist, always a misogynist!"
"And we enter the politics of identity."
"You mean the politics of a liar!"
"What exactly have I lied about this evening? Give me one fucking example!"
"You fucking hate women! You have no respect! You're a fucking coward!"
"The only intrinsic value a female holds, is her BIOLOGICAL ability to breed. For men, it's our skill at labor. That's it, at the most base level. Woman’s worth is their sexuality, men are workers. A man that is as weak as a women is therefore completely fucking worthless. Anyone can argue otherwise, but on a sheer animal level, our unconscious knows and fears it! And if a man has no desire for children, then ultimately, no woman has any fucking power over him! So all women are just as worthless as a weakling!"
"You're disgusting."
"Tell me this then, why don't girls want to be worshiped?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Because they like to be challenged, and inside, they all know that they deserve to be treated like shit."
"You're sick in the head! No one wants that!"
"Man, have you ever fucked a chick?"
"Shut up!"
"I've never met a female who didn't love to get fucked – and fucked hard!"
"Women deserve far better than scum like you?"
"Scum like me?" I laughed, slapping my thigh. "Well, then girls love scum like me! You know my history! They fucking love me!"
"You treat them like objects!"
"Oh, wait. Hang on. I thought you were the one objectifying women as as whole, and not based individual merit. Or was that me?"
"They all deserve basic human respect!"
"Which is it?! All or the individual?"
"All the individuals!"
"All the individuals treated equally defeats the merit of the individual! Equality is unobtainable!"
"You're a complete fucking idiot!"
"How am I wrong?"
"All women should be treated as individuals with their own needs, while the whole group should be respected for who they are. How can you ignore that?!"
"Yes, they are all individual pieces of fucking meat, all equally worthless. Until they prove their merit with their deeds. Then some are more worthless than others! Thus there is no equality. How can you be equal if you're less valuable than others?"
"Every woman's life is valuable!"
"Unless it's not."
"No!"
"You've served in the military, so do you think the females you fought with are worth the same as your mother?"
"All life is valuable!"
"Are you saying that you never once raised your weapon in the line of duty? Are you saying that if you saw a terrorist killing a fellow Jew on the streets of Jerusalem, you wouldn't have shot the guy? If so, you're a liability to your agency, aren't you."
"You don't know what you're talking about."
"Aviv, have you killed someone while on the job?"
He said nothing.
"I take your silence as a confirmation. There is no equality in any form of life."
"What gives you the right to judge anyone?!"
"I don't need permission from a cunt like you to think for my-fucking-self!"
"You'd never say that to a woman's face."
"Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? I've said worse, soul-destroying shit right into the eyes of lovers standing in front of me! I fear speaking to no one! No authority figure can intimidate he who needs no validation!"
"Try telling that to a terrorist!"
"You remind me of something Mara told me while we were in Scotland this summer. A college of hers said that I don't talk to him anymore, not after he threatened to knock my head off. I laughter from the very core of my gut, when she told me this. This cunt has said no such fucking thing to me. Number one, he's a fucking liar. But I told Mara, if he ever actually had the balls to say it or actually try and knock my head off, my weapon is that of the-bigger-picture. He might very well kick me around, if he was so weak of character that my words might wound him like a delicate fucking snowflake. But my retaliation would be the sweetest. I'd have him prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And that would destroy his future chances of extending his visa which keeps him in this country. I would laugh at his own self-sabotage. And this guy likes to gloat about what an intellectual powerhouse he is. Do you see how sweet my weapon is. It's the weapon of fear. He hates America and never wants to return. That's his weakness. So all I have to do to stop his very first punch, is to tell him exactly this. The very idea of losing his visa, is enough to shut him the fuck up! So spare me you idle threats of violence, tough guy!"
"A terrorist can't be reasoned with!"
"I totally agree. And that's why you have to kill them. Isn't that right, Aviv? That's why you kill them! And if some life is deemed unworthy of living, then where does that leave your fucking equality?"
"You wouldn't last five minutes in a war zone."
"That's exactly what my father used to say."

6. KÖLLNISCHER PARK


We drover over Jannowitz Bridge, past the Chinese Embassy, and parked near Märkisches Museum. This was a much more established park than the vacant plot that had we just left. In the south-east corner was a small brick tower, like a one man prison cell. Aviv peered in through the iron gate at the litter and darkness within.
"What is this thing?"
"That," I said, pointing at the big brick building behind. "Is a museum about Berlin. You should check out the scale models of the city in the basement. It's impressive to see how much this whole environment has changed since the 1600s. Most tourist however, only give a shit about the war and the wall."
"Yeah, I don't give a shit either."
"Why'd you fucking ask then?"
"Let's get on this it. Where was the body, and who was she?"
"Who was she? I have no idea who any of these girl's were when they were alive. See, we all don't give two shits about something."
"So why are you obsessed with their deaths?"
"Because they all looked absolutely beautiful with their fucking throats slit wide open." I focused on that small tower and recalled, "There was a little sausage dog found locked inside, behind the gate. Maybe it was hers. She looked like a young, twenty-year-old Emilia Clarke. All I know about her, I gathered from her sad expression of regret toward lonely little insignificant life. Meat is meat, and she knew it."
"You don't fucking know what she thought of her life. She was someone! A fucking person. You fucking psychopath!"
"I'm not a psycho. I have empathy. I simply know how to switch it off when it has no use."
"No use? That's what I'm talking about, you're a fucking parasite using people like they're fucking..."
"Like they're fucking what?"
"Using people like their fucking stepping-stones that you can walk all over!"
"Hmm... Yeah. Yeah, that's pretty accurate."
"Normal people don't fucking do that!"
"Yeah, of course they do."
"I'm friends with people because I enjoy their company. I don't abuse our friendship."
"Nonsense. Friendships are a business."
"Totally disagree."
"Casual or PROFESSIONAL, these people we interact with are all in it for the give and take. At least in a profession most people understand the position they're in. The client has a demand, so you supply. It's no different with friendships. How old are you, thirty? You don't have half the friends you had when you were fifteen, do you? Because you have less and less to give to those so-called friends. People only tolerate those that they can gain something from, otherwise it's a waste of fucking time. There's no altruism."
"You're a sad motherfucker."
"Then refute me. Do you have more friends now?"
"That's none of you fucking business."
"Why do you think rich and famous people have an endless supply of sycophants? They all want something. There is no friendship without a price."
"No. My friends mean something to me."
"Until they can't get anything from you. Then just watch how fast they all forget your fucking birthday."
"I'd never insult my friends with such a demeaning perception of them. You're an insincere leech!"
"If a friend has nothing to teach me, then I have no use for them."
"Teach you? You're a fucking idiot!"
"You can't improve unless you learn from people better than you. So why would you associate with those lower than yourself? Unless of course, you're a self-debasing naysayer, wallowing in self-pity."
"Yeah, and you're negativity is a real shining light of progression."
"All for nothing. It's all for nothing. The absurdity of life. And if the greater good is absurd, then why should you care about it? If I'd died two years ago, I know now, like a knew then, nothing would have changed. There have still been no fruits to my labors. Nothing I have ever done means a damned thing to anyone else. So if nothing I do will ever matter, then I shall continue doing whatever I like without consequence. My father was right, I will never amount to anything. And the absurdity is, I would still never amount to anything even if I did amount to something! Absurdity teaches us about the core of our identity, the self is all you have!"
"If you effect those that you care about, then that matters!"
"And yet who are they?"
"They matter!"
"Yet as Pascal said, "How many kingdoms know nothing of us.""
"It's not about pleasing everyone, just those closest."
"Exactly, and that number gets smaller and smaller as you go. Until soon, all you're left with is... Yourself."
"This is the stupidest conversation. You can't go through your live with such an antisocial state of mind."
"A functioning civilization doesn't require your social happiness. The majority of most people's days involve no deeper communication with other individuals beyond that of customer-service interactions. As long as you do you job, then you don't need to think twice about anyone else populating the space between point A and point B. Walking down the pavement, driving down the highway, or browsing the internet, those that you meet have no obligation to give you the time of day. None. As long as you don't cause trouble, civilization would be perfectly happy if you went your entire stinking life with your fucking mouth nailed shut."
"That's ridiculous!"
"You know, as a kid, I used to believe in things like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I took it for granted. I assumed it was common knowledge. It wasn't until I grew the fuck up, that I learned how these rights mean fucking nothing when reality leaves you starving to death on the street. Human rights are no more real than Liber Oz. We have no rights. We only have to survive! And survival is all about risk management. But is your fucking life even worth risking?"
"You have a low opinion of people's ability to co-exist. Societies are made of multitudes of various cultures. Different people working together. Just like the diversity of friendships you can have. We collaborate because we communicate and hold the same fundamental principles. We all agree with each other, and the more consistency of beliefs, the closer we become."
"If you're only friends with those that agree with you, then you should have no friends at all. No other person agrees 100% with anyone else, especially when no one even agrees with their own fucking thoughts."
"I know my wife. We are closer than anyone because we agree with each other."
"You agree with everything your wife says?" I shook my head. "You have my condolences."
"Why doesn't your ex in Portugal talk to you anymore? Huh, tell me that?"
"Well, shit. She said she doesn't want any 'poisonous' people in her life."
"She's a smart girl."
"Smart enough to trust me?"
"You take advantage of people's trust."
"Don't infantalize their integrity."
"You're the one reducing people down to meat!"
"At least I respect meat enough to appreciate that it's a dangerous adversary."
"I don't know how anyone can stand to be around you."
"Professional or casually?"
"Both!"
"When I'm being professional, I find I am work without ego. Doing whatever has to be done for the great good of the production. It's efficient for a group-setting. But once out on your own, the ego is very fucking necessary in order to motivate oneself without any external direction."
"You're a fucking psycho! Why doesn't anyone else see through your bullshit!"
"Compared to a psychopath, I'm a saint. Just as in proportion to a saint, I'm a fucking psycho. I might be a perfectly nice guy, yet in your infallible fucking eyes, I'm damned for my unforgivable indiscretions of proportionate insignificance."
"In proportion to reality, you're fucked in the head!"
"Are you fucking high? I'm exactly like everyone else! I'm absolutely normal! I'm neither smart nor stupid. I'm the balanced center of the fucking universe. I've committed no atrocity and done nothing noble. I'm one of the little people. To the power-players, I don't even exist. I'm perfectly fucking inconsequential! Just as you're a side note in my store, I'm just a side note in your story. And we're both incidental characters to anyone reading this right now."
"I don't care what you say, you're a sick fuck!"
"They say crazy people don't think they're crazy. So if I genuinely believe that I'm fine, despite that people keep telling me I'm a lunatic, then my perception must be in error. If this is true, then how could I ever trust my own senses if my central-processor distorts the input. But let's just say, for arguments sake, that my psychosis is somehow cured. Then the question is, how could I ever know whether or not that psychological disorder has ever returned or not? For if it's effecting my very sensory experience, without constant supervision, I would never know if I myself had relapsed back into dementia. So those who deem me incapable of thinking straight by their standards, would hence require that I needed twenty-four hour attention. Ah, the entitled fascism of matriarchy. Anyone calling another a psycho, labels them ill-equipped for basic self-determination. They've been reduced to the status of a child who's own self-interest in utter irrelevant. As soon as they disagrees with you, you find them unfit to make up their own mind. But if individuality leads to insanity, then who the fuck do you think you are?"
"I'm the one telling you, that you're a fucking idiot!"
"And I sleep like a fucking baby."

7. EVANGELISCHE SCHULE BERLIN ZENTRUM


The cold was obviously creeping into Aviv's impatience as we drove west for a couple of blocks.
"Hurry up. Let's get on with it," he sneered, as we left the car and headed down a footpath between modern buildings. "Where the are we now?"
"Just some school."
"I'm not breaking into a fucking school."
"I didn't say you had to."
"Where are we going then?"
"To the basketball court down the back."
"Let me guess, this wasn't here a hundred years ago."
"Probably not."
And then after passing another nondescript, four-story building, we walked out onto a bleak court surrounded by dead trees.
"She had a face like Alicia Vikander, and-"
"And I don't give a fuck!"
I stood in silence, scanning the empty space, as I visualized the dead body stretched out and exposed.
"I want to hear you confess you holocaust denial and hatred of the Jewish people!"
"Isn't antisemitism a bit passé?"
"Spare me the excuse that just because you're dating a Jew that makes you free to say whatever hate speech you like."
"I wouldn't dream of doing any such thing. I never needed an excuse to insult anyone before. But as for holocaust denial, I don't recall ever making such a statement. My only issue with the holocaust, is semantic. It was genocide, pure and simple. Why does it get a special title? Or why can't you call any ethnic cleansing a holocaust? I don't see the justification for commandeering the word."
"I imagine you'd prefer to call it the Final Solution!"
"You have a limited imagination, don't you."
"It was a holy war! They were slaughtered by the enemies of god!"
"It was still just a war between men. It wasn't a war against god."
"See! You are denying it!"
"I doubt god was involved, but I don't doubt the death toll. There's far too much documentation. Besides, if holocaust deniers are true Nazis, then shouldn't they be proud of their accomplishment? Why deny it?"
"Accomplishment?! You fucking pig!"
"An accomplishment in the context of their point of view. Take it down a notch, before you give yourself a fucking stroke."
"It's that sort of attitude that allows Nazis to still exist today!"
"The attitude of talking about historical events?"
"Tolerating the idea that what they did was anything but an abomination!"
"There's that liberal spirit of 2016."
"It's unconscionable what you're saying!"
"What do you think I'm saying?"
"Look at the way you act, your indifference is fucking sickening!"
"No worse than your apathy toward the girl who was murderer right where you're standing."
"How can you even compare!"
"Weren't you the one claiming that all life is valuable?"
"Fuck you! Just shut up! Shut your fucking face! I've heard more than enough!"
"No, I don't think you've heard a single thing that I've said this evening."
"You have no right! No right to speak!"
"No right to speak?"
"I don't want to hear about your bullshit right to free speech! All that comes out of your fucking mouth is shit!"
"I agree."
"Shut up!" Aviv yelled, grabbing my scarf as he pulled out a handgun and aimed it pointblank at my face. "Shut up! Keep you fucking mouth shut!"
"There is no free speech. Only legal and illegal speech. If it was truly free, I could incite violence and hatred and anything at all," I said, noticing that Aviv's finger was safely away from the trigger. "Do you want to know exactly how many Nazis I've met since living in Berlin? Seriously, do you want to know? I'll fucking tell you. Exactly zero! The fear of a Neo-Nazi uprising is a fucking laughable exaggeration about something that doesn't fucking exist. But you know how Germans are, got to have someone to blame all their paranoid self-hatred on. Better to fear past humiliations than consider real threats, like trucks being driven through Christmas markets by current day enemies of the state."
Aviv seemed to have realized that it wasn't cool to have his gun out in this kind of situation, and he slowly stepped back.
"I could never become a Nazi anyway, regardless of the ideologies and POLITICS and whoever I happen to be dating. You know why?"
"Why?" Aviv whispered.
"Jewish food is just too fucking delicious. And if you can appeal to someone's appetite, then you can win over anyone. Anyone."
Aviv seemed calmer.
So I quickly added, "Besides, Auschwitz was just a fat-camp, wasn't it. For all those kike swamp-donkeys!"
"Don't fucking push it."
"I reckon you're the one in denial here. Trying to rationalize your behavior, because your feeling threatened by such a charming, lady-killing fucking shiksa, like myself."
"You moved to Germany because you wanted to join a Nazi group. You're artwork is just an excuse."
"Again I repeat, proof or apology."
"Everything that's come out of your mouth proves my point."
"Example! Give me evidence!"
"Fucking educate yourself!"
"You're a worthless fucking spokesman if you preach from the moral high-ground yet refuse to elaborate on the subject! If you have some evidence or wisdom, then share it! Saying 'educate yourself', is the laziest fucking excuse for a lack of an argument ever conceived! I want proof or an apology!"
"You're drawn to places of historical atrocities. That's why you moved to Berlin. That's why you insisted on returning to Jerusalem. And that's why you're a fucking psychopath!"
"Someone recently asked me how I felt about living in my flat after the cops had kicked in my front door. She asked if I felt insecure about having my personal space intruded upon. But a door is only a thin slice of wood. It's nothing against anyone with enough determination. We lock our doors and change our passwords, but all that security is little more than smoke and mirrors when someone else wants in. We are constantly surrounded by criminals. The streets are full of murderers and rapists, and we sit right next to them on the train on a daily basis. After all, we are but animals pretending to be civilized. Violence is always at arms length whenever you're in public. What place on the face of the Earth doesn't have a history of mass murder, and isn't built on the bones of human fucking misery?!"
"Most people don't think about such things, they're repulsed by violence! You're drawn to it! Why?!"
"That's like asking why you're ticklish. I just am."
"Fixating on the suffering of others makes you dangerous!"
"Says the guy shoving a gun in my face."

8. NEW GREEN APARTMENTS


Leaving the car on a quite street near the river, Aviv and I had to squeeze between temporary fences around the construction site that covered one side of a triangular courtyard among other residential buildings. Neither of us spoke as we stood there. Maybe Aviv had run out of questions, or he was still brooding over his melt down with his gun.
"I had a twelve hour stopover in Osaka on my way back from Japan. For some fucked-up reason, I had thought I could just hang out in the airport from 10 at night to 10 in the morning. But the moment I stepped foot into the airport, I wondered why I hadn't booked a fucking hotel for the night. So walked out the front door and straight along a passageway directly into a huge monolith of a hotel. It was one of those grand buildings that could have been built in the 1950s, with an authentic retro refurbishing. Wooden paneling, bass fittings, and polished marble. The lobby was massive, with gigantic chandeliers, and a reception that was somewhere between a Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson film. The very camp Japanese guy at the front desk was eager to please. A young girl in matching uniform escorted me toward the elevators. The buttons in the lift were like the big round kind that I remember from department stores when I was a kid. But once I reached my floor, the corridor was dark and narrow. The interior design was just as refined as the lobby, but the atmosphere was more consistent with a David Fincher film. It was one of those places where the walls were so thick that a 747 could have literally been taking off over the hotel and you wouldn't have heard a sound. My room was big. Bigger than anything that Mara and I had stayed in at Tokyo. But our hotel view in central Roppongi was far more impressive than the blackened airport that I faced. Mara had another week in Tokyo, so this was the first time I had been alone in Japan since 1999."
Aviv was standing with his arms crossed, he didn't seem to have anything to offer.
"The distortion of memories over time is a curious experience. Most of my recollections of Japan were spot on. Others however, were warped and quite disjointed. There was this one place, Ikebukuro, I had specifically wanted to returned there. But I found myself totally lost. It wasn't until we were heading back to the train that I began to recognize the place. My memory was completely distorted. It was fucking impressive. A literal example of how the mind can fool you. We're constantly rewriting our history. My past is not what I think it is, it is only what I tell myself. We're all whatever we make ourselves out to be. I am whatever I choose to remind myself of. I create myself."
Aviv was unmoved.
"I'm often asked why I'm such a fucking pervert. After returning to Japan, I think it was that place that made me this way. Socks, mini skirts, and pigtails everywhere. Everywhere. Which is a lie. I was always this way. Let's just say, Japan encouraged the Creep-Lord in me. God bless those adorable little bastards. I loved surfing through Japanese TV, with their girl bands, cooking hours, and retarded game shows. It's never-ending tsunami of tiny people. A hundred-and-thirty-million variations of the same face. Japan will always be special to me. It's why I still sleep on the floor. But I was lying on the king-sized bed in the airport hotel, when I came across a Chinese News channel interviewing the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key. Previously, I'd heard people rant on about what a fuckwit the guy was. And yet while watching him talk about trade deals with China, the guy was on fucking point. I had a similar experience with Mel Gibson. Ever since his famous screaming fit at that cop, I had bagged him in that category of drunken pricks with which to be avoided. But then, while on Youtube, I came across an interview from 2004 about The Passion Of The Christ. After hearing that, I searched for incident with the cop. And again, like John Keys, I had judged the guy based solely upon the hearsay of others. I was wrong about both of them. And I was to blame for that. I hadn't cross-referenced."
Aviv was staring at me again. "I can't tell if you're being serious, or you're just being idiot."
"And then there was a knocking at the door to my hotel room. It was near midnight, and I wasn't expecting room service, so I looked through the peephole. There wasn't anyone there. I whipped the door open and stepped out in that gloomy corridor in my bare feet. A little kid stood some distance away. I assumed as some assholes had let their fucking kid run freely about the hotel 'cause kids today do whatever the fuck they want. Except, the little girl then ran back and grabbed my hand, insisting that I follow her. I figured I would take her down to the reception and done with the matter. I remember that the floor in the elevator was surprisingly warm on my feet, but the kid jumped up and hit the top button. So up we went. Everyone loves the elevator game. Turns out there was a restaurant and bar up there. No, nothing like Lost In Translation. It was in the same old-school style as the rest of the place, lots of gold and mirrors. I headed to the bar, about to ask the bartender to take care of the kid. But she tried dragging me toward another door that led into a kind of smoking room. I was already fed up with her shit, so yanked her through all of the deserted tables and chairs. There was only one guy sitting at the bar but no barman. The kid got more wriggly the further away from the smoking room we got, so I just released the little shit. She fell flat on her ass, and she looked way too deeply offended for a seven-year-old's emotional understanding. I glanced at the Japanese guy at the bar. He was a serious-looking middle-aged chap in one excellent fucking suit. He took note of the kid, but no fucks were given. I called out for the barman, but then the kid ran off. The Japanese guy must have finally registered my irritated posture, so he offered me a seat at the bar. He was one of those eternally calm, sophisticated sort of guys. His gold rings and gold watch were stylish but not gaudy. And his traditional Japanese tattoos made me wonder if he was Yakuza. Probably not, but if I'd seen a gold plated handgun tucked neatly within his jacket, then I would've been sure. We chatted for a short while, small talk, whatever polite bullshit. It turned out that the kid worked for the hotel. Invites guests to the smoking room for a little bit of adult entertainment. From his broken-English and gestures the guy made, he seemed to imply that the little kid was also on the menu. Oh, Japan, you land of unspoken taboos. I love how rigorously the Japanese uphold their etiquette. That guy, he probably hated my foreign guts, but he wouldn't dream of revealing his personal beliefs. Must maintain the appearance of control. Someone said recently that there's no such thing as person beliefs, as inevitable your beliefs will spill out through your actions and influence your behavior. I'm of two minds about this idea. Sure, your thoughts have an unconscious way of effecting the external world, but isn't the civilization meant to incorporate a diversity of ideas. As long as you adhere to the law of the land, then you should be able to believe whatever the fuck you like. To say you can't harbor person beliefs that are in conflict with the party-line, is essentially saying that personal beliefs are a thought-crime. Isn't that what we were talking about earlier, that thinking about something is irrelevant, it's the actions that convict you."
"You disgust me," Aviv finally spoke up. "Your reaction to a brothel with child-prostitutes, is to take a seat with one of their clients and make small talk. You're a pitiful excuse for a human."
"So you're saying I've graduated from merely being an idiotic psychopath."
"What's wrong with your thought process? Who does that? Seriously, why would you tolerate even the idea of such a place existing in the same hotel that you're staying at? Are you out of your fucking mind?"
"You know, Mara refused to believe the diagnosis from my therapist last year. Instead she decided that I have ODD. Oppositional defiant disorder," I said with a bitter smirk. "The one thing that she's never accused me of being, is being a good person. So if I'm the villain in my own story, then you know what, it's my fucking responsibility to cause as much conflict upon those that have such a low fucking opinion toward myself! After all, you got to live up to your full potential, or it's a life wasted! And without antagonists, there can be no fucking heroes like you, motherfucker!"
"That's your reasoning for shitting on the people that love you? That's a fucked personal philosophy!"
"Philosophy is only here to help you cope with your own PSYCHOLOGY. It's better to have a fucked point of view than blind yourself by listening to others without any proof to their arguments."
"You're such and fucking asshole! You think you're so fucking enlightened. Well, you fucking not!"
"There's absolutely no evidence to believe in human enlightenment. Any kind of fucking belief in higher consciousness is, once again, nothing more than an extension of the ego's vanity!"
"What, do you call yourself some sort of anarchist or something? You're nothing but pathetic fucking artist whining to yourself!"
"Anarchists are fucking pussies! If I was one, I'd want absolute fucking anarchy! Rape, murder, and torture on the fucking streets! That's fucking chaos! The unbridled desecration of everything that everyone holds dear. Anarchy is when everyone is everyone's enemy. No illusions of loyalty or safety. And nothing left sacred. Hell. Pure hell. That's what we're talk about, isn't it. Hell on Earth. When hell is Earth. Unless this already is. And in hell you can't escape your own thought patterns. Repeating the same thoughts without end. Yet if art is a way of structurally formulating your own thoughts and feelings, then it really should be illegal. For somethings must never be spoken or written or drawn. Somethings are too revealing for the light of day. So by suppressing these things, you deny understanding them. If sublimation is therapeutic, then it has no place in hell. Like I said, there is no free-speech, only legal and illegal-speech. But every adult knows that there's a vast difference between what is morally right, and what you can get away with."
"What kind of selfish belief is that?"
"It's a belief in sacrifice. Every living thing that you eat is a sacrifice that empowers your very fucking existence. Gods are no different. They need to be feed with the souls of the masses, just as they too can be eaten alive," I whispered, leaning in close, "A violent dream. All I have are violent dreams. Every night. I am living a violent dream. We are incapable of peace. We are at constant war within our own heads. And yet I dream of the worst things while I'm awake."
Aviv took a moment before he backed away, making sure his iPhone was still recording.
So I turned, walking toward the street.
"Wait!" Aviv called out. "Who was the girl this time?"
"She was a black chick. Big loose hair," I said, remembering the smell of her coconut moisturizer. "Reminded me of Naomie Harris."

9. BEUTHSTRASSE


Standing at the acute angle of a three-way intersection, Aviv turned in circles. "So where now? Where was the body?"
"Right here."
"Out in the open again." Aviv glanced about, looking over the tall building and down the wide streets, Leipzigerstrasse was just up ahead. "I don't get it. Didn't you say at the start, that these were called Die Museumsinsel Morde, the Museum Island Murders. But we've been on the mainland this whole time. None of these crime scenes are on the actual island. Why the fuck did they name it that? What have any of these locations got to do with the museums?"
"What do you know about the murders so far?"
"They're all within walking distance of each other. They were all killed in the same fashion. The victims sound like they were particularly beautiful, according to your descriptions. I still have no idea how anyone could just dump a body while surrounded by people without immediately being caught."
"The guy who drove that truck into the Christmas market was surrounded by thousands of people, yet he got away. You can do almost anything in public, if you're confident enough."
"You admire this murderer."
""I admire it's purity. A survivor. Unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.""
"What? What are you talking about?"
"This one looked like Emily Ratajkowski. Her head was barely attached to her body. The hole in her neck was more brutal than the previous girls. Her posture was awkward, as if she been dropped from the sky."
"Over what period of time were the bodies discovered?"
"What do you mean?"
"Was it weeks, or months between each murder?"
"They were all found over the course of a night."
"One night?"
"Between midnight and 10am that morning, all thirteen bodies had been reported to the police."
"There's no way one person killed, mutilated, and transported thirteen bodies across the city. That's impossible."
"Half the pleasure is in the premeditation."
"Pleasure?"
"You know what I love about porn. If you just watch the faces of the girls, they all look like they're getting murdered."
"That's what gets you off?"
"The very act of eating is a pleasure, yet you're destroying something. Accept the inevitable and enjoy it. Pleasure is just a perception."
"No, it's not just a fucking perception. You can't decide to change what you enjoy."
"Sure you can. Words can change your perception. Imagine you're in a room with an unknown female. You could simply suggest that you want to cut her head off. You're just speaking out loud. You don't actually need to touch her, or even look at her. But instantly your words have altered her perception of you. Words."
"How can you enjoy manipulating people like this?"
"Get off your fucking high horse. We all do it. Aren't you blackmailing me into forced attrition right now?"
"I want the truth! That's what I want! I'm not trying to deceive or mislead! I want to know how the fuck you think you can get away with treating people with such fucking contempt!"
"I believe you're emotionally genuine, Aviv, I really do. But one person's self-deception is another person's self-actualization. And I repudiate your simplistic notion of the truth. I hear we're currently living in the post-truth era. Which makes me fucking laugh. Post-truth has been around since the dawn of language. It's been ingrained upon the globalized layman to the point that he accepts click-bait upon face-value with knee-jerk reactions, and then immediately flocks in droves to support his own in-group outrage-CULTURE. The practice of post-truth has been taught in schools, religions, and homes incessantly, till we accept what's told without ever needing to fact-check for ourselves. It all steams from the illusion of the authenticity of authority. We've grown accustom to relying on science, faith, or family. We trust those who know better. We accept that evolution is valid because those in-the-know did the hard work and proved the theory. We believe that god exists because scholars have done the mental-gymnastics in order to justify blind obedience. We know that our mothers and fathers have our best interests at heart because they feed and shelter us. This unconscious logic of trust now has the mob presuming that any old slander is fact chiseled in stone. I ask you, how many dissenters actually go and research the evidence for evolution? How many heretics study the recorded history of ancient scriptures? How many children fend for themselves and actually survive once abandoned at birth? We trust, therefore we are easily deceived! And just as there are sheep, so too will there always be wolves, whose job it is to lead the sheep astray and dine all night long. But in order for wolves to survive, they must ensure there are plenty more sheep to sustain their banquets. So the wolves must remind the sheep to believe everything that they hear, regardless of contradictions. And there are no paradoxes that can't be outweighed with a little emotive rhetoric distracting the self-indulgent masses with some immediate-gratification of trend-sympathy and victim-worship. Soon there is only the messianic-delusion that your gut instinct has been sanctioned by providence, and if any fool dares oppose you, you know ultimately, that you'll be on the infallible side of history along with the morally immaculate. How obvious this symptom is to the devil who trolls for the lols. Always remember: easily intimidated people deserve to be manipulated! Yet we trust in the intuitive response to whatever. We trust. We trust because it's easy. We trust because we're lazy. We trust and then scream bloody murder when the truth about post-truth threaten our trust. We trust because we don't want to know the truth. We trust because the truth is unobtainable. We trust because the truth is whatever we want it to be. Post-truth is the voice of the serpent whispering in the ear of Eve."
"You sound like a Christian fundamentalist."
"Are you fucking serious?"
"Explains why you embrace the German culture."
"I hope you're fucking kidding."
"You're a white male!"
"Oh, where have I heard that before."
"You look like everyone else here. You fit right in."
"I'm no more part of German culture than I fit in with the Japanese."
"Well, if you made some effort to speak German you might."
"Didn't you know speaking foreign languages is culture-appropriation."
"That's not what cultural-appropriation is."
"Are you sure about that?"
"With that shaved head, you look more than just a little German."
"I'm going to pretend that I didn't just hear that."
"You're white like everyone else here."
"According to certain Leftist politicians here, they'll be glad when there's no more white people at all. So how does that benefit me?"
"What are you talking about?"
"They say the new demographics are going to out bred the German death-bed birth-rates."
"And you say you're not racist."
"These are the words of Leftist politicians that I'm merely repeating."
"I don't believe you."
"Again, why would I make that up?"
"You're just trying to divert blame."
"You know, it's no secret, I've always supported Israel's right to defend itself. In fact, I admire Israel's stance. Surrounded by enemies and refusing to back down. Now you tell me, Aviv, as an Israeli yourself, if Merkel was the Prime Minister of Israel, and if she had the same open-borders policy, how long do you think your nation would last?"
"This isn't about Israel!"
"Yes it is! Your two big accusations this evening are that I'm a racist and a Nazi. Would a racist fucking Nazi defend Israel?"
"This is still your culture!"
"No! No, it's not! I'm not a fucking German! I love it here, don't get me wrong, but I've had absolutely no intention of gaining German citizenship since Brexit."
"So you voted to leave? And you still claim you're not a racist Nazi?"
"I wanted Britain to remain, you fuck! Yet after the leave-side won, I've been fucking amused by how the Left has become a bunch of elitist cunts, just like after the Trump election. The Left no longer seems to believe in democracy. That's fucking hilarious!"
"You sound just as hysterical as those reacting to the terrorist attack at the Christmas market."
"Hysterical? Who's hysterical? All I've seen is mass indifference!"
Aviv seemed to glance aside, trying to think of an example to refute my last statement.
"And why is there this mass indifference? Why are most people saying, it was bound to happen? Why would Germans say that about a terrorist attack in their capital? What would cause them to assume the worst? Are Germans dropping bombs on Syria? No. If Germany has done nothing wrong, then hysteria is exactly how the whole fucking nation should be reaction. But they aren't. They're indifferent and knew that this was bound to fucking happen. Could they be reacting with apathy to this event because they've endured a year of machete attacks, shootings on the streets, and the mass rape of women and children? Possibly. After all, sadomasochism is the new cool."
Aviv clenched his lips as he glared back.
"So of course a terrorist attack like the Christmas market was bound to happen sooner of later. And now let's blame ourselves for not importing enough refugees with no kind of screening. Don't get me wrong. I totally agree that asylum-seeker need shelter. It's the humane thing to do. But taking the entire population of a small country without any form of vetting, is asking for trouble. And trouble is what everyone's got. Which, you know, probably isn't so bad. Now everyone can wallow in self-pity and blame nonexistent Neo-Nazis. Blame anyone but the perpetrators of the crime. And what lesson does that teach the children. It's not wrong if you can get away with it. Now, you tell me, Aviv. Is that how they handle attacks in Israel, or do they strike back at those responsible for the crime?"
He had nothing to say.
"I heard that commerce kills culture. You know what kills culture? Time! Cultures are in a constant state of flux. But indifference to being out bred sure can accelerate things."
"You just crucified yourself," Aviv sniggered. "I have all that recorded."
"I'm glad you have it on the record," I snarled right in Aviv's face. "Bruce supports Israel. Bruce holds criminals accountable for their crimes. Bruce believes in vigilance!"

10. HAUSVOGTEIPLATZ


The Aston Martin pulled over next to one of two triangular roundabout. This part of Mitte was clearly where the wealthy lived, worked, and spent their hardly earned cash. There was a cluster of trees either side of an entrance that I took a photo of.
"So who did she look like?"
"A little like Margot Robbie, but even more of an insufferable bitch than she already looks."
"I can't stand your attitude toward women."
"What, do you think they're all helpless and innocent daddy's girls?" I laughed, scanning the empty streets. "'Cause they're fucking not!"
"You know, I understand now why you're obsessed with these murders. You're actually turned on by the violence toward the victims. This is some kind of sick fucking SEXUAL thrill."
"If you have an inborn talent, like artistic skill, then you should be proud of it. Just like you should be proud those other parts of your temperament, such as sadism."
"No one's born that way."
"My mother used to call me a little scowler."
"Because you were probably an ungrateful shit, like you are today."
"When I was around thirteen, I came home one day and found my father and his drinking buddy laughing. He asked, who my model had been? I was confused, until I realized that he had discovered my first nude sketches. Man, was I was pissed off. How dare he violate of personal space! Securing a lock to my bedroom door became my top priority. But you know what, I learned three important lessons from that invasion of my privacy. First, my father was glad that I wasn't a queer. Second, I actually had nothing to be ashamed of. Third, there is no such thing as privacy. You see, you got to anticipate that your privacy could be exposed at any given moment, so you must be prepared for the worst by having no shame about your secrets. And the most important lesson of all is, everyone fucks, and there's nothing fucking special about it."
"No! There's nothing special about you! Just you!"
"Of course. Yet I can still hear them."
"Hear what?"
"The girls. I can hear them screaming. Screaming in my walls. I'm never alone. Always kept company with my sexual demons. Every girl I've ever fucked and phantasied over, they follow me. I can't escape them, because I worship them. But they're nothing like the real people. These demons are completely distinct and separate entities to the actual ex-lovers that I know today. These disembodied devils are ten and legion, and they're all mine."
"Fuck, you're a pervert! Let it go!"
"It's the Great Work. I will never let go of what must be done. There's nothing so beautiful as the sight of all that fresh blood gushing from a head of blonde hair, after you've just bashed her fucking skull in!"
"What are you saying?!"
"I fucked her till she couldn't feel her feet anymore. Yet does it make me a bad person if I visualized her dead at the time? Or am I only a piece of shit if I don't make her cum?"
"You're disgusting!"
"You know what's disgusting, Carpaccio! It's like eating labia. It's fucking disgusting!"
"Why would you even think that?"
"Well, it does raise an interesting question, and you might help out here. Is cannibalism Kosher?"
"What are you talking about?!"
"Chlamydia from cannibalism, that's not and explanation you want to tell your girlfriend."
"Stop! I don't want to hear any of this!"
"Women, if they didn't have pussies, we'd hunt them for sport, am I right?"
"No! You're fucking sick!"
"Whenever I see some spoiled little Lolita being kowtowed to, as if the sun shined directly out of her perfect asshole, all I want is to see her: prostrated, moaning, and cut open like a fucking mackerel. I want to desecrate this pristine idol adored by so many fucking cunts, and disclose to them all the stinking meat that she nothing more than!"
"Why are you still speaking to me?"
"Ha! Someone once told me that being a parent was about having to endure huge periods of boredom, while only receiving tiny moments of joy. It sounded more like what it's like having to fucking tolerate women. Come on, you know what I'm talking about."
"No! I want no part in this conversation! I don't agree with anything you're saying!"
"Ah, don't fool yourself. You can be honest with me, Aviv. I won't judge you."
"Don't fucking talk to me!"
"You've heard of the term micro-aggression. It's a hyper-sensitivity toward your own feeble insecurities. Those who use the the term act exactly how a jealous female behaves when she reads whatever her paranoia she wants into a situation in order to make it all about her. Because she can't bare the idea that the world doesn't revolve around her. I'll give you an example. A man walks down the street while checking his phone. A woman standing on the curb suddenly becomes furious at the guy's micro-aggression. The man walks away unaware that the women even exists. Woman screams misogyny because he ignored her, and thus she feel belittled. However, if he acknowledged her presence the same woman could just as easily deem that a micro-aggression, as he's just objectified her. Come on! You know exactly what I'm talking about! Every guy who's ever spent any time with a girl knows what this shit's like! Admit it, Aviv! Admit it, you little misogynistic fuck!"
"I feel so sorry for Mara, having to deal with you for two whole fucking years. I should have done something sooner than this."
"I had a dream a few months ago, that I'd killed Mara. She was already dead when the dream began. I found myself in the process of disposing of her body. For some weird reason, I'd wrapped her up in newspaper like a glass vase. But suddenly I panicked. I was overcome with remorse. I spent the rest of the dream arguing with myself, that maybe she regretted letting me kill her. It had been her idea that I do it. But what if she would've been fine if only I'd waited. I shouldn't have rushed into it. But now it was too late. Why had I done this? I didn't know. I should have waited. I never should have listened to her. I should have done something else. But it was too late."
Aviv just shook his head with abhorrence.
"There's a chemical that deceases along with sexual attraction to a long-term partner. It's called PEA (phenethylamine). My theory is that PEA is replaced with nagging. The less PEA in the brain, the more you nag at your partner. And there is nothing as unattractive as a nagger. Given enough negative-reinforcement anyone will change their behavior. There's a fine line where you must accept that it's far better to be alone than to endure the tedium of a resentful relationship."
"Then why the fuck do you torment her!"
I stared back at that little man, and then said, "Because I love her, you fucking cunt!"
"Then stop torturing her!"
"You're right. But we're all mumbling drunkards stumbling around in our heads, trying to deal with our own demented ideas of what's the best thing to do. My own ego will never hold any other individual body of chemicals as more than just another enemy of my enemies. Everyone else is comprised of the same treacherous, self-absorbed chemicals as myself. I would stop torturing her, if only she'd stop too."
"You're so fucking selfish. She's done nothing wrong!"
"Really? Even if any kind of personal space is deemed as incriminating? Women and their constant scrutinized. You got to love it. They teach you how to better mask your secrets."
"Couples shouldn't have secrets!"
"Fuck that! Whenever I see a happy couple on the train, I think to myself how easy it would be to destroy everything they hold dear. Everyone has secrets. Everyone!"
"Not true."
"Don't fucking give me that, motherfucker! Look at your fucking life. Don't you fucking dare try and tell me that you don't have some deep dark fucking shit that you keep all to yourself. Go dig into your unconscious at little deeper, and yeah, shut your fucking mouth. If I confessed every little dirty secret, it would never end. When I see a tasty girl on the street, I want to stalk her, fuck her, and then eat her fucking face! I want her to suffer before I erase her entire existence as if I'd never even seen her in the first fucking place! When I'm at a cafe and I see a girl sitting next to me, I want to stab her with a fucking sugar dispenser! When I see a girl's thighs at the gym, I've the immediately urge to lick the skin clean off her flesh, and then eat every muscle fiber, simply because I have to have absolutely all of her! The texture of her skin, I want it in my palms. I want to crush it beneath my hands! I want her bleeding all over me. I want to cut open the perfect texture of her fucking skin! When I lock eyes on a girl sitting opposite me on the Ubahn, I can see that she and her boyfriend want me to fuck them both in their asses! When I walked in on the two blonde house-keepers cleaning my hotel room in Bacharach, the first thing I thought of was strangling them one at a time upon my enormous bed while I fucked the other in the mouth. And then I'd clean up after they shit themselves."
"You can't be like this!"
"Yet I'm commanded to think only about the one I love, and keep no secrets?! Get the fuck out of here!"

11. ST. HEDWIGS-KATHEDRALE


Stepping out of the car onto Französische Strasse, I told the driver to wait for us on Unter den Linden at Bebelplatz. Aviv and I then walked around the east-side of the circular cathedral.
"She was over there. Another blonde. Naked, gutted, and slit throat. Had a pointy nose like Imogen Poots."
"What was the point of all of this? Why these girls, and why dumps them so publicly? What's the fucking meaning of any of this?"
"I kind of like Proust's idea. It's all about love, status, and art. But I reckon you don't just want these three aspirations alone, you need their opposites too. Shame, hate, and destruction. You got to have all six factors for a well rounded life. Virtues without vice is nobody's idea of a good time. Let he who is without sin be the first to preach happiness without the joy of guilt. You know, I'm always happiest when someone else hates me more than I hate myself."
"See, you hate yourself. That's a bullshit philosophy!"
"Even the most self-righteous cunt undergoes times of self-loathing. The trick is using it to your advantage."
"By blaming others?"
"By knowing that hatred is a strength that concentrates the mind."
"No, it's a weakness!"
"There's this flawed idea that I hear a lot. That a bully is compensating for some deep insecurity. This is a misconception. The fact is that some people are drunk with power. Once you've learned to take charge, you're not making up for a weakness by bullying others, you're in control. It's only a delusion-comfort that the victim's tell themselves, that the strong is as weak as they are. The weak need to reassure themselves that they're not to blame for their incompetence. They need to accuse some other for their own failures instead of accepting defeat. If you don't hate your own weaknesses then how will you ever improve?"
"You sound like a complete Right-wing capitalist. Except, what the fuck have you achieved?!"
"Ah, now you sound like Mara, that's the Jew in you."
"Fucking pig."
"You mistake me. I respect constructive criticism. But if you really want to play that ECONOMIC game, then what the fuck have you done with your fucking life? I'm a fucking prolific artist who's built an entire fucking world with my own two hands. Who the fuck are you to point the finger at anyone? You're a trained fucking killer!"
"I serve to protect the greater good!"
"The greater good? From who's perspective? The Palestinians see you as the fucking bullies!" I smiled and nodded my head. "See I love this game. When someone starts accusing you of some warped way of thinking, you just flip the exact same questions back on them and watch them fucking squirm! Who are you to judge shit? Well then, who are you? And so on. Don't you see, no one's fucking innocent."
"You only do it because you can't answer the fucking question yourself."
"What question?"
"What the hell have you done with your life that's benefited anyone else?"
"I pay my taxes, motherfucker."
"Yeah, you're a big success."
"You could always be more ambitious, true."
"What ambition do you even have, you fucking loser?"
"Well, my career seems to back on track, but you're right. There are always more women out there to call my own."
"Why the fuck do you always have to turn the subject to sex?"
"Greed comes in many forms."
"And yet you have nothing. And soon you'll have no one!"
"Those weak of character surround themselves with idiots to make up for their lack self-reliance."
"Sound like a pathetic excuse."
"Perhaps. But like I said before, given a long enough time-line, everyone fucking betrays and abandons us. Accept it and adapt."
"You're a sad, sad little man."
"Speak for yourself, short-round." I said, towering over that average fuck.
"I don't know what anyone sees in you."
"Let me ask you, do you believe the universe has put you here for a reason? Or even if you don't believe in a higher-anything, don't you think you should make up your own reason for living? Either way, you have one goal: becoming all that you can, no matter who might hate what you truly are. Isn't that the fundamental concept of what being an individual is? I walk freely among Satanists, Christians, Thelemites, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and fucking voodoo dolls, because I am one and none of you. The most important rule that everyone follows is suspicious of reckless behavior, regardless of skin color, age, gender, or religion. Anyone can be a threat! Yet there are moments when you can see the genius in someone's mind, just as there are those fucking times when we can all detect the animal that might just club our fucking brains in. I fucking despise it when I hear some arrogant fuck claiming that another is hypocritically contradicting their own principles. First, principles are there to help you cope with the animal that we're incarcerated within. We all break our own fucking rules, because no one is fucking infallible! Second, you have to be fluid and adapt to situations. Sometimes that means taking advantage of the best opportunity. Yet fucks like you, get up in my face with your fucking attribution-error. Fucks like you who assume the causality of everything that I've ever done is ultimately fucking wrong. Fucks like you say shit like my father had lung cancer because he smoked – when he didn't. Fucks like you never have all the facts. Even your leaders, your philosopher kings, the brightest of the bright, they're still fucking mortal. The greatest rulers who ever lived were but men, with character defect, prejudices, and impulsive temperaments. Those in authority are little more than laymen with titles deceiving the masses into bowing down to someone with no more answers than you or I have!"
"Fuck, you're so fucking full of yourself."
"You think anyone knows what the fucking meaning of life is?!"
"Sure!"
"Go ask the smartest Rabbi, ask the smartest scientist, and ask the smartest psychologist you can find! Their answers will all be so fucking vague that they're all ultimately fucking useless!"
"You don't know what you're fucking talking about. Some people can't afford to think about such fluff, they're just trying to survive."
"Well, anyone can play the victim-card, it's the easiest justification for not getting what you want. You don't need to worry about whether or not you've earned anything, or if you in fact have any right to the object of your desire. Just scream that you've been victimized, and then lie back and congratulate yourself. This behavior's the norm. Those who demand sympathy, over insignificant ordeals where they're clearly in the wrong, do so for their own lack of integrity, and insult the actual victims of real injustice. If you can't discern the difference between a victim of gang-rape, and a victim of the fashion-police, then you should go get raped!"
"I pity you."
"I don't. You should offer comfort only sparingly, or it demeans the value from the times when it's actually needed."

12. PLATZ DER MÄRZREVOLUTION


"At least I can actually see the museums from here." Aviv said, standing on the curb next to the Gorki Theater.
"She was tall, and wide eyed, like Gal Gadot. Long legs, big black hair, and the sort of tits that are great to oil up and then smack around."
"No one wants to know about your fucking fantasies, for fuck's sake."
"What the fuck are we talking about then?"
"This trip. You're fucking off to Portugal. I want to know exactly what you did there!"
Glancing around the construction work on the east-wing of the Humboldt university, I thought back to the night that I received the phone call in my hotel room. I never use hotel phones, so I was a little surprised, and then I was rather annoyed once I recognized the voice. "Chloe met me at the main train station in Lisbon, and then drove me out into the countryside for about an hour. I asked about what happened after our little adventure in the woods. She said that she drove back to the house but kept going once she saw the all the firetrucks. I tried not to take it personally. Anyway, we arrived at a large house in the middle of that stinking hot night. And like I said, she wanted to talk about Doggerland."
"Talk about what exactly?"
"Ah, fuck. Some shit that her friend was obsessed with. It was his house. He was a professor of something. I can't remember. An old guy. Big beard, balding, like all good professors should look."
"What did she say though, that made you leave your vacation."
"She said she had a niece who would suck my dick."
"What?"
"Come on, loosen up. Jesus fucking Christ. So the professor, what's his name. Sam, Samuel. He's been working with some research group, something to do with an oil company. I don't know the details. But they've been mapping the seafloor of the English Channel. Something about laying pipelines. But he's not involved in that. He's doing it to for the archeology. You know, where Doggerland used to exist."
"And what is that again?"
"It's the lost land of Atlantes!"
"Bruce!"
"Okay, okay. Ten-thousand years ago, Britain was part of the mainland. It wasn't an island. But then the ice caps that covered all of Scotland melted, and boom! The water levels rose, and the low lands between France and England were washed the fuck away."
"This is bullshit. What the fuck actually happened?!"
"Tell you what. Take a time-out. Use your fucking phone and Google it. Then I'll accept you apology, and we can continue."
"I'm not Googling anything."
"I'm serious. I'm fucking done with you making out that everything I say is a fucking lie. Google that shit right now, and then apologize to my fucking face. Go on. Do it."
Aviv forced a grin, then looked at this phone. I assumed it was still recording. And then his smirk disappeared.
"Apologize, or change the fucking subject."
"Okay. It's a thing. Fine."
"That's not an apology."
"You were right. Okay? Continue."
"I gave proof. Now I want a fucking apology."
"You were right. What more do you fucking want?!"
"Say the magic words."
"Fucking bullshit! Fine! I'm sorry! There! Alright! Fuck! Continue!"
"Wow, that's pathetic."
"Yeah, yeah. I'm not here for your fucking forgiveness."
"Yet you're here to punish."
"Because there are consequences!"
"Hmm. Perhaps. But there are three ways someone might react to punishment. They might realize that they were wrong, and then learn something. They might have no reaction, and simply not care. Or they could see their punishment as completely unjust, and fight it all the fucking way. How do you know whether of not the consequences of your intervention will have the correct outcome according to you?!"
"I'll make fucking sure it does."
"How?"
"Just you wait and see."
"Spell it out to me!"
"Do I have to remind you, hmm?" Aviv said, holding up the recorder.
"That's only the method of causing the consequences, not the controlling consequences themselves."
"Trust me, I'll see you that you fucking suffer!"
"And you're supposed to be the MORALLY superior one here. Where the fuck do you get your ethics from? Women?"
"Shut the fuck up, and continue the story!"
"Well, which is it?"
"What?!"
"Am I to shut the fuck up, or am I meant to fucking talk?"
"Tell me what you were doing in Portugal!"
"Mostly talking. Then I got the train back to Bacharach, where I was a little concerned to find that my bags had been moved to another, much larger room. They told me that the creepy old couple had paid for the upgrade after they'd accidental broken into my room while I was away. You dodgy fucking spooks. It's one thing that you guys are passing bills like the Snoopers Charter, but when you're physically going through my shit, you're really reaching the paranoid levels of jealous girlfriends."
"I told you. I have no idea who that old couple was. Now get back to Portugal!"
"We spent the a day looking at maps and satellite readouts. Sam was convinced he'd located a prehistoric settlement."
"What does any of this have to do with you?"
"Good fucking question!"
"So?"
"When Chloe and I had our little adventure in the woods, there were these stones. And she thinks that the settlement at the bottom of the English Channel also has a similar cluster of standing stones. Sam has identified several circular plots that have certain features that have them both shitting bricks."
"I still don't see why they've involved you in any of this."
"Because she missed my charming personality?"
"Fucking asshole."
"It was all very interesting. Real Indiana Jones shit. Except, Sam's been studying Doggerland for fucking decades. It's slow motion Indiana Jones. Perhaps Chloe and he were once young lovers solving the exciting mysteries of ancient civilizations. But now, they both look haggard and worn out. Maybe that's why they asked me to come out on their next expedition. I told them that I would if I could, but I can't so I won't."
"Why not?"
"I can't swim."
"Bullshit."
"Why is that such a hard thing for people to grasp? I. Can't. Fucking. Swim!"
"I still don't buy any of this."
"Which part?"
"All of it."
"Huh?"
"You went to France to fuck that whore, didn't you!"
"Oh, for fuck's sake! Fuck you! Fuck this!"
"That's what really happened."
Taking a deep breath, I wanted to walk away and be done with this whole thing, but clenching my jaw I said, "Do you know how misdirection works? A pick-pocket bumps into your shoulder, you're distracted, and he steals your wallet. People only see a fraction of what's going on. And a jealous girl only ever sees one thing. The french whore has become a decoy. A scapegoat. No matter what's going on, the decoy-girl will always be blamed for her own insecurities. Well, that's your fucking problem, not mine. Get your fucking head out of your ass, and give me a little more credit than that. There are plenty of other girls out there that I could be screwing!"

13. DIE ALTE NATIONALGALERIE


For the first time we stood on the Fisher Island, and walked between rows of stone pillars. The back of Das Alte Museum was to our right, the side of Das Neue Museum was to our left, and then we turned onto the court in front of Die Alte Nationalgalerie. Walking down the west-side of the gallery, we headed toward the back of Das Pergamommuseum, it was currently in the midst of extensive renovations. A few cranes towered over those Greek-fashioned buildings, and not another person was anywhere to be seen.
"Just over that fence, Anya Taylor-Joy was left, just the same as all the others. Bloodless and beautifully dumped."
"You're a disgrace."
"You know what Mara's mother said last year, after we had a small break up. Good riddance!"
"She was right."
"Well, you can never change your first impression of someone, it only gets worse."
"Yeah, and look at you. What ASPIRATIONS do you have?"
"Have you ever been to Turkey?"
"Why?"
"Carl Humann is buried there."
"Who?"
"Buried at the original site of the Pergamon Altar. Where he uncovered it. I'd like to see the ruined city for myself."
"What has that got to do with anything?"
"We're looking right at it."
"What? At what? What are you talking about?"
"The Throne Of Satan," I said, pointing beyond the Thirteenth Demon. "It's housed within that outcrop at the back of the Pergamon Museum. The whole place is an elaborate extension of the altar. Fitting don't you think."
"Are you talking about the murders?"
"What murders?"
"The dead girls you've been infatuated with!"
"You sound like those guys from the Thule Society."
"What society?"
"I expect they'll be along any moment."
"What the fuck has Satan got to do with any of this?"
"Ha! Now you sound like hell's propaganda machine."
"Ah, fuck you! You're not making any sense!"
"Don't you know, Satan was defeated long ago."
"What? Are you preaching scripture now?"
"Hell has undergone many epic civil wars. It's not like how Milton romanticized it. The empires of hell come and go. Satan himself has become alienated within his own damnation."
"I'm asking you to please stop talking."
"He's serving a prison sentence within a prison sentence. Like a hermit, resembling the old bearded man that renaissance artists portrayed god as. But he still has his prophets. He's never forgotten his fucking aspirations, as you fucking put it."
"Okay. You're speaking metaphorically."
"No more than magick is self-induced psychosis."
"What the fuck do you mean?"
""First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is a mountain again.""
"Make sense, you fucking idiot!"
"Do you know why exorcisms don't work?"
"No! No, I don't!"
"Devils don't care what the name of god demands. If god could control them, then there never would have been a rebellion in the first place."
"I don't care about any of this shit! I want to know what you've done behind Mara's back!"
"By the way, happy Hanukkah," I smirked, nodding at the black SUVs racing through the security blockades and up to where we stood. "Looks like we have company."
"You're going to die alone, you know that, right."
"How would that be any different to how I live?"
"Mara's going to know everything–"
"Mara? Didn't you get the memo," I frowned, turning toward Aviv. "We already broke up... You have nothing on me!"
"I don't fucking believe a word coming out of your mouth!"
"Well, if Socrates couldn't talk his way out of a death sentence, then what hope do I have?"
"You lied to me. You didn't need my help accessing any of these locations."
"Perhaps. But now there's security footage of you and I together."
Aviv grabbed my coat. "There weren't any murders, were there!"
"Not yet," I winked, as several big men in suits slammed into Aviv and dragged him away.
"You're not going to get away with any of this!" Aviv yelled, as he thrashed out against his captors.
"But I already have."
An old man in a superb cashmere trench-coat ignored Aviv and limped my way with a walking-cane. It was another X-Files moment of déjà vu rendezvous.
"It's about time you got rid of the Jew," the decrepit old man sneered, staring straight past me. "There is an assignment–"
"Hey. It's Christmas Eve morning. No business till after the holidays," I said, walking away. Aviv's driver was also cramped into another SUV between two grim-looking pricks. "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every-fucking-one!"

A PREEXISTING PACT

The SUVs cruised off behind me at just after 3am, and I strolled across the bridge toward the Theology Library. I had spent the last few weeks reading Bark in there. But I took a left and followed the river until I was standing directly in front of that mass of scaffolding covering the resting place of The Throne Of Satan.

It was no longer cold.
I had drawn a circle of blood around the old city's fortifications.
And the yet the Dragon in the heart was still hungry.
I headed past Hackescher Market, where we had begun, and then marched inward.
It only took ten minutes to walk from any of the thirteen points to Saint George.
There, the bronze statue was soaked in the all those sacrificial guts, while they screamed from inside with the voice of Antipas.
Their blood swamped the paving.
After paying my respects below the altar, I stepped over to the riverside.
The Dom was to my right.
Mühlendamm bridge to my left.
Saint George on his horse behind.
But the Dragon swam below, in the black waters of Loch Ness.
Walking away, I listened to Leonard Cohen, Traveling Light.
There was Magick in the air.
I own this fucking town.

Bruce

© 2016 BRUCE STIRLING JOHN KNOX