Hmm. Hmm. What do we have here? I see you on the other side of the room. It’s dark but you are unmistakable. This has been a long time coming. A long time longing. Listen, closely. To the groove. To the melody. It’s especially minded, a directed transmission. Forget the rest. It’s not for them. There is one sole intention to the propulsion. To the enveloping mantra of a dogmatic treble. It’s for you. This music is for you. I may not be the one spinning the record. I may not be the one who picked it to play at this exact instant. But the instant is bendable. It is but a vessel for someone willing to take it and I’m overloading the sonic airwaves. The dj is a fragile pawn in the spreading of the consuming fires of… of… Whatever it is, it cannot think and I am ‘it’ entirely now. And ‘it’ must move toward you. It passes by the faceless masses of raving stage hands. So insignificant they are at this moment, they might as well be untouchable frozen stills of something akin to reality but which can never be real. Your features become intoxicatingly more defined as I move, breathe and live. You’re not special but… But I make you special. I’m making you so special right now. You’re the one that I have seen before. The one from the recesses of my brain forests; where you stand, solemnly, assertive, among the trees. You look just like you should, just like I expected, but could not anticipate. The clothes you are wearing, the way you style your hair, it says it all. They mean nothing to you, mechanics of a game that you are forced to play, and yet, you understand their weight. You use them to bend rules by not bending rules at all. They are meant to entice the eyes of those who do not care for clothes. Those who see right through them, because of them; those who see a tree between humans, standing still amongst the noise. Yes, for even though you are moving in a flowing, abandoned motion in response to my gnosis induced enchantments, inside you are still. You are unconsciously humble enough to just be and listen, just like someone should. The strength of your abstractions is directly proportioned to the universal fragility of your physicality. Your unbreakable spirit is just as knee shaking seductive as the ease with which your skull can be broken into a million pieces. I want to corrupt you. I want you to want me to, even though you’ll never let me, even though I never will. But you make me want to try. And so here I am, in front of you, asking for a word that will naturally slide into the best silence.
“What did you say? It’s really loud in here.”
Hmm… shit. My basic self forms a million sentences at a time, drunk to a stupor on the voice sharpened to its pours to cut through any imaginable bullshit.
“I said I’m sorry. I’m sorry to approach you.”
She flinches. Her hands clean themselves on her trousers.
“Then don’t.” Nice reply. “I’m not looking for anything.”
Way to crush the spirits of those who walk looking down.
“I know. That’s why I was so interested to talk you.”
Your eyes are testing my mettle but don’t worry. I always walk looking up, embracing a lonely smile, so everyone knows they don’t exist. Say what you want because I want it too.
“Fuck me, you a deaf shithead or something? Back off, dude.”
Brilliantly brutal. I laugh heartily.
“Shit, I’m so sorry. Like, I totally get you, I get this entire situation. One hundred percent you know of me is an unwanted company at an unwanted time. Would it be too much to ask you to imagine that this is a few seconds of a very convoluted life? And that that life, my life, is interwoven with a myriad of attitudes of which this one is entirely unique? What I’m trying to say is, maybe I’m just an okay dude caught in an impulse.”
A full compass of 4/4 beats and 2/2 measured stares.
“Why should I have to suffer for your bloated nuts and wavering composure, huh? I’m caught in an impulse of leave me the fuck alone, have you thought about that?”
You move yourself to move yourself to me, perpetually.
“Hey, I’m an anxious person. If I’d let myself think that, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to you. I’ve been smart long enough to now let me fall into the ignorance of believing in the sense of things. Talking to you made some stupid, dumb sense.”
A few electronic pounds for a few ponders.
“I am alone. You took that hint the wrong way, little man.”
You made me smirk, I’m bound for you.
“So it seems. All things end with a whimper and a wimp. I prefer to cowardly go back to mine then.”
“No, you’re better.” I turn around leaving you in a stupor, most like.
Let yourself paint me with your brush strokes, we all prefer our own creations. I see it clearly, you painting me with dirty yellows and dull browns. And yet, little slices of pink keep dashing across it. Soon they’ll all turn into the caramelized oranges that cover my room on the sweetest of days and comfiest of sunrises. Stark contrasts to the enveloping scenery of the gray, moss tinged walls and the boring faces of strangers that surround us now. Those who dance don’t drink and those who drink can’t hear the music. A neat trick of the chamber like construct of such a graphic establishment. Built like a womb, right down to the moody lightning, striking the place like the escaped photons of a world yet unseen.
The bar, set right in the precise middle of the sprawling room, sits the tall and thick, concrete column that holds the entire place and its inhabitants together. From the stools that surround it, due to the trickery by way of a masterful understanding of acoustics or maybe something much more sinister, no music can be heard. Be it the son of the neighbor twiddling the knobs or the Bleeding Artist himself helming the bass and treble. Some say that music cannot be heard there because you are not moving to it, and nobody has found a way to prove them wrong, remaining a mainstay fable retold ad infinitum in the lounges and other compartments that surround this main stage. Right now, a drink and some foundational support is what I need. An excuse for me to let her steep in a location where I’m easily found is what she needs. Perfection. I take a seat on one of the stools, turning to take a quick glimpse. Perfectly pinpointing her location is fast, we’re kindred, as she takes a leave to one of the other rooms. Perhaps something as mundane as the women’s bathroom; perhaps exactly that. I signal the bartender with a tired nod, not because I am tired, but because everyone respects weariness here. The worn out, brittle lady that tends to the bar quickly follows my call.
“Welcome.” She says in the dullest way possible, strengthening its banality with a stare that gazes nothing. “Pleasant day, isn’t it?”
“Pleasant enough.” I reply.
“No reason to complain but certainly nothing to get excited about, huh?”
A boring fixation.
“Like you said, pleasant.”
She makes eye contact and frowns.
“Look dude, I got a question for you that’ll get you on your tippy toes for more and then some. What do you want, drinks on shots or drinks for the propers?”
“I’ll take the latter. Beer, please, no foam.”
She rests a tore rag on her shoulder, keeping a deadpan stare.
“No. Please. Have two.”
“I just want the one, dude, thank you.”
She seems personally hurt, which doesn’t go down well with me. Especially with beer.
“Don’t mind him, he’ll have the two. You’ll have the two, Peace Police.” This voice coming from outside my peripheral vision is at both monotone and enticing.
I turn to the right as this hulking individual takes his seat. I have seen him before yet I do not know him. Doubts arise even to the capacity to know this one. What I have mistaken for a simple man covered in shadow, this one is actually the shadow itself. He dresses in a slick dark suit, perhaps as some form of misdirection, though his appearance is hard not to notice and equally difficult to swallow. No flesh covers his body, replaced instead by a black, frayed plumage. His visage is not of a man but a humanoid crow with a stinging gaze of maddening, bloody red eyes. He arches his brow, with a menacing intention, I could not accurately say, but menace is the only intention that comes across.
“Hmm, what are we doing here today, huh? Moving without thinking and thinking without listening? The story of your life, the story of Life itself. Seems appropriate but where is the peace? I thought you were to tend to it, yet all I’ve seen you do is ramble in obsessions of fleshy things and devilish smirks. What a poor peace police you are, Peace Police.” He delights in jest.
I know that I have seen him before. Long before, as a small babe. He belongs in my rustic origins of the childhood days at my parent’s shabby farm. One day, whilst alone in my room in the broken shack that was my home he woke me up with the dim light of my oil lantern. He had arrived at the farm the day before, disguised has a simple shoe salesman lost in the trails between towns, beckoning my parents nurturing side so that he could have a place to spend the night. He revealed his true form to me the next day, pulling me from bed and covering my eyes while a whole new universe appeared right in front of me. Within his palms I saw a place, not unlike the one I’m in right now, where a mass of naked people danced in a frenzied, wild abandon. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or even imagined, awakening something which formed itself into a part of me that was at once in my control and yet subtly controlling me. It continually manifested itself as a permanent sense of urgency, losing none of its intensity with time, whilst still appropriately maturing itself alongside my more rational characteristics. How could he speak ill of my tendency to pursue the fleshy things of life when he was the one who hath uncovered them to me in the first place.
I swallow a gallon.
“I hate to ask you in a place like this, but who are you and how do you know my name?”
Reading an expression on his face seems impossible but even in the dim light I know he can see through my condescending remark.
“Are you really going to do this? Do you wanna go through it all again? Let’s not waste time here, Peace. We couldn’t even if we wanted to, so don’t try in vain. I could guide you to more appropriate questions like why here? Why now? Just why, you, here, now, for me? But even those would be futile to respond. You know what you do, even if you are an irresponsible little creature.”
I feign irritation at the thought that he may know me, though I’m frightened of the truth that he actually does.
“Why, then? All of that stuff you just said?”
His eyes twinkle, with his beak coming as close as possible to a smile.
“Would it ever occur to you that I’m simply here to look out for you? For the things your short circuited senses are trying to tell you but can’t quite get? You think you know yourself so well but you’re ignorant of so many ways of communication. Next thing you know you’re tethering yourself to things well beyond your understanding. I’m telling you don’t, Peace Police. Don’t do it.” The beast talks in this nonchalant way that inspires more confidence than his appearance should permit.
Two beers are plopped in front of us.
“Have a shot? Why not two? Yeah, that’s the spirit!” The bartender calmly excited exhales, with clearer focused eyes than they have any right to be for an obviously drug ravaged individual.
I grab my spotted glass and take a well earned sip.
“No, thank you.”
She smiles at me.
“Yeah! What a rush! You go at them!” She circles back around the metal cylinder at the center of the bar, itself a thinner extension of the fifteen meter wide column that seemingly holds this entire structure up.
“You should improve your appetite. You don’t even have to pay here.” The crow says between sips of his beer.
“I am preparing to whet my appetite on something quite juicy indeed.” Was what inadvertently slipped from my mouth but not my mind.
“That was devilishly cute, but the powers that be are not in your favor.”
I feel uneasy.
“For me to get it?”
“For you to want it when you do. There is more at work than you are aware, you are not listening to me. Ah, the simples become astounded at the complexity of it all until they wonder why they can scrape small bits of skin off of their feet. Maybe you are a better judge than an enforcer of anything at all. Care to bear witness to the wild mannerisms of your blind pursuit?”
I drink my beer in one clumsy swig. I don’t understand most of what he said but “I do.”
His beak twists into a smile again. Only now do I realize the smile is a permanent fixture of his visage, the only expression his rigid form can muster. He gets up and quickly starts moving along the dancefloor, leaving his beer unattended for the rabid patrons. It won’t be there for long I’m sure, a thought that fills me with guilt and is consciously pushed back by well oiled mental defense mechanisms. I am the Peace Police, after all. These strangers, individually, test the limits of my empathetic nature while ignorant of character. They are all so full of little details and tiny contortions of being. They are fickle and dangerous, living in themselves with only themselves. But together, here, they are basking in a glowing energy of a sticky, loving molasses that weights us down back into each other. And so what else can I do, as I follow a smartly dressed bird of omen through the crowd, than to move myself to the rhythm in holy communion with the entire human race and the concept of existing itself. But it is hard to escape to this universal self for long. The music drowns the noise of my ego, but my ego is weightless and ethereal. It is not long until I begin to service myself again. As I am searching for true marks of sadness through a volatile forest of cerebral branes, I happen upon a recollection.
It was the day the basic school teacher parted ways with my class. I can remember normally merry little girls crying thunderstorms over the farewell of a nice bearded man who had shepherd our childhoods. I sat quietly in place surrounded by the ugly scrunched up faces of my classmates. The situation had yet to cause me any personal dent but I felt a deep urge to feel and be felt in such intense emotion as my teacher. The thought of schoolgirls crying over, not necessarily my loss, but something even slightly related to me, filled me with an almost life affirming sense of purpose. So I forced myself to weep, for if I could not be the cause of, then I would at least take part in basking in the wonderful, tearful extravaganza. I was a happy dance partner in the waltz of wet hugs and gentle pats of commiseration. Oh, they were so gentle! Pure feel good vibrations of untainted, ignorant minds, whose mental capacity is so simple their get well wishes flooded their entire beings before they poured over you. Such clear, focused intent. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve sucked on those intentions until I reached its conceptual marrow, gobbling them for sustenance. It was a sad event indeed. Though my tears were fake, the emotional disconnect, paradoxically combined with the indoctrination effect of a heavy mood, created in me a terrifying sense of sorrow. By the end of that day, as I walked back home, a paralyzing panic had settled. I unfortunately only noticed it quite a few years later, the incubating sickness that it was. If it had any effects on me until now, I couldn’t say, as one is bias even of his own biases.
The only cure for molten electrochemical manifestations is to simply not think about them and change the subject, so I open my eyes again, finding myself to have seemingly traversed the packed dancefloor in a daze. The crow is standing still between me and one of the doors that lead to one of the many compartments that surround the club’s central dome.
“I was talking to you the whole way through, were you listening?” Says the crow, before opening the door and pushing it inside with effort, as it scrapped the floor with an inaudible screech.
“I’m not sure.”
I made the mistake of looking up. Up at the blinding light that suggests unreachable worlds of tenderness untendered. It suggests me to remember of myself. To try to remember what I did, before this. I can’t understand why I have to try… Why is it so hard? I remember my morning. I remember waking up to peculiar outlines of everything that looked even remotely familiar. At the time I knew where I was but what I knew, I couldn’t say. Yet, the caramelised features of my surroundings could only mean that I was indeed in my home. While the sunrays that patted, not pierced the drapes gave my bedroom that womblike sweetness, the notion of a sun willing an entire world outside was an invitation to visit the vast unknown that was too enticing to pass. I restrained from taking a glimpse at my face, instead making sure that I was at least properly dressed. After spending a small infinity inquiring the concept of proper, I decided to leave anyway. Walking along the apartment proved itself to be a wonderland of seduction. The bathroom had an open arm welcome enveloped in its usually charming loneliness; the kitchen tented me with it’s double proposition of glossy marble walls and an abundance of food; and the living room knew me best of all, as it flaunted a couch and laptop combo that so succinctly explained my entire concept of home rest. Yet, I soldiered on, bravely. My mind was set and to falter would bring about feelings that I then could not comprehend, for I was succeeding. Resisting the temptation of instant safety and comfort proved that I could do anything, and so I left as a strong, confident human being. I left... to here?
What is happening to me? My brain feels poked and prodded and the skull that was to protect it proves an effort in vain to keep it safe. There is no place to hide it, it is raw flesh for insatiable carnivores. Never have I felt more fear than at this moment. I want to kneel, fall to the ground and turn myself into an impenetrable ball. I have let myself dive into the illusion that all the selfs create to satiate the unbearable feeling that something better, something purely right and natural, is always missing. And now, am I being confronted by reality?
“No. You are being taken for a ride and you have grown an annoying tendency to let slip your thoughts aloud. I don’t remember you being so careless with words. Peace Police, my dude, I sense you’re going through some meaty shit, I wonder what it could ever be...”
Condescending, filthy piece of shit. This asshole is taking me for a ride alright. I have all these memories being spat into my mind’s eye, with no control whatsoever, forcing me to relive horrible mundanities. Maybe the stories are true. This place was built with more than just metal, stone and good old fashioned ingenuity. There is something of an otherworldy, mischievous force percolating through the granite cobblestones of this tomb. This tomb!
I become aware of my surroundings just as the douchebag, feather bag closes the door behind us with a loud THUD, blocking the only source of light, trapping me in darkness. But I saw something disconcerting within this room and the stuffy smell of mustiness and rot does nothing to sway my fears. The artificial glow of clear, neon lights clicks into existence and I gaze upon the morbid place where I have been drawn to. They are kept in shelves that plaster the walls and are stocked in piles in the corners. Marble stone coffins, dozens of them. Covered in dust and cobwebs, some even slightly open, with the boney hands of human skeletons dangling about, as if lounging eternally.
“This is a tomb...” I muttered to myself in a panic.
“This is a mausoleum. It existed well before this deliciously wretched club, but it did come in handy through the years to the lords of the nightlife.” The facsimile of an empathic being dipped in plumage comes up from behind and grabs me by the shoulders. Cold hands. Sharp nails. Shivers. “I am not here to smite you, Peace Police. So much tension, you are in the company of friends.”
“Listen... Buddy... I am angry and I am scared... I want to punch you in the face, but I’m afraid I’ll break if I do... What in the ground, grass and bark is going on?”
He pinches my neck with his beak swift and softly.
“Come, sweet little thing, I’ll show you.”
The crow reaches towards a coffin in one of the walls and throws it effortlessly to the ground, uncovering its contents: a calcified skeleton and, unsurprisingly, countless used condoms. But he isn’t finished with his wanton, possibly sacrilegious, victimless violence. He proceeds to then tear out, brick by brick, a rectangular chunk of the wall behind where the now splattered about dead previously laid, slowly revealing a window that shows...Her. It is her. Looking straight at me while she stands in what appears to truly be the women’s lavatory.
“Don’t worry. It’s one way only, she thinks she is looking at a mere mirror.” Relishes the crow.
That is why she looks so innocent and sweet. She flicks her short, boyish, brown hair. So impossibly lovely. Her presence assures me of peace in this confusing elipsis of fear and anger. A thought that hits twice as hard when I think about it again. What can explain such a startling revelation? And the consequences of it all...They are too much to bear, now and possibly ever. Geometrical, gyroscopic landscapes of human abstractions that strech out endlessly, stuck in an impossible loop of non repetition.
“For some, life is but a game of hunting, Peace Police. You saciate your desires through the bodies of others, with playful bites of something innocently forbidden. But others tread stranger waters and feel no desire for company. Only for nothing. They don’t play with toys, little man. She cares not for you and she cares not for herself. Widen your eyes for the obscured innerworkings of those who live and die by a creed.”
As the crow finishes his unwanted tune, she puts her palm on the middle of the mirror. With a lipstick in her right hand, she draws a moss green circle around her hand. She takes her resting hand from the mirror, replacing it in it’s place with another smudgy drawing. This time an unusual triangle shape, bearing an inward semicircle as one of it’s sides.
“The fever dream you see yourself trapped in, its her creation. Stay away from those who mess with the fabric of reality, you belong to yourself, where you are safe.” He continues.
I know what I am witnessing. An introspective trial of malice, I am sure. Within me, not outside. This little ritualistic showing of this enchanting human being in front of me… I know it too. I have seen her. Among the trees. Rooted in dirt, surrounded by gravel, dusted in ashes. Branches sprouted around her, pulsating in a steady, swallowing beat, trapping her so that she could be free. Free in the peace of swaying foliage born from primordial seeds. Free from herself. A freedom at arm’s reach of us all. I don’t want to belong to myself. I don’t want to be safe.
“I want to be free.” I turn to look the crow straight into his red eyes, filled with a renewed, unwavering determination.
Even that unmoving smile won’t faze me.
“Freedom is not something you can want, Peace Police. Freedom is something you’re doomed to.”
Still, even with this confidence in tow, those words are chilling.
He doesn’t seem to have finished, flinging me a judging gaze.
“Better catch up. She already left.”
I immediately turn to the window, now a candid shot of an empty public bathroom. I dash. Quickly. The door proves a hard obstacle, a seemingly unmovable beast. Budge. Budge. For fuck’s sake, budge! … Please…? It opens, with my momentum shooting me to the floor, from where I clumsily stand up, dodging the stomping of blind dancers. Dash. Dash to the exit. I know she’s outside. Forget lust, I was mistaken. This is more, much more. This has nothing to do with the complex emotions of human beings. This is one giant, impossibly simple thing. I reach the exit door and open it. The cold strikes me first. Then the view of the moonlit curb. And then-
Her. She remembers. Now that’s a smile that I can’t keep. She has a lit cigarette between her fingers.
“What the hell are you doing here?” She asks, more confused than angry. Awesome.
“You- You came here to smoke.”
She doesn’t seem to know quite how to respond.
“Yeah, I’m not going to bother other people with smoke just because I can. What’s it to you?”
“You smoke a lot?”
She makes an effort to swallow her hard edges.
“Just the one a night.”
She seems unsure on how much she wants to reveal of herself to me.
“I don’t know. Just because. Habit. I asked you a question first, what are you doing here? Have you been following me?”
I try a sympathetic smile.
“No. I mean, I did see you leaving, I wasn’t going to follow follow you. I was just seeing for certain that you left. You know, closure and stuff.”
She laughs. With me or at me, doesn’t matter. She laughed.
“Of course. Closure. You need closure for that one girl you creepily approached on the dancefloor. Seems sensible.”
“Well, I, huh,” Something pulls me by the bottom of my coat. I look down to find what seems to be a middle aged homeless man, dressed in a ratty jeans and t-shirt combo, using my coat as a helping prop for him to stand up from the floor.
“Oh shit, you poor man!” She says, taking a step toward me. “Give him your coat, he must be freezing.”
I turn back to her.
“Give him your coat. If I had one I’d do it myself.”
The man manages to stand up.
“No no no. I’m not giving him my coat just like that. That action, while seemingly helpful, could have countless terrible consequences for him. He could be stabbed by other homeless people for his brand new, warm coat. I am not capable of assuming that responsibility. I would give him only if he were to ask for it.”
She appears speechless for some reason.
“Give me your coat, dude.” Grunts the homeless man, widening a frightening smile of brown teeth and cavities.
I resign myself to fate’s decision of making me part with my coat. I undress it, showing her my resolve.
“Now I can! Which is good, because I really wanted to!” I remark.
She breaks out in laughter while the homeless man merrily trots away, with a new coat.
“You are so fucking weird, man. In a very specific sort of way at that. What is your name?”
I have waited so long to tell you. Talking to you is such an engrossing endeavor that only now do I realize that I’m inches away from you. Your hazel brown eyes. Your tender, salmon lips. Your nose, annoyingly cute as a button. Your skin-
“So you are not going to tell me?” She interrupts.
If you weren’t so distracting, I already would have.
“Peace Police. What is yours?”
She scratches her hip. Yes, I noticed.
“Firecracker.” I echo the name of my soul mate.
She shifts her weight from leg to leg.
“Well, Peace Police, I’m going back inside. Do you want to go back inside?”
I drink those words for a moment. They are sweet and full-bodied.
I reach for the door handle and push it, but it doesn’t budge.
“Shit! I think they locked us out.”
Firecracker tries a push of her own. The door swings back open. She raises one of her eyebrows in a defying display of judgment.
“Maybe you should try a little more commitment when opening doors.”
It is decided. I will have you.