Backpageand  FeatureFebruary 21, 2013 at 5:00 am

I Feel Free

Most Experimental Fiction Submission

The ineluctable path of destiny unfolds – sprawling – as the callous heart softens and thought occurs and connections are made and the eyes open and the hands grasp and the lungs fill and sentience occurrs and the arteries bleed and…

All the years of misfortune and daggers to the throat are no match for the damned desires – not ours never ours – implanted since youth, since we could covet. The unattainable: hopeless thoughts of success, perfection, love, and ideals. Someday the gilded mansion in the firmament will be yours; the adoring psychopaths will lace their love notes with anthrax; and your money – oh so much money; god have you ever seen so much money; the kind of money you could buy your soul back with – will drown you. – But, dear lord, you’ll feel something then! you’d have to.

It’s shocking just how good artists are and have always been. From this bleary-eyed distance, it’s impossible to tell the fantasy from reality until all the paint is ripped off and all that is left is an empty canvas… (Oh, so it was a mirror after all!)

Like flies, we follow our compulsions straight to our immolation. No reason other than instinct. Because we know. We know this time will be different. We’re different. The others must have done something wrong – been dumber, smaller, weaker, less worthy. So we wait in line – waiting, just waiting to get burned at the stake – watching the others singed before us. ”Poor bastards should’ve known better. They want the impossible.” So instead of saying a requiescat for ourselves – or better yet, abandoning hope – we check our legibility so that Santa can bring us all that we want this year, “Oh yes sir, I’ve been a good boy. Real good. And I never asked for anything before and if I get this I won’t ask for anything again and if I get just this one thing I will be happy forever and ever and ever and Oh wouldn’t it be so nice if you could just bless me. Think of how much better I could exalt you with material goods. Just prove to me you are even there – just this one thing, this one girl, this one break, this one answer, this one cure.” But damn – there is a scratch on the page. This will never do. Let’s modify and adapt…

Months of anticipation, anxiety, and asphyxiation but Eloi the day has arrived. But as you open your presents, nothing is as expected: Box after box and wrapped snugly inside are: a contract for lifetime employment at a menial job; a 14 carat ring with a note attached (“Sorry, I just like you as a friend. That’s all.” – It’s ok, she was a bitch anyway, right fella?); a prize – congratulations on being a push over! you win a domineering wife! – a couple of muggings; somewhere between five and twelve ass-kickings (Better store those somewhere special! you might misplace them); your spine (complete with knife still in place); and a certificate proving your uselessness to society. Wait, but what about the beautiful vase? It really is a nice vase. Outstanding, actually. At least there is the consolation of art… Put down the urn. Not even a phoenix could rise from those ashes. Hold on a minute, what’s that? There is just one more present behind the tree. Go on, go on, check it out. Could it be, could it be? Then reality finally arrives, just in the nick of time, just to break you with the most force possible. Obviously a pony, two sultry bisexual women, a flashy car (no no, a jet, or a tank… or a rocket ship, yeah) and love can’t fit in a six by six box. No use opening that now. Wait, but if you don’t open this present, you won’t get your lifetime supply of depression and solitude.

The sun rises yet again, completely compassionless, to make you blind for looking at the stars. But something is different. The blow up doll is gone and is instead replaced by a beautiful woman (or did you order that new model? the wonders of technology!). The walls are gilded with gold and silver and diamonds and to the kind of lavish ornate garish ostentation only made possible from the blood and sinew of the plebeians. All your waiting around for something good to happen to you has paid off. No need to question how you got here. Drink the nepenthe and forget all your miserable history. You’re somebody now. Pinch yourself, you aren’t dreaming… shit. Eyes are opened but now everything’s the same again: plastic sheets, plastic cups, plastic silverware, plastic walls, plastic windows, plastic sex.

You should have stayed in Boy Scouts: you would have learned to tie the right kind of knot. Now you’re stuck with a useless rope and a useless woman. Ah, love: Isn’t it a funny thing how you find that special someone, that perfect someone, the one person who you are destined to be with and to live with and die with for the rest of eternity and beyond (depending on the pre-nup) immediately after you’ve given up on your dreams and lowered your standards? Maybe you can’t look at her without nausea, you can’t talk to her without revulsion, but goddamnit you’ve got yourself a woman, someone whose life depends directly upon yours. Oh hallowed one, oh great demigod, oh omnific master how does the infinite power taste? Sure, the walls are lavender because you don’t care, you sleep in separate beds because your combined weight is too much for one bed, and your income is funneled directly and entirely into new countertops for the kitchen, but you are still the boss, the big kahuna… what’s that honey? I’ll be right there, right there… yes I’m coming, just hang on a second.

In the time between work, not talking to the wife, and placing the shotgun in and out of the mouth, we ponder what went wrong: why we weren’t coronated king of the world years ago, why a gold mine hasn’t been discovered in our backyards, why we can’t hit that ball six hundred feet with ease, why the fuck we aren’t happy. Then the obfuscated becomes the obvious: you can’t follow god’s plan without conversing with god himself. So we talk and talk and talk, but still nothing in reply. Let’s take it a little further. Drink his blood, eat his holy flesh, and await the second coming, mouth gaping. Nothing, nothing, nothing, not a damn thing – tie up the ropes, lock the manacles and be patient. Someday you’ll understand – but in the meantime, how about a little cash to help spread the good news? I mean, you want others to feel just as good as you, right?

You built this bastille as a cathedral – a mausoleum instead: regret the daily meal instead of bread and water, retrospection the pastime. You take the coward’s throne – the charlatan masquerading as destiny genuflecting before you, begging for forgiveness, pleading for mercy, and god I’m sorry for all the lies, I was just trying to give you hope, no harm in that. I just swindled a little of your time, your life that’s all – straight to the beheading. Emancipation! – but in the newfound freedom you don’t know what else to do so you put the shackles back on and sit in fear and agony – and dreaming of your majesty.

 
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