The disease is not the thing itself
if you want to find the meaning of the disease (the cure)
do not look at its signs
they will point back to the question
that is the disease itself
if you want to know what the disease is
you need to ask
of what is it a sign?
we shared a silence for the longest time.
i realized i had begun to comprehend.
my mind was back in my body.
he pointed a finger to his head
like he was holding a gun
there is a war going on here
with his other hand he hailed the open window
it’s going on out there too
it has spared no one
suddenly he began to scream
why doesn’t anybody FEEL it?!
he looked back at me
there were tears in his eyes
his skin looked much grey-er than it had before
i looked at my hand
it looked like it was made of human skin
with human muscle and human bone underneath it
and maybe a soul
a long shadow of the early evening followed behind him.
The eyes of the black coats
through their veils…
I remember my grandmother used to tell me.
‘Don’t listen to Babook. He will tell you the truth of the world in an infinite number of lies’
I think she wanted me to stay awake for a while and listen.
I have been quitting smoking for quite a while. What I think is, “I am there…not quite there, but basically there…”. It is in quotations because this is from an actual conversation that plays out in my head between two very different people.
Anyway, I want to tell you about something else so I’ll cut this one short – It was late in the evening and there I was, at the cigarette shop smoking my last cigarette.
It’s strange watching an old person smoke. You think, “hmm…He’s still around…”.
I had apologized for the big note and as I was waiting for my change when he walked up and slapped an appropriately sized note with some change on the counter -an exact amount for perhaps a days quota of his (our) vice.
“The days are getting shorter…”, he said. There was a light nip in the air I realised hadn’t noticed earlier.
“No one can truly answer the question – what do you look like? The one true answer is that we are invisible to ourselves. This betrays a great lie!”, he caughed.
“What are you smoking?”, I asked him.
“Fig Newtons”, he said.
It had been one of those days. There was no special relief waiting for me at her new flat, but that is where I was headed.
I got out of the cab and walked to the elevator. A number of us got in together – a pair of powdered plump women (A1 & A2), a dark lean man with spectacles (B) and a younger man who seemed somewhat boisterous (C).
We pressed the buttons cautiously one after another indicating where we wanted to disembark. The buttons were soft, and deliberately avoiding the gazes of my co-occupants I looked up and around the elevator. The insides were fleshy pink in color with a soft matte finish. The top of the elevator wasn’t flat, but a dome at a height equivalent to around two floors by my estimation – rather high. A faint glow seemed to emanate from all the surfaces – there were no individual lights (or a fan for that matter).
The house was on the fourth floor and I noted with some angst that we would be stopping once before that, on the second. The elevator started moving.
“It seems to be moving smoother than usual…”, C remarked – I didn’t know what the ‘usual’ was, but it was smooth indeed.
It didn’t stop at the second floor – it was almost like it pretended the second floor did not happen, or for that matter did not exist. C let out a perplexed, angry expletive.
I was secretly amused, overjoyed. Serves him right, he could have taken the stairs (I guess the fourth floor just makes the cut).
It then missed the fourth floor in the same way.
A gradual unease crept in as I grappled for an explanation. I pressed ‘4’ again and the button blinked as a matter of acknowledgement and record, just as it had before. And then it blinked off, almost as if it had winked.
The elevator picked up speed. It did not bother to stop at the other floors either.
“Maybe it’ll go till the top and start down from there…”, B said softly.
I looked around. A1 looked back at me and there was something curious in her eyes – it wasn’t fear. I think the rest of us had the(its) rusty taste somewhere.
There were 13 floors in the building. The display had just counted past 12.
Then there was 13. And still there were no signs of stopping.
I wondered where we were going. I wondered how far away it would be from here. Would we go somewhere in the sky and just float there?
The display read ‘Extra floor’, but only for a split second. Then it read ‘ Goodbye’ for a fraction of a split second.
We came through the top of the building and all that momentum seemed to have just disappeared, dissipated inexplicably. We were in a hole on the floor of the terrace and the elevator had broken almost perfectly in two, allowing us to crawl out one by one, by ourselves.
I waited for the others to pull themselves out and was the last one to leave.
I took the stairs down to her flat and rang the door bell. She knew I was coming. The door opened and I walked in. “How are things?”, she asked me. “Alright”, I said.
We hadn’t exchanged glances. There was very little left to exchange. “Listen…”, I said. “Yes?”
“…We need to talk”.
Let me tell you a story.
You needn’t believe it (me).
You could say I made it up.
But I’m (almost) pretty sure I didn’t.
You could say it is the 21st century Dorian Gray.
< Why is this all about You ?
Who are You ? >
There is this film experience called The Raintertainment.
A friend of mine called Idries Dhwazihol saw it on a CAC 60.
Now whether it was the machine or the film or Idries, I don’t know.
But what happened was this –
He became someone else – a character in the film experience called Holiwaidr, I later learned. He said things Holiwaidr would have said and his mannerisms and deeds were Holiwaidr’s, not Idries’s.
What happened to Idries ?
I found him when I watched The Raintertainment on my own machine, a DVZINCH 53.
There he was, in Holiwaidr.
I can’t explain it any other way. He said things Idries would have said and his mannerisms and deeds were Idries’s, not Holiwaidr’s.
The film itself had changed accordingly, almost imperceptibly.
And what happened to me when i saw the film experience?
I don’t know. I wonder if the machine or the film experience have a clue. But here I am, writing these words for You.
< Who are You?
Where are You with respect to me?
Wherever You are, Whoever You are, You have to know.
Three fiscents dressed in white
stood behind the counter of their meat shop.
“These fucking egips
they keep eating and chewing
till you hack through their jaw”
The egips head – frozen,
was nibbling at a solid piece
of what resembled zhwigen meat.
He cut the head systematically
till all that was left
was the jaw,
He then hacked it in half
but the two pieces
now seemed to buzz, to hum.
He threw the pieces
into the display case without ceremony
heaping it along with the other meat.
The orange glow
of the night lamps
filled the scene.