I am a revolutionary. No, that’s a bad way to start.
There are times when I think a great deal of myself. Then there are the other times. But that doesn’t set it up right.
It was what I would call a “defining moment.” Most likely wat is an insignificant blip on the vast landscape of human history. But don’t worry; I’m pretty sure the trains will still run on time. Ok, wait. Start over…
There is me: most call me Isaac. And there are my good friends: Hanover Kingsley and Janus Clockwork. Janus and I work at this bookstore, Tanaka’s, but mostly we just sit around, drink beer, and wax philosophical. We don’t really get many customers. It’s sort of a specialty bookshop, used books, rare books, foreign language books, &c. It leaves us a lot of free time. So we mostly just do whatever. So long as we are there, Tanaka doesn’t really care what we do. He’s usually passed out drunk in his office, anyway. Kingsley is a trust fund baby, so he doesn’t do much of anything. But he’s free with his money and buys rounds all the time. I don’t know if he is interesting or not. But he has his uses (as a feller says). That’s about all we got. Oh, and then there was Juliet. I don’t want to talk about her, though. We have a history. I don’t want to get into that, though. Messy. And this is our story. My story, really. I find that all stories end up being my story. In the end. And like every story about me it begins with a girl … and ends with regret.
Regret, ah yes. My troubled Muse. How fondly I now think of you, so long have you stayed in my house. Regret. Of those things done and those left undone. Mistakes made, choices made, paths not taken. But this was the big one. At least, so far. I don’t know how important it will seem down the line. But I dwell on the past, not the future. And so I will continue as I began. Once it ended I did everything I could to forget her. It didn’t really work. She may be my Juliet, but I’ll never be her Romeo.
My memory is ambiguous at best. I’m a drunk and my existence has always had a tenuous relationship with reality. Fading in and out as it were. It fades. Everything fades… But most of my life faded while it was happening. Just one big fucking haze. And there was never anything else. Nothing before. Nothing after. And nothing to look forward to. I think sun was bright that day. Overpowering. Unless it was raining. It was one or the other.
The trains ran on time. It was raining. I don’t really know what time it was, the sky was too overcast to tell. But at least the trains ran on time. Somehow, their regularity seemed to sooth the pain in my heart. I figured that at least something was working the way it was supposed to. Actually, that is out of order. Yeah. I need to start somewhere else.
But there was something about that day.
His name was Napoleon V. He was a midget.
Napoleon V was the last to join. With him, we became 4.
I don’t remember when I first met Napoleon V. But then I don’t really ever remember meeting anyone. Unless it’s a girl. I try to remember all the “important” moments with the ladies. That way I can dwell on them after everything has fallen to shit. But seeing as I fade in and out of my own life, it is only fitting that everyone else fades in and out of mine. Or me into there’s or whatever. It doesn’t much matter how you look at it. Perspective is so absurd to begin with.
But when he was there (Napoleon V, that is), he brought out the worst in all of us. Clockwork became more meticulous, more focused, more depraved. The Fair Ophelia reveled in what should have been her shame. More than she would have. A lot more. She was so much prouder of her flight to the bottom. The Fair Ophelia, our beautiful mute, not since Dorian Grey has such a pretty face hidden such disturbing secrets.
And I, well, you’ll see what happened to me. This is my story after all.
And no, the Prophet doesn’t go blind. That comes later.
Juliet seemed so perfect when I first met her. Of course that was probably because I was really drunk at the time.
I never loved her. I can see that now. I think. I’m only sure when she isn’t around. Then everything gets confusing. Janus loved her. Well he might have. He at least was capable of loving someone other than himself. Not like Kingsley… Or me. But I never loved her. For a while I thought I might. But that was only because I thought I loved every bitch willing to show me even the slightest attention. Because clearly that menat they loved me. Even the whores. Sometimes especially the whores. And then there was Juliet. She loved us all. She loved only herself. Goddamn Juliet. She fucked me up real solid like.
I had never killed a man.
I don’t know whether that should surprise you or not. I mean, killing isn’t really something most people do a lot of nowadays. I am not and have never been a soldier. Or a communist. I’m not really much of a fighter in general. I am no Mersault. I am the Prophet. But that is beside the point. It wasn’t the sun. I think. Drinking beer in the hot sun is fun and all, but it has never made me want to kill a fucker. I wasn’t drunk either. Just to clear that up.
You don’t really need a reason to kill a man. Having a reason helps you deal with the consequences; helps you rationalize your actions. But you don’t really need a reason to kill a man. I’m not a violent person. In general. I mean, there have been times. Everyone has times. Not in years though. I don’t know how to release the rage anymore. It just simmers now. Don’t get the wrong idea. It isn’t going to boil over or anything. I’m not a threat. That’s not what this is about. It isn’t about me. Strike that. Reverse it. It is about me. It’s all about me. But it isn’t about my problems or my rage issues. I don’t have any. I don’t. This was all cool; rational. It had nothing to do with rage or passion. It’s about reality, life in general. And why it doesn’t work. It doesn’t. But that’s also a digression. I have a difficult time staying on topic. It happens. I was just saying, you know, to clarify.
It's not that I believe in fate; or Fate, or however you want to put it. As if this was something that I had to do and couldn’t have done otherwise, blah blah blah. I don't. It wasn’t. And I don’t blame Juliet either. Even though she shouldn’t have dumped me. Not like that. Especially not like that. This wasn’t about her. Not everything has to be. I could have done otherwise. We could have gone anywhere other than the park that night. But we didn’t. And that is that. I’m not in the mood to argue philosophy at this point. This is not that kind of story. It’s just that there was something, I don’t really know how to put it, something wrong with the day. It was almost as if Reality itself had changed. I know that sounds ridiculous, but still. We had urges to do things that, well, were wrong. Immoral things, despicable things, things you don’t write home about. Urges we didn’t normally have. All exept for Naploen V, maybe. And I’m not to sure about the Fair Ophelia anymore either. But still. I don’t know how else to put it. It was as if reality wasn’t Reality anymore. It was something more; something different. And well, we followed through on some of them. It was a good thing for everyone we only followed through on some of them. Laugh if you will. I would if I were in your position. You weren’t there. You don’t know what it was like. How it felt. What it made you feel like doing. What it made you do. I don’t feel the need to apologize for my behavior. I am what I am. It is what it is. What happened happened.
I am more or less than I was before. I have come round and I am changed. The world changes, but not really. Everything stays the same and I move on. I cannot stay the same. I cannot remain. I cannot be the last of my kind stuck in the mire of impossibility. I move forward or backward or from side to side, ever straining against my fetters. I cannot stay here. I don’t know where here is but I know that I cannot stay. Mine is not to stay or settle. Mine is to move to wander and to be forever lost. And yet, I go nowhere. And nothing changes.
Normally I get into Tanaka’s around 10:30, 11 am. I open the store but frankly Tanaka doesn’t give a shit when I show up as long as I get there before he does. And since he usually stumbles in mid afternoon, I come in early enough that I might catch one or two customers before he shows but late enough that I don’t have to deal with rush hour. The trains are much too crowded for my taste. But today was different.
It was 2:37 before I even dragged my ass out of bed. I had a wicked hangover and the world was still fuzzy. I looked at the clock. “Fuck! Tanaka hates it when I’m late.” Not that I rushed. I don’t rush. I got down to the store around 3:30.
I pushed open the door; slowly let my eyes adjust to the dim interior, still trying to think up the appropriate apology. “Hey, where’s Tanaka?”
“Not coming in today. Sick or some shit,” Janus replied. “You’re ass is one lucky son of a bitch. The fuck happened anyway? You know I almost didn’t bring my keys in today. Then where would we be? Fucked is where. So seriously, what the fuck happened?”
“Juliet dumped me yesterday… so then I sort of drained half a fifth of Black Nikka and a liter or so of shitty sake. And I don’t know what else. I just got up like an hour ago.”
“Fuck, yo. I thought you guys were getting on great together.”
“So did I. But I fucking guess not. I was walking her to her train after dinner…I lean in for the good night kiss and then she stops me, pulls back and … fuck I don’t even remember what she said. But she made damn clear it was over. After the shock wore off, right to the newsstand and the whiskey.”
“Wait, right on the fucking platform?”
“Yeah. Fucked, huh?”
“Damn. I thought she had more class than that.”
“No shit. And after I spent a fucking shit load on dinner. I went to that really nice sushi place we hit up like 2 months ago. Everything was fine during dinner… fuck, man… So I drank till I couldn’t feel feelings. And then some.”
There are somes that calls me the Prophet.
…At least he was a bum. A lush we found in the park wrapped in newspaper and dog shit. We had paid him earlier in the day to dance for us, Kingsley, Napoleon V and I. It was hilarious. Or at least we thought so. It was Napoleon V’s idea. He always was something of a bastard. We got a few dirty looks from passersby (not that any of them made a move to stop us. So few people willing to back up their beliefs these days. No wonder I lost hope.). I don’t know that that makes the situation any better. He was still a person. Most of a person. And if you believe in basic human rights, then what we did would still be considered wrong. As to the rest of it … ? … Fuck it. I make no apologies for my behavior. Not anymore. Not after that day.
I can't say that it was planned. Honestly, no sane person would plan shit this fucked up. And yes, we are sane. Or, we were. As far as sane goes these days, anyway. And no, we weren't on drugs. We weren't. We weren't drunk or high. We weren’t the ones that were altered. Reality had altered. These aren’t just excuses. I don’t feel the need for excuses. Things weren't what they were; what they should have been. They were ... who knows. Who knows what the fuck they were.
It was night. Of that much I am certain. There are many things that I cannot discern anymore. But night and day are … actually … It was dark. I know it was dark. I am certain that it was dark. It might not have been night, but it was dark. Which was important. He was asleep. Which was also important. Or rather, it would be, later on.
Janus broke his kneecap with a hammer. That woke him up right quick. We wanted to hear him scream. And did he ever. For a junk sick black-livered shitheap, the man had lungs. I started pummelling his head (I was wearing some sweet ass brass knucks). But you should have seen the fucked up shit the Fair Ophelia was getting into. She was nearly as bad as Napolean V. And his shit was simply unspeakable.
We danced in his screams; drank in his agony. In his eyes we saw the truest knowledge Man can posses: certainty of impending death. The bum had an epiphany; we had brought him the light. Then we fucked him up until he bled out. We were drunk on rage and glory and madness bled through our souls. Then… Then I can’t say what. Having never killed a man before I couldn’t have known what to really “expect” … but when you kill a man, he doesn’t die as someone else. That, I know, doesn’t happen. Except…
When we looked at the body, it wasn’t him. It had been him. But it wasn’t now…
Looking back on it, it was the perfect place to have my heart broken. It was so cinematic. It was so ridiculously out of proportion with respect to the rest of our boring relationship. It was an epic ending to 3 weeks of passion and 6 months of nothing that special. It did start off with a bang. You know the whole cheating on her big man about town boyfriend deal. I always liked that. That she felt that I was better than that sellout candyass. It made me feel for once that I had chosen the right path in rejecting all that common shit. She did break my heart. But I don’t think I loved her. I’m not really sure anymore. I’ve tried to forget. And I’ve tried to make the break up scene even more cinematic. That’s what you do if you’re a writer. Well, not exactly. That’s what I do, though, as a writer. I have to keep my life interesting or nobody will want to read about it. It did seem like a good scene to put into a love story. I mean there I am standing in a crowded train station with my girlfriend waiting for the next train into the city. The sky is gray and gloomy. The rain is pouring down in sheets. I look over at her and smile. She looks back and says matter-of-factly, “I’ve found someone else. I’m sorry.” And then she walks away. I’m stunned to say the least. I mean I know guys always say not to break up with all that bullshit like ‘let’s just be friends’ or ‘it’s not me it’s you’ or some other line, but it really just stuns you when they are so blunt. That’s when the train left, right on time, and she went with it. I was still stunned. Alone on the platform. The rain was pouring down. I look at the train schedule. I look at my watch. “Great, the next train doesn’t come for another 20 minutes.”
Napoleon V: He had painted his face blue. Felt it better expressed his personality. You see, Napoleon V hated himself, life, the universe and everything. And it wasn’t just his diminutive size that caused Napoleon V to grow so miserable with the world. Things never seemed to go his way. Until he started taking shit into his own hands. Sins of the Father.
Napoleon V grew up on the streets. He was abandoned. His parents didn’t want him. And then he ran away from a bunch of foster homes or whatever. He grew up mistrusting everything. Or something like that. I cannot truly speak to his experiences. He never told me about them. He doesn’t like to talk about him self. But there is a lot of anger there. Rage. He once told me that the other street kids used to call him the Grinning Sadist.
I have never seen him smile.
Napoleon V wanted to piss on the body. He wanted to take it all further. He wanted to set up a funeral pyre in the middle of a public park and bask in the demonic radience of the flame. I told him that was a bad idea. We had caused enough of a scene as it was. A crowd was gathering. Reality was shifting, but there are some rules you never break if you don’t want to get caught. He still didn’t want to go. He reached into the body, pulled out the heart and began to eat it. Blood dripping down his blue chin onto his rumpled suit. We had to drag him as we left, striding off into the rapidly darkening mists.
Napoleon V left two days ago. We won’t be looking for him. He was becoming too unreliable. He was starting to enjoy it too much. He was going out on his own. And his thirst was growing. He was fucking up Bateman style. Besides, a sadist is grounded in reality. A twisted reality. A violent reality. But a firm reality. And I was beyond that. He was becoming an anchor weighing me down. I don’t know where he is now. Or if he is. Still.
They came looking for Napoleon V yesterday. They had traced him back to the scene of one of his “walks in the park”. Stories of a blue midget with a hatchet or some such. I sent them on something of a goose chase. I needed a change of scenery. And fast.
Juliet: She was, I don’t know, 5’8” or so with long blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. She kept her body fit and trim (likely with the manic trips to the gym that I only became aware of later on) and liked to show it off. Her pants were always skin tight and she loved drawing attention to her perfect ass. Her shirt was just long enough to show off her belly button ring that was perfectly accented by her tiny nose stud. To say that she was vain would be an understatement. She was drowning in herself. But it was her smile that seemed to draw it all together. She had a smile that could stop a man in his tracks and make him think that they were the only two people in the world (she still has that effect on me). Her smile was so genuine, so sincere, so misleading.
When I met her I was drunk and I didn’t care. I wasn’t so drunk that I wasn’t aware of things (a few beers and some tequila shots) and when she came down into DangerBar!, my life came to a screeching halt. That was my watershed moment. Now I classify my life in terms of before and after Juliet. Juliet came in with Kingsley’s boyfriend (they were roommates) but when they got there, her roommate went to find Kingsley. Leaving her alone. I wanted to go talk to her, but wasn’t planning on it since I often make awkward first impressions – I have a tendency to fuck things up. Also, I was drunk. I figured I would let another guy go in – I didn’t want a pretty thing like that to be wasted (The Universe could never be so cruel as to waste that. Mankind could never recover from such a blow) – and that way I wouldn’t have to make an ass of myself.
I went for another beer and all the guys in the bar went for Juliet. But for some reason, one after another, she coolly dismissed them. Seeing that she didn’t have a drink and not wanting to be the only guy who wouldn’t be able to talk around the damn water cooler tomorrow about how this bitch turned him down (I do love my conformity). So I walked over. “One frozen margarita for the lady. And bring me another shot.” What the hell, let’s do this shit – and I struck up a meaningless conversation. I don’t really remember what we talked about – it didn’t really seem important at the time – but unlike all the other guys, I seemed to hit it off with Juliet. I didn’t get any of the normal ‘I really don’t want to talk with you just because you bought me a beer’ signals that normally occurred when I talked to girls (and it wasn’t just because I was drunk either – ok, that I can’t verify, being as I was quite drunk, I might have fabricated much or all of the incident.). I’m sure it was the normal things – what we do: jobs and otherwise, interests: what movies we like, what actors we hate, random filler – but I can’t say for sure. Whatever I said, it must have been right because as the night faded into morning we shared a cab.
I was, of course, more than willing. She was beautiful and any excuse to spend time with her, even something as pointless as taking a cab in the opposite direction of where I should have been headed was to be taken up without hesitation. I don’t know what provoked me to share a cross-town cab with a girl I had just met. It could have been the beer. But when we got to her place, I had no expectation that I would be invited in. The thought never even crossed my mind. I was going to take the cab back across town. While I’m sure I was thinking how beautiful she was and how I would like to get with a girl like her, I can’t imagine that I actually considered it seriously. She was way way out of my league. But when we got to her door and I was anticipating awkward silence, she casually invited me in. I was too stunned to even consider refusing.
Her sheets are much softer than mine.
(gratuitous sex scene)
I awoke the next morning early and slightly disoriented (waking up in strange places isn’t that unusual, waking up in strange beds slightly less usual). Slowly looking around, I saw Juliet by her mirror applying her makeup. She turned and smiled. I still couldn’t tell you if there is anything more beautiful in the world than Juliet when she smiles. It lights up the room. Even now she can get my heart fluttering.
“Hey there sweetheart, I was wondering when you would wake up.” I smiled.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting. I hope you enjoyed watching me sleep.” She laughed. It was a beautiful lilting laugh. Not a care in the world.
I got up and started looking for my clothes.
“Oh, I don’t really want my boyfriend to find out we fucked – he’s kinda possessive. So you’ll probably want to keep this quiet”
“Wait, boyfriend?” She had to be joking. Obviously she wouldn’t bring me back to her place if she had a boyfriend. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen. Especially not to guys like me. I mean, I’m a sweet dude and all. But that shit only happens to James Bond or in the fucking movies or shit.
“Yeah, I don’t know if you know him – Jesse Danbury?”
“No, but I’ve heard of him. Something of an important man about town or something.” She really does have a boyfriend and a significant one at that. I couldn’t believe it. It was starting to look like I wasn’t going to be asked over again.
“So you’ll probably want to keep this quiet”
“Not a problem. We don’t really run in the same circles.”
“So,” she walked over to the bed, leaned over and kissed me, “when can I see you again?” I was confused.
“What about your boyfriend?”
“What about him?” Good point. Except that if he ever found out I might be in some trouble.
“Whenever you want. I’m not really that busy most days.”
“How about Tuesday?” So long? That was three days away. How could I go three days without Juliet? It wasn’t humanly possible. I declined to think on the fact that I had gone my entire life up until now without her. It lessened the drama of the situation.
“Excellent.” She kissed me deeply and then turned to leave the room. “Bye sexy, I’ll see you on Tuesday.” I was stunned. Sexy? Yeah, I guess she was right. I am a pretty fucking hot motherfucker.
I would have said something, but she had already left the room. I caught a cab home. I needed a nap.
She broke up with Jesse not too long after that. Or he broke up with her. I never really asked for the details. Regardless, he went off with some other little thing and she came home to me. Everything was right with The Universe. Or so I thought.
I fucked the Fair Ophelia yesterday. Nymph. In her orisons, be all my sins remembered. Can she ever you something. I don’t care if she doesn’t talk. She says enough. Juliet was quite upset. Too say the least. She still felt that I was hers. That I would always be. Whether she kept me around or not. As if the Prophet can be property. She had danced her way into my drunken heart. I paid my way into her soulless cunt. But now she can dance her fine ass back the fuck out of my shattered heart. The pieces will be better for her not being there. Shadows and memories. They never helped anything.
Ask Clockwork: there is nothing like precision timekeeping. The trains ran on time. Despite everything else. The trains always ran on time. Through it all. Damn fucking trains.
When I need to think I go up to my study. Or whatever. I don’t know what you would call it. It’s sort of my thinking room. I don’t figure most houses have one. But I’m a writer. I do shit a little differently. That’s what I tell myself anyway. It doesn’t help the creative process if you think everyone is doing the same unique things you are. And I have enough trouble with the creative process as it is. The room is always dark. I took out the lights long ago. And I leave the blinds closed for effect. I light candles and incense. It helps me relax and unfocus. As the (likely misapplied) Buddhist sentiment goes: I don’t need think up the solutions to my problems, I need to remember the answers that I already know. The room helps with that. When it doesn’t put me to sleep. Though the naps often help just as much on their own. And I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I’m one to sell a gift horse to glue manufacturers for a shit load of cash. Like I said, I do shit a little differently.
- Isaac, you are so emotionally guarded, I can’t get through to you.
- What? What are you talking about?
- You never let me close. You never let me in.
- I let you close all the time.
- Emotionally. You never let me close emotionally.
- Oh great. Not this speech again.
- It’s important, Isaac, it’s important if we are going to have a future. It’s important if you don’t want me to leave.
- Juliet, I’m trying to write. Can’t this wait?
- No. It can’t wait. I can’t wait. I’ve been waiting for you for too long now…
- You’re breaking up with me?
- It’s nothing personal.
- The fuck it isn’t. You’re breaking up with me. How much more personal does it get?
- Well, you had to know this was coming. I mean, we don’t have anything in common.
- We have tons of things in common.
- You know what I mean. (getting flustered)
- Yeah, I know what you mean. (pause) So are you fucking someone else or just being a bitch?
Ophelia is different. She is straight up fucking crazy. Off my kind of deep-end. Drowing in our collective unconscionable.
I had to change my scenery. So I did. An island. Margaritas in the hot sun. Salt on the rim. Life slowed. It got hazy for a minute there. The sun was so bright. I couldn’t see what was happening. Stopped. Did you say something? That’s right… no trains on this island. Freedom. Sweet blissful freedom. Nothing happened. Nothing needed to happen. Everything was still. Sigh. Content.
I woke up on a couch this morning. I don't remember how I got here. There was a hammock. And the sun. The bright and brilliant sun. Nothing ever stopped the sun. And the ocean; so blue, so perfect, so vast, so empty. But ... I don't ... remember ...
Was there something else? Something that I have forgotten?
There is always something else.