The Writer: Chapter 17

Could you please give me a piece of paper and a pen? A post it would do just fine. I want to write something down. No? Why not? Do you think I can use them as a weapon? Do you think I’m one of those people who can kill another in a thousand different ways?

Then I’ll just read you one of my stories.

Memento Mori

 

It was a hot and dry summer. The harsh air wrapped around clothes and skin, the heat stuck to your lungs, and it was as if an extraordinary force pressed hard against your chest every time you had to breathe.

I wouldn’t have minded the unscrupulous heat if I didn’t have to walk for almost two miles to my father’s apartment. He had moved out the previous spring, and now he lived all by himself, so once a week I would pay him a visit. We would talk for two or three hours about sports and politics and the weather, and he would cook me one of his exquisite steaks.

Every time I had to go see my father I had to pass a cemetery. It didn’t bother me. There was an imposing concrete wall surrounding it on all sides, white crosses covering its mussed surface. I thought the wall was there to offer some privacy to those who were no longer apart of this world, to shelter the dead from the crowded streets and the murmurs of agitation, from the incessant rumble of car engines. Or maybe it was only meant to discourage grave robbers.

Pine trees stood tall on the sidewalk, and it was as if time itself was suspended within the coolness and shade they provided, and a gentle, refreshing miasma rode on the breeze.

It was nothing unpleasant about having to pass a cemetery, nothing terrifying or sad. I could have avoided it, but I never did. It was on the shortest way to my father’s apartment, and I had nothing to worry about. Continue reading

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The Writer: Chapter 15

When I was in high school I used to skip a lot of classes and aimlessly wander through town. Especially if it was sunny outside.

I loved staring at all these strangers, all of them fueled by their little dreams, hurriedly heading God knows where. I loved walking down streets, my soul overwhelmed by sweet surrender, because I knew and I could feel it with my entire being that I was and always will be different than all the strangers that melted together in afternoon crowds.

I would invent stories for each and every one of these strangers. A smile had a story behind it, a lover sending flowers or a gentle kiss. A smile was a memory of times of happiness. And what about those who were sad, who kept their heads down? Well, for them, I created stories that were going to make them happy. And so, I gave a past to those who were happy and a future to those who were sad.

I was the only one stuck in a murky present, the only one who had to kill stories when the strangers disappeared, swallowed by the incessant noise and commotion of the twenty first century. Somehow, and trust me, this hurts when I say it out loud, the world seemed to be distorted in such a poisonous way, and what appeared to be real before my eyes seemed to be but a hopeless prison for my soul. Continue reading

The Writer: Chapter 10

I‘m going to read you a story today. I know that you want to know why I keep reading you these stories. You think that my characters are going to show you who I am, you want to catch a glimpse of my soul by understanding who’s doing what and to whom.

Well, I can only hope that you can see what you want to see.

 

On Top of the World

 

He turned left on 23rd Street, his head down. He knew every building on that street by heart. Glass covered office buildings, high rise apartment buildings covered in red brick, concrete burning from rooftops that were too close to Heaven for comfort. A mosaic of the new century.

He passed the biggest art gallery in town. The paintings that hung on the white walls melted in the heat, sculptures made from marble or metal shone pretty. All with price tags glued to them. Art priced like canned soup in a supermarket.

Something fell in front of him. He stopped to examine the strange object that had almost hit him in the head. A shoe. His eyes darted around, trying to find an explanation to such a curious event. Then he looked up. On top of one of the buildings, he saw a small figure. A shadow in the blinding light.

He ran into the building and climbed up the stairway. Two steps at a time, his heart throbbing inside his chest. His legs grew tired after only three floors. Sweat was sliding down his forehead, down his temples and cheeks. His neck was burning red, his eyes hurt. But he climbed floor after floor, holding the shoe in one hand. He rushed through a door and found himself on the rooftop.

On the edge of it a woman, her eyes closed, her long black hair fluttering in the breeze. A hundred feet below, death. He froze. His feet sinking in the burning concrete, he knew. A single wrong word and she was dead. He knew it all too well. Yet he began to slowly move towards her with his back arched, barely breathing, holding onto that shoe with the most extraordinary hope.

“What are you doing?” he asked, waving the hand with the shoe.

The woman turned around and opened her eyes. She sighed.

He moved in a little closer. “Hey,” he yelled, “what do you think you’re doing?” Continue reading

The Writer: Chapter 7

Let me ask you one simple question. How do you define normal?

I mean, what we deem as socially acceptable behavior changes over time. What we consider illegal, immoral, what’s only frowned upon.

Back in the early twenties, drinking alcohol was considered a crime. Now you’ve just got to be of legal age.

A mere century ago, cocaine was hailed as some sort of wonder drug, capable of curing headaches, alcoholism, you name it.

LSD was used back in the fifties and sixties in psychiatry. Methamphetamine was used to cure narcolepsy and certain depressive states. Continue reading

The Writer: Chapter 6

Do you know what the saddest thing about you is?

No one is going to remember you. Fifty years from now, when you’re long gone, when all the pictures of you and your family have decayed like old bones in a cemetery, you’ll be less than nothing.

It will be as if you never even existed.

So what’s the purpose of it all? Why should you pretend to be the good guy, why are you trying to bring judgment upon the world, when the world itself doesn’t want you, doesn’t need you, and most certainly is going to forget you the moment you die? Why would anyone want to be nothing? Continue reading

The Writer: Chapter 5

Ever since I began telling you this story, I knew I had to get to this part. It’s the things that have already happened that we can’t run from.

You see, death is the only true constant in our lives. The only theme. Not love, but death. You can spend your entire life without loving anyone. Just like me. But you know you’re going to die. Sometime, somewhere, in a way you’ll probably never predict.

When we are born, the first breath we take, it’s not air but rather death that pours into our lungs. From the moment we are born, we begin to die. And everything we do in this world, we do it just because this life we have is going to end. Because we are mere frightened animals.

Everything in this world dies. Well, maybe except that squid thingy that keeps regenerating itself, but that’s something else.

Am I the only one that sees how trivial death is? Continue reading

[Short Story] Lucky You

The odds of being born on any given day are about 0,27%. Of course, certain days are different than others, due to religious, cultural, or practical reasons. That’s why the odds of being born on Christmas Day are 0.0022%.

I was born on Christmas Day.

***

You ever hear the expression: “Karma’s a bitch?”

I know, I know. Such a terrible cliche. But it’s kind of true. I never met her, but I can tell you that “bitch” is the best possible definition of karma.

Fate. Destiny.

Fate fortunes the bold, the Romans would say.

It does. But she also screws them over, in ways no one could ever possibly imagine.

Like the ancient gods of Greece.

Like the way Zeus screwed mortal men and especially women for centuries.

You know, in that witty and cruel manner that makes you wonder if gods were ever on our side. Continue reading