‘The Targeter,’ a Surreal Novel, Chapter Nine

I hear a loud boom and repeated gunfire outside.

How’s the war going out there? I wonder. Is the fighting getting closer?

I get up from the coffee table and walk to my right over to the front window. I push aside the curtains and look outside.

With the booming of more explosions, I see a few fireballs lighting up the night sky. Comparing their size to those I saw earlier tonight, before I started drinking and getting stoned, that is, I realize they’re noticeably bigger balls of fire now.

The rattling of machine gun fire is louder than before, too. The war is coming closer to home, for sure.

My ketamine high is starting to come down, but it’s still strong enough to keep me feeling that illusion of safety. I’ll snort another line in a few minutes.

The second half of that ecstasy pill is starting to kick in. I’m feeling that delicious sparkling, tingling sensation again. I’m feeling love…love for all of humanity, a wish to help everyone out there who is suffering and in need, though I’m not dumb or stoned enough to go outside and into the danger.

After seeing another few fireballs flashing in the sky, I look down at the sidewalks, road, and front area of my apartment. I’m on the second floor, so everything is easy to see; I can see quite a lot of detail down there, in spite of how disorienting my high is, and how dark it is out there.

I see a homeless old man, or so he seems by how filthy dirty he looks, and how he is lying on the sidewalk in front of my apartment. Greying and balding, he must be in his sixties at least. He is facing me, with his mouth wide open in a yawn; I notice a few missing teeth.

Poor guy, I think, with this love drug in me drawing out my compassion. He’s out there with no protection from the bombs or bullets. I should give him a snort of my Special K.

My eyes drift to the right, where I see what must be another homeless man, younger but just as filthy as the first. He’s walking over to the first one; perhaps they’re friends. This second one has gaping holes in his shirt and pants, and I can make out what must be boils all over his skin. His hideousness can only inspire pity.

There’s no way he’s gonna get medical care for his skin condition, I reason. Even with universal free healthcare here on this island, what with all the war wounded, he won’t be given anywhere near priority in the hospitals.

I hear another explosion and some machine gun fire. It must be getting really close, for during this last rattling of bullets, I just saw the chest of what appears to be a third homeless man burst open in a huge splash of red. He’s now lying on the sidewalk, motionless and lifeless to the left of the first derelict.

I’ll bet he has no family to grieve for him, I think as I see a pool of blood growing in an oval around his body. The other two homeless men, still in the exact same place, don’t seem to notice the blood getting on their clothes and shoes. I see a soldier running by–the one who shot him? Is he wearing a PLA uniform? I think it is.

I heave a big sigh, then look over to a bench on the left side of the front area of my apartment. There’s a tree with overhanging leafy branches over the bench, and after I squint my eyes and look more carefully there, I see an old man sitting there crosslegged with his eyes closed and a smile on his face.

Is it even possible to sit like that and meditate amidst all that mayhem? I wonder, then go back and sit at my coffee table.

I close my eyes.

I open my eyes, and instead of seeing my small apartment all around me, I see my parents’ mansion. Instead of wearing a T-shirt and shorts, I’m in a black Armani suit with a white shirt and dark purple tie. I’m looking out the front window on the second floor, looking out on the front lawn over to the front gates of our estate.

“What’s out there?” I ask, looking back at my father.

“You don’t need to know,” he, wearing the regal attire of an Oriental king, says with a frown of disapproval towards my, to him, excessive curiosity.

“But if I am to rule these people, I need to get to know them,” I say. Now I am dressed in similar, Asian clothing. Instead of a modern mansion, I see the elaborate interior design of an Oriental palace. Instead of the gates outside, I see palace walls at the far end of the front lawn as I look back through the window.

“You don’t need to see the filthy dirty masses to rule them,” my stepmother, dressed in modern clothing but no less a queen, says to me coldly. “If you went out there, you might catch their diseases. I forbid you to go out there.”

“I still want to see them, and I’m going,” I say. She tries to stop me, but I just walk past her. I pay no attention to her shouting as I leave the room, go down the stairs, and walk towards the front door. I’m in the black suit again, and the palace has returned to being the modern mansion.

I hear my father call out to the servants to make sure I have a retinue of followers to protect my “inviolable” self from the “riff-raff” outside. When such followers walk by me, I brush them aside.

“I want to be alone,” I snap at them.

Suddenly, I find myself outside the palace walls. I’m in my Oriental robes again. On the sides of the streets, I see destitute Chinese and Indians begging, sitting on the ground with bowls in front of them.

To see such abject poverty makes me feel ashamed to be dressed so well among them. As I continue walking, I look down at myself and see the black suit on me again. I hear gunfire and bombs exploding. I look in front of myself and see a homeless Indian man lying on the ground. He must be in his seventies, with his long, wiry white hair.

He looks hungry and in pain. I toss a few gold coins in the bowl he has lying by his head. He says something to me in his Hindustani dialect–“Thank you,” I assume. I notice that, as he’s speaking, half of his teeth are missing. He also has only a loincloth to cover his nakedness.

I continue my walk and see another homeless Indian, a younger one, but one with boils all over his semi-naked body. He, too, is wearing only a loincloth.

Are there no doctors to care for him? I wonder, giving him a few gold coins, too. I’m back in my Asian robes.

I notice the sharp smell of smoke in front of me. Is it a marijuana cigarette burning? It sure smells like that, but instead I see the burning body of a dead, homeless Indian. No gold coins will help him, or his family, since I see no one near him to grieve for him.

I hear a bomb explode and some gunfire not too far away. I look up at the sky and see fiery mushroom clouds turning all the blue to orange. I heave a sigh, feel my heart sinking, and turn around to return home.

My father has taken too little care of this, and he’ll continue to care too little, I think as I’m walking back to the palace.

As I’m going, though, I pass by an old man sitting under a tree in a park. Crosslegged, he has his eyes closed, and has a wide smile on his face. He’s at peace amidst this turmoil!

My body feels as if it’s glowing in a radiant fire. I’m sparkling and tingling all over. I feel the warmth and light of love permeating my body and shining all over me!

This meditating man has inspired me! His example has shown me what I must do: go out into the world and help humanity through spirituality and mysticism!

My father will never, ever use any of his wealth to help the poor or to end these wars, I think as I begin walking faster back home. Sakia’s influence over all of the politically powerful in our kingdom has ensured that the wealthy will never be taxed. But if I can reach the people spiritually, then inspire them to revolution, we can together solve the problem of the poor.

I see the walls and entrance to the palace. The gates open…as my eyes do.

I look around and see my humble living room again.

I hear the explosions and gunfire outside. A few flashes of light brighten the night sky past my window with those explosions.

I am definitely coming down from my K high. I’m starting to feel less safe, though the glow of universal love is at its most brilliant right now.

This ecstasy is powerful, I think.

I want to go out there and spread love, however dangerous it is outside.

I look down at my lines of ketamine.

A snort of one of them will be my armour.

I pick up my straw.

The K-hole isn’t anything more than illusory safety, I think as I bend down to snort the line. But if I die out there, I die. We’re all going to die, anyway. Why keep living in this shitty world?

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