Tables

Many
have
plenty of food on their tables,
but
let
it
go
to
waste.

Others, with crumbs on their tables,
regard
every
bit
as
a
blessing.

Still others are lucky to have tables at all,
much
less
roofs
over
their
families’ heads.

The
Galilean
overturned all the tables that were in the temple,
those
of
men
who
sold
and
bought,

but
those
praying to Him at their dinner tables
don’t
give
all
that
much
to the poor.

How
might
the masses turn the tables on the rich,
and
set
our
tables
to sate all?

‘The Targeter,’ a Surreal Novel, Chapter Three

The interminable series of commercials is over, and the news is back, with updates on the progress that the People’s Liberation Army is making all along the West coast of the island, and how feebly the local forces are trying to repel them. I just gulped down the last of my drink, and I’m off to fix myself a second Jim Beam and Coke.

With that done in my kitchen, I’ve returned with my refilled glass to the living room. Having set my glass on the coffee table and sat down, I’ve picked up the joint I rolled and I’m lighting it. I toke on it a few times and hold the smoke in for as long as I can hold my breath. I finally let it out and look down at my ecstasy pills.

I pick one up and break it in half. Before I pop it in my mouth, I look over at my window and listen to the outside gunfire and explosives for a few seconds. A gulp of my drink takes the half-pill down my gullet.

I see President Harris on the TV again. “My fellow Americans, we have a job to do,” she says in that posturing, ‘patriotic’ voice of hers. “My administration will do all it has to do to preserve and protect our fragile democracy from the aggression of autocratic Russia and China. This is our last chance at saving freedom for the world. The enemy is an evil that must be stopped at all costs.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” I grunt, then reach for the remote and turn the TV off. “I can’t take any more of that.” Preserve and protect our feeble democracy, I think. What democracy, even if a feeble one, do we have in a world where the richest eight men in the world share the same amount of wealth as do the poorest half of all the world, millions of people in Third World countries? How do we all have freedom, even fragile freedom, when every time we leave our homes and go outside, we have to wear masks because of a disease that, especially now, is largely no worse than a head cold? What freedom exists in a world where we can only vote for politicians whose only concern is protecting the interests of the rich? Is protecting this ‘freedom’ worth risking nuclear annihilation? “I need music.”

I get up and go over to my CD player and CDs. I find a CD of some old South Indian Carnatic music on the Nonesuch label, music played on the flute, violin, and tabla drums. I put that on and go back to sit by the coffee table. I hear the drone of the tanpura beginning the music, and I sit back on my sofa, enjoying the high I’m getting from the joint and waiting for the E to kick in.

Thanks to the joint, everything looks, sounds, and feels slower and more intense. Music always sounds better when you’re stoned. In fact, the tapping of the tablas is, for the most part, drowning out the noise of the gunfire and explosions outside, so I don’t feel so paranoid. I reach over, pick up the joint, and take a few more puffs.

The bird-like tunes of the flute, as well as the violin glissandi, are making me feel as if I’m in the peaceful environs of nature. I sit back on the sofa, close my eyes, and imagine myself in such a serene place.

I try doing something I’ve done many times, with varying degrees of success and failure, to give myself peace of mind. I meditate on the unity of everything in the universe at the subatomic level, on how at that level, nothing really matters, because everything is all one there. If so, there is no death, because there’s no life either, with any of life’s pain and suffering. Think of how Thích Quảng Đức was able to immolate himself back in 1963.

So if I die from gunfire, a conventional bomb, or a nuke, why should I care, right? It’s only a reshuffling, as it were, of all the subatomic particles, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

A few of the explosions outside are getting louder, which is hardly reassuring for me. On the other hand, a half hour has gone by, and I can feel the E starting to kick in. Sparkly sensations of love are tingling all over my body. I just need to feel more of the illusion of protection.

Time to snort a line of K.

Thrones

She
had
the
big
chair, just
as so many
before her

used
that
seat
with
the intent to
take over and
plunder worlds.

One
may
sit
and
rest, while
many more
must fight

to
be
in
an
adequate
state of
existence.

One
can
sit
and
take it easy
on a throne
without gems,

and
the
men
and
women of the
world can be
seated as well.

So
we
in
an
abased state
must rise up
so all may sit.

‘The Targeter,’ a Surreal Novel, Chapter Two

Lemme take another sip of my drink before I continue. Ahh, there.

My joint is rolled and ready to be lit up, my lines of ketamine are ready to be snorted, and several ecstasy pills are lying here on my coffee table, to the immediate left of the ketamine lines.

The machine gun fire and explosions outside have continued, uninterrupted, and slightly louder.

Before I get wasted, I need a moment to think.

As I hear the fighting going on outside, I wonder how many of those weapons were manufactured by Sakia. Even if none of them were (which is unlikely, given that my parents are so preoccupied with maximizing Sakia’s profits that they’re willing to sell to the Chinese on both sides of the current conflict), the principle is still the same. The whole reason for all of these wars is to enrich the coffers of weapons manufacturers like Sakia.

My mom and dad love money so much that they’re willing to sell weapons that could have their own son killed. Even if they aren’t being sold to the East Asian theatre of this new world war, they’re at least being sold to the East European NATO member countries, provoking Russia and bringing us all closer to nuclear annihilation. My parents are doing their part to ensure we’re all killed, including me.

I first started arguing with my father, Sutton Dana Gordimer, and my mother, Maya, about all the evil their profit-making was doing back when I’d learned, from reading a newspaper article, of Iraqi kids in a school bus killed when a drone missile made by Sakia hit it; this was back in the mid-2000s.

Both my parents dismissed the story as “unimportant.”

When I showed how furious I was at their callous attitude to the child victims, my mother tried to guilt-trip me over enjoying the privileged life of a rich kid, rich from Sakia’s success and my parents’ hard work. My father tossed in a little racism, not caring about the fate of “a few smelly, brown-skinned kids.”

As I learned of more and more deaths in Iraq, and later (once I’d moved here to teach English) in Libya and Syria, all the time knowing Sakia had sold billions of dollars in weapons to those who would kill these victims, I felt that I couldn’t accept any of the money Sakia made from these killings. So when my mother, during a long-distance phone call, brought up my future inheritance several years ago (she meant it to guilt-trip me for my having stopped communicating with them several years before that), I told her, in all bluntness, “I don’t want your Sakia money!”

She replied by saying, “That’s not exactly a sage decision to make, Sidney Arthur [the snobbish way she typically addressed me].”

“Oh, it’s very sage!” I retorted. “I’m the sage of Sakia, didn’t you know that? in refusing Sakia money. I won’t benefit materially from your blood money!”

“Oh, you are such an idealistic fool!” she growled, then hung up.

As far as I’m concerned, Maya Gordimer was never a mother to me, in the true sense of the word. I don’t know: maybe when I was a newborn baby, before I can remember, she had some kind of maternal feelings for me. But I’m guessing she, as a real mother, died, say, a week or so after I was born. She’s been a tyrant ever since.

As far back as I can remember, she’s always resented my very existence, and hated me for my sensitivity; I suspect she envies it, since that narcissist has none of her own. She never wanted me to have friends, or normal, healthy relationships of any kind: she always tried to make me feel too different from other people to feel as if I belonged.

She encouraged hostility, however tacitly, in my elder siblings towards me, allowing them to bully me when I was a child. When all three of them died suddenly in a car accident (several years before I moved to East Asia), and I didn’t shed even one tear for any of those who were meant to take over the company when our parents were to retire, Mom just scowled at me as if I was the unfeeling one, rather than her.

I suspect that her making my family enemies with me didn’t end with my late siblings. I suspect that she also sabotaged my friendship with my paternal cousin, David Adam Gordimer. We’d been good friends throughout our childhoods and young adulthoods; then, things turned strange…

I may be getting totally wasted on drugs and alcohol tonight, but I’m normally nowhere near this much of a druggie. David, however, always was, ever since his teens. His regular smoking of marijuana from those days, as well as his experimentation with LSD, opium, and ecstasy over the years, has surely affected his brain functioning.

I don’t know for sure, since I’m not qualified to be giving opinions in the psychiatric field, but I suspect David has developed paranoid schizophrenia. He’s had all kinds of delusional fantasies about me supposedly betraying his trust: gossiping about him with former friends of ours, stealing girlfriends and drugs from him, among other absurdities.

I suspect my mother has whispered all manner of malignant nonsense into his ears, reinforcing his paranoia and prompting him to send me abusive, incoherent word salads of emails loaded with wild, unsubstantiated accusations. It’s an abuse not so far removed from the nastiness I used to hear from my elder brothers and sister back when they were alive, hence my suspicions that the illusions of Maya were behind it all, for I’m sure she’d squirted her poison in their ears, too.

With my three siblings gone, my parents were relying on me, however reluctantly, to take over Sakia; but as I’ve said, I want nothing to do with their murderous business. They’d looked to David as a possible heir, but his increasing mental instability proved how hopeless he would be at running the company. My continuing refusal to take over the company may have been what prompted Mom to turn David against me…to spite me.

David must understand, deep down, that the world he sees and hears around himself is a surreal, hallucinatory one. He medicates himself with his cigarettes and pot to soothe and ease the terror he feels at a world he can no longer understand. He probably also envies me for my more stable mental state, though he’s projected his mental problems onto me, when repeating the nonsense my mom says about how “different” I am from everybody else.

The online abuse David has subjected me to was either through direct emails to me, or in comments on my blog, ironically called The Sage of Sakia, on which I’ve expressed my vehement opposition to my parents’ evil business. David has seen my attacks on Sakia as “treason” against the Gordimer family, rather than the principled antiwar stance that it is.

Again, I believe David envies me for having at least the ability, if not the willingness (which he has), to take over Sakia when my parents want to retire (which is coming soon, if not already upon us). Now, he hasn’t contacted me in years, unless it’s been under a fake name in a more recent abusive comment on my anti-Sakia posts.

Is he in a mental hospital? He should be, though I don’t expect anyone in the family to care enough to get him to see a doctor.

In all of my inter-family fighting over the years, whether between my mom, David, or my elder siblings on one side and me on the other, my father either neglected to say anything or he’s sided with them against me, which has been almost every time.

Some fucking family.

All the more reason for me to loathe life.

All the more reason for me to attempt an escape from it all through drugs and alcohol.

I’m going the David route…to death.

I wonder if I’ll die in a state of lunacy similar to his, only a happy one.

Tightrope

If
I
lean
too much the one way, or too much the other, I will fall.

If
the
rope
went in a straight line, I could keep my balance well enough,

but
the
rope
keeps veering to the right, making me counterbalance left.

How
far
is
too far left, or not left enough? Is moderate “too balanced”?

One
has
to
walk it slowly, yet the human race’s time is running out.

We
can
not
stay on one side; we must go, yet to fall is certain death.

‘The Targeter,’ a Surreal Novel, Chapter One

My name is Sid, I’m forty years old, and…we’re all going to die.

Now, I’m not talking about plain, old, ordinary mortality here. I mean that all of us on this planet are going to die, and quite soon.

I’m sitting in the living room of my apartment late tonight, and I can hear the sounds of machine gun fire and far-off explosions from outside my window. I’m watching the news on my TV as I roll a joint, my right hand an inch or two away from my half-drunk glass of Jim Beam and Coke.

While all of this is happening, the last thing I want to be is sober.

President Harris is giving a press conference on the progress that the US and NATO have made in engaging the ‘enemy’: the alliance led by Russia, China, and Iran. She keeps ruling out the use of nuclear weapons, but why should we believe a word from that cackling bitch?

For almost fifteen years, I’ve been teaching English as a second language here in China…though we shouldn’t expect the Western world ever to admit that this small island is a part of China. Many, if not most, of the locals here insist it’s a country rather than a Chinese province.

Why, you may be wondering, didn’t I, a Western expat, simply leave when I had the chance, before this island became a war zone? There are several reasons: one, this is my home, of which I have no other, me being estranged from my ‘family,’ the Gordimer family, owners of Sakia, a weapons manufacturing company. As a pacifist, I have no need of any other reason to disown that family, though I have many others, as I will go into later on.

Two, my skill set as an English teacher is very limited. What am I going to do for work in my predominantly English-speaking country, where so many others are snapping up almost all of the job opportunities, as scant as they already are? I’ll doubtless be a derelict back there.

Three, and most important of all, World War Three has been going on for the past several days. This island isn’t the only place being hit, as I can hear from outside my window. Russia is counter-attacking Europe and the UK. China is hitting not only us here, but also Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Canada with its long-range missiles. Iran is hitting the American military bases surrounding it. North Korea has its nuclear weapons ready to fire.

Nowhere is it safe; it especially won’t be when the nukes start flying…when they start flying.

So, you see, we’re all going to die, and quite soon.

Nothing is going to save me or anyone else. Not getting off the island, not praying to a God that so obviously doesn’t exist, and not any of the wisdom contained in all the books on the bookshelves I have surrounding my TV.

No, none of my translations of Buddhist scriptures, nor the inspiration of Gautama’s mythical biography, nor my three volumes of Das Kapital, my Communist Manifesto, my Grundrisse, my Lenin anthology, my essential works of Mao Zedong, my Dialectical and Historical Materialism, nor any of my books by Melanie Klein, WRD Fairbairn, DW Winnicott, Wilfred R Bion, Heinz Kohut, or Jacques Lacan will help me.

My only escape will be a mental one, a manic defence, assisted by booze, marijuana, ecstasy pills, and a line or two of ketamine.

Yes, we, the lowly, wretched people of the Earth, are the targeted. It’s as though each of us has had a bullseye painted on his or her chest. If the bullets and conventional bombs don’t hit us, the nukes will. And even if, by some miracle, we manage to survive all of that, then the destruction of the Earth through climate change will kill us all.

If only we the people could target all the evils of the world, hit them like marksmen, and save humanity from itself. If only we ‘targeters,’ if you will, could have gone thus and stopped the warmongers from instigating what’s now the irreversible: the destruction of all life on this planet.

The targeter, having thus gone to his target, not missing the mark, would replace the error of the warmongers’ ways with the truth: namely, that those who are able should give to those in need; that ego is an illusion and we all are one; and that to harm others is to harm ourselves.

I can only dream of such a cure for the world, though. It’s already too late for us all. I hear the noisy proof of our doom from outside my window, and from the quacking of the American president on my TV.

So, in my despair, I’m using alcohol and drugs to numb my pain. If I can’t escape in body, I’ll do so in mind. May I, being a target, be too stoned to feel the incineration of my body when the time comes. May the drug trip I’m about to go on take me on a surreal journey somewhere far away, somewhere peaceful, so I won’t care when I finally die.

Flying Saucers

We see them
arrive on Earth in
flying saucers.

Humanoid,
yet bug-like, with
antennae,

as we see them,
they come in peace…
perhaps.

We see & hear
with fear, however,
firing

our guns at them.
And then, when they
shoot back,

we see them
as the aggressor, not
ourselves.

So many
think of aliens as
monsters,

yet once,
we saw a child
befriend ET.

Why can’t
we be that boy,
blind to

the bug eyes
and antennae, seeing
instead

what we
all have in common,
feeling love?

‘Furies,’ a Horror Novel, Part Six, Chapter 4

Megan and her father, John, as well as Lynne and Herman, stood in a straight line, holding hands, before their own lake of blood. The only one of them not trembling at the thought of feeling the suffering of the other three was John.

You’re not afraid now, Mr. Fourier, Furioso said to him, but you will be…soon.

I only feel hate and anger, John said. Anger towards this unfilial daughter of mine, and hate towards the whole miserable world. I’ll be glad to end my existence. If this is the only way to do that, then so be it.

To end your existence, and to end the pain that you think your hate and anger are shielding you from, you’ll have to let go of those two emotions, Furioso said. When you let that pain hit you, be prepared for a shock. But stay with it, for only staying with it to the end will get you out of Hell.

Very well, John growled. Let’s just do this.

In you all must go, Furioso said.

Megan, Lynne, and Herman shook as they all took deep breaths. John just snarled as he got ready to jump in.

The four ghosts went in with a splash of red spots flying in all directions. They sank deep below the surface, seeing at first only a void of infinite black.

Then the visions of their rapes appeared.

As with the other groups of ghosts, each of the four of them experienced the suffering of each other, not of their own. They felt the phallic invasions of those that they themselves had invaded in their physical lives.

Megan felt a strap-on dildo suddenly jammed into her ass while lying on top of Lynne, who felt Herman vaginally invading her…but not in their bedroom at home. Lynne experienced it in Megan’s body in the changing area of the shower room in the high school gym.

Herman experienced a phallic penetration again, but as with Lynne, it was in the gym changing room. And he felt it in Megan’s body. He saw himself on top of him-as-her.

Oh, no, Lynne and Herman moaned together. Not again! Our crime, back to haunt us!

So, this is what I made them feel, Megan thought as she felt that dildo going in and out of herself. My saner self wouldn’t have wished this on my own worst enemies. Yet my not-so-sane self did wish it on them! Hate and lust for revenge really do take away one’s sanity. I want to heal from the trauma of my rapes, not go through them again!

As Herman felt his own phallus jamming in and out of him, tearing away at Megan’s vagina, he also felt a surprising emotion from Megan’s experience: he felt her crush on him, and her betrayed love.

Oh, my God! he thought as he saw her victimization through her eyes. Megan used to like me? She fancied me? And I did this to her. I let Lynne talk me into doing such a horrible thing to her? Lynne and I should both be ashamed of ourselves, far more than the guilt we’d felt years ago.

I thought I’d paid my dues, Lynne thought as she continued experiencing Megan’s rape with all of her senses. Going to church, being a ‘good Catholic,’ being monogamous with the rapist I’d goaded him into becoming, giving therapy to rape victims, going to confession and telling the priest what I’d conspired to do with Herman…none of that comes close to redeeming myself. No belief in Jesus could ever undo what I did to Megan. Why did I have to be so cruel to that poor girl, she who’d hardly done anything to me? I so deserve this, as awful as it is to have to experience. I’m so sorry, Megan.

I’m sorry, too, Megan, Herman moaned. I repaid your crush on me by being such an animal. I should have gone to jail for what I did to you.

We deserved to experience your revenge, Megan, Lynne said.

No, you didn’t! Megan said. I should have known from my own pain that no one, ever, should be subjected to rape.

The agony of these three, however, was an orgy of delight compared to what John was going through…he who, perhaps, should have been subjected to it.

John found himself in the body of a little girl–twelve-year-old Megan’s. That delicate body being used for the perverted pleasure of…himself.

He could no longer shield himself from her thoughts: Oh, Daddy! You’re hurting me! Why are you doing this to me?

He looked up at himself through her eyes, that sweating and grunting man with the hateful snarl on his face. He saw himself with the eyes of his betrayed daughter. He saw what a foul pig he really was.

He realized that all those bad boys he’d warned Megan about, those boys he’d accused her of yielding her body to…they were all actually projections of himself.

He remembered his constant, unchanging attitude every time he’d done this to his daughter, as well as to all those prostitutes he’d been so rough with at that brothel: They’re all just a bunch of sluts, tempting me to sin. They deserve no kindness for making me sin. The only good in them is the pleasure they give me.

He now felt the worthlessness he’d imposed on his daughter.

The pain he felt between his legs–experiencing it in Megan’s then-small body–the pain of his phallic stabbing, was a minor irritation compared to the torment of looking up at and seeing his ugly face. Now, John was a physically handsome man; but the scowl of hate and contempt on his face as he continued raping her, devoid of pity or remorse, cancelled out his good looks to the point of reversing them to the other extreme, making him as hideous as a Gorgon…yet looking in that face would never give him the mercy of turning him to stone.

If John closed his eyes, he still saw himself.

Now he knew who he really hated.

God, stop this! he screamed inside himself. I can’t bear to see myself this way! I’m a beast! I’m a devil! I’m a monster! I don’t deserve to exist! I don’t want to exist!

But he kept existing in that lake of blood.

He tried to push the pain away, to project it onto Megan, then to Lynne, then to Herman; but it always came back to him. The pain was a ball of fire that flew in a circle among all four of them…and this is when they all realized that their ‘ghost-bodies,’ as it were, had begun merging into one, single, deformed monster of a body. Megan was reminded of the fused body at the end of the Tool video for “Schism.” This body was shaped like a circle-jerk of a donut, with a phallus shoving into each ghost positioned before that phallus.

A donut-monster fucking itself.

All four ghosts were trying to pass the pain on, that fireball, to each other, passing it on in the form of rapes, but it always came back. As their four identities continued fusing, transforming from a ‘donut’ into one giant floating blob in all that blood, they began to see the futility of trying to pass the pain away, to project it. They realized, more and more, that they had to confront it.

Even John did.

I’m sorry, baby, he moaned to Megan. Though saying ‘sorry’ is useless. I was never a real father to you. I should never have even been born. I deserve this punishment…forever.

The fireball stopped flying around in circles. It stopped in the centre of their now fully unified identity, that grotesque ball of pain. The fire settled there, then it grew from the centre slowly, coming closer and closer to the periphery. All four ghosts, as one big ghost now, felt the painful experiences of all four of their lives simultaneously.

Besides experiencing each other’s rapes, they all felt such memories as Megan’s getting green paint all over her blouse, and hearing all the laughter from her classmates. They felt Lynne’s and Herman’s annoyance at getting in trouble with the high school principal for that prank; they also realized that Megan hadn’t wanted to involve the teachers or principal, meaning that getting revenge on her in the changing room was all the more indefensible. They felt John’s annoyance at his wife’s leaving him for another man…and they all knew of John’s shameful visits to that brothel, and how they justified his wife’s leaving him.

Shame, shame, and more shame.

A huge, deafening scream came from that blob as the fire reached its periphery and began boiling the surrounding blood. The scream died out, the blob melted into, and merged with, the boiling blood, and the bloody lake evaporated into a hot, pink mist, which in turn faded into nothingness.

A nothingness of peace.

***********

Furioso wasn’t there to watch it, though. He–as a demon who had lured so many thousands over the centuries to Hell, yet also had recently developed the compassion to show how some of the damned could escape it, was now standing before his own sea of blood.

He saw that red sea shrink a little, as it had shrunk a little on several occasions before.

A slight smile appeared on his lips.

THE END