Delicatessen

There was once an artist and a philanthropist who was not satisfied with his work. He could not find the right colours. The right canvas. The tools were mediocre. Common, easy to get tones were incapable of conveying his message. He was looking for the perfect hue. The perfect combination of saturation, texture and expression. So far, his efforts bore no fruit.

To pass the time, he worked in a soup kitchen to aid the less fortunate.

Until he met her. Her skin was alabaster. Her hair black as midnight. Both contrasted with her pursed, crimson lips. At last, he found her muse.

She was not shy. Far from it, she had a mind of her own. She was hot-tempered and the leader of her own life. Her passionate outlook on life only fuelled his interest towards her further. He knew he was staring at a diamond in the rough. With some adjustments, she’d be perfect.

Her feisty demeanour made it easy to propose to her a position as a model for one of his works. She saw it as an opportunity to step up within the social ladder. For him, it was a step closer to grasping the perfect magnum opus.

He invited her to her study. Its size was modest but brimming with personality. Overflowing with his obsessions.

While confident, she seemed unsettled by his art corner. He offered her a cup of tea in order for her to relax. It was a special blend, he assured her. A mix of strands combined with a technique passed by generations. It let you understand art to a higher degree.

After preparing the tea, she gulped the tea with no question. That is all it took for her to black out.

At last, the artist could start to work. With a delicate grasp, he took his crafting knife and began the incisions. They were accurate, done with a perfect pulse, and most of all, with pure love.

He needed painting to use for his work. Nothing a swift, decisive strike to the carotid artery could not fix. Blood gushed out in an spectacle of scarlet beauty. Etched in his mind, the crimson fountain would be a fond memory for time to come.

The vivid, wine tone of her lips dissipated. Darkening and thinning. His act of violence whisked away what beauty had left on her lips.

After some time, he managed to strip her out of her prized skin. It would make for a magnificent canvas. It was plentiful and stout enough to stretch over the entirety of the canvas. It provided an unprecedented texture and quality to it.

Last but not least, he needed materials for his brushes. Her exquisite mane would do. He was certain of it. Once again, separating her scalpel from her skull was a work of art in itself. He felt delight when manufacturing one-of-a-kind brushes. Of course, made from the hair strands of his muse. Not even the finest bristle from the most prized beasts could hope to compare. Such superb tools would let him paint a masterpiece, one that would be redefine the very essence of the term.

He toiled without a hint of a break all night long. Delirious, out of this world. That is how you would describe him and his finished masterpiece. It was a rose field, the most life-like rendition humanity would ever hope to gaze their eyes upon.

Finally, he achieved the masterpiece he always yearned.

The morning after, the destitute at the soup kitchen had an extraordinary feast. Plates of tender, ripe meat accompanied with fresh vegetables and spices. While they were grateful it was not gruel, they did notice a queer flavor in the dishes.

The meat, in particular.

The oppression of order

There was once an orderly classroom. Composed of the most elite students of the country. Scant but brilliant. The luminaries of a new generation. The desks organized in a distinct, resolute fashion peppered the classroom. No room for creativity nor freedom. Order and structure lead the design of the classroom. Both the desks and chairs were of a dull gray. Colors incites risks and danger, such as imagination.

In an orderly row, the students started to fill the classroom. Each of them sporting their immaculate, indistinct uniforms. Male or female, they looked all the same. Individuality is an enemy of order. One by one, they seated in their corresponding desk. Every one knew where to seat. No questions asked. No doubts about it. Every flowed flawless, like a well-oiled machine.

Once the students finished taking their seats, the instructor began his lecture. By the book, by dogma, every one of the students jotted down notes. They knew what the instruct said was right. It was the order of things. The alumni, with their lack of light, are there to learn from their betters. It is impossible to garner value from the ignorant. Everything went as planned, day after day, month after month, year after year. Generations of order flew by. Until it ceased.

One day, a heinous event shook the classroom. A classmate forgot his notebook. What a disgrace! Punishing such a fragrant display of disorder is all it took to get the message across. The miscreant left the classroom by force. He was never seen again.

The day after, another frightful event transpired. A classmate let his pencil fall into the ground. The deafening sound of the lead school utensil echoed through the classroom. The delinquent left the classroom by force. He was never seen again.

Another tragedy befouled the sacred classroom. One of the students was shook by sheer emotion. The lecture struck deep within his heart. It was a topic dear to him: the professor described in gruesome detail the annihilation of his people. Such outburst brings the filth of disorder to the classroom. The undesirable left the classroom by force. He was never seen again.

The malignant influences of disorder did not end here. The day after, a student dare to question the validity of the professor’s lecture. He pointed out a flaw. Compromising order with a flaw was all but preposterous. As such, escorting the agent of disorder was a sound solution. The transgressor left the classroom by force. He was never seen again.

The following days were blissful and idyllic. No disorder occurred. The absence of questions filled the air with absolute nothingness. No outbursts shamed the classroom. No clumsiness to taint the sanctity of order. There was one minor, tiny, minuscule detail.

There were no students left.

A lonely desk in a vast, uncaring sea of order remained. Order had won.

Disorder brings life, a most abominable aftermath.

The fool who could not be loved

There once was a fool. He was friendly, outgoing, cared for his peers and looked out for them.

He was hated. Avoided. Isolated. People smiled at him out of politeness. In short, he was despised.

No matter what he tried, he was pushed away. Dirty looks were directed at him as he tried to strike conversations. Snubbing was commonplace.

Every day he tried to gain the favour of those who hated him: he offered them treats and food, help when in need, and even sharing his hard earned effort, asking for nothing in return.

He was hated.

Meekly, the fool approaches others. Bluntly, he is struck.

He was hated.

Little by little doubt started shrouding his demeanor. Was it worth it to put so much effort into loving others? Was this just like pushing a boulder, just for it to come back then? A storm was brewing. Little clouds of sadness. Was he finally giving up?

Of course not.

People may strike you with words and stones, but the fool cares nothing for them. He sees the positive. Little rays of sunlight that form a majestic rainbow. An arcobaleno of hope. Hope for others.

Because the fool, no matter how much he’s hurt, he’ll love you.

Yes, the fool cannot be loved. Yes, the fool shall forever love the world and others, no matter how many thorns bleed him out.

Perhaps the fool is simply a love poem directed to no one. Or perhaps, a love letter for someone who is yet to come.

This fool will never give up.

Asphodel

A boundless hallway lied in stretched onwards. The work done on the ceramic floor as painstaking. The manifold colors of the walls painted a majestic scenario. Moreover, masterpieces of uncertain origin graced this grandiose room. Only dreams could ever hope to paint such majestic sights.
 
At the heart of the area was a single, unassuming round table for two. Two upholstered chairs were the finishing touch.
 
The cutlery was of the finest quality. Far from being a connoisseur, it’s distinction struck deep within you. Adorned ivory cups with scintillating patterns covering their circumference. It was all but impossible to look away. With an understandable shyness, you lifted your little tea cup. You realized something bewildering: the cup was empty.
 
This fact was of little import to your companion. Pale in complexion, fair hair, argent eyes that belied his years. One would assume you’d be in front of a regal gentleman. You’d be wrong. Your companion was a child, a youth no older than a teenager. Yet, his countenance and mannerisms were queer. Out of place. Out of this world. Ethereal.
 
Your companion took a sip of the hollow chalice. An unmistakable reaction of flavor and texture bombarded his senses. A refined palate for the barren concoctions, you speculated. Done with his sampling, your peculiar companion inquired for your presence.
 
Puzzled by your being, your tea time playmate jogged your memory. With an eloquence that would put orators to shame, he deigned to speak. “Welcome to Asphodel, the epitome of indifference. What brings you to this corner of apathy? Do you seek meaning? What it means to be good and evil? Or are you disillusioned by the concepts of good and evil, much like myself?”
 
“My soul, I seek it.” you spouted without a second thought. Your speaker found such outburst delightful. Without losing pace, he replied: “You will only find quiescence in this lonesome realm.” “Do not fret, it is okay to give up. Only nothingness, disappointment and anguish lie within the realms of good and evil. Come, have a seat. Share with me a cup of tea. It’s full to the brim with lethargy. What more could someone like you need? Let’s drift together in this endless void.” “Do not fight it. Let us be one with the abyss.”
 
This discourse, while mesmerizing, betrayed your perception. The cracks of reality became discernible. You were not partaking in a conversation with an amiable youth. Upon further inspection, you started to better discern his features. He was you.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Realizing the absurdity of the situation, you woke up.

A solid departure

A man like any other had a group of associates. Their friendship thrived well enough: sharing jokes, outings and overtime shifts. A typical coworker dynamic, as it were.

Yet, something did not sit quite right in this idyllic nine to five paradise. Why should he follow a schedule? Why would his coworkers not object over such baffling habit? What was the meaning behind a fifteen minute lunch break? Was its aim to grab a bite? Or rather, did it carry a different meaning? In his heart of hearts, could this “lunch break” signify a break of will? Subjugation? Domination? Submission?

Day after day, our amiable man, who harbored no ill will towards his coworkers toiled away. Unyielding. Without as much as an inkling of thought nor doubt. To him, the well-oiled machine was perfect. Its inexorable, perpetual and inevitable inner workings must not come to a halt. Still, a nagging thought plagued our meek fellow. What would happened if someone stand up against it?

There was no doubt in his mind that he was not the first individual to propose such course of action. It even seemed evident. The allure of chaos and all its wonderful and destructive coercion. A force of nature, at odds against the inevitability of a systemic lifestyle.

Every event that revolutionizes the life of someone starts with a question. A straightforward inquiry. Why? Why should I keep going? Why perpetuate the cycle?

It occurs that sometimes, one asks the right question at the wrong time. The HR in charge overheard the question of our meek fellow. What followed defied explanation.

The stern HR attendant directed him towards an imposing office. The office of a man who accepted no visitors. Someone who dismissed even clients of tremendous profit to the company. And yet, the doors spread open as open arms.

An imposing yet indescribable figure stood ahead of him. Such intimidating demeanor dissipated in a blink of an eye. He stretched his hand to give him a firm handshake.

Shortly after greeting him, the CEO of the company regaled him with a myriad of anecdotes. Our friend started to feel at ease. Comfortable. Vulnerable. An easy prey for what was about to happen.

The CEO’s visage contorted. No longer the jolly and affable man of before, his demeanor imposed fear upon our friend. In an inaudible murmur he communicated via his intercom. His orders directed towards his bodyguards.

Not two minutes had passed. The dehumanized soldiers deemed bodyguards were at his beckon and call. With a simple sleigh of hand, the CEO instructed his bodyguards to do his bidding.

Our friend had no chance to retaliate or react. Everything fade to black.

After an unknown amount of time had passed, he started to come to his senses. While groggy he could discern his surroundings. A warehouse, long since unused. The way he fit into a rusty barrel was not in any way comfortable. Unfortunately, neither was the way the concrete started filling his make-shift coffin.

In vain he strained his vocal chords. No sounds came out. He attempted to struggle. A manner of drug flowed through his veins, constricting his body. He was limp and helpless. All he could do was to keep his eye wide open. No attempts of escape were possible. All he could do was to witness his own, undignified death.

Was it worth it to speak up? Was any change accomplished? Would anyone find his concrete cadaver? Or were his relatives told that he cut all ties with everyone? No matter what ran through his brain, something was certain.

Concrete is not conductive for breathing.

Mala Praxis

A glaring fluorescent light addled my senses. I could not perceive my surroundings. Visionless. Frightened. Isolated. An encroaching terror teemed me within my exposed core.
 
A voice began murmuring without warning. A throng of pharmaceutical elixirs, pitched towards me by this entity. My hope for succor for my ailment permeated the room.
 
I was not alone. An unsettling figure, upright, unmoving, uncaring, inhumane. A psychiatrist, in a nutshell. A constable of well-being, unassailable in its prescriptions.
 
My ailment, my disease, my malaise was all but evident: a bundle of tablets and pills were my fix. The contemporary blend between soporific conformity and apathetic accountability disillusioned me.
 
The instructions were a divine mandate: down the drugs after breakfast. Do not doubt. Do not hesitate. Trust. Obey. They know better.
 
I departed the barren doctor’s office. My dainty, young hands could not quite maintain the grip of the myriad of modern panaceas in my posession. As I was hauling these present-day cures upon me as I left the building, I found myself at a loss.
 
Was this my future? A narcotic existence? A soporific fadeaway from the struggles of life?
 
As I trudged towards home I came across boy by mere coincidence . This lad was not shackled by a prescribed disease, or academic torment. Instead, life brimmed on every expression. On every pore present on his face. On every action he partook. Light dazzling as dawn shone throughout his hazel gaze. A blazing luminary that didn’t addle my senses. I could grasp my surroundings.
 
My eyesight did not falter. The horror I experienced melted away much like snow in spring. For the first time, I did not feel isolated. No longer was I part of the diseased. A mentally ill creature. I was part of something. Of every little thing. Once and for all, I realised that what afflicted me was not a malady, nor a disorder, but fear.
 
The fear of living.

Let’s hate each other, as friends.

Dehumanization. Turning yourself into the punchline of an inside joke. Whose joke? Your friends? Your colleges? The system designed to twist, turn and, in the end, discard potentiality? Most important of all: for what purpose? Is this the underlying goal of socialization? Pretend that you can withstand the worst of social flagellation. Does that make you, in other words, the epitome of a socialite?

 

 One may might state to “soften up”, or that’s it’s “a joke”. The line dividing a joke, a mean-spirited comment and hatred is as thin as it is harrowing. We must avoid outright abuse for the sake of perpetuating the social status quo. Society is more than stepping on others. It’s also more than suffering the uncaring, crushing stride of others towards you.

 

 I do not find the insults directed at me or others, for that matter, funny, amusing, endearing, or witty. Nothing further from the truth. From my perspective, it’s a group of individuals who are incapable of tackling reality. They seek refugee in the old ways. The frantic clawing in hopes to not fall into the abyss of rancor, like all others. The tried and true method of ridicule of the unequal. The comfort of hatred. It’s easier to seek fault and elevate your psyche by stepping on the unalike. Convince yourself that the dissimilar is insignificant and not worth your concern. Homogeneity grants you safety. Sounds straightforward, don’t you agree? Why confront the existential crisis when you’ve been wronging people all this time? Why not instead justify your actions in the name of righteousness? The herd mentality? You’re, after all, part of the mob. Why not cull those alien to your viewpoint?

 

 I’m not going to pretend to be a paragon of virtue. I’ve had my negative outbursts. And yet, I am willing to atone. A genuine plea of forgiveness. When was the last time someone felt touched by someone’s repentance, a genuine act of remorse? How often was your discomfort dismissed as being thin-skinned? By what metric do we judge the mettle of character? Are we too proud to admit fault?

 

 Could this be the consequence of a contemporary conformity of violence? Are we addled by the smoke and mirrors of an inhumane system? Progress. It’s inevitable, heartless, merciless, and unstoppable. A tacit approval of abuse for the sake of the future. Let’s not forget that without a present, a here and now, there can never be a future. A satisfying prospect, bursting with happiness and genuine compassion.

In other words, freedom.