BERNARD”S HOURS, The story of a schismatic misanthrope, Leila Samarrai


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BERNARD”S HOURS

The story of a schismatic misanthrope

“The basis of hatred is fear” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Part I

00.00
I have always hated people. Always or after one woman stabbed my heart with a knife? I have no excuse, because hatred is a gift we receive upon birth and not some acquired imagination.
They hated me too. But, I was exceeded by the persistence of my disbelief and my hatred which was, contradicting even their own, pulsed stronger. Petty illusions were bringing short term relief, so I would, at times, mercifully get carried away to awaken love in some woman. When you are a dark hero, you are not pure in your soul and the demons pursue you. You see evil in everything, or something special in which evil lays (perhaps the handsomeness of evil) When there is no longer any tenderness within you, it is a feeling of a constant thwack. You are cold, and some mute perpetrators are ripping the clothes off your body, again and again. While they are doing that, hatred and disgust is clearly visible on their faces. In the imagined laboratory of my mind, heavily lit and full of rats, there is plenty of poison and weapons, and you, the common humans which I hate, are the main experiment of the Great Scientist. Like a dead drummer, I yawningly hit the little drums while walking the streets of some dark city. You are present in it, and I am like a hollow tree trunk among blossoming trees bearing exotic fruits. I am not saying that an occasional exchanging of warm words or touch does not feel good. A cold coffee is just as drinkable as the hot one. Sometimes, a woman with an hourglass body makes me feel like a man, like everybody else does, directing herself in waves towards my genitalia. But, you cannot believe the same lie twice. It is a black sun that only glows partially. At times it manages to replace the suns of other people and the ways in which that luminous trickster shines to them. Those moments last short, therefore I am my own sun, at the same time a shadow, I – the used puppet who observes the remains of the humorous theater play from which he was removed, by having his legs and arms torn away from his limbs. He is angry at the actors of the play. By the course of time, a lot of water gathered between me and other people.

00:23
Maybe my hatred was born 23 years earlier when I have met a boy with curly hair, near a murky body of water, during a very dark time of my childhood. It was warm and dry. The sun fried with its whips. Like the golden mask of Medusa, it grinned above the forest of my childhood.
– You are the one whose father hung himself? – said the little leader of the gang, whom they called Dirty Josh, and touched me with a stick.
– You are already five minutes late. I hope you brought them.

I did not answer. I offered him the lead soldiers.
– Here is the replacement for life.
He took them and lined them up on the wooden bench, surrounded by trees the color of ebony. His hands were sweating while he was arranging them into the little battalion.
– This is my battalion and that one is yours. Since you were late, the punishment for defeat will be death. Don’t ever forget it. Let us see who is stronger.

With the best of my strength, I would charge his figurines with mine. Perhaps you think I shouldn’t have shown so much zeal? I would act differently now. I would spit on him or cut him with a knife. From this other thing, I always feel a tingling in my stomach and realize it is disgust, mixed with fear. From MY soldiers he picked all the strongest and prettiest ones (my father carved them before his death, but not all of them were equally pretty). Some of them were really badly made, but it would depend from how much did he drink that day. When a soldier was done, my father would stick him into the ground and say:
– Son, this is your army. And your strength for life..

When he was making Achilles and Spartacus, he was drinking moderately. So they were, even thought Josh’s soldiers were prettier and greater, my Achilles and Spartacus, successfully protecting the flank, so I won the fight for an equal battle with my effort (or perhaps hatred). I could only imagine how much agitated was the evil boy because of it. Seeing he wanted to show himself in front of his gang, and that he chose the strongest soldiers, he could not lose. His were, in tense expectation, drenched in sweat. That is when I realized that human greed, hatred (and sometimes lust as well) smell like salt, a salty bath in which a woman lays with her open legs and the smell of her sex, like with animals, merges with the stench of fear and salt. All hatred begins in childhood. You have not been lied to. Innocence can only produce crime, because within what lies the vanity of the crime if there is not some nostalgia in it due to innocence lost. I am convinced that the man does get born clean. People become evil in time. And all are, with no exception, evil. Crooked and evil.
I showed Achilles to the small man:
– Yesterday his tooth got chipped, so he is not well, otherwise he would slaughter your entire battalion . Just HIM ALONE. If he was well, he would’ve done it already. If only his tooth was not hurting so much. It still hurts him. You see. He is great, strong, powerful.
– Ah, like that! Ah, like that!
Dirty Josh wrenched it out of my hand, and while giggling, threw him onto the loam next to the bench, because he thinks he is powerful. And he stepped on him accompanied by the laughter of the play actors, until, with his torn limbs, sweaty and satisfied, he pardoned him. That is when the evil boy threw Achilles in the dirt, into the murky water, far away from himself. Dirty Josh laughed. That is when I saw he was also missing a tooth. His corpse was found three days later, in the murky water, wormy from piss, dirty from blood and mud, with the lead stick figure stabbed into the center of his forehead. The wound hole was too big, almost grotesque. The spike, once corded inside, had layers of the brain mass stuck to it upon being pulled out.
I still keep Spartacus, and I never made a new Achilles. All hatred starts in the childhood. You have not been lied to.
Sometimes I hear tapping on the door. I first thought it was the rain. But no, it is Achilles. In the robes of a strong, Greek hero with bare, hairy feet, slowly stepping into my home. He looks at me and I look at him. We are cold, we do not speak and we eat fish.

00:46
I am never late. I posses an enormous collection of antique clocks. A pile of beige boxes full of the second hands, some pocket watches with monocles, huddled into order, peeks from a Victorian jacket. My hours is what defines me. No moment is worth more than that bare notion. The tick of the clock industriously warns that I am already five minutes late to the opening of my own store. Then, with the speed of a rabbit who heard a hum and trembled and leaped, I exit for the street with a smile. My antique shop is located in the trade area of the K. city, in one solidly built house with walls out of brick.
On the board, hanged upon a fir door, a headline reads “RARE BOOKS” (photographs, postcards, old charts, maps and musical instruments). Modern electrical heating under the porcelain panels and economical stoves are in the kitchen compartment. Vis-à-vis to the kitchen and the small bathroom (actually, it is composed of a single lavatory and a soap selvage) is my work desk with a computer. The work room has a low ceiling, and the sockets are on the Spanish wall, for phone and the satellite dish. The work room exit leads straight into the room for welcoming customers in which there is a big stall behind which I show antiques to customers and receive money.

7:23 AM.

Today somebody wished me death. Like a dog’s grimace in the corner of a yard that’s not his own. A short shriek over the phone and wheezing:
– Die!
It was an open invitation, a desire for neck breaking. What should I answer? How should I defend myself, so it never crosses their minds to call again? I stop before the gate, then open it indecisively and enter a narrow field that surrounds the hovel. I kicked the dog, but gently. The dog moved away, and then fixated on me with his eyes. Right next to the window frame, I sneak a peek inside. A darling character used to be huddled in the bed, covered over his head, and the sheets above him swollen from breathing. A naked void is under the covers now. The sheet does not give away someone still breathing and thinking under it. Like a corpse. I imagine how the sheet stands upright, the corpse fills with semen, pullulates and sprouts, grows up to the muscles, tissue, blush, luxury of cheeks, an eyeful glow. A young girl, with her face dirty and yellow from some hidden melancholy, gets up from the bed, takes the full laundry basket, and then beats him with a stick. That there is a mother! I extended my hands to her. My hands miss and touch the icy cold air. She passes through me and claps her hands, spins and dances while observing the miniature paintings lined next to the barrels in the yard. I sit on a stool and with smooth moves of my fingertips I touch the masonite. Then only a whisper is heard and that wheezing, the crying, wailing. The dog begins to howl.
– Who are you? What are you doing there? – the old man from the house next door points his slim finger at me. Then he recognizes me, spits on the side, opens the bottle which he uses to refresh his face. He refreshes himself on top of the empty snow. Then looks around, at least it seems so to me, the endless sky, stretched into nothingness. That infinity can never be remembered and neither could SHE ever paint it fully. The snow sticks to the inner part of my suit. Sticks to the skin. I entered the cold shanty of my once home, and observing the paintings mother painted, I knowledgably distinguish patterns and colors. I notice some of them were done rather badly, or perhaps are not so close to me anymore. The old man and I light our cigarettes and look at each other. He watches me through the window. While he watches me, he murmurs into his own beard and raises his head to the sky again. Then, like a defeated peacock, he bends his head into the wet snow, where the peace of death reigns. I hear some kind of a people buzz, but it is too far away from me. I am amid the cold, vacant garden, surrounded by paintings, wet laundry, dirty glasses and broken mirrors. I flip everything that is dirty, touch it gently with my hand, move the dust and put a few miniatures into my bag.
– How will you clean this?
– What?
– How will you clean all of this, now that all of your kin has died? – the old man asks.
I am completely close to the wall, and then, leaning through the low window, I throw the dirty glass over the fence, directly to the old man’s wall. It shattered, and dark, greasy liquid sprayed out onto the wall. The old man ran away frightened. After the old man leaves me alone, I become concentrated enough to spot the gramophone which I came to pick up. It was, certainly, very old, with a handle. The mechanism is completely upstanding, and it has a special record compartment as well, I will tell to a customer on the same day. I wash my face with cold water over the dirty lavatory and I play Beethoven’s violin concert in d minor, which spills through the room through the whirl of Poe-like terror. I pick books. I flip pages of each of them and rip them one by one. Not for sale. Can a man be more alone?

7:46
I see myself among skyscrapers; they grow me like I am a plant. I was ripped from the surrounding smoke, but I am sprayed by it. I stagger around like the poisoned sewer water. The asphalt is hit in the middle. Cloven. Like on the clavier, my feet mingle the sidewalk. Eyes are gripped into the darkness of the glasses. Here and there, I hear a bat of footsteps behind me. The head of the people orchestra is the Kapellmeister whose massive truncheon, like thunder, hits the naked, pissed on concrete. The world can be horrible, but not dirty. In all that disgust, I kept my good taste. During all this time, the sun was, wanting to fulfill its primate at any cost, trying to pierce through the curtain of smoke. Devouring, intoxicating sun pierces into the softness of the morning, whitened sun, a powdered ball. I noticed the way it twirls, how it rises and powers the sky like a giant, yellow bug on batteries. Like some clock, the sun measures the hours with ancient precision and swallows the passerby with immeasurable fever of eternal existence. You are nobody and nothing, and the yellow bug crawls over you, and each of her prong points a finger to you, accusing you of transience, of tardiness. It often exists like counterweight, but also a help to the grayness of the clouds who are like bulletproof vests. One selvage of metal pulses with a glow and illuminates the parts of the overcast architectonics of the city. Sometime later, the city is filled with moonlight and the light lasts deep into the night. Arctic star, as enormous as a plate with two curious eyes, will soon crack in the sky. Eternal light, the eternal peace that bothers me, for I demand the darkness that brings me joy.

This story will envelop further….

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