- Aaron Douglas
- The Judgment Day
all rights deserved by ©Leila Samarrai, 2019
edited by: Obinna Eruchie
all rights deserved by ©Leila Samarrai, 2019
edited by: Obinna Eruchie
Coal and smoke, tar sills quivering in rage
so big to us from the peasant suburbs;
a delay in morale, in a scarce age
the fury’s fist against the wall perturbs.
Like rats playing wheels with their snouts wide-jawed,
ragged railroader skin-tanned by the sun’s flames,
list to my voice that’s both flawless and flawed
and somewhere behind it a lot of names..
I live as a woman,
I’m dying a Roman!
THE ADVENTURES OF BORIS K
Persons, participants, extras, casual mentions, not-quite-unimportant, perhaps even crucial for the story although (seemingly) collateral, many of whom never appear but are always present – the personifications of context.
Names of political parties
PCP = Party of Conscientious Prosperity
The Communist-Capitalist Conjunction
Coalition YOUR CHOICE
The Rationally Humanist Party
The Labour-Anarchist Team
The Vocal Party
CURSE — Communist Ultra Resident Suburban Entente
SCOURGE — Solvent Communist Offspring Union Relevantly Guiding Employees
The Noteworthy Personnel Party
GAOLS — General Alliance Of Lawabiding Socialists
Introduction: The Life and Tribulations of Boris K.
A stone’s throw from a large river, a paradise on earth was built. According to the media in the friendly Uganda, it was a small country – an oasis of peace among the lighthouse-studded hills. The earth was a shimmering white, as if illuminated by numerous torches; the sky was imbued with various shades of pink. If one was to look at the majestic city from atop a hill, the Republic would have appeared utterly bared in its beauty. People compared it to Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt and Alexandria, and many reminisced about the golden gates of the city which opened automatically, dousing the newcomers in a veritable deluge of cash. What the visitors did not know, however, was that, once inside, they would never be able to leave the city. There was but one city gate, and it was heavily guarded. The aforementioned notwithstanding, Citizens were regularly assured by the local media that the Sun, indeed, shone its very brightest in their country, and that its people were – without a shadow of a doubt – most content with their lives and lots.
Following one lavish speech by a certain Member of Parliament – the wealthiest man in the City, who spoke to the people without prevarication, with a lofty style and his head held high – the Republic was named Phenomenublic. His speech was so eloquent and inwrought with poetry.
Many people disliked this flamboyant style and immediately left the premises. Thus they missed on learning about phenomenization.* Yet this citizen, this idealist (to some extent, yes, even a revolutionary), this billionaire, this poet, did not miss the chance to open the door of Knowledge for his fellow Phenomenublicans, describing the terrifying effects of phenomenization with all its limitless powers in his work titled “Res Publicus Phenomesationes, in which he defined this, to put it mildly, unusual occurrence.
If a foreigner was to enter the Republic, he would take one look around and realize that the Republic was not quite what it had seemed. Parts of the city looked sophisticated, some of the sidewalks wrought in solid gold. The buildings were brand new, and the list of reforms published on the eye-catching billboard aprawled across the government building (formed by the coalition of leading parties – CURSE /Communist Ultra Resident Suburban Entente/ and SCOURGE /Solvent Communist Offspring Union Relevantly Guiding Employees/) grew longer by the day. Stepping around the handful of newly built edifices, however, the traveler would find himself staring at ruined asphalt pockmarked with manholes.
Behind those, caught in a strange trance verging on insanity, toothless beggars would emerge with blindfolds over their eyes. Within the shadows of multiple stairways, the narrow streets hid their leprous residents feeding on refuse – those were the losers of phenomenization. The winners – strictly for the greater good, of course – spun stories of the brighter future for these wretches, attempting to allay any and all thoughts of ire, offensive or revenge.
“Dear losers, rejoice! For hunger is the mother of ingenuity and without your leprosy there would be no splendour of this City. It is all, as Buddha had said, just one big spiral going from one extreme to another only to stop in the middle.” And the Losers were satisfied. The greater their satisfaction, the bigger their chances were of becoming clerks or venal top dogs.
“We strongly recommend a bird brain,” the authorities advised a Loser with a scheduled frontal lobotomy. “You will make a grand Minister of health one day,” they’d say.
Mere visitors, however, knew not the secret of this land – it was known to the Grand Pulpiteer alone. To all questions like “Are those just ragamuffins who will put up with anything as they wait, stuck in a manhole, for the arrival of better days ?” he would answer thusly: “Each and every one of them is infinitely more avaricious, infinitely more hypocritical, than any of those living upstairs in their golden pavilions. You should be aware, my good people, that all the mighty patricians you pout and glower about used to live in manholes once. The roles change, it is only I that remain the same,” whereupon he would laugh and fall into the sweetest of dreams.
Preparations for the memorial service were well under way in the Phenomenublic – dully covered by the daily newspapers Informer,The Phenomenublic News and each and every one of the 76,548 Phenomenublican TV stations.
“Boris K has died – a bohemian and an intellectual, a Loser with no regular occupation, declared redundant. Penultimate among the last, or so it has been said, yet once upon a time the ultimate coffee bringer. A seasoned communist and ‘the most eminent of glass cutters’, an honorary member of the Nutritionist Association. His faithful admirers flock in from the remotest of areas… Members of the Losers’ Party are expected to attend the funeral; the widely famous State Jester will be performing fairy tales in the style of One Thousand and One Nights, sponsored by the publishing house Scheherazade & daughter,” thundered from the loudspeakers mounted atop the Phenomenublican government building.
The news were received with no small amount of surprise, as Boris K. was known to be healthy as a horse.
“Considering how many tons of protein powder he pumped into his muscular superhero body, we kind of expected him to live at least ten times as long as Methuselah,” some said.
“But haven’t you heart he was a bit… Especially as of late,” the others whispered.
“It has to be the alcohol that finally got to him,” still others mused.
Regardless of being a gym regular, it was a fact well known that Boris K. was no stranger to tossing back a drink or two (just to relax, mind you) before returning to the latest job he was assigned to – that of an armourer. He was cleaning semi-automatic rifles at the National Museum when, as rumour would have it, one of them accidentally went off.
Accidentally? Boris K had a significant number of enemies.
One of them was known to be the rude mustachioed post office clerk. Infuriated by Boris’ “Operation Feather Pillow” which he used for courting women – soliciting them in passing and, contrary to all logic and necessity, slapping their behinds while flaunting his flexor muscles – and utterly outraged by being the only female Boris K. had failed to smack, she threatened revenge, becoming more aggressive towards her Post office clients with every passing day.
Others pointed their fingers at the mayor Haji-Honorstone.
Others still were quite adamant in their beliefs: “A completely kooky guy; I’m glad he is dead. And I will surely attend the commemoration.”
Whether they hated him or loved him, prior to his completely unexpected and sudden death he was respected by many for his contradictory nature: “A bit strange, but most industrious lad.” He really did give the impression of being a young man.
Boris did not mince words. He was known as a traveler through space and time, an urban legend equally respected for his relentless devotion to work as for his wealth of both manual and intellectual skills.
“The best known taxi driver in the world after De Niro,” the citizens of Phenomenublic whispered amongst each other.
A rumor spread recently that Boris K. was working on something very important before he died and that many different hands were involved in his “departure”. It was expected “never to be completely explained”.
The Phenomenublic Jester, a man of vast imagination (and, if the local lore and beliefs are to be trusted, Boris’ own fraternal twin brother) was invited to deliver the eulogy. Before long, scenery of impressive proportions was set on the main Phenomenublican square.
“Let us bury him, and get it over with once and for all!” Head of the Ventriloquist Association swore up and down that those were the exact words the Prime Minister Paramountson, affectionately referred to as “Whitebeard”, uttered upon the occasion.
The memorial service was held on a sunny day, under an almost white sky adorned by little but the pompous sun. And what a service it was! First to arrive were the Losers. They sat themselves down by the open waste containers, hardly believing their luck in managing to escape the manholes. Dressed in formal black suits and white hats in honor of Boris K they devoured the food prepared, piously planting handfuls of altar candles into the ground. Eventually they settled down to listen to the advertised stories, as told by the Jester, the waste container genie.
Professional sound systems guaranteed the quality of sound. Powerful video beams placed at the main square, where the memorial service was scheduled to be held, alternately displayed video messages, advertisements, and the gloomy face of the pondering Jester; he was planning on using the final part of his speech to demystify a secret: who exactly was Boris K?
The Jester sighed deeply, Boris’ favourite striped t-shirt held firmly in his hands. Everyone present – including those who had absolutely no idea who this Boris K. fellow was – burst into tears.
Are you wondering who Boris K. was yet?
Spreading his hands, the Jester glanced at the sky and approached the microphone. Catching a glimpse of the reflection of his own weary figure sprawled across the video wall, he began thusly:
A word or two on Boris K.
Boris K. – The First Loser of Phenomenization
Some countries were ruled by the Inquisition. Others were subject to questionable privatizations. Boris K’s country was exposed to inexplicable phenomenizations. For Boris K, a man with no permanent occupation, phenomenization was so unexpected that he had no choice but to come to terms with it.
He got into different time periods without the use of a time machine. He found himself performing strangest of jobs without ever applying for them. He kept adapting to the situation, akin to a player advancing to the next level in an unpredictable computer game.
“What have I ever done to deserve the things happening to me?” Boris K. wondered. “I am no different than any other semi-skilled worker who got carried away by the idea of equality in our Republic. I enthusiastically neglected to further my education for the sake of blind faith in “better times” when the voice of the small, the ordinary, and the nameless would be heard as well.”
Boris K. was prepared to endure greatest of sacrifices in order to achieve this goal. As one of the deserving participants at the end of the great Revolution he was offered great benefits – which he promptly refused with utter disgust. It was against just such privileges that he had fought in the first place, he claimed, hence benefiting from them would be contrary to his beliefs. So he settled for an assembler’s job on a car factory production line, where he happily worked 12 hours a day fitting mirrors on the passenger doors.
One day he was laid off. Introduction of new technologies and reductions in work force, or at least that was what he was told; he was well aware the real cause lay in that ultimate evil slowly but surely corroding the fabric of humanity – the profit. Disposed of like an exhausted battery, empty hearted and with eyes full of tears, he moved from his humble but furnished apartment to the so-called “Lepers’ Valley”. The place was nicknamed for its inhabitants: hardly true lepers, but merely desperate souls befallen by a fate similar to Boris’ own. It was dubious in which of the two skins they would have thought themselves better off. The ancient buildings huddling together in irregular patterns, the abodes of unhappy families, were not made of concrete reinforced with Pittsburgh steel; they were built with eco-bricks with insulating layers of pure asbestos, which almost certainly guaranteed the tenants a case of lung cancer. As if there was not enough trouble in their lives.
It was in such a building that Boris K. found his new apartment. It was not the vacancy ad that attracted him, but rather the unusual appearance of the landlady – who was in a habit of swatting at the heads protruding from the adjacent manholes using the highest-circulating newspapers of the City.
“Like swatting flies,” thought Boris K, eyes fastened on a greasy rosary. Frau Suzy (as the landlady was called) and Boris K. exchanged just one glance and immediately recognized each other. Brushing his graying hair back, Boris K inquired about the price. The Frau leveled one measuring, scornful look at him, flicking the ash from her cigarette holder straight onto his hole-pocked shoe. Boris K glanced at her defiantly. Frau’s response came in a raspy, ancient voice.
It was a mantra that meant one thing and one thing only and was uttered by the old woman only on the rarest of occasions. Boris K. liked mature blondes with an attitude, so he decided he would start his mission in that very unfortunate place.
Mission? What mission?
You will find out soon enough.
* Phenomenization, phenomenosition, from fenomenon (gr. φαινόμενо, occurence), something observable but utterly mysterious and untraceble, and better kept that way.
Res Publicus Phenomesationem The people of the Republic have fathomed the secret of the phenomenization by the agency of a mysterious clairvoyant gammer: since the Parliament was hit by a lightning at the moment when there were 111 storks on the roof, 222 members in the building and 333 rants under the foundation – the famous phenomenization occured. The thoughts of storks, rats and Members of Parliament commingled in the air and fell to the ground. Thus certain individuals realized they preferred living in the sewer, others keep trying to fly and carry babies, while the rest just keep babbling about politics. Anything is possible in the land of phenomenization.
I always loved to be on the phone.
The telephone and the cable wire are like curtains that hide someone’s enormous eyes, a covert that splits the worlds like an old canopy splitting someone’s room. At times the voice from the other side is like song that started suddenly, or perhaps with a pleasant whisper of a ghastly-sweet taste, and sometimes the voice simply trembles. During the conversation, while I am embracing the headphone, comfortably laid on the sofa, relaxed, tucked inside my work cabinet, I find dear those moments when silence shortly breaks through the syllables. Like the interlocutor, the masked actor, hid behind the covert, searching for the text, the lines, by flipping the pages of an invisible script. Voices meander through the wire like the winds scream and rage during the storm. To people like me, who like to be on the phone, a little amount of things remains undiscovered in our daily lives – when the five hours long conversation ends (to which I was prone and for which I was considered a freak) there was little left to be told. . .
I especially loved old phones, those used little, even those half functional. How can I explain it? If I was, with my imagination, discerning through the voice the kind or the monstrous spirit in every living being with whom I would converse, that same imagination discerned me the existence, figuratively speaking, of the unused prints of such melodious, and yet so unloving, parallel world which I felt was hiding behind the clusters of wires. Voices not yet revived, which are yet to rush, buzz, roar and call, which make each nerve in the body shiver. I was attracted by the dark, unexplored worlds in which the strong current of darkness threatens to suck in and pull all of humanity towards the corpses of eons, worlds from within which would breach towards me, protected by the telephone wire, the polyphony of murmurs, screams, roars from the purple mouth of the Dark, the seed that erodes the bowel of life. Did they have faces? Even if they did, those would be dark curves of circles in Nothingness itself.
Those would be screaming, maddened medusas with horse necks and with bodies of the bull. . .
I studied the biographies of those who scratched the disc of Dark, who flipped the pages of the atlas of Death by painting the titans of madness who, hungry for red meat, search and grab, swallow, storm, crush with their feet. Among them were Dario Argento, H. P. Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Salvador Dali, Alexander Graham Bell. . . All, without exception, loved to telephone.
Perhaps all these thoughts were swarming my mind because I was an established painter, always treated with respect and kindness. I did not appreciate it much, because I have, through the dark art of Ernest Sabato, the blind hater, like Huan Pablo Castle, despised the various “professional” painter societies, as well as the words “Eminent” and other academic plagues, events attended by academic monsters. Same was for exhibitions, music festivals. Even for camera concerts. . . The fear unclear, mixed with loathing, was crumbling me, while I, seemingly in one piece, sleek and socially acceptable, was squeezed inside one of those crowds, because there is something inconceivably disgusting in the way the human beings cling, jostle and intimately mingle their voices while attending an exhibition or a book signing, at the same time swallowing the headlines of the hanged paintings with wide eyes, in the ambient of some “in” gallery in town.
Once, during the ceremonial opening of my exhibition The feast at Sipil, where I exhibited at least fifty paintings of a dismembered Pelop, like conspirators, taking both floors of the gallery, all of them the same, ape-like babblers, vermin like rats who gnaw the flesh of their petty interest and plump up, cheerful and hastily, seemingly cultural walking integrals made of blood, meat and malice, were standing before the paintings of the spilled intestines of Tantalus son, with small wrinkles on the foreheads made by being tucked within the depth of meaning, whispering between themselves, while a vivid pain ripped my guts:
„Splendid…“, „A work of mainstream…“or „He hit the form so well on the vein of the pecked liver”.
Tantalus of realism!
Followed by phrases like: bodies dismembered in artistic ways and the transcript of antique nostalgia, I abandoned my own exhibition, called a cab and went home.
Suddenly peaceful, I enter the filled space of the room. My view lands on the telephone over whose dial I softly fly with my eyes. I undress and cover myself with a moss colored blanket. I put the telephone atop my stomach, I close my purple lids, the dream presses me and I fall into the abyss of oblivion free, while a malicious shadow flies out of me.
But, let me say a word or two about myself before that. . . before . . .
Ah, is it even possible something like that even happened?!
It is not widely known that I am a descendent of the knight Ambrose Takach, prince of Budapest, the commander of the austro-hungarian war fleet who was my grandfather’s father, famous for the mass liquidation of Serbs and Jews, after joining of Hungary to Hitler’s regime. His son, and my grandfather, was one of the chetniks of the Nazi regime in Hungary, as well responsible for mass slaughters. Only my father, a Hungarian composer and pianist Frantz Ianosh of Esztergom, a man of visible nobleness of the spirit, cut with that virtue the thread of curse which stretched all the way to Arpadovac, joining the forces of SSSR after the Second World War, entering the coalition government. After the revolution in the year 1956, when after the student demonstrations in front the government building he met my mother, he abandoned politics completely and as one of the 200.000 refuges left Hungary. The remaining part of his life he spent teaching harmony at the Musical conservatorium in Novi Sad, where he himself was born, under the same name as my father.
About the other two, all the documents have been destroyed, as a sign of respect towards my father for his credits earned in Magyar Dolgozók Pártja.
The fact that they have caught my great-grandfather with a girl in his arms under whose throat he held a knife and after which he was treacherously murdered, was also hidden.
My grandfather was caught stealing valuable jewels from a German tank officer and he was executed in 1944. It was said it was a desperate move to pay of his gambling debt. . .
The hid with uttermost care the horrible, dark rituals performed by my family since the times of Arpadovci in the impassable Hungarian forests copulating with ghosts of the Forest and who they were naming Great Elders and for who was told they could summon the Lord of Darkness. With dancing and singing in the name of ghosts, dressed in the fur of the leopard , they would stare into the face of the Forest Colossus offering him a rare specie of an alpinist mammal which reminisced a clumsy rat when he was walking the ground, by biting strongly into the living flesh of the mammal until the blood would shower the face of Gods.
About my father, his penchant for introspection, clumsy perfection, as the body so as the mind, raciness, sharp mindedness and knowledge of the piano skills in that amount that he could perform godly tones on the most rustiest piano, contributed towards him staying a favorite among people until the end of his life. If fame can be passed on through generations, my father certainly made it so, Even though I was perceived as a freak, while I would walk by, they would murmur with respect and heads nodding, leaving behind them an echo:” It is Frantz’s son. Of that famous man.”. My art exhibitions were one of the most visited in the city, and I would often be stopped in the street or the coffee shop where I was often drinking coffee alone (I have always feared people discovering my true origin and I have also been a shy and withdrawn man), and encouraged to go out with them and attend with them some fun nights and entertaining dinners (this was about women and what they can do to a man), to which I would answer with wearing my hat and leaving abruptly with an excuse, leaving them wondering with an open mouth.
Perhaps I was a little bit alike by two ancestors. And the ancestors who danced under the reflection of the dark fire that illuminated the darkness of the historical Forests for which they claimed vanished centuries behind. . . In the ghastly forests the pagan gods lived tho whom my ancestors bowed to during their bloody historical voyage. Their meetings were woven with horrible rituals performed in magnificent temples built on the outskirts of the mysterious oak forests of the Hungarian mountains. Dedicated to the wiccans and the undead, on the slopes the pierced the grounds, like forks into soft meat, with bronze statues dedicated to the God Cernnunos and other mystical deities, statues chiseled like phoenixes outstretching far above the tips of malicious temples.
But, the nobleness and the horror were connected by, inconceivably, one thing. Absolutely and unchangeable, like time. Perhaps the primal vein through which a seed of cursed blood passed, vein as fat as the cable of my telephone, through which perhaps flows blood, and not the electrical signals – I thought suddenly. It was a vintage, black phone, as lonely as the creature of the past ages in his final destination of the morgue, lasting as a dream of a dead man, for it was in the family collection for at least two centuries since the moment in which, dear readers, I am writing this to you and unskillfully transmit, while words persecute me. Passed on through generations, it has traveled, from the table of my evil great-grandfather to my even worse grandfather, so my father, the hero of SSSR who finally confronted the patrons of the same in the famous revolution and who died by losing his both legs while fishing with explosives, given it to his son who carried the heritage of his demonic ancestors in his genes.
I was not dong anything out of the ordinary on that day. I was painting. Nearly arranged canvases to which I would toss my view on occasion were decorating the corner of my room. They were painted with various motives: the Iron Man, the cog of the science fiction machine of the future, falling out of his cockpit of the mighty starship of civilization 4 that circled the galaxy until it crashed for inexplicable reasons into the Kalahari desert. Among them was the used Medusa, as well as the satirical painting Belobog proposes to the Boogey, with her scary face and open jaws with no teeth. Even though Belobog is in love with her, knowing is not vile, she frightens him by making him believe she wishes to be cheated on. Hercules, of strong chest and muscled arms, embracing his lover Jolaj, Hercules searching for Persephone, Hercules versus the giants, even a portrait of Julius Cesar, the brilliant roman commander to whom I have unusually admired – besides that I could not resist paining my vision of the battle at Farsala, where undoubtedly on Cesar’s side I shown Pompey’s troops to ride donkeys. Pompey had the head of a mule which came to be by crossing the Pompey optimate, who once led the main word in the Senate, and Pompey, a simple plebe by birth.
I worked with devotion, tossing the colors to the canvas, adjusting the beret which I, a little bit out of joke, a little bit out of respect for Mone, wore alongside the assemble of colors I used to decorate the canvas. This painting I envisioned as the crown of my work. History, mythology, astro-science, merged together by unique archetypal expression, with striking color schemes about which the others only dreamed. I was immodest and irritably officious! I was mostly officious to myself.
After I finish Black Fairies, how I titled the painting, I decided I shall lay low, paint for my own soul. . . When, the phone rang. I put off the peg unwillingly. I have just captured the moment in which the shy Dryad , after discovering a mighty spaceship in the gorge habited by the Black Fairies, she sees one of them, completely naked, while her face is drenched in water because an erotic desire spread through them. Sister Dryads desperatel extend their hands towards her, begging her to return, while the cruel Fairy, with sensual lips and heavy moaning, a voice as sweet as honey, invites her to her cosmic ship to try the fruits of forbidden passion. . . Should I be interrupted now while I pour her face on the canvas PR Dokovic must have already explained to the Corveta museums director why I have so abruptly left the exhibition. Like crazed! Well, he must have had to make an urgent call!- I could hear the witty explanations of Dokovic in the sense of skillfully passing the ball into the opponent’s yard, the eternal undefeatable forehand, in which he was more skilled than the famous tennis player. What does he want from me now? I tossed the rag doused with thinner over the palette, mixing the carefully separated Russian white with the others, and ruining it!
– Ah, to Hell! – and with the dirty hands of the artist I grabbed the black telephone, soiling it with color. . .
– All right Dokovic, I know you are entertained by the looks on Katanic’s face, or the Zlobiberovic’s one, but must I. . .
I was interrupted by a shrieking voice, which could very well belong to a drowning man calling for salvation. Hysterical, sharp, demanding with a note of mocking.
– What’s happening with the Dryads? They want a bit of passion too? And about Hercules, you could’ve painted an orgy scene for the visitors of the exhibition. Him, Jolaj, and Megara, who should actually turn out only as Megara, no donkey allusion, oh no, that continuum of linguistics is highly unnecessary! You donkey! What kind of a damn cockpit you are painting that is yet to be entered by a masked science fiction Aphrodite! That one will be the first one to fly towards the handsome Cockpittians! Cosmic love is at stake, is it? And that Ironman of yours, he must be rusty already! Alas, worry not, I will now correct all your mess. Look now how the paintings are beautiful. Turn around, son of gods! The Portrait of Boogey Gray!
– Who is this making a joke? – I roared.
– Have you found your expression yet, painter man? And one not thought of before, like you did!– a chilling laughter rang while my body shivered.
– How… Can I hesitate after this? To turn around O, yes. And I will see there is nothing there. Nothing, but the closure of the joke by an anonymous bastard. I turned around with force and with a wild expression on my face, I took a second look. . . The paintings changed!
Frightened to the brink of madness, I dropped the telephone, but it was still loud in my ears. It was a horrifying, inhuman laughter coming from the telephone not yet closed, which like a hanged man hanged on the wire.
I had a sight to see. The view was a thrilling, diabolical blow, an illustration of horror itself, a dreary encounter with a supernatural jest.
I saw, with a proud full – horrified posture of the creepy old woman with a horn on her head, an expression of defying dignity It was the Boogey in a fancy suit, worn by the pretentious Dorian Gray in Wild’s novel.
The phone rang, even though it was not yet closed from the previous call..
I grabbed it with the speed of a devil in run..
– How do you like my handy work? And you should see her when she was not sinful. Young and beautiful, all teeth in pla…
– Stop! Who are you and what d you want from me? How are you doing this?
– How? Well I paint, a little, when bored. I sing too. Tenor, Pavarotti told me from the grave. But, the drama one, not the lyrical one! By the way, I thought of enriching your dilettante work with one more tinsy-tiny detail. Tzap, poof, abracadabra, doo! Look now! – the Telephone smiled.
Am I crazy? And how can a man get crazy, all of a sudden? I was not even melancholic or in a bad mood like I usually am… Perhaps that is the reason!
I turned around obediently, like a man on his death bad who is at peace with the inevitable..
Boogey was in the same position, but the painting was once again changed. She was now on the phone.
– She is talking to her best friend, Baba Yaga. They go on for hours – the Telephone was explaining to me in a most serious tone, almost filled with respect towards its masterpiece of horror.
– Mhm-mhm… yes, that expression… yes, now a little bit of the Indonesian style, he-he… – no, don’t turn around just yet, I have to center it better. I recommend you „olio di papavero“. When you are capturing a detail such as this, you can’t do well without Italians, although it is not the pure Italian oil . It is not even from flax!
– What is it then? What are you talking about, man?
– Man? Do not insult me, Ferentz. I will get mad and I will no longer talk to you, nor will I show you how to paint.
– But, I do not need your help, nor do I want to talk to you.
– Neither do I.
– Why are you calling me then?
I came to peace with the madness taking me under its wing. I was consoling myself that it must be because of the toxic fumes of the thinner, The hallucinations will pass in a few hours, They say Francisco Goya experienced the same thing while he was cutting the ear. . .
– You have only one assignement, Hercules, and I will leave you alone. Be blessed! Hercules had 12!
– What do I need to do?
– To bring me back Persephone from Hades. My dead darling. To her I want to phone, like before, when we lived with your Nazi grandpa.
I have gone mute. It is an intelligence officer who must have got his hands on the documents I thought were destroyed. It was probably a blackmail. What is it that he wants?
– How much money? – I asked calmly. All of it that was within the borders of the human mind was not foreign to me, although I was confused by the mysterious method by which this militant was altering my paintings. Perhaps he had someone else in the room. An accomplice! While I talk with my backs turned to it, the accomplice who is hiding in the closed on which my paintings are leaning, comes our and replaces the canvases. But, would I not hear that? No! They are counting on my fear, my bewilderment from fear, when the senses are dull. Besides, it must be BIA or CIA, they are highly trained, this is nothing for them.
– I feel no guilt, nor do I consider to have anything in common with the great-grandfather who did evil. My name is Frantz, not Ferentz – I hung up the phone.
I approached the closet with determination and opened it. There was nobody inside. O, those bastards are truly skillful.
Although shaken to my core, I returned to my work. I had an unusual passion towards painting with the Flemish technique. They spoke of my colors as if they were magic, the secret of the master trade which I kept solely to myself, What do they want? The painting is gone! There is no more Frantz. There is no Ferentz. Bastards, why do they not leave us alone. It is CIA, understandably. That is the purpose, a turmoil of fear, followed by catharsis. They are giving up. But maybe they have placed on every spot the living eye of the camera to study my every move, at least until they finish the investigation. The apartment should be cleansed from spy satellites. Immediately!
I was a passionate lover of baseball, so this rude joke reminded me of the offence of the guest team. Unprepared, I was not wearing gloves, and I was not in the phase of offence, for I was not even participating in the game. But, I will change by bad tactic. I will run all four home bases, by using their lack of attention in the defense. I was certain I will find various devices that CIA uses for tracking and eavesdropping. With the speed of the baseball player I was winning the bases one by one, until I was interrupted in my senseless search through the apartment by the dreadful ringing.
– „Force play“! – he laughed harshly. That is when I screeched..
Beaten by the magic of these CIA ghosts, I stared off into the distant, chosen spot like a catatonic man, while the Telephone laughed loudly.
– Come on Frantz, snap out of it, look at your Black Fairies. Perhaps I am a little pushy, I know, but how else can I make you do what I ask you to do? I don’t know how to do it slowly. I don’t think you are a bad guy. . .
I firly decided not to look around, while I sat on the floor dirty from colors. I observed the pulsing veins of my hands, visualizing the razor which would lightly slide inside its lively depth. I saw them open and I saw ponds flowing from within them, mixed with Russian white color, and Russians and veincutters don’t save on the pigment.
But, If Frantz shall not come to the Black Fairies, the Black Fairies will then come to Frantz.
– Black Fairies. What a stupid name! Like you are talking about lawn mowers! Is it some theme from the agricultural life? Not that I have anything against reaping or pricking the hay with the pitchfork, and black one too, besides the so fine Russian, white, oily. But, you are a bourgeois, descendant of Arpad. Frantz, you are no host, you have not even offered me with a cup of coffee. And we drank the coffee from the thermos. Unbelievable! Back then! Like in Picnic on the Hanging Rock! Or was that tea. . .
All of a sudden, it was like some woman stood before me, but it was not a woman, but the painting came alive. Boogey, in dandy clothes, walked up and down the canvas, while bloody shadows danced around her.
– Watch my children, Yaga, while I am in the portrait. I do not care! Switch to vegans. Do not dare touch my children!
And following her, the glorious Caesar telephoning with the same damn, black telephone while gambling with Titus Labienus – ALEVA KRATKA JEST! Brutus, I have nothing against the Republic, but you must also think of those less fortunate than ourselves! Give my greetings to Servillia! Where were we, Labienus?!
Only to be followed by an appearance of the third in which two nymphs were caressing each other, but each in her own corner of the canvas. While telephoning to each other, they were self-pleasuring themselves in loneliness.
– Dri, you excite me so, dear!
– By Aphrodite, when you talk like that, you awake the fire in me. I am all burning!
– There – concludes the Telephone – this is what you should exhibit. Masterpiece par excellence!
I nod my head and I fainted. Telephone burst out laughing and hung up.
That is when I dreamed a dream in which he told me his tragic tale.
This is what happened, and what unbelievable history I heard from the hellish Telephone, of course, by picking up to stop the senseless ringing, with the number pad sparking, in the deaf time of the night, while thunders were burning the sky for it was a storm outside. . .
I picked this misfortunate hour for my vengeance, when the sky is bloated with gray clouds, and the rain does not drip drops, but bubbles like cursed membranes!
He coughed, and that sound was alike giggling of the piped of the radiator vent and the sizzling of the fortron power adapter.
– This is how it happened…
– Well, like this: Five kilometers away from Salgotarjan, under the wooded Cerhat mountain, beside the shore of river Ipelj, that twists through Nograd, my darling and I were bathing under the sun, under the beautiful summits of naked Hungarian mountains overlooking the river and our wetted bodies. The forests of Nograd, under the tooth of mountain, squeezing the juice. Threatening cliffs woven with deciduous forests crokked over our Eden.
– Yes, painter! May your coloring book be golden! Smearer! House-painter, dyer!
– Don’t insult me!
– Shut up Zoltan!
– I am not Zoltan, I am Diš Piš.
– Zoltan, you mason! The rotary of buncerberger order with no coming, hear and take the unknown history even by the Black Pope, when it is so solemnly given to your ears.
We ate the malt of Salgotarjan from the baskets full of oranges, my darling Isabel and I.
– Only while it rings. At night, when the moon warms, she turns into a winged girl.
– Were you not on Salgotarjan during the day?
– But it was a vampire day. The primal templars shone their reflectors upon us, from the casket of Oath which they carried over from Ethiopia, for from within it the bones of Arthur, the Celtic Brit, screamed from heat. He rises at midnight and walkes around with the Holy Grail in his hands, cursing Dan Brown and Geneviev. The watched us from the round table while voting how to bring queen Geneviev to life, and my love, the immortal Ilona,. . ah. . . Elbowed on the round table they spun their swords, turning their heads sideways, as to look at her better from all sides. Then upon the river shore a heavy cavalry and three hundred peasants with Excalibur stormed, and the fangs . . . click click click! I have not seen her since than, she merely calls me from Avalon.
– What connection do I have with the Rotery masonry and primal templars? Why are you hunting me?
– Because your grandfather was the marshal responsible for the sacrificial ritual, weapons and horses, as well as for the orchestrated centers of power of the hellish music players! Your chevalier pored my Ilona to the altar, and took the remains to Avalon on black horses. Before that, he cut her wings and pushed a stone from the Wall of Wails into her mouth. Since then, there hollows a hole in the Holy city and no brick or stone can fill it. Except for the painted woman on the Wall of Wails, a sound isolator was built into the stone wall, to silence the cries! .
Look, really, what am I to do with myself? Where? Towards? How to escape this hellish Telephone?
It is the mind toying with me. The illusion of horror swims out, bowing my pulsing forehead. Maybe this is too much. It is not easy for me. I am under pressure. Everything can be rationally explained. I do not want to became like those guys, the anonymous addicts of black phones. And so I chastised myself for my superstition.
– I took all of this far too seriously..
Brener. Brener will fix all of this, this absence of reason. Or, even better, the cistern – The thought about the telephone being sucked in into the toilet, by the elegant pull of the water cistern’s string, like a boat sinking into the inexorable sea, developing the mind like a roll of “film noir” (as black as the damned phone).
He is watching me!
On him, apparently, there is nothing out of the ordinary. Perhaps he spoke by accident?
The tiny veins of my mind in my head made a Gordi’s knot. All of it is delirium. All of it is to be buried in the depth, silence and darkness, into the dreamy eternity of death.
In the evening, around eight o’clock, I rushed towards the phone cable with the desire to end my misery. I ate two slices of pizza from the local bakery and like a condemned man, I prepared for my death. I wore my grandfathers war vest, my great-grandfather’s dandy coat and half-cylinder and my great-grandfather’s father’s shoes laced with camel hair. Because, the telephone, eternal as the dream of a dead man, was passed on through generation from my great-grandfather to my grandfather until my father, the war hero, who lost both of his legs while fishing with explosives, gave it to me.
Out of the blue, the cable whipped my back, like I was a horse. I realized: I have awakened the ghosts from the Forest of Shadows where the brother of my great-grandfather’s father hid the remains of the magical Telephone-lady, the true bride of Dracula, who was dieing of old age.
– I was a newer model. Yet I loved her – the magical Telephone spoke..
– Go into the Forest of Shadows, dig up my beloved, call somebody from Telecom to connect us digitally, so we may exchange our signals to eternity – thus spoke the enamored Telephone
– Your screw trew drew great-grandfather was warned. He hired a coachman that stormy night, the coachman was whipping the horses far worse than the pale man from Nosferatu. The horse stopped two hundred meters from the forest and began to whine. It cannot be went further.
– On foot from here, sit. You woke the ghosts.
And the coachman flew into darkness. Your ancestor was left alone.
– The Forest of Shadows.. What lunacy. Superstition of peasants. I am not afraid of specters, of those I made for my myself. I am the sculptor of my curse, my destiny. Everything is in my hands – I was comforting myself.
Besides, what can a Telephone do to me?!
Those are devices which can be assembled after they are broken. Yes, yes, like in life. Again. . . again. . . Where is this philosophy coming from? I am tired. I am in the dark.
– I will light your way – said the Telephone and enflamed himself. I screamed and closed myself in the bathroom. It was dark, for the light bulb was broken inside..
My thoughts were like an instrument badly tuned which gave of tones more resembling the heaving of a well paid slut, than those of a well composed harmony. . .
It felt like nobody was behind the door. Complete silence, until… slowly the Telephone crawled out of the toilet and head towards me, while cables flew like unseamed gray hairs…
I realized I was whimpering. Inconsolably. It is over the image that was invading me was overcoming me, my face was numb, my hands lost all power. .
I waved my hand: It will pass. Tiredness. Maybe not even that. A mere caprice of the mind. Fear of the dark. But, the force of death stepped out of the toilet, from its depth where nothing but blackness exists, the undeniable end of the road. Yes, he is near. . .
I ran through rooms, not finding an exit. At the end, I closed myself in a tight, small room. One by one, all light bulbs snapped. A beastly growling was thundering from the dark. I Zoltan and so on, lover of telephones, surrounded and alone, have barricaded myself. Should I call for help? That would, in any case, mean I would have to make a phone call!
– I am not afraid of you, Telephone! I am not afraid. I have a hammer and a brener.
(Run away as far as possible. Maybe to Tasmania.)
Tired, I laid on the wide ottoman and hugged a pillow. I lit a candle.
How scary it is inside here, in this dark. It is very cold. I rubbed my hands to warm myself and from within the drawer of the night-stand I took out the godly magnum. . .
But, the darkness would not be darkness if it would not birth the soft, pulsing shrieks.
– Good evening – spoke someone in the corner of the room. I screamed: Aaaaaa!
– Who is that?
– It’s me. Your Telephone. You can call me Mister Bell.
I pointed the pistol into the thick darkness – my eyes got accustomed to it in the meantime. The room was illuminated by the light of the candle. I thought I saw a shadow flying past. Ah, there he is! On the bed, next to it! Watching me. And grinning. I pointed the magnum into the darkness tingling with the soft light. The chair which was supposed to have a man sitting on it was empty.
I spun like a whirling around the small room, half-insane, with a gun in hand, firing shots while the volcano danced around, releasing joyful screams. The force spun me so strongly that for a while I was pinning around all points, the X one, but as well the Y and the Z ones, until I felt something invading my head, the pain, the long ago pain perhaps with which I was mustering the strength to explain my numerous friends that I am more of a “telephone type”. Now I knew that the Telephone was subconsciously sending me obscene messages, in order to fulfill his vengeance – the great-grandfather who broke the Telephone bride “accidentally” fell of a horse. He did not survive the fall. My ancestors all died with a chilling, unexplainable death, suddenly, one of them even while in a passionate embrace of a courtesan – He had a heart attack from excitement – the gentlemen told. That lady also loved to telephone. It was told Alexander Graham Bell was one of her orderly customers.
– Inbreed! – I growled towards the telephone while madness sparked from my eyes.
– It is not my fault. I will buy you a pink telephone to keep you company! – I moaned.
– Hm-hm-hm… – the specter was changing places, from one shadow into the other, so that „hm-hm“ finaly canonized together with the ghastly laughter. I have more felt than saw the cable that like a whip whipped the worn floor of the room. Something on the floor appeared and it looked like blood.
It looked like to me as I was seeing a trace of a female foot walking the room. The roared, the uncompromised hammers of revenge.
With my last flinches, I fired a shot into one corner of the room. The bullet only startled the rocks in the wall and stuck inside like a gluttonous, determined thought of me-the-insane.
I was tortured by that ghastly ventriloquist, maddened me to death, acting slowly like a poison that got his hands on my mind.
– You have to hurry up with the decision – Telephone spoke mercifully. – Shall we dig her out together or…?
Of course, you will live with us and pay the phone bill each month. And then we will find you friend to who you can telephone to. Oh, you cannot even imagine what kind of conversations is awaiting you . . . ones of multiple hours. . .
And I understood. I heard the growling, wild voiced of my ancestors, murderers, thieves, gamblers (it was told also that my great great great great-grandfather was the brother of Dorian Gray’s uncle, for who the generations of school kids believe was a fictional character, thanks to the skillful propaganda of the French novelists who still remember the one hundred year war).
I saw the faces of the past that flew above, whose voices come to me from Samara’s well and twist through the black veins of the torturer, the creatures I belonged to and to whom I will always belong to, with them together, I. . . will continue to grow and rot, forever separated from the knotty womb of all that is human, never again in the routine of existence, a marionette who will be etched by the ghosts in their hands and blind to never see the day and night again with the mute stars.
A sound alike a scream spilled through my skull and that is when I saw myself – under the light of a waning candle, my extinguished eyes. A shadow in a gray hoodie towered above me. Evil tears spilled from my eyes after knowing all is well.
The demon told me something. It was a thought that cut through air, after being spoken. Or everything got mixed, and I heard a word, followed by the thought. All I know is that the unreal, maddened eyes (whether mine or of the Creature) sow fear followed by a raging disease and death!
– Everything is all right, Zoltan, or how hmm was it… – he felt the cold touch of the telephone cable. He turned around, grabbed him savagely and choked him with the telephone wire.
The hero of this story, with a thousand names and in the advanced stadium of madness, during the two days he spent in Senburn, tore out at least two, tightened with strong belts, straight-jackets. He was finally saved, thanks to the mysterious call from the house of this incurable, violent madman.
– Cursed inbreed! He phoned to the Ambulance just to torture me! Aha! Just so you know I will not carry a singing shovel for your darling, you will have to dig her out yourself!
– Who are you talking about, sir? Who phoned? You live alone, Your neighbors … We have information that you do not leave your house for years, that you only talk with the trained androids of Telecom. Did you not, after so many years, not even drink a coffee with any of them?
– You! Rotarian! King Arthur, ha-ha-ha! How so! Telephone! He phoned the ambulance to save me!
The doctor gazed into the distant, blue clouds. The day was coloring itself the colors of the evening. The changing of the seasons was at the horizon.
He felt a stinging pain in his stomach – like it was being pressed by a flaming egg. During his twenty year long practice, he truly sympathized with his patients, especially the lost cases. He opened his notes and wrote in the final verdict:” He does not see the body, but he hears the voice. May the Lord have mercy on his poor, over stimulated psyche”.
– No doctor, the madman do not go to Heaven – he got startled by the deranged madman who right lip was twitching to the side.
He hesitated for a moment. During his practice, he realized that the misfortunate, lonely people, forever trapped within the world of obscene hallucinations, develop some sort of telepathy with those who treat them – those are, like ticking of the clock, painful blows within their heads. Whispers, demonic whispers. . .
– Sir, it is impossible that happened. Intrigued by Your story, I made sure to order a thorough examination of the telephone. A weird model, I must admit. . . 1866. . .It honestly intrigued me. . . But, that which removes all doubt. . .
– What? What? How did He trick you? Oh, that sleezy…
– Sir, the telephone was not at all connected into the wall, it in fact. . . does not even operate on electricity. . . and the dial is missing. . . you know. . .
The last scream broke through Senburn. I died three months later. My last words were:” Give me back my cable, doctor”.
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