He wakes up. He gets on a bus. He sees a piece of paper on a seat. He picks up the paper and reads the outside of the folded up piece of paper it reads
Hey! Read this!
on one side and
Hey you! Read this!
on the other folded side. He opens up the piece of paper and reads:
I have some good news! There is someone who loves you dearly, enough to die for you. His name is Jesus Christ, and He came to pay for our sins. He overcame all of our failure and shame, and in Him we find life. No matter what pain you feel, I promise, that someone cares. I was once an atheist, and I used to cut myself. I thought about taking my own life, but then I met a friend who showed me the good news of Jesus. He promises new life, and he wants the same for you. No matter how bad you feel, no matter what you think of yourself, Jesus loves you more than you could imagine. If you have questions about faith or want to know more about Christianity, I’d encourage you to find a church. There is one that meets at — —– theater on – Street in G——–n, Sunday at 10am. God bless you and take heart! God is with us!
A brother in Christ
The writing is neat and small and written in blue pen. It seems heartfelt but he probably won’t visit the theater to meet with Jesus. He folds up the paper and puts it into his pocket where it will remain for months forgotten and spinning and dissolving in the wash. There are so many people to be saved but saved from what? Each other and themselves. He eats some spinach and some quinoa and some lentils and drinks coffee and his ideas are shut down at work and his dreams keep him going all the way to his bed. He goes to sleep there on his sleeping bed.
He wakes up to The smell of Cut grass and gasoline. Jailed journalists in Egypt. Convicted editor in England. Helicopter gunships given to Egypt by America. Impressed British Prime Minister. He drinks a coffee. He drinks some water. He tries a push up. it is marginally successful. He tries a pull up. He cannot pull up. He rests two eggs and a zucchini drowned in yellow mustard. It does not taste as desperate as it sounds. It is hot outside like a sauna but a sauna he would happily spend hours in sitting next to hot coals fanning himself. He works magic with lights. He walks into traffic but as luck would have it is synchronous with the red light. This is an accident but no one would know that from his demeanor. Deep inside he weeps with relief. He runs onto the train. All the carriages are new there are new carriages. He is confused. He remembers Rik Mayall is dead. This makes him sad. He liked Rik Mayall for making him laugh. He remembers drinking vodka at School one weekend for the first time or the second time in a classrom at School and watching Bottom Live and being drunk and laughing loudly laughing too loudly because that’s what he thought The Drunk People did and he was drunk and wanted desperately to be liked as he is still desperate to be liked but that part of him is shielded protected less powerful now but ready at any moment to reclaim a throne. Then he remembers a story sometime someone told him about Rik Mayall who did an unpleasant thing but was that a dream everyone is unpleasant and confidences like that are not to be shared. He watches his past crumble like dry sandcastles. All the dry sandcastles blowing up pretty beige clouds in the intermittent breeze. He shouldn’t be thinking about masturbation on the elevator but he is. He could grind one out here and no one would know would they no one would care they would film it and he would be YouTube famous which is still famous. He watches as passengers help an old man find a wallet. He does not help. He does not need to the old man already has too much help. He is happy to get his wallet back which he dropped at the entrance to the bus. This happened in the morning. Now it is the evening. So much has happened already today. He eats some tasty food. He reads Gore Vidal novels. He inhales the sweet narcotic of America’s Got Talent through his eyes. He watches a beautiful dress being worn perfectly. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He remembers no dreams. He drinks coffee and eats cereal. He takes a shower. He takes the elevator. He takes the bus. He takes another elevator. He types. He writes. He drinks another coffee. He has a conversation. He applies make-up. He eats turkey meatballs and tomato sauce. They are good. They sustain him. He enjoys them. He savours them. Mouths flap about Iraq and about Afghanistan and the injustice of imprisoning journalists in Egypt but remain quiet about imprisoning lawyers in America. He gets too excited about the opening of a new Shake Shack and not energized enough about the crumbling infrastructure of the Western World. He listens to a woman channel his dead father to his half-sister. The woman doesn’t even change her voice. She should make more effort being a spirit medium she should at least do voices and lock the door of the room she is in so her son doesn’t come in and ask for a snack and close the window so that the roadworks outside aren’t overwhelming the recording and not give false hope or closure with cold reading but this is all too much to ask for and it probably will help someone somewhere life is difficult enough without letting people cope with tragedy in their own way. He walks. He stands. He sits. He waits. He reads. He walks. He cooks rice and broccoli and cauliflower and soy sauce and he eats it and he drinks water and he watches Lawrence O’Donnell return to television with a fine beard but he doesn’t listen to the words because they will be the same words as before and not bad for that reason but he is tired and he can’t think and doesn’t want to concentrate on relentless horror on the outside because he is busy enough with relentless horror on the inside. He lies down and watches sleep take him away.
He wakes up. He does not know why this happens. There is a loud direct voice informing him that this is a fire alarm and everyone must leave the building by the closest exit but not the elevator do not use the elevator dear God please do not use the elevator. He wakes up more. She wakes up. The cat wakes up. They try to wrestle the cat into a bag. The cat wins. The cat is not in the bag. The cat looks defiant. The alarm is still going. They have to leave. The cat remains. They walk down the stairs hoping it is a false alarm so as not to have a cat death car crash on their hands on his hands he does not know how she feels and he never asks. There are other pockets of people walking down the stairs. It is the middle of the night. It is raining outside. It is humid. It is entertaining to see what clothes people throw on in an emergency. Everyone looks like poorly dressed clowns. The alarm is a false alarm. Walking back up eight flights of stairs. The alarm starts again. They all pause for a moment tired and reckless they do not turn round but continue walking back to their apartments. Lying down they try to fall asleep for hours they try to fall asleep but they fail to fall asleep then they both realise they have been awake for hours and they weep and laugh with relief and with joy at their shared agony and the cat is asleep and hold no bridge at being left behind even though it turned out to be a false alarm and it would have been fine anyway but even so the cat remains magnanimous at their treachery. The cat will use it later, no doubt. They read then they sleep then the day is underway and the sun is out and the pollen count is low and the sandwiches are full of meat and the glasses are full of beer and full of lemonade and the football is entertaining and the day is a good day but for the wars and the mass incarceration and the poisons and the corruption and the fragility but these are only background noise for now they will be the main event soon enough so he ignored them until the time when he won’t vs able to ignore them anymore. He reads Rebecca Solnit. He goes to sleep.
He wakes up. He showers. He eats a banana. He is roasted by the sun. He imagines Tony Blair weeping in a windowless room rocking back and forth. He eats some tasty chicken and spinach. He watches headless chickens dance. They strut and they dance. He drinks a glass of water. He asks some questions. He writes some words on some paper. He sorts out his paperwork. He finds useless pieces of paper but he keeps them just in case he might need them in the future. He remonstrates with the fridge. He repeats some of these actions. He fills a red pepper with rice and spinach and kale and hot sauce. He roasts the red pepper but even that and the hot sauce will not dampen down the taste of kale. Kale cuts through everything. The air is boiling outside. So hot is refracts the air and everything is seen as through satin stockings. He reads some Robert Bellah and the civil religion of America. The cult of America. He reads about the late Victorian Holocaust watches Thomas Piketty in a debate on British Television Jeremy Paxman cycling on a bicycle with the Mayor of London all jolly boys together at the same clubs at the same schools colleges picnics artificial debate illusion of dissent he tries to build a house on a purple planet that rains poison green liquid at regular intervals. Some of the creatures are trying to kill him but he has a large sword and a natty bow and arrow. He needs to find silver so he can create a beacon to escape the planet. He cannot find any silver. He has been searching for a long time. He is tired. He looks at his laundry go round and round and round in the dryer. He falls asleep.
He wakes up. He sees stains on his chair. He does not look closer to see what they are. Then he looks closer. He wishes he hadn’t looked closer. The bus driver improvised the bus routes traveling down roads none of the regular passengers have seen before. He watches a written sizzle and shot on the sidewalk. It is very hot. He moves the worm to the grass in the shade with the edge of his foot but the worm still bubbles and spits. It is to late for the worm. It is to late for every worm. Every one. Everyone. He buys some lentils. More of his villagers die. He only had the villagers left. He should never have begun construction on that mine. He feels totally responsible. He hopes the orchard will grow in time and offer sustenance along with the fishing and the hunting that keeps the remaining villagers clinging on to life. The well built houses are empty. The villagers must feel the loss every time they pass it to go into the forest to weep our whatever it is they do when they are hidden behind digital trees. He sees the renegade economist Simon Johnson on the train. He sees the gentleman from Subway who sometimes makes his sandwiches on the train. They are both wearing caps. Simon is wearing a white cap. He also has a red back pack. Subway is wearing a red hat. He will ask Subways name next time he purchases a sandwich or he will look at the name tag on his shirt and remember the name on it. He is beaten down by the heat when he leaves the train station. A violinist plays. He buys mixed nuts. He enjoys the air conditioning and engages in conversation with polite staff members who would rather not be there. He drinks lots of water. He talks. He quaffs. He considers. He thinks. He draws. He presses buttons. He talks intensely and without clarity. He is misunderstood. He is tired. He eats yoghurt. He writes and dreams and is overwhelmed. He goes to sleep.