@ COPYRIGHT – Gerald Thomas NYC DECEMBER 2021
In the last hour on flight 101 from London back to New York I always tend to get a little nervous. Well, nervous isn’t the right word. Fidgety is more like it. Well, actually, it’s restless. Flying over and across Newfoundland gives me the creeps. I always want to get up and run a marathon, run for miles, run up to god, run up steep hills, scream, run in torrential rain and against the wind.
These flights used to be shorter. Not shorter but faster. Faster, more dynamic. And, in the past they promised us only “hell in the skies plus an apple” and that is what Freddie Laker’s Sky Train used to be. Not to mention B.O.A.C. PANAM was great if you happened to be on cocaine because you could deal or snort it right there: an open market ! Oh yes, there was the Concorde and there was a glimpse into the future. Almost like the Flintstones taking a peek into Jetson’s land. Funny, the noise insensitive us! All that talk of “sound barrier breaking”, “light speeding shaking”….!!!! We loved all that crap. And yet….and yet, we’re taking the exact same time to cross the ocean now as we did back in the 1970s. Makes no sense. This is 2021 ?
Once we had passed Newfoundland, I tried glancing at the book the passenger next to me was reading so calmly and so meditatively. Aren’t they irritating? Those calm and meditative people? Seems like they live in a bowl of marijuana jell-o ! No good.
But in first class this hardly matters. The seats are so wide apart and so distant from one another, you can barely recognize a face. “Igor, be happy you’re in first class”, I said to myself while pinching my right arm. Not so long ago, I’d be with the cattle in the back, screaming, begging and yelling for a glass of water. Glass? I mean, a plastic bottle filled with liquid.
I had seen my neighboring passenger as he had boarded the plane. He was extremely noticeable because all the flight attendants flocked towards him and were fighting to serve him. I thought I’d recognized him, perhaps from TV. A rock star? My neighbor had the book in his hand as he came in. He carefully placed it on the seat while adjusting his carry on bags. On the cover, in blood red the title: SHAME.
I did the unthinkable. Not the unthinkable exactly. More like the unimaginable, although I imagined it. I did it. During the last moments before landing at JFK, as everyone was queueing up to go to the bathroom, I took advantage of his absence from his seat and swiftly leapt over and sat on top of SHAME, dragged it from under my ass and towards the lower left of my hip where I could randomly open some pages and tear some of them out. Discreetly, that is. And so I did.
No noise. Not a sound.
Torn pages folded into my underwear and SHAME returned to under ass. I got up and returned to my seat.
My neighbor almost caught me. Well, catching isn’t really the term since I wasn’t in the air to be caught. Actually, I was, literally IN the air, thousands of feet in the air still, but not “catchable” per se.
This is how those torn pages read:
“THIS RITUAL IS CONFUSING TO YOU. Really confusing for, as far as you can understand, the partition could easily be broken and all hands could simply get whatever pastry they wanted, as well as the dead bird: it could simply be lifted from the street and become alive again. Why not? So, you reinvented a system whereby, daily things could again be recognized and, thus, come to life again and become accessible. Apartheid ceased to be and so did segregation.
Do not forget what you’ve invented !!! There’s something wrong with this system, people on this side of the glass: the uniformed ladies on the other side of the glass;
They do uniform something that may be, in reality, most unorthodox and ununiform and yet, somehow, somewhat quite uniform. Their expressions on the outside of the pastry shop you make an incredible discovery that frightens you terribly; you notice an old bag lady, a homeless lady, an old bum, with her breast showing and her son on her lap.
Yes, it all bothers you, it all tortures you because none of them take into account the Reine supreme, the Queen Mother of God, that beautiful black lady with those huge black breasts sitting at the entrance as the Buddha en guarde. shop you make an incredible discovery that frightens you terribly; you notice an old bag lady, a homeless lady, an old bum, with her breast showing and her son on her lap.
You feel strangled, suffocated, erotically aroused and attracted, disgusted….because you’ve realized that you were able to see her without her seeing you. She lives in some kind of soliloquy, a repetitive and endless monologue and longings, like all crazy people laugh while sitting in the street, in the filth, in the stench, away from our world of “perfection”. Dirty and with a crust built around her, her son hanging by her neck, the only thing you notice is her breast her huge black breast, her nipple, her son your age, the chill in your stomach the comfort of holding your mother’s hand an a sense of profound sadness.
This may have been the first day in your life when sadness has played such a role, coming from the outside, bearing no relationship to your toys, your vegetable soup or a scalding from your parents.
You and your mother adopt a faster pace but still the images don’t disappear from your head. You have questions; yet, have no way of asking them.
You walk for another 2 or 3 blocks, but as of that moment you don’t notice the street and its details any longer and nothing distracts you – no people, their expressions, nothing, you’re suddenly become an introvert and look hypnotically the same of street textures without giving a damn. All you can think about is that old woman with her breast apparent and apparent nipple and hanging son and the little corner of the world she has found for herself right in the middle of the crossroad – where she is invisible and ignored right there, by the footstep of where people line up to stuff themselves with fat and sugar and creamy pastries, she sits in a pool of filth, erotically ignored. And that huge breast, that extraordinary breast, juicy, wrinkled but with a firm hard nipple!
You notice that your mother’s hand has tightened her grip as you continue walking just a little bit faster because she has obviously noticed that something has happened to you! Or, maybe to run from an oncoming tram but mixed in with the lack of breath and the desire not to be there, you’re more than sure that you saw something you shouldn’t have.
You saw something that has compromised your license to simply be a child.
You’ve become a ball of fire. To call it fear would be to undermine it to call it fear would be to undermine it to call it repugnant, would be to subvert it, to call it fascination might be an exaggeration. What could this be, so strong, that would prompt you to beg your mother not to serve your lunch that day, and to cry your eyes out till they bulged any popped as if extinguished organs begging one again not to as if disfigured organs begging once again not to eat your Wurst and lentils (your favorite dish!) and implore to disappear, if only for a while, into your bedroom, for a quick nap, where you always come to your senses with your most private questions, staring at a gigantic wardrobe that baroque wardrobe – your first forbidden city and set, what was that feeling which would later find your crouching on your bed, crying in silence for having pissed all over it, your bed …
In the middle of a sunny afternoon, when all other children were playing ball in the street?
You were feeling blinded by the noise of their playing and the imagination of the scorching heat of the sun. What would all that be in your solitude?
There was no doubt.
You were in LOVE. “
It took me longer than usual to deplane. My usual arrogant walk through Customs was halted. “Over here, Sir !”
Two Customs and Border Patrol Officers took me to a booth and almost stripped me naked. “Do you usually carry folded notes in your underwear, Sir ?”
“Oh wow! I forgot !”
“Forgot what? Some sort of a nuclear code?” As one of them unfolded those pages and read what was on them, the situation suddenly got serious. “Hey Bill, look at this”, as he handed the papers to his colleague. I still stood there naked. I was trying to think of something to say. Nothing came to mind. I started to overhear a conversation between what I believe were other officers outside of my booth: “Can you believe this son of a bitch walked right past us?”
“Fucking infuriating. So who the fuck is this guy in there? !”
“The guy with the note!”
“Can’t arrest a guy without the evidence, right? A note….. A book…. It’s infuriating!!!!”
I finally asked one of my officers: “Sir, what are you holding me on? And why am I still butt naked?”
“All in due time.. All in due time.”
Never even looking at me once and so heavily focused on filling out those forms….It crossed my mind just to run out, like yeah, pick up my clothing on the way out and run fast. “Are you charging me? With WHAT? POSSESSION OF ILLEGAL DRUGS?WEAPONS? TREASON”
Oh damn it. I gave it away.
“No no no, never mind that. The drugs- we found them in your shoes – they’ll will be our… say….”bonus” (and they laughed)
“AM I BEING CHARGED ????”, I screamed angrily – didn’t really mean to. Just thought it fit the role, the place, the scenery. I was going through a method actor moment.
“AM I BEING CHARGED ????
They kept staring at me.
No answer. Only that blank cynical glare of denial you so well recognize when it hits you in the face. The blank cynical glare even when the news is bad. Even when it means bad news for you and when they deny you the right to know.
Isn’t that fascinating? The basic human right has been in hiding ever since the apple was bitten and yet the apple, the apple, the apple. It wasn’t really ever bitten at all. Excuse me? Okay, it was bitten. It wasn’t swallowed.
“I meant it in the Decameron style”
“I’ve lost track of it all, officer. One day I woke up and it was all different. Rules upside down. Literally, upside down, genders all mixed up. You go this way, you CANNOT go that way. But you HAVE to go that way. Almost like those days when “Paul is dead, Elvis is Alive and so is JFK”, all of them in a vegetative state in a luxury hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
I must have insulted dozens of transsexuals by erring their genders, must have xxxed out their wrong fenders, the most bonkers street vendors, the punkest of pretenders, the sexiest who cursed their benders, joined the wrongest vegan blenders of rainbow progressive Muslims offenders and the Irish who turned black, the Jews who turned red, the Turks who turned gay, the queers who chewed like when I chew like when I chew like when I chew
(can’t you see that I’m su-ffe-ring
can’t you see that I’m going b-lind
can’t you see the human be-e-i-n-g in me
Can you see me O-FF-I-CER
Can you see me O-FF-I-CER
(pause – scene comes to a halt)
They seem somewhat paralyzed.
« Il n’y a absolument aucune raison de nous parler en français, Monsieur. Nous sommes en Amérique. Nous sommes tous américains. »,
“I am not speaking French to you. What do you mean? Since when is this French ? Is “motherfuckers” a French word?”, I was really beginning to lose it. It was getting late. I had not done anything wrong other than….well….rip off some pages from a book of the passenger next to me.
« Très bien... vous ne nous prenez pas nous ou la situation au sérieux. Peut-être que vous devriez vous asseoir ici pendant quelques heures et réfléchir à tout... »
Officer, please. Please. There is nothing to reflect on. I’ve done nothing wrong.
They sat me down on a hard cement bunkbed and gave me a metal cup and water, a blanket, no pillow. It was then that I noticed their nameplates and badges. I was stunned.
SGT. Jack Rimbaud and
LT. Clive Danton
They seem to have almost everything on me, except my name. I go back quite a while. I wasn’t born yesterday.
I forge identities. Yes, that’s what I do. Or…used to do.
Now, if I get to repossess those pages, I’ll be able to forge love as well.
My name you ask? Ha ha! As it is written in that passport there: “Richard Wagner. Born in Bayreuth, Bavaria. Of course I changed the DOB and the photo to the 20th century.”
Alles begann in meiner späten Jugend, als ich eine Stelle bei Siemens, Computerabteilung, annahm. Mir wurde klar, dass sich mir das Universum der Wahrheit geöffnet hatte. Und so beginnt meine Geschichte….
I can’t stop thinking that this entire thing has a connection with Newfoundland. That’s why I always get so damn fricking nervous there. Not there but over air there. My father. My biological father. My tribal father, yes. Always staring at the sky. I KNOW that he knows I’m on that plane. I KNOW for sure that he gathers, amalgams, compounds, fuses…no perhaps not fuses but surely mix a synthesis of a composite of energies to bring me down to earth which – in short – means – CRASHING! Being reborn. Into his hands. Atop a mountain.
I can hear the hymn.
I can hear the hymn.
OMG! I can hear the hymn in him.
This is an outrage of a plan. All my identities together couldn’t prevent it. SHAME on me. Yes.
Off-I-CER let me make a statement please: (for posterity that is)
“I know that all these other passengers who have arrived from London in the past three hours that I have been here, did not fly over Newfoundland and, thus, their flight was one hour shorter and plague-free, voodoo-free, purple haze and all.
LT Clive Danton, you will understand me. Please come close.
I will only bring you trouble if you keep me here. I’m a riddle. I wish
Someone could actually rewire me straight. But no such luck. He sits on top of a mountain and howls day and night looking at the East still believing in the universal confluence of external forces, you know, energies, incense, quartz, cupacu, ayahuasca, shamanism and buddhism and tarot-ism and the inside out via the 9th symphony by Van Gogh and that gorgeous sonata by Edward Pollock. It’s intense.
Rape is intense.
Shouldn’t fuck around with it.
I’ll rephrase that.
Shouldn’t fuck around with it.
There is no other way to rephrase that.
Rape is intense.
It rewires you.
It turns out the lights you might still have glowing inside you.
Hay una sensación que tengo cuando miro hacia el oeste Y mi espíritu esta llorando por irse En mis pensamientos he visto anillos de humo a través de los árboles Y las voces de los que se quedan mirando Ese eres tú Y se susurra que pronto, si todos decimos la melodía Entonces el flautista nos llevará a la razón Y un nuevo día amanecerá para aquellos que permanezcan mucho tiempo Y los bosques harán eco de la risa
¿Recuerdas la risa?
Hey Sgt Rimbaud how nice of you to drop by. Now that you know the true story, do you feel I was orchestrated ? manipulated ? Violated ? Do you ? Was I pre-programmed to own that testament to LOVE, hmmm what should I call it… The Magna Carta of LOVE ? the sketches for a possible Constitution for the Heart? Was I supposed to tear out those pages obviously not belonging to me PRECISELY over GODDAMN NEWFOUNDLAND ?
WAS IT ALL HIM.
WAS IT ?
(is that the reason why the French comes in? Canada? )
Well, the art of escaping from the now – see? I’m not calling it the present. I’m calling it the NOW for the present (you see?) comes with a rather dangerous proposition which is the protection of a “bracket guarantee” (I’ll explain later), yes, a bracket guarantee which armors it against all kinds of speculations such as: “how can we divide a moment? “Is a moment equal to a particle?” Does a moment resemble an atom?” “is it, therefore, safe to assume that, if a kiss is encapsulated by a moment, is it then nothing more than a particle? An atom?” tricky hey”
Riddles that tell our story officers and, in fact, are hovering around like tiny specks of dust like dandruff plaguing all of us, from hair down to our toes, all the way from our NOW to back then and onto the past, perhaps even from or to the future and to some other tense such as the present. Or to some other tense not yet know – at least not made public yet. Yes, that is, indeed a possibility.
Fact: Houdini freed himself from those chains in the NOW but not in the present. That means that the NOW can be present in the present and also at any other time.. It’s a riddle or an enigma.
No, that does not hold water. Not backed up by science.
I don’t know. Maybe just a play of words. So, if I manage to free myself from the chains like Houdini did or do it merely by the using a combination of the right words for creating an illusion….then I will have achieved something. Oh yes. I will have freed myself from drowning and yet, I will have fallen flat into Ariel’s treacherous terrain , say, that of angelical treason, i.e. the terrain inhabited by these two officers.
So, officers, why don’t you close and try out a scene with me?
Oui, nous avions l’habitude de Ouais, nous faisions du théâtre euh à l’école en Allemagne. Oh oui. Eh bien, et qu’avez-vous fait? Très intéressant. Bon. Et Silla ? Oh oui. Eh bien, je ne prétends pas aller aussi loin, mais je fais juste du naturalisme. Vous savez, par exemple, falsifier des documents. Je suis bon. Qui était doué pour forger ? Et vendre le sol ? Oui. Oh, c’était un cordonnier ? Non, l’âme l’intérieur ? Oh oui. Oui. Même une sorte de boucher de sentiments. Vous vous sentez boucher
(Looks around. It looks like a prison cell. Knocks on the walls. Measures the thickness of whatever she can find.)
So then, this is our ultimate destiny. No, not destiny. I mean, threat. Not threat…punishment. Yes, punishment for having committed the smallest and the most heinous of crimes, depending on your skin color. Not only that. Not only punishment or the crime or the skin… think about it. But the WHY.
WHY that stabbing? Why 44 times into the person you loved? Why?
How do you live with yourself? How do you deal with the past, the present, the now? What will it be till you reach that chair? Was it rage? Did you plan it? Are you cold?
Think about it. I think it’s interesting to explore the Butcher of all feelings, the slaughter master meaning basta the bleeding hacking slicing of a human body you once loved. A soul you once kissed, missed, cried and told stories of love to, confessed your secrets, shared your warped sticky smelly inner most…..
So then, this is our ultimate destiny. No, not destiny. I mean, threat. Not threat…punishment ! Reward ? Reward ? This is what we are rewarded with… I see…. That’s why it’s interesting to explore the Butcher of all feelings, the slaughter master meaning a reward at the end, close to the end….. the inner sentiments that we never, that I never really was capable of dissecting…..
Because I’m not equipped mentally with surgical precision instruments
the inner wirings all running a-mock GodForBid hammock of all gods LOOK AT ME neurons of SHAME, SHAME, SHAME
the inner wirings the neuron the neurotransmitters? Well, they’re a joke mocking bird a humming device bit more complicated than that, and the dopamine and the endorphin, and so on and so forth. NO They’re not. They’re very much they’re much more complicated, because it’s not really just a chemical reaction. It’s so subjective.
Like spilling milk. Ha. Simple. Spilling milk. That simple.
Now, the real reason is…. For all this…. Is… there was no need or desire to take that flight to London in the first place. I only took so I could take the flight back.
In fact it isn’t the first time that the airport staff are alerted by my presence there. It always happens. I get stopped right after pushing my passport into and out of that machine. I’m escorted into a room. The immigration officers ask me the same questions every time:
“Sir, how can this be? You flew out of here last night and barely made it to London, then made a U turn at the Heathrow airport and returned. Just like so many times before. Why?”
“That is an extremely pertinent question Sir. Thank you for asking it but I feel I cannot answer it, not yet anyway. I need a few more trips”
I understand their concern. Seriously I do. Am I a contrabandist with an abortive mission ready to blow myself up with methamphetamine and GHB, thus causing a generally well tolerated and much desired feeling of ecstasy and – WOW … how WOWWWWW how overly aphrodisiaccccc wooooowww right here right nowwww at the very epicenter of the explosion?
Is that whaaaat I ammmmmm ?
Do I always carry notes in my underwear? Am I the missing link between terrorist organizations communicating their nuclear codes through me? Am I a müuuuule?
“I think I understand, Sir. You simply want to be high.”
“Bummer, with all my knowledge, this one hit me hard. It hadn’t occurred to me”.
“It’s about my father. It’s really about my father and that mountain top in Newfoundland…”
“Extraordinary. And I thought I’d never meet you. I truly believed you were a work of fiction. You have no idea how long…… …… …….
You simply have no idea how long I’ve been trying to meet you”
If your life happens to consist of only theater let me tell you this: you’re lost.
So then, this is my ultimate destiny. No, not destiny. I mean, threat. Not threat….GATE! This is not an airport. Never has been. That wasn’t London and neither is this New York. I get it. I get it.
How do I break this cycle? This ridiculous cycle?
Or am I doomed to repeat it and continue walking blindly in concentric circles till the ground beneath me caves in, swallows me and I transforms me into a single baseboard of an immense stage somewhere in the world….
That man…. That man…. Sitting on top of that mountain…. No wonder! No wonder he looks like me! That IS me before I fell into the trap of trying to reinterpret the TALMUD.
Now? Now the punishment for having committed the smallest and the most heinous of crimes, depending on your skin color. Not only that. Not only punishment or the crime or the skin… think about it. But the WHY.
(Julia looks at a drawing : “man screaming in a sunny box” which prompts her to leave that jail behind and light up a cigarette and sit by the river)
I like to get away sometimes. Leave them there talking to themselves. See? I am nothing really. Could be me, could be anyone. And I could pretty much say the same about them. I am just part of a drawing but if I tear it up or burn it, I’ll cease to exist. I mean, not I but him. I’m still here ha ha. After all what is the difference between us all? Really? A couple of cells? Hair strands or styles? I mean, same jeans, same manners, same cakes, same cheese, same sodas, same news, same hatred. Same roads, same cities same interior, same wives, same beginnings same middles same ends. So, what’s the difference really? Oh. Google is collecting your data: careful.
- WHAT DATA?
- CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT ?
- THAT I PREFER POTATOS OVER RICE? THAT I WATCH HARDCORE PORN WHILE EATING POP CORN?
- DOESN’T THE ENTIRE BUILDING?
- DOESN’T THE ENTIRE CITY?
- DOESN’T THE ENTIRE WORLD?
- WHAT DATA?
- What is so extraordinary about us that we want to be preserved and photographed and kept in history when, say you (yes, you!) don’t even know the etymology of your fucking name, you misogynist PIG !!! How do I know that ? How can I tell? Ha ha. YOU don’t JUST hate women….you hate everyone….Come here baby….. do you want to be caressed? Do you? PIG ?
- The REAL reason why I take that plane is OBVIOUS! Escape. Not only that! I just cannot stand to live amongst you all. Not only that. It’s your size. It’s our size. So…I make you even smaller. And for seven hours out and seven hour in I’m safe.
- Want the truth? Do you?
- Ok…. Those pages I tore out…. What those officers found in my underwear was there deliberately, meant for them to find. They are false. They were pretending all along. They’re actors. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. I like them.
- The real pages? I swallowed them.
- Pity is, I’ve been to the bathroom twice and I did notice that they have decomposed and were flushed away.
Whatever it is that you do: keep busy ! Keep yourself busy.
We don’t want to understand death.
I should have shot myself in the mouth. But ..had I done that, you would certainly have been deprived of this rather strange and yet wonderful performance.
AND ? And in the end, at the end of the day, towards the end of your prime, at the twilight of your beautiful life, close to the FINAL horizon of your ending plateau …. You are called a WHORE !!!!
Because, once in a while I lied.
I lied. I lied because I didn’t know the truth. I could only imagine it.
It was too ugly to describe.
I’ve had my loud laughs. I have. I did. Or did I ?
Well, they heard them. Or did they?
I would like to say goodbye but, before that… I would like to shed some tears. Real tears. I need those artificial ones to get me going… but once they’re flowing, the emotion is for real, understand?
WHORE ! WOW !
THE END (or Is it?)