The Photographer’s Dilemma (VI)

Thompson shook his head, surveying Ariadne’s works upon the wall. All her photographs hung from their frames where she had earlier placed them, all save one; the picture of the man with the albescent jacket.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Campbell, I’ve no idea where it went. It must have been…”

Ariadne nodded gravely, “Stolen. Its alright, Mr. Thompson. Wasn’t your fault. It doesn’t matter, I didn’t like it anyways, lets just focus on the show.”

He turned to her and gave a wry smiled and nodded and left off to answer the phones and order catering.

*

Campbell hadn’t seen him coming. She hated how silent he was.

“Now that you’ve finally got your gala-showing, do you look upon your work any differently?”

She turned furiously to behold Lynder Partridge standing behind her, a lit cigarette in his left hand, his right in his pocket, dressed all in a dark, sleek suit of diamond-patterned blue. She knew he’d show up sooner or later given that Thompson had invited him; had been waiting for him to do so. She dug the photo of her eye out of her pocket and thrust it in his face, “Mind telling me what the fuck this is?” He raised a brow slightly took a drag and then removed his right hand from his pocket and slowly took the photograph, examining it methodically.

“It is a photograph of an eye, Ms. Campbell.”

“No shit. You know whose eye?”

“It appears very similar to your own.”

“It is. Why was it in my house?”

“I’ve no idea what you are talking about,” She could tell he was legitimately confused which in turn confused her, “Explain precisely what happened from the beginning.” She told the tale and upon finishing he nodded, more to himself than to her and flipped the photograph around such that she could see it.

“I induce you believe this is the photograph I took of you at my last gala?”

“Yes. Obviously. What are you playing at?”

He shook his head fractionally, a movement so slight it was almost imperceptible and would have been had he not been standing so close to her, “You forget how flustered you were during our last encounter, your gaze were quite narrow, besides, this is a digital photograph, not analogue. Like you, I hem to the Leica, it is the only camera which I presently own. In fact, I was utilizing Mr. Thompson’s darkroom in place of my own, which is currently under construction. I can show you, if you should like.”

“If you didn’t take it than who did? You were the last person to take a picture of me.”

“As I said, it is digital. Consider how many pictures of yourself are presently available on the internet. It would be a matter of the moment to seize one, download it, crop it, blow it up to such exaggerated proportions and then print it. As for who delivered it to your abode, I could not say, but I can say that whoever it is they’re no artist.”

“On that we agree.”

She was angry. She had been positive Lynder was at the bottom of it, yet the more she considered the situation the more she realized how ridiculous her accusations must appear. He was one of the most popular up-and-coming artists in the entire city and given his previous comments on her lack of ability there was no reason for him to pursue her. She shook her head, hell, even now he looked disinterested. His comments about the internet and the ease with which one might obtain a photograph of her also rang plausible. Lynder was too much an artist to craft such a shoddy composition, there was no life in it, no message, no force or vitality. She took the photo from Lynder’s outstretched, black-gloved hand, gazing at it fixedly. He was right. It wasn’t art, it was graphic design. It wasn’t him. Then still the question: Who had left the photo? Was it the man with the white jacket? If he was indeed the killer of Greely perhaps he believed she had seen too much. Perhaps he feared she could identify him…

“Are you quite alright, Ms. Campbell?”

“No… no I am not.”

She turned to leave but he stepped forth, his presence of sudden interest restraining her like an invisible lasso.

“Congratulations on your first showing.”

She turned and smiled a hollow, cold smile, “Thanks.”

“I know you resent me because of my critiques of your work but know this, if I critique it is only because I believe it will aid your improvement.” He gestured to her artwork where it hung upon the wall, now swarming with students and professors and journalists and socialites, “As it clearly has.”

“Whatever, asshole.”

His face registered no emotion at the insult; he merely raised his cigarette back up to his mouth and took a drag and expelled a puff of smoke respectfully to his unoccupied left.

“Hubris is a sword, Ms. Campbell, be sure you don’t fall upon it.”

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The Photographer’s Dilemma (V)

When she arrived at Jamie’s apartment she was surprised, it was far less expansive and glitzy than she had expected, given he was a friend of Calvin’s. She knocked and Jamie quickly answered, smiling.

“Hey, you alright.”

“No, not really, not at all.”

She went inside and was given a cup of coffee and sat down as the television rang out in the background.

“This report just in… we warn you, however, the details of the case are graphic. The victim of the suspected homicide which occurred last night at 500 Rose Place has been identified as a one Jamal Greely. Sources tell us that Greely had spent time in a correctional facility in his youth for molesting his sister and, more recently, had been involved in a child trafficking ring which the police believe to have ties to the Serbian Underground, though this remains a matter of speculative correlation at this point in time. Greely was found in his home after a anonymous tip was sent to Detective Sebastian Blanca of the VPD. Alongside Greely Detective Blanca discovered copious amounts of drugs, principally heroin as well as numerous dog cages, some of which were filled with defecation and discarded diapers.” The reporter took a moment to exhale and inhale deeply, unable to continue any further, he blinked and cleared his throat and then continued reading his report, “Uh, no… children were found at the scene though it is believed he was keeping at least two, possibly three, children in his compound. The… caller has yet to be identified. No suspects have yet surfaced.”

“What an ugly mug,” Jamie sneered in between mouthfuls of yogurt he spooned into his maw as he watched. Ariadne looked up from him, to the screen for the first time since the report had came on and gasped. The face upon the screen tagged “Jamal Greely” was familiar to her.

“I know that man.”

Jamie spun upon her.

“You what now? How?”

“I met him last night.”

“He was murdered last night. Shit… that means…”

She nodded solemnly, “I must have left just in time. He must have been killed very shortly after I walked away from his stoop.” She shook her head, biting her lower lip, “I saw him, Jamie. The man who,” she gestured to the television, “Killed that piece of trash. I saw him.”

Jamie placed his hand upon her shoulder and she slumped against him, into an embrace. His warmth was comforting and very soon, Ariadne forgot about the photo of the eye and the man with the white jacket and the kidnapper on the stoop and Partridge and the galas and the art world and her dreams. In that moment there was nothing but her and Jamie and the synchronous beating of their hearts.

 

The Photographer’s Dilemma (IIII)

Campbell returned home elated. Finally, after all her struggles, she would be having her first major gallery showing, at one of the premiere lounges in the city and on a weekend no less where the maximal number of people would be likely to show up. It wasn’t just good, it was perfect. She moved sprightly to the kitchen, throwing her coat upon the kitchen counter and removing a bottle of wine from the fridge. She paused when she turned around to set it on the long faux-obsidian island. She had forgotten to open her mail, which sat in a thick cluster upon the table. Aridane set the wine bottle down and began shuffling through the papers, bills, bank statements, credit card offers and, at the last, a note that was wholly unlike the rest, all yellowish creme, with a tasteful silver ensign upon the upper left corner. It did not say who it was from but was addressed to her. She wondered if someone had delivered it by hand as she fished out a butter knife and slit the top of the tiny package. Inside was a small square, covered over in expensive parchment. When she folded it away a photograph of a human eye greeted her, sepia toned and eerie; it was beautifully bound in a simple black frame without ornamentation. With rising brows the woman set the photograph down beside the bottle and unfurled the parchment. It read: Do you see?

What the hell is this? Who would send this to…

She studied the eye on the table, it seemed familiar. It was certainly from a female subject. After a few more moments of deliberation she stood bolt up right and cursed underneath her breath.

Its MY eye. That means… Lynder… he’s the only person who has taken a photo of me recently. He took my picture at his last gala. It must have been him. It must have.

She picked up her phone and dialed the doorman.

“Eeeello, what may I do for you?”

“Grigs, this is Ariadne-”

“Oh hello Ms. Campbell, something the matter?”

“No, not really. I was just curious if anyone has come in the past couple of weeks, anyone you don’t recognize?”

“Uh, I don’t think so… oh wait, yeah, come to think of it there was a fellow came in early yesterday. Definitely didn’t live here, said he was visiting some friends. Had a white jacket, with a red design on the back.”

“What kind of design?”

“Looked like a chrysanthemum.”

“Shit.”

“What is it? You know him Ms. Campbell, cause if he’s giving you any trouble I’ll-”

“No. No its fine, Grigs. Something just occurred to me. Thanks.”

Her hand trembled as she set the phone down. Her mind reeling back to the alleyway and the man with the white jacket and the chrysanthemum ensign. Who was he? Why was he here? Was he the one who had left the letter with the photograph of her eye? How did he get it? Did he know Partridge? What the fuck was going on?

Suddenly it occurred to her – the copies. She ran to her dark room and gasped.

Her copies of the man with the white jacket were missing. All of them.

The phone rang out from the kitchen. Aridane nearly jumped out of her skin and then shook her head and swore under her breath and ran to the source of the noise.

“Y-yes?”

“Ariadne, its me, Jamie. I just wanted to make sure you were ok.”

“What?”

“I know we didn’t exactly hit it off, we were drunk and all, its just… there was a murder. Right outside of Calvin’s place, near the alley you take to get home.”

“How the fuck do you know what way I take to get home.”

“Calvin told me. Or, Svetlana told me and Calvin told her. I just wanted to make sure you were ok, Calvin would have called but he was in a meeting, he’s starting to get big offers and, er, it doesn’t matter.”

“What happened, who was killed?”

“Dunno. Police haven’t released any names or photos, they just got a anonymous tip that something was going down in The Tombs. They show up and some guy is lying on the ground in his house missing half his head. Skull was crushed.”

“Any suspects?”

“None. Lot of people live around there, even though walking at night you might not think it.”

“Well… thanks for calling me, Jamie. Listen… uh-”

“Is something wrong? You sound upset.”

“Yeah, actually, yeah something is really fucking wrong, someone broke into my place and stole my photos.”

“What… Why?”

“I don’t know. But I’m freaking out, does Calvin mind if I come over?”

“Like I said he’s in a meeting, he’ll be tied up for a while. You can come over to my place, I don’t live very far away from him. Ok?”

“Ok. Thanks Jamie.”

“No problem. I’m at 556 Essen Street. You know it?”

“I know it.”

“Ok.”

“Ok, I’ll talk to you soon.”

She hung up and grabbed her coat, silently cursing herself for not scanning her pictures and saving them online.

If I’d just scanned them whoever the bastard who had broken in would be shit out of luck. Dammit.

She starred a moment at the photograph of her eye and then pocketed it and headed for the door, locking it behind her. As she headed for the subway a man with a crisp white jacket watched from the shadows of a local parking garage. Eyes like lanterns in the night.

 

The Photographer’s Dilemma (III)

The wicked droning of the club-speaker’s drowned out all conversation, interaction was relegated to drunken glances and sensual movements. A communication of primal rhythm. Ariadne Campbell sat in the corner, starring sullenly at her half-empty glass. She could see them out of the corner of her eye. Dancing, kissing, rubbing, whispering about fucking. Her lip quivered. Head dizzy with drink. Knuckles white. The sound of the place was starting to become overwhelming, the sonic shredding roiling throughout the ambit of her mind like an ocean in a shell. She’d no idea why she’d accepted Calvin’s invitation.

I should have turned him down. I can’t dance. Don’t have a date. Probably look like a fucking loser. Sitting in the corner alone, sipping tequila. I don’t even know why I bought it. I can’t stand tequila… at least they didn’t drop a worm in it…

Some moments later a voice greeted her. Unfamiliar and husky.

“What are you doing sulking in the corner, beautiful?”

Her words came slow and messy, the alcohol haze masking the texts from the library shelves of her memory palace, “I’m not sulking. Who are you?”

“Rivers. Jamie Randall Rivers. You don’t remember me?”

“Oh, wait, we met at Calvin’s party, last Friday, right?”

“Right. What’s your poison?”

“Tequila.”

He raised his brows. That’s a whole lot of tequila for a little girl like you.”

“Hey, I’m not that little.”

“Little to me.”

“Is that a challenge? I bet I could drink you under the table.”

She had no idea where this sudden bravado was coming from and knew that she couldn’t out-drink the man if only because she felt extremely drunk already, yet even still, the words continued to gush from her mouth as if of their own accord.

“Well? Wadda ya say?”

He smiled like a wolf. “Sure.”

An hour and a half later, Ariadne and Randall were rolling with laughter, exchanging stories of their youth, business mishaps, their dreams, failed and achieved, all whilst knocking back shots like fish filtering water. Shortly thereafter, Calvin and his girlfriend finally left the dancefloor and made their way across the club to stand before the cackling duo, “Randall, I didn’t see you pop in, I’m glad you could make it.”

“Your parties are always great, man. Thanks for the invite, was only late because my kid was sick, poor girl couldn’t sleep.”

Ariadne sat bolt upright. Kid? He hadn’t mentioned a kid. Is he married? Does he have a wife? Why would he come over and call me beautiful if he did? I thought he…

“Why aren’t you two dancing?” Calvin’s girl inquired with a raise of a over-shaved brow. Aridane couldn’t remember her name. Was something strange. Foreign. Eastern European. Stoya or Stoylarov or Story or something like that. Calvin always had been possessed of a inexplicable appreciation for the exotic.

Randall raised his empty shot glass and shook the ice cubes therein which clattered like hollow bones, smiling. Calvin nodded and pointed to Ariadne, “How about you, you up for a dance… if you don’t mind, Svety?”

Svetlana, that was her name. Sounds like a low-shelf sugar brand.

Svetlana rolled her eyes, “I hate it when you call me that, sounds too much like ‘sweaty.'”

Ariadne and Randall burst into laughter as an embarrassed look ghosted across Calvin’s squarish, handsome face. “Sorry.” He mouthed sheepishly. She smiled and fixed him with her gaze.

“Actually, yes.”

“Yes?”

“Yes, I do mind. Now come on, this is one of my favorite songs.”

Without another word Svetlana dragged her hapless lover back into the crowded dancefloor as a saccharin pop piece thundered from the loudspeakers, “I just wanna taste you baby, I just wanna little piece of the pie, I just wanna feel you honey, I just never wanna see you cry-“

“I think I know this song, not really my cup of tea but-”

“You didn’t tell me you had a kid.”

He paused, confused, brows furrowed like a tractor-rent field.

“You didn’t ask. Is that a problem?”

“No. Its just… are you married?”

His right brow arched a little higher. Momentarily, he raised his left hand and wriggled his unadorned and evenly tanned fingers.

“Fraid not. You planning on proposing?”

“No, I was just curious.”

“Did you think I was hitting on you?”

Ariadne’s heart sunk. She didn’t know how to reply, every avenue, verbal and not, seemed equally likely to lead to social embarrassment.

“Uh, that isn’t what I said.”

“Because I wasn’t. I mean, not that I wouldn’t, I just-”

“Its fine.” She wanted desperately to say “forget it” but feared for sounding too forceful.

He cleared his throat and starred intently at his glass. Lynder’s words rang through Ariadne’s head as she observed the man, who looked so genuinely uncomfortable in that moment, “Art is documentation of one’s own creation, not of anothers.” This is MY creation, this moment of unease and emotional ambiguity, this voided mental space externalized.

She removed her Leica M4-P from her bag and, swiftly as possible, snapped a shot of Randall staring at his glass. He looked up in inebriated confusion and she snapped again.

“What are you doing?”

“I hope you don’t mind. I just felt… compelled.”

“Uh, well, I’m going to go and… get another drink. Be right back.”

“Ok.”

He never returned. After around ten minutes had elapsed she induced that he had like as not left or maybe had moved into one of the other chambers of Calvin’s strange, multi-stratified compound, a gift from his oft doting and well-heeled family. Perhaps looking for another girl. Perhaps not. It didn’t matter. He didn’t matter, not to her, not in that moment, all that mattered where her photos. Her art. She rose with such suddenness that she knocked over her glass, spilling the congealing contents of her cup across the table and made for the exit, she wanted to her, fearful that someone would catch her leaving and raise the litany of typical queries which the unimaginative always did in such situations. “Why are you taking off so soon?” “How come you’re leaving already?” and so forth. She had no time or patience or energy for such conversations. Her goal compelled her to swift action and that crystallization of purpose steeled her being and drove her through the foggy haze of alcohol and wavering, sultry bodies and noise and street-bound biomass into the winding labyrinth of the cities slums which had come to be known as The Tombs. As she rounded the corner of the first alley which let out from the Calvin’s northern block she bumped into a tall man with a white jacket.

“Fuck, I’m sorry.”

The man looked down upon her without sound, or at least assumed he did, for his face was masked in shadow, swallowed whole by the pall cast by a dark red ballcap.

The man continued to regard her a moment without moving and then spoke, his voice low and flat and strange.

“These streets are unsafe, especially at such an hour. It is unadvisable to walk them alone.”

“You seem to be doing just fine by your lonesome.”

“I am never alone.”

She was too stunned by this sudden theatrical turn to properly respond. What did he mean? Was he on drugs? He didn’t seem like a tweaker. It was only when the man had half vanished from sight that Ariadne regained the powers of speech. She noticed, as she watched him go, a curious ensign upon the back of his jacket. A red chrysanthemum. When the man had gone she continued on her way back to her apartment which lay at the south eastern corner of the Tombs. She raised her Leica and took his picture.

She passed by a old black man sitting upon the stoop of a decaying tenement who was dressed in a broad brimmed hat and ragged flannel. He looked up hungrily, speaking softly but excitedly.

“Hey honey, you looking for a little… something something.”

She wasn’t sure whether he meant drugs or sex or some combination thereof; the one thing she was certain of was that he was implying at least one of the three.

“Nope.”

“You sure bout that?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Cool, cool, cool. Suit yaself.” He lit up a cigarette and looked off into the dark vacantly, puffing and rubbing his chin as the wind picked up and tore through the massive concrete structures with the dessicated rattling of a hundred thousand cicadas. Once he’d looked off she snapped a photo of him as well. He suddenly looked back towards here.

“What the fuck you doing?”

“Just taking pictures.”

“Take them somewhere else.”

“Sheesh, don’t get your panties in a knot,” she sneered taking another picture of the man. A dark look came then over his face and he rose up from the stoop, his posture threatening.

“The fuck you say, bitch? Get the fuck out of here.”

She snapped mid-rise and at full height, as his mouth hung open, spittle flying, anger radiating from his eyes and vaporizing up with the cool blue of the moon.

“Alright, calm down.” She implored the man, turning, her heart racing a little faster than usual.

“Be calm when you ain’t taking no more pictures, I don’t do that tabloid shit.”

She pocked the camera and waved at the man whose wrathful glare continued to follow her down the length of the street until she vanished in the void.

Once home she grabbed up her mail, threw it on the kitchen island and shut herself up in the darkroom, developing her photos of Jamie Rivers.

*

“These are pretty good,” the old man stated flatly, as he examined the photographs, his brows slightly raise, his glasses perched upon the end of his nose, “I don’t tend to see a lot of slice-of-life work anymore from serious photographers. Documentation is out, digital manipulation is in. Fantasy portraits are currently the favored flavor of the month. Lots of demon-ladies and badly photoshopped levitation scenes, etcetera. Tedious. Very tedious. But this, this has some grit to it, unearths the petty squalor of the inner city, the emulsification of crushed dreams and the vain striving to move beyond that vitiation.”

“Is ‘pretty good’ good enough for your gallery, Mr. Thompson?”

“Well, you just get right down to business don’t you. Brass tacks then. Yes.”

Ariadne heard his words, registered them, but even still she could not believe in their veracity. For years she had been struggling to break into the gallery scene, into the upper crust of the art world. Now, at long last the delicious nectar of victory dangled tempting just above her tongue. To taste it…

“What?”

“Yes. I would love to put these up for display. However, before I do, I’d like to know why you’ve taken them. What’s your motivation, Ms. Campbell?”

“Um…” Her tongue caught in her throat. It was not a question she was accustomed to being asked, “To be… more than just a vessel. To show through my pictures of the city, how much one person can change it, even if only so slightly. We forget how much impact we have on those around us, especially when we chance into them but once and never met them again.”

The old man paused, strike buy the peculiarity of her answer.

“Most people just list off what they want to get with the attention that is brought by their art. Listen, Ms. Campbell, as I’d said before, I would very much like to put these up; I’m hosting a show in a week, Saturday; you can leave these here and my people will set them up along with the other displays.”

“That’s fine, I’ve copies.”

“Good good, but I assure you, we take the utmost care in the maintenance of our pieces.” The old man paused and looked out the window whereupon a enormously fat woman was slurping from a fast-food cup, “It is rare enough we take care of our bodies and thus our minds, to say nothing of their products. For this reason I like to look at art like a body, a extension of it, a fusion of the body with the world. Thoughts are bodies. Thoughts and dreams.”

“Art is the crystallization of a dream.”

The old man smiled even as he tilted his head in perplexity.

“You sound just like Lynder Partridge.”

 

The Photographer’s Dilemma (I)

Ariadne Campbell scoffed.

“It’s… really quite dreadful. He’s talented, clearly, but it’s just so… grotesque.”

The woman’s companion, a bulky man with golden hair, dressed in a blazer that was far less expensive than it looked, folded his arms took a step away from the painting. He scanned the composition for a few moments and then returned his gaze to Campbell.

“I have to disagree with you. I think it’s lovely. No, that isn’t the right word. Striking.”

“You’re far too accommodating, Calvin; you never like to say a negative word. No spine beneath all those muscles.”

“It’s not that I am afraid to critique, it’s just in this I find nothing to critique at all. It’s magnificent, really.”

“It’s shock-drivel. I mean, rape… really?”

“Are you sure all that faulty ire isn’t just a result of Lynder Partridge getting top-slot and you getting… well, nothing.”

Some art reviewers from the local papers walked by, sizing up the massive canvas and it’s disconcerting contents. They stroked their stubbly chins and scratched out some notes and chattered amongst themselves about the latest cinematic releases and celebrity scandals.

“You seen the latest Captain Omega film?” A pudgy, balding man with a windbreaker inquired to a young, starry eyed Asain woman who stood beside him. She shook her head mane, “No. Haven’t seen them, superhero movies are rather… I don’t know I just don’t find them interesting. They’re all… it’s like the same film over and over again. There is no dramatic tension because you know the good guy will always win. You know one thing I was thinking about was how morality is handled in these films, superhero films, action films generally,” the fat man nodded blankly, he wasn’t really listening, didn’t really care, his eyes scanned the room, seeking out the all-stars from the world of the arts; there was always a scoop, if one was keen enough to but find it. The woman droned on, “So like, they’re always just like good and noble and whatever which is fine and all except that, ya know, they’re actually vigilantes. I mean, think about it, that’s what superheroes are, really. If someone dressed up in a mask and a cape and went around beating up criminals we’d all think they were crazy.”

The fat man turned to his companion with a knowing glint in his eye, “Lady, we pay good money to watch the mistresses of inner-city thugs throw tampons at each other; I think we’re all crazy.”

The woman gasped and turned to her friends to relay the horror she had just witnessed as the fat man cracked a grin and moved up stand between Campbell and Calvin, examining the elaborate drawing in between darting glances to the aloof duo.

“You’re the famous Ms. Campbell, aren’t you? The photographer, right?”

Campbell was surprised and flattered to be recognized; she tried in vain not to let it show through.

“Yes. Do we know each other?”

“Nope. But I know you know. I’m Ashton Derby,” he flashed a well-filled notepad in front of her face, “Been following your work. Pretty stuff, very pretty stuff, you’ve got a keen eye.”

“Apparently you do as well,” she smiled smugly, luxuriating in her burgeoning fame, “Are you an artist yourself?”

“No, not me. Ha, can barely draw a stick figure. I just like writing about it. I fancy that’s what the shrinks would call ‘cathartic release.’ Or voyeurism… or something like that.”

“What do you make of Partridge’s work; his drawings?”

“They’re… different. They’re kinda… I dunno… disturbing.”

Campbell turned to Calvin with triumph shinning in her eyes, “See, I told you he wasn’t all that.”

“Oh no, it isn’t that I think they’re bad, I mean, it’s like a car crash, it’s horrible but I can’t look away, that’s kind of a testament to the artist, don’t you think? Whole reason I came to this gala event was to snag an interview with the elusive Lynder Partridge, guy never answers my emails, phone calls, nothing. He’s a hermit. Ya know, I tried looking him up… weirdest thing, there are no photographs of the guy anywhere, online, in papers. Must be camera shy.”

Campbell’s heart shrunk. She was so sick and tired of hearing that name. So sick and tired of everyone praising such a rank amateur. This should have been her event. HER gala. If only… if only…

Now it was Calvin who looked victorious, he arched a brow in his friend’s direction as if to say, “Still so haughty?” Campbell crossed her arms about her breasts and bite her lip and then scoffed at the fat man.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe our collective tastes have reached such lows. Decades ago this city used to be the art capital of the world and now… THIS? This is what passes as art? This ghastly aberration?! Lynder Partridge is nothing more than an over-hyped elitist.”

Darby was taken aback and for a moment he stood in stunned silence; he’d not expected such a sudden deluge of passion. Calvin only sighed, it was not the first time he’d witnessed such an outburst. Before either of the men could respond, a new voice fluttered over the air, low and scratchy and strangely sonorous.

“I’ve been called many things, Ms. Campbell, but never ‘over-hyped’.”

All heads turned to behold a man of middling height and pale flesh standing before them. The intruder wore an off-white suit, expertly tailored, a red tie and a jet black overcoat, tipped at the collar with expensive furs and leather loafers that clattered musically upon the gala’s marbled floor as the cane that followed with them. His features were sharp and angular and his opaque blue eyes reflected the light in prismatic sparks that were diluted from the thick and serpentine whorls of smoke that roiled up from a daintily clutched cigarette – half smoked – which he held in his left and leather gloved hand.

Darby’s face lit up as he saw the man, his long-sought quarry as Campbell’s own fell in dismay. She’d not actually expected to meet the man when she’d accepted invitation as Partridge was notoriously aloof. Some who knew him reported that he was partial to month long vanishing acts; where he went was anyone’s guess.

“M-Mr. Partridge! Hello, I’m-”

“Ashton Darby. Newspaper man. Culture reporter for The New Daily Standard. I read your column,” the fat man waited in vain for the artist to comment on the quality of his writing; when he did not, the light faded from his eyes and he twirled the notepad with agitation, “And you are Ariadne Campbell, and this must be your friend,” Lynder turned to Calvin with the faintest trace of a smile and extended one of his thin, leather-gloved hands.

“Calvin Mercer, pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Partridge.”

“Likewise.”

“Do forgive my friend here, she sometimes gets a little carried away, I’m sure she didn’t mean-”

“I meant absolutely everything I said,” Ariadne snapped hotly, her gaze narrowing and her mouth going taunt. It occurred to her suddenly that this chance encounter opened up a whole world of new possibilities for her career. Perhaps, she thought, Darby would even write her up in one of his columns! If there were to be a public spat, surely someone would pick it up. One of the tabloids. One of the screamsheets. Tantalized, she steeled her resolve.

“Your art is dreadful.”

Darby nearly gasped while Calvin simply shook his head in resigned vexation; why, he thought, could she never behave herself? There always had to be a show…

Lynder’s face registered nothing. His facade as placid and impenetrable as a Venetian mask.

“You’re a photographer, are you not, Ms. Campbell?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“What I should fancy is truly cause for dread is the photographers’ dilemma; the photographer is a documentarian through and through. He does not create, he captures creation.”

“All art is documentation.”

“This is true. Art is documentation of one’s own creation, not of anothers. The photographer who does not arrange his or her own scenes, why,” Lynder finally turned towards her, it was the first time he had looked directly at Campbell since he’d entered the scene; his head level, piercing blue eyes unblinking, “She wouldn’t really even be an artist at all, but merely a voyeur, a vessel for the real actors to communicate. A medium.”

Campbell froze having noticed the gender switch – he to she – she’d heard the words but they did not instantly register in her mind. When they had sunk in she groped for a retort but there was nothing other than the rattling of the crowd like a great and baying pack of hounds echoing all throughout the hall surrounding and her own rapid cluttering thoughts which slithered up from the viscous recesses of her frantic mind. She had never considered such a position before; she knew he was wrong, of course, indeed, had to be, but she could not articulate why and in due course began to question her own conviction. I’m not… I’m not just some documentarian. I’m an artist. Just like you. Only better. Far better. You think you can talk down to me because you’re on the rise? Because you’ve got a little bit of local fame? Because you got the gala slot and not me?! I’ll show you, you arrogant bastard. I’ll show you!

Campbell made a showing of carelessness, sighing and turning from Lynder as if he bored her, though, in truth, it was to escape his gaze. Most people looked off at regular intervals when they were talking with someone but Lynder’s eyes never wavered, he was focused wholly upon her, expectant, she assumed, of a reply. She didn’t like it. Didn’t like him or his weird eyes or his fancy coat or his preened dress clothes beneath it. Didn’t like the gala and the insect clattering of the crowd.

She wanted to get out. Needed to get out.

“This conversation bores me, I’m leaving,” she thought that might do it, that that would stir some hint of passion from him, rouse some semblance of anger. But there was nothing. His cold, blue eyes and his sharp pale face remained wholly immobile, unfazed.

Momentarily, Lynder inclined his head respectfully, sincerely, “Good’day, Ms. Campbell.”

It took considerable willpower for Campbell to keep herself from running from the gala. The bastard had won, she thought to herself, and what was more infuriating was that she was fairly certain the battle was entirely constrained within the confines of her own mind. He had won today, but she vowed she’d never allow him the upper hand again.

*

 

She scanned Darby’s column as soon as it was released. There was no mention of “Ariadne Campbell.” Ariadne cursed herself; I should have made a better impression on Darby and a worser impression on HIM. I should have… I should have…

“Something on your mind, Ms. Campbell? You look worried.”

She turned to her model where he stood in the albescent loft, naked and holding a fig. Putting down the paper upon her worktable she looked up at the man and shook her head.

“It’s nothing. Hold the fig a little higher.”

“Like this?”

“Yes, good. Good.”

Only it wasn’t good. It was a stiff and cliche sub-par Renaissance-era facsimileism. It was deplorable. She looked at the digital camera reel, picture after picture of the lithe, muscular young man in various poses of heroic splendor as hackneyed and messageless as the splicing on-to of Roman columns upon a Brutalist facade. She had attempted Homeric Joe McNally and ended up as just another amateur floundering at the fathomless edges of the new. She sighed and leaned back, setting the camera down with a dull clack upon the worktable and sipped some lukewarm bourbon from a small, squat wineglass. She hadn’t been able to find any of the damned shot glasses, she wondered idly if Calvin had thieved one for his upcoming flat-party. He’d better not have…

“Ms. Campbell, I could really use a stretch, like I said before, I don’t mind posing a little over-time, and we’re,” he looked towards his mobile phone’s clock, “ten minutes over, “But I’ve been doing this pose for almost twenty minutes straight, neck is killin’ me.”

“Yeah. Sure. Fine.”

She was only half listening. Frustration’s savage increase consumed the whole of her mind. She couldn’t find her shot glasses. She couldn’t get a gala slot. She couldn’t get featured in any of the big name art columns even if she was being recognized by their writers. She still couldn’t think of rebuttal to Lynder’s rebuke and as a consequence had decided to forego her typical photographic methodology of streetcrawling for real-life scenes in favor of a elaborate and meticulously crafted designer-fantasy shot. What bothered her most was that the draftsman had not spoken out of anger, but out of concern and curiosity. His low and sonorous voice echoed still.

Art is documentation of one’s own creation, not of anothers. The photographer who does not arrange his or her own scenes, why, she wouldn’t really even be an artist at all, but merely a voyeur, a vessel for the real actor’s to communicate. A medium.

A medium… is that all I really am? A vessel? She wondered with horror, her hands closing tensely upon her sunless knees, her lips and brows trembling with emotion. The week had begun so promisingly and now everything felt wrong. Fate was taking the piss.

“What’s the matter?”

“I don’t pay you to psychoanalyze.”

The model threw up his hands in entreaty, his mouth going taunt, eye mired in confusion and a mild but growing sense of irritation.

“Yeesh. Sorry. Don’t know why you’re in such a foul mood today. I was just worried about you-”

“I don’t pay you to worry. I pay you to do good poses for my work. A task at which you have miserably failed. Look at this. It’s cartoonish,” she held up the camera reel screen for him to observe, “See. Look at this.”

“Those were poses you asked me to do.”

“Well, you didn’t do them very well, did you?” The question was rhetorical. She knew they were bad and she knew he knew they were bad. She just wanted him to suffer for it. He wasn’t an artist but he’d been around enough artists to know what was aesthetically pleasing and what was schlock. It was his fault, she thought, anger rising with her body from the couch. HIS, not mine!

“I don’t know what else you want from me.”

“I want you to leave. You’re fired.”

His eyes went wide, “What? Why?”

“Just get out.”

“An explanation for my CV would be appreciated.”

“I said get out.”

He turned to leave, hurriedly dressing and snatching his phone up from off the counter of the exposed kitchen island. He paused at the door and turned to look at his former boss with equal measures of disappointment and disdain.

“You ever wonder if you can’t get into the big galas because you aren’t talented or if its just because you’re a unbearable bitch? Food for thought. Have fun with the rest of your life.”

She was expecting an infuriated slam but he closed the door gently behind him. As his feet clattered down the old tenement hallway Ariadne moved to where he’d stood before the counter, as if to envelope his afterimage. Some indeterminable amount of time clocked away into nothing before she inhaled deeply and poured herself another shot of brew, sipping the golden drops in quick, nervous gulps, cursing her former employee in her mind. You never really cared about my work. You probably only cared about me because of money. Maybe you wanted to fuck me. Well, now I’ve fucked you. Bastard. 

Outside the cars tore at the concrete and a flock of birds she’d never seen before squealed by, as if in protest of gravity’s suzerainty. The city screamed and she screamed with it.

 

 

Cannot Cry But Only Shrink

What have I put upon myself. This is me, this is my mind disorganized, drenched in its diverted self, there is nothing but me all over me. Lift me up me. Me help me!! Where is my fucking card, fuck fuck. “I’m outside.” “I’ll be there in a minute, give me a second.”

Can’t he get his shit together spending his time looking through shit, he lives in trash, why? Do I want to be around a person like this, fucking loser. Every minute that goes by I feel it, wasting my gas, I should just go leave.

Where the fuck fuck is it, fuck fuck fuck. “In for a min, got to go sorr- …ol, I’ll see you lat-”

What the fuck is wrong with me? I can’t be like that, I don’t want to be like that, nothing but friction is myselves. I feel so hot. So hot. It is in my face. He’s not busy, he’s tired of my shit, probablyprobably, I’ll… just… The papers, the cartons, the packages, me; it’s going. In moments.

Have to find my lighter first, ha, I guess I saved myself. Can’t find shit. Instinctively grabs for his cigarettes.

 

I want to fog this out the facial heat, turmoil, but there it is agai..heat up in..just lit a cigarette..ha I found it… I did find it.

I’m never going to fix this, the damage is done, this is the right thing to do, the strong thing to do. I am a drag on everyone, I’m toxic. I pick up some magazine and light it with my cigarette. I walk it up the stairs, red projected on the walls and ashes drop to the ground; I shake he shakes. To his room he brings the amber light and throws it on the bed that rides on a sea of trash. And I’m crying and he’s crying.

This fire spreads slowly spidering through the different materials, and this heart is rattling and another him alongside me the immobile frightened one. I, he, is puppeted to the bathroom and dumps out the trash can, spilling the shit rags on to the gross floor and in the act the cigarette, that whimpering mad man stamps out by accident “ow” with a bare foot. Carrying himself in his own sobbing arms. He turns on the shower and fills the scummy trash can with water. The smoke he can smell, the plastic burning, the smoke outgassing from his bedroom.

Fuck bellowing fuck bellowing bellowing “fuck” tears down his face from those harsh chemical, flames, fear and failure. He throws the filled trash can’s water into the room engulfed in flames. Fuck. Call the pol..et more wat..e fire exst..let it burn. All the different sides of I and him and that man converge into none having been three parts of a converse, quiet inside. Out he goes and imagining a cold wind, a cold wind leading him at the back from is bedroom door to the front yard. Where he lights another.

The fire is burning.

His room is burning.

Ha! at least I left my room today… ha!

He remembered that he had tears on his face. That it was all his fault and that somehow he just made it worse, he made himself worse, he couldn’t even erase his life, to weak to die.

Calls his mother.

“Hey mom.”

“What, Tim, are you alright?”

“Ha!..yeah, I’m fine.”

“I’m just calling to see how you are… I guess,”  he walks further away from his house in ruining.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m doing fine actually.. actually have to go.”

“Alright? Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I just got a job.. so I got to go.”

“Ok… love you.”

Bands of color and patterns that don’t exists, the sidewalk shifts the squares get big then small then big, the ground is just a skin that covers an ocean, Tim falls over unable to keep his balance, the rising side walk tide tosses him into the street and a car stops the tires screech the engine still hauling stillness gone to noises, it doesn’t full the wheels accelerate the breaks grating, the tires spinning,burning . The car door opens. Out steps a beautiful muscular man. Tim looks into his eyes and the face changes and shifts, but still holds its symmetry, Tim he’s picked up, grabbed by his collar and he shrinks to half his size at the grasp. This Satan picks him up without effort without the forces of nature upon his decisions and the car that he was in grows, it exceeds the limits of street and overflows partially submerging under the ground. The man carries him into the arch way a former car window, three fours of the car under the asphalt. Tim cannot cry but only shrink; he shrinks and shrinks and he is just a pebble in his hand. This Satanic hand when it’s heart does not beat it is icy cold and when the pressure is driven against the blood he is iron white hot. they walk into the car that is now the size of a cathedral Tim runs screaming panicking in circles and so he shrinks he shrinks he is a molecule, Satan’s face is projected on to every misty matter sphere and Tim shrinks and shrinks and shrinks and shrinks.

Tim laid in the street.

“Get the fuck off the ground, what the fuck is wrong with you, get up, you can’t lay in the street hello! Hello!”

Tim puts his hand gently on the angry man’s wrist, “I’m sorry,” he walks himself to the curb and sits down.

“You’re lucky I didn’t run you over, you’re lucky I didn’t call the cops, get up.. you’re a loon” he slams the car door and car drives away.

Tim sees Bryan’s copper car in the distance.

He pulls into his driveway, he gets out

“What.. you don’t look right… why is your… lets go… inside.”

Tim follows Bryan inside his own house.

“Lets clean this… do you have trash bags.”

“No…”

“Fucking-a.”

“Actually I think have bags in my room, I think.. actually.. um don’t go.”

Bryan walks in to Tim’s room that has been destroyed by fire.

“TIM WHAT FUCK”

“Oh.. I couldn’t find my card when you came.”

Blown Head, Black Dance

I hear his poorly maintained car before I get around the bend. The cabin is lit, since it is almost dark. Everything that Erin did seemed stupid, yet he had never been arrested. He conducted himself with a righteousness. Confidence I guess is a better camouflage than paranoia, a camouflage I should learn, since I am quite paranoid.

I open the passenger door.

“Yooo,” his grating affected blackness contrary to his suburban face. There is a dime in the cup-holder.

I point “I’m not looking for this. I need a gun,” I say, like its normal and Erin’s face grows sober.

There is a gap in the conversation and then it takes on the rhythm of when we smoke cigarettes.

“A gun,” he looks through the window with contemptible dramatic affection. Who is he lying to? He will sell me a gun; the suspense, I know, is him stunned by the labor that it will take to acquire it, no need for acting. I need this fucking gun!

“I’ll give you a lot of money,” I point my gaze into the center of his face and put a strong gust behind the air that the words float they are carried straight deep into his mind

“It’s difficult to get a gun.”

“I’ll give you 600.”

“Ha!” I understand the humorous jolt. We have been so un-business-like in the past, always casual, but Erin’s surprise continues to build as I lift my book-bag from my feet and place it on to my thighs from it I take an envelope.

“Your money,” I place the envelope on to Erins lap and his face changes or at least he took off the face that he had worn over that which is exposed now. With his hands shaking slightly from his money lust, he peers into and weeds through the deposit slip, checking that the paper aligned with my words.

“Alright, okay….give me like a week.”

I step down from his car on to the blacktop and walk towards home, a little staggered from what I had just done. I’m sure he felt similar. The nervous bug that lingered in my chest grew again when I see the sky begin to blacken. It was a short walk home, but the storm seems to be a sprinter. I want to get out of the way of this, I don’t like being wet. I feel rain or maybe a bit of dripping sweat, faint thunder or a car moving quick, riding over a bump or pothole, we have many of those around here. I make it inside through the door before the raindrops come from the clouds that wonder in the sky, watering the earth with their tears from their homeless sorrow. The beginning of the rainstorm always comes with that scent, then hissing. The winds confused on what direction to pick, twist the downward bound water and strike the windows in the living room making a rattle from the perpendicular rain-brushes. Thunder, it’s like you can hear the inside of the earth, the rocks and stones in chaos, like the air. Like the strumming of a guitar, the strings are feathered, they ring so close in time, you cannot tell which note started the chord. Which was first, the metallic scent, the deafening crack or the blinding light.

Lately chaos whispers in my ears starting sentences that I back out of…

Boring boring boring boring boring; life-less life-less life-less. The same comfortable thing every day. I wake up late, I go to sleep late, I sleep longer than I should, 12 hours. Things more or less ever moving move quite increasingly slowly without motion and nullified evolution –  

slowly slowly

Middle class homes arranged like traffic. Some parts of the town are still wooded, the trees hiding something historical, I tilt the wheel into Jesse’s nocturnal patch. A little plume of cigarette smoke rises and gets examined, passing through the yellow of the porch light. Jesse’s hand unerect dashes up and down when he hears my car. He does not look away from his phone that casts a blue foreground on to his round face, with strange long contrasting upward shadows behind all the ridges in his face. He looks like the oldest man who has ever lived.

He sucks more and there’s a long silence as I stand before him. His greeting crawls out dry and injured.

“Hey.”

“Sup.”

Jesse takes another long drag and it is as if he has just awoken.

“You see this video?” a fat black woman sits on a toilet, she is embarrassingly fat. She moves her massive weight side to side twisting at twice the speed of her head, facing away from the camera and then rhythmically her fat black head comes back around. Every time she faces the camera she says, “sittin on the toilet” her thick voice strained of its grease comes through the small speaker and cracked screen.

“What happened to your phone?” I say to avoid faking laughter.

He takes another drag from his cigarette it is a few moments away from the filter the smoke still obscuring his words.

“It’s been broken for awhile I was..uh just walking and dropped it, weren’t you there?”

“No” I was.

“That video is fucking funny dude, fucking uh.. classic.”

“Yeah,” I say without passion.

“Where’s Chris?”

“I don’t know….. you can’t text him?”

“Can you text him?” Jesse stamps out his cigarette.

“What’s the point of asking he is going to come any way we do the same thing every night.”

“can you just text him?”

We walk into his house

“can you just text him”  I mimic back to him “Your too lazy to text him”

“Its not my fucking job” Jesses says

while we walk down into the basement, my rage heightens with every creaking step.

“Not my job what the fuck does that mean. I didn’t think we had fucking jobs.”

“Why are you being such a dick?”

“I’m being dick?” I make a face.

“Fuck you.”

“Fuck….fuck you, talking about jobs you don’t have fucking job, so calling Chris should be your fucking job.”

“FUCKING LEAVE THEN!”

“FUCK YOU, you’re boring and you’re fuckin lazy, and you’re make me boring. We do the same thing and it’s boring, every night, every day we do the same thing, and we pretend it’s special, we get high and we watch videos and were not cool, were not cool, We are just losers who watch videos down in the basement, I want to be fucking cool, and I pretend, and no;  you!, YOU! pretend that you don’t care, I care, you act like a nigger, but a different type of NIGGER then you think, you act like a lazy nigger not like those cool fucking nigger who makes money like the guys you watch because they break rules and they hurt people they make money, you’re harmless, fuck you fucking NIGGER”  I turn my back to Jesse and walk out, surprised that in my moment of passion I went so vulgar and incoherent.

“Get the fuck out dude just get the fuck out” Jesse said as I ran up the stairs

Driving past homes, its night I left the house in rage, I pray to something – I hear something I can have the strength – I’m so con – fused – sumed – and chaos – whispering in my ear – I walk past – hours the – the homes – I left the house in rage – it’s night I can have the strength –  I – can’t – I can – I – am –’ve found myself rather far from home – I’m not suicidal or I’m not looking to do – anything – something bad – kill someone – like that b – but can you –  recently I’ve been watching a lot of videos – I think we’re headed for bad times and I need something to protect myself – I’m – depression – we are – I am – entering into a – the greatest depression is  – the economy its – RING –  In the middle of the woods field  – I grip the gun and I point it to the sky and shoot the fucking stars and my ears  – RING  – I feel exposed  – I run out of the hedge-line catching my breath  –breathing –  I should go into back into the woods  – it’s a safe place they won’t find me – I don’t know where my I mind is –  where I –‘m at least there’s  –  – RING  – and no chaos in my ears –  Nobody lives around –  nobody cares around – here they’ll ignore –  it – my thoughts fight my heart.

It really nice to have the floor supporting my back. Gazing into the lit ceiling my open mind fights between hope and despair – the paint when it was applied fought gravity and dried leaving snowy dimples – What am I going to do with this gun, I thought I would be inventive more brave, do something be cool. Hadn’t my creativity, my sanity, been taken by drugs, Erin’s drugs. I have my incite  – something  – I know something that’s righteous – I’ll kill him I’m going to kill him and put my gun in his mouth and take his mind  – mind.

“Erin, I need to see you now.”

“Yeah… what’s wrong? Where are you going to be?”

“Come to the baseball field.”

“I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

I imagined what he was thinking, thinking nothing of what I would be doing, evil for evil. I imagined his rickety car moving swishing through the lonely air.

How his dashboard rattled vibrations played from the speaker cones calling out comforting nigger chants that kept away the evil spirits that had gotten to this mind – He’ll be screaming. I’m a predatorI called my evil wicked self that slaughtered – hollowed – deboned the former me this predator so wise he did not even wear a demonic smile when he saw the sign of his prey that raised his horny heart to see that light through the woods.

Erin parked his car and he walked to me standing in the field. He’s coming towards He’s coming for me.

“Hey, what’s up!” he says from a little far  – he’s out of my range – away.

“Hey,” I call back.

“What are you looking for?”

“I’m not looking for weed,” Erin laughs.

I remember what I was going to do I think. My heartbeat – ed  – and – ed  – jumped in remembrance and knocked my eyes out of focus and I started shouting.

Why don’t you dance anymore you fucking idiot

relaxing is not a statement – playing off your dead feet

pretending you are too strong for the beats command

the truth is you are with the god death and not a

good subject of him – like I am – you use your fuel

that can’t get you beyond the next ridge to justify

your scrawny potential drag us down with your potential

potential is fat and fat is sticky, just like shit, just like your

in-consequence – So nonentity dance for me before my bullet  – before

my gun dance like an idiot  – else you’ll be dizzy busy dancing

blown head the black dance your last blown head goodbye

dance or you’ll dance there’s no option to deny my command

that I hope you don’t follow because I am the good follower of

death who wishes to harmonize your discontent with your own

sour note soul –  Dance before me or die  – I hope you don’t dance so I

may kill you – DIE! —————————————AHHHHHHHH——————HH!!HHHH————————x—————RINNNNNNNNNNGGG———————————————————————x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Which was first the metallic scent, the deafening crack or the blinding light?

I drove his poorly maintained car around the bend and –  the dark it’s almost gone – and I open the hatch and shoved his limp poorly maintained body into the storm drain, when he hit the ground it sounded like fresh dough ————————————— drove –  and the sun rose from the horizon and drifted off and away and the world around me turned a deeper lost black————— but I am the predator me and he has no need to smile————— The car –  I drove it into to the woods and into the swaps and I pushed it into a deep unknown pond. I walked for miles  – From the little woods to the places where all the lights were off and there was no sound – I started to see the new sun rise and my pupils shrunk  – I looked at the new sun’s new blank face.

“Hey I know that you freaked out and all on me the other night, look I’m not mad, we can be better, I was thinking that we could go to the museum.”

“oOk,” I’d like that

Jesse came and picked me up.

“What fuck man, are you okay?”

I’m fine

“Alright.”

Jesse played music the whole ride – I’m fine

We parked and gave the keys to the parking attended who guided Jesse’s car to a place somewhere deep in the earth.

“Dude, I get that your mad and all but like, can you talk?”

We walked through the city in the bottom of the glass canyon and went into the MET and the place was busy with foreigners who look with wonder at the big and beautiful things that were from their countries that are there on the walls– And I was struck – St John Baptise grey leather skin blood drained silent his nature submit to death and severed  – and as I drifted into fantasy – the noise of the city – RING – faded and – “We ask you to make a donation of what every you can”’ – I looked into the eyes of Johns flock of sheep and they could feel my knife pressed into their necks  – Satan paradiddled on my heart  – His closed gaze that draws me in like  – the closing of eyes draws me in  – walking in closer and closer

“Alan,” delivered back up into the world,  “aren’t you glad we came?”

I’m fine – Jesse – strange – John Baptise

“Fuck.”

his mind makes – sounds that pierce me and block out – the sound of chaos like the gun RING – a series of RING RING RING RING RING RING  

“Fuck no.”

I’m fine – Are you fine – I’m fine

“Dude Erin is dead… look at Facebook.”

I open my mind – in my hand – my phone – I have to climb a mountain – A mountain of conversation – dialogue plummeting down – that RING RING RING in my mind and RING – I put him where they won’t found in the coin slot – he’s just penny no one picks up a penny – it was in the woods – no – no it was in the field – but – no one cared – no – I’ don’t like getting wet – no – but – RINGRINGRINGRING – I’ll look – I –  NO! – know one looked –  NO! don’t look down there – but – i’ll do it  – I’ll look –  I’ll look   – I’ll look –  I’ll look  – I’ll look –  I’ll look  – I’ll look –  I’ll look  – I’ll look –  I’ll look  – I’ll look –  I’ll look  – I’ll look –  I’ll look – RINGRING

Yesterday morning our family received a phone call that Erin had been found and was unfortunately deceased. We are sad, very sad, his funeral service will be a 12:30 on Monday at the Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home in Clifton. Address: 1313 Van Houten Ave, Clifton, NJ 07013 and Phone: (973) 546-2000. We ask the people of the community and especially our family and his friends to join us in our time of grief and speak about his life. RIP Erin Goffman 1994 – 2018 you will be missed, by everyone especially me your mother, your father and your sister

Eric omg I miss you so much see you in heaven

I wasn’t close with you man, but you were so nice every time I saw you, what an angel

what happened is that too early to ask

It was related to his business

Fuck this political system if these nazi politicians didn’t use this plant to justify fascism and scam money from the AmeriKKKan people than we wouldn’t have to be so hush about his business, lets be honest Erin sold pot is that so bad it’s just a plant. Fuck the fucking Republicans

I bet the cops shot him

Cops kill more people than pot ever heard someone overdosing on pot ha! Maybe if the fucking PIGS! Smoked a blunt once a while their little dicks would hit get so hard from killing an innocent kids!

Everyone, will miss you Eric my prayers go out for you and your parents so sad!

There is no fucking god

Incredibly rude I can’t believe that anyone would comment like that

Well Erin didn’t believe in god bitch, Erin told me if he died he didn’t     lllllllllllllllllllllllll         want a funeral he wanted to have a party so I’ll be smoking a blunt in the lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllparking lot BITCH

I’ll be calling the police ASSHOLE!!

This didn’t seem right I didn’t do that – Iook – I’m looking – I’m fine – RING – Its just paint and it’s the – figure is in a black room – something bad happened – Its not really real it’s like the –

But she keeps on smiling at me – hey let go don’t touch me – But I look and she is moving – who put her in the there in the wall – the wall is paint – and there are people in there tooo – ghost do’—RING–nnt— !— “YOU LIKE TO TO? PICTURE OF YOU TAKE OF AHHH US?” – don’t look at me freak you freak – I can say nothing – they will find me – coin slot eyes – chingchingchingchignchifnchinc – fucking nigger Chinese fucking nigger – It’s a drew – its not a drewing – its just a drawing – don’t look at me –That drew me in – I get closer and dance to its beat – look at its atoms – I smell it – taste it “SIR!” “ALAN!”  What do – n’t! touch em – you – f – ucking – rom – nigger I – make for – DIE – x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x – stab – hi – m – y – bl – ade – eed – s – harp – all over the gallery floor my – canvas – and penetrate his skin !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – It pours out – my paint – RING “P – I – UT – m – YO – fine – UR H ANDS UP——————————!—————”———!————————————————!!———!!!——!—AHHHHHHHH——————HH!!HHHH————! RINNNNNNNNNNNNNNG———xx——————————————— x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Fractal America, Kodokushi-6771, Prt.2

In Japan sometime around the month of march, 2017, a employee named Takada from a Japanese company called Mind – which specializes in the removal of indelicate material (such as sex toys or sexually explicit manga) from the abodes of the freshly deceased – recounted to American scream-sheets a most peculiar tale. During one of Takada’s cleaning missions he had encountered the body of a single, 50 year old man named Joji whom had died of a heart attack whilst alone in his two-bedroom apartment. Joji was found lying in six metric tons of pornographic magazines which he had assiduously collected and stored in piles, overflowing in labyrinthine sprawl, all about his tiny house. He had laid there for more than a month; the room, filled with the noxious odor of decaying flesh, his selfsame flesh purple-green and liquefied. His eyeballs running from his sockets.

No one had noticed.

Joji’s peculiar and depressing death is part of a increasingly problematic trend of middle-aged to elderly individuals dying without notice in their homes, or else-wise secluded places, and there remaining for weeks, months or even longer. The problem has reached such a critical threshold of commonality that the Japanese have even given it a name.

Kodokushi.

The word roughly translates into English as, “Persons who [have] lived alone, die alone.” The primary causes for ghastly and seemingly ever increasing malady have been a source of much speculation and theorizing with the general consensus being due to social alienation. Japan has recently undergone demographic shift that has placed more elderly folk home alone than ever before without anyone to look after them and with the transformation of the traditional Japanese family, young people are no longer particularly keen to stay with their parents or grandparents and look after them – there are jobs and careers to be gotten into (a mindset, largely imported from America). This family breakdown and increase in the focus on endless careerism has also created another huge social problem for Japan: suicide.

Suicide-deaths-per-100000-trend

Japan currently ranks 26th (as of 2015) in total world suicide rates as aggregated by the WHO (World Health Organization), trailing Hungary and ahead of Togo (Togolese Republic). In 2014 alone it was estimated that around 70 nationals killed themselves every single day with the vast majority being men (males are highly over-represented in suicide, both in Japan and across the world).

Whilst Americans might find all of this, perhaps, grotesquely interesting they will likely fail to see the parallels to their own society. As was shown in my first installment in this series, America is far from being untouched by the vexing scourge of social deprivation. Just as a point of demonstration, whilst Japan ranks 26th in the world suicide index, The United States of America ranks 48th (as of 2015). Whilst this is significantly less suicides than Japan one should keep in mind that the WHO surveyed, aggregated and indexed 107 different countries; 48 out of 107 is nothing to brag home about. Nor is the United States exempt from the other strange and often harmful aberrations created by social deprivation which we shall examine in finer detail in part 3.

 


Sources:

RocketNews24: Kanagawa Man’s Body Found…