Crucifixion Reloaded by PVT - HTML preview
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practical laws. Rules that can be easily understood and followed.
No one will join us with this feeble commandment of love.‖
Peter nodded and said, ―First point of order. Divorce‖
―We could connect it with adultery. Listen,‖ suggested Matthew
picking his writing up into his hands. ―I say to you that everyone
who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes
her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman
―Good, Matthew, this seems something Jesus would say,‖ said
―Wait there is more,‖ said Matthew raising his hand. ―I say to
you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already
committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes
you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose
one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into
hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw
it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that
your whole body go into hell.‖
―I don‘t know, this seems a little too harsh…but sounds pretty
cool. Next point of order. Homosexuality…‖
―Jesus never spoke about them directly, shouldn‘t we leave
them alone?‖ asked Andrew, his eyes filled with doubt.
―That doesn‘t count,‖ answered Philipp. ―He didn‘t speak of
many things. This is his first visit, he can‘t see everything, we
must help him and translate his words into our language. What if
we spread the word that we were chosen by the Saint Spirit as
vessels to convey the message of God. What do you say?‖
Everyone nodded and sat up a little bit straighter as they tasted
the manna that made them chosen.
―So listen,‖ said Peter opening his mouth. ―God gave them over
to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural
function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the
men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in
their desire toward one another, men with men committing
indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty
of their error. So?‖
―Perfect, Peter,‖ said Philipp. ―Saying to love each other is easy.
What homosexuals do is unnatural. Jesus clearly didn‘t want to
speak against the laws of traditions of a million year old society.
He cannot expect that everything changes with a snap.‖
―But these people don‘t harm anyone…‖ said Andrew a little
aggravated by this meeting.
―Maybe they don‘t, but if we turn against the traditions of
society, no one will listen to us. We must reach out to them, make
them believe that we don‘t want to change the world. Once they
do believe this, we can start by making small amendments, taking
out passages here and there until only one law remains: Love
each other as I love thee.‖
―Listen to this, people, this will blow your mind,‖ said Matthew
smiling. ―A rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of
―Good, good, the rich, blame everything on the rich,‖ said
―And what about his words about hate without reason? Shall I
take it out? It will do no harm, only a few words less,‖ said James.
―Yes,‖ said Peter, ―and that part about the victims too, we
cannot permit anyone to believe that we are selfish. We are prone
to sacrifice, and through sacrifice, we will win the heart of the
people. Everyone feels sorry for a victim.‖
―I actually like writing,‖ said Peter. ―It‘s fun. A perfect exercise
for the imagination and the mind.‖
Everyone agreed once again.
Philip felt the heat becoming unbearable. The sun was beaming
down on the world punishing it with its melting rays. Philipp felt
the world deform around him as if he were drunk. The sky
became wavy, and the three dimensional world began to
compress itself into a two dimensional one as the millions of
colors of the world began dripping down from the canvas. He was
the only three dimensional object in the picture. Wherever he
turned, the paint was dripping down, and Philipp saw a perfectly
white canvas behind it that shone so brightly he had to close his
eyes. When he reopened them, he was lying in bed in his room.
He stood up and knew what he had done was a mistake. The
cognizance spread through his veins and turned into pleasure, a
pleasure that seemed to have no specific cause, just a tint of
recognition. He had to touch himself. His checked pajama pants
slid to the floor, and his firm instrument rose toward the sky. The
morning sun caressed his tanned muscles, shining and bulging.
The wind brought the scent of lavender as his joy was
culminating. The rapture was building up, and Philipp realized
that beyond the recognition, this was a celebration, a celebration
of the gift of life that should be cherished over all, all times. He
reached the summit, and the seed of life fell to the ground as a
He stepped into the shower and slowly returned into reality
from the elevated state he was in. For a second he was over the
clouds, so close to the sun that gave light but did not burn, gave
hope and did not ask for anything else just to accept the gift itself.
He obeyed it and now knew what had to be done.
He jumped into his dark blue suit and tied the red tie around
his neck. He combed his blond hair backwards elevating the front
part, creating a wave like the ones of a turbulent sea. He hurried
down the stairs and said farewell to his parents sitting in the
kitchen. Through the rectangular window over the door the rays
of the sun fell onto the pine parquet, the specks of dust flying by
carelessly. Philipp rushed out the door and made haste to the
He hurried down the lane lined with lavenders, leaving his
home the color of a pale banana behind. He was strolling down
the main road protected from the sun by the great oak trees when
he saw the bus approaching the stop. He jumped onto it, knowing
that any second of delay is a sin that will never be forgiven. The
bus doors closed, and his home sped by.
The bus floated through the suburbs, and Philipp could not tell
where he was exactly. The homes and roads were all the same,
little boxes on the hillside, it seemed like a set in the world‘s
greatest studio, and perhaps it was. Everything seemed fake. It
felt to him as if in the night the roads sometimes rearranged
themselves. It was just a feeling and nothing more because he
could not tell whether anything changed at all. The church finally
appeared, and Philipp gripped to this familiar point, pulling
himself out of the transient perdition.
He jumped off the bus and hurried to the small building by the
church, its white wooden board gleaming in the sun in
revitalizing contrast to the neon green of the yard and the red
bricks of the church itself. The roses were glittering with drops of
dew, tiny diamonds on the red petals of lust. He jumped up the
stone stairs leading to the entrance and burst inside his office. He
did not look around and focused on the golden door handle, the
mean of defeating the door, the last obstacle barring the way to
his goal, the reverend. He pushed the golden handle down, and
the door opened obeying to the energy he invested into the
He was conscious of his body as the two-winged door burst
open. He saw his shadow distend on the Persian rug in the
reverend‘s office, a blackness surrounded by light. The reverend
looked up, and in his eyes, Philipp saw wonder and awe. He knew
that something was manifesting itself through him to the
―What is it, Philipp? I wasn‘t expecting you on a Monday?‖
―I know, I must hurry over to the fish shop, but I met someone
you must meet.‖
―You are radiating, Philipp, who is this man?‖
―I don‘t know exactly, but he bears a tangible divine presence,
something I never felt before. He might be suited to work by your
side. With him we will be able to reach out to the younger
―Great, Philipp, bring him to me, and we‘ll see.‖
―I promise, you will be satisfied.‖
Philipp smiled at the man who was on a separate journey,
proceeding on a different road from the mainstream religious
values, at the man who was so close to God yet missing
something, making him not much better than the church he
himself despised. As Philipp hurried out of the building and
headed through the park leading to the fish shop on the other
side, he examined these newly born thoughts of betrayal inside
him. His hero was not perfectly clean.
James stopped before the red bricks of the church still smelling
of liquor from the night before in a black T-shirt, cut-offs, and
leather boots. He took his great shades off and examined the
roses smiling at him, seducing and charming him, inebriating
him. This was caused not by the scent itself but by what it awoke
in him, something that was there but could not be named,
something lingering in the darkness, still afraid to step into the
light, fighting against the sweet voices of the roses.
The stream of clouds flowing into the building was made up of
white heads of the elder creating an endless cumulous. James
looked at the red brick tower of the church where the great brass
bell was reflecting the rays of the sun beaming on him and
worsening his hangover. He was one of the few young ones here,
and the old faces were smiling at him, happy to see life in a place
where there is so few of it.
Is it the young generation‘s fault that so few attend church, not
just this specific sect‘s church, but any other? He tried to examine
why he did not attend and knew that it was because the things he
could learn in there were old and pagan, just a mystique set of
rules, hazy and not pure good. It was not his fault, but the fault of
the religions written into stone, unable to change, primitive and
cold. Blaming the young was the simplest thing to do as self-
examination was something painful and always over-looked by
the religious leaders. Finding the flaws and fixing them was
something no one had the courage to do.
The cloud of elders diminished, and James hurried to take his
place inside. He walked past the many cameras standing by the
entrance and facing the stage, ready to channel the show to the
many TV sets connected to them. The white wooden seats were
filled with sick people. The blind, the deaf, the disabled all
gathered here in hope of change. The narrow windows let the
sunshine in, lighting a very simple and puritan room waiting to be
filled by the presence of the reverend.
He found an empty seat and sat down. He nodded to the old
woman next to him who just patted his back as James sank into
his thoughts. ‗I will not perform any wonders, I will not commit
the same mistake twice,‘ he heard Neil‘s voice. As he waited for
the mass to begin, he wondered whether he was truly the son of
God, if he could perform any magic at all. He shook these
troubling thoughts away but could not deny that they were
growing in him. This was Neil‘s first appearance, and James
hoped he could see the proof of his divinity.
A door swung open, and the reverend stepped onto the stage,
his great belly protruding from under his black robe, and his face
resembling that of a well-fed infant. He was wearing a golden ring
with a diamond that was in contrast with his humble mannerism.
He approached the front of the church bowing to the ones
gathered here. ‗I will perform no wonders,‘ he heard the voice of
Neil again, and preoccupation started growing in him. He was
scared that they would blow their only chance.
―Welcome, everybody. I greet you in the name of God. Today is
a special day, the first day of a never-ending crusade to conquer
the heart of the youth who have turned away from God toward
the foul material goods of the devil.‖
The crowd murmured and nodded. The old woman looked at
James and gave him a wink. James tried to smile but still felt
uncomfortable and felt as if the reverend were pointing at him.
This first sentence would have been enough to close the ears of
many, but James was determined to listen, at least once.
―They have turned away from God because they have been
lured and tricked from us. Instead of choosing the way of God,
they choose the easier way. They seize what they need and fall
into the arms of evil. They are lost, and they must turn back to
God. This is our job, we must try to regain their trust.
―I am growing old, and I found my successor. God led to me his
lamb, the lamb through which he will manifest himself after I am
gone. God is between us all the time but shows himself only
occasionally. I have found my successor, and you shall see his
power, the power of the healing of the Holy Christ. I present you
Neil, please give him a round of applause.‖
Neil stopped in the door with doubt in his eyes. He smiled and
stepped onto the stage, and James was enchanted by his radiance.
It was as if he were emanating a gentle light that didn‘t lose
strength as it spread like strands of hair. He felt a wire slide up
his back and connect itself to an invisible socket at the back of his
head. He was connected, yet through the wire nothing was
coming, only a pleasant feeling of the promise of a message.
Neil stopped by the reverend who patted his back. James saw
Philipp too was enchanted by Neil‘s presence. James looked
around to see that apart from them, the others were facing the
reverend who gave them what they needed. He knew that if he
could somehow solve the riddle of what it was, they could finally
find a way to deliver the infinitely complex message that Neil was
here to deliver, whatever that was.
―Now, do we have any volunteers?‖
This was the signal, the first crack in the dam. Those who
could, stood up and began waving madly with their arms like
algae at the bottom of the river. They whirled in the current
created by the words of the reverend. James saw an insatiable
craving across the hypnotized face of the old lady sitting beside
―Who will be the first one to be cured by this lamb of God?‖
asked the reverend.
The arms moved wildly, arms trying to reach the sky, arms
ready to leave the ground to rise higher than the rest, wanting to
be chosen. The reverend moved through the corridor, past the
rows, pacing on the red carpet, his hands clutching one another
behind his back, enjoying the arms reaching out to him. He
smiled and stopped, grabbing an arm and pulling an old man out
like a fish from the river. The arms slowly calmed down, and
everybody took a seat.
The old man limped to his right leg, and slowly, led by the
reverend, he approached the front. The man was moving very
cautiously as the rhythm of his movements was disrupted by the
way he put down his injured leg trying not to encumber it with
the weight of his body for too long and quickly putting the weight
back onto the healthy one. The man stopped before Neil and knelt
‗I will perform no wonder, I will not commit the same mistake
of my predecessor.‘ James hoped that he would see another proof
of his ancestry as he felt the happenings of the past fade into the
world of illusion, making him think that everything he saw before
was the manifestation of a need. The same need he shared with
these men and women facing the reverend here, the need that was
slowly taking form and was waiting to be named so that it could
step onto the dark stage.
―Now, I ask everybody to bow their heads and pray…‖ said the
reverend raising both his hands into the air.
Everyone obeyed, including James, and murmur filled the
―Neil, now it‘s your turn, prove to the world that God decided to
manifest himself through you, show them God, let his power
shine,‖ screamed the reverend, his voice growing louder and
louder and turning into a shriek. James‘ heart started beating
Neil stepped to the old man kneeling before him. For a moment
he hesitated then knelt down as well and put his hand softly onto
the limp leg of the volunteer. James was afraid, afraid that
nothing would happen, afraid to witness that Neil was not the son
of God, that Neil was only human, and perhaps that God didn‘t
The murmur in the church rose over the wooden beams. It was
this monotone chanting that originated from the need that caused
the letters slowly to unite inside James‘ head naming the one
hiding in the back of his skull.
Neil stood up and stepped back. The murmurs ceased, and all
heads were facing the front now. James‘ heart sank, Neil did not
perform the magic expected from him. The man kneeling before
Neil slowly stood up. He placed his weight onto the wounded leg,
giving out a hiss. They blew it.
The man did not give up. He gradually put more and more
weight onto it until he was balancing all of his body on the
limping extremity. The healthy foot rose into the air, and the man
was standing solely on his once unusable leg. The man looked up
smiling and spoke to the crowd.
―I am healed.‖
The crowd began to applaud and everyone stood up
unanimously. Cheers rose into the air, whistles pierced through
―He is healed,‖ squealed the old woman beside James, raising
her hands and facing the sky. The crowd roared, screamed,
applauded, and all of their faces gleamed. James felt something
that was so much more than joy, so much more than the greatest
orgasm ever. It was the recognition that we aren‘t alone, that
miracles truly exist, that the world is so much more than what it
is, that after death life begins, a life with God, that nothing ends
when we definitively close our eyes, but everything begins from
there. James could not contain his joy and cheered so loudly not
caring what the others thought, not caring that maybe he was
making a fool out of himself because he was celebrating,
celebrating eternal life.
The reverend raised his hands into the air as if he were trying
to embrace the sun itself and yelled to the sky, ―We praise the
power of our Lord Jesus Christ who has died for our sins yet saves
us over and over again for his love is infinite, and everyone living
in his name shall live in the grace of God for eternity. Thy Lord is
great, thy Lord is mighty, thy Love is eternal.‖
The wounded man performed a cartwheel then finished it with
a summersault landing right next to his seat. He sat down, and
the sermon continued. James was in an elevated state throughout
The unknown figure embodying the need finally stepped onto
the stage and raised his hand bearing a white glove into the
spotlight, the rest of the body still hiding in darkness. A soft
music began playing, and the hand began snapping to the rhythm
of the drums. He stopped and started shaking his hand as jazz
defeated the drums. He clapped once, two hands in the light.
Then, as if the figure were swimming, he spread his arms through
the air, and his body became visible, the tap shoes glistening in
the light. The music was growing louder and louder, and his feat
started moving. He was wearing a cylinder hat, and his face was
hidden by the rim‘s shadow.
He felt camaraderie with this group of unknown people here,
they were all sharing the need. The body was dancing on the
stage, ruling it with his moves as the trumpets, drums, and pianos
The ceremony ended, and the people embraced Neil, caressed
his face, shook his hands, their eyes fixated to a point somewhere
over Neil‘s head. They were not seeing Neil but were seeing the
figure dancing in the spotlight on the stage inside their heads.
When finally the last man left the building, James rose from his
feet, hurried to Neil, and hugged him.
―I knew it, I knew that you could do it. For a moment you really
had me there, for a moment I really thought you were a hoax.‖
The man on the stage raised his left hand and grabbed his hat,
tossing it into the air, and James recognized him. James rose in
the deserted auditorium to clap and felt joy. The greatest need of
all, the need to be stupefied. This is what everyone is after, to be
stupefied, to see that life can be magical, that there is more than
matter, that there is a possibility that something mystical
―I didn‘t do anything,‖ said Neil making the figure on the stage
burst into thin air.
―Don‘t be so modest, Neil, you saved that man, you saved
him…‖ said James desperately trying to bring the dancer back.
―James, wake up, listen to me, this was just a show and nothing
―What do you mean, Neil?‖
―That man was just an actor, a friend of the reverend…‖
James felt his heart break. He felt ashamed, tricked, and
ignorant. He looked at Neil and wanted to punch him right in the
face, he wanted to grab his beard and pull him to the ground.
―How could you, Neil? How could you deceive these people?‖
―James, you knew this would be a hoax.‖
The hangover was still tugging his head. Neil was right, James
knew this would be an act yet, for some reason, forgot it.
―It is for a good cause, James. I must deliver the message, and
at the moment there is no better way…‖
―But still it doesn‘t seem right…‖
―You saw the cameras, thousands of people saw me through
them. First I make them believe me, and when they do, I will
deliver the words. Do you have a better idea?‖
―I guess not…‖
―Great, let‘s go, I‘m getting hungry.‖
Peter, John, James, and Philipp left, the sound of their car
slowly dying and the disrupted night gradually going back to
sleep. Matthew reached for a bottle of mineral water and poured
it onto the flames burning in the metal can in the middle of the
abandoned playground, dying out with a last sizzling scream. Neil
threw the cigarette‘s butt to the ground and stepped on it.
―Where is your car, Matthew?‖
―A few blocks down.‖
Matthew‘s beige linen pants danced as his legs moved and his
leather sandals appeared. He adjusted his shirt decorated with
flowers and turned the peace sign around so that the shiny part
faced the world. He felt the breeze caress his Rasta hair and
somehow felt at peace with the silent Neil pacing by him.
―How many months have you been working with the reverend?
Two?‖ asked Matthew kicking a stone down the alley.
―Probably,‖ said Neil not looking up.
―And how is it turning out for you?‖
―Fine, I guess, he has the key to open the lock to the people‘s
heart, but I am afraid he is trying it in the wrong door.‖
―What do you mean?‖
―The reverend won‘t let me speak. He says my charisma is far
too strong, and if used in the wrong way, I could cause more
trouble than good, so I must stay in the background and only
perform those frauds he sets up every Sunday. This is what he
says, but I know that he is only afraid I would rob the spotlight
―He always seemed an attention whore to me…‖
―Yes, but this is not the main problem. Mostly the audience is
made up of old people, fanatics, and ignorant. The future is not in
their hands. These people are not the ones who will rebuild
heaven on earth. It is the youth, they are the ones who should be
taught, they hold the bricks of the future, and they are deaf to any
teaching coming from any religious institution.‖
They turned onto the darkened road in silence.
―And how are you doing, Matthew?‖
―Not great, I am still searching for a place to play, but I am
happy, and of this, I am thankful,‖ said Matthew patting Neil‘s
They walked past dark four-story clinker brick buildings, only a
few windows glowing here and there, the rest were barred. Most
of the people living in this part of town moved into the city
creating a border of death between the prospering suburbs and
the bustling city. In the distance they heard the highway going
around and omitting this part of the city. The streetlights blinked
here and there. The carcass of a car floating on bricks surrounded
by a group of bums warming themselves by a barrel of fire came
into view as they moved through the abandoned roads. They
walked by the mall, its glasses shattered, the dead palm trees
lying across the parking lot. Neil stopped and so did Matthew.
―Do you still miss her?‖ asked Matthew.
Neil did not answer and hurried across the dark road into an
abandoned alley. Matthew heard raging hip-hop emerging from
the windows of a car painted neon lilac with neon green streaks of
flame on its side. The car was jumping on its suspensions as it
rolled past him. Matthew waited for it to pass then hurried across
the road into the alley after Neil.
Neil was standing at the orifice of the narrow passage. Matthew
heard voices coming a few feet down, voices of the youth,
screaming and yelling. Matthew stopped by Neil and saw a group
of boys surrounding another boy lying on the ground.
―How dare you come here, you cock-sucking faggot?‖
One of the boys kicked the one on the ground in the groin. The
poor boy moaned. One of the boys unzipped his fly and knelt
down to their victim.
―Come here, Jamey, suck on my balls a little, isn‘t this your
Neil started toward them, and the group of boys faced him. Neil
moved with his usual confidence, his motions flowing one into
the other like a two-legged river.
―Leave the boy alone…‖ he commanded.
The group of boys began to laugh. They were a few years
younger than Neil and were not scared, still their laughter had a
nervous fragility about it.
―Who the hell are you?‖ asked one of the boys. ―Get the hell out
of here before I stab you to death.‖
Neil did not move, and the lack of fear in his presence made the
others uncomfortable. They attacked, and the prey did not flee.
This is not how it should go down in nature.
―Leave the boy alone, why should he be punished for being
―Who…the hell…are…you?‖ asked another boy, spacing his
words and emphasizing each one with a tone of incredulity.
―Wait a minute, I know this man, he is the one performing
miracles,‖ said yet another one making air-bunnies with his
middle and index finger.
The boys started laughing. ―You are a phony, you are just a
cheater. You heal the sick, right. Pathetic.‖
Matthew could not stand their words. He found an iron tube
lying on the ground. He picked it up and swung it in the air a few
times before heading toward them. He stopped by Neil and
crashed a wooden barrel standing by the wall, its splinters rising
into the air. The group of boys jumped back.
―Get…the hell…out…of here,‖ said Matthew.
The boys looked at each other and decided it was better to flee
before this pacifist shatters their skulls.
―Thank you,‖ said Neil ashamed.
―No problem,‖ said Matthew stepping to Jamey to help him
stand up. When Matthew pulled him up, he realized that the boy
had no weight. ―Are you alright?‖ asked Matthew. As Jamey
nodded, Matthew saw that the boy was translucent, a ghost. The
boy had bruises running across his face, but he smiled and his
gentle hazel eyes radiated with gratitude.
―Go home and have a rest. Believe me these brutes will be
extinct in a few years when they realize that bullying is for losers.‖
Jamey nodded once more and left, his tears sparkling like the
stars in the sky.
Matthew stepped to Neil and patted his back. As Neil spoke,
Matthew was astonished by the purity of his voice. ―You see,
Matthew, all I did was make myself deaf in their ears. I worked
for the reverend and became a laughing stock in the eyes of the
youth. They‘re right, I am a cheater. I must leave the reverend
and find another way.‖
They left the alley and stepped onto the road. Matthew‘s car
was parked behind a saloon.
―I just don‘t get it,‖ continued Neil. ―He tells me to deliver the
message, and he doesn‘t tell me how. He even watched me as I
step onto the wrong road.‖
―He will help when the time is right, you‘ll see…‖
―The thing is I don‘t want his help. We must start again, we
must build up our own group of followers, fish them out from the
road, fish out the sane, the young, and the strong…‖
―How do we do that?‖ asked Matthew intrigued.
―You‘ll see. I‘ll tell the others tomorrow. It is so hard to learn
that you were heading down the wrong road. So much time and
effort only to understand that you were wrong.‖
―Don‘t think of it like that,‖ said Matthew trying to console
Neil. ―You have changed, you are much more confident. The
charisma the reverend was talking about was not always this
strong. I saw you perform a few times, you have something that
many don‘t, and that x-factor is something you developed now,
standing before a crowd…‖
―I guess you‘re right, I am not scared of them like in the
―Now that‘s more like it.‖
Matthew opened the door of his buggy, and they sat in. The
motor rumbled, and the black car left the saloon behind, rock
music filling the air.
John stood in the middle of the bustling road with humanity
rushing in all directions. He was like a rock in the middle of a
turbulent river causing the water to part around him. The many
bodies brushed against him, and he felt as if his rugged edges
were slowly becoming smooth, formed by their touch. He knew
that this was not the case, he was not being formed by them, but
by Neil‘s presence. He was the one who tamed his adolescent
fury, and now John was the one who was trying to form
humanity, at least this was their goal. He took a deep breath and
just didn‘t know how to start. He knew that there was no other
way than diving in. He collected all his courage, closed his eyes,
and focused on his breathing before stepping to his first victim,
offering her a flyer.
She was a business woman wearing a dark suit with outlines so
straight it seemed she were carved out of the coldest marble. Her
black bob-styled hair was so strict that it almost caused John to
jump back, fearing from the scolding that would emerge from the
lips the color of blood. She was talking to someone on the phone,
not talking but screaming. The woman looked at John, then to the
paper, and just ignored him.
John felt blood rush to his head. He was declined, and this was
so hard for him. John, the stud, turned down. He caressed his
blond hair the color of the sun. His chiseled muscles were always
tanned, and he always wore white. He was so different than
James yet the same.
He saw a young man humming merrily to himself, coming his
way. He wore a red checked shirt and was dangling a brown
bowling bag in his hand. He took every step one after the other
rhythmically. He smiled at John who offered him the brochure.
He looked down and took it. John smiled at his first success. His
eyes shone with gratitude, and the man gave him a nod. John
watched the man leave, and he was only happy until he saw the
man stop at a trashcan to toss the flyer inside without even
He offered the invitations one after the other, but no one
seemed to care. He was turned down over and over again, and
slowly he was giving up hope when in the distance he saw
something shining, rushing toward him. The crowd parted, and a
girl appeared, a girl so special and enchanting, not like the empty
female idols of today, but bearing a beauty that was eternal and
could not be assigned to any specific century.
She was smiling, and it seemed to John she was nothing but a
smile on a bicycle. Her long black hair swayed in the wind. She
was wearing high heel shoes, yet she turned the pedals so swiftly,
dodging the men and women before her. Her teeth, her teeth
were shining. The girl stopped the bike before John, and he could
not speak for a second, mesmerized by her beauty when he
realized she wasn‘t alone.
Coming swiftly behind her was a young man who was less
human and more like a deer. His eyes were so placid and calm yet
radiated a knowledge that happiness is for all, you just have to
reach out for it. He gave her a kiss, two halves meeting. They took
the paper from John and read it thoroughly.
―Will you come?‖ asked John, his voice filled with hope.
―Definitely,‖ said the girl, her voice shrill and sharp carrying
the melody of the sirens.
―No,‖ said the man, not as if he wanted to hurt John‘s feeling,
just telling him nothing but the truth the girl was afraid to tell
They hurried away leaving John to sink deeper and deeper in
despair. John was giving up when finally a man stopped, a man
that looked like the cutest little teacup in the world residing in the
castle of the beast. As the man smiled, his front teeth appeared, a
chip missing from his top central incisor. He took the brochure.
As he left, John saw him slide it into his pocket. John rejoiced for
a second until he realized that this still didn‘t mean he would
He needed reassurance, so he walked down the road to find
Neil handing out his stack of papers. The men and women
hurrying by James were constantly bombarded with so much
information but have adapted to it and created a filter through
which only the necessary information can pass, excluding
He found Neil by a fountain. The little angel atop of the rock
emerging from the pool was standing on his toes, the other foot
raised into the air, and was peeing down into the water.
Neil saw John approaching and asked, ―So how did it go?‖
―It was a stupid idea, right? Now what do we do?‖ asked Neil
hanging on John for an answer.
John just shrugged and sat down feeling the cool fume
emerging from the water settle on his face, soothing him and
cooling him underneath the raging summer sun. Neil sat down
beside him as John closed his eyes facing the sky, bathing in the
They were at the end of the road with darkness before them,
not knowing how their road would continue.
―May I sit down?‖
John opened his eyes and saw a lovely old woman standing
before him. Her hair was white with a lilac undertone. She
smiled, and the wrinkles running around her face turned into
many smiles as well. She was wearing a white blouse with a medal
on her breast representing the face of a man, probably lost or
dead. She was wearing a purple skirt on which wrinkles appeared
as she sat down. John smiled at her then turned away knowing
that he was staring at her for too long.
―What are you holding in your hands?‖ asked the gentle old
―Oh, this? Here, take it,‖ said John handing her a flyer.
―A meeting where the truth of God will be revealed,‖ she read
then turned to John, ―By whom?‖
―Neil,‖ said John nodding toward Neil who smiled at the old
woman and waved.
―What a lovely idea…‖ she said taking a long pause, ―…not.‖
John and Neil faced the lady who was still smiling kindly.
―What the hell were you thinking?‖ asked the old woman as her
voice morphed into a deep baritone.
Both of them jumped up not believing their ears. The madam‘s
face started changing as if it were made of play dough. Her hair
started growing longer, and from around her mouth, a long white
beard emerged, flowing down onto the pavement.
―It‘s you,‖ said Neil recognizing his father ―Don‘t you ever grow
―Me? Of course not, I love disguises. It‘s really fun, you should
―Leave me alone, let me go down my own road.‖
―And where is that leading?‖
Neil did not answer, knowing that his father was right.
―You are not a teenager, you don‘t have to defy me anymore.
Just listen to my advice for once.‖
―He‘s right, Neil,‖ said John interrupting, feeling sorry for the
father whose son doesn‘t want his help. ―Just hear him out.‖
Neil looked at John for a few seconds then faced his father and
said, ―Alright, I am all ears.‖
―You must become a rock star or a pop star or whatever you call
these people you worship.‖
―What?‖ said Neil not believing his ears.
―Don‘t look at me like that. It is not as if I were trying to
convince you to try green hams and eggs. I want you to become a
star. How many fathers would want the same? I am quite
―How do I become a star, father?‖ asked Neil with a sarcastic
grin across his face.
―First you should start a band.‖
―Are you blind? Look at your friends here, John plays the
acoustic guitar, James plays the bass, Matthew plays the piano,
and Peter is a DJ.‖
―A DJ?‖ asked Neil surprised then turned to John.
―Well, something like that,‖ said John. ―He used to play music
every time the church held a ball for the youth.‖
―Exactly. Philipp could be your manager,‖ said Neil‘s father.
―You just need a drummer.‖
―What type of music will we play, father?‖
―Electric-pop-rock-sacrilegious music will be trending soon.‖
―Doesn‘t sound too good?‖ said John.
―Believe me, it doesn‘t, especially for me,‖ said Neil‘s father. ―I
prefer disco music, you know, Gloria Gaynor‘s I will survive and
―What will we sing about?‖ asked Neil a little irritated.
―Anything you want to say,‖ said Neil‘s father with a matter-of-
―What do I want to say?‖
―Neil, c‘mon what is wrong with you? Deliver the message. Now
I must really go.‖
Neil‘s father, who was still dressed as an old woman, turned
into a cloud with a puff and rose into the air. Neil and John
watched him leave.
―He seems a little crazy…‖ said Neil still facing the sky.
―Who knows, maybe, or he is just happy.‖
Peter appeared in the distance. They both looked at him and
did not believe what he was wearing. His white T-shirt was tucked
into his beige pants just over his belly. He was wearing white
socks with sandals. He waved to them and smiled, his eyes
glistening behind his thick glasses.
―Why are you so happy?‖ asked Neil.
―I don‘t know, it‘s just good to see you. Did you see James? I
―Shut up,‖ said John. ―How long haven‘t you seen each other?
Half an hour?‖
―You can‘t understand until you find love. I don‘t think handing
out these papers will do any good though,‖ said Peter careful not
to hurt Neil‘s feelings.
―Daa,‖ said John.
―What will we do now?‖ asked Peter turning to John then to
―We are starting a rock band,‖ said Neil with his presence
emanating sturdy reassurance.
―No, shit,‖ said Peter, doing a pirouette and landing it on his
knees, giving the world a rock fork with his thin little crooked
―You must be kidding me,‖ said Josephine looking at Neil,
hoping that he was only joking. She faced Marry for help, but she
―Who gave you this idea?‖
Neil was staring at his fingers as he fiddled with the corner of
Neil stayed silent for a few seconds before admitting the truth.
―Your father? How the hell did he find you?‖ snapped
Josephine losing her temper. ―How can he tell you something like
that? Of course he can, he is not the one raising you and caring
for you. He just wants to be your friend. And what will he do
when you fail? What will he do when you realize a few years later
that this will be nothing more than a dream? Do you want to be a
loser? A guy who thought he could be a rock star and failed.‖
Neil still played around with the tablecloth trying to tie a knot
Josephine continued, ―I‘m sorry, Neil. If you decide to go down
this road, I am afraid you must leave our home. If you are not
willing to come and work at the furniture shop I am sorry, but I
cannot feed you anymore. If you think you are an adult then act
Neil stood up and walked up to his room without saying a word.
After the door closed behind him, Mary and Josephine sat in
silence for a few seconds.
―Am I too strict?‖ asked Josephine hoping for some
―I don‘t know. To tell you the truth I think he has something
that others don‘t, but I don‘t think this is enough. He is a talented
young man of this I am sure, he has a nice voice and good
hearing, but in this world, talent is not enough. You need
something, not luck, nor godly perseverance, but something that
is so hard to name, an amorphous power that lifts you up from
the river‘s bed toward the surface to be thrust into the air.‖
―So?‖ asked Josephine not understanding where Mary was
―We cannot take the risk to raise an adult who still lives with
his parents. If he wants to stand on his own two feet, we must let
him, and hopefully he will succeed.‖
―And if not?‖
―Then we will help him our way.‖
Josephine heard Neil stomping upstairs in his room, back and
forth, back and forth. ―He is leaving, right?‖
―I am afraid so,‖ said Mary.
Josephine knew that both of them were terrified what the
future would bring. Like all parents, they dreaded that when their
child leaves the nest for the first time he falls to the ground,
unable to fly, and splatters across the pavement.
Neil walked down the stairs, stopped before the entrance, and
put his luggage down.
Josephine and Mary stood up from the dining-table and walked
―You are right, mothers, I must grow up, and part of this is to
step on the road of life, even if it leads nowhere, even if it leads
toward a precipice.‖
Mary hugged Neil stronger than ever, but Josephine turned
around and walked back into the living room without saying
farewell. She was disappointed, it was their fault, it was because
they weren‘t strict enough that their child wanted to be a rock
star. As she closed the door, she heard them speaking.
―Where will you be staying?‖
―At Peter‘s apartment, I guess.‖
―You know she loves you?‖
After Josephine heard the entrance door close, she felt Mary‘s
arm caress her shoulder. ―It‘s not your fault. We always knew that
there was something in him, something that was not like us,
something extraneous, something wild and raunchy, a confidence
that is not human. He must have inherited it from his father.‖
―Will we ever meet his father? I want to see who this man is,
―I don‘t know, perhaps.‖
THE FIRST STEPS
Judas opened his eyes feeling the sunlight caress his face
through the glass walls of the apartment. He sat up and saw the
city around him. The bed was standing in the corner of the room
surrounded by immense glass walls making him feel on top of the
world. The love of his life, the woman with yellow hair grown
down, was sleeping placidly beside him. Her smudged make-up
created a black aura around her eyes. As she lay there with her
mouth open as if she were deep in thought, the red lipstick
staining her teeth appeared. The glasses of champagne were left
lying on the carpet along with hundreds of earrings, bracelets,
necklaces, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and gold sparkling
among them. He saw the crooked black crown and dark
eyeglasses she wore the night before, sunken into the long hairs of
the white rug.
Judas looked at his watch to see he was late, so he slid out of
bed exposing his nude body to the world, his snake tattoos
running around his body. He flexed his muscles in the mirror,
and they bulged thanks to the many hours of exercise. He combed
his long black hair and found his pants lying in the corner of the
room. He jumped into his light blue jeans and put his white slim-
fit T-shirt on, finally sliding his feet into his boots thrown down
by the entrance.
The minimalist style in the apartment was not quite his taste,
but nonetheless he felt at home. As he tied his shoelaces, he
thought about the home of his dreams, the smell of lavender
entering through the tiny windows flowing down onto the strip
floor, drifting over the flower patterns of the living room sofa and
beneath the black metal chandelier hanging from the low ceiling
with its wooden beams exposed.
He walked toward the entrance and stopped, fixating a point on
the wall. The control panel with the many numbers stared up at
him, waiting for the code to open the door that was barely visible,
blending into the white surface, only a thin black slit giving out
the silhouette of the orifice. She would disappear from time to
time in here only to emerge renewed and shining. Judas was not
granted entrance no matter how many times he begged. The only
secret between them.
He reached for his leather jacket with his name written on the
back, the letters running over the embroidered skull. He
descended with the elevator, stepping out into the silent garage
and hurrying to his motorcycle.
His steps echoed in the abandoned space, and even though he
knew he was alone, he felt watched. He listened attentively, but
his footsteps were the only ones that echoed. The mild lighting of
the garage made everything look even more obscure than it truly
was. He was relieved to find his silver motorcycle with its iron
poles emerging from the front like antennae ending in leather in
the far end of the parking area. He jumped on it, started the
rumbling motor, and sped out of the building into the light.
As he turned onto the main road, he was relieved to be out of
the darkness. He slalomed through the many yellow taxis
flooding the road at this early hour. It took time for him to leave
the many skyscrapers behind and reach the bridge leading to the
highway. He stopped before the elevated bridge saluting a boat
hurrying toward the sea. When they let it finally down, Judas
rocketed away on the six-lane road.
He felt the air rush into his face as the abandoned buildings of
his destination appeared on his far left. He found the exit. As he
curved away from the road, he noticed how the concrete here was
cracked by blades of green grass fighting to reach the sun. He
drove through the empty roads until he reached his destination, a
four-story building made of clinker brick. Most of the windows
were barred. Judas checked his GPS. He was where he was
supposed to be. He approached the building and stopped his
motorcycle in an alley with drying lines filled with clothes
hovering above him, connecting the two adjacent buildings. He
heard two men speaking.
―Cleopas, could you please hurry up? We‘ll be late…‖
―Coming, Anonymous, coming.‖
Stupid names, thought Judas. He jumped off his bike and
hurried to the front where he found the entrance door open. He
stepped into the decadent building and shuddered at the sight of
the musty wallpaper peeling off here and there. He was the last
one to arrive, so he sat down at the end of the row of wannabe
rock stars. He took the advertising out of his pocket and reread it,
not being able to believe that this was his destination. The letters
told him he was in the right place.
As the line decreased, Judas‘ anxiety grew, and by the time it
was his turn, he was crackling his knuckles and felt butterflies
flattering in the darkness of his stomach. The door opened, and a
wild head of a man appeared. The man looked at Judas as if he
were about to gobble him up, not to decrease his hunger but
placate his sexual desire.
―Next one,‖ he said and smiled at Judas. His smile made Judas
uncomfortable, knowing that he was looked at the same way men
look at women, like a piece of meat to plow. Judas forced a smile
on his face and entered.
The man who called him in was distended on a sofa filled with
holes. His head was in the laps of a thin boy who was typing
something on his phone. A well-groomed man was leaning
against the windowsill ridding his nails from dirt as another one
with Rasta hair was smoking a joint.
―My name is James,‖ said the man who called him in, ―this is
Peter, John is over there, Matthew is getting high, and Neil is in
The man typing on his phone looked up.
―Oh, my God…‖ said Peter staring at Judas not believing his
eyes. Peter slowly stood up and stepped to him. He put his hands
on his shoulders and turned him a little right then left, examining
―Oh my God, it is really you…‖
―Who, Peter?‖ asked James with a tint of jealousy in his voice.
―It‘s her boyfriend…‖
―Whose boyfriend?‖ asked James then stopped, looking closer
at Judas. ―Oh my God, it is him,‖ said James recognizing him too.
―This is such an honor, I am her greatest admirer. I know every
part of her life through the papers. You are hired…‖ said Peter
jumping up and down, clapping his hands.
The door opened, and Neil emerged from the white tiles of the
bathroom, and for a second Judas was shocked by how much they
resembled each other. Only their eyes were different, Neil‘s was a
pallid blue, Judas‘ was a burning brown.
―No one will be hired just like that. Sit down and show us what
you can do…‖ he said pointing toward the set of drums by the
Judas felt a tint of rage in his veins. ―You speak as if you were
someone important, but you, just like me, are a no one…‖
―You can leave if you wish…‖
―I don‘t wish to, it‘s just this arrogance I cannot bear. Give me
Peter threw him the sticks, and Judas caught them then turned
them in his hand like a majorette leading a parade would. He sat
down behind the drums facing the corner and felt their eyes upon
The drums started rolling enunciating power. Judas felt a fire
awaken in his heart. From the darkness surrounding the flames,
bodies came forth, their skin red in the kindling light. They
danced to the rhythm round and round, the tip of their spears
glinting now and then. As the rhythm sped up, faster and faster
they moved around the fire, their dance originating from deep
within. The flames started vibrating and turned into a head of a
wolf howling toward the red moon ruling over the world. The
howling stopped, and the canine head rose into the air followed
by its body, and running on all four, the flame hurried away
leaving everything in darkness. Only the red moon shone down
onto the darkened world.
Judas struck down the last time, and both his sticks snapped,
the two pieces whirling in mid-air then falling to the ground with
a high-pitched clatter. Judas stood up and turned around to see
the faces of the audience staring at him with awe, not making the
―Why do you want to join?‖ asked Peter breaking the silence.
―Why don‘t you speak with her? Why join a band like ours?‖
―She won‘t help me. I must build up my own fame, only then
will she help…‖
―You‘re hired,‖ said Peter clapping.
―What next?‖ asked Judas.
―Our songs are ready, the lyrics are done. We didn‘t hear Neil
sing yet though…‖
―You mean you didn‘t hear your front man sing? What the hell
is wrong with you…‖ asked Judas not believing his ears.
―We don‘t need to…‖
―What do you mean?‖ Judas looked at the men in the room
feeling as if he had just stepped into an asylum.
―You‘ll see,‖ said Peter reaching beneath the table before the
window and handing him a CD. ―Could you please give it to her to
Judas nodded and grinned, Peter leaped into the air with joy.
Peter rode down the hill as the buildings flew by him ever so
swiftly. The only time he actually felt free was when he rode a
bicycle, much freer than on a motorcycle with James, because his
own muscles were propelling him, making him fly over the
blistering pavement. He rode in the middle of the street knowing
that cars didn‘t use it anymore.
He saw the periphery of the city from up high, and he couldn‘t
tell whether it was dead or alive. This caused shivers to run up
and down inside him in contrast with the body‘s outer layer
burning under the summer sun. This ambivalent feeling was
emphasized by the stinging sensation of anticipation that made
him choose the bicycle as means of transportation to work away
They entered the competition of local bands. The first round
would take place in a few weeks, and they still hadn‘t heard Neil
sing. What if he can‘t sing?
He was taking chances with Neil all the time, and only now did
he realize this, riding his bike over the city, seeing it from a bird‘s
point of view. Even if they were taking risks, it never felt as such.
It was faith that didn‘t let them see it this way, it was faith that
made him feel that this was the only reasonable thing to do, but
Peter knew that becoming a rock star was never a reasonable
thing to do. Still people went down this road from time to time
and succeeded. It wasn‘t the faith in Neil itself, a blind faith with
no reason, it was the faith in the world that was awaiting him.
Even if Neil never spoke about it, they all knew that it was the
same world residing in all of their hearts. They were following
him, but had faith in the future.
He finally reached the bottom of the hill and parked by the
garage they were renting a few blocks away from his apartment.
He jumped off the bike and raised the metal door into the sky and
his band appeared; a group of losers wanting to rule the world.
Judas was already waiting behind the drums, John and James
were holding an acoustic and a bass guitar, Neil was standing by
the microphone, Matthew was resting his head on his keyboard,
the turntable was waiting for Peter.
―Hello, everyone,‖ said Peter.
―Get the hell to your place,‖ said Neil with a nervous frailty
about his rudeness.
All of them were silent, and Peter tried to go to his place
without making a sound, unsuccessfully, tripping over the wires
here and there, sitting down after several apologies.
Peter saw an inexistent light emanating from Neil‘s pores. The
light formed invisible wires and slid to the ground and like golden
snakes approached the band. The strand of light slithered up his
body and connected itself into an invisible socket at the back of
Peter‘s neck. The wires were connected waiting for the message,
the light was there, waiting to be filled by essence.
Neil counted to three, and the music rose into the air. It was
not bad, but it wasn‘t exactly good either, music played by
amateurs preparing for the championship of local bands. Peter
felt the wires tighten, but still nothing was pouring through them,
the music was missing the last component, the words.
Neil‘s contours started burning. Light rushed through the wires
into their skulls and burst out through their eyes making their
surrounding burn brighter and brighter until everything was
completely white. The music died and even though they played,
they only heard a high-pitched whistle. Their hands and bodies
moved in perfect silence as Neil‘s body slowly dissolved in light.
Peter felt the light enter through his mouth, slowly filling him up.
The words came from all around, emanating from the light itself,
so elementary but bearing a weight that no human could deliver,
simple words yet so hard to understand, a group of letters
conveying the essence of the universe itself.
―Love everybody as I love thee.‖
The light was flowing faster and turning brighter. Their
contours gradually dissolved in the white liquid of the light until
all they felt was the light itself, the essence of the greatest orgasm.
When Peter felt he would explode, he returned back to reality.
He looked around and saw that everyone had experienced the
same. Neil was panting at the front, his energy drained, his spinal
column curved, using the microphone as a walking stick to bear
the burden of his body. He slowly erected himself adjusting his
hair a little then turned to them.
―This is it, not more, nor less.‖
They all smiled hoping their goals would be fulfilled some way
or the other.
―Please, L€ne, help us…‖
The joy that filled L€ne‘s heart a few minutes before when she
heard Neil‘s voice quickly went down the drain giving place to
―I knew it, Neil. I knew that after such a long time, you didn‘t
call me just to ask me how I was…‖
―What do you mean, L€ne? It was you who decided to leave. I
thought you were better alone…‖
―Just because I left, it doesn‘t mean I left forever, it definitely
doesn‘t mean that I don‘t want to hear at least from you.‖
―Then why didn‘t you call?‖
―Me? I am the girl, Neil, hello. It is your duty to call…‖
―Women…first they battle for emancipation then to be treated
―Neil, shut up…‖
Both of them waited in silence determined not to speak until
the other, determined not to hang up either.
―I‘m sorry,‖ they both said at once and chuckled a little then
L€ne continued, ―I guess life flew by so quickly I didn‘t have time
to acknowledge how far we drifted away, and when I did, it was
too late. I thought it was better not to call, that you would be
furious, that we wouldn‘t know what to talk about, that we would
be strangers to each other…‖
―And I thought that you becoming a superstar meant you didn‘t
have time for losers like me…‖
―Well, this isn‘t the case, so what do you need, my dear old
friend?‖ asked L€ne with a tone of mockery.
―Help. I started a band and signed ourselves in for a local
―A band?‖ L€ne rejoiced. ―That‘s marvelous. And how is the
―Very well, thank you, we are in the finals…which is great, but
even if we win, I am not sure we will achieve the notoriety we
need. We don‘t want to be local celebrities, we want the world…‖
―I see. You know, Neil, I may be a star but I‘m not omnipotent.
I‘ll try to speak with my manager, he is the one that makes all the
calls and we‘ll see…‖
―Great. How is your life turning out to be, L€ne?‖
―Great. Will we meet someday?‖
―I think sooner than later. See you, Neil.‖
She hung up and smiled patting her suitcase. The fleet she had
planned a few days ago would have to wait at least a few more
hours. The uncertainty she felt before the call left her
immediately, someone was waiting for her, the man of whom she
perpetually thought of, the man she saw on the streets every day,
the man who visited her in her dreams. A few moments before
she wasn‘t sure whether leaving her present life was a good idea,
but now she knew. She knew she wasn‘t alone, and she would be
able to endure the nothingness of this life a little longer.
L€ne coughed a little and glitter stained her hands. She cleaned
them with a handkerchief, then stood up adjusting her whore
make-up and ragged skull T-shirt she used as a dress, and finally
jumped into her boots. ‗The show must go on,‘ she said to herself
stepping out of her hotel room and smiling at how dramatic she
sounded. ‗The show must go on, L€ne.‘
She got into one of the taxis parking before the hotel and took
way to her manager‘s office. The skyscrapers moved as L€ne‘s
attention shifted toward the inside. She was empty, just a puppet
and nothing more, leading a life without meaning. Even if she was
more than wealthy, it didn‘t make her happy. She was just moving
through the darkness, without any goal except death itself, just
existing and nothing more, living for the sake of living, and this
was not enough, and she couldn‘t bear this anymore.
The car stopped before one of the many skyscrapers, and L€ne
stepped out onto a blood-red carpet with a circus-like pavilion
above her. The doorman‘s Hulkian muscles bulged through his
uniform as he opened the door. L€ne stepped into the atrium
where a dwarf sitting behind the receptionist‘s desk greeted her.
The elevator doors opened, and two women sharing the same arm
―Hello, L€ne,‖ they said unanimously, and L€ne tried to smile
sincerely. She pressed the button and the elevator rose. The
Entrance of the Gladiator was playing as usual, over and over
again, never ceasing even for a second. The music crawled into
her head and wouldn‘t let her go.
The elevator door opened, and L€ne stepped into a small room,
the shelves reaching the ceiling, filled with gadgets and jars of all
sorts, skulls, amulets, fetuses, frogs, and snakeheads. The
secretary, a fortuneteller, was sitting behind a crystal bulb and
smiled as L€ne entered.
―We‘ve been expecting you,‖ she said caressing her crystal bulb.
L€ne smiled knowing that her predictive powers resided under
her table, a monitor connected to the camera facing the entrance
in the atrium.
―May I enter?‖
―Wait a moment.‖ She pressed a button that gave out a buzz
then a few moments later the head of the manager appeared in
the bulb. ―L€ne is here to see you…‖
―Let her in.‖
The fortuneteller pressed another button, and the heavy
Baroque door gave out a buzz. L€ne stepped to the door and
pushed it open. She entered into the office, the carnival themed
cloth hanging from the top of the ceiling creating the interior of a
circus tent. The manager was wearing his usual red coat and black
cylinder hat. He was playing with his whip when he saw L€ne and
―L€ne, my dear friend, how are you darling…‖
―Fine, Julius, thank you.‖
―In what way can I help you…oh please, sit down.‖
L€ne stepped to a Baroque sofa and sat down as the bordeaux
cushion embraced her behind.
―Let‘s get to the point, Julius.‖
Julius nodded giving her permission to continue.
―A friend of mine started a band, and I think they are really
great,‖ lied L€ne who had never actually heard them play,
knowing that being good was not enough without the proper
representation. You can be the worst untalented singer and with
the proper management, still rise to the top.
―Go ahead, L€ne, go ahead…‖
―They play a type of electro-rock-pop-disco-sacrilegious type of
―Very eclectic, what are their genders?‖
―Great, great, we don‘t represent a boy band yet, they sound
―They are, they are,‖ said L€ne agreeing. ―I can ask for a demo
if you‘d like…‖
―And what do they sing about?‖
L€ne tried not to show the hate bubbling inside her towards
him. Julius knew this very well, and as he waited for the answer,
he played with his pointy moustache that looked like two spears
growing out from right beneath his nose. L€ne knew that all she
could do was tell him the truth.
―Religion, self-acceptance, tolerance, about the new world,
sometimes abortion and adultery…‖
Julius laughed and started shaking his head. ―L€ne, L€ne,
L€ne. Why did you come when you knew what I would say?‖
―Who knows, I had to try. I was hoping that you have become
illuminated over time…‖
―L€ne, you know very well that people don‘t want to listen to
this. They want to hear about love and heartbreaks, parties and
hangovers, nothing to think about, all the banalities in the
―Are you sure this is what they want to listen to? Isn‘t this what
you give them and all they can choose from?‖ asked L€ne. The
frustration was growing in her, and she shifted positions in the
chair now and then, trying as hard as possible to remain seated
and not to tear him apart.
―People don‘t have time to think, and they want to hear things
that are so trivial…‖
―But look at Lady Dada. She sings not only about love and
parties, but many other things and still people seem to listen…‖
―L€ne, Lady Dada is a one-time phenomenon, just a
momentary deviance from the mainstream. Don‘t you think that
she is so much different than you are, she has a really great
management this is the secret and, L€ne, I don‘t know how to put
this…you know that she is a little more interesting than you‘ll ever
L€ne felt her hands tighten into a grasp, but luckily she could
still control herself. ―Maybe, but this is not what I am talking
about. She seems to have a message, no matter how primitive,
still it is more than what I sing about, why can‘t you let me sing
about something else?‖
―Because you are not like her, you are just one of my many
products, L€ne. I warned you when we started working together.
I raised you so much higher than your talents would ever let you
on your own. You should be grateful…‖
―I am not, Julius,‖ said L€ne hitting down onto Julius‘ desk
making him jump back in fear. ―You don‘t really care about talent,
all you care about is money. There is so much more in me, but
you try to silence me. I am leaving, Julius…‖
―Go ahead, I‘ll sue you, and you‘ll find out how unpleasant I can
be. I created you, L€ne, and I can destroy you.‖
―Go ahead, Julius, but I know you won‘t dare…‖ she said
―Why not, L€ne?‖
―Because then the world would find out what a slave merchant
you are. I will tell the people that you owned me, you owned my
body and voice, and soon you will find yourself without
―I am not the only one, L€ne, I am not the only one…‖
L€ne stood up, turned around, and left slamming the huge
Baroque door behind her. The crystal ball rolled to the ground
and shattered, the secretary looked at her surprised, she did not
seem to see this coming.
Matthew stepped out of the changing room into the Western
saloon packed with the youth wanting to have some fun, their
chattering filling this tiny space with smoke and laughter. He
nodded to a man standing by the jukebox. The man nodded back
then turned to the jukebox kicking its side. A tired country song
emerged from it, crackling away, not intruding, just underlining
the prevailing murmur. Matthew adjusted the peace sign dangling
down his neck and threw his Rasta strands back, winking at two
girls looking at him. The girls giggled and hurried away.
In the thick cloud of smoke, he saw Neil sitting by a table alone,
surrounded by many standing around him talking to others. He
smiled at how Neil was able to seem so lonely even amidst so
many people. He headed toward him then, patting his back, sat
―Nothing much,‖ answered Neil staring into his beer before
―It‘s because of your parents, right?‖
Neil nodded and took a sip. ―I understand that this is not the
life they want for me, but at least they should show some
―They love you more than anything, you know that.‖
―Hey, Matthew,‖ said a girl passing by, and Matthew nodded at
her then faced Neil once more.
―You know this, right?‖
The murmur suddenly stopped, even the jukebox died, in an
instant everything went completely silent. Everyone faced the
door. Neil didn‘t care to look up, but Matthew was too intrigued
to leave this phenomenon unnoticed, so he stood up.
In the entrance he saw a huge black man, his muscles seemed
to be carved out of the hardest ebony. His strong cheekbones and
maxilla made him look as if he were the son of the mountains
themselves. He was masculine in every way, yet he was quite the
opposite. Over his dark stern eyes the eyelids were colored a pale
pink. His full lips were shining red with the lip-gloss reflecting the
mild lighting coming from above. The man adjusted his blond wig
and pushed his breasts up then pulled his pink tank top a little
higher and his neon pink miniskirt a little lower. He headed
through the room as the crowd parted. His smooth hairless legs
pierced through the air as his pink high heel shoes moved with
confidence, not even quivering a little before the staring eyes. He
stepped to their table.
―May I sit down?‖ he asked them. Neil did not react, but
Matthew felt the urge to stand up and pull the chair out for this
being. The man sat down and searched in his little purse. A tiny
mirror emerged through which he examined his reflection,
reaching for some mascara to adjust his make-up. When he was
done, he placed the mirror back into his bag then looked around,
frustrated by the silence.
―Would you mind?‖ asked the man with a voice so deep as if it
were arriving to them from the bottomless deep abyss. His voice
almost echoed in the silence. Matthew felt the tension in the air,
felt the invisible battle going down. The man was serious, and the
crowd felt his power that made them turn away, the murmur
filling the room once more. Neil just drank his beer. Matthew
―How can I help you?‖ asked Matthew.
―You might be wondering who I am….‖ said the man.
―He is my father,‖ said Neil spoiling the surprise. ―Why did you
―I heard you are having the showdown today. I just came to see
you. I am so proud of you munchkin,‖ said the man reaching over
the table to squeeze Neil‘s cheeks. Neil grabbed his wrist and
tossed it away.
―Don‘t touch me. Please leave. I am tired of being your little
puppet. What were you thinking? You can just throw me down to
earth every two thousand years to die? We started the band, of
the idea I am thankful, but everything else we did alone, without
your help. Now, get out of here.‖
Neil stood up and left without turning around. Matthew looked
at the man and saw his lips quivering. The clearest tear rolled
down his cheek and fell to the ground. The moment it touched the
stained parquet, it shattered, its fragments rolling away like
―Don‘t mind him, he can be quite the punk sometimes,‖ said
Matthew consoling the father.
Neil‘s father nodded, stood up, and left. Matthew watched his
hips sway. The beauty of this presence was undeniable, he was
perfect in his way, every last detail. The door closed behind him.
Matthew finished his beer and was about to return backstage
when he saw four bald men hurrying out the door after Neil‘s
father. Matthew knew that they were up to no good, so he stood
up and hurried outside.
He did not see them anywhere. He heard a yelp coming from
the back alley. He hurried to the back but froze with fear at its
orifice, not being able to enter. Neil‘s father, squirming on the
floor, was surrounded by the four men.
―Don‘t you dare return to our bar….‖
―Wait,‖ interrupted one of the assailants, ―let‘s teach him a
lesson, let‘s make him a woman if this is what he wants.‖
―But I am not a transsexual…‖ said Neil‘s father, but the group
didn‘t seem to listen.
The man found a plank of wood lying nearby. He raised it into
the sky and a nail stood out of it, glistening in the sun. He
adjusted his grip on the plank then stepped to Neil‘s father, lifting
his skirt with his feet and pushing it back. The other two pulled
his pink panties off.
―What do we have here, we are doing you a favor aren‘t we, you
―I am not a faggot, I am a transvestite for God‘s sake…‖ replied
Neil‘s father begging them helpless with horror as the man raised
the plank into the air ready to strike.
Neil‘s father started laughing and winked toward Matthew.
Tink. The little worm between his legs morphed into a great snake
rising above the four men who were shaking in fear.
―Let‘s get out of here,‖ one of them shouted.
The snake struck, ripping off their heads one after the other.
Their headless corpses fell to the ground. The snake gobbled them
up then shrunk back to its original size. Matthew ran to Neil‘s
father and helped him up.
―Are you alright?‖
―Of course, Matthew. What God giveth, he taketh away,‖ said
Neil‘s father and grinned.
―I must really go now.‖
And with that, he burst into millions of butterflies. Matthew
looked at them amazed, each a different color, embracing him as
if they were an always-moving rainbow. The butterflies flew away,
leaving through the sun.
―C‘mon, Matthew. It‘s almost time.‖
Matthew turned around to see Peter at the end of the alley. He
nodded and hurried after him back into the bar.
―Why do we have to go, Mary?‖
―Because he is our son?‖
―We cannot encourage him. Why can‘t he come to work in the
―Because he doesn‘t want to. I am fed up with you two, you
must talk eventually…‖
―I will when he grows up,‖
―We can‘t ignore the elephant in the room anymore. You know
very well who he is...‖
―We were young back then, young and stoned…‖
―Really, Josephine, were we?‖
Josephine looked down, and she knew she couldn‘t deny it any
I guess you‘re right,‖ she said.
―Now that‘s a good girl,‖ said Mary caressing her face.
They were sitting in their red convertible. Mary raised the key
and inserted it into the hole. As she turned it, the diamond skull
dangled a little. Josephine lay back in the beige leather seat and
closed her eyes. She felt the car roll down from the garage, and
Mary began revving the car. Josephine felt the tires squeal
beneath her, then, like a jet, they burst down the road the next
―Why do you have to do this?‖ asked Josephine.
―I love the smell of burning rubber.‖
They sped onto the highway leading into the city. The hills
rolled away toward the horizon with the never-ending pinewoods
covering them like a warm blanket, interrupted by the desolate
periphery surrounding the city, their destination.
―We‘ll be late, Mary.‖
―Shut up,‖ she said giving Josephine her rebellious grin that
turned Josephine on. She caressed Mary‘s thighs a little.
―Stop it,‖ she said without any sign of conviction.
Josephine slid her hands higher and higher until she felt Mary‘s
garden of pleasure bathing in a warm liquid beneath her hands.
Josephine pulled her dark blue dress up as Mary started grunting
with pleasure. She pressed down on the gas pedal, and the red
convertible sped up, surpassing the many Sunday drivers. The
speed meter started rising higher and higher and just when
Josephine thought they would take off, Mary gave out a squeal
that rose into heaven and caused God himself to grin.
They reached the exit and rolled through the desolated city
stopping by the saloon where Neil would be playing. They stepped
into the overcrowded room and sighed with relief when they saw
the other group still on stage waiting to perform.
A slightly obese middle-aged man stepped to the microphone,
his stomach protruding from his heavy-metal shirt a little too
short and emerging like the great white. He adjusted his leather
jacket before speaking.
―Ladies and gentlemen,‖ he said with his deep silky voice. ―We
have come to the final duel between the last two bands that made
it into the finals. First, we will hear The Pharisees then the
Crucifixion Reloaded. When they‘re done, you all can vote by
placing the ballet into the box right after you register yourselves
at the table in the back. Now let the show begin!‖
Josephine examined The Pharisees. Their long black hair
covered their pale faces, but Josephine saw their eyes that were
up to no good, tingling with the darkness of evil. The lead singer
stepped to the microphone and with an au fait husky voice said,
―The title of our song is What you do, I would never do, not when
you see it at least. Have fun.‖
He patted three beats on his thigh then gave a nod. The music
exploded, and Mary and Josephine almost collapsed by the pain
caused by the noise. All they could hear was a deafening raucous
of cacophonic cords poisoning the air around them. Then the lead
singer began to sing. They looked at his face and saw that his eyes
were sinking deeper into his eye sockets until they were nothing
but two black holes. His mouth grew wider and wider. The voice
that emerged from that darkness was the voice of the devil
coming to end the world after he had defeated God.
Josephine hugged Mary, and they soon noticed that they were
alone. Everyone around them was hypnotized by the music. They
were alone, standing in the spotlight in the middle of the sea of
enemies. The singer was draining the world from light, turning
the world around them dark. It was like black ink dissolving in
water, and soon the strands were surrounding them, closing in on
them. When Josephine thought she would scream, the tune
ended, the ink dematerialized, and the crowd started cheering.
The Pharisees bowed several times then left the stage blowing
kisses toward the audience. As they disappeared into the
changing room, the Crucifixion Reloaded stepped onto the stage.
They just gave a nod to one another before beginning.
Peter pressed something on his turntable, and the beat started
thumping, resonating with Mary‘s and Josephine‘s heart.
Josephine examined Neil and thought he looked like a homeless.
His dark shirt was ripped at the sides, and his black leather jacket
was decorated with wrinkles deriving from a time long lost.
She didn‘t understand the youth, not anymore, but she knew
there was no sense in fighting them. It was better to step aside
and let them prosper. Yet, she felt sad and in the back of her mind
a thought wriggled, maybe their time was better. This feeling was
natural, and she never tried to silence it because it filled her with
sweet, sweet nostalgia.
Neil faced the ground, and his strands of hair dangled in the air
as he moved his head to the rhythm. The second he looked up
John and James struck the chords of their guitars, Judas hit
down on his drum, Matthew‘s arachnid hand accelerated on the
keyboard, and Neil began to sing. Mary grabbed the arms of
Josephine, marveling at the light bursting out of Neil‘s mouth.
Light washed over them, embracing them, caressing them, and
both of them felt safe, protected by this immense power that was
so tender, like the soft wool of a sheep. They were swimming in
light, and they saw Neil for who he really was for the first time.
His immaculate white cloak swayed as he moved in slow-
motion. He raised his arms, his palms turned to the sky,
delivering a gift from God himself. His hand stopped in mid-air,
distended toward them, offering his saving hands. He opened his
mouth and words emerged in the form of notes of all colors of a
neon rainbow, warm and strong, gentle and confident. The notes
danced around them before sinking into their ears.
―If someone tells you homosexuals should not adopt because it
is against the will of God, tell them to be careful and think about
the infertile. If it is allowed to cure them with the help of
medicine, why couldn‘t the homosexual infertility be cured as well
by adoption or IVF.
―If someone tells you homosexuals should not adopt because it
is against the will of God, ask them how dare they claim to know
what God‘s will is?
―If someone tells you that homosexuals should not adopt
because a child needs parents of two genders, tell them to be
careful and think about the widows and divorced whose child is
also raised by one.
―If someone tells you homosexuals should not adopt because it
is against the will of God, tell them that God has no gender and
still bears millions of children, some are sane, others are mad.
―If someone tells you that homosexuals should not adopt
because their child will see that the homosexual family model is
the one to assimilate, ask them whether they think that
homosexuals learned this behavior from their parents.
―If someone tells you homosexuals should not adopt because it
is against the will of God, tell them God is pansexual and loves
everything and everyone just the same.
―If someone tells you that homosexuals should not adopt
because their child will experience hate, rejection, and exclusion,
tell them if this is their worry, then they must look into their heart
and ask themselves who is to blame.
―If someone tells you homosexuals should not adopt because it
is against the will of God, tell them there is no greater evil than
Neil punched into the air, and the white light embracing them
burst into the sky like sharp knives rushing away, making them
return into the crowded room where smoke ruled over all. They
both started clapping, looking into each other‘s eyes and
understanding that they did a good job raising him. Mary winked,
and Josephine knew that she was right. He was the son of the
One. As they clapped, they realized that they were the only ones
applauding, the rest of the audience stood in silence.
Neil noticed them in the back and hurried to them. He first
hugged Mary then faced Josephine. He gave her the apologetic
smile that Josephine saw so many times when he was still a child,
causing all her rage to melt. She stepped to him, and they hugged.
Josephine felt tears rush to her eyes as she felt Neil tighten his
grasp around her waist, but she tried to contain them.
―Son, you were marvelous, I am sure you will win,‖ said
Josephine at the verge of tears.
―We‘ll see,‖ said Neil.
The rest of the band stepped off the stage, hurried to the
counter, and ordered a round of shots. The transparent fluid in
the cups disappeared one after the other into their mouths. Mary
and Josephine joined the celebration and felt young again.
Rounds came and rounds went. Josephine was soon inebriated.
The host stepped onto the stage and cleared his throat.
―Would the bands please come up to the stage…‖
The bands obeyed. Judas cleaned his mouth into his sleeves
and went after the rest of them. He stepped onto the stage
intently bumping against the lead singer of the Pharisees.
―What the hell do you want?‖ asked their lead singer.
―Come hit me,‖ said Judas a little drunk.
Neil pulled him away from the others and apologized. The host
continued after this brief intermezzo.
―First of all, I would like to congratulate to all of you.
Unfortunately, there can only be one winner who will be able to
record his album with the help of our sponsor, the Sox factory
that gives you the softest polyester socks in the world.‖
Josephine stepped closer to Mary, and they smiled at each
other, knowing that Neil‘s dream would finally come true.
―So, ladies and gentlemen,‖ Neil took a deep breath, ―the
winner of the battle of local bands,‖ Mary squeezed Josephine‘s
hand, ―is no other than,‖ no sound could be heard, only the
tension in the form of a high-pitch whistle, ―the band that will
take its first step toward glory,‖ Peter almost fainted and was
caught by James before collapsing onto the stage, ―issssss‖, his
voice was turning into a scream culminating into the last two
words, ― the Pharisees” .
Mary faced Josephine with disbelief. The Pharisees jumped up
and down. Their leader stepped to Neil, and even though he was
standing far away from the microphone, his words were amplified
by it and could be heard coming from the speakers. ―How does it
feel to lose?‖
Judas almost jumped on him before the many eyes and was
stopped once again by Neil.
The crowd embraced the winners and left Neil and his band
standing on the stage alone. They stepped down and walked to
Josephine and Mary who congratulated each of them
nonetheless. Neil stepped to Josephine to say, ―I guess you were
right. It‘s better if I give up my childish dreams and go to work in
Josephine put both her hands on his shoulders, looking deeply
into his eyes. ―You cannot leave the path designated to you only
because it is harder, because any other road leads to delusions
and disappointments. You know that if God closes a door
somewhere, he opens a window somewhere else. Maybe this time
he closed a window and will open a door for you, who knows.‖
―Mom, are you drunk?‖
Mary approached Josephine from behind, putting her hands on
―Don‘t give up, Neil, never. Now we‘d better go because
Josephine forgot that she is not eighteen anymore. Are you
―No, we are celebrating with the others in the playground. See
Josephine kissed Neil one more time then they left, stepping
into the cool night, free and without worries, knowing that their
child was learning to fly and will rise into the air.
―How long will you stay there?‖ heard Judas from the phone as
the flames warmed his back.
―I don‘t know, the whole night, come whenever you want…‖
―I must see him…‖
―Him? I thought because of me,‖ said Judas a little let down.
―Not this time, I must see him.‖
―Why so suddenly? I thought you didn‘t have any time.‖
―I‘ll explain everything later.‖
Judas heard a click then the monotone ringtone returned, and
he knew he was alone on the line with God. He kept the phone
near his ears for a few seconds hoping he would hear her voice
telling him that she wanted to see him and not Neil, but her voice
did not return.
He always felt that she did not belong to him, to no one, in fact.
This made him love her even more, an unreachable specter just
within reach never to be grasped. Because she was made of air, he
was afraid he would lose her. It was the fact that he could not
possess her that made him love her. Judas saw Neil the way all
the others did, and specifically because of this, he was afraid that
she would choose Neil over him.
He walked past the many cars parked in a circle toward the fire
burning in the center. He saw six male figures, each of them with
a can of beer in their hands. James and Neil were wearing tight
jeans with black boots that shone as they reflected the light of the
flames. The flowers decorating Matthew‘s shirt were swaying in
the shadows cast by the fire, Peter‘s thick-framed glasses reflected
the light, John‘s white suit was tinted orange, and Philip‘s suit
was the color of the smoke rising to the sky. The six of them were
standing in a circle, but he did not feel like joining them, not until
the jealousy was still burning strong. Alcohol and jealousy is just
a little better combination than alcohol and driving or alcohol and
He waited in the darkness for a few seconds then approached
the others, leaning against his motorcycle facing the ring of
people at the other side of the fire. Peter spoke to him over the
flames and under the stars decorating the night sky.
―Who was it, Judas? Do you have to go home? Were you a bad,
―Shut the fuck up. She‘s coming here.‖
―No shit,‖ said Peter, joy speeding across his face. ―Hey, guys,
she is coming here.‖
The others broke the circle and now stood in a semi-circle
―What does she want?‖ asked Matthew opening another can of
beer and taking a deep sip from it.
―I don‘t know, she says she must see Neil.‖
―Me?‖ asked Neil sitting down onto the hood of his red
hundred-year-old Mustang. ―What does she want?‖
―I said, I don‘t know, so just get off me.‖
―What‘s the matter, Judas?‖ asked Neil lighting a cigarette.
―Shut up,‖ said Judas reaching for a Lucky and putting the
cigarette in his mouth.
―Who wants to smoke a joint?‖ asked Matthew.
Each of them put their hands up, everyone except for Judas.
―Oh, Judas,‖ said Matthew. ―Come here.‖
Judas shook his head. Neil approached him, leaning against the
motorcycle and staring into the destroying flames casting their
light onto his placid lines.
Without looking toward Judas, Neil said, ―You know we are
friends, I would never touch her. I know how jealous you are, but
I would never do anything to hurt you. I am sure she is in love
with you. She could have had all the men she wanted, yet she
holds out next to a loser like you.‖ Neil smiled and punched
Judas‘ shoulder playfully.
―I know, I know, all this seems so improbable, you know, me
and her. I am happy that she decided to see you, I truly am, yet I
am scared that it can end any second. Let‘s be honest, Neil, you‘ve
got the looks, and the charisma that makes the panties just slide
off the girls… ‖
―Don‘t be silly, Judas, I am sure she is not so superficial.‖
Judas knew that he was right.
―C‘mon Judas, let‘s go to the others.‖
They stood up, and Judas put his great muscular arm around
Neil and hugged him a little, kissing his forehead as they
approached the others.
―Ah, how cute,‖ said Peter. ―Don‘t tell me that you‘re playing for
―You‘re terrible, Peter,‖ said James and kissed Peter firmly on
―Get a room,‖ said Matthew lighting the joint. It moved from
mouth to mouth as the incense embraced them, swirling in the
air, swaying left to right like many snakes dancing to the
monotone tune of the flutes, slowing down time itself. Soon their
moods rose high along with the smoke, and they were young
again, far from the worries and disappointments of adulthood,
free from the shackles of duty, free to be careless for a few hours.
Slowly the empty cans started filling the ground, and their manly
laughter echoed in the abandoned playground.
They heard a deep rumble, and everyone turned to see the
headlights of a limousine approaching. Gradually their voices
subsided, all of them were waiting for the car to stop and for her
to appear, but time moved slower than the slowest snail, and the
limousine did not seem to end, distending for infinite miles over
When they thought the car would never stop, the trunk finally
came into view, and the vehicle stopped. The driver jumped out in
a perfectly ironed suit with a black bowtie and a hat. His white
moustache sparkled. He hurried to the back door, put his
wrinkled hands onto the knob, and paused for a second. They all
held their breath as the door opened, but all they could see was a
dark cavern where one of the most peculiar creatures of their time
resided ready to manifest herself in her full splendor.
The orifice of the cave flickered as the light emitted by the
dancing flames illuminated its edges, not strong enough to
penetrate inside the vehicle.
First the limbs emerged, landing on two great black extremities
of a crab hiding somewhere in the depths of the Marianna trench,
a monster so terrible humanity had never seen before. Growing
out from the scissors the white legs emerged. They followed it up
to the middle of the thighs until it disappeared inside the
An eel-like formation slid out and grabbed hold of the side of
the door. The black snake twirled and squirmed. Echoing from
the hole, they heard a barking-like sound that made shivers run
up and down their backs. They saw a flicker then a tiny flame was
born, lighting her lips the color of blood and a mole with great
hairs growing out from it. The monster lit her cigarette, and as
she inhaled the smoke, the ash turned dark red. Another eel-like
formation slithered out with the cigarette, grabbing hold of the
other side of the door.
The seven men were petrified by fear, hoping that if they stay
this way, immobilized and silent, the predator wouldn‘t see them.
They saw the eels tighten their grasp as if they were bearing a
great weight that wants to pull them back into the pit, but they
did not let go, and from the cave, the monster presented itself,
mother of all monsters, a creation so great and feared by many,
an elongated figure wearing a tentacle-like gown with the many
protrusions all alive, swirling, covering her white body the color
of the moon. The black gown continued into a dark corset ending
right over her breast. Her hair, the color of piss, made of snakes,
rose into the sky to flow down around her neck framing the face
that wasn‘t like any human face but of the emperor alien
descending from a spaceship to defeat humanity. From the deep
sockets of her pale face two eyes shimmered, the palest green,
topaz mixed with air, the same color of the eyes of death himself.
Gathering some energy, she pushed herself out of her cave and
almost lost balance on her great shoes. The men feared that if she
would collapse the deepest canyon would form, cutting right into
the heart of the globe, but luckily their lives were spared once
She reached into the car for a leather jacket decorated by a
great unicorn, its horn sparkling in the light. The jacket moved
out of its own accord and slid up her back. Next, she reached back
in the car for a translucent apple filled with a blood-like fluid. She
raised it to the height of her shoulders with her elbow bent,
balancing the apple on her palm. She placed her other hand on
her hips, held her head high, cleared her throat, and finally took
her first step to approach them.
She did not move like humans do, but more like a fluid flowing
towards them. Her contours morphed as the dark waves washed
through her, coming closer and closer. She wasn‘t simply fluid. It
was as if her cells were remodeling themselves, changing
positions and forms, approaching them with almost a godly
bearing. The apple in the palm of her right hand was floating
toward them. She moved in slow motion, and it seemed to them
that the tentacles forming her dress and the snakes growing out
from her head lived a separate life, waving in the night sky,
illuminated by the flames that never rested feeding on the wood
She walked past the cars with an aristocratic elegance, and her
pale green eyes were glowing in the darkness. She moved toward
Neil who just looked up at her as an apparition, a dancer in the
dark. Everyone stepped back a little, fearing that they would be
seized by one of her tentacles, everyone except for Neil and Judas.
The queen stopped before them and did not say a word.
She moved the apple from the side to the height of her belly as
the red fluid swayed a little. She raised her other hand and
pinched the stem with her thumb and index finger then pulled it
out releasing a sweet perfume from the phial. The scent lingered
about, and all of them knew that this was the essence of the Eden
long lost. She tilted the phial, and the red fluid dribbled to the
ground dampening Neil‘s dark leather boots and the ground
around it. The scent exploded, and all of them felt dizzy and
This wife of the night knelt down before Neil, looking into his
eyes all through the ritual. Neil could see her hair slide up onto
his boots, and the strands began dancing. She placed her
arachnid fingers onto the boots and started washing his feet with
the greatest care. They saw this woman degrade herself into
shame, yet it was not shame they sensed in her entity but the aura
of being gifted, gifted to wash the feet of this man, gifted to know
him, gifted to be with him. It was an act of humiliation tinted with
a sexuality felt by all of them watching. This erotic scene was only
emphasized by the syrupy scent of Eden. Everyone was
mesmerized, everyone but Judas.
―What the hell do you think you‘re doing?‖
Judas heard a female voice but couldn‘t find its source. L€ne
stepped out of the darkness and hurried toward the petrified
―L€ne?‖ everyone gasped in shock.
L€ne looked into Judas‘ eyes, their eyes said everything, the joy
of finding a kindred and a touch of green jealousy.
They broke this glance, and Judas stepped to Lady Dada to pull
her up and away from Neil‘s feet.
―I asked,‖ said L€ne emphasizing the next few words and facing
Dada, ―what the hell are you doing?‖
―What do you think I‘m doing?‖ Lady Dada replied, and her
soft voice of Circe disrupted the illusion, turning her back into
human from the mother monster she was a few seconds before.
―I don‘t know, that‘s why I asked.‖
―This is how the prince of heaven should be treated,‖ said Dada
bowing her head towards Neil.
L€ne stepped to Neil hugging him stronger than ever. Agony
ran across Neil‘s face because of her tight grasp, but he smiled a
―Get away from my man, you bitch,‖ L€ne said.
―Hey,‖ said Neil pulling L€ne back, preventing her to jump
onto Lady Dada so that she can rip her to bits and pieces with her
teeth. Judas grabbed hold of Dada‘s waist firmly, knowing that he
too was holding a ticking bomb.
―Don‘t call her that way, cunt,‖ said Judas.
―Why shouldn‘t I? This is what she calls herself, a fame hooker
prostitute witch. Why should I call her otherwise?‖
―Listen to yourselves,‖ said Neil interrupting the debate. ―What
is the matter with you, L€ne? You judge her with the slurs and
prejudices of the world that is about to end. Maybe she was a
prostitute before and sold herself many years ago but not
anymore. She stepped onto the godly path, and from all her
previous sins, I absolve her.‖
―Thank you,‖ said Lady Dada bowing her head once more and
placing her fist onto her bare chest.
―And as for you, Judas, you must really understand the many
definitions of love and make a difference. The love she feels for
me may emerge from the same source, but the result is totally
different. Affection, eros, friendship, and unconditional love are
the four faces of the same feeling growing from the same root.
Unconditional love is the one that shows God in its full splendor,
but do not forget that all of them are a gift, and thus should be
treated as such. You must learn the difference between them even
if sometimes they overlap. Her pussy is yours, Judas, I told you I
would never touch her.‖
They all laughed as the flames warmed their faces and hearts.
―He is right, Judas,‖ said Lady Dada huddling closer to him. ―I
wouldn‘t spread my legs for anyone else.‖
―And even jealousy derives from God, and it is not evil,
representing the greatest love, the fear of losing the other, but like
all gifts, this too should be used with caution because too much of
anything proves to be harmful eventually. Continence is what I
teach you,‖ said Neil looking at L€ne who quickly turned away
but in a few seconds turned back, her eyes sparkling this time,
and blew the most gentle kiss onto his cheeks. She broke free
from Neil‘s arms and stepped to Dada.
―I‘m sorry, I shouldn‘t have called you that.‖
―Don‘t worry about it, I am used to be called that and even
much worse. I am a prostitute in their eyes, but I don‘t care. To be
called evil by the evil I guess makes you virtuous.‖
L€ne then turned to Neil. ―And as for you, Neil, fuck you. You
and your words. They make me wanna puke all over, yet
somehow I don‘t, on the contrary, I inhale them.‖
She reached for her flask decorated with the finest brown
leather and raised it into the air. ―Let the party begin. Here,‖ she
said giving the flask to Dada, ―You drink first.‖
―That‘s more like it,‖ said L€ne reaching for the whiskey. ―So
what brought you here?‖
―A dream and a goal,‖ said Dada.
―A dream? What did you dream about?‖
―It doesn‘t matter, all I can say is that it was extraordinary and
horrifying at the same time,‖ said Lady Dada secretively.
―Oh, c‘mon, these dreams,‖ said Neil a little annoyed. ―Why
does he always have to help me out?‖
―He is your father,‖ said L€ne. ―He wants only what is best for
you, you can‘t have rancor because of this.‖
―No, you shouldn‘t, because if it weren‘t for this dream, I
wouldn‘t be here,‖ said Dada.
―Why have you come then?‖ asked L€ne lighting a cigarette and
putting it in her mouth.
―Neil must reach out to far greater crowds. You are all coming
on tour with me. Maybe this time things will change for the better
and will not end the same way like the time before.‖
Neil looked away and faced the darkness surrounding them.
Judas could see by his profile that his heart broke. Peter stepped
to Dada, trembling like a little girl. ―We accept your help with the
greatest humiliation, and I, your faithful fan and most vicious
little monster, give my life to you.‖
―What‘s the matter with you?‖ asked Dada, tired to be treated
as a star. ―I am not your queen, but one of those, who like you,
fight for a good cause, going against the world, against petrified
tradition, trying to free the calcified gyres‘ of the brains of
humanity and make them see the new world.‖
―I know, but still you will remain the Mother Monster in my
eyes. Now please sign my chest,‖ he said ripping his shirt apart.
Peter handed her a pen, and she signed his bare chest as James
shook his head in disbelief.
―I will never wash again!‖ exclaimed Peter.
Neil stepped to L€ne and kissed the top of her head. ―You must
answer the question pending in the air, L€ne, we already know
why Dada came, so I must ask you what brought you here?‖
―Long story,‖ she said.
―We have time,‖ said Neil leaning against his hundred-year-old
Mustang and taking a sip from his beer.
The flask moved round and round as L€ne recounted the
happenings of the past that led her to flee the music industry. The
group disrupted by the apparition of two women calmed back
down, not being less than before but much more.
When the morning light came, Judas stepped to Lady Dada and
whispered in her ears.
―Let‘s go, sweetheart.‖
Lady Dada was far too drunk to answer and nodded. As they
hurried to the limousine, they saw Neil leaning against the trunk
of his car with a beer in his hand. The figure of L€ne appeared,
kneeling before him. They both thought that she too was washing
his feet, but soon they understood that she was praying, but in a
different way. Dada stopped for a second watching them, her face
turning sad. Judas pulled her away fearing what Dada felt.
They sat in the car, and Dada placed her head on Judas‘
shoulder. He caressed her thighs as she fell asleep. Judas saw her
now for who she truly was, a girl afraid and hurt, wanting a better
future for those who were broken inside by the normal majority,
just like her.
The stage was dark as Peter hurried up to take his place before
the hundred-thousand eyes waiting for the concert to begin. He
felt a tingling sensation coming not from his chest but straight
from his prick. This electric spark rushed down his shaft into his
abdominal cavity and dashed into his brain. Anticipation and
fear, a sense of unstoppable destiny.
The lights kindling above them and keeping them in
semidarkness went out. The crowd went silent, not silent, dead,
not holding their breath but ceasing to breathe completely. The
darkness seemed irreversible.
He felt someone brush against his shoulder, and he knew that
Neil had stepped onto the stage. The show was about to begin.
Judas pressed down on the pedal connected to the drumstick
beating the drum bass at his feet. Rhythmically he thumped over
and over again, a heartbeat speeding around the arena
synchronizing the thousands of hearts to beat unanimously.
Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump.
He heard John strum down on the strings of his electric guitar.
The instant the first sound rose from the chords, the hundreds of
spotlights behind them were switched on at once, and just for a
second, everything became visible. Neil was standing at the center
of the stage not moving, facing the ground, his hair covering his
face, dangling like seaweeds. Then everything turned dark again.
The only difference now was that the murmur of the crowd was
becoming louder and louder.
Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump. The guitar whined
once more, awakening the light itself, making the motionless Neil
visible again. Then everything returned to darkness. Peter‘s heart
started beating faster knowing that the third one would be the
one of revival, the moment when darkness would be defeated by
Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump. John awoke the light
with his guitar, and this time the lights stayed on, growing
stronger and stronger and stronger until the band dissolved in the
light. A beat that was so much different than the one of the
drums, sharper and more synthetic, emerged from Peter‘s DJ
table. The lights dimmed a little, and green lasers erupted from
the back of the stage shooting into the sky, moving to the rhythm,
reminding them of the nineties yet so very different. Then John
started playing accompanied by James with his faithful bass
guitar always in the background and only seldom stepping out
into the light. Matthew was striking the electric piano so swiftly
Peter feared it would go up in flames. The music reached its peak
and vibrated there for a few seconds to die the next, giving place
to the voice of Neil.
It was his voice that made him stand out. It was a tenor, but it
was much more than that, bearing the tone of the devil decorated
by a blush of heaven, awakening a strange feeling of awkwardness
in the listeners. His tight jeans emphasized his thin, lady-like
legs. His deeply cut out shirt was feminine, yet it wasn‘t, making
his rippling pectorals visible with his manly hairs curling about,
covering his chest, giving him a feeling of carelessness. He was a
man in every way, but his feminine placidity made everyone
uncomfortable, forcing everyone out of the box, making them
question the meaning of normality. As he sang, he inhaled the
smoke from his cigarette and blew it out through his teeth. In the
instrumental parts, he would drink his beer and clean his mouth
with his sleeves just to continue his immaculate singing. His
beard seemed to grow without rules and prescriptions. He
seemed so natural, yet he wasn‘t, not completely.
He was made to be this way, giving him an aura of a rock star
that would seduce his listeners. His clothes were chosen ever so
carefully, designed by the greatest designers of his time.
Everything on him was brand new yet seemed as if he had just
thrown on something before stepping onto the stage. His beard
was trimmed to seem to grow freely, and his hair was carefully
done by hundreds of hairdressers, each caring for a single strand
The music died, and the last notes still hung in the air then
popped the next second to disappear into nothingness.
Neil cleared his throat to speak, and the crowd was eager to
listen, not only to his music, but his words as well.
―Thank you, thank you all for coming.‖
The crowd roared, preventing him from continuing. Neil looked
back at Peter and gave him his snicker-like smile. Peter smiled
back unable to believe the reaction of the crowd. They actually
mattered to the ones listening to them, Neil‘s words were now
worth to hear and not to ignore. This was something so
astounding and not normal that elevated Peter into a state that
was not happiness but the recognition of one‘s power.
―There is one rule to obey over all,‖ said Neil when the roar
subsided, ―make the rule your own, incorporate it in your life, and
too great a sin shall not be committed. Do not cause harm to the
other and yourself in any way.
―No matter what bigots may tell you, do use condom every time
because it gives defense against so many harmful deeds. It not
only prevents the spreading of sexual diseases but prevents
unwanted pregnancy as well. Sexually transmitted diseases cause
harm in the other, this is plain to see, but remember that an
unwanted pregnancy causes harm as well. It is as harmful as a
small car accident, ruining the lives of at least three people if they
are not ready to receive the gift. The world of sacrifices has ended,
a life sacrificed is a life ruined, a ruined life is the gift of God
thrown away, three ruined lives are worse than one life not even
existing. For those who say contraception of any kind is murder I
say that your sperm and egg are cells, just like the cells of your
skin you shed. No one will be punished for that.
―Have a great night, and do not forget, do not cause harm to the
other and yourself in any way.‖
Neil raised his hand to wave, Peter and the others followed.
They ran off the stage through a narrow corridor. A figure dressed
in red silk was standing at its end, looking like an archbishop. The
figure stood erect, and as they approached it, they recognized the
face of Lady Dada partially covered by the finest red lace, her
blonde hair mounted high onto her head like a bird‘s nest. She
smiled as they hurried past her.
―Good job, little buggers, now get the hell away from my stage.‖
Judas stepped to his woman and kissed her passionately then
As the others hurried to the changing room, Peter turned
around and saw Neil coming behind him. In the distance he
noticed Dada staring at Neil over Judas‘ shoulder with a smile on
her face, a smile representing something that is much more than
affection with a tint of bitterness. Peter followed Matthew, John,
and James into the dimly lit changing room with six tables,
chairs, and mirrors with many light bulbs framing their
reflection. Peter humped down onto a sofa in the corner.
Neil sat down before a mirror with the light bulbs illuminating
his sweaty face. He cleaned the make-up off as Judas stepped into
the room and jumped onto the other sofa sprawling in the chair,
closing his eyes. Neil turned around and said, ―This is exhausting,
right? And tomorrow we are going oversees...Jeez.‖
Everyone nodded, too tired to speak.
―How does she do it?‖ asked Peter.
Judas answered without opening his eyes. ―I don‘t know, but
we must keep on going.‖
―Who wants to party?‖ asked John reaching for a bottle of
―No one,‖ said James pushing himself away from the wall and
walking to Peter to grab his hand and pull him up. ―Let‘s go to
sleep, Peter, I am really tired.‖
Peter rubbed his eyes and nodded then said, ―Good night, guys.
Have a good night‘s sleep. We are leaving early tomorrow.‖
Everyone nodded. As they walked down the corridor, Peter
huddled closer to James and felt his arms around his shoulder
tighten a little. Peter looked at the profile of his man and smiled
knowing that he was his rock, his energy that would keep him up
and alive along the tour.
They stepped out of the stadium and heard the voice of Dada
echoing in the night. The crowd roared inside, mesmerized by her
being, a phenomenon given birth by the will of change, an
objection toward meaningless art, empty words, and mass
production, even if it still was the latter in so many ways.
They walked to the trailer and opened the door. Peter
unbuttoned his checked shirt and threw it onto the floor. He
jumped onto the bed caressing his own slender waist and
stopping his hand on his hairless chest. James threw his T-shirt
with Lady Dada on it to the ground and pushed his pants down
standing nude before Peter. He walked to the bed and crawled
over him. They looked into each other‘s eyes with passion when
James blew out some air and rolled off him.
―I am too tired, Peter.‖
―Do you think we are losing it?‖
―Don‘t be paranoid, our relationship is only morphing,‖ said Peter
in a reassuring tone.
―Are you sure?‖
―Of course, besides, there are so many more important things
―If you say so.‖
Peter stood up to switch the lights off, but before flicking it
down, he watched James lying there nude with his eyes closed,
feeling a comfort he never felt before. Their relationship was
morphing into something greater, from being lovers they slowly
drifted to being companions. He switched the lights off and
carefully lay down beside him.
He was happy not only because he accepted himself but
because he was surrounded by men and women not caring about
who he loved and why. Self-acceptance is very important but
surrounding yourself with the right people is as well. Peter was
lucky, very lucky, and this Peter knew very well and reminded
himself every day. He placed his head onto James‘ chest feeling
the hairs tickling his face, and as he listened to his heartbeat, he
slowly drifted to sleep.
NEIL‘S TWITTER. The world of sacrifice has come to an end.
The sacrifice of one doesn‘t absolve you from your sins, only
repent can give you peace.
James opened his eyes to three knocks sputtered hastily one
after the other.
―Who the fuck is it?‖ he asked grumpily.
―It‘s me, Judas, open the door.‖
James staggered up, trying to rub off the haziness the dream
had left behind. He opened the door, and by the shock on Judas‘
face, he understood he was naked. He covered himself with his
―Oh, c‘mon. You must be kidding me, don‘t tell me you
overslept,‖ said Judas annoyed.
―What time is it?‖
―It‘s late, we are leaving this moment. Hurry up, your taxi will
be waiting for you. We‘ll meet at the airport.‖
As Judas left, he turned around and said, ―By the way, nice
―You want some?‖ shouted James after him.
Judas gave him the middle finger and shook his head laughing
to himself. James jumped back to the bed waking Peter up. Peter
sat up abruptly, still in the realm of dreams. ―What is it? What
James started throwing the clothes into his luggage. ―C‘mon,
hurry up, it‘s late.‖
―Did you forget to set the alarm?‖ asked Peter with a tone of
―So it seems.‖
Peter jumped out of the bed. ―I really can‘t believe how
forgetful you are sometimes,‖ he said huffing and puffing, not
speaking to James anymore. James knew very well that he was
pissed off, and the best thing to do was to wait for the storm to
―What would happen to you without me, huh?‖ asked Peter
trying to provoke him.
James just shrugged looking at his bag that seemed to contain
twice as much clothes compared to when they unpacked. He
scratched his head and tried to compress the luggage but still
couldn‘t zip it.
―Get out of the way, James,‖ said Peter jumping onto James‘
bag. ―Zip it, zip it quickly,‖ he screamed.
The zipper slid to the other side sealing the luggage shut.
―Let‘s go, sweetheart,‖ said Peter.
James picked the bags up and hurried after Peter. The morning
air was fresh, and the sun was still lingering beneath the horizon,
preparing for the show called day. As they approached the taxi,
Peter turned around and blew a kiss over his shoulder, giving
James an apologetic smile. James knew that everything was
forgiven. They jumped into the taxi and sped off through the
sleeping city toward the airport.
As they dashed through the many skyscrapers, here and there
lights began to shine, the city slowly coming to consciousness.
They were the rock stars, yet they were up long before the rest of
the city. The illusion had to be maintained that the lives of the
stars is so much easier than the lives of the rest, conveying a hope
that kept many up and moving. The moment you take away the
hope for a better life, everything ceases to work. Why would
anyone wake up if amelioration could not be achieved?
The airport appeared, a great complex of glass and concrete,
and the taxi drove around the back. They jumped out of the
vehicle with their luggage flying in the air, hurrying toward the
plane through a narrow corridor running down between two
buildings at the end of which a figure was waiting for them. When
they saw it was Lady Dada, they slowed down, knowing that the
plane wouldn‘t depart without her.
She was leaning against the wall with the wide rim of her huge
black hat covering her face. She wore a black pencil skirt with a
white blouse, black tights, and high heels almost a foot tall. As
they approached her, she looked up showing her face, her eyes
hidden by dark round shades. She was wearing a thin vertical line
of red lipstick, just a finger wide, running down the middle of her
mouth. She threw the cigarette to the floor, stepped on it, and
started playing with her pearl necklace as the light appeared over
the horizon and red flames embraced her slender figure.
―What is it lovebirds, too early to sing?‖ she said in her docile
―No need to be, the plane only leaves when I am on it, but don‘t
think I was waiting for you, you just got lucky.‖
She smiled, and they both knew she was playing with them. It
was the gentle voice that gave her away, making her much more
human than most of the people and less like the monster she
portrayed herself to be. It was soft, almost motherly with a deep
and strict tone of a father. She giggled a little and turned around
to walk towards the plane.
She turned around and waved toward them. ―C‘mon, we must
leave.‖ Her shoes moved in a perfectly straight line, one after the
other, a sensual apparition deriving from the pages of the most
progressive minds of fashion, a show, theater itself, exaggeration
squared, freedom of creation.
They hurried up the plane and greeted everyone already in
place. The beige interior felt soft and welcoming, the carpet
beneath them muffled their every step as they walked to their seat
and sat down, the beige cushions embracing their behind. With a
thrust, the plane sped down the airstrip. Just when everyone
thought that the strip would end before take-off, the plane rose.
They felt their insides being pulled down as they rose higher and
higher and saw the world bathing in morning glory fade under the
tiny little cumuli that turned into greater and greater huffs of
white until they were over a thick layer of cotton, solely
accompanied by the sun.
The plane was silent. Everyone was sleeping except for Neil
sitting before him.
Neil turned around and spoke silently between the head of the
two seats, careful not to wake Peter up. ―How did you sleep?‖ he
asked giving him a mocking smile.
―Great,‖ whispered James.
―This is really crazy, a few months ago we were in the
playground and now here, flying toward a destination unknown.
―A fatherly one. I wonder where we would be without him…‖
―Who knows.‖ Neil turned around deep in thought, and James
tried to relax as the plane dashed through the sky like a bullet
shot out from the purest gun that meant no harm.
James felt his eyelids slowly turn to lead, too heavy to keep
open. His eyes closed. When he was just pivoting on the threshold
between dream and reality, he heard Neil whispering, ―What are
you doing here?‖
James opened his eyes and saw the profile of Neil facing the
window. He turned his head right to see what he was looking at
when his blood froze, not terrified, rather surprised.
He saw a man flying by the plane, sitting in a tiny little cotton
cloud as one would in a two-deck plane. His white hair flowed in
the wind accompanied by the man‘s snow-white robe. As he flew,
he left a streak of cloud behind. He was wearing goggles
protecting him from the wind. The man raised a board with the
following word: ‗Congratulations.‘
―It was you, right?‖
The man nodded.
―I knew it. I can‘t do anything out of my own consent, you and
your dreams, pulling the strings. Why do you always have to
manage my life? Why don‘t you let me follow my own ways, find
my own strengths?
The man scribbled something onto the board. ‗You have the
world‘s best management and still you complain. Don‘t you
understand that whatever you do, you do within me, by my
―It would just be nice to accomplish something on my own, to
be able to say, ‗Yes, what I did, no matter whether it is right or
wrong, was my choice.‘‖
Neil‘s father wrote on the board once more. ‗You know you can
follow your way and renounce my providence any time, but
beware, this never leads to good. Everyone acts within me from
the second they are born, but some leave it and proceed down evil
roads as they grow up. You can leave me if you like…‘
―Maybe I shall.‖
‗As you wish, but remember, I warned you. If you choose to
return, I will be there to re-embrace you…‘
―Go to hell,‖ said Neil.
James saw that the broad welcoming smile on the man‘s face
disappeared as his docile expression turned furious. The cloud on
which he was flying turned darker and darker. Tiny lightning
bolts erupted from the bottom of his vehicle. The streak of cloud
he left behind him dissolved in the clouds around them turning
the white cotton black. Neil‘s father steered away from the plane
into the furious clouds. A bolt struck down behind them, and the
plane began to shake.
They heard a bling then the voice of the captain came on.
―Please fasten your seatbelts.‖
Everybody woke up. The restlessness was tactile in the
luxurious palace drifting through the clouds as rain started
pouring down around them, a rain so thick it seemed that they
were moving through the sea. The plane started rising higher and
higher until they were over the storm.
―You may unfasten your seatbelts.‖
James felt his pulse slow down but thought it was better not to
unfasten them. He turned left and saw Peter sleeping beside him
without a care in the world. James felt the feeling of joy overcome
him, the joy of recognizing providence in someone.
He felt the glaring eyes of Neil upon him. This look was enough
for James to understand that Neil knew that he had witnessed his
dialogue with his father. James felt sorry for him, and only now
did he realize that Neil was human, the relationship with his
father was everything but godly, completely human, frail and
―You know he only wants what is best for you, you cannot
despise him for that,‖ said James trying to console him.
―Maybe, but you all can‘t deny that he is sending me to die, he
is not perfect, believe me,‖ said Neil facing the front of the plane.
James closed his eyes and fell into an undisturbed sleep that
could only be compared to the tranquility of death.
He opened his eyes feeling the plane lose altitude and grasped
his chair in horror. He heard Peter laughing.
―Don‘t worry we‘re just landing.‖
James closed his eyes and took a deep breath, relieved by the
good news. As they sank through the clouds, the never-ending
city became visible beneath them. It was one of the greatest
anthills in the world, a world so far away and different from their
own, so closed and hard to grab its essence, conveying a
possibility of the future, with so many virtues and just as many
The sun was setting in the country of the rising sun as the plane
gently touched down. James felt the wheels roll on the rugged
surface of the asphalt and just when he though they would run
into the airport, the plane took a right and stopped. He reached
for his luggage, and they quickly got off into the world of
compulsory duties that one must survive in order to finally die.
They hurried across the airport toward the great black bus
waiting for them at the back as if they were up to no good, aliens
entering without permission, and in a way, they were. They were
in a world so much different than their own, not permitting them
to feel at home. James knew that difference was the problem. The
difference originating from the variances of cultures that is so
hard to break down and should never be completely destroyed in
order to maintain the variability that is so inestimable on this
planet. James jumped up and walked to the back of the bus to
take his seat.
The huge black coffin glided through the streets lined by great
skyscrapers rising into space. The roads were flooded by the most
turbulent sea of people, made of many particles bubbling to reach
their destination. A flood with no conscience yet made up of as
many attitudes, beliefs, and moral principles as particles in it.
For a moment James felt afraid, not because the flood would
wash him away, not because it was made up of many distinct
particles with different goals, but because the flood itself didn‘t
have one. Its existence did not have a cause or a meaning, it just
existed because of its existence, because the particles united
coincidentally, not because they wanted to, but because they were
there, one next to the other in this specific moment. He knew very
well that this disembodied embodiment of casualty moved the
world, and only occasionally would a distinct wave emerge and
steer the river toward another destination.
The bus stopped before a red light, and the crossing soon was
covered by humans as if four waves collided from four different
directions creating a deadly force that can make even the greatest
marble crumble if used by anyone for destruction. A child that
can build a house of building blocks if in a good mood but wipe it
away as well, just for the sake of destruction, for the joy of seeing
it crumble to the ground if he sees fit.
The sea flowed away from where it came from, and when the
light turned green, the bus slid away leaving the greatest crossing
in the world behind as the sun gave place to the moon. Suddenly
between two great skyscrapers of glass, James saw a magnificent
ancient red gate. The roof was withheld by four red pillars,
symmetrically were two statues, one immobilized the wind while
the other froze the thunder, two gods guarding a red lampion
decorated with a great black symbol awakening restlessness in the
heart of James, an arriving storm, he thought. Past the gate was a
long road piercing through a bazaar leading to a great five-story-
high pagoda reaching the stars, something ancient amidst the
modern, something ancient not thought as old, lesser than the
new, but just as good, living in harmony with the city that, as they
say, is far too great for any human to feel good in.
James looked into the narrow eyes of the pedestrians but
couldn‘t reveal any discontent, at least nothing greater than in the
eyes of any other human living anywhere else, suggesting that the
fear of this society derived from the outer world and not from the
ones living in it, born into this city. Behind the chaos and
loneliness James saw life organized down to the tiniest detail so
that it doesn‘t collapse over the heads of its inhabitants. A culture
so different in many ways yet still human, with some citizens
loving their lifestyle while others damning it for its inhumanity,
again others protesting against the fate of every city with suicide.
If the overpopulation of the planet is not prevented, the cities will
grow beyond the extent of sustenance, initiating decay. No one
can tell whether humans can live happily in cities this big.
Nothing will be ever good for everyone until humanity learn that
what is good for one is not necessarily the same for the other.
The bus turned right onto the road that led to the great hotel in
the distance, their home. The bus hovered to the building as the
sound of cheering became louder and louder. When the bus
stopped, they all understood what its source was.
Lady Dada stepped out, and the screams escalated. James saw
some in the crowd faint and fall to the ground. Their bodies were
pulled away by invisible hands, and their places were filled up the
next second. James was the last to step off the bus and did not
quite perceive what was happening, mesmerized by their love.
The flashes from the cameras blinded him, and for a few seconds,
he did not know where he was going. He felt the soft hands of
Peter grab him and lead him through the stroboscopic world.
He heard the roar soften, and his visage slowly returned as the
doors of the hotel closed behind them.
―What‘s the matter with you?‖
―Nothing, I‘m fine,‖ said James rubbing his forehead.
―Great, let‘s check in.‖
James nodded and looked around in the lavishly furnished five-
star hotel with a taste so different, awkward in its way yet
intriguing and mysterious. Across the beige marble-floor, a great
red rug led the way toward the golden doors of the elevator. Next
to the wall, there stood a Baroque table with a golden dragon
spiraling in the air. Some of its scales sparkled green and in the
socket of his eyes two red rubies shone. By the dragon, there was
a tiny bonsai, years of work creating a tiny tree. They checked in
and hurried up to their room. Neil was waiting for Peter and
James before their door.
―You two will be sleeping with me and Matthew.‖
Neil opened the door, and they stepped into the room. Past the
narrow corridor leading to the living room, the city lay beneath
them, distending itself over the horizon, the sparkling windows
brighter than the stars themselves. They stopped in the middle of
the room. The simple furniture gave the room elegance, not
boasting, knowing that nothing could be compared to this
panorama, artificial yet one of the most beautiful in the world.
―I‘ll put down the luggage in our room,‖ James heard Peter‘s
voice coming from behind. He stepped closer to the window,
feeling dizzy, knowing that the window was a fragile layer
separating him from the realm of the dead. He shuddered as
humanity manifested itself before him in the form of a great city.
He turned around and saw Neil staring at his Blackberry.
―You and your phone, are you glued together? You could really
give yourself a break.‖
Neil nodded and continued typing on the phone.
NEIL‘S TWITTER. You live in an overpopulated world, feasting
on it like parasites, don‘t expect anyone to accept family planning
policy if you can‘t either.
The cameras were flashing as Neil spoke to the gathered press.
Peter stared at the glass of water before him knowing that he
wouldn‘t take a sip from it, and the water would be poured down
the drain. He felt his eyelids closing under their own weight
because of the never-ending concerts, the check-ins, the
departures, the take-offs, the flights around the world, and the
landings. Over and over again like an unbreakable cycle. Neil
stopped for a second, and this was so utterly strange that even
Peter looked up.
―Follow me,‖ said Neil jumping off the stage. The crowd parted
before him. The bodyguards shrugged and gave out the new
orders. Neil was leaving, and Peter knew he had to follow.
―Where are we going, Neil?‖ asked Peter.
―To your basilica.‖
Peter did not understand. They hurried by the river under the
great green trees. They took a right to proceed down the Road of
Conciliation. A great marble palace towered over the city,
intimidating and scary.
―Is this necessary?‖ asked Peter tired of Neil‘s theatricality,
envying his energy.
―Of course it is, that monstrous building of marble is a perfect
symbol of the false and corrupt base of the church. It is marble,
but in reality it is sand on which one cannot build the kingdom of
―Where are we going?‖ asked one of the reporters hurrying to
the front of the line.
―To the church that was financed with indulgence.‖
―Shouldn‘t we get over the past sins of the church, isn‘t it time
to move on?‖
―We should move on, but in order not to repeat our previous
sins we must remember. Isn‘t it strange that the center of the
church was built with sin?‖ Neil turned around. ―C‘mon
―Aren‘t you afraid of the pope? He is there this moment,‖ asked
another reporter catching up with them.
―Why would I be afraid of someone just like yoü and I? How
dare they say that he is the Vicar of Christ? That he bears the
headship of the church in virtue of the commission of Christ and
with visceral power derived by him. He is just a man and nothing
more, just as lost as anyone of you.‖
―Aren‘t you lost?‖
―Of course not.‖
As Neil walked down the avenue, motorcycles sped by
slaloming between the cars. Waiters stepped out of restaurants
with plates bearing pizzas and with bowls of spaghetti. Peter
walked passed a bar where a group of men celebrated a goal, their
voices escaping through the door. Peter left himself flow with the
river of actions knowing that he was in good hands.
As they walked down the road, more and more people joined
them, the people recognizing Neil. The tiny stream that emerged
from the hotel was growing into a tumultuous river with the
power to wash away anything that tried to block their way. The
stream was composed of a few locals, the rest were tourists, short
pants, shirts too big for them, their cameras dangling from their
necks. They soon arrived to the square before the church,
surrounded by the many columns and statues as if they were in a
prison cell, hurrying by the obelisk and the fountains, getting
closer to their destination.
The church rose toward space blocking the sun, casting a great
shadow over the city. Peter was standing on one side and John
the Baptist on the other. The great facade ruled over the city with
its giant order of Corinthian columns bearing twelve figures,
Jesus and the rest of the apostles. Maybe it was because of the
sun, but Peter could see in their eyes the agony of being poured
into stone, committed to watch how all love is drained out of the
message of Jesus. What have they done to deserve this?
Neil hurried up the stairs as the multitude awaited, filling the
square like water of a sunlit pool in Malibu.
Neil cleared his throat to speak. ―Welcome everybody and
thank you for coming.‖
The people at the front repeated the words to the one standing
behind them, and the words spread through the crowd.
―What has religion come to? Look at this monument and look
at it well. A building built out of stone, a stone so cold and
inanimate, lacking the heart and most of all, the mind. What has
religion come to? A list of rules to obey blindly, carved into stone.
How could God be so primitive and simple that it could be carved
into stone? There is only one message that you all should obey.
Love each other as God loves thee. This is the message that is
capable of melting the stone into fluent magma, capable of
consolidating it in whatever form it wants.
―God gave you the power to think. If he wouldn‘t have, you
would still be suffering in caves. God gave you a mind that you
can use to build or to destroy, this is up to you.
―All the priests do is tell you what is wrong and what is right,
but how dare they? They are all men thinking that they are better
than you, that they know what God‘s secret is, but believe me,
they don‘t. They are not evil, don‘t be mistaken, in fact they do
everything thinking that they serve the Lord, but they are not.
What their fate shall be, who knows, and I have not come here to
―All they teach you is that the answer to the question ‗why‘ is
‗because‘. Because God says so, because this is what the Bible
says, because this is what the Ten Commandments say, because
this is what the council of elder say.
―Now ask yourself the following questions and try to answer
them actually giving an explanation. Why is it a problem if people
of the same sex wish to marry and with this don‘t cause harm to