1997 Return of Messiah Excerpt
And so there was a dead man in the bathroom at the grocery store. Breakfast of whole wheat bread, an entire loaf, a raw potato and an orange. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and not every supermarket has paper towels these days. These are the days of wall mounted blow dryers, fine for hands and feet, but lacking in the ability to satiate the scrub craving face. As to the urinal, I was urinating, and glancing around. The cement lines that frame the tiles had messages for my eyes.
“Excuse me sir, I was just glancing at the floor in an innocent sort of way when I happened to notice your foot sticking out from underneath the stall in a vaguely unnatural manner.” I jiggled my weedle, and another short stream came running.
“Excusez- moi, monsieur, J’ai regarde ton pied, la, a…. Hey mister are you O.K.?” I put my monster away and then I knocked on the stall door. I knocked on the stall door. I knocked on the stall door. I knocked on the stall door. I knocked on the stall door. I opened the stall door and saw the dead middle aged man with his pants around his ankles lying awkwardly over the commode. I saw the shit smeared on the underside of his right thigh and the urine dribbling from the edge of the seat onto the hospital tiled floor. There was a single wadded tuft of toilet paper still gently hanging from his right hand, a small brown spot in the middle of it. He had been looking.
“Are you dead?”
“Well, since you are. I was wondering if I could ask your opinion on the nature of an individual’s death in a cosmos so huge as to make such an individually meaningful event seem to obviously be, and ridiculously be, I might add, an insignificant and incomprehensibly unnoticed non-event.”
“You see, I can’t remember before I was born, just like anyone else I think. And although I can imagine my absence from this world in a physical, spatial sort of sense, I can’t seem to come near to grasping the idea of my absence in the sense of my actual consciousness, except in reference to sleep.
“So really, what I’m getting at is, just how exactly do you feel right now?”
“How did it feel in those last moments, which there must have been, to know that every impulse and thought and feeling and word and lover and mother and every bit of the energy that countless others have given to you, how did it feel to know that it was, at least from your point of view, over, done and useless since you were dying right then?”
“Were you married?”
“I don’t see a ring. I think that I’m willing to bet that you were divorced.”
“FUCK YOU TALK TO ME SPEAK TO ME DIRTY DEAD BASTARD ROTTING PEACE WAS THERE PAIN ARE WE REAL IS THERE CONSCIOUS IS THERE THOUGHT OR COLD BLACK IS THERE PEACE IS THERE PEACE IS THERE LOVE ARE THERE MEANINGS WHAT IS HAPPENING WHY DO I SEE AM I NOTHING ARE WE LIVING IS THERE ENLIGHTENMENT IS THERE MASTER WHO IS THE MASTER IS THERE DESIGN IS THERE FORM IS THERE LOVE AND HATE OR EFFICIENCY WHY IS THIS HARROWING WHEREFORE THIS FORM THIS ADAPTATION IS CHANCE MASTER THERE IS SOLIDARITY THERE MUST BE MOMENT.”
This is what death is. Said the dead man. I am born and I awake to find myself alone. I am hanging on a wooden stick with what one has learned to call arms. I am hanging over a void. There is nothing within sight except for purple and orange mist, but I have reason to believe that this color is particular only to me. There is nothing above me, below me, anywhere. My arms grow tired and so I climb up onto the stick, only to find that it is suspended in midair by absolutely nothing. It is a golden stick, with indecipherable and appropriately mystical engravings covering it end to end. The stick is roughly one meter in length, and aside from my body, it is the only corporeal thing known by myself to exist. And so I sit there for a time on the floating stick in an orange and purple void. I wonder if I am moving, since there is nothing to mark it. For comfort, I imagine that I am still. Death is when you let go of the stick. Sucker.
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