Friday, December 08, 2006
Prologue: Vanishing Point
"We're, like, gods," he says through a stupid smile. "You understand that, right?"
At this point all I can manage is a slow nod; I'm in no condition to argue this assessment one way or another.
He continues, his words a distorted muffle -- which is preferrable to the staccato jackhammer cadence that would be assaulting my ears were it not for the fact that he has a pacifier jammed tightly between his clenched teeth. I try to forget that he's twenty-four years old; he's a twenty-four year old man with a baby's pacifier sticking out of his mouth.
"This is great isn't it?" he says.
I wish he'd stop asking questions, particularly ones with such obvious answers.
"Man, I just had no idea that life could be so good. Everything is so perfect." He seems to drift off for a moment, then return. "So beautiful." His eyes close in slow-motion -- open again. "I can't thank you enough man, you know?" An apparent question again. I know. "You brought me into all of this. You got me the job. You taught me how to do it. If it weren't for you I'd still be a bank teller right now. What kind of fucking career is that?" he chuckles quietly.
I try not to look directly at his face -- into his eyes -- for far too many reasons to consider at length, the most pertinent at the moment being that the swipe of dark color that I assume is his head keeps morphing into shapes at once comforting then severe. I'm well aware that this parlor trick is a combination of the drugs currently coursing through my bloodstream and the dim glow from the dying candles which provide the only light in this room.
Somewhere there's music playing; its serenely ambient pulse seems to soothe its way through my ear canals and wrap gently around my brain.
I shift on the couch slightly -- feel the soft cushions give under my weight.
"Do you realize how fucking cool we are?" Another question. "We control what people see and hear. We're the arbiters of imagination. We are the news. Two years ago you were delivering packages; I was working at a bank. We were going nowhere; we had nothing. Now we're --"
I cut him off.
I can't see the expression on his face, but for a brief moment the dark shape in front of me, perched on the edge of my coffee table -- the one vaguely recognizable as the best friend I've known since high school -- has stopped shifting.
I hear him laugh, and I swear I can see the soundwaves eminate from his shaking form and spread across the room like rings of liquid.
"Yes," he says. "Yes we are."
I turn my head away from him slowly and stare into empty space. I try to ignore the young guy sitting on the floor of my austere living room massaging the topless girl's shoulders (my co-workers). I try to ignore the other young girl silently curled up in the corner of the room, rocking gently back and forth (my girlfriend). I try to ignore the distant hissing of the shower and the knowledge that two, maybe three people are having sex in my bathroom (complete strangers?). I try to ignore the fact that I took my last hit of ecstasy a half-hour ago and still haven't heard back from Eric (my dealer). I try hard to ignore the lithe and stunning shape of the girl standing directly in front of the stereo, swaying her hips in time with the subdued beat of the music flowing from its speakers -- the girl whose eyes are unavoidable and whose body is irresistable (my inevitable downfall).
I try to ignore the distinct possibility that at the rate we're going, none of us will live past the age of twenty-five.
Then again, we're gods -- and gods are immortal, aren't they?