The stone cup, yerba mate in stone cup – it’s the only way to really taste it, or anything else. She made it for me – no – she gave it to me. I asked her and she gave it to me; latter she demanded space. I understood and I gave it to her. I really loved her, but she didn’t love me. Either I get in your way, or I facilitate your movement; the Piedeh – the peon; the pawn. Damn, I wish I was a King – at least a knight! At least a knight; though I imagine myself creating this game, I ever see myself as its king, its master, just another player. Maybe if life wasn’t so bad, I wouldn’t mind being just a player.
This coming from the kid that’s not the kid in Africa starving from hunger and impacted by AIDS; but on record, I do have AIDS at least in terms of being medically correct. In terms of being socially correct, I have disabling HIV. People play games with this stuff. You’ve got confused screw-ups begging gay men to father the virus inside them, addicts shooting up to get happy; miserably risking their lives over dirty steel needles just to get high contracting the stuff, and wretched young black girls getting knocked up with it from irresponsible boys of all races dying to be men – in one hand dirty money in the other. All players – just pieces on a chess board; all pieces being pushed back and forth by social workers, pushers and pundits. Pawns waiting to be kings! So, I sit and I whittle and I work – hours of research on a game that I don’t even imagine myself being master of. Frack, I’m pathetic; a pathetic little man creating a game bigger than himself.
My mornings are blah – nothing special – just another day swatting away at life. Being a poor batter, I strike out at the end of the day. I retire to my hidden bottle along with my dice, pencils and other game paraphernalia. “John you need to come back to church, I feel that God would”, click, hanging up the phone the words burst out. “What – make it all right after saddling me with more rules, more guilt, more crap!” Though the pastor’s injunctive plea of return to Christ was meant to close the widening breach between me and God; it had done just the opposite. It had not only widened it in terms of spiritual distance, but physical distance which is why I was standing at the corner of Six and Market. If I couldn’t drink at home, I would drink elsewhere.
It’s not often that a kid gets to drink with their old man – let alone drink to each other’s mutual destruction. Anthony lived in a third floor corner room beside a beaten up floor freezer inside the Cadillac hotel; neither worked – both were extremely dysfunctional. It’s not often that an alcoholic breaks up with an addict, but she did. She, Louis – the alcoholic – was my stepmother, she had broken up with him for Ma Bell; her job! Neither wanted me, but they got me. I wish they hadn’t. We spent 6 years fighting in the same house. I left 5 months after she did; I was 15. I spent the next 3 years inside a children’s home trying to figure out why no one wanted me as well as why I was so screwed up. I had brought the old man a bottle of 12 year old scotch and a litter of seltzer water to chase it down. Really the scotch was for me, the chaser was for him. It helped me to stomach the fact that I was still dependent on the old man for money. In fact, the only time we were together was when we were drinking. Outside of that, we had nothing to say to each other.
“Looks like someone fell of the wagon”, “I was never on the wagon. How could I fall off something that I was never on?” Anthony broke out the deck of worn playing cards that we used to begin beating up on each other with; within a half hour, we moved on to chess. That’s when Pie, the old man’s dealer came knocking at the door. At first it seemed like a social call, he was trying to get money together to make a skin flick. Imagine the dealer borrowing money from his addict. 5 minutes later it had gone bad, from conversation to conflict in 5minutes flat. For the old man – that was a record; it usually takes 15 minutes before fist start flying. Only this time it was a bullet.
The apartment was covered in baby powder, gun smoke and blood, not to mention part of my liver that was sliding down onto dad’s dirty, roach track of a floor. 10 seconds later I was being shoved into the freezer; while Anthony and Pie wiped down and cleaned up the place before splitting for parts unknown. The last thing I remember was the old fart, dad, saying “does it really matter.” “He’s your kid!” gritted Pie “I’m too old to do time man – not for this” as he shut the freezer lid on face. “Yeah, that was dad.” So I laid there floating inside a broken roach infested freezer in a wrist high puddle of ice water and ashy ice cubes; broken and hating God.
It’s foolish, arrogant and hurtful to pray that someone is broken by God. There is no right or wrong way for that to take place. Too many Christians pray for others to be broken, but not themselves. Many within the church have been broken since birth, so why pray for such a thing. Instead, Christians should pray blessings upon each other and not brokenness. Who are you as a Christian to determine that someone needs to be broken? According to some obviously privileged prick named C.H. Mackintosh “due to the distractions of the outward man, their spirit does not seem to function properly. It is because their outward man has never been dealt with.”
“There is one way in which God can enable man to be useful before him: brokenness.” “This becomes the problem in the church. For various reasons, individuals within the church hold themselves in too high of esteem. Without the breaking of the outward man, the inward man will not come forth. Why then should we hold ourselves as so precious, if our outward contains instead of releases the fragrance?” Why Christians are so in love with suffering; especially white ones is beyond me. Maybe if they treated everyone equally in life instead of playing people of color against each other while they sweep in with economic hit men and swipe their countries from them they wouldn’t have so much white guilt to deal with. Maybe that’s why the church invented hell. The only problem is only poor whites and colored people ever seem to end up there. The rest of humanity gets swept off to the heavens for being on the board of some paternalistic nonprofit.
You know, you think that at the end of your life, you’re going to get a decent grave stone especially if your life was a piece of crap. But no, I got stuffed into a freezer like rice into a green pepper. “What the heck man!” I thought. “I’m not dead yet though I want to be. I fall out from a few drinks and you toss me into a freaking freezer like a bag of onion rings?” “This is freaking ridiculous.” “Real cute pops, like you can scare me out of a drink by tossing me into the freezer – real cute!” I climbed up out of the fridge dripping wet, pushed open the door, and climbed out into Hell, I never thought Hell looked like an alley on 6th street. At least 6th street of 20 years ago, that was when the arcade I worked in was still on Market and Jones. I could never keep thugs out of the place, or protect the customers let alone myself from all the riffraff that tried to get into the place. I had a girlfriend that used to pick me up at the place until she dumped me.
I could tell demon from patron, patron from angel. Demons come in whatever form your mind can create; angels even in Hell are just brighter, no wings, staves, or halos; just eye piercingly bright. You feel like needles of light are being stabbed into your eyes.
It felt like it was about six. In fact I knew it was six because I watched myself cross from my old SRO (single room occupancy, a hotel designed for long term residency of single men and women) to start my evening shift at the arcade. It was dusk, time for the nuts, thugs and addicts to crawl out of their holes and challenge me on letting them into the place. What was that line I used to recite – oh yeah – it went something like; “my mouth stumbles over truth as my throat swallows deceit. Out of madness, I poison my own heart. My will is thrown down by my iniquity, and sins pile up against me. I have become worthy of judgment. O’ trembling man of wickedness filled with lies and deceit, why do you stagger when others mention “The Day of The Lord!” Where are your conceits?” Unlike the others my conceit didn’t lie n vices but in philosophies. Unfortunately., it would take a load of philosophies to even begin to describe Hell, plus a few drinks and bottle of valium to stomach it all.
The arcade was filled with every creature and person you can imagine playing every game you can imagine inhabited by and composed of every creature and person you could imagine, fused together with feces, puke and barbed wire, but Hell was 6th street. Thus, all the things that addicts and freaks excrete from their bodies. Even cyber junkies are considered addicts. Think of Hell as a giant, chaotic Rubik’s cube where the rules of its physical interactions between its differing environments are based on game theory, or transactional analysis. Will, ambition, fear and guilt – the big four – not honesty and compassion are what rule Hell.
I was always conscientious about my size – Hell just made it feel worse. Instead of everyone being 5 – 6 inches taller than I was everyone was at least 15 – 16 inches taller than I was. I was about the size of a 10 year old. My sins were sins before God, so they weren’t cruel enough or vicious enough to make me a big boy. In Hell, I was just a kid. At least there were other kids to hang out with even if they did look gross. “The games playing back it’s not supposed to play back” the knickers kid shouted. The other I had been split up into three different pieces. My head was being used in a game of peggle; only instead of a cute unicorn and digital ball of light, it was composed of my head, electrodes and coal black, Shetland pony standing erect like a man on its hind legs as it splattered my head through a series of metal cattle prods.
Meanwhile, my chest was being used for mumblety-peg; however its sternum kept flapping open and shut as if it were playing right along with the grotesques kids that were attempting to toss cruel looking syringes of God knows what into it. All I know is that the syringes did everything from smoke and vibrate to leak fluid. The barker shambled over and shouted at it “you’re not a customer; you’re a game act like it.” My chest remained open, heart exposed to whatever anyone wanted to toss at it. My legs and everything attached to it from foot to pelvic were the only things that got off easy. They stood in the corner crawling with vermin and powering a raggedy, skeletal treadmill by jogging on it. My other self hadn’t come to keep an eye on the games – it had come to be some of the games.
You don’t really walk in Hell, you fake walk in Hell. It’s like being in a room filled with trashed, bug encrusted monitors that have sort of melted into place. You think your way into and out of the monitors to move from one place to another. It’s like playing a video game and then suddenly being able to literally think yourself into the game. So, you stay stuck in one room, but you can leave that room by going through the monitors. But it’s not what it’s cracked up to be. Passing through the monitors is the most wretchedly painful thing you can imagine. You can literally picture yourself as stripped film caught in a projector sprocket that just tears you to ribbons. You can actually see yourself that way until you pass completely into the monitor and onto the next game environment.
The barker, something out of one of my nightmares, looked like some kid that didn’t know what a spider was had tried to build one from left over spare parts; too bad some of the parts were composed of humans, dogs and monkeys. Pissing in my pants was only half my reaction, my other half was to throw up on it when it approached me. It snagged me and spat webbing on me nailing me to the wall behind me. That’s when the others crawled out. I could feel them sinking their fangs into me, pumping me full of venom; tiny spiders crawling all over me like they owned me. Their small abdomens glowed eerily as they covered me in webbing, wires and excrement.
The bad part was I couldn’t die; this was Hell – this fracked up video arcade. I was going to spend eternity surrounded by freaks, addicts and losers who would get to watch everything I ever did on those blasted monitors, get to play through and discuss everything I ever did. And, I would be forced to watch in agonizing suffering as they vicariously lived through everything I ever did. I could feel the attendant ripping me open from sternum to groin selectively slicing out everything human and filling me with wires, webbing and vermin; spiders were having cockroaches for lunch inside my gut while maggots crawled out my rectum. But hey, it’s Hell what did you expect Buffy? The attendant finished off my rewiring with a pair of broken VR goggles attached to spiked earphones. From now on I would be just another game in Hell.