In my dream, I'm on the second level of a fancy restaurant, dressed nicely, dining with my Symbiote. We're both watching a news program, playing on several screens in different tasteful locations all over the room. The news segment is about Lindsey Lohan, at home, in sweatclothes, out of make-up, looking almost fresh, almost innocent, less sad and desperate than usual. She's reading my book and the cameras just watch for her damage. A full thirty minutes or so of her pacing around her bedroom, reading it, the camera watching for reactions. I see her eyebrow cock. She tears up at one point. I start talking to my Inamorata about what a publicity coup this is.
When I look up again (from food and conversation) at one of the televisions, it's showing me Lindsey's empty room with credits rolling over it.
She's not on TV anymore.
I see her entering the restaurant, dressed in dowdy black, with a big sweater and a floppy beret, stepping through the ground floor entrance, ignoring the maitre d, ignoring everyone, walking with great purpose up the stairs. I realize she's here to see me. I expect praise, but also turmoil over how a character in the book could almost be mistaken for a complex cartoon of her. I'm preparing my defense, my explanations, my alibis. One just never imagines meeting these people when one writes about them. She walks right up to our table. I'm about to act like it's an honor (though her days of vibrant youthful potential have long since faded into frosty blurs of powder burn and delirium tremens).
She shoots me in the head.
And I can feel it.
Not pain, but a sudden weight, like there's something heavy where my brain should be, something too heavy, and I need to rest this heavy head of mine on some soft surface immediately. It's like my skull is a sock stuffed with D batteries. Then there's a hiatus of oblivion, like a fade to black.
Then I'm in a hospital. The Girlfriend is standing nearby, looking lovely but anxious. There are some other people. The doctor, maybe. My head still feels heavy and tight, like it's all wrapped up with something. Bandages, I suppose. The TV is on. An episode of "The Hills".
Everyone's waiting for me to say something, to gauge how deeply I'm damaged. There's so much I want to say, and I feel like I'm in full possession of my faculties, but I'm reaching for words and none are forming. I can remember the noises I should make to signify basic things, but they won't come out in a meaningful way. My confusion and building fear are becoming apparent.
It's eating the Girlfriend up inside. She wants to be supportive, but she tearfully averts her gaze. I clutch her by her slim little wrist. I'm flashing back (on some level) to dreams I had as a child, dreams wherein I was suddenly mentally "retarded", where I'd walk the neighborhood to the houses of all my friends, showing them all my drawings as some kind of proof that I wasn't always this way, like some mistake had been made. I remember one drawing called "citadel of blood".
I'm feeling a similar urgency as I clutch her wrist and stare, staring so hard my gaze should leave a bruise, wanting her to look deeply into my eyes and see the smart person trapped here in a distorted place where the words won't form. I want her to see the bright child screaming in my eyes, so she'll know I'm still in here, because all i can say is "Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...".
The doctor's seen it all before apparently. Bored by the pathos, s/he is looking away, at the screen, at "The Hills", which I start watching, too, looking straight through the Girlfriend, my attention span apparently as impaired as my vocabulary. The shallow, scheming little poppets on the show seem suddenly wise, possessed of a gravitas I always missed and will never fathom. They're beyond me now. I feel like a dog watching a symposium of fringe physicists and Dzogchen monks, discussing the intricacies of cosmology and/or consciousness. Everyone seems smarter, now. Since the accident.
Like that bright child gone dim, I start screaming.
In my dream, a special executive officer from someplace comes into my room and tells me I've been promoted. He's been sent to officially forgive me on behalf of the Universe for every nasty or timid thing I've ever done.
He has a flickering, intermittent face and a briefcase full of pure evil.
I don't know what to think. It seems like the sort of favor that can't be verified. He asks me to tell him the worst thing I've ever done. I think about it for a minute, then something especially heinous comes to mind, and I tell him. There's a pause and his face has gone blank, like he's crunching numbers or attending to some digestive process, deep within.
Then he smiles and says "You are forgiven". I almost rankle at his flippancy. The moment in question was a real atrocity, an act some sickly shadow of me is almost proud of, for its unbridled, amoral audacity.
Reflecting on that audacity, I realize it doesn't seem so bad, all of a sudden. I am filled with a deep conviction and confidence that all those effected are strangely better off, in different ways, than they would have been if I'd never done it.
I believe him. I try another sin. And so it goes. He forgives me everything. Officially. All I've ever been is a desiccated agent of destiny, he says. We are but the wriggling nodules of some higher power. My killing hand goes whichever way the dark wind within might blow. I'm just following the fractals, your honor. I am pure as the driven snow.
He forgives me all night long, in several different languages.
The automatic grace is so sweet, I wake up hungry to fill up my accounts with every kind of wickedness. It's such a kick when no one cares anymore.
And yet I almost never leave my office. If I went beyond good and evil, who would notice?
I'm a moral code falling to pieces in the wilderness. Only the Dalai Lama can hear me going straight to hell. Does that smug bastard ever wake up screaming?
I can smell the Holy One and his monkish minions meditating always on my sloughed iniquities, like perverts huffing the burgled panties of a superstar.
We're all just living for kicks, it seems.
But one man's penance is another man's poison.
Even hatred for the flesh is a fetish.
Even the supreme sacrifice, ultimately, is just some sick fucker's idea of fun.
As I have been so efficiently forgiven, the least I can do is forgive all of you.
The account is empty. Fill it up again with darkness. Do this, in sketchy memories of me.
In my dream, I'm designing the perfect party with a licensed expert in "psychodynamics". He wears a turban and weirdly angular sunglasses and henna tattoo bandages all over his face. He explains that every party constitutes a kind of invisible "ambience engine". All the guests and all their behaviors are moving parts, as are their reputations and their possible futures. The specialist has studied complex collages based on every potential celebrant. I can feel all the money ooze away as he paces through the emptied chambers of the house I have parties in. He's pantomiming cocktail banter, sometimes seeming to make out with himself, sometimes violently arguing with himself. Each shift in persona is telegraphed by his vocal timbre and body language. He's paid by the minute. By the time this routine has no doubt paid for a house of his very own, I can almost see the geometries of friction and flirtation that his multiple possessions have traced in the mental space, like sparkler scars on the fabric of a summer night. The party itself, at this point, would be beside the point. It feels like it was these shapes I was after all along, anyway. The best parties are merely hypothetical and never vulgarize themselves by escaping the blueprint stage.
He makes me understand that the seating at dinner should alternate: Somebody/nobody/Somebody/nobody/etc..., so the vibrations of fame can be conducted and equalized. In every direction there will be famous beauty for the gaze to settle on as the ear delights to the prattling of mere mortals and their stupid problems. There's a shift in scene and setting of some kind, then it seems to shift back, then I'm lecturing imaginary old ladies at a garden party (a la the original "Manchurian Candidate"s bloodcurdling brainwash sequence) about the power that certain stars can have over someone like me.
"There are certain starlets possessed of such a constant, effortless Otherness that most of their human interactions are composed of smouldering glances, disquieting sighs, lips moistened with coquettish anticipation. I've seen them and I've trafficked with them. There are women amongst us, in these catacombs of luxury, whose every utterance is scripted, who otherwise live in silent films. I've seen how they burn in their silence, how it purifies them for the camera. It seems that most of us dissipate our charisma with endless chit-chat. This silence of theirs, it's a kind of saintly anorexia."
All the love and fun she could have had lives and dies with that little red light. It means the camera is on. It indicates eternity.
In my dream, I was curled up like a feverish child by the window, listening with attention and delight to the lessons and stories of a large hovering orange with a handsome human face and a long red cape. He was telling me about his adventures, traveling far and wide, helping entities in trouble, injecting the mysterious "Vitamin O" (the benign intelligence behind all designs made manifest and digestible) into every quadrant and culture, on every wavelength of our teeming, screaming Omniverse. The orange has piercing blue eyes, full of fierce kindness. Its lips don't move in sync with its narrative.
I wake up and lose the whole moment, then I reach for my morning emergen-C energy confection. The flavor is Super Orange. I remember everything. I contemplate my tutoring as I begin my grooming routines. I think about strange fruit in general, childhood arguments with neighborhood kids about whether food likes to be eaten or not. Back then, every object was a cartoon waiting to happen. Still is, I suppose.
In the shower I think Platonic thoughts about Superman and his many iterations, parallel Supermen and various fractalizations of his Archetype. I think abut Super Orange, how the cape and the face seemed pasted on, somehow, as if to deliberately "represent" something. As if they could just fall off to reveal the Ideal Orange, the Platonic Orange, the Uber Orange, the concept of "orange" incarnate. Even its texture and color could be sloughed if Super Orange felt the urge or found it necessary. Then, it would stand revealed at my feverish dreaming window as the Primal Sphere, the idea of "roundness". I half-remember Super Orange speaking deeply of roundness.
While shaving, I stare ripples into my reflection and I think about roundness, how Superman is the roundest mythopoetic heroplex (Batman: all cubes and alleys and cells and cages). Superman is a holographic fragment of a lost paradise, strange visitor from another world, the incarnate light of Beyond, protecting us from its Abyss. His core quality is compassion. He can do anything, and all he wants to do is help.
I imagine the last Superman, endgame of a dynasty that extends a billion years into our fictoplasmic futures. He's a sphere who falls into flatland and falls in love with its tight physics and its life-forms, origami angels folded up into 2d humans, every one of us so much stranger than we know. SuperSphere knows, and he watches over us. He hovers over the gameboard, protecting us from a malevolent ecology of predators, sinister sentient geometries and thoughtforms, slithering through dimensions most of us lack the apparatus to perceive.
SuperSphere, when he bubbles and warps in our midst, would need a color. Orange maybe. Perhaps SuperSpheres would hang heavy from a tree or a central nervous system with its roots in Flatland and its uppermost branches unfolding infinitely into the Other. The Spheres fall like fruit, into the phenomenal world. Maybe bad flat things who have trafficked with them would learn how to peel them before they know how to hover again and the bad flatfolk would drink their pulpy juices, to see as they see, without pity or a vision of anything but more juice. I wonder what kind of fruit corresponds to each Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. I finish dressing and slip on my shoes, eager to spin and weave a new phase of the Booky Book.
So many stories, so little time. But time enough.
Thank you, Super Orange. Vitamin "O" in the house.
"HYPNOZINE GHOST RADIO" image by Andrew Mc Kenzie.
JASON SQUAMATA writes novels, graphic and otherwise. He's been trained and employed as a stage and screen actor (under the name "Orji Walflauer"), a pop songwriter, a podcast novelist, a flesh cartoonist, and a Hypgnostic high priest. But he's made of pages and bubbles and frames. The comics he writes are called HYPNO KOMIX. The titles include TEENAGE LUVKRAFT!, HYPNOZINE, OTHERMAN & THE ORAKULOIDS, AMERIKAN ZER0, and PARLIAMENT OF BABIES. He works with brilliant artists like Sir Richard Wentworth, Andrew Mc Kenzie, Owen Hunter, Kate Fenker, MjK, Matthew Haggett, and Damian Zari. They're making Optical Mythologies for a Future Generation. Squamata is currently composing a bizarre novel-length celebutante fairy tale for a major publisher. He can and will write scripts and prose in any genre (mutating his voice and process as the project at hand sees fit), always alive with that "HYPNO FEELING". New genres can be generated for a client through deft "mash-ups" of memetic DNA. Each title is a world unto itself, aching to be explored and exploited. Make Squamata's methods and his madness work for YOU.
reach him here...
and see more at WWW.HYPNOKOMIX.COM