A Different Red

January 27, 2010
By , Florence, MA
I

I must be insane—Either that, or I’ve gone too heavy on the sauce, I muttered to the barkeep, a short, stocky man whose face I’ve gotten too accustomed to after Vera May left me (my god, what a dame, smart and attractive, a rare combination)(but it ended in silence) and I fell into the dark sport of drinking

But this was a new face—A slightly grotesque face that had appeared in the middle of the stonewall and let out a mad, almost pained howl—Like something out of Dali’s nightmares

Another scotch, hell make it a Moloch, this time off the rocks, I said—Haven’t you already had enough for one night?—F*** that, I said as I stumbled out the door

Oh you, oh man, don’t be like that—And f*** you—Yeah, happy Christmas to you too, pal

I remembered then—Tomorrow was Christmas, meaning I had to spend the day at my grandfather’s house—I could picture how it would be—I’d show up hungover, sit down to a dinner of dry turkey next to my son-of-a-b**** father—Oh, that would be joyful—Why did you throw your life away as a poet, he’d say, you could have made something of your life, but you had to become a bleeding-heart artist, you threw it all away to become a god-damn starving artist!

Go to hell—My last words before falling into a restless sleep

II


The alarm that morning was like a million canons going off inside my head

It took several tries before I finally got out of the pseudocomfort of my bed and onto the cold wood floors that chilled my feet like nails

First thing I did that morning was to stumble to the toilet, where I lost everything I had taken in yesterday (real pleasant way to start the morning)(I honestly don’t know why anyone would drink)(guess it got something to do with drowning their troubles) before looking in the mirror to see how bad things were

Things could have been better, but they could have been worse

True, I looked a little worse for wear, my eyes were somewhat bloodshot, and the week-old stubble was starting to get more than noticeable, and there was a pallor that verged on corpselike…

But other than that, things were looking great

So I showered, got into my Sunday best, and left for the Lutheran church where I was meeting everyone

I wasn’t much of a churchgoer, I sort of lost my faith in Christ after life happened—War, love, loss, hate, lust—They all tear a man from our father whose arts in heaven, or something like that—I was in the same mindset as Vonnegut: If god were alive today, he’d be an atheist

It was your typical Christmas day—Snow was on the ground, carolers were singing, peace was on earth with mercy mild

We met outside the wooden doors of the old church (very medieval architecture, like St.John’s and those other big city churches), my grandfather with his glass cross hanging around his neck—We said nothing to each other, as we hadn’t been on speaking terms for years, ever since I had turned from the ghost and accepted the Diamond Sutra as my Bible—It wasn’t easy to be ostracized by your family on religious beliefs (it was even harder when it was occupational choices) but we went into the Lord’s house anyways

Even if I did renounce Christ as my savior, I could still see the beauty of the church—Stained glass standing in contrast with the cold, dark stone, ornate candelabras mounted around the room, large silver cross hanging directly across from the doors—It truly was a wonder to see

Ha, but that all changed as soon as we sat down in the pews and the minister began his sermon in his religious monotone—I quickly lost interest in whatever it was he was saying

I only regained interest during the communion—I was still hungover from the night before, and I hoped that even the small amount of wine could help at least a little bit

The wine was red, but not the hue I’d expected—It was a different red, a darker red, an ominous, hellish red, the red of fire, of brimstone, of hate—As I looked deeper, it became tinged with hints of yellow and orange—It began to move, slowly at first, but rapidly gaining speed until it leapt out of the goblet like some demonic whip that raced to my father, ensnaring him

He began to turn the color of the devil-wine while slowly hovering over the pew—Suddenly in a burst of flame, he vanished to be replaced by a fiery demon

My father, the demon, whatever it was, lumbered over to my grandfather, grabbed the man, and tore him in half—From the wound, wide like the maw of some voracious beast, fell a gigantic, worm-like being

Good morning, O wurm your honor, the demon snarled, the crowd will plainly show the prisoner who stands before you was caught showing feeling, showing feeling of an almost human nature—This will not do!

The crowed wailed with glee as I was clasped in chains of stone as Veera was led to the worm

Veera, I cried, Veera! What has become of you?

She was my Veera, and yet not my Veera—she looked the same, from her hair to her smile—Except for her eyes

Those are my mad eyes, I howled, what are you doing with them?

If I had had my way, O wurm, she hissed, I would have whipped him into shape, but my hands were tied, the bleeding hearts and artists let him get away with murder

But give me five minutes with him, and I’ll get him into shape—Just five minutes, him and me alone

I heard my voice speak of its own accord—Crazy…toys in the attic…I am crazy—They must have taken my marbles away!

The choirboys, clothed in robes of smoke, echoed me—Crazy…toys in the attic…he is crazy….

My mother, my dear old mother, was the next to take the stand—You little s***, you’re in it now, I hope they throw away the key—You should have talked to me more often than you did, but you had to go your own way

There must have been a door in my mind where I left

The evidence before the court, the worm bellowed in a low growl, is incontrovertible, there’s no need for the jury to retire—In all my years of judging, I have never seen before someone more deserving of the full penalty award—The way you show your feelings make me want to DEFICATE! Since, my friend, you’ve revealed your deepest fear, I sentence you to be judged before your peers!

The cross burst into flame—The necklace fell—I backed up—Chased—Stone on back—Faces—Reptilian—Howling—Flashes of fleshed faces—Pressure on back—Sound of breaking glass—Falling—Falling—Falling—Could see the blood—Felt nothing—Shards of Jesus all around


I was buried in a grave marked only with two lines
Tho we would like to believe we are
We are not in control
Tho we would love to believe….





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