“I don’t buy drugs, but if you really want it, I know people,” I tell him.
I’m not really into paying women for sex, but if you really want it, I know people, too. I can show you the way. I can even hook you up with my ever-bugaw cousin.
Point the way; that’s what I usually do, even if somebody’s asking me the path to Hell. Point, point, point, point the way to directions I myself wouldn’t take.
“But you have to realize you step into this world,” I tell him, “coming back unstained would be very difficult. That is, if you can ever go back at all.”
I’m cool as I say this shit. I feel cool. I feel cool to treat these nontopics as if they were dining-table stuff.
He says nothing, but I read his mind.
His mind says: You. Are. Such. A. Monster.
When I saw Sin City, I realized these are the characters that live in my head. For the longest time. Maybe Frank Miller has seen me in a nightmare. In a burning mirage in the desert. Maybe I’m one of the demons that jump up and down on his chest as he lies staring at the ceiling, waiting for the Dark Muse.
Anyway, the truth is, I’m really a clean-living fellow. I don’t even smoke. I get dizzy with my third bottle of San Mig Lite. My only issues are my very minor character flaws, like my furious arrogance, jadedness, my quick impulse to mock other people who somehow hold beliefs that differ from my self-proclaimed weltanschauung, my megalomania, my heartfelt empathy for fellow perceived monsters like Adolph, Pantagruel*, Napoleon, and Benito.
And, of course, my incurable impulse to ogle at women’s white and smooth armpits. Ah, skin, the death of me. Show me a hint of cleavage and I drop on the floor and die. Show me flawless legs or thighs and I just become rabid. And I haven’t even mentioned anything about boobs, yet.
His mind says: You. Are. Such. A. Monster.
I say nothing; I pretend I don’t actually read minds.
Because I usually sit on the fence and let evil take its course, in the calculations of some people, I also have blood on my hands.
Because I’m usually the only fellow left on the crossroads when Vladimir and Estragon arrive asking for directions to find Godot and wait endlessly for the fucker to arrive, because I’m the fellow who points the way, even to one that leads to their deaths, in the reckoning of some people, I’m accomplice to murder.
But what I want to tell this fellow is this: God stands there silently in the corner as somebody is raped. God walks on the roads of Iraq as mothers and their kids get blown up. And in the face of it all, God does nothing; God and I are not really different. God and I are two kids sitting on a fence, blowing the dandelions in our hands as carrion litter the ground around us.
But of course, I don’t dare say that. It’s an invitation to tragedy; religion is one of the three unspeakable things people like customer service representatives shall never discuss with clients. And I’m a good businessman, so I also know that
Not wanting to choose is already a choice; people like myself become monsters out of sheer apathy. Or indecision.
The myth of “making a difference” faded in me so early in my life. These days, I just spend time killing small animals, spit my blood on the pavement, howl during full moon.
I ask him, You want to know a bigger monster?
I tell him about this girl, sixteen years old. She’s pretty, she looks like one of those Korean stars you see every night on primetime TV. She uses casual sex as a weapon. She knows how to wield it as if she were born with precocious awareness of the power of her sexuality. She’s like the vagina version of Joan of Arc. Place her in a world of men, men who are so stupid they would give all their money just to see a woman take her clothes off, and you’ll see how she becomes God.
God, all powerful, all bursting with energy to make horny men suffer.
A world of men. Our world. This stupid planet.
To give proof of her existence, I open my laptop and show him her face.
I can give you her exact address if you want, I tell him.
That’s what I do these days; point, point, point, point directions, to paths I would never, ever take.
I close my laptop and stop reading his mind.
Somewhere in that small head, a seed has been planted. He will leave now, but he will come back, resolved on his inner issues, asking for directions. And I will dwell in the fleeting power of one who holds information. I will enjoy it. I will up my rate. Tomorrow, this power will jump to somebody else, and this fellow will cease needing my help. But I don’t mind.
There is always a need to be filled in the future. The crappy, same ol’ future. The world is crawling with fools asking for directions. And I’ll always be standing there, waiting for more Vladimirs and Estragons**, pointing to them the way to their absurd, horrible ends.
*Pantagruel’s one of the lead characters in Francois Rabelais’s 16th-century series of protonovels.
**In Samuel Beckett's play, Vladimir and Estragon don't actually die; I just want them to. Besides, on some level, I think waiting endlessly for something is also a form of terrible death.
For similar posts, see Bullshit Meister.