ow that it has finally come down to this and the silence lays thick as blood across the empty streets and deserted boulevards. Now that the slogans have all been shouted and the calls to glory answered. Now that the dividing line is cleanly cut in corpses strewn from street to street, district to district. Now that it has come down to the slow wait, come down to the meat hook and piano wire.
And now the pain which alternately throbs or burns, this agony, the dry black grimness of which rises in the pit of my stomach and threatens to inevitably erupt in torrents of vomit.
Now that the sound of screaming has abated and the men in dark uniforms have momentarily stopped barking their questions, stopping snapping their orders.
"Freddy," somebody said and I turned to just to see what Freddy looked like.
Now that the shades of grey, the shadowy half tones are displaced by light, now that every dim comfortable corner is saturated with brilliant, startling incandescence.
There remains now only the semblance of memory, no less persistent for the ebbing of hope or the flow of despair, no less intense for the pain nor less brittle for the fear. A remembered fragment of bare flesh frozen in an instant of adolescent eternity. The sound of sighs and a groan but not in pain. And again to breathe the fresh clean air of a long ago autumn in a far away country.
Suddenly the earsplitting staccato crackle of a thousand loudspeakers lining numberless corridors. Suddenly the cold mechanical featureless monotone:
ow the pain, the constant throb or burning. The smell of Freddy's corpse in the morgue, the sight of Freddy's face blown away from Freddy's scull, the stainless steel walls and ceiling, the way your cheek twitched constantly.
Quickly now that it has come down to this and remembering lying here not unlike this on the hard cement floor of the basement, our bodies touching only at the shoulder and hip. Now that it has come down to the overwhelming smell of chlorine bleach. When I turn to kiss you, it has come down to the flecks of dried blood and brown vegetable matter on your lips.
The young soldier says in a cold, matter-of-fact way:
Like Freddy and before. The attendant at the morgue wearing a dark green rubber coat pulls me over to one side. Laying his large moist hand on my bare shoulder, he whispers:
"I love the way you look. You're one beautiful man."
In the reflection of the stainless steel wall behind him, I see my own lips form a smile.
Now that the pain worsens.
When it first came down to the seeing and the hearing, the TV screen the only light in the dark room, the carefully groomed lady and gentlemen telling WHO in soft, somber tones THE ENEMY WAS and yes, of course, it was US like we didn't know, but still hearing our names, our actual names, a kind of shock like suddenly it was all worth it, more than just fifteen mins, a whole world of hate, fear, fame and blood spurting everywhere.
"The authorities have assured us these last remaining terrorists will be rounded-up in the next 24-hours or less."
Piece by piece: The sight of Freddy's body lying manged, gory in the cheap hotel room quickly deserted by the Security Police. His face gone, his long graceful limbs contorted by the sheer horror, the utter surprise of it all, then the memory of more blood and of semen seeping from violated orifices. I yearned to reach out and touch him, but they wouldn't let me, no.
vidence of what you may well ask. No, not a hotel room, but a morgue, a deathhouse, the abbatoir that passes as life. In other words, inevitability.
I reach down to kiss the open sore on your stomach and the smell of chlorine bleach fills my nostrils and, gasping, your hand on my head holds my lips down close against your wounded flesh and you say in your voice:
"I never wanted this, never.
And it takes me a moment, but I hear my voice say, sounding almost believable:
No. No, me neither. Never.
And long before this, in a club with friends and someone says "Freddy" and I turned to see what Freddy looked like.
Then Freddy finding me huddling in the corner of the abandoned apartment bedroom crying, says:
"There's no place for crybabies in this business."
Then "it wasn't my fault," you say, "not my fault."
I look up and see a single tear, a grey viscid globule forming in your left eye.
c o n t i n u e s
You Have Started