Revealing secrets to people you don’t trust – Post 008.

Marie gave me a verbal beating. I got home after school on Monday, and she instantly pushed me aside to her and Simba’s bedroom, where she told me all about my rude, inconsiderate behavior. She couldn’t believe her own son would do something like that to our new guest, just abandon them… and so on.

She left the door ajar, and yelled louder than necessary, to make sure everyone in the house—Simba, Albert, the twins (not so much Felicia)—heard every single word. That was my real punishment: to have them hear mom punish me.

I didn’t say a word. I didn’t bother. I didn’t care. Fuck them, fuck her, I didn’t care. A sort of nihilistic serenity embraced me. I didn’t care, fuck yes. Mom could yell all she liked, and all that bothered me was having to sit there, bored, with my ears hurting of all her loud, disapproving words. I think she noticed this, because I saw this sudden flash of powerlessness in her eye. Yelling at me used to work. It used to send me crying to my room, and then make me come crawling back, pleading for forgiveness. When I got older, and stopped crying, I would instead be sort of dazed, withdrawn, and eventually, I would apologize. Now, now she could tell her words had close to no effect on me.

But then her gaze assumed this strange calm, and she lowered her voice, and said some final words, intended only for me. I didn’t listen. I choose to forget those words. However, her words wasn’t the point: it was all in her intonation. She reminded me, with her intonation, that her sharpest weapon wasn’t yelling, but acting in the background, manipulating the situation in her favor, play out people against each other. She could punish me without me knowing it. The tone of her voice told me I could expect more of that.

That evening, I spoke to Kris. He had been sleeping in my room alone this weekend. All his possessions lay scattered all over the floor, and he had moved some of my shit around. I decided to ignore this.

“So, you liked us so bad you decided to screw?” Kris said, sitting on his mattress and struggling with his socks, that——judging by his struggles——sat really tight.

“I’d like to talk to you about something”, I said, and closed the door behind me. I sat down on my bed. The sun had set an hour earlier, but some of its light still showed above the street lights. This was Tuesday, and we were all heading to bed early for school the next day.

“You slept under a bridge or what?”

I had the screwdriver in my pocket. I intended to give it to him.

Kris got one of his socks off. “Your mom didn’t do nothing but apologize for your behavior. Every meal, she said, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry Max isn’t here. He’s usually a good, good boy. All polite and calm and he doesn’t eat with his elbows on the table, and he’s house-trained too, believe it or not.’ ”

“Hey, Kris?” I said.

“What?”

“I’d like to talk to you about something.”

“And what is that?”

I left my bed and sat down on the rug in the middle of the room. Kris and I are about the same height, but sitting on his mattress, he looked down on me. I went with Amanda’s advice: make him feel trusted. Sitting close, below him, talking in a confidential tone, I told him all I had to say.

I told him about my sleepwalking——how I strolled around in my sleep, wandered, silently. I told him about my old medications, and that I didn’t like them. I didn’t tell him about my brain degenerating into oatmeal. I told him about me roaming the house. I didn’t tell him about Felicia using me to acquire the bowl of cookies. I told him I liked to keep the door locked, keep my sleepwalking a secret, and that I had decided to trust him, even though we hardly knew each other. I displayed the screwdriver, and told him its purpose.

Afterwards, he just sat there, nodding, an ugly smirk on his face. Eventually, he said, “Sleepwalking, you say?” Like he only heard my very first sentence.

“Yes”, I said.

“You ever, like, done anything to anyone while walking?”

I didn’t want to know exactly what he meant by ‘anything’. “No”, I said. “I don’t think I notice people at all, when sleepwalking.”

He nodded.

“So, can I trust you with this? That you won’t tell anyone about it?”

He cocked his head. “Yeah, sure mate, whatever you say. And I’m a man of my word, believe you me.” He took the screwdriver from my hand.

“Good”, I said, getting up again. “I’m heading for the bathroom, and then we’ll sleep, alright?”

“Sure.”

I went. I was dead scared he’d do something, tell someone, or mess with me, in one of the millions of ways possible. However, I realised another problem on my way to the bathroom: what if I had to pee in the middle of the night? Usually, I don’t, but what if I had to? I’d have to wake him up, request the screwdriver, and probably be forced to play some kind of cat and mouse game of his, where he ‘confirmed’ I wasn’t really sleepwalking. I got the impression he might be one of those people who like to indulge in such games.

On my way back to my room, I was sure he would have locked the door, that he already would be messing with me, laughing on the other side, making me plead… But the door was unlocked. Kris still sat on the mattress, only in his underwear, flipping through a book in front of him. I didn’t think he was the type who read much of anything.

He looked up, and said, “Should I lock it now?”

“Go ahead”, I said, and began to undress.

Kris locked the door, no fuss, no weird smiles, dead serious. He then lay down, at the same time I did, in my own bed. We didn’t talk anything that evening, or any evening after that, really. All he said was, “I snore, so watch out.”

And he didn’t lie.

All this unsettled me in ways I didn’t anticipate. I believe I’d preferred if he’d smiled, made silly jokes, messed around, or watched me while I walked, and when I woke up told me I was ‘interesting’ to observe. But none of that happened. The next morning, I felt I’d been walking, but Kris didn’t make a single comment, or act like anything in any way strange had happened during the night. We got up, he unlocked the door, and handed me the screwdriver. Then we had breakfast.

Oh, and one other thing. This morning at the breakfast table, I realized I was attracted to Maya. I hate it, but I can’t deny it. She, there, hair undone and in a wide t-shirt which the morning sun, like, made glow… I hate it, and I’m disgusted by myself. She’s family. This is someone I meet at Christmas, on fiftieth birthdays. However, to be fair, she’s my dad’s dad’s sister’s son’s daughter. It’s not like we’re closely related. Still, I feel sick.

And a third, unsettling thing: Simba has found God. Maybe Marie made it happen, I don’t know, but it’s clear he reveres Albert, The Man with the Pig’s Heart. They have some kind of history together, I’ve understood. Something to do with their college years…  I don’t know what happened back then, all I know is that Simba never disagrees with Albert, that he makes sure to be the one to hands Albert the milk, that he makes sure to cook Albert all his favorite dishes, and clean his dishes, and play Albert’s favorite music, which happens to be atonal jazz, which I can’t stand.

My Options -Post 007.

They are here. The twins, Kris and Maya, and their father: the fabled Man with the Pig’s Heart. His real name is Albert. It’s almost too generic.

Maria forced me to show the twins the house, the garden and the block, while Felicia hovered about us, putting broken toys in our path, running around our legs, looking up at the new faces she probably recognized, or maybe not.

The twins didn’t say much. Me neither, just stuff like, “The kitchen, as you can tell” and “The living room”, and “Fela’s room, you’ll be sleeping here, Maya”, and “My room, there’s your mattress, Kris”, and “The garden, and the Igloo, we call it that because it looks like one”, and so on. Together, we embodied that awkwardness grown-ups inflict on you, when they force you to be nice, listen to what they’re saying, and play with your new friends.

Maya took Felicia’s hand when I showed them around the block. Mostly I think it was to stop her from running out in the open street, but I didn’t like it. Felicia got all calm, and looked up to Maya, and started talking real low, like she did when she told you a secret. Like she spoke when she told me mom’s been cheating, several years back. Most people would say she’s a kid, Felicia, she doesn’t know what to say and what to keep to herself, but I think it’s more than that: I think she knows what she’s doing, I think she’s probing, seeing what reactions she get. On the street, I worried she’d tell Maya about my sleepwalking.

Then Kris walked up beside me, and said, without any pretext, “We’re not happy to be here. We’re only here because of bullshit legal issues. We’ll be going soon, don’t you worry. I snore. Hope you can deal with that, until then. Otherwise, sorry you.”

Then he turned back towards the house. I stopped walking. Maya smiled this smooth, soothing smile, slightly cocking her head. Sorry, that’s the way he is, her smile said.

Back home, my parents and Albert, dressed in a suit, his hair reflecting the sunlight through the window, sat at the furthest end of the kitchen table. They spoke low, furtively, like they too had secrets going on.

I might be paranoid.

That night, and every night the last few days, I’ve been sleeping at a friends place. At home, I packed my bag, waited until mom went to the bathroom, and then I dropped by dad’s office, saying I’m going to see a friend. Then I left before he had a chance to object. At this time, Albert and the twins were in the Igloo, and they had been there for probably two hours, not a word or sound.

 

Contrary to popular belief, completely platonic relationship between people whose respective genders and sexualities happen to align, is possible. I’m staying with a classmate, Amanda, one year older than me, one of those self-made people my parents oh so wish I’d become: someone who pays for their own school, studies independently on their own, pays their own bills, have their own place, go out on the weekends, etc. She’s a bit infuriating, in that regard, but she doesn’t brag, or look down on anyone, for any reason. For her, what is, just is. She’s good with advice.

“What should I do about the sleepwalking situation?” I asked her.

Not all my friends know about my sleepwalking. I choose to only tell the people I truly care about. Victor doesn’t know.

Amanda counted my options:

  1. Get on medication again and hope it helps. To which I said no way, no way, not letting my brain decay into oatmeal… and those worms. I’ve told Amanda about that, too.
  2. Talk to my parents about it and see if they can house Kris somewhere else, which I’m not even going to try, since it will inevitably lead to possibility one: they will force me.
  3. Just go with it, leave the door unlocked, not say a word to Kris, and see what happens. This is possible, but I fear I will leave the room, walk around, and if seen… it would force me to do 2), which would lead to 1).
  4. Lock the door as usual, after Kris falls asleep, and hope I wake up before him, and that he doesn’t notice me walking around the room at night. This is a stupid idea. That I said, and Amanda just smiled, and told me, “It’s an idea.” But it is a stupid idea. Either Kris would wake up for a toilet visit, and find the door locked, which would incline him to wake me up, and force me to talk to him, or, me walking around would wake him up, and either he freaks out and tells my parents, or forces me to tell him what the fuck is going on. I said all this, and Amanda smiled, and said, “That leaves us to 5).
  5. Tell Kris about my sleepwalking. Explain why I like to keep my door locked, and why I like to keep it secret. Trust him, and make sure he understands I’ve decided to trust him with this. People like to be trusted, it makes them feel special. Let him have the screwdriver. Amanda said this.

Option five is the only possible option, it seems. This, or stay at Amanda’s place forever, to which she laughed, and tapped my head in a somehow not condescending way, and then she lay down in her bed, saying, “Sleepy time.”

I’m scared. I can’t sleep. That’s the sixth option, I guess: never go to sleep again. It’s sunday night, and tomorrow it’s school again, and I’ll be forced to return home. And not only that, but explain why I haven’t returned Maries calls, why I’ve been so rude to our new guests, and why I have made my parents look like fools in front of such a respectable person as The Man with the Pig’s Heart.

The Future is Non-Existent – Post 006.

At the moment, I study natural sciences: fundamental physics and chemistry and maths and biology; stuff like formulas for gravitation, how hydrogen and oxygen gas can create water, the PQ-formula enabling you to solve second grade equations, and how photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen gas, etc. And, apparently, large scale artificial photosynthesis is on the way. Soon, we’ll be completely independent of all green bug-attracting plant-life. What an age we live in.

Anyway, this is what my ever-smiling father and my never-smiling mother want me to do. And what do I want? Shut up with your stupid questions.

Some people believe schooling is still free here in Sweden. If only. At the moment, I work as a janitor in the local library to pay for school. The other day, I found a homeless man sleeping on the library’s toilet’s floor, strangely peaceful, slowly breathing, his coat as a blanket and a backpack as a pillow. I didn’t want to wake him up, but I had to, because it was closing time. I told him I wouldn’t mention it to management, and he could come there to sleep whenever he wished, and I’d look the other way. However, right now it was closing time, and if he didn’t go, he’d have to stay in there the entire night to not set the alarm off. He thanked me, and shook my hand, and left.

Marie, my mother, often points at the homeless people sleeping under billboards, and she says, “Those specimens are better commercials for establishing your independence than anything else. They show us the importance of standing on our own hind legs.” She always looks at me as she says so.

My parents don’t pay for my schooling. Not because they don’t support it, but because they want me to stand on my own hind legs. You’d think that’s partly liberating: not having them hover above me, funneling me into the most respected schools, making sure I get good grades, and so on, but you’re wrong. They hover in another way: by praising independence, the individual, self-governance, the self. My mother has an oil painting of herself in the living room, huge, something you’d expect to find in the mansion of the villain in the latest superhero movie. Dad’s less hardcore about it, but he always picks Maries side. If he didn’t, I’d probably find him in the food waste disposal.

One evening a couple of years ago, my parents had some kind of fight, about me. I escaped the house and sat down on the porch outside, facing the Igloo. After a while, dad sat down beside me. The moon hung low, surrounded by horror-movie mistm, illuminated in a fuzzy circle.

“We want what’s best for you, Max”, Simba said.

I sat silent. He kept going.

“You see, the world is rough. It’s ruled by no one, by everyone. The market is everything, and if we don’t follow its rules, we die, okay? We just think it’s important for you to listen to the market. It will guide you to your future, understand?”

I didn’t look over my shoulder, but I knew Marie stood in the window, her hands on her hips, staring hard at my dad’s neck. Marie always wins their fights. Every single time.

Occasionally, when Marie’s had a glass of wine, she gets friendly all of a sudden, and sits down beside me. She says, “You know we love you, right? We do. We’ve given you this home, food on the table, everything you need. All we want is for you to succeed, you know. But dad, he’s afraid you’ll fail. He thinks your writing and video editing and all your whimsical interests are destructive. He’s afraid what happened to him might happen to you. And that would make him so, so sad. You don’t want that, do you?”

It’s not uncommon for her to threaten me with my father’s sadness.

I hate this.

All of it.

My mother is the manipulative mastermind of the family. Guilt, self-doubt, expectations of their definition of autonomy and success, they inflict this on me. Whenever I make a decision I always wonder, am I keeping my parents’ opinions in the back of my mind? I often feel like a remote controlled car.

And what I hate the most about it, is that sometimes, I’m glad they do it. I’m glad they manipulate me, that they try to make sure I go where I’m supposed to go. I hate that I feel this way. But, I’m young, and confused, and have no fucking idea where to go. Anywhere I look just looks like a dead end.

Everything that entrances me, be it music or writing or reading or some other “whimsical” interest, it’s never anything there’s a future in. The future lies in software engineering, industrial engineering, in bioengineering, anything with engineering in the name. The closest I’ve got to this, is playing around with coding, but only because it’s easy to use infinite loops to create evolving, chaotic patterns of symbols.

And, well, not only are my interests a bit esoteric and generally stupid,  but I don’t even know myself what I’d like to do, if I got to choose. Would a write, or make art-code, or what? I have no idea. I wish I could get obsessed with something, because at least then I’d know what I wanted to do, but obsession is nowhere to be found.

I have no idea what I’m doing. Part of me want to go rampage and run away from home, and maybe burn the house down while I’m at it, and another part of me want to listen to my parents, do what they says, and soil my hands by working with the bioputer technology, the Oh so great evidence of the power of the free market.

God.

Sorry for writing all this.

Another thing: tomorrow The Man with the Pig’s Heart will be here, with his twins, and Kris, one of the twins, is to sleep in my room, and have no fucking idea what I will do about it.

Weird poetry by not me

Found this on a swedish site and took the liberty to translate it to english. This is interesting stuff. The writing style indicates someone being in a really bad way, but the use of weird punctuation and symbols is pretty structured, so it’s hard to determine the actual mindset of the writer. Link to original content: http://djupmorkskit.se/_untitled_.

 

_Untitled_

My arms regrow flesh slow [bone bone limbed elbows and kneecaps under glass _ skin] /
My stomach’s sphere is gone. it went somewhere (I-don’t-know-where) and _ my bellow’s hollow /
I-I do not ruminesce forget [-] [-] [-] /

Home from wednesday work I stare at red dance sky when (my) liquid brain _ creeks down (my) throat /

I wander streets in night [illuminated by streetlight gasses] (as masses chant and dance and fucking fuck ‘round tourhces lit) /
At home in bed I try to sleep _ (waken dreams of b-bed_ swallow——and me immobilized by the night mare on my chest /
I am not scared /

Woke to silent night pink penis schorch _ drives me up by five /
The toilet hums camera eyes thorugh frosted glass /
Claw marks on toilet seat _ I pee my kidneys away {I pee my body clean} /

At times I lay half-awake as crumbling words _ crumble ‘round me /
I-I’ll not remember today tomorrow

By Unknown.

 

There’s a lot of strange stuff on the internet. It’s sometimes interesting to ponder, did the amount of weird shit increase when the internet became a thing (since people now could share whatever they wanted to millions of people, without having to interact face to face with anyone), or did the internet just make all the weird shit more accessible?

It’s also extremely haunting how the writer described the sensation of their brain running down their throat. I know it’s a phenomenon and all, but still… I guess it hasn’t dawned on me that I’m not the only one who experience the same fear, or physical sensation, or whatever it is.

 

I’m Having a Cynical Episode – Post 005.

This friend of mine, Victor, is both cool and fucked-up simultaneously. Once upon a time, he was suicidal, and now I think he’s using societal involvement and mainstream media as a sort of outlet for old, buried feelings. I don’t blame him.

Victor advocate for the same violence the movies do, the same explosions the posters display, the same downfall people smile when imagining, but in reality fear, because what if everything just turns into shit and blood and fire and you lose control over all bodily fluids? Not pretty.

These days, movies and TV-series are a bit ridiculous, in a strange way. At least 50% of mainstream entertainments are Star Warsian—honorable rebels fight the evil empire. Mr. Robot is about hackers taking down the huge conglomerate Evil corp—no subtlety in who’s the villain, there. The Rule of the Bandana is a crappy comedy about insurgents doing a half-assed job at just about everything, but having fun in the process. And the latest movie I saw—”Aristokratin – Fallet”—is literally about fighting the SSS, Samhällets Säkerhetsstyrka, Sweden’s dominating private security force.

Victor watch all of it. Every series, every new movie: he’s seen it. And he knows every detail about the economical climate—who owns what and whom, which city is dominated by which cooperation, and so on. Society is mapped out in his mind.

And he’s one of those people who bring their anger to the streets. If I allow myself to be cynical: I think the overall subject matter of today’s entertainments purposely give people an outlet for their dissatisfaction. But it doesn’t work for everyone. Last week, Victor left for Stockholm, to participate in a protest against the “militarisation” of neighbourhoods—SSS, patrolling the streets, especially targeting minorities, as is custom…

The so called buy-ups around here involve the streets too. If a corporation owns most of a block, they like to enable their security force, almost always SSS, to patrol the streets, too. And I will not lie, seeing these corporate money-cysts spill their puss all over the streets makes me feel sick.

But seeing Victor return home with red eyes and with clothes drenched in pepparspray and lungs filled with tear gas doesn’t make me feel better. I’m exaggerating, but you get the picture.

When younger, Victor and I used to build forts by the closest tree-line or some great oak or birch tree. We gleaned planks and old scaffolding from construction sites, liberated some trees of their less sturdy branches, and found plywood and plastic sheets and barrels by the dump. Rope and cables prevented the thing from falling apart. One of those forts still stand, in a grove behind an apartment complex a few blocks from where I live. The fort looks a little like a miniature radio tower, with it’s old antenna attached to the top, and broken LED-lights like christmas decoration, gleaming red in the sun.

Victor tend to use me to vent. He’s a talker, I’m a listener. And I like him, even though he somehow makes me… mean. Whenever we spend time together, I start throwing extra cynical shit around me, all the time. Yesterday, we met up again, and went back to the old radio tower fort. Two kids were there, climbing the tree and doing whatever kids do. I roared at them. Told them to screw. Get lost. Fuck off.

They ran.

I rarely enjoy movies or TV-series. I don’t watch Mr. Robot or similar shit. But I enjoy spending time with Victor. Like, really enjoy it.

He climbed the tree and sat on the branch from which he used to sustain his endless monologue, while I worked on the fort. From there, Victor said, “Sure, protect property all you want, but don’t waltz around our streets beating up everyone who looks fishy. And even when you’ve managed to do what you are supposed to do, catching burglars and robbers and shit, I’ve heard about you immobilizing them and beating them with batons, and pepper spraying their genitals and shit. SSS, you treat people like animals, like something sub-human.”

I peeked inside our fort. It stank like it did under the sink when no one has taken out the trash for weeks. I could make out the contours of an old bioputer in the dark, which made me not enter. What the kids were doing with that, I don’t want to know.

“And now, SSS, they rule every single street in all of Stockholm. Basically. There’s some free zones. Not that SSS cares about that. The protest was all about the streets. Sure, rule your buildings and stores and whatever, but the streets, they belong to me. I walk them every single day. That, if something, is public property.”

Victor laughed, and stared up the apartment complex in front of us, towering far up into the low white sky.

“Maybe two hundred people there, and we instantly got pepper sprayed and gassed with something that wasn’t tear gas. I passed out on the sidewalk before I crushed my first window. SSS must have taken me for a bum and left me there, when everything went on. Afterwards, I saw footage of maybe fifty people caught between two security lines. I saw them take rubber bullets and charge the security line. I saw a fucking tank-like vehicle slowly pushing people back, like cattle. Almost glad I passed out. And, never did it feel so good returning home.”

We used to say we would live here, in the fort. We said we would catch hares with traps, and steal apples from adjacent gardens, and find mattresses by some dumpsters somewhere, to sleep on. We actually found two once, several blocks away. We dragged them almost halfway here, saying, “This is the night, this is the night”, but it got dark and we got cold and scared, and ran home. In reality, the idea of living here terrified us. Still, every other day we spoke about sleeping here—going back and dragging the mattresses the last of the way—but we never did.

I think those protests are a bit pointless. People protest the SSS, the security force which occupy our streets, instead of the people who hire them. People protest pepper spray and rubber bullets and tear gas, but not what SSS protects. The movies and TV-series are no different. Evil Corp is the villain in Mr. Robot, but only Evil Corp, not the system. There’s no mention of capitalism. The Rule of the Bandana is nothing more than slapstick comedy. And “Aristokratin – Fallet” (Aristocracy – Downfall), which title suggest more, only disapprove of SSS—if only they used friendlier tactics, everything would be alright…

There’s nothing more behind the “movement” than having another outlet for frustration. Victor is renewed, back home. Instead of roaring at the movies or playing video games, he takes it to the street. And the worst thing is, I think it’s by design, us getting mad at SSS, to prevent us from seeing past them.

I told you Victor made me more cynical.

Usually, I don’t think much about all this. I find it pointless, especially since there’s more people living under Stockholm’s naked sky than people participating in the protests. Most people condemn violent protests. It’s only okay to stand in a line, holding hands, or whatever, to get your point across.

And, anyway, unless the experience is too horrible, people return empowered—they’ve done something to further  good cause. That’s what keeps Victor going, at least. I’m glad he has this.

***

One more thing: The Man with the Pig’s Heart and his twins are coming early next week. They are coming.

The Roe and the Fireflies

It might be worth mentioning that I’ve been writing fiction for a while now, and I write quite frequently, with the stoicism of someone who now they’ll never be great but says, “Fuck it!” and writes anyway.

I posted a short story to a reddit subforum just now, based on weird dreams, ghost stories and being on prescriptive drugs. Most of the story is fiction. Alina, for example, is a purely fictional character. But I do find my sister by the living room window, just staring out, occasionally.

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/5oy7cb/the_roe_and_the_fireflies/