(Photograph by Jerry Uelsmann)
below the surface
filthy in every which way rendezvous
at ground level
the hangover cure cafes
not so hidden, hidden brothel retreats
divinely cut-loose ever so purple showgirls
all-inclusive sexual indulgence
the wizardry of New Orleans jazz migrated
potent blinding nectarous spirits
a stained mattress for spare change
the feckless drag of syphilis and gonorrhoea
purest decadent heaven
for the young scribblers
the budding philosophers
the pubescent painters
the theatrical muses
sweet dreamers one and all
Yet what is this she hears? Tantalizing dreamers brought to their knees? Subjugated? The grapevine never lies. In the twinkling of an eye, the self-proclaimed Presidente La Sandmano and his menagerie of debauched (they would, of course claim otherwise) compatriots have seized control. The Land of Nod, a safe-haven no more for those gifted sleepers inclined toward the offbeat pleasures of scandalous scarlet rose petal and garter anarchy. ‘Operacio Kolibro’ has seen to that. An ugly uncreative old order of sleepers has been restored. Their quest for perceived categorization on pain of tainted death fulfils, at long last, their crusade for the return of tyrannical days of yore. Darkest, ad nauseam calculable nightmares prevail.
Oh, what horrors the innocent permissive romantics suffer, for when the utopian decadence of own freewill, that ‘epoch noir’ spasm is supplanted by ‘régime sadique’ motivating all manner of humiliation by way of brutal force, therein one will discover the classic contradiction of society in the hands of the diehard fascists.
In the Aftermath
Under a neon glazed cellophane yet pearly mistiness, enveloping a street of no distinction they stand in line. All told, the hapless dreamers number six hundred, sixty and seven give or take the odd decaying corpse or petrified mannequin. Those at the head of the line are able to see and take heed of the absurd sign on a locked, perchance once ornate door that reads, ‘Sweatshops R Freedom’. A silverback mountain gorilla wearing a tallest, flat-crowned, broad-brimmed top hat, a torch in one hand, a magic marker in the other walks alongside the chain of adrift romantics checking birth certificates, seizing golden teeth and grandiose knickknacks. As is his want, he etches an ‘X’ upon the palms of those who appear to be youthful, desirable, able-bodied sorts and ostensibly ignores all others. Ever since the revolution in The Land of Nod giving rise to the new age of nightmares it has been this way. All the time La Sandmano and his despotic cronies hold sway, off-guard sweet dreamers are subject to a markedly abhorrent brand of ethnic cleansing. As to who might lead a counter insurgency, no one knows. That is often the way with dreamers. Presently, the only escape from, or to avoid completely, the reign of ineffable terror is to gain consciousness or become an insomniac.
Whether it be good fortune or bad luck to find oneself in the limelight, near the front of the buffer blocked train of dithering lost souls Eve could not rightly say as yet. The waiting in the street for what might happen next seems to take an age and the night is getting colder.
Immediately behind her is a person she all but knows, namely the waiter who wears only tattoos from Abdul’s Shashi café. A harmless man, he proves to be not the greatest conversationalist, having not spoken a single word for that long he has forgotten how to talk. Besides, his teeth are chattering; his goose bumps are merging. Directly ahead, the next person in the path toward the presently locked door, a raven-haired beauty with cloudless sky piercing blue eyes, who is fluent in both French and English, to the extent that when speaking she grapples with both tongues never quite sure which she should favour. Eve has determined the girl is named Maurelle and that the mountain gorilla has already pilfered the Tag Heuer Carrera wristwatch and diamond rings her grandmother had left her. She enquiries of Eve, “Qu’est-ce qu’il t’a volé? What did he steal from you?” Eve’s candid answer? “Zilch. I own nothing.” By the taken aback look on Maurelle’s face such a riposte had left her confounded. “Mais tu es éblouissant e. Vous avez certainement des amoureux de bijoux vous ont donné?” That Eve could claim just silver coloured slippers with pointy toes as the only gift a lover had ever given her, a thing she kept secret merely replying, “My lovers have never given me material gifts.”
At last, the perchance once ornate door creaks open outward. A portly ventriloquist dressed in pantomime dame drag, his dummy a clumsily crafted Pitbull owner’s penis extension equivalent, appears atop the steps to the entrance of ‘Sweatshops R Freedom’. At his side, twin dwarfs on roller-skates, both dressed as Benedictine monks, one in charge of an aluminium clipboard, the other dragging in his wake an empty hessian sack of monumental proportions. The puppeteered dummy speaks with a broad Australian accent ushering inside only those whose palm is marked with an ‘X’, one at a time, making sure they leave all clothing with the dwarf in charge of the monumental sack. As to where those lacking an ‘X’ end up only rumours, hearsay and scribbled history books will one day tell. Eve overhears the ventriloquist, failing or choosing not to throw his voice, denying the naked waiter entry adding that he would not feel cold much longer.
She gulps a fearful gulp, seeking escape from tangible illusion and hoping to realize a retreat, back to the creature comforts of both her straight-jacket and padded cell. Sadly, for now at least her eyelids are pegged shut; her physique turned to stone.
‘Castaway’ by Zoolon who can be found on WordPress @ https://zoolonhub.com/