“…So I do not really know if it was a psychotic episode, a narcotic delusion, or if everything that happened there was real.” I am sitting with the two of them on my tattered leather couch, sipping a cup of rooibos tea. “The experience came to feel precisely like demonic possession. Even with my skeptical introspection, trying to assert that it was dissociation due to trauma, I could no longer hide the moments from myself when my body seemed to move involuntarily—-perhaps responsive to thoughts and feelings I had within my private psychology, sometimes influenced by environmental stimulus, but the trends of tics and twitches followed me into isolation. Going for long walks to the middle of nowhere, external transmissions seemed to appropriate my cognitive faculties, rape my motor functions to skew my own comprehension of the phenomenon. Was I experience remote viewing? Psychic interference? Was I getting messages from people in other parts of the world? Was I talking to God? Was I insane?”
“And that’s why you killed yourself?” The man named Cairo is smoking a cigar, leaning against the door frame near the hole I punched in the wall…
The scars running up my arms are mostly old by now, more brown than red; they remind me somehow of unholy insects that border on the nomenclature of parasites, slimy atypical invertebrate that you catch a glimpse of in the washroom and feel sharp nausea in response to, like the sighting is an ill omen either of poor hygiene or poor sanitation… but my brain, it fulminates like cotton over my eyelids in the desert because I know that the error I have made is so deep in the realm of my unconscious that it is actually useless to attempt recuperative action. The suicide scars running up my arms dance like those unholy insects and it is my stupid fucking optimism that forces me to assimilate the sight of them as being a part of my identity now, not to convince myself that they are acceptable, but just to desensitize myself to the sight of them.
The first night I began cutting myself is not vivid in my memory but the foggy apparition communicates enough detail. “Suicide never makes sense. Right? It is a form of madness. Problems mounted high enough and with enough consistent insistency that death seemed like a viable exit, maybe even the correct solution to a life that divorced itself completely from my autonomy.” It is Saturday night. Outside, young people celebrate a life I always admired from afar, their cries of happiness not exactly alluring to me, just a fact to be considered. “It embarrasses me to admit, but I began cutting myself to ‘teach the voices a lesson’, to ‘shut them up’. That sounds immature to me, even now.”
“Did it work?” asks Laertes.
“It must have?” I bluff, not able to recall. ” I mean, why else would I have kept up the unsavory habit for so long.
“When you say voices,” Laertes prods. “Could you tell that they were still inside your mind, or did they sound like they were external?”
It has been maybe three days since I have showered. The stove is grimy with food from a few weeks ago. “This will never be made clear. At the worst of it I heard what sounded to be people in my physical vicinity making comments about the private aspects to my life that no one should know about—-kind of like they were reading my thoughts, and that is why I am willing to say that maybe I was just hearing voices. One of my psychiatrists explained inferential thinking to me, the advent of believing that conversations you overhear in passing are actually about you… but the coincidences were so ongoing and precise that I MUST have been hallucinating.”
“Or you were requisitioning the receptive human minds of those around you like radio receivers,” Cairo offers. “Something that no one really likes, thus explaining any hostility you perceived, or paranoia you felt.”
Verbose treatises cry out to be fed within Laertes, but the Wellbutrin has him acting peculiar. Misguided pride keeps his otherwise noble intentions in escrow of an unformed conspiracy that has the world conniving to keep him inert of renown. Laertes does not even want the renown. “Regardless of whether you intended to or not, you built an elaborate spiritual vortex around yourself to enable simple manipulation of collective metaphysics. Fabricating a lifestyle of complete isolation, possessing the psychology of an actual outsider, you still traipsed the norms of society without inciting the ire of automatic defenses inside the psyche of your peers. Go to the store to buy a pack of smokes and an energy drink, and then come back to the vestige of this bedroom to parlay with ambivalent deities of psychic trade winds.” He laughs. “Because you did not care that you were actually talking to some pseudo Illuminati, you did not go insane; because you are balanced of intent and ambitious to succeed, ‘they’ were able to use you for real global progress…”
“They neither wanted to let you go nor allow you to stay,” Cairo concludes. “Go talk to Art Bell about spooks.”
This is all well and fine, a natural conclusion garnered by a progression of events that everyone agreed upon as being necessary or unavoidable… but I do not really believe that I succeeded in killing myself and was brought back to life. It does not strike me as particularly real that these men are actually here speaking to me. Dreams within dreams, or memories meant to be deleted and presented to me at a later date in evidence of some Kafkaesque trial where I know I ought not to have done the thing that no one dare speak aloud, regardless of the fact that I actually do not have any idea as to what the crime might have been.
I think it was love. I think I am useless to everyone when I fall in love. I opened up Doctor Faustus and screamed at the devil to grace the world with his presence so that my antagonists would have company at the sidelines of my public execution, so that I would believe myself that I have committed an atrocity worthy of this torture.