Soothing the Savage Beast
With the fear knocking at my head, it felt strange even wondrous to sense it outside of myself for once. Tempted to run, I stopped eating. He eyed me quizzically. Feelings of paranoia arose that he’d think I’d poisoned the food, didn’t like his company or wanted to leave. Actually, if he settled down I wouldn’t mind his company, but that was a big if. Trying to suppress, repress, anything-but-express my feelings made me aware the only thing stopping me was myself and my ability to handle the consequence of my actions.
He sniffed the air like an animal; I cringed at his primal nature. ‘You don’t want to be here, do you?’ he angrily accused, seeing through my pretentious smile. Cornered by his bluntness, the truth was I didn’t want to be there. I really wanted to tell him to fuck-right-off-and-die-you-motherfucker-son-of-a-bitch-piece-of-shit, but knew those would probably be the last words I’d ever speak. “No, I don’t mind being here,” I said, laughing at how unconvincing I sounded even to myself. ‘You don’t mean it,’ he accused. Did he want the truth? No one I knew liked the truth. At first he didn’t even want to eat with me and now I couldn’t get rid of him. I felt like punching myself for getting caught up with him and for not knowing how to get out of it.
Taking several deep breaths, I talked about the weather, life, anything, hoping to take the focus off me. In a matter of seconds he was talking away on his own about everything under the sun. Suddenly I realized how lonely and lost he was, just wanting someone to talk to. But the wounds went deeper: he just wanted someone to listen to him talk. Then I saw how incidental I felt.
The more wound up he got the more others began to look. Then out of nowhere he went ballistic, firing words full of hate and anger from a machine gun like mind. I looked into his eyes and recoiled. Although he had every reason to be angry at the world, he didn’t have the right to take it out on innocent people making an honest living.
The scene became dreamlike. Words were volleyed back and forth in a fiery game of ‘Verbal Tennis’. Unbelievably, two peoples of different class systems were engaged in the elemental trappings of war just like Krishnamurti had said. When they resorted to personal insults about his looks, lifestyle, attitude, sexuality and overall pitiful state, I was shocked. If anything they should known better: being more educated and all. He began to provoke innocent passers-by. “Leave him alone,” I shouted, “we’re just eating. What’s the big deal?” Both sides stopped and looked at me. The sudden sinking feeling I’d stepped into the middle of something bigger stirred, but I held my ground. He eyed me suspiciously. “What?” I shrugged. “I don’t like the way they’re talking to you. I don’t much like the way you’re talking to them either, but I’m dealing with them right now, not you.” I emphasized the last two words not just for his benefit, but for mine as well.
He looked away bashfully. Confused, I rethought my position. I didn’t know him, what he did or anything else for that matter. I didn’t even know his name! Did they know him? “What’s he done wrong?” ‘He knows, just ask him,’ they responded insinuatingly. “Ask him what?” hoping to find out. They stopped shouting, looked at him then at me and then, unbelievably, started shouting at me. ‘You’re just like him. You brought him here. You’re gonna end up like him. Fucking losers. Get the fuck outta here before I call the cops….’ “Go ahead; see if I care,” I responded, “I haven’t done anything wrong. Go ahead, call them….” ‘Fuck you!’ “Whatever.”
By now he was on shaking so violently I thought he was going to explode. Not wanting to be an accessory to murder or violence of any kind, I separated myself from both dramas. Both sides were totally unaware they were stuck on automatic! “Are you doing this for fun,” I asked, trying to get his attention. ‘What? What d’you mean?’ He shot a pissed off look at me as if I’d changed sides. “Is this fun for you?” I repeated.” “No. Why would it be fun? They’re a bunch of fucking assholes….’ Unable to refute his accusation, he flared up again. In a matter of seconds, both sides were at war again. I racked my brain until the proverbial light went on. “Do you do drugs?” I asked. ‘What?’ he glared, ‘of course I do drugs,’ like I was a fool to think otherwise. “What kind of drugs do you do?” ‘Any.’ I smiled at his ability to cover all bases with one mere word. With a new reward in mind, their shouts faded away into the background. Feeling rejected, even dismissed, they groaned at how worked up they’d become. I laughed; self-realization was such a wonderful thing to behold. They returned whatever they were doing before – just like the guy who’d given some change before.
“Do you do crystal?” I asked, intentionally sounding stupid. ‘Yep,’ “Let’s go do some.” ‘I don’t have any … but I know where to get some.’ “Don’t worry, I got some.” He looked at me with huge saucer-like eyes, racking his brains in disbelief. I smiled. Now I had him! “Let’s get outta here,” I motioned to go, but he didn’t move. “What’s wrong,” I asked. ‘I don’t have any.’ I smiled; he was starting to sound cute. “I got some.” ‘I don’t.’ Ah, so that’s what it was all about. I spelled it out for him nice and slowly. “I got some and you can do some of mine with me if you want.” I chuckled, but that still didn’t seem to be good enough. I shook my head and laughed some more at his gall. ‘How much you got,’ he asked. I laughed again. “Enough.” ‘What’s enough?’ “Enough for both of us.” ‘How do you know? I need lots.’ So he was a ‘size queen’. “I bet you do,” I replied with obvious sexual overtones. He looked puzzled. “Look, let’s get out of here before the cops come, okay.” ‘I don’t care.’ “You may not, but I do. I’ve got the drugs remember.” The logic resonated with him. He lowered his eyes and we both left.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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