Wasteland

by dantewilde

He awoke gasping for breath. His right hand clenched his heart and his left reached out before him grabbing at the darkness like it was a rope leading up the rabbit hole. The rain lashed the apartment windows and the Manhattan street roared with life 15 stories below him. One of the many ceiling leaks dripped onto the floor, less than an inch away from the bucket, while droplets free fell and exploded onto tin in other parts of the room.

The light of the alarm clock cast a green sterile glow over his window side bed. For a moment he sat bolt up right and sucked the air in glutinously. Sweat had drenched his sheets and his hair, not quite shoulder length at the back, had abandoned its usual cascade around his face. Pushed to the left side exposing the entire right side of his head. The fourth time that night he rose from the bed and stood naked in the middle of the room. For a customary minute he breathed in his surroundings, then uneasily stepped across the room to the neatly composed desk, housing the alarm clock and his laptop and several pill bottles. He stared at the digital digits as he took up the first pill bottle. Three in the hand, one for luck. 2.35 am. He placed down the pill bottle and took up the next, three in the hand, one for good health. He swallowed the capsules dry. Last pill bottle in hand he tipped two into his free palm, two in the hand, one for luck. The yellow coating on the capsules was transparent and the liquid center sloshed about.

‘Sleep apena, abnormal pauses in breathing. I’d only be so lucky.’ He said to the rain drops then knocked back the last three capsules. He rubbed his sweat sticky palm across his chest and felt his heart thud. Being alive was becoming oddly reassuring.

Like a multinational at a presidential election the streets below lobbied for his attention. Sirens, helicopters, drunkards and prostitutes all vying for what they worth. Cold hands against the fogged up glass he lifted the window part way and let the orchestra of dissidents serenade him like a sick apathetic joke. Now in his dressing gown he took up a cigarette and his laptop and sat himself by the window. FRINGE POLITICS & THE COMMUNIST LOGO the word document read that illuminated the page. He blew the cigarette smoke back inside, canadian cigarettes, the street filth didn’t deserve the pleasure he reasoned before another drag. THE MANIFESTO OF THE DEMOCRACY PARTY he bullet pointed beneath the heading. The alarm clock rolled around to the new hour. His plane was leaving in two hours and he knew the terrors wouldn’t let him rest.

For a moment he considered the TV in the corner at the foot of his bed.

‘Fox news. Just for a laugh.’ He thought. But he moved no further, images of George Bush flashed in front of his eyes. The elected fire sale special man who hollowed out the WhiteHouse. The Texas governor who executed more Black Americans than any other Texas governor. A stark contrast lit up in his mind, George Bush and the current President

Barack Obama, the ultimate brand.
‘The same national politics, different approach.’ The words fell out of his mouth as if in epiphany.

‘The same national politics, different approach.’ The computer screen lighted the room as

his fingers hammered away on the keys. MOLOTOV COCKTAIL entered the search bar; ‘Same politics different approach!’ he shouted as the search turned up the varying recipes for a Molotov Cocktail.

The speech at Virginia Tech was going to be a success. A mass conversion of the apathetic into two factions. After all, if God achieved it with religion, why couldn’t he with politics, economics, social reform. The rain lashed harder at the window and like espionage agents infiltrated the apartment and scattered across the floor. He slammed the window shut without looking away from the typing. Eight heavy knocks rained down from above followed by a deep southern accent ‘keep it down down there!’ the violent gesture was ignored. A revolution was coming. His face and hands burned with desire. The night air around him warmed against his skin, for a few moments he allowed himself to get excited. On the floor a folded and battered copy of Capital; a Critique of the Political Economy sat at his feet. He picked up Marx’s book and with the laptop resting on his thighs he held the book in the glow. The insightful verses reaffirmed his thoughts, the lashing critiques. A revolution was coming and he was going to lead it. He lit another cigarette and by the hypnotic light of the screen he fantasized over his supremacy.

He rose from his place near the window and made his way, shaking, back to the desk. With his palm flat on the wood he spoke to the clock who’s digits had formed a distressed face. ‘These drugs are beginning to work, they are. You remind me of someone I used to know’ he wiped sweat from his brow ‘his eyes were green like yours, very very beautiful.’ He paused leaving his mouth half suspended. ‘Jesus Christ, I’m talking to the goddamn clock again!’ he admonished himself, then took a handful of pills. A concoction of all the bottles. The humour of the situation wasn’t lost as he downed the drugs with a smirk. His fortitude had weakened over the course of the night, every pill promised a window of sleep without the night terrors. No promise was enough to satisfy his hunger to abandon the distorted underland a nightmare land of perplexing proportions. Tangible, sensual, calm and quietly horrific. A dream representation of life under Obama the illusionist, the ‘Fascistiske’ he cursed. In his dreams his hands flashed in his mind, drenched with blood. The rifle leered out of the window, this very window. The first lady’s screams now curdled his blood. Every night he would begin by pulling the trigger.

He stepped back and allowed himself to fall onto the bed. The light of the laptop combined with the digital clock emitted a prison like glow, the cold white contrasting with the green. ‘Healthcare, reform, Abu Ghraib.’ The President had said. A string of words,

always changing, meaning nothing. On this night he could see their eyes behind his own, wide with terror, burning with revenge. Everyone was different.

‘Revolution.’ He whispered.
‘Forgive me, revolution.’
‘Revolution, kill Fascistiske.’ He muttered as the pills stuck their needles into his mind. On this night he squeezed his eyes shut but could not forgive himself, for the lives he’d

missed. Years of inaction, years of apathy. Sleep crawled like spiders over his body until the image of Ken Saro-Wiwa would fill his mind and the Nahua people would torment his thoughts. Kundun would play on repeat until again he was awoken.

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