10 Kasım 2011 Perşembe

The Grumpy Specter


It was a nasty autumn morning with rain sprinkling down on people like peanut-piss when I died. Mine was an ordinary death, as ordinary as the death of a great leader could get of course. I have been warned many times by the doctors to quit the two pleasures that I had in this life as if to put my white and wrinkled body more to the test of time. But what else is a single man of my age left to mingle with other than his tobacco and alcohol? And they were good companions too… not pretentious and talkative but elegant and graceful in their silent camaraderie.



It might sound absurd to you that an untroubled silence was the final wish of this dying man. Yet after living a tempestuous life, what one can truly wish for is an uninterrupted state of calming tranquility. Especially in the last few years preceding my death, I was a sad, old, and lonely man. And I was proud to be a sad, old and lonely man. At least I did not fake who I was. I did not continue making a fool of myself by imitating the clowns around me. I hated them for they were never willing to respect this old man’s final yearning for solitude. And following every intrusion, I treated those responsible in the worst ways possible, often calling them names and cursing them for being such dejected creatures. Many put my utterly unacceptable, but what seemed to me as an awfully normal behavior down to my delusional state of mind, old age and drunkenness. But no one ever spoke of me as an old, delusional and depressed alcoholic. People never cared about how I felt. They never gave a rat’s ass about who I truly was. And even if they were to care a bit, I wonder whether they would be able to understand my true nature for they were simply too thick to come to such judgments. The moralists amongst you might question my darkened and presumptuous comments about the human nature. Well, I am no philosopher, but let me tell you this. A woodsman knows which wood to cut after truncating a great many trees… and I, a forester more or less, have cut a good number of thick wood in my life to know which one gives the best fire, and which other makes the perfect table. This forest surrounding me, however, is good only for a Sunday hike at its best.


In the eyes of the many, I was whom they wanted to see and aspire to be… not that they could ever be the person I was. For it takes continuous effort to be the sad, old and lonely man. According to many biographies written, which I must say sicken me to my guts, I am who I never was, or wanted to be. According to my biographers, I had always been a superior figure, an archetypical Alpha Human. Enough said, curse on them!


There were already statues of myself erected prior to my death, riding a horse, drawing a sword, and pointing my finger to a place indistinct… often leading a herd of imbeciles toward what they believed was the promised land. Statues that I truly despised… Not in a single statue was I portrayed drinking or let alone smiling. A cold, sharp and serious look on my face, and often wearing a military uniform or a blazer. General this and teacher that… Never portrayed as the fisherman that I always wanted to be. I like to wear shorts, a loose shirt, and sandals too, you know. I have a fairly built body and a slight tan fits me nicely from time to time. I can also be a man of pleasures, not that I found many chances to even try. And I too enjoy the company of a beautiful woman, walking next to me on the shore on a nice and warm day, exchanging a verse or two from Eliot. I am as much human as you are, and maybe more so. I do the same things that you do every minute and day, but in more gallant, intelligible and elegant ways.


+++

I was a human before I was cursed, a human that none of you have ever achieved in becoming, before my body and soul were trapped in these busts and statues that I can barely affiliate myself with. But it was deemed necessary by my ministers for a nation so nascent, and fragile to have someone serious, or something respectable to look upon. I surely was not the serious one, but they nevertheless liked the thing they stared at day after day, and month after month, with an increasing infatuation, and an almost erotic affection. For many, such attention could have orgasmic consequences. But I was too old to even feel a thing.

Now that I look back, I can see and even justify how I found my only comfort in what seemed to many as endless hours of drinking in those last months prior to my death. There had often been company of those drinking along, people who were dazzled by my charisma. A bunch of sycophants they were. And I never enjoyed their presence. Problem after problem, night after night, only made my drinks bitterer. I did not want to hear about more problems, but about beautiful things. A nice tune from the ud that is reminiscent of the whispers of a prior lover gently echoing the walls of my palace, or a story with a happy ending. But no! Politics, and more politics… that was the only thing the dimwits surrounding me knew and spoke of. Badly, of course, for even in politics one can find beauty, if one is passionate enough… But not with these meatheads! I needed to hear about love, and I needed to be loved as well, not by many but by one, one and only. Perhaps, that’s why I drank more and more with each passing day. It was a relief at first to hear that there were more lost and lonely souls waiting for me with bottles of scotch and glasses of raki in their hands in the other side. And that I surely would have welcomed. I did in fact look forward to this moment of eternal drunkenness and joy. Even that would have been a relief for at least I would have had conversations about some woman’s shapely legs and not some stupid war that was about to take place. Unfortunately, the doors of this club have long been shut. Yet I found my way in… a way to escape this miserable limbo. And that I will speak of soon; but first, allow me to share more on my misery.

+++

Death was sudden, painless yet also pointless. It did not take me from one place to the next as I would have expected, but rather reified my presence in this dreadful world. At that moment, it still made more sense than to endure endless conversations with those who invaded my privacy night after night. I had to run away from these people, so far away that I would neither be able to see nor hear a single face or word. Some nights, I would continue to drink until the early lights of the morning in the privacy of my study room. People thought I was busy dealing with the problems of a troubled nation. Rather, I was busy dealing with the problems of myself. I drank without a doubt a good amount to pace myself to death, to have that final blow to my already bloated liver. It felt good, honestly… to die, I mean, and let go of all the responsibilities of this world, leave all my idolaters without any sense or meaning to continue with their miserable lives.

But I was wrong. My dead body had as much, if not more meaning as it had when blood was still pumping through its veins. Death was not an escape as I wished it would be, but only a new form of captivity. On that rainy November morning in which I died, I was reborn to this wretched world.

It took people 15 long years to decide what to do with my body. First, my very right to be eaten away by worms, roaches and centipedes was taken away from me. Even I, as a democratic dictator of my time, had given people the right to eternal peace. But rather, I was mummified, my guts and intestines filled with cold and stinky fluids, and held intact by cotton swabs. Try living for 15 years with wet, ticklish pieces of cotton stuck up in every single hole of your body and maybe then you will understand the amount of suffering, let alone the irritation it causes. So stop asking me why I am so cranky.

In the mean time, in those 15 miserable years, a group of experts started building a mausoleum which they thought would grant me the eternal rest. It was rather a freak show. What these necrophiliacs wanted was yet another monument to masturbate to. And that I mean in the very literal sense. After 15 years, they got what they needed; I was the phantasm elevated high on ground, like a stripper up on stage, and carried to the highest hill in the flattest of all towns possible, while ornamented with pasties of stars and crescents. What they built was not just another structure that would be spattered with bird shit day and night. It was a brothel, and I, of course, was the Maman.

15 years of waiting and there I was, wandering in the streets of yet another city that I had been carried to, a city of tears and misery full of people crying their eyes out. What I wanted was not respect but solitude, and that, as always, was not what I was granted. Many should have hated that day for the rain itself, and not the death of a great leader that I was back in the day. Yet people were smothered with a thick, fake and foul sorrow. I was in a coffin, of course, as a war chariot dragged my body along the overcrowded streets of A. But one does not need eyes or light to see fakeness; one needs a soul to sense it. The itch you get from the cotton swabs is temporary… at least there’s hope that one day, someone will pluck their fingers up your ass and take them out. But the itch from these faking fleas as it seems is eternal.

That was a day that I can never forget… I felt like a kid stripped of all his clothes and bullied by his classmates. The last time I was so embarrassed was almost half a century ago. After a battle won, a couple of companions in arms and I were reaping the benefits of our hard won glory. We were at a Arabic bordello, the ones where things really get out of control so said an old man chatting with us in a coffee shop the day before we were surrounded by naked nymphs serving us drinks first, and then, allowing us to drink from the very fountain of their very youth. However, I was completely lifeless… I did not have a single sign of arousal. As much as winning wars in the fields is praiseworthy, losing them in bed, in return, is disturbing and humiliating. Never to this day had I ever been made fun of… but Eleanor, that French whore working in T had no heart. The honor and respect that I obtained over years of fighting have been taken away in a pleasureless instance. Eleanor, the heartless thief.

+++

You might think of me as a grumpy old man. That indeed I am! Try making it for more than 70 years trapped in images that do not in any bit resemble yourself. Try making it through all these years without getting laid or taking a shit, watching the same miserable people from statues, portraits, busts, pins and pictures. I am in many ways like God and in many other ways, I am not. And I hate it. I cannot stand all the stupid conversations that I have to endure everyday, let alone all the unsuccessful attempts to fornicate every night. I am everywhere, the all seeing and hearing specter. I am in people’s bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms and kitchens, part of people’s everyday lives. I am in classrooms watching a new generation being raised by despotic teachers to continue my dismal legacy. I am in courtrooms hearing pedophiles get away with their crimes. I am in you, in the very pupil of your eye, as you are peeking the panties of your coworker, and beating off to it under your table. I am in your very asshole, tickling you senselessly like a pinworm making your contemptible life less bearable. And I hate you, for what you are, for all that you represent. I do, sincerely, hate you.

+++

Word on the other side spreads faster than word here in these wretched lands. Or at least that is what Azrael told me the time he appeared which was way overdue. There he was on yet another rainy Autumn afternoon, a day before the day that I died, not with a scythe and a black cape but with what remained of a bottle of scotch. It took him a long time to overcome his intoxicated state of mind and start up the conversation. “Ridicule and shame extended beyond the boundaries of the world of the desolate to such an intensity that I could no longer stand. Not a single day goes without us making fun of your despondent outcries.”

Bastards.

“That we are indeed. But the point of the matter is, I am here to make you an offer. But in return, you need to do something for me. And I will be straight forward with this matter: You have to become a no one. This process has no turning back. Once you accept to become one, a no one I mean, hah! See, how complicated these things are… Anyways, once you become a no one, you will be set free and your soul will transcend. Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it. But such transcendence may have unbearable consequences for in becoming a no one you will be forgotten. Whatever remains in people’s memories of the great deeds you have achieved will be erased overnight. And I mean, everything… I will not only take you, but I will also take whatever memory remains of you. That is what you asked for, right? I know what you are about to say: that it is exactly what you want, and what you have been yearning for decades. Yet, do not underestimate these memories, for even in their vile state, they are beautiful. You have simply been too ignorant to see such beauty, you drunken fool. These memories that you did not come to terms with show that there is someone out there who thinks about you, and cares for you. And yes, the ways one lives in memories often end up being altered in such ways that frustrate you. But I can assure you that the consequences of what you yearn for, and what only I can grant, will be dire. I will give you the time to think as I take the final sip from my drink.”

Becoming a no one. Had I ever been someone to start with since the day I died? I surely was something… an object of sick and sweaty fantasies to be precise. But someone? “Take me out of here. And make sure you do not leave a single trace of my unbearable existence. Wipe the face off of every portrait, statue, take my name out of every book and song. Get rid of all the cursed insignia that has imprisoned me for so long. And make sure you have another bottle of drink stashed somewhere for this surely calls for a celebration.”

“As you wish. Wait until the early lights of the new day. The day of your death. I will meet you in the front steps of the mausoleum and watch the daybreak. It will be something to anticipate.”

+++

It was the sparrows that first woke up to a day of unmatched tranquility. Silently they chirped. I was up and waiting on the steps of my mausoleum since Azrael left. From the steps, one could see the whole city… its worn down buildings, crooked streets, and roofs with rusted satellite dishes. This was not the perfect city to end my existence… the point that there weren’t seagulls to bid me farewell has always made me sad. But alas! At least this time my departure was final and accompanied by no one else but my savior, the Archangel of Death.

As the muezzin uttered the final verses of the morning call to prayer Azrael arrived. As promised, he brought a bottle of what he called the waters of the eternal stream. “Ready?” he asked. I nodded. He handed me the bottle and asked me to take a big gulp. I don’t remember ever being so compliant with orders in my life. But this was his show and he held the key to my freedom.

The drink did not smell or taste like anything, but it burned my eyes and throat. I handed him the bottle. When he took the bottle to his mouth, the day broke. Shades of red and yellow illuminated the mosques and statues of this sad city. Such a heartbreaking beauty was hidden in the city of A.

What happened next is an incident that I will never forget. A new day began when Azrael smiled and asked me to look closely at one of my statues… it was one of those kitsch depictions of me wearing a military uniform and riding a black, well-built horse. As I looked closer, the face of the bronze statue started to melt. Like a candle dripping its wax, the bronze softened, first leaving a face indistinct and then the headless portrayal of a great leader that I once was. The more I looked, the more I traveled from one statue to another, one portrait to the next, city by city, house by house and room by room. And the more I traveled, the more I came to realize that my many faces on the mural paintings depicted on the walls of my mausoleum and on every bust and portrait with my staid eyes watching the empty streets, courtyards and couples half awake in their homes melted away. Picture by picture I disappeared from sites of memory.

Images blurred and things got smothered in pitch black. I wanted to turn my head to Azrael, but I could not for it was not only the pictures but I, who was now decapitated. I felt a hand reaching me, and slowly pulling me away higher and higher from the ground. That was the end of it all, I thought, the true end I mean, of a soul who would now celebrate his hard won oblivion. But I will not lie… There are already days that I find myself in a ghoulish state of mind, wondering what it would be like had I carried on with my miserable life. Then I remember the cotton swabs and fake laughters and throw a sinister laugh at myself for all the stupid thoughts.

3 yorum:

SE7IN dedi ki...

what a nice "story"!

Alper Yağcı dedi ki...

Çok başarılı gerçekten. Türkçe olabilseymiş keşke. Tabi o zaman blog taşlanırdı heralde.

Louis de Bernières'i andırdı hafiften.

SE7IN dedi ki...

bu hikayeyi türkçe yazmanın cesaret isteyeceğini düşünüyorum ben de :)