(Recorded September of 2003. Name of interviewee redacted.)
Is— Yeah? We’re good? Ok, hey. So there’s a day we all tend to feel. Some f*ckers never really come back from it, but it’s the day you come to terms with your condition. I’m not the only f*cker out there with this shit. Some people say that it hits you hard, you know? Some people say that it’s nothing. Guy I know—big f*cker—said that his realization hit him in the shower, first time a chunk of hair came out in his hand. He said he stuck the clump to the wall of the tub and went on with his day. Mine was a little more serious. Not the worst I’ve heard, but certainly… eh… not cool.
I was just hitting my first rotting phase. Up to that point, I had been sick. I’d gone through my organs shitting out on me. Whatever. Up to that point, I could still do what I did and just look like a sick f*cker. No one really gave two shits in our town, anyway. But then the rotting started. I tried to be hard about it, but suddenly cover was important, you know? Suddenly, my life had to change. I was tough, though—little punk rock kid. I could handle the rotting or whatever. It was pretty hardcore.
So my life’s changed. I’m in a bit of denial, and I am somehow finding my way to one of my favorite bars: JT O’Malleys. Place has been a f*cking shithole forever, but I love my shithole bars. This night has a local rockabilly band playing one of my favorites. I’d normally walk right in, grab a pint, and rock the f*ck out, you know? But now I can’t f*cking go in. So I decide to listen from the outside. I park myself against a wall when two f*cking smokers come out. So I gotta duck and hide, right?
Picture this, if you would… Take a big step back and just look at this image: Kid in his early 20’s sitting crosslegged between a dumpster and a pile of trash bags full of rotting pub grub. People laughing and talking outside of his favorite bar. People he may have known, even. His favorite band playing inside, sound dulled by a foot of brick and mortar. That was me. I tried to get through it. I really f*cking did. I choked down and tried to focus on the music. I heard the bass, heard the twang of the guitar, heard the singer wailing. It was muffled for sure, but I could pick it out. Then—and this is where it gets weird, kiddies—I swear to you, it started to fade. I could hear a dozen different beats kick up. I could smell sweat… flesh… endorphin-dripping bodies. I heard hearts…
That’s when I cried. Sobbing in the alleyway like I’m in some f*cking bad movie because, at that moment, I saw my change in full. I had lost my humanity. When the music is lost in a wave of grotesque needs, man, then you know you’re f*cking gone. There’s no coming back.
(Interviewee went silent)
Well, maybe this’ll help some of you assholes. Maybe this will be your moment of clarity. And if it’s not, well, wake the hell up, man! You’re dead. And it’s only going to get worse.
ESSE MORTUUS ESSE
To be is to be dead