ennui - noun - overpowering feelings of being fucking bored and dissatisfied because nothing interesting is ever happening
Years later, I found a little box where, in the spur of childhood fantasies I had kept my most prized possessions.
It was empty.
Had I not wanted anything as a child? Perhaps I had lost everything. I remember losing my toys at a ridiculously rapid rate. (I once lost eight cellphones in a year, and not all of them were even mine.) Even now I consistently keep losing things, and people don't trust me with their lighters and matches any more. I pocket them absentmindedly. I pocket all sorts of things absentmindedly. (I am an absent-minded thief.) I am stranded in my self-made island of wretched carelessness. I mean no harm. (I am a harmless possum.)
It was empty. That little box. Yet it had an effect on me, almost ethereal, a gradual pulling towards beyond the veil of reality, into that sometimes comfortable, and sometimes terrifying void of retrospect.
Are we, I wondered, compelled to put things into our little boxes and spend the rest of our lives through the great jungles of of concrete and grime we've created for ourselves, looking for more trinkets to engulf? It made my fingers falter, and all the five cigarettes I had lit fell onto my lap. But I can tell you this with true conviction:
I hold every shit in the morning closer to my heart than mere material wealth. Bread and circuses, someone had said. Bread and circuses.
Often I drown myself in self-pity and try to justify my (luxurious) disregard for the enormous web of humanity that surrounds me, with vague philosophical ejaculations. They are all premature (ha, ha). It seldom works. Perhaps it is the sperm count (my philosophical penis is weak). I am like a dog without an appetite in a land of raining biscuits.
I have recurring dreams. I have recurring dreams of being followed by a mongrel, rabid and mangy, mouth frothing at the lips. He stalks me everywhere I go like a lonely drifting spirit, inching closer all the time but never close enough. Every morning after, I would awake with goosebumps scourging my back and no morning erections. (I still have these dreams now and then and cannot figure out why he is so intent on following me even into offices, banks and classrooms. I must be going crazy.)
I must be going crazy. People mention this all the time but seldom mean it. It is halfhearted and reeks of lethargy. It breeds loss of breath. It is a death of sorts. One mustn't protrude their identity into peoples' faces like a giant cock with teeth and point and say, "look! look at it! look at the uniqueness of its veins! and the dullness of its teeth! It really represents me, because I too am unique." (but they leave out the other bits, of course: the facts that they're also like the dullness of those unneeded dickteeth, and to cover up such a dismal thing, how they protrude their personas into people like a boner hidden beneath a satin lingerie).
Crazy. Insane. Mad.
When it loses its meaning (as it does, more often than not), observers let it go by without pausing to mull it over.
Words die in conversations on the profound. (Words die in English classrooms.) Usually it is a lie. If a man were to truly realise the inevitable demise of his sanity, it would send a nerve-racking chill up his spine (And plant rabid dogs in his dreams. He will be followed everywhere forever and ever.)
And sometimes I fantasise. What would I do if I go mad? What would you do? To me? (then I get paranoid and overthink; it isn't healthy) But I do wonder. I've decided that If I am to go insane, I will need nothing more than an empty room and a box of paint. (I have learned to keep things simple.) I will paint and repaint the room to my liking. (Constantly) People can watch me as I paint the walls over and over again. It will be like a zoo. (I am a majestic tiger, and the paint is my roar.) (I am Sisyphus, and the paint is my boulder) They will throw me treats now and then and I will grovel and drool on the floor like a pathetic worm. (Insanity is no joke.) I hope to goodness I don't become crazy enough to eat all of the paint. I hope it never happens (and now it will because I've thought of it. That's how it is on this bitch of an earth.) That would be a real shame. (What will I draw with?) That is bad enough to be deemed as torture. (What will I do when I'm bored?) I hope they don't put me in a straitjacket. I expect I will die out of an excess of defiance (paranoia) or claustrophobia (paranoia). It has to be paranoia. I do not trust myself. (Sometimes I feel that everyone I know are aware of something important, and keeping it secret from me) How will I draw with a straitjacket on? I will have to use my mouth. I will have to try. Apparently some people have managed to hone the skill of painting with their anus. (I will have to try.)
I will have to try and put things into my little box. Maybe cut-outs of pretty girls and some money. Or gold, wherever those are these days. (These days little boxes are known as banks). I hope they're worth it.
But let's face it. How old are you and what's in your little box? I can see a maggot growing in mine already, and it seems to have brought with it a dictionary.
Although whenever I try to peek over the maggot's phlegmatic neck, (oozing with boils, full to the brim with yellow pus that reeked of vomit) but the only entry on it that I can make out is "ennui".
Soon the maggot disintegrated, leaving only the dictionary. The box oozes Vaseline and smells like a packed bus in Calcutta in the month of April. I picked it up, quickly and with purpose, and took it straight to the kitchen, only to find that the dictionary too had disappeared.
The only things left for me in my little box,
are a string of letters.
And it doesn't matter how I arrange them. One can't really unsee.
They take intervals. They splutter out in unision, their echoes are metallic:
"Ennui." Crickets freeze and quieten their sex-crazed wing rubbing.
Then they light a spliff and look at me straight in the eyes from out of my box, and I wait for something to happen. Something explosive. Drastic. (Brains are embarrassing).
But no, nothing ever changes, nothing occurs.
I try it all. I pour acid, vinegar, rum, kerosene, I burn them, taze them, try to stab them, hammer them, nail them...I laid out for them a psychopathic warzone. (I even called in for a dronestrike).
They seem to be impervious to everything from sulfuric acid to the crowbar. From jet fuel to heroin. I tried it all.
There was nothing to be done. Someone, somewhere had said that. (I imagine him wearing a hat.)
Nothing to be done. I’m beginning to come round to the same conclusion.
And so my little box (with my prized possessions, my very own (possibly, anyway) half-glazed childhood, hazy teenage years, thousands of secrets, ambitions, ideas---the holy fucking grail for a kid like me---) from then on, my little box lay empty, like as if the air inside was a brick wall, obstructing any more objects from falling in. Only the letters remained.
They read only…one…solitary….thing. Sometimes, in brilliant neon colours that blinked like the first few seconds of a tube light. And they were armed with capital letters. Accompanied, (flanked, even) by the voice (more like a wheezing, whispering bellow, if you ask me) of an El Niño breeze, smoking sixteen cigarette and making clouds in the sponge-iron sky. They chimed in too. They whispered over and over again, downtempolike, slow, heavy punches to the will, motivations sliced and stabbed by the word that entraps me, psychically, psychologically, economically, socially, the word that manages to shove me like a little boy's stuffed toy into a lightless corner with a flashlight on corner and piss the perpetual piss.
It was a long day, so I puked.