RIDING THE SNAKE

The cigarette burns its way, way down halfway its length. The smoke catapults down his throat.

S. is gone. Her throaty laughter, her whispers in his ear, her voice eager and travelling like smoke by telephone line to his loins.

“You don’t think I am weird, do you? I am just addicted to you!” she whispers.

 

This is the End, my only friend, the End.

 

Dogg looks up. It is 11 p.m.

What shall I say? he asks.

Vodka shapes this story. And S. understands?

The night will be long. Lost in a wilderness of pain. All the children are insane!

Dogg has a small room for himself in a respectable locality for the rich. A big house for its owner and a small room for himself, it is. It sets him back Rs 1500 a month, plus the Rs 10,000 advance.

 

There’s danger on this edge of town.

 

Dogg stands a long while at the bus stop and watches the snake wind its way from Koramangala to MG Road.

 

Ride the Snake, baby. The Snake, He’s old!

The West, they say, baby, is the best!

 

Dogg has no direction in mind. The map he has is a folded one, hands folded in greeting before a body, the maze of the mind and imagination, the sweep of the spirit.

 

Ride the Snake, baby.  He’s old!

 

S. goes away for a week in a swirl of exhaust fumes, perfumes.

“I think I love you,” she writes.

He thinks of all those he has loved. He loves them still and death is the end of love, isn’t it? Is it?

The Old Man asks him a question.

 

Father? Yes, son?

I want to kill you.

Mother?

I want to …

 

Has 164 gone? the Old Man asks him with a toothless smile.

I don’t know, Dogg replies.

A long way from home.

I am waiting for 201, Dogg says.

 

Come on, baby, take a chance with us!

 

Dogg leaves the windows open in his browser. That’s the wrong kind of transparency for an office.  He is full of the paranoia of one who loves in secret. J. reads his e-mail to S.

In office the next day, J. says “Your mail is obscene!”

O-B-S-C-E-N-E

“I want to lick the chocolate off your fingers AFTER they’ve been there …”

Fools read and misunderstand.

M. is online another night. She has mail waiting for him titled “Wanting You”.

“I emmed with abandonment thinking of you,” it says.

Tentacles in the mind. The buffalo, the machete, the machete.

“Don’t send those kinky cards to this address,” M. writes. “My son has access to my mailbox!”

 

Mother, I want to …..

 

Dogg strips off his clothes and sits down in vajrasana.

I am large, I contain multitudes, he tells S. across the universe.

Rum reshapes the story. Reshapes the questions.

Can one love more than one, more than once?

He counts them on his fingers. One, two, three, four …

It really does not matter if they love him, loved him, will love him. Or not.

It is always a question of whether or not he can love.

 

He is thirsty, again.

“If any man lusts after a woman in his heart, he has already committed adultery.”

This from his Best Friend, Dogg remembers.

 

”If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.”

Dogg pours out another shot of vodka into his mug of beer.

 

“Ye are gods!”

 

No time to wallow in the mire. Our love becomes a funeral pyre.

 

The Old Man keeps staring at Dogg.

“Nobody cares, not anymore,” he says.  “164 has come and gone. It was empty. A lady told me the bus was gone, long after it was gone. Then she stepped into another bus and disappeared herself. Are you sure 201 will come?”

 

Before I slip into unconsciousness, I’d like to have another kiss, he tells S.

“Are you afraid of touch?”

“I am very demonstrative,” S. says, “but I have never been kissed…”

Rectify it, Dogg urges her.

 

A van comes by, green and lit up by the neon lights that paint the city bright. Dogg feels wretched.

 

“Children are wretched,” S. says as he rises above the length of her body like a raven that has pecked at flesh.

 

A beggar woman and her snotty, squawking child walk by. He feels even more wretched.

 

Can you tell me where your freedom lies?


The Old Man mutters to Dogg, ” They don’t care any more about mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter. All they care about is …” and he makes a triumphant, clucking noise with his tongue.

“Money, that is all they care about! So I have them by the balls!”

And he spits on the ground a great glob of golden yellow sputum.

 

People are strange when you’re a stranger!

 

He looks at somebody else’s watch.  201 would never come now!

The Old Man bundles himself into a transparent polythene overcoat and vanishes into the night.

 

It is hopeless, Dogg thinks. I don’t want to ruin you. Or myself.

Yet he cannot erase her from his disintegrating mind. Her smile, flawless skin, wide hips, burning eyes, her smell.

 

The crowds pass him by. He passes through them. He is dying. One begins dying the moment one is born.

Youth! Lost youth!

He sees her again. She comes to him, she comes with him. She goes and remains. An after-exposure.

 

Can one love more than one, more than once?

 

I love you A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S ….

 

A naked girl with a golden nose-ring and the paint he applies to her skin.

I am free with you, I love it, S. sighs in his ear. The lies.

 

Oh, show me the way to the next whiskey bar. Oh, don’t ask me why. Don’t ask me why. What if we don’t find that next whiskey bar? I tell you, we must die! I tell you, we must die!

A dream. Dogg is hanging on a cross and weeping in his tiny room. He is hanging on its wall! Here there is no telephone or computer.

Oh, show me the way to the Next …

The Next!

Nest

North East South Temporal

Net

Nyet!

 

Please don’t be angry, I cannot give you my telephone number, S. writes. Oh, please don’t be angry.

Saliva and ashes.

Sex.Sorrow.Simplicity.Satan.Secret.

 

Do you understand?

My mother died and I was not beside her then.

 

Mother, I want to …

 

Your ballroom days are over, night is drawing near.

It is all the same! It is not the same. It all comes together one more time.

Guilt = Nakedness. In the Garden.

S. sleeps. Dogg does not sleep. He dreams of a giant penis spurting into the vagina of the deep!

 

“The Relative will be your end, Dogg,” R. says. “Imagination kills.”

The Real. The Relative. The Virtual.

You need an Absolut to live by, R. advises Dogg.

He laughs.

 

I can sit silently beside the waves, the surf and the swollen sea, S. says.

Dogg lies in her lap and suckles on her light brown, erect nipples.

Silence.

Scattered sun.  Waiting, the Sunshine Girl!

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting …

 

Waiting for you to come along …

Waiting for you to hear my song …

Waiting for you to tell me what went wrong …

This is the strangest life I’ve ever known!

 

S. s. S. s. S. s. S. s. S. s. S. s. S. s. S. s. S. s. S. s. .

The Snake.

 

Ride the Snake, baby! He’s old.

 

Waiting for the Sun …waiting for the Son …

Shhhhh …

S.

(END)

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