Do you have a dream, my friend? You there with the million books unread. You, the model inside that plump shell. You, billionaire extraordinaire hiding in your parents’ attic. You, beautiful maiden with a cock. You, with the Nobel Prize on your cubicle desk. Do you have a dream?
I am here to strike a deal, will you not listen to my whispers? Will you not greet my friendly shade when it stains your walls with darkness? Will you not listen for my steps in the night, oh weary travellers of a world so gloom?
I am a friend.
I bring gifts without number, in limitless supply. Everything that you desire, all that you can see and touch and taste and weigh in your two palms. Have you guessed their familiar shapes already laid down at your feet? Look down, just a little lower, there. You see them, don’t you? The shape of things that could be.
Yet, how poor I should be to give them all away for free. No, no, I cannot continue in this vein. Three queens and four Oscar winners I have crowned, five explorers I have led to new lands, thirty five young men to glory in one battle alone and just as many writers to their laurels! I am the poorest denizen of the demimonde. Poorer than a fly hoping to get fat on dusty bones in a mausoleum. So will you not take pity on this fallen shade? Will you not grant me just one small thing? So little to ask for so much. One trifle…
What? Your soul? Perish the thought! What would I do with that? No, no, I’m speaking of a thing not yours per say. Were you without it, why, you wouldn’t be any different than you are now!
I’m not asking for your eye, oh Odin, up on high! What I do wish for is permission to take that which you value most. What makes your heart quiver and your mind unwind? What thought, what being, what hidden gems you hide that help you better sleep in the cold dark night?
Gentle psychopaths of the public, it pains me to say, you are excluded from this bargain. One must feel to treasure and well, you do not.
Wait, wait, my friend, my friend! Really, it’s a small price to pay. The thing you love most for the thing you want most. Is not your neighbour’s wife more beautiful than yours? Are her curves not more voluptuous, her smile more tempting? Is not that Maserati so much better than that baby’s daily cry? Are not the beaches of Tahiti so much lovelier than that rickety old house?
Come, come, don’t be so selfish. Will the world save itself without you? Will science ever progress without your genius? The orphans in Somalia survive without your compassion? Earth colonize Mars without you taking on the mission? Ah, compared to the benefits to humanity what is your nagging mother or your Labrador retriever? You can always get another dog, your mother will die at some point anyway. Can you really bear to look back on this day and remember you sacrificed humanity’s wellbeing for a dog?
Torture? Oh, don’t be ridiculous. What pleasure would I get from asking you to dismember your own child? Blood and guts, I say, how perfectly human! No, no, my friend, all I need are the words. There will be no pain for them, no horrid death, I promise. And for this small surrender, oh, my sweetling, the gates of your desires shall pour forth in endless bounty and there will never be fruit that you cannot reach or water on which you cannot quench your thirst. Can you imagine, everything that you desire, forever within your grasp? All for the price of two words you have already guessed.
Loudly so I may hear them.
It was not so hard, was it? There, there, no need to cry, it’s all over now.
Tomorrow you’ll wake up and it will all be a dream. Success and fame and riches and why, even love, will follow you. Your every step will be kissed by the hands of fates sublime, your feet drenched in streams so sweet and shallow, your eye forever looking at the sun. Even his light will yield to you, oh blessed progeny of fortune and abundance.
But be warned.
You must never look back, for in your shadow IT will grow. The root of your opulence shall bear putrid flowers of betrayal and sink into your heart the seeds of sins without forgiveness.
As for me, I shall have what is now mine to take. A mother, a son, a wife and a dog, a grandmother’s house and the memory of home.
Originally read on 28 October 2015 at the XX Gallery in Hong Kong in an event organized by: