Joe didn’t have a Christmas tree…

Joe didn’t have a Christmas tree.  Instead he put a mannequin in the corner, wrapped tinsel around it and threw presents at its feet.  He covered one half of his TV screen with black masking tape because, as he claimed, it made Woody Allen films more interesting.

At his London apartment he held regular parties.  Weekends were crazy.  There were a lot of drugs. People fucked in the corner and others would write on the walls.  Joe was intelligent, a scrapper and a dodger, but the desperate took advantage of him, picking his bones clean of love and money.  He knew this – it was self-inflicted.  He could argue anyone into a corner but it pained him to do so.  He preferred a fistfight.

‘You know where you are in a fistfight.’

He drank a lot.  He liked wine.  He was scared of touching superglue tubes.  At night, usually around 2am, he worked at his desk on something he called Numberless Worlds – but was very secretive of its content so no one ever found out what it was about.  Joe was mysterious, an idiot savant, outlawed by his own behaviour.  No one could deny he had some form of psychosis.  He qualified the speculation with odd statements.

‘We all die in places that don’t matter,’ he once told me, high on speed.  We were passing a joint back and forth.  ‘All we have are circles, fucking circles, overlapping.’  He fixed his gaze on me.  ‘It gets so you can’t breathe,’ he said.  ‘We don’t serve anything but the circles.’

One day he got thrown in hospital and I went to see him.  I found him in a corner, skeletal and false, sitting in a chair with that death-look in his eyes while others around him danced with silent monsters.  Whatever system Joe belonged to had been wiped clean by the hospital, and I wondered if he was too far-gone to ever reshape himself.

Some months later, I heard that Joe cut his wrist with broken glass and had died right alone in that place, in that corner of that hospital when no one else was there.

22 comments

  1. This was dark, fun, trippy and deep. ” I found him in a corner, skeletal and false, sitting in a chair with that death-look in his eyes while others around him danced with silent monsters. ” This describes exactly how I found my father in the VA hospital right before he died, right down to the others dancing with their silent monsters, so it echoed very true to me. Excellent work.

  2. We all die in places that don’t matter, we all live in places that don’t matter as well. When the mind enters those dark tedious corners of our psyche and we learn the little beautiful horrors locked in there, we need somewhere to escape. It’s powerful what the human mind can create and destroy, and in most cases is self-destruction of one’s psyche, brought on by everlasting painful loneliness, that does the trick and ends it all. Great detail expression. Luc

  3. So much of a story in few lines… Impressive. Sad. Brings back the old nostalgia of places that existed only in our imagination. Had to read it twice… to grasp the meaning of it , or at least what I – most probably mistakenly – thought it was the meaning. The real beauty being that it would have a different meaning for each reader. For me this is what writing is about. What can I say? I’m inspired. Thank you.

  4. Your uses of imagery and your way with dialogue and your grotesque characters coalesce to create something horrifying and also beautiful. I appreciate your art and I appreciate your appreciation of mine (from time to time.) ~WL http://wp.me/1Cz0f

  5. You’ve got something of the horror of psychosis in here….and something of the impossibility of declaring about the uncanny nature of ‘other minds’. Really enjoyed this text.

  6. This is amazing, and I would follow you except that you write too real. I hope you take that as the immense compliment I intend it to be.

  7. Even though this was a story, it is sad that some people in this world are alone where no one understands who they are.
    Your writing is deep! Thank you for sharing your creativity.
    Peace and love,
    Tammy

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