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Crazy Like That: Demon Calling

Part Five in the Death of Picante Saga

Babe. Can you hear me? Hello? Good. You're finally getting some sleep. You keep doing that. You dream of Greece while I talk quietly to your higher self. And yeah, I'm levitating by the window like that kid from Salem's Lot. But I'm not a vampire, okay? I'm not freaking Nosferatu. So please don't do any mystical kung fu on me. You always were tapped into the other side. Speaking of which, that's what's going on here. I'm doing what's called shamanic time traveling. Or what I think of as such. Using lucid dreaming to connect my consciousness to new quantum healing paths so that I don't spend my days feeling like an ant crawling across a death certificate the size of Texas. I don't know... I'm making this up as I go along.

But it feels nice to be back here. My energy body chilling by the window. Watching you snore with that weird scuba diving sound because of your breathing difficulties. Seeing you in our bed again... our bed... oh, god. Babe, I'm hurting. I'm a disgrace, a smear, a walking stain. A ronin in a land governed by fiscal responsibility and regular health screenings. And the worst part is being unable to shake the feeling that I deserve to haunt our house with no master, no mission, no dream anymore. All because of ten days in June. The days when I lost the jackpot. ("You are the weakest link, Charles. Goodbye.") The days when I let the team down and the whole city crumbled. Like, it's double-overtime in Game 7 of our Cancer Championship, and I'm racking up a triple-double only to blow the trey that would nab us a gold ring right as the clock runs out. I know, it's called caregiver guilt. With a side of money shame, apparently.

Guilt and shame... I guess they're what this shamanic time travel thing is about.

I've astral-projected into this moment to remember what you looked like ten days before six men loaded you onto a stretcher and carried you out of the house screaming in agony. To remember and... revisit what is to come. You are only a few hours away from the commencement of the shit show. So enjoy the calm and keep dreaming, babe. Keep walking under that postcard summer sky with the Mediterranean swirling around your feet. (Saltwater kissing the Phoenix's tail.) Let your subconscious nourish you with the impressions and experiences I failed to give you because I never bought those plane tickets (money guilt...?). And speaking of failure, that's my cue to invoke the demon that lives in my house now. The demon of Judgment. It speaks to me constantly, as you can probably tell. Of course, I try not to listen to it. But this only encourages it to get the point across with even nastier stealth.

I'll be sitting at my computer and--Friday the 13th machete sound effect! The lung-sucking pain of missing your face. Your hair. Your voice. Your belly laugh. Your butt wounds, all of it. And over that suffocating wave of grief, the demon starts taunting me. It didn't have to be this way, it says. Look around you. So many couples you know have not been torn asunder as you have been ripped from your partner. You want to know why? Because they're doing life right. Their salaries. Their mortgages. Their credit cards. Their children. Their homes. Their yards. Their vacations. Their doctor's visits. So many people have mastered the skill of buying a future. Somehow, buddy, you missed the class on that one. And now you're walking around in a city of memories and rubble. Your dreams of possibility lie in ruins.

Yeah, the demon isn't nice. And it whispers to me through fragments of what I pick up on the Internet. In advertising. Entertainment. Strangers' conversations. It speaks in the serpent's language of commodities. Time being the ultimate commodity. And it doesn't help knowing what the demon is up to, knowing how grief affects people, knowing how humananity cherishes its illusion of control in the marketplace of futures. The demon knows how to play my psyche like a twelve-string guitar (bound in razor wire). Which brings me back to why I'm here... an idea came to me... maybe I can weaken this evil spirit if I can compel it to speak through me rather than at me. If I can force it to push its psychic attacks through a different feedback loop. With the wisdom of your higher self, babe, maybe you can help me to silence it so that I can learn how to live well with you in your evolved state. Because I am really not well right now.

Okay, Judgment is going to spit some words now. Keep in mind it is a demon, and so a bit power mad--

"All right, everyone, it's time to vote off... the weakest link!"

Next: Destination: 5R 05.

--Charles Austin Muir

Photo by Phoebus-Foto

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Chanel Pichaco
Chanel Pichaco
Nov 21, 2023

Tell that demon Picante’s hussies are about to break the door down to slay him for our fearless leader.

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