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    Moloch 1

    In a feat of surrealist description, Gbenga Chesterman explores the sordid aspects of the social scene. Artwork by Amir Pichhadze.

    Here I find myself again behind the lens. Back behind the lens. I don’t feel sorry for myself, though. I’m not in the habit of feeling sorry for myself. It’s just chemical. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not anyone else’s problem. If it’s not my problem, why should it be anyone else’s? It’s not really even a problem at this point. It’s chemical. It’s normal. It’s a habit. I’m in the habit of being back behind the lens. I’m in the habit of wondering if it’s the last time, for whatever reason. For whatever reason. This doesn’t end well, this habit. It doesn’t end badly. It just ends. Maybe.

    Always so short of breath. Where am I? Always so short of thought. The cold slimy air in my face tells me I’m in the street. The light and hum of the people and structures, their nests, great vertical tunnel complexes, the jittering of the swarm, hits the lens I’m back behind and refracts, the sounds rattle in my hollow little bones. I keep walking. The same album on repeat. It’s fantastic. I congratulate myself on my impeccable taste. The haze and blur are thickening, I’m pushing through psychic jelly which irritates my skin and eyes and causes my heart to beat beyond its measure. All around me I can hear them screaming telepathically. ‘LOOK AT HIM. LOOK AT HIM. LOOK AT HIM.’ They know. They’ve caught my scent, it travels more potently through the jelly, it permeates across swirling nets of capillaries. I light a cigarette to mask it, and so that I have something to do with my hands. I breathe on the cigarette. Always so short of breath. I wonder why? That was a joke.

    Moloch Horridus. The Thorny Devil. Sharp little teeth. Sharp little spines. A sharp little bastard, all in all. Difficult to embrace. Possibly suffers from ‘hedgehog’s dilemma’. Ha. Ha. I assure you, of all the conditions from which I suffer, the dilemmas and syndromes, that of the hedgehog is not one of them. The hedgehog is a coward. He sees himself as being deserving of something he has wholly forfeited. He is childish. He wants it both ways. You see, people don’t owe each other anyth- Oh? You’re leaving already? I really thought I had you sucked in there. I paid for your drink, too. I’ll get you another one as well, if you like. For the road. For your journey all the way to the other side of the room. Ha. Ha.

    Here’s Moloch’s dilemma: being a little thirsty, and living in the desert. Not really a dilemma though, is it? More of a problem. My problem, though. No one else’s. More of a habit, really.

    Here’s Moloch’s dilemma: all my actions are conducted behind the lens by a sharp little bastard with a nasty pointy stick, in a waistcoat, waving his pointy stick around, smirking. I’m not really in control. I’m not even here. Where am I? Ah yes, I’m moving towards a massive pit of white light. Can’t move fast enough. Scream me into the void. I would like to be screamed into the void. Please.

    I was waiting at a traffic light and a man leaning against a shadow across the road turned to me, or at least in my general direction. We made eye contact. He winked at me with one of his sideways, nictitating eyelids. I nodded slowly in return. He knew. He knows. We understood each other, I think.

    Another party. Why do I keep getting invited to these? Probably because I’m so charming and sexy. Ha. Ha. A man with a very strong smell of Doritos on his breath is talking to the side of my face. He is an idiot. He’s talking about what? Interview questions. Potential employers. He’s in a shirt. He’s just come from something. It didn’t go well. It was important to him. I want to say something like ‘it’s not Deutschebank’s problem you apparently have a giant acidic slug eating away at your brain’. I don’t. Moloch doesn’t carry any venom. Just spines. Can’t you see the spines, man? Fuck off! I would like to be left alone! Please! He doesn’t.

    I dimensionally shed my skin and float to the ceiling, where I cling with/on all fours. My head rotates 180 degrees, so that I can cast my powerful reptilian gaze over the swooning congregation. My tongue flickers. I see her, the host. Only reason I’m here. I start formulating opening lines, stirring at a rancid mental cauldron. I already used ‘happy birthday’ on the way in. That’s a single-use item. Besides, it’s so prophylactic. I need something raw. ‘I want to eat you alive.’ ‘I need to jack off at least twice a day to maintain any focus, on anything. This is my only semblance of routine.’ ‘I had a dream and you were in it. You were a giant metal spider and I was a very horny fly – wait, no, that wasn’t you, it was your sister. My mistake.’

    There’s not much more which isn’t just repetition. I’m predictable. You may have noticed.

    I’m calling it here. This is where it ends. Maybe. Not really. It never really started, did it? Ha. Ha.

    Artwork by Amir Pichhadze.

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