Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.
Questions on life and death
I dream of murder, I dream of murder sleep or wake.
I’m afraid people can see the shameful glow of it on my skin. Oh I can feel their suspicion, it is screaming loudly at me from behind their pursed lips as they pass me by. They know. You know.
So what are we going to do about it?
“We?” ask your raised eyebrows.
Yes, we. Because now it is your secret too, this dream of mine. So would you please listen to me?
I have only had one dream in life so far. When I was little, my dream was to be a rally driver. But my legs were too short to reach the pedals. I cursed and a teacher slapped. Sorry, am I boring you? I know you didn’t start reading this to make a Freudian analysis of my childhood.
You started reading this because you saw murder. It rose in your mind, the blood-coloured shadow of it. It scared you, it drew you in. Can you not see? Even you, even you dreamed of murder then. You coloured it in, in your own mind. Even you got curious, just then, curious of murder. You and me are not too different, after all, you see.
You could love me.
You would, as a matter of fact, you would love me. If I had started this differently. If I had started by quoting T.S Elliot, The Wasteland perhaps, you would have said: “Oh, I love poetry! What else do you like?” And then you would have discovered that I am funny, and an attentive listener.
Or maybe, I could have started this by carrying your grocery bags for you in the rain. You would have still got wet, of course. But you would have been grateful to me, grateful that I freed your hands from the handcuffing bags. Grateful because the weight of the bags was pulling you down to the ground with them, your head heavy of responsibilities. Actually, how do you know that I didn’t help you out? How do you know that I wasn’t the person who opened a door to you today? The passer-by who you watched with a kind eye? How do you know?
Or I could make you hate me. Right now, with my next sentence. How do you know I have not already killed? How do you know I’m not the most hated convict, the one that even other criminals despise?
See, the seed of hate could be planted in your mind, just by giving you those impressions. They had an effect upon you, and whether they were right and just impressions was totally irrelevant to your feelings. That is the difficulty in life, first impressions. You know one thing about a person, and you think you know it all. Or enough to like them or dislike them, at least.
Isn’t it funny how it works in jails? The bizarre hierarchy they hold. Think about it. A man comes in who has killed a woman. Other people, convicts themselves, spit on him. They shout at him, they judge him. They kill him. Then in comes a woman who has killed a man. Everyone is quiet. No-one knows what to say, what to do. Because they have just killed a man too.
“But surely, that is not as bad as killing a woman?” they ask the woman.
The woman disagrees.
“You’re not killing women and men. You’re killing humans. All killing is the same, it’s killing of life.”
The others get angry now, they don’t like being contradicted. So, they kill the woman. They don’t want to see her at breakfast. Then they would see their guilt, staring at them from the other side of the table with its suprisingly gentle brown eyes. But now, they realise in horror, they have killed a woman. Just like the man they killed because he had killed a woman. Before, people who despised them in the street didn’t matter. But now, now they have become what they despised. Now it matters, because they despise themselves.
So who are you to judge my dream? Who are you to judge anyone’s dream? Anyone’s deeds? Who is anyone?
Don’t get aggrevated, I’m not trying to piss you off. I’m asking you this because I don’t know the answers myself. You don’t know either? Oh… See, you and me are not very different. Because after all, we are both just humans.
So can I reveal you my dream now, reveal it all? Because there is something you don’t know.
I have only one wish for you, before I do. Do not judge me. Do not hate me. Pity me, for there are men who dream of many great things. There are men who dream about buying their children new shoes. Buying a ring to their girlfriend. Oh, those are nice, strawberry-tinted dreams. Then there are men like me. The only dream I have been given, since I abandoned my childhood one, is a dream of murder. Which one of us do you think leads a happier life?
And if you judged me, if you sentenced me to death because death it what I supposedly want to give others, you might think you did a right thing. Congratulations, you’re the noble heir of Hammurati. An eye for an eye. But is that justice to you? Is that justice? Are you the one with the keys on your hand, are you the one who has the right to unlock life and death? To decide? Are you the judge, powerful enough to halt and restart the order of life? Are you?
If you are, please reveal your wisdom. Please, let me kiss your hands and buy you flowers. Please let me show you respect. And please please, you wiser being, solve my problem:
Love Thy Neigbour As Thyself. Now that is a golden rule of life, don’t you think? But tell me, what do you do if you don’t love yourself? Who is going to save you then, and your neighbour, from yourself? I treat people exactly as I treat myself. Disrespectfully.
And don’t you think for a second that I don’t admire those other kind of people. Those who love themselves. Those girls with prim dresses, cradling heavy books on their lap like they were precious babies, their ankles pointing forward. They’re always going forward, learning. Loving. Once, they will have those books on their shelves to remind them of their university days, when they met the guy who had the most dazzling blue eyes. (I wish I could have been that guy. Oh shut it. On with the story.) And she has put the books aside now, to cradle her baby. The baby has the most dazzling blue eyes. His father is in the kitchen. The kitchen fills the house with warm air but it is not the steam of his cooking. It is his love.
And me? Only hate was given to me, in the womb. It is like a violent serpent inside me, it is like drunk Dionysos ordering me to drown yet another pint of bitterness; drink, drink my love. Drink up, sink down. Hate is acid in my throat, it burns my heart.
So now, now I should tell you my dream. I think it is time. I have disgusted you out of your wits, scared you a little perhaps, the way those weird men do when you’re making your way home and it’s dark, those men who talk to lamp posts. Let me tell you, those men, they only talk to lamp posts because they have no-one else to talk to. Not because they want to bribe the lamp posts to attack you with him.
But I cannot do it! I cannot! Now, that I should reveal my dream to you, I cannot. It is too much. Oh, not too much for me, you silly. I have to live with it everyday. But it might be too much for you to take. I’m afraid I have wasted your time. We must depart. Goodbye!
Did you say something? Sorry, I couldn’t quite hear you? My dream? What… Oh you want to know?
That changes things. Hmm… I was not given a choise with this dream, maybe that is why it pains me so. But you made a choice, how brilliant! Maybe making a choise will save you. You take this dream off me, out of your own free will? How strange! Thank you! Here it is:
I dream of murder, I dream of murder sleep or wake.
But not because of what I have just told you, no. Not because of hatred, not because of my past or because I feel lost. I do not dream of murder where I would hold the knife on the throat of this world, no!
I dream of murder where I would be the blemish on the pavement left behind when the murder scene has been cleaned up, when the murderer has been arrested. I dream of murder, one that I would not carry out. I dream of murder in which I was the victim.
That surprised you. I bet you thought I walked out of the Shining (That guy, he wanted best to his family too maybe. He just didn’t know anymore what best was.) But why dream of such a horrible thing?
Because I have seen a child being murdered. After that I thought, if I could save one child I would give myself away.
After that I thought, if I had to choose one side of the blade, one side to view life and death from… I would choose the side of death. I would choose to be the victim. Not because I want to die, particularly, but because I don’t want to be the one deciding who lives. My life is the only life I can decide on. And I would like to give mine to a child.
So what do you think of me now? What do you think of dealing out life and death? Right and wrong?