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JOHN LEMON AND THE HEAVENLY KING OF THE CHAOTIC NEVER-ENDING PRIMORDIAL BEGINNING {tm}

 

 

By BENJAMIN VILLANUEVA

 +lyrics sung by protagonist are from VELVET UNDERGROUNDS RUN, RUN, RUN,+

 

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       Consequently, this novella, concerning the adventure of John Lemon and an unnamed protagonist began as most myths do, humbly, and within a drug addled mind.

It was after a second attack of pancreatitis and after surgeons had removed my gall bladder that I lay in a hospital gown on a hospital bed feeling, forlorn. The doctor said I could never drink again, and this news gave me the inclination to, well err, drink. I did not though. And still have not. At the same time they weaned me off of alcohol they introduced me to the devilish fellow named, morphine. It was there, in a hospital, in a morphine induced haze, that I conceived the words for this story. It was a two week morphine bath that drenched my thoughts. I picked up my iPhone 6s, and began typing the words, “I stumble around the apartment…” I thought, egad! I have the words for my second novel [My first novel DANCING IN THE GARDEN OF THE APOCALYPSE is written however it is not yet available for the public to read. The clergy always read the scripture before the laymen.]

The following began as a collection of dreams and visions induced by morphine and eventually a myriad of opioids prescribed for my post-surgery pain. I originally wrote these visions down because in one of them I had seen lavender smoke of such beauty I am startled to this day by it. It was the most magnificent shade of purple. Joy could be felt looking into its splendor, and if ever I choose to dance with the devil again it will be said, “He became a morphine junkie in order to find and relish in that particular shade of purple, he once saw, dying, on a hospital bed." 

 

I.

TWO SUNS, A REPTILE, AND A ROSE

  

I stumble around the apartment. His eyes follow me. I keep pretending he doesn’t know. He knows and I know he knows. He continues to know exactly what he knows, but with my mind raging, it is inevitable that our presence would eventually bring together a silly yet uninformative conversation. The word conversation being used loosely since my mouth is drowsy with the sweet tickle of an opiate. Soon his eyes and head and body and energy focus completely and quickly through the left front window and the celerity of these movements present the feeling that someone is looking into the room. Someone, no one, would want looking into any room they were standing in. I leap forward and slide across the floor coming to a rest at the feet of another young adult male. When I slide, I slide quite slickly. As if I have been greased with a good basting of coconut oil and thrown across a marble surface. Beyond wonderful. I think and reflect on the physics of the feat I have just achieved. "We know what you're on”, a third young man says from across the room. Owen, the first boy opens the fridge. The second one, I will never remember his name so subsequently I must assume that in some way or another or perhaps only somewhere deep inside my head, that I hate him. This having a certain type of logic to it I continue to remember the name of the second boy as, Charlie. Charlie says "There is still $15 worth of pizza in your pizza box.” Honestly, whether they knew or did not know the state I was in, I hardly knew. My mind being quite fuzzy with those beautiful little opiate pills floating somewhere in my subconscious. I was perfectly well off,  obsessing over the fact that Charlie who looked seemingly dimwitted, dull, and dumb certainly did have quite the grasp on the economics of pizza pie, its’ inherent average quantity of slices, and its’ market value. Paranoid that these thieving grasping little lizards had already done what their base sensibilities seemed to be encouraging them to attempt I thrust my hand into my beautifully embroidered Peruvian satchel and grasped at my cylinder of dream buttons. And then having gone quite mad from said activities and not the grasping however but the swallowing I displayed a certain sense of dimwitted thinking myself. Perhaps it was 'groupthink' or perhaps it was merely the social tendency to act as Romans when around other Romans, and mind you I mean the ghastly Romans who swindled every sense of culture and self-identity from the true masters, the Greeks, I unabashedly hold out the cylinder and shake it like a babies rattle, instantly conjuring within their simple souls, every form of desire and want for an insatiable candy. And I also speak, "You mean these?"

Now I say speak, but they may have only understood the snarl crawling across my face. And the look in my eyes. Gone are the days where narcotics are party favors with which one may bless their friends with. Gone are the days of friends. The gig was up so I parted ways with words and wisdom and with water-like movement I swim towards the door yelling, "Well sirs, when in Athens, run like an Athenian."

Parts of my soul and body were in the parking lot and the other parts were fast asleep on a couch somewhere hidden in the Americas present day. Before we return to my sleeping American soul, my spirit animal, John Lemon, err well me, or perhaps better stated as the ‘other me’ is rushing out of an apartment, his, well, I mean, my Peruvian bag is a pendulum knocking on my leg and his, I mean, my body is now in the parking lot. At this point a beautiful milk chocolate black woman says something to me from the window of her jeep. “Pardon me?” The words whisper out of my mouth. “Oh”, she says, “I just know… I didn't know that… I just saw you. I was just there at your work.” I am confused and quickly throw my words inside her car, “My work? Oh yes, you do seem familiar, but my work… Now where did I see you? Oh, I see. You must be mistaken. That market is not my work. I was merely standing there." She continues talking and her facial expressions seem to indicate a lack of interest in what specific words I am speaking. She interrupts me before I can keep rattling her bones with my voice. "Oh I'm so sorry. I did not mean to assume…” She grasps her head and appears distraught. I sympathize with her discomfort however, I am very familiar with the work of charlatans and in particular those of the thespian nature. She was on the right track for an Oscar. I want to continue my flight away from those reptilian off-springs eager for my little cylinder dream babies. "Well it's certainly been my privilege-" she cuts me off right there, "We don't say privilege." At this point my mind recalls that there are indeed many people in this world who experience, and cherish, and live, by all aspects of said word and I began quickly speaking, "Well there are privileged people" and that is exactly when one form of consciousness interrupts another form of consciousness. I sit there looking into the flat screen monitor of a smart TV. I myself am reclined on a maroon couch propped up by cowboy boots and I am mostly interested with the contents of my iPhone 6s. And if the idea has not instantly been implanted into your brain by this point, yes, in this consciousness, I am in the Americas. Parts of my insides have been ripped out by those cruel creatures colloquially known as doctors. Heavily sedated and in a state of recovery I lean into the maroon ether of the couch. Dreams of four eyed dragons and purple smoke and exploding kitchens dance in front of my eyes. Not literally. Metaphorically. Well, except I did have the dreams. But I do not think the dreams are real. That being said, they are real enough. I toss my iPhone 6s onto the cushion and wheeze in pain. Tears flow. I pop two beautiful white pills into my mouth and wonder why the good ol' docs handn’t sent me home with morphine needles and one of those red smocked nurses, preferably the brunette with the very round ass.

Since surgery had brought to my attention the temporal nature of this temple my body, I am reflecting on my life. I decide to stop parading around as a chef, which is a well-timed decision seeing as how I have recently been fired from said position. I would embrace wholly my infantile career as a writer. One published play, a handful of articles, and an editorial piece. I decide to analyze this play I had gotten published by dumb luck as a seventeen year old fat boy. It was shit, total shit, and I deserved the unabashed laughter which once jumped out of my high school sweetheart’s mouth and which had been echoed by her 'bff' as they read the play and of course this led me back to said iPhone.

Back to Facebook. I type in her name. After all these years, what had time done with her magnificent curves and soft skin? I typed the words 'Caroline Haas' into the search box. i find her. now Mrs. Caroline Haas-Thomas. It looks like she is now married too Eli Thomas the pastors kid. Eli. I scoff. Doubt the sex is any good but they certainly look happy enough. Time had graced her with more beauty it seems. What had gone wrong I wondered? Was it true I was just a 'summer fling' type as she once said? She loved to tell me this and would sometimes switch the term ‘summer fling’ with ‘Latin lover’ Latin lover? Good gods! The people in this country are sometimes narrow-minded to say the least. I hardly consider a Spanish, Cherokee, German, Jew as 'Latin’ Despite her limited sense of history, in regards to race, she really was an obsession of mine in high school. Sonnets, flowers, Banana Republic dresses, and overpriced French cuisine. I was always doting. That yellow dress. The jewelry. Countless art supplies. Those glossy yellow heels, paired with the supple nature of her feet. Her delicate toes coated in teal nail polish. If only I had embraced the baser states of my fetishes as a younger man. To never have tasted those toes. I regret few things, and not shoving those toes into my mouth is on the top of the laundry list.

My first muse. I really had her too thank for that play. The female protagonist was a thinly veiled doppelgänger of one miss Caroline Haas. Of course I changed her name for the play. What was it? The first name of the female protagonist was one Caroline had wished for herself as a child. Something with an ‘r’. I pick up the play and flip open the character list. Riley, oh yes. Young Riley, who falls for… what’s his name? The soldier. I scan the list again. Ben. Ben Thomas. Brave Ben Thomas, the war hero. I close the book and throw it on the floor. I take a drink of my cranberry juice. Oh what a silly play I wrote. It is like my inner child ran the show back then. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas. I throw the play across the room.

I pick up my phone because this is now the part where I send her a message, against my better judgement. Her face and name hang quietly on the screen. Mrs. Caroline Haas Thomas. And that is when I see it. My heart gyrates. I need to see that play again. I try to stand up but the pain sends me back into the couch. I slide to the floor and crawl to the play. I open the pages to the character list. Riley married Mr. Thomas. Riley is based on Caroline. Caroline married Mr. Thomas. Twelve years after the play was published. I lie on the tan carpet and stare into the fan, as it performs its only task. It spins, fated to repeat its menial task again and again. A mechanical Sisyphus chained to a ceiling.

My thoughts return to my revelations. Revelations always draw to the surface whole schools of questions and this revelation was really flinging the proverbial fish right onto my boat. What does this mean? What a thing! Chance? Fate? coincidence? Subconscious suggestion? I speak into the empty rooms' right angled corners, "I wrote it into being." I lay completely flat face-up. The pills begin to activate and I see flashes of light run past my pupils. I am exhausted and hurting so if close my eyes completely. I am willing to fall asleep right where I am. My eyes pop open as a wave of euphoria flushes through me and I blurt out, "What if I could do it again!" My eyes close heavily and yet spring open. "What if I could write her love for me into existence?." a smile or a snarl or a smirk or some sort of facial expression stretches over my lips and eyes as I drift into unconscious wakefulness. Somewhere in the Americas, I sleep. 

When I open my eyes I am no longer in the states. Also, my name is John Lemon. I am running and a four eyed dragon is flying overhead. As above, so below. The myth in the sky and the myth on the ground. As within, so without. The winged myth, and the mammalian myth. Two mythical creatures on the hunt. One for flesh and the other for safety. Both dream of gold.

There are two suns in the sky emanating a crystalline glare which highlights the red, blue, and green embroidered flowers on my Peruvian satchel. The main design on the cloth bag is square within a square four rectangles connect two octagons to each side. The contents of the bag are one iPhone 6s charger, one iPhone 6s, a blue egg shaped lip balm, a black leather Versace wallet, a pair of blue Beats headphones in a personal carrying case, and 9 lottery tickets. I run swiftly. I am lucid. I am unencumbered. When I look up at the dragon I feel no fear. The dragons’ second pair of eyes is positioned at the base of his neck. His wings flicker and rustle in the wind. His shadow is juxtaposed to mine. Two mythical creatures. As above so below. My black high top vans sink into the grass rhythmically and my soft charcoal chambray pants slither around each leg with every movement. My oxford is pigmented with a soft salmon peach coloring and it contrasts the black of the Casio watch on my left wrist. My mullet whisks behind me like the dragons tail flails behind the dragon. The red, blue, teal, orange, gold, and black tattoos on my arms catch the rays of both suns. 

I sing "Run Run Run" softly as my feet beat the hypnotic Velvet rhythm into the veil of shadows cast along the beach cliff pathway, which is eroding along the shoreline, and parallel to the sand. The water echoes each crash of water folding eternally into itself. Forever bending, pitching, wavering, as ripples of sea foam swirl around a community of seagulls, noshing and lazing about the sea.

       I sing softly, “Teenage Mary said to Uncle Dave. I sold my soul, must be saved.” A pillar of fire appears in front of me, scorching a ten foot radius into the pathway and sand. I do not feel as the Israelites felt, for this pillar of fire is meant to destroy me, and it is certainly not meant to lead me to the promise land. “Gonna take a walk down to Union Square. You never know who you’re gonna find there.” The blackened bits of pathway powder into small dark clouds as my high tops collide with the burnt ground. “You gotta run, run, run, run, run. Take a drag or two.” The dragon lets out a peal of screams as it takes a deep breath and as it’s’ two pairs of eyes factor the physics of a correctly spewed stream of fire. “Run, run, run, run, run. Gypsy Death and you. Tell you watcha do.” I instinctively know that more fire is imminent. I scan the area for cover. I see nothing of the sort. I hastily decide that misdirection is the only chance. I close my eyes and try to ‘feel’ the dragons’ next display of fireworks. “Marguerita Passion had to get her fix. She wasn’t well, she was getting sick. Went to sell her soul, she wasn’t-“ I jump at the very moment another string of fire streams towards my body. “…high.” Now pause the above mentioned action in your mind’s eye, or rather, in your psyches’ home theater room, and allow me to explain the slight chance which separates the reality where I am consumed by dragons fire and with this reality where I have jumped to safety and which is a parallel world to the one where I am somewhere in the Americas, passed out on my living room floor, dreaming in an opioid induced slumber. While planning a clever miss direction maneuver I imagined that the dragon would spew fire either directly upon me or just in front of me. This being logical I had planned to jump a few meters to my left, thus avoiding such a dragon induced death. Now in reality, the dragon, being a clever dragon, knew the general idea of my plan. His only mistake was assuming I would jump to my right. He could not have known that my left ankle had always been slightly thicker than my right one and therefore I had always had the natural inclination to use it as a launching mechanism for my body, and since I was using my left foot to launch myself, jumping to the right would negate a few precious inches of my escape. So by a series of small instinctual movements on both of our parts, I ended up being quite far from the second pillar of fire. Now you can press play again, and do not be confused, because, I John Lemon, am still singing Velvet Undergrounds song. “Didn’t know, thinks she could buy it.” I am on my feet running again. The dragon is swirling above frothing in anger at the probability that I am not a blackened piece of man-meat on the sand. I run towards the edge of a cliff. “And she would run, run, run, run, run. Take a drag or two. Run, run, run, run, run. Gypsy Death and you. Tell you whatcha do.”

       Now, I have never been particularly good at running. In fact, whenever you have watched a scene in a movie or on a TV show about a boy, who is not particularly good at running and who must endure the shame of being the last boy to be picked for the team, you are watching a scene that may as well have been inspired by my childhood. Furthermore, I was so very not particularly good at running, that I also had to endure the walk of shame that accompanies a child who has not been picked at all, since all parties involved agreed that having one man short on one of the teams was less of a disadvantage than having me on either of the teams. That being said, as luck would have it, in this universe, John Lemon was a ‘me’ that simply excelled at the activity. So much so, that he was apt to even sing when he ran, and, as we all soon will see, he was even apt to sing while he jumped. The edge of the cliff was Lemons’ horizon. The horizon was the dragons’ horizon. The dragon took deeper breaths and strained his winged back as muscles rotated bones and leathery skin and scales back and forth. “Seasick Sarah had a golden nose. Hobnail boots wrapped around her toes.” Now at the edge of the cliff, Lemon leaped into the absence of tangible matter. “When she turned blue, all the angels screamed.” Uncannily, at this moment, the dragon let out another childish almost prissy scream of anger. “They didn’t know, they couldn’t make the scene.” Lemon had imagined he would crash into the sea. He did not imagine that a bridge made of rope would be suspended between the mid sections of both cliffs. “She had to run, run, run, run, run. Take a drag or two-“ Lemons body, I mean, my body smashes into the rope bridge and my chambray pants rip as my body slides over the bridge. “run, run, run, run, run. Gypsy Death and you. Tell you whatcha do” The dragon had already began its descent and instinct tickled his brain with the idea that now, Lemon, well err, me would burn. And yes, without getting too much into it at this moment. The dragon knew all about John Lemon, I mean me, and although he was hungry, this hunt was more or less a personal vendetta than it was a classic predator verses prey situation. I ran towards a cave. You see, the rope bridge appears to be a pathway between two cliffs which each house a cave entrance perfectly parallel to one another. “Beardless Harry, what a waste. Couldn’t even get a small-town taste.” It was a long bridge and the dragon was almost within firing range. “Rode the trolleys down to forty-seven. Figured he was good to get himself to heaven.” The fire of the dragon first landed on the middle of the bridge. “…’cause he had to run, run, run, run, run. Take a drag or two.” The third pillar of fire is now moving across the bridge towards me. “Run, run, run, run, run. Gypsy death and you. Tell you watcha do.” I am inside the cave running quickly down a corridor which has obviously been carved into the cliff side. This is obvious due to the ornate style of embellished symbols that cover the walls and the existence of sharp right angles jutting around corners and entrances and pillars. I can only assume the dragon is awaiting my return as the remains of the bridge fall into the sea. Glittering on the ground is a piece of gold. A large pendant in the shape of a rose. I pick it up and place it into my satchel.