Synopsis: John Taillon has been offered, by a well known friend, to move once again with him to a different city and leave behind another past. Though when he arrives in New York half wasted with nothing, he can’t find his Virgil to guide him through this city, and instead is malnourished with only stories and leads about him that he must follow to try and make some sense of his purpose in being there. He knows no one, can trust no one, but must depend on everyone. His only confidant is an old Jewish chess player who seems to have no past, and also who seems to have no connection with the present. This story is a dialogue on relationships and a meditation on purpose.
Le Touche Finale:
Chapter One: Moving the Right Piece
‘’Mikhail Arent is manipulative, devious, ingenious, practical, dangerous, charming, paranoid, cynical and a deceitful person, partially for those reasons he perhaps is my most trusted friend; for I am also most, if not all, plus or minus, some of those things. Along with that, I can say Misha (diminutive of his first name) is also the most consistent person I know, and that above all, subdues the latter.
A few oddities that make Misha a target of my continuing fascination are thus: he has hand written into a twelve book collection (and growing) all of his text messages from the past 10 years; secrets, lies, insults, promises, all print the many pages of those journals. Every morning he checks the radiation levels of whatever city he’s living in, watching it flux only slightly over the passing hours. He also listens when people are talking, and listens more when they’re not.
Inadvertently, Misha takes some responsibility for the greater percentage of women I’ve slept with. His bag of survival gear, some of it in which he doesn’t understand the exact purpose, is always packed. I’ve also never seen him read a book, but nevertheless he’s generally informed on the subjects of art, religion, history and war. I’ve seen him draw his knife on three friends and half a dozen strangers, but none of those situations worsened due in there abrasive demeanor.
Despite his curious appearance, he has no problem courting the women he takes interest in; he also makes people laugh whenever it’s necessary. I’ve seen him pry overtly into people’s personal life without leaving a trace of their own curiosity to examine. He lies honestly and is modest about it. His transition between these contrasted qualities blends so flawlessly that it’s as if you’re viewing a flipped coin, and seeing both images transparent, you can never finger which one will be final, or if they’re separate at all.
When we were younger, and I’d just met him through mutual acquaintances, we were both busy with the day by wasting it at a café. When night drew closer he asked my plans, and when I responded with none, and asked him his, suddenly, as if it wasn’t until I asked that he considered the days existence beyond this cafe, a realization gleamed across his face. ’Shit, it’s my Birthday’ he said, then huddling his laugh close to his chest, he continued to shake his head at the ground. I could tell this was no lie because true shame will not show through a lie, a lie is opaque, but his shame was transparent, and through it on the other side was a man whose mind was too busy with other matters to remember his birthday.
Reluctant as I was to become familiars with somebody whose memory resists faltering like a feather fights against the wind, I followed him to Bob’s party right near Pine st, a main street running parallel with Main st, along with Downtown. Keep in mind, that Bob is not a fictional name. I would never be so bland to have, in all my creative prospects, fathomed so dull a name, despite however small his role in this story is.
You could smell chlorine from the pool when walking towards the front door. The tall pine trees did their best to filter, with the warm breeze of June, out the putrid toxins permeating from behind the long stone wall carving the backyard out from its counterparts, back alleys and street. Bob answered the door, and a more comical, dopey and innocent person couldn’t have welcomed us; this is also how you know his name is in fact, Bob, it was fabricated by god to fit his exact intangible demeanor. He mimicked both Janus mask’s, and though his sadness seemed layered deep beneath the smile that held warmth and care in abundance, it troubled me. I felt he was not trying to convince outwardly his happiness, but instead inwardly to himself, and instantaneously his fragile sense of hope had birthed my sudden remorse for him. For a quick moment when staring through his eyes, I gave him an equally dualistic smile, one neither real, nor false. It had turned out he worked with the handicaps of the city. His associate, who was always beside him, was an equally off kilter individual, Pete. The odd thing about both of them together was that they loved giving out hugs, it seemed somebody was always being hugged, or smiled at, the pair could take on a passive and crowded room.
Bob and Pete…entire fairy tales exist about their character in some other story.
Anyways, so it was, a crowded room at nightfall. But the celebrated`s company had mainly come for the day bbq, and now purses were being pumped full again with pieced suits and towels, most sandals were slipped back on, the remainder went barefoot because this side of downtown was less riddled with broken glass. Between Misha and I, we decided to invite all the acquaintances we knew to replace the empty backyard, and slowly the new onslaught commenced, the crawling short arm of the clock snuck across days hours into nights, and all possible expectations of it that had confidently been procured before, were slowly dissipating with our money that siphoned into more booze, more cigarettes, more poison.
That night finished as I would have had it, drunk with the drippings of each garbaged and forgotten bottle poured into mine, my head hanging below the diving board’s horizon, and body strewn out across the rest of it like a dribble of water snaking it’s way back to the pool. Misha had eventually locked me out of the house that was neither of ours, but before doing so, he accompanied around the pool a topless women, half swimming and half dancing to the music. Before her tits were coerced into being introduced, Misha pulled me aside. His own eyes trailed her legs that encompassed ebb and flow into their steps; with us so drunk, her grace seemed inhuman and an event to witness. His smile was that of Judas who’d already secured his prize, gold in hand; he drafted guilt to the shadows which waited in the future to be more pontent, he persisted without hesitance.
‘I will betray you someday, don’t look up to me, nobodies worth that, especially not me.’ Again, his laugh was soft and freed into the air without any specific direction or intention applied to each soft syllables.
His hand had appeared to the space beside his head, it formed crooked and dismantled like its shape was degenerating, its last breath was a stretch at the dark sky. His eyes took back the fading clouds, which appeared almost instantaneous with our attention to them, as if we caught the sky in an act of voyeurism, and it began to blush white.
‘’This is just how things work al…’’ He cut the next word, and mouthed a couple more, which I assume were synonyms.
Finally he finished ’…sometimes…’
I felt he meant this is how things ‘always’ worked, but he forced out the sometimes for my benefit, his intimidation was intended to be slight. Though, and he couldn’t have known this then, that I, without contemplation had always assumed all people were meant to destroywhat they cherished and protected most, and this was the natural cycle of things; to experience the creation, and witness the destruction.
He quickly switched channels, walked towards the naked women and guided her inside by the nape of her back, locked the doors, I didn’t see him for a couple days after.
I found out weeks later, through friends of his, that he was planning to sleep with that woman for some time, and all were surprised that he succeeded. It was however, not the type of surprise we express when caught being a fool, but instead like when a beautiful women cheats on her boyfriend; which the topless women had done that night with Misha as her sole accomplice, and me, John Taillon, as his sole witness to protest against any future accusations.’’