I had my vision in one of those brutally depressing parks that can only be found in delapidated parts of the capitals of Eastern Europe; normally, something brings up a ray of lightness, conveys some spirital benefit; here there was nothing. Often University Students are wandering around, lanky, studious, serious looking, almost ugly: then they smile or bounce to meet their lover and their hope and love of life lights up the entire place; you don't notice their tattered cheaply made clothing or the beginning of the wear already appearing on their young faces. Even that wasn't here today; just pudgy, mean people with mean, oily faces. The trees themselves were depressed. Have you ever seen a morose tree? One would think that it's not the tree itself that's so depressed but rather a reflection of the general mood; but although you meditate on one of them, looking at the broad, brown trunk, the life-affirming leaves, although you think to yourself, "This is a tree; a more or less immutable vegetable it stands for the unchanging moods of the stable life"; it's still not true, it's wishful thinking. If the place you are standing in is depressing enough you can stand there and look at the most colorful butterfly for hours on end and yet the butterfly will still be grey.

Somewhere near the edge of the park two old men sold popcorn and lottery ticketa; their clothing stank and their shirts were ripped; that's what tipped over my cup of depression; sighing, I gripped my Diet Coke. (I'm addicted to Diet Coke, you know: in the most sublime moment of my life I believe I'll be trapped, holding that metallic grey plastic bottle). I might have needed the depression to inspire me; what's clear is, that's when it happened.

Don't ask me to describe my vision to you; if you want to see a vision, go have your fucking own. There's nothing to describe at any rate; you can describe hallucination, but a vision - no. Paranoia and Delusions come from some broken pathway within the self; they are intensly connected to the madman's personality and therefore are something he can talk about, share socially, explain. Its always something connected to maladjustment or the mother, isn't it? It's an exterior projection of pain within the self; that's not the genesis of a vision, at any rate: which is the difference between a Holy Fool and a Plain old Fool - a vision is something that comes with without. Sublime as your subconcious mind may be, it could never create what you see there; it may have nothing to do with you at all. It isn't tailored by God to meet your expectations; because of that, it changes you. No one is changed by hallucinations, it comes from within them in the first place; a vision shows you something you didn't know was there.

I'll tell you right afterwards I saw the Big Husky. A middle aged women was walking it, her face worn from 30 years of working in a factory, raising children, paying bribes; she was looking behind her and not in front of her; the Husky's face was white and it's body jet black. For a moment I saw Alaska; Juneau, a coffee shop, beyond it the mountains, the American Flag above a thousand mile road leading to a place where man could be free.

I wept like a child, scaring the children. I still had the image of something in my mind, something totally new to me, now certainly a part of me, impossible to digest. I had to get rid of this thing inside me; instead of that, I played with the dog. I bought myself a lottery ticket; I smiled at the cops; I looked around at the grey brick buildings and imagined myself as the occupant of every building, every apartment; old, wizened men with outdated wisdom to give (and no one cares); young men surviving on a sense of the power of their own youth; girls surviving on romantic dreams and hope; families surviving on hope for their children; arrogant children shaking off that yoke; I was all of them, everyone, and none of them knew it. The pain was unbearable; I wanted to cry...

And found myself, as always, in Northern New Jersey. Someone has to explain to me the comical mechanism by which I end every dream near the New Jersey Turnpike. This time, on a strip of grass near a highway rest stop. I picked myself up, wiped the dirt of my pants, and queitly walked down to the Burger King Below.

Certainly no risk of hallucinations here. Mainly, it was families heading for Atlantic City, it was just that spot with no local travelers at all. Even the people relaxing were unhappy. They were all missing something; who knew what it is? Many of them didn't even know that they lacked it. You are dressed well, my friends, and slightly overweight. You look at each other with a lack of understanding. This lack of understanding corrodes even your love.

This was bad, very bad. I needed to get out of here. I had no money, (do I ever have money?) so hitching a ride was the only way. No one hitches a ride out of suburban New Jersey but I can; I put on the waif look, the one that promises that I will drag you into a universe of longing and then fill up that longing only to make you long again. Most people don't fall for it; only sensitive people do, unhappy people, that is, who realize how unhappy they are. This time it was a couple; a couple of goths; I saw the way they looked at me looking at them and knew immediately they were a couple of my own.

You need to be careful playing things this way; there are many ways to die if something goes wrong. I'm careful. I never get it wrong. Within minutes I was out of there in a back of a warm (but worn down car) heading, as I suspecting, for Atlantic City myself. I had to get room between me and the Hindu because envy was going to make me kill him. That was the meaning of my evening in Belgrade. Why a park in of all places, Belgrade? No dreams of the bombings but the bombings was certainly something there; part of the subtext no where apparent but suffusing everything with it's violent flame.

The first thing you'll ask me is, why hate the Hindu; the answer is simple: he was living my life. I should be sitting there, teaching Biology (it may not seem so, but I've a brilliant mind). HE should be wandering the streets of New Jersey as if the Ganges was meandering down Route 22; every time I thought of him it burned me. Until I met him it seemed that I had everything I would ever need; I didn't want a life of stability, enjoyment - none of those people had the least bit of joy. But he did. Listening to the man talking about viruses telling me how the least bit of protein had the desire to live, I thought to myself, empathy with viruses? That's my territory, you son of a bitch. How can you be both empathic and stable? It's when I realized that there wasn't any tradeoff - things were simply unfair. I needed to forget him and work off some energy; rob some unworthy bastard and gamble the money away.

(Excerpt from a Novella in Progress, "Seven Murders in Northern New Jersey")

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.