A Heart is a Heart is a Rotten Rutabaga

Enlist in the army of sadness. We want you today. Join us and fight the good fight. Give us your sadness and we’ll give you purpose. Sadness for Freedom. The posters of smiling men aligned the streets. Montezuma walked on. They were smiling at him. He pulled his hoodie over his head. Another day had passed since his path collided with fate’s. He wondered when he’ll be released from his sadness. It’s not an uncommon wish according to his therapist, Peaches. Millions inflicted with sadness, with nowhere to expend it. It is an epidemic. Well why not enlist then? Oh sure there are stories of, who knows, Jim who had enlisted. He’s a solid 5 everyday. No 1s. No 10s. A steady 5. And maybe that’s the best you get in this life.

At the altar, he released her with the ceremonial knife. He sliced open her chest and tore out her heart. A burst of iridescent light radiated from her skin. She was the most beautiful fantasy, a dream’s dream by then. Blood, flesh, beauty, light. Her eyes opened. She gasped for air. She sat up on the altar. Sunlight brushed her cheeks. She stared at him with loveless eyes. She asked for her heart. Montezuma held the organ. It pulsated, breathing, screaming for him to hide it, to never give it away, to eat it so that they could forever be one. He handed it to her. She stared at her heart with anger. She stared at him with anger. Her body turned ghostly and she drifted away.

Monte watched the smoke drift from his hand. A cigarette is 10 minutes. Half a cigarette is 5 minutes. He wished he was brave enough to enlist. A 5 was infinitely better than a 2. Peaches stared at him. He stared at her. The number shifted in their digital posts. “I’m sorry this isn’t helping me.” He left that session a little more perturbed than anything.

Monte meditated within the temple. The collective ohms seeped into his mind. Visions of a faraway land, where clouds descended upon a rice field. Swans swept through the sky with great flaps flaps flaps. His leg fell asleep. With each subtle shift, his leg screamed at him what the fuck! He walked down the temple steps with a slight limp. The posters had encroached even to the temple’s  steps.

Leave your sadness with us. Sadness for purpose. You know she found someone else. Good, it was his wish on his best days; on his worst days, it was a little more along the lines of suicide. Heartache can bring out the worst in a person. And yet, it’s usually after the weathered storm that someone blossoms. So she had blossomed. He, well, he was in the midst of a long storm. A long drought had aged him a few years. Two cavernous lines ran past his mouth, which appeared a lot smaller since he had shaven his nomadic beard. His jaw looked more squared, possibly from nights of teeth clenching. His eyes beadier, more tired, with signs of unwilling kindness.

It would be a life-long commitment. Sadness for purpose. Monte stared at the camp’s wired fence. Those who enlist shave their heads and eyebrows, becoming remnants of a freed life and individuality. The price of emotions is high. There was a line of men who had spent a few nights by the wired fence. They were haggard and desperate to find purpose. Love had been his, but what now? He couldn’t do it. He walked away once again. The unreleased action potential.

Peaches sat in her chair across him. She let her glasses dangle below her eyes a bit. So you cut her heart out. I did. What is her name. She must not be named! Not in the sanctuary. Peaches tried all right. She tried to demolish those armored walls that held back a torrent of haunted memories. Monte almost felt the tears flood his eyes. Only once. Human sacrifice is inevitable. It is the price of progress. Everything has a price. Time. Love. Self-betterment. Family. Freedom. Sadness.

A monastic life called to him. It was within him. He could see himself enlisting. He could see himself devoting himself to Death’s Temple. The demands of individuality had costed him greatly. When your heart is broken, you have to fill the voids that heartaches leaves you. He stared at the bald man lecturing. Your identity has been shattered. You are no longer his or hers. But the fissure runs deeper than you can imagine. His or her family is no longer yours either. His or her friends are no longer yours. The routines that have comforted you are now catalysts for pain. Reinvention is necessary. Diagnosis is necessary. Enter the void.

The hot dog saddened him. There is a blandness to life for those inflicted with sadness. Oh sure he knew of its sad conditions when he saw it rotating on a heated conveyor belt, the withered skin of its casing from constant blistering. Was he any different after his long sabbatical in the desert. He had aged greatly. And he could no longer see the light at the horizon. Monte ate the hot dog which offered mild stimulant. Hm so that’s what I taste like.

Be a 5. 5 is better than 1. But a 5 is no better than a 10. Is an elusive 10 even possible? Monte feared his past life had been distorted by nostalgia. So you couldn’t enlist. So you couldn’t forfeit your worldly claims. So you couldn’t abandon your identity. Why? Peaches stared at him. Well what do you think your purpose is? You know I abhor those posters. They’re lies really. Why is that? Monte’s eyes widened as if he really needed someone to confirm his rooted belief. But his time was up. The digital numbers struck 8:00.

Fuck this. He let the leaves steep. Their essence inked outwards like combative octopuses. When the demands of modernity are too high, one can always turn to hallucinogenics. Monte had found himself at an apothecary’s doorsteps. I need something spiritualistic. Have some cocaine! What? No I want to trip out, not go out in a frenzy. How about ayahuasca? You know that sounds spiritual. It is! Take it, but for a price – $100 please. Monte drank the brew, which didn’t taste unlike hot dog water.

He laid atop the altar. He was naked. He stared at her. Are you still mad at me? She drove the knife into his chest and dug out his heart. That’s fair. She handed him his heart which looked a bit like a rotten rutabaga. You know I still think about you every day. She offered him a smile of sorts. I forget your voice sometimes, but if I search for it long enough, I can still remember it. She handed him his heart covered in dirt and blood. She had no words for him. Well what the fuck am I going to do with this? Monte sat up and chucked his rotten rutabaga off the temple. It rolled and rolled. He stared at the sky when it began to rain.

Hey man. It was a big fucking face of an Asian man. AH! I’m writing a story about you. Me? Yeah, you’re me but in a fictional kind of setting. I was going for a mix of like ancient latino shit and I don’t know some city. Anyways I got some words of wisdom for you, Montezuma! What do you want from me? I’m here to talk to you about fiction, man! Like there’s an illusion of finality. What? Let me finish! Like how characters resolve their problems within a finite amount of time, you know like a movie runtime or by the end of a book, you don’t get that in life. But art puts that illusion in our heads man! Like oh when will I be a fucking 10! It’s a lie man. It’s a big fucking lie. And it’s OK that you’re searching still. It’s OK that you’re a 1 right now. Because a 10 takes work! And it probably won’t be the 10 you thought of when you’re a 1. Like you won’t know it’s a 10 if you keep holding it to a past 10. I’m just here to say let things take their time, man. It’s OK some days, nothing monumental happens. It’s OK to wander. Let go the illusion of fate. Life isn’t fiction.

So when will I be OK?

God, Monte you dense motherfucker, weren’t you listening?! Just give it time. Go ponder my shit. You don’t have to be only of sadness. Let go of that narrative. In the meantime, try to live your life more. Go read a fucking book and why did you stop writing. You love writing! You’ve done a lot. Chill out, progress won’t feel like progress until you look back, you know?

You know you sound really stupid for a god-like entity.

I knows it. Peace out!

Monte awoke in his bed. He rubbed his sleepy eyes. Maybe he’d go read a book or something today.