Ticking and steps. The curtains open on a dark stage. A light flares from the center as Kuromori flicks a scratched Zippo and lights a Peace brand cigarette. The stage remains dark, and the lit tip of his cigarette is all that is visible.

KUROMORI:

Well, what are we waiting for? It’s showtime!

With a click the stage is revealed. In the center is a small cramped room measuring 12’x15′. Cheap bookshelves line each wall, filled to overflowing with books. In one corner is a battered antique tonsu set from the Taisho Era. The floor is a mess of handwritten papers, sheet music, electronic parts, and various cheap instruments and recording equipment with a computer in the center of the mess on a low table with an even lower stool. The center of the room is taken up by a large couch. On the couch sits SPIKE, behind him stands KUROMORI.

SPIKE:

So now we’re in a play?

KUROMORI:

Pulls the cigarette from his mouth and smiles, gesturing left and right. “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts…”

SPIKE:

Fitting, I suppose. Do you want to say why we’ve gathered here, long past due? You could probably fill in the audience better that I. Moreover, you were made for that sort of thing.

KUROMORI:

Made? You speak as if you have complete volition in what I do and say… As if I were only the cheap fabrication whose basic form you nicked from an unpopular anime, then filled with a load of mish-mashed philosophy from Nietzsche and Stirner, and finally slapped on some touches of the Underground Man and Tyler Durden. If that were all I was to be, I would be a contradictory mess of fictional odds and ends, just another lump of pyrite from your creative alembic, to be consigned to the file cabinet and forgotten like so many others. And yet, I am not.

I am the most potent thing that has ever come out of your adult imagination. I sit just off to the side with everything you do, and my hand guides your pen. Yes, just as surely you could fill my mouth with any words from the keyboard at which you sit now, stealing time from your employer, I could sit on your back, weighing on your soul because you made me speak and act out falsities. In my first incarnation all those years ago, you gave me a sword which cut through the illusions of everyday existence to find absolute reality beneath them. Now, I, a fictional construct with no corporeal existence outside your head and the letters it spews, is brought forward to dispel the illusions of the man who is real!

SPIKE:

I’ve never noticed it before this moment, but your ego is completely taken from me directly. All you lack is the insincere humility. But let me answer the question to the audience that you never answered. They are no doubt restless, wondering what it is I’m doing with this… pretentiousness. The truth is, I’ve reached an impasse in my own life. I have no direction, and all my goals have been whittled away to nothing. Most of those here are familiar with blogs extolling the life-changing effects of some idealized caveman diet, or lifting heavy weights, or Game. Some changing careers, or forgoing the rat race completely to follow that star wherever it takes them.

Myself, I’m different. I’m in excellent health for a man of my age, so I don’t need some diet change, no matter how much those may try to convince me that not eating wheat will somehow change my outlook on life. I enjoy exercise, but I really don’t care how much I can bench. As for women, well, I’m not really interested in going out of my way to pursue them. To tell the truth, I find them and an overt focus on sex distracting from things I find more interesting. I don’t care to travel… well, I lie. I would love to travel the world, but I’m no nomad. Hawaii is and forever more will be my home, the place where my bones will return to the soil. It’s more that I dislike the lifestyle of those modern nomads, so focused on sex, bars, socializing, and adventures in third-world shitholes… it’s all too much *physical sensation* for the likes of me. I can see nothing in such a lifestyle for me. I am a man who lives for the quiet interstices of life between the people going to-and-fro— Kuromori interrupts, flicking ashes at Spike.

KUROMORI:

Rot! We’re here because you are gormless. I am fascinating to you because I embody will to power and the resultant action. You positively envy those who have found their way, nay,forged their way in life. Even if they lack control, foresight and planning, they, ultimately, decided on a course of action and took it. Everything you chose not to do. Why? Because it was all too much for you. However, I am you, I am another. You created the last incarnation of me as a remarkable man who eschewed all the technological somas of our age, who could have any woman he wants, but rarely feels the urge, and comes and goes about the world as he pleases, with only three suits in his bag and a box of papers… Kuromori pauses and sits on the chair and finishes his cigarette, stubbing it out. -I am everything that you had glimpses of being, but turned away from. That you failed to seize.

You, who won poetry prizes as a youth.

You, the eccentric gadfly star/inspiration of university student films made by people who now far outshine your dulled gleam.

You, that promising scholar and academic.

You, who have eyes that haunted the girls you ignored and words that spun a web of dreams that could stand the tempest of your moods.

You. The fucking current office lackey and half-assed musician who can’t even get two bits busking much less a gig. Kuromori lights another cigarette. If all the stories we have read on the electrons are of people finally seizing life after years of regrets, what is there for those who burnt themselves out? Can ashes be brought back to life? Can…

SPIKE:

Can someone who was ragingly bipolar throughout his late teens and most of his 20s recapture that crazy lightning in a jar? Would anyone want to? The drugs, the concussions, the burned bridges, the fucking sociopaths you meet along the way on that path of life. It was all so much, too much sensation! And for what? I lost everything I once held dear. My faith. My ideals. Even my sensibility. I feel all the bad effects of overstimulation, but my senses have been dulled by the passage, the sublime doesn’t leak through anymore. And that was… is the most unbearable thing. Not only do I live now at a remove from life and others, but there’s a thick veil over me. The place the poetry once came, all the high ideals, it doesn’t pierce through into me. When I write music, it’s almost like I’m grasping for memories rather than working with the present.

That is the honest truth, pared to it’s core. And so I go online, to wander amongst the nihilists. Not because I am a Bazarov, but because I seek those who feel as out of place with the world as I. To see if there’s a lamp in the darkness.

KUROMORI:

So you broke on through to the other side and found nothing but a steady dull job, a cup of hot tea and an ergonomic chair from which to watch people be anonymous assholes to one another online. Better than dying bloated in a bathtub in Paris with nothing but shitty Blues Rock and pretentious free verse as your life’s epitaph. But thesis… antithesis…

SPIKE:

There’s nothing left but synthesis.

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