Hush. Don’t speak. Not right now. I need you to listen. I need you to hold your breath and count backwards from ten; on the beat, in common time. Strings at the ready. As they tune I need you to picture something in your head: A thawing steak on the counter; buzzing noises: flies and gnats, TV on channel two with mosquitos mating, creating static in your ears. There’s desiccated blood on the linoleum. Oxygenated, rendered useless. Lamps turned upside down, lighting the ceiling and darkening the floors. “Voices Carry” (by Til Tuesday) is faintly playing from the stereo. The window blinds are open, looking down from the 14th floor at 51st street below. Little passing dots of red and shifting streams of white lights, like blood cells and bacteria in the veins of a metropolitan body. A hundred windows stare back at you from across the way; most are dim. The setting sun is nestled behind a skyscraper. Its last fleeting moments of light are obstructed from a manifestation of steel and glass, leaving the dusk air grey with a trim of orange sorbet.
Now with that exceptional setting in your head you are now with me in this loft. I’m smoking a cigar and the rings of smoke are circling my head like a false angelic halo. I have stains on my hands, implemented from gratuitous ultra-violence, summoned from a bold cynosure and appreciated through brief coitus. There’s lipstick on my white collar and cunt juice on my lapel. The buzzing keeps going as I walk along the loft, my shoes squeaking against the hardwood floors which are sticky sounding like a public restroom. The kettle on the stove is whistling like a police siren, like the ones on the street below. The dissonances becoming harmonious, bringing us back to the first minute of my finest and final hour, of unparalleled debauchery in stage lights, coaxed with absolution, remedied by Xanax, Vicodin, Absolut vodka and snuff. Butterflies are still floating in my stomach. There’s a pounding at my door. Before the boys in blue come to end my reign I sit accordingly with a cello propped between my legs. Each pounding against the door is a count of the conductor’s wand.
I recall a dream I once had. Through the darkness of an unknown void, undefined faces could be seen in organized rows, all staring at me. I heard a swelling of orchestral instruments manifest around me. The tips of my fingers were numb. There was a blinding light above. A spotlight was shining directly over me. The orchestra segued into another movement as I licked my lips with the tip of my tongue. My heartbeat fluctuated as the stomach butterflies flew inside me, fluttering away in this grandiose moment. Why was I so nervous?
I accompanied the rising instruments, counting the beats feverishly until at last we came to the pinnacle of my infamous concerto: the cadenza. I felt the strings under my fingertips lubricate with collecting sweat. I pulled the bow over the strings, producing a flourishing cluster of diminished arpeggios. I made the cello weep and cry, but not before I tantalized the senses with unapologetic phrasing, conveying saddened imagery with musical passion. This was my moment and even though I cherished this dubious composition, it haunted me in an unsaid and undetermined way. The very elucidation of such a performance eliminated all other cares in the world. There were not people in the seats before me but blurred shadows: peers and supporters, enemies and ghosts.
This was a composite dream, amassed and dispersed from my fingertips, the heavy vibrations of rippling strings; my sustained breathing which only I could hear. My partner in this unknown duo was the stupefied silence. If this were a trio, another definite sound to add would be the visceral presentation of my heart overwhelming my hearing. Its volume and presence rose above all else, suffocating me with an invisible affectation that would surely distract a lesser man.
While there in center stage, in the spotlight and in front of all to see, I closed my eyes. The animal of the music left me and continued on as my mind wandered into the catacombs of meditative loneliness. Although I was quite used to separating myself in a performance, something about this particular night was unlike any others that came before. Flashes of random, incoherent memories resurfaced. The music ceased. Silencio. The night overcame all.
The warmth of the auditorium turned into a chilling, lifeless tomb. My cello was gone, the bow and the strings were absent from my hands. My fingers fell numb.
The dream told me that music wasn’t enough anymore. The shadows of the dream were unresponsive and unimpressed. This is what led to the decapitation of my soul.
If you are still here then you must want to know what I did. The shadows wanted me to dive into vats of uninhibited sensations. I had explored these themes as a child, but it wasn’t until the shadows breathed life in the dead opera house of my soul that I returned to a state of rejuvenation.
After a private engagement, a performance with a quartet of mediocre performers strutting in what I assumed was the flesh of actual professionals; I met Ryuko, a great admirer of mine introduced by socialites I pretend to know and humanitarians I despise, which I pretend to like.
“I don’t need to tell you how magnificent you are,” she praised my musical efforts affectionately, her innocence accompanied by her nervousness.
I smiled in light of gaining her favor. “I was going to say the same about you,” I confidently kissed her hand. “But if it is you who are saying such nice things, then please tell me more often.” She failed to hide her blushing face. Vocal articulation is but the true overture of one’s sex appeal.
Our relationship blossomed out of a careful, inconspicuous foundation. I mentored her and attended her Julliard recitals and she fell more in love with me as the moments went by. Measure after measure a ballad of sultry love took shape, but I could not say the same for me. My goal was to entice her inner sexuality that she fought against. I was aiming to pull the Eros from her closed chamber door. The music wouldn’t satisfy me like it used to, not until I relished the inspiration dormant from Ryuko. She gave herself to me in the night of desire that had withered her body for too long.
Sliding off her evening dress I exposed her pale physique, a pristine form in all splendors under heaven and even above hell itself. A delicate kiss on the lips, a coital prelude, soon became a breathtaking devour of her mouth, her soft moans stimulating my stiffening cock. She gripped and stroked it as I removed my clothes. I glided my hand around her waist, down through her pubic crest, massaging her genitalia softly and placing my lips on the back of her neck. As I laid her on the bed I massaged two of my fingers around her vulva and lathered my hand with her dripping wetness. My tongue teased the tips of her nipples. I sucked away at her full breasts, kneading them and having my way with her body. She leaned on the bed and lifted her legs, spreading her vagina wide for me to gaze over. I jerked my cock to keep my erection hard as I ate her out, dipping my tongue inside her and licking up and down her beautiful sex. She combed her fingers in my hair, gripping the strands and pushing my head deeper so I could barely breathe with her overflowing juices gushing on my nose and lips.
I lifted my head and sat up, positioning my throbbing member in front of her. She looked up at me, not saying a word but waiting eagerly. I slid into her effortlessly, filling her up and thrusting with an amatory display of power. Within minutes she came, trying to catch her breath but I still kept going. It was then that I noticed music was playing over me. I could hear the orchestra return from the dreams with each aggressive sexual exasperation. All Ryuko would hear is our moans, screams, the creaking bed and slapping flesh, but in the heat of the moment, I ignored her cries and listened to the inspiration: the twisting phrases of soaring wind instruments catapulting my senses above clouds and into ethereal mysticism; my cello riveting among staccato melodies, like the dancing rains drop from a crying sky.
The audience applauded and cheered for the finale, a climax that showed my partner and relieved my swollen and aching yearning. Each moan, each drop of sweat, were the layers of the finest composition. I groped Ryuko’s tits and pushed my fingers into her mouth. I laid on top of her, building up to my finish. She moaned and screamed into the air, in pleasure or otherwise. I wrapped my hands around her neck and went as fast as I could until I came inside her with an elongated fury that sent unexpected shivers down my spine. In the midst of my intense orgasm, I had squeezed my hands as tightly as I could grip.
I stared up into the ceiling as Ryuko’s body went limp. I tilted my head down and looked at her still face, purple with a swelled eyeball protruding from her socket. Tears began swelling up inside my eyes as I delicately lifted her head. I stood up and cried over her, not because of the life I took, but for the frightened realization that this is what was missing in my music. Never before had an original composition been so clear in my head. I sat in my music room, by the desk and piano, composing the new suite.
You can’t say anything yet. Not yet, not until you witness this act of creation and the new scene here in my world. You cannot listen to what I have not written, but Chopin’s “Fantasie-impromtu, Op.66 in C# minor” is a worthy accompaniment. The window blinds were open, exposing the midnight skyline of the city from the 14th floor. Candles along the banister were nearly melted down. My hands caressed the piano while the chardonnay wine occupied my lips. My room was like a post-birth womb, where the children of children linger with scribbles and thoughts and sludge. Ryuko was a necessary sacrifice to my new wondrous composition. I finished it in the late hours of the night, before I disposed of her body.
In a week’s time I performed a new cello suite to raving listeners and ecstatic peers. Ryuko was the first but not the last. More came and went: students, admirers, prostitutes, wives of administrators, waitresses, tourists and librarians. They wanted to be loved by me, but all that was there between us was the pursuit of a pure composition I could muster in the whims of relentless fucking. Not all died, but after a while I learned that the most potent inspiration came from the killings themselves. Sex wasn’t always needed, but it was a certain form of foreplay that left my victims relaxed, exposed and defenseless.
I kept souvenirs here and there, in remembrance of their contribution to my pursuits. The depravation grasped my work ethic with sizeable lifestyle changes: my addictions spread to a quota of cocaine to keep the nerves awake, depressants and muscle relaxers, chased by the cocktail application of fine rums and cognac from generous fans. I was a shell of growth that lingered in the bowels of hell and fermented among bloody sheets and dried cum. I grinded people in my meals and mixed blood and brains into wine.
Every other night I dreamt of myself in that lone concert hall, looking at the speechless shadows who only praised my work in the moments of sexual disembowelment and limb severing. With every death, the shadows took the form of my victims, staring at me with gaping jaws and pupil-less eyes. It wasn’t until the concert hall was full that I would stop, that I would present my masterpiece: My magnum opus. The concerto suite made for the summoning shadows that haunt my existence.
Though some survived, it was then that I learned that maybe it was best to kill all that came past me in my creative process. People came to talk with me, interviewing me at police stations. What caused my work to be permanently disrupted was the one night that a women pulled a gun on me right before I had a chance to peel her face off with my fillet knife. She cleverly hid the firearm and even though I promised her that I wouldn’t kill her if she just let me take a nibble off her perfect breasts, she refused and ran from me. Disappointed, I had to pull one of my reserves from the ice box to finish cooking my meal, but from that point on I saw no need to continue cooking; I had lost my appetite.
I seduced the lonely house wife from two doors down into my home. She had flirted with me for over a year, and even a child could see that her thirst was palpable like her bleeding nipples through her shirts. I told her everything she wanted to hear: How I admired her and was jealous of her husband, how I pleasured myself to the thought of her paying me a visit while her impotent husband was at work. She toyed with my wall stereo, tweaking the radio and leaving it on a station that played classic 80s tunes. She sucked me off while lying on the bed, rolling around and pushing her engorged pussy over my chest and face. We sixty-nined till I came, then I stabbed her five times in the back and slit her throat over my bed. Dark blood and semen seeped through her open throat hole, gushing over my white sheets. The music in my head, though I will never be able to write down on paper, echoed melodies of disconnected humanity and blistering subjugation.
I broke into a neighbor’s apartment and brought him to my place, crushing his head with a fire extinguisher. I left him to bleed over my floor as I lit a cigar, looking over the setting sun I couldn’t really see. My phone was ringing, but I wasn’t answering it. People knocked at my door but I ignored them. I left trails of blood in the hallway. I left my neighbors’ doors open, for it was my time to go.
Even though I knew the police were coming, I mustered the courage to perform my unfinished concerto to my audience of shadows. Like I told you before, the beating of the door was the click of the conductor’s stand. My shadows were now people, who all helped me create this adorning suite. It was as much there’s as it was mine. They were all instruments and nothing more: Strings to the cello, notes to the score and clapping hands to my deserved applause.
All and all it was worth it. As the door is kicked down and the police rush me, I pull the bow across the strings one final time. Funny thing to mention, if you are still reading, is this: the policemen don’t break into a loft on the east end in the 14th floor. No, they break into a basement under my dead mother’s house. All my inspiration is there around me, where I created my own concert hall. I never once performed in front of a crowd.
My advice to you all holding your breath, keeping time and waiting for this to end is this: Don’t let the shadows breathe, for they will call out with voices that only register as desires, dissonances and devils with good intentions. They will tell you things you shouldn’t know and things you should do for what you love. What parts of this story will you believe?