Tag Archives: The Orange Menace

The Happiness of Kalashnikov

One pretends to be happy, but never to be wretched

✎  Wayne K. Spear | April 17, 2018 · Fiction

M

Y NAME IS KALASHNIKOV, it is true. Some things said of me, in my absence, are true. But also in my presence, some things are true. And yet many things are not true, or are true only in a sense, which is to say only in one sense of the word true. For example: the manner of a fool’s speaking, which is a sense in the form of nonsense, can be said to be true. I am speaking of the fool in Shakespeare, not of the fools one encounters regularly, such as I encounter here. Yes, even now I find that I am surrounded by fools. There is truthful nonsense and non-truthful nonsense, perhaps also sense that is nonsense. There is the untrue which nonetheless is not without truth, not entirely. There are fools, and there are fools.

So much is said in my absence, and I am unable to comment on this, being absent. If I were present, I would comment. Of course I would comment, being present. The absence, the not-being-there, precludes the commenting. The—what is the word for it? Ah, but to use a word is to not name the thing, the absence, and that is the problem, the speaking of it, in the words. One can only speak of the absence wordlessly, in a kind of sleep, the sleep for which I long but which forever (or so it feels) eludes me, until of course it does not. And then what? The unspeakable thing, the wordless thing, the thing we can never describe so long as we can describe.

The things said in my presence are scandalous. Such as: “Kalashnikov is happy.” Yes, they have said this, in words, in my presence. The fools, I mean. Perhaps I am to blame, for it is true that I pretend to be happy. One can only pretend to be happy, and not miserable, obviously. Yes, the thing speaks for itself. For only misery, only pain, only the wretchedness is real. There is no doubting the pain, the reality of the pain, the truth of the pain. But happiness! Well, it is another matter altogether, obviously. The wretchedness is certain, as certain as I, Kalashnikov, am. There is no doubting the pain, the misery, the wretchedness. One pretends to be happy, but never to be wretched, because one has no need of such a thing. And yet they say I am happy, as if they could know. As if I were not dissembling. As if I were not a semblance of a thing rather than the thing itself.

It works as follows. The semblance, I mean. The simulacrum, if that is a word, of happiness. Here is what I do.

First, I show my teeth. I have heard that this is what the happy do. And so everyone gets to see all of my teeth, as well as my gaping mouth, and its hastily masticated contents (for rarely do I chew) at all times.
Second, I repeat the word HAPPY over and over again. Sometimes it is the voice in my head, but from time to time I shout the word HAPPY as loudly as I can. This appears to make a most definite effect. In the bar, in the coffee shop, in the theatre—a good, loud eructation of HAPPY does not go unnoticed. Often, it is rewarded, by recriminations or ejections. Sometimes with joyful banter e.g.: SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU FUCKING CUNT.
Third, I speak loudly. Even when I am not shouting my HAPPY I am loud. The happy ones, the others pretending to be happy, seem to do this, and so I, too, speak loudly. It seems to make the proper effect, which is to say the effect of appearing to be among the happy ones.
Fourth, I carry about with me, at all times and places, a sign saying I AM HAPPY.
Fifth, I cannot recall. I have written it down, I think, in my book. The book where I write all things down, as I am even now writing.
Sixth, I am in continuous motion. Or continual. I confuse these terms, the continuous and the continual, please forgive me. What I mean to say is that I am forever in motion. One might even call it a gyration, if that is a word. If it is not, one may still say it. For once it is said, it is a word.

There appears to be no seventh. I thought I had written seventh in my book, but perhaps not. Perhaps I only imagine it. Or perhaps seventh is merely sixth restated, in which case why bother committing it to memory? If seventh is only sixth restated, as I suspect that it is, then to hell with seventh! Yes, I mean literal hell, the place of eternal burning. There is no need of metaphor here. Let us say no more of this infernal eternal business of the burning seventh, the destroyer, the very Beelzebub of my schemata.

And yet there ought to be a seventh, 7 being a sacred number. Why there is no seventh is a mystery, unless there is a seventh and I am simply unaware of it, which is likely, very likely indeed. So let us say there is an unknown seventh, and perhaps even an unknowable seventh, for aesthetic and schematic purposes. To do otherwise is a scandal and an outrage, an offence against those who pretend to know god, who pretend to believe in god.

I am speaking of the happy times in which we live. The President is happy, the world is happy, and the people are happy. Which people? Well, all of the people, of course! They move and speak, all of the people, as the happy do. I can say no more of it, it is a matter of national security. They have whispered to me in dark corridors of the President’s happiness, but I can say no more of it. They assure me the President is happy, and I have no reason to doubt it, beyond the reasons I have adumbrated, above, or have not adumbrated, which are many. Nor can I say who They are—they, the ones who whisper to me from the happy places. It may be the voice in my head. Yes, it has occurred to me that the whisperings may all be in my head. It has occurred.

Yes, everyone is happy. All of us together, pretending to be happy, are what we appear to be. That is what I meant to say earlier, before the unfortunate derailments, if that is a word. Before the digression, the perambulation, the odyssey, the peripatecian, the excursion, the circumlocution, the fucking around. Did I not say I was forever in motion, the happy one? No, perhaps not. And perhaps in not saying so I failed in my duty, the highest duty of a patriot, to dissemble at being happy, along with all the others, pretending to have the desires (desire!) of one’s heart fulfilled, pretending to believe that all is well, that all will be well, Amen.

Despite the constant negative press covfefe

Despite the constant negative press covfefe, it is true that my name is Kalashnikov. There are some who call me Nik. I say some, and perhaps these some are my friends, but perhaps also not, the ones who call me Nik. I am saying neither that they are friends nor that they are not friends, but only that they call me Nik, as a friend might, or as a friendly person might. If the friendly are friends then it follows that those who call me Nik, which is to say those who speak in the friendly manner of a friend, are friends. None of this solves the original problem however, the problem of the manner of arrival at this curious term Nik, which is not my name but instead a nikname. Ah, the clever pun! —entirely accidental but intended but also not at all what I meant to say.

It happened thusly. First, by extirpation of Kalash, leaving the rump of Nikov. Second, by excision of Ov, leaving the stump of Nik, a knuckle of truncated finger. Excision and extirpation, negation and elimination, and so on. They might have gone further, for example by extermination of the N, leaving a mere Ik. Or by pulverizing the Ik, leaving the mere desolation of N. But to call one by the name of N is an absurdity, something this world of ours could never tolerate. Absurdity, I mean, and not the man, N. Of course the man N, the N-Man would be tolerated, of course! Obviously, in America! Or somewhat tolerated. Or barely, perhaps even not at all. Yes, he would be tolerated not a bit. Of course a suitable epithet, a slander, a term of race hatred, would be confected and hurled at him with abandon, this stinking N fellow. An N-word, doubtless, but not that N-word. Rather another N-word, for there is no end of possibility, altogether unrelated to the N-word universally known to man but also universally to woman.

Despite the constant negative press covfefe, I sleep. It is true that I am awake, but not in the sense that I am not also asleep. I neither sleep nor wake, which is to say I am both asleep and awake. The President may need me at any moment, and so I am awake. There is no question of the thing. But the necessity of sleep is incontrovertible, if that is a word. And so I have found the perfect solution, a most reasonable solution of all, which is to make of sleeping a wakefulness, and to make of being awake a kind of sleep. The sleep of reason. In this state I lay, awaiting the President’s call of “N-word!” He does not say n-word, but rather the word itself—the word designed specifically as an insult to my nature. You see, the President enjoys this sort of thing. At his call I rise and go to the President. Despite the constant negative press covfefe, I discover him in good spirits. His spirit, not mine. It happens that 48% of the American people approve of him, and knowing this he is happy.

I must however play the Devil’s Advocate, the Adversary, and the Accuser. I must. That is to say, play the role, because the truth of any matter is in the dialectic. To his yin I am a yang, to his x an anti-x, as a matter of necessity, even of duty. I play the role.

– Doth the people love you for nought, Mr. President? For you have made an covfefe about them. But if thou takest away their covfefe, surely thine servants shalt curse Thee to Thy face.
– Behold, I will put forth Mine hand.

It happens then that the President puts forth His hand, and a pestilence falls upon His people. The President causes health care to be taken from His faithful servants. He causes their premiums to increase.

The President cuts taxes for those who possess the fattened calves and the yoke of oxen and the assess and the sheep. He causes the taxes of the mighty to be brought low and upon the meek He places His mighty burden. Everywhere He cuts and abolishes and rescinds. He smites His faithful servants with pre-existing conditions.

“Lo,” he says, “Take heed, N-word, that neither do they curse nor forsake Me.”

Again, He does not say “n-word,” but rather the word itself.

And it is true. Although they tear their raiment, and although they sit in ash and go about in sackcloth, the faithful do not curse the name of the President.

The stricken are visited daily by Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite. Each has a program on Fox News—Eliphaz at 8, Bildad at 9, and Zophar at 11.

“Your suffering is due to Hillary,” says Eliphaz. “Curse her and die.”
“Surely the lying media have forsaken you,” says Bildad. “Verily I say unto you that you suffer not, but that the President blesses thee.”
“Libtards!” says Zophar.

No matter how much the President smites His faithful servants, they do not curse His name. Smite their covfefe though He may, the faithful believe in Him and call upon His name.

“We know that Thou canst do every thing,” the faithful declare, “but that Thou shalt make things great again.”
“Tremendous, so tremendous” says the President.
“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?” say the faithful ones.
“SAD!” says the President.
“These are things too wonderous for us, things which we know not,” say the faithful.
“Gird up thy loins now like a man!” says the President. “Despite the constant negative press covfefe!”

And so they gird their loins, like a man, despite the constant negative press covfefe.

Mr Htimsbackwards

Mr Htimsbackwards, my friend, perhaps even my conscience, perhaps my only friend and my only conscience, perhaps my soul, or myself even, perhaps. On a friday, or a monday. In any case, upon a day of the week. Your choice, this sordid question of day. Character description, the setting. As for a mood? Neither joyful nor mordant. Tension of a sort, a restlessness, dissatisfaction. Not dissatisfaction of a painful sort—rather a shapeless dissatisfaction at the margin. The margin of what? Of a mind, of a thought. Not of a soul, no no, not for us, soulless bastards both. Another word for restlessness, perhaps, this dissatisfaction. Mr Htimsbackwards, my friend, myself.

And the piss in the pants, forever the piss in the pants. Warm at first and then cold. But then again warm, the fresh piss after the old, warm after the cold. In the same way, word upon word, the hot word of anger, the cold word of reflection. Words. The feast of reason and the flow of piss. Glorious man, measure of all! Ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthrôpôi. Anger, and ratiocination, body and mind, passion and reflection, the dialectic of warm piss and cold piss, hot words cold logic, subject and object, heavenandearth. The result, wisdom, if not outright philosophy.

Mr Htimsbackwards: The fucking news today!
Yours, truly: A goddamn outrage!
Mr Htimsbackwards: A goddamn outrage!
Mr Htimsbackwards: Ah, but.
Yours, truly: Oh well.
Mr Htimsbackwards: Hm, hm.
Yours, truly: Mm.

Too long without food and fuck. Ah, but the sun! The warm, warm sun, somewhere perhaps. A good idea, warm sun. A fine idea, that. And the swoosh of passing cars, also a fine idea. A hypnotic, narcotic swoosh. Men and women, each unto each, hand in hand, parkward. Or shopward, a matter of indifference, really. Sometimes man and man, sometimes woman and woman. Or other. Then the bark of children, the impatient pole-bound pug. A restlessness, the itchy balls, the close smell of Mr Htimsbackwards. An odor, even. Yes, a positive stench. No doubt of fart. Or, perhaps, a little bit of doubt. A shadow of doubt, but only a shadow.

Mr Htimsbackwards: What of the President?
Yours, truly: Of America?
Mr Htimsbackwards: Yes, dunderhead, of America! The Orange Menace? Mr Crusher?
Yours, truly: A jackass!
Mr Htimsbackwards: A goddamn outrage!
Yours, truly: Yes, but the piss!
Mr Htimsbackwards: The warm piss? Now?
Yours, truly: Yes, now. And, yes, the warm, after the cold.
Mr Htimsbackwards: Bravo, good man! Well done! Bravo!
Yours, truly: Merci, mon semblable, mon frère!

Ah, but the delicious stasis. And, better yet, the delicious motion! Motion, then stasis. Then stasis then motion. Then motion stasis stasis motion motion motion stasis motion stasis stasis stasis. A heavenly variety of stasis, with occasional motion. Never too much motion. Never too little stasis. The hours, of stasis and motion. Then the climax. Then, resolution. Then?

Then, tomorrow and tomorrow.

Mr Htimsbackwards: Ah, the warm!
Yours, truly: Now, my old boy? Now, for you, the warm?
Mr Htimsbackwards: Yes, my friend! Now for me the warm! As before, after the cold.
Yours, truly: Well done, old bugger!

The newspapers, forever the newspapers, with their infernal news. What madness! In my pants, the newspapers. The President, hot but then cold. News of death, by famine or by war, in my pants, and in the pants also of Mr Htimsbackwards, cold but then hot. For me national affairs, but for Mr Htimsbackwards world affairs. A hasty shove, hand into the pants, between the thighs and backupward into the crack of buttocks. There, just there, for the piss. A trick worthy of Kalashnikov. Then, the pissnews cold by noon but warm thereafter. And then cold. Today, Mr. Conrad Black, pisshot and then pisscold, pisscold and then pisshot, in the day’s important flow of piss. Tomorrow, who knows? Not I, good fellow.

Enough however of that. Instead, the warm sun, the infernal obstreperous child. The swoosh of cars, the impatient pug. And Mr Htimsbackwards, my conscience and my salvation and my friend, as myself even. And with a restlessness, a dissatisfaction, a shapeless nameless something on the margin of what, out into the world I. Yes, into a world.