Dead Planet LCVII
Darker Than You Think
“Why, gentlemen, are snakes Evil?”
The darkness of the night suddenly became darker—the deeper darkness of the unknown. The Ayahuasca had begun to define the dark study, the tall gothic windows shrouded by dreary curtains, the fireplace providing the only warm, the mantelpiece with some candelabras for light. But not much…
We could all feel it—it was a “creeper.” But Mondrick had already been there & told us what to expect. A slow-acting hallucination—this rainy, stormy night. A mysterious visitor was coming to meet us he said—but we had to be in the right mood. He wouldn’t say who or what it was—but it had to do with his recent expedition to the Amazon rainforest jungles.
I was a reporter for the Arkham Gazette & taught a journalism class on Cthulhu Lit at Miskatonic University. I’d read most of Lovecraft’s rather ridiculous, depressing, desultory cheap pulp fiction novels.
My rather dense young adolescent undergraduates—especially the young freshman males—believed in the outlandish plots & gothic horror. What naïve fools & small town morons. But even tho I scoffed at such ridiculous otherworldly plots & melodramatic scenarios—I could still sense the hair on the back of my neck standing straight up tonight for some strange reason.
But my young college students weren’t the first to scoff at the Lovecraft novels I’d selected for the class—reading anything actually was a major accomplishment for most of the usually dysfunctional college misfits these days.
But they were online which helped somewhat—their email assignments & discussions flowed here & there with a certain listless amount of intelligence. But also there was a certain undertow of foreboding fear…when it came to Cthulhu Lit at Miskatonic U.
I must confess I probably cheated Mondrick that night with the Ayahuasca—I’d heard about the nausea & hallucinations that Ayahuasca evokes. So I’d popped some strong sedatives & only imbibed a tiny sip of the supposedly hallucinogenic Amazonian drink. I was skeptical of Mondrick’s theories…
Of course, everybody else went into a trance that evening except me. I had no intention of rolling on the thick Persian carpet or vomiting my guts out in the bathroom. Nor did I particularly believe that Mondrick could share anything worthwhile with me. Playing Don Quixote with the Amazon Indians. Already most of the group were in a relaxed laid-back stupor—when I decided to get up & leave.
I was much too old for any hippie hallucinations anymore or babbling away with some stoned peer-group circle-jerk entertainments that night—with Mondrick as the ringleader maestro of his aging bored ex-hippie colleagues.
I got up & tiptoed to the door to make a graceful exit—that’s when I felt a sudden shiver that made my skin crawl & my teeth grind together. There was no reason for it—I didn’t feel any frigid blast of fetid air from the crypts or the rainy night out there.
I slid-open the heavy doors to the den—and there it was. It looked trimly cool & handsome—like a streamlined snake in a kimono. It was just a flash though—surely just a tinge of mild Ayahuasca illusion. I rubbed my eyes—then looked at it again.
“I don’t blame you,” it said. “I was too bored to come down & face all those helpless, stoned sycophants in here. Mondrick himself, well, he’s bad enough as it is—without being loaded.”
I smiled, stepping outta the den & closing the doors behind me. “Mondrick & his esteemed colleagues are already much too loaded to opine much about anything tonight—except maybe their bellybuttons.”
The mysterious stranger shrugged & we stood there in the hallway. It was no longer an “it”—but rather it had shapeshifted into a normal red-blooded human being interestingly enough. A gangly teenage kid—oddly dressed in a kimono.
We went into the kitchen & had a drink. For some reason I thought it was the Ayahuasca that had given me the first impression of the kid being something else. He seemed quite charming though—I assumed he was a young hustler or kept boy that Mondrick occasionally lived with now & then.
“Enjoying hanging around the creepy mansion?” I remarked casually, smoking a cigarette sitting with him at the kitchen table.
“It is kinda goth isn’t it,” he said. “Mondrick flew me in from my Amazon village the last night. I’m not that impressed—it’s kinda cheesy here in Arkham isn’t it?”
I nodded knowingly. I was impressed. The kid was no inarticulate naked native from the jungle wilds—he was rather sophisticated instead. Probably a local landowner’s son just visiting the States.
The next time I looked at him—he was wearing a swank dinner-party tuxedo. Surely I was more stoned than I thought I was—either that or the kid was some kind of shapeshifting Amazonian wizard?
He talked to somebody on his cellphone & then said “Let’s get outta here & go for a nice little ride, what’d ya say?”
The stretch limo was waiting—it was my turn to relax & do some shapeshifting. I was good at becoming a bump on a log. I was bored that evening—it was a Friday night. I had the weekend in front of me—with the usual task of sitting around my apartment grading e-papers. I needed a change.
We went for a long drive instead—this young handsome young strange visitor & me. After a joint, I switched the empty conversation to who he was & what his name was.
“Snake,” he said. “Snake” Plissken is my nickname—that’s what Mondrick usually calls me. Half-jokingly when we have dinner together. He likes retro-horror urban guyz like me—straight outta “Escape from New York,” dontchaknow.”
I nodded knowingly—perhaps too knowingly. I had the young guy’s tuxedo half-open already—the rich scarlet velvet sash & then the puce lavender dinner jacket spread open to show off the goods.
The kid wasn’t wearing a shirt—and didn’t have any shorts on. Just the bare goods—and then some. I usually wasn’t so aggressive with strangers but there was something immensely attractive about him.
“My god,” I said to myself. “He’s got a million dollar body & the weirdest glowing-in-the-dark fuming flame-red pubes down there. Plus something else—lurking & sliding around & down his leg. Like a dark, evil Anaconda snake?”
The kid yawned. His blank face confirmed only a bored expression—as if he were the one loaded on Ayahuasca & not me. Which I later found out was true—he’d imbibed a huge portion of the drug up in the bedroom before coming down. Although he didn’t act like it—probably used to it, I said to myself.
It was supposed to be a surprise—all of Mondrick’s guests were gay professors or at least fairly homoerotically-inclined colleagues in that fatal little gathering in the den. The more gay the more they’d be able to accept the inevitable—the kid as a Voodoo Snake Visitor from the Amazon.
I yawned too—I wasn’t particularly impressed. I’d never been much a Don Juan or Valentino or Lounge Lizard. I found all that rather adolescent & infantile—like “Devil Girl from Mars” & all those Godzilla remakes on Netflix. Sex bored me—I preferred the classics like Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” & “Great Expectations” if you wanna know the truth.
Yes, my favorite film, for some reason, had always been David Lean’s Great Expectations (1946)—the opening spooky graveyard scene, for example, with Tony Wager as Young Pip & Finlay Currie as huge, hunky, butchy Magwitch the Convict.
There amidst the weeds & old leaning tombstones—under a grim cold English scudding stormy sky. It had always stuck my imagination—a chicken & a convict both caught up somehow in the best of & the worst of times. Kinda like that dark night in the limo.
I suppose I still identified with Pip being manhandled by that rough-trade unruly convict so rudely—and then being spoiled by Miss Havisham later on in her dumpy abandoned mansion. The story of my so-called life—forced down on my knees in a graveyard & made to make love with the living dead.
The sleek black limo drove thru the night—the robot chauffeur minded its own business. We drove & drove for hours that night—I got to know quite a bit about Reptoid jungle romance & skanky Amazonian Snakeology. Nothing I didn’t already know already—but definitely lots of dark Voodoo Nightmare Alley youngmale mythology stuff…going bump in the night.
Nothing that I wasn’t already aware of—after spending so many Mardi Gras long lost weekends down there in the View Carré. French Quarter decadence & New Orleans Mardi Gras cross-serpentine sexualities—nothing was new to me.
I was born decadent I suppose—just like Snake Plissken & those like him. The only difference was I grew up semi-human down in the Delta—I was simpatico with Snakes in the swamps & bayous long before I got it on with anything else. I’d been had by bigger things than just water moccasins—I knew what Delta dinge queens knew only too well.
“What’s that?” he asked me.
“Oh, you know, don’t you? In childhood, Cajun children are taught that if they are bad the lou-lou (boogeyman) or the loup-garous (werewolves) will get them. And they did—they got me for being bad. Once you’ve gone lou-lou—there’s no turning back.”
The kid nodded—it was his turn to nod knowingly now. We were both Snakes & we knew it—that’s why we were both telepathic. We could read each other’s minds inside out. And it wasn’t pretty.
The lou-lou lizard brain doesn’t begin or end. There’s no closure to its consciousness—a prehistoric synchronicity rules its various connections & time-lines. It’s hard to explain with the Queen’s English—but we both whispered in each other’s ear. The hissed utterances—that most humans don’t hear.
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