Johnny Pain stumbles on stage with a gut full of pills and coffee, head full of smoke, holding in front of his waist, in trembling fingers, a clipboard filled with twenty some pages of writing.
He looks out at the crowd and remembers once asking a writing teacher, "What are we supposed to do, huh? Are we supposed to save the world?" The teacher had no answer.
He still isn't sure if he is supposed to try to save the world or what, though he has a few notions that tend to make him believe as much at times, during certain periods of often drug induced earnestness that he can never sustain for long.
He stands in the spotlight holding the clipboard, reads his stuff slow, makes sure every word gets out into the far corners of the room, hoping to somehow do something that means something with his words, even though he really doesn't think reading means anything at all except during the heady, nervous moments he is actually on stage getting laughs and applause and in general being enjoyed as a performer and then all it seems to mean is that he's played some game of being a host and a reader, a simple game with just a few easily boofed through rules..
He dreams of hamsters night after night. Like vicious rats he remembers from his squalid childhood, the hamsters are huge, as big as his forearm, their teeth gnashing slicers of both flesh and bone. He lays in bed after the dream feeling the sheets cold and wet under his body. The dream didn't require a Freud to interpret; he was a writer working on a new character, an asshole with dreams of solving the world's problems with his own personal mercenary armies. More along the lines of waking up a cockroach than an anti-war novel, he had been writing Johnny Pain for close to six months. The character was closer to himself than he liked to write, based on his days driving a cab in college, when he worked out a lot and boxed some, and was just head strong enough to think he was going to kick the worlds ass all by himself. A revolutionary without a revolution, a bemused psychiatrist had once told him as he reassured him that he was normal, going tobe fine, just going through the usual struggles mankind had dealt with since religions first infected our brains with mush...
The writing was affecting his conscious mind as much as his unconscious. The new character, Johnny Pain, was filling his mind with a voice that silently narrated the events of his day to day in a dark, cynical sneer of a tone. Based on a human hating period of Mark Twain's life and other dark shit before and since that he felt had faced the inferno. Pain translated the mundane of the writers day into the horror, the horror; the afternoon before he had sat in a coffee shop falling too far into a new york times article on the wars and ended up coming back into his day to day life bruised and torn and unsure who he would cry for if he even could cry anymore. .
She has been dragged out to a comedy club with a black eye still showing from a fight with a crack salesman the week before. Her sister thought she was crazy to be a cop, and even crazier to be with a high school sweetheart who got drunk and hit her once in a while. Her sister won't believe the black eye is from the job. She half listens as her near twin, says, "I think he hits you for because you can carry a gun and he can't.. You should cut his fucking balls off, or at least him arrested."
"He doesn't mean to do it. He has issues, you know? He just has to quit drinking. He tries."
"You're too embarrassed to let the other cops know?"
The comedian comes on stage and starts off reading an absurdity about raising a hamster army to do his bidding throughout the world, righting the worlds evil with a bunch of vicious rodents. He is non-chalant about the reading, feels like his work was already done by the time he arrived on stage, the words written down and uploaded to his website, were now about to be read once and then left behind, like the rest of his work, caste off like orphans from his thoughts to wander around in the cyber world searching for publishers.¦
"This next one is more of a rant, than a comedy rant. You can laugh or boo or whatever the hell? Just know, if I am bothered by something you do while I am on stage or off, I will shoot first, okay? This is called A MISANTHROPIC SLIDE DOWN THE SLIPPERY SLOPES. Valid functions abound. Haircuts and ties are required. You will have to learn to do a few corporate dances, kneel properly and kiss proverbial rings, should you wish meat thrown in your cage. Like a weak chimp baring its ass to the alpha male, sooner or later, now and then, no matter how you bare your teeth and growl and plot revenge, you are going to take it in the rear. There is too little time to waste years paying for the fleeting satisfaction of the big crime. I would have killed hundreds with impunity; would have been a hellion cab driver:, shot down every smart mouth, snide yuppie. Pushy old lady, drunken bravado boof and enough etcetera to fill volumes and volumes and volumes. . .
There is too much odious about humanity to avoid becoming a bit of a misanthropic,
A hater of self and others. I am skulking wallpaper wearing black on black to better disappear into the shadows of my mind; a cynical sneer drawing ugly across a face.
I stare back at the mystics from the center of their every doubt. My Black Sabbath of a blog a mere mockery of their delusions. Hating for all I am worth, aching to destroy the unclean, to fire magic bullets that cut down the enemies and leave the little kids alone.
I turn here and there and fire at shadows real and imagined
We rely on the accepted apparatus to kill, accept pulling levers and taking aim through an assassins scope, dropping bombs. During wars and at killings we jump up and down at the foot of the gallows, howling like apes driven into a killing-lust by the smell of salty blood. The wordy ones pretend Nietzsche's theories on a need for revenge have been replaced by a pseudo-stance rap about deterring criminals and terrorists.
We still fry the worst of the killers, declare them no longer worthy of mercy or forgiveness; define all their moments in life by just a few usually drunken crazy moments
We send our words around the globe hoping to add definitions of women and slaves and votes and human worth and are rebuffed by the same old evils entrenched since time immortal; those who want control to be the top predators, the ones who still asininely believe there is something to win on this here rock in space, instead of just an endless list to fix. Most pretend some effect every four years, caste a once stolen vote and pretend they want another of the non-choices offered the poor by the rich. All sounds so simple and banal . . .a hamster army might not even prove enough to sway the blood dimmed tide. I would have a lot better idea if you would send me a few?
He moves on to something funnier, reads another ten minutes and becomes filled with the feeling that he should stop reading. He ignores the feeling and goes on, doing his entire forty minute set of murder and mayhem mirth.
The two similar looking women in the front row both listen as the skinny white guy with long hair and stoned looking thin slits of blue eyes starts talking about how he wants to kill people for all the various offenses that his esque view sees in the world. She isn't sure what is so funny about the act, but she is laughing at the words placed in the ways her mind thought of as jokes, with punch lines and surprise twists, touches of the absurdity.... it certainly got better than the slow opening.
He notices the women in front of the stage, slim black and dressed to the nines, sisters obviously; one has a dress showing her milk chocolate shoulders and an enticing view of ample cleavage. One has a badge and a gun, he sees both when she gives the waitress a credit card for their drinks; he wonders if he should back off the truer tales of his dark comedy?
He was what he said he was in a language hidden under laughs, the character he based on his life as a cab driver who killed just to get rid of 'rude fucks.' He goes ahead and talks about how he saw too guys run over a cat, laugh and then back up to kill the wounded animal, how he followed them home, got their names and addresses, and then killed them to avenge the animal. Somehow even this gory tales made the audience laugh. He tells them another, this so dark only a few laughs are created by the words, about an old woman who gets mugged repeatedly by a crack whore, who the cops won't help because they have to catch the crack whore in the act, and they never do. Happens like four times and she tells this cab driver about it and a few days later there is one less crack whore on division street. There didn't seem to be any other way, at the time.then he started writing about his batman adventures on his website, calling the murders fiction, and his numbers starting jumping up into the tens of thousandsâ€¦ before his latest economic down slide, he had wrote comedy well enough that he lived off the talent, worked in TV, a few movies, back when he was less stoned, just out of college and full of shit.
After getting fired for doing drugs, then publishing a revenge story that turned intoa career-killing rep for saying that he wasn't about to work for anyone who wanted a 'drug free'clause in their contracts. He had just went back to cab driving again, started keeping a web site and performing what he called˜black as a midnight Sabbath comedy. If not for being broke all the time, he would have preferred his life to the better times.
He watches the woman cop as she starts to make sense of the stories he is telling, noticing the details he adds to the murder stories, what happened to make him kill, the kind of weapons he keeps in his car. He goes through all four murders and watches her expression go from smiling to stone cold sober. He was just starting the fourth story when she left her table, went to the front of the bar near the entrance and made a call on her cell phone. Then she pulled out her gun and held it to her side, seemingly guarding the only door out of the club.
He can hardly believe she is going to arrest him, isn't sure why he didn't expect as much when he continued his act, even when he knew better. The Johnny Pain voice had just kept talking, going on with his rant about the rude and the senseless mobs, reciting his litany of unsolved crimes that fit his descriptions too well for a mere newspaper reading.
Their eyes meet across the club. She shows him her badge and the gun at her side and motions for him to come to her. He raises his hands like he is giving up, then put his hands in front of him like he was ready to be cuffed and walks down from the stage, moving between the tables, slowly making his way toward her.
He has a pistol under his shirt, in his waist band, and is pretty sure he could shoot her before she could react. She was looking at his smile, his defeated demeanor. He doesn't want to kill her and he didn't want to go to jail. She was innocent though he wondered if she was about to stop his mission, she was still an innocent?
He turns his back to the crowd and pours himself a glass of water, composing himself to turn around and take out his .45... He turns back to the crowd, microphone and clipboard in one hand, and the glass of water in the other.
The police woman has run up behind him, cuffs his hands before he quite figures what is going on. He is relieved when he see's her take his gun from his waist.
Before he can make up his mind, she surprises him by spinning him around, throwing him into the wall and slapping handcuffs on his wrists.
Other cops start showing up, asking him questions he won't answer, searching his cab and finding guns, knives, rope.