The Big Mistake


It’s the third warm day in a row, the beginning of March.  The curly-haired hipsters have stayed out the last few nights drinking and dirtying their skintight jeans, the ideal when you’re young and don’t have so much to remember.  They continue to drink during the warm afternoon in the historic city park beneath the statue of Robert Burns.  It’s their first bender but it’s in the fresh spring air and feels right.  Whatever ethos they subscribe to is affirmed. These park beers get them back to something more natural at least, sitting under leafless trees, viewing the usual cast of shuffling characters, not quite sensing the spectral nature of the place. They feel hipper than usual.  A pilgrim would have seen this park as some kind of universal public friend.  The hipsters just think it is their own coolness reverberating off them.  Old bums drink in this park everyday because they don’t have anywhere to go and they aren’t that mobile anymore.   The police take a hard line on an angry group of sherry drinkers for being obnoxiously loud.  Derek swerves in close to sample the patrony.  He’s the real drug danger, but with big sunglasses, a book, and ambiguous social class, the cops won’t say one word to him until he’s falling down spitting potentially contagious bile once things turn desperate and he’s been all used up.

The hipsters will soon become the middle class dog walkers.  Complacency, idleness and easy contentment are the weaknesses of the dog walkers.  Derek had some antipsychotic medication that belonged to an old man in the nursing home where he worked.  He entered the dog park and sprinkled pills around the fence, then watched as the dogs ate the pills.  When the people noticed what was going on they searched hysterically for the remaining pills and stuck their fingers down the throats of their pets.  He watched from across the street for a couple minutes, happy to have contributed some chaos into what would have been an idyllic scene.

He wanted people to know their predictable park had that kind of evil beneath it.  “Who would try to hurt a dog?” one of the owner’s would be quoted.  He resented this type of thinking. Anyone could hurt a dog or torture a human, and there didn’t have to be a reason.  The naive optimism of conventional morality offended him.  “How do you know I’m not a murderer,” he gleamed at someone on the bus ride over, looking very much like a murderer.  He wanted people afraid of murder, of senseless dog killing because it does happen.  His actions might perpetuate it, but it existed before him and to deny this evil was the real offense to Derek then.

Aleister Crowley

Derek was only interested in himself and this opened him to Satanism.  Satan’s ministry was to serve the self and this made perfect sense.  He was aware of some esoteric knowledge.  He had read Crowley as a youth.  He didn’t know what was real and what was made up, but he knew what could produce certain effects.  An effort seemed to be all that was required to manifest reality.  Oddly this process was reinforced in the mainstream corporate mysticism, condensed since it was called New Thought in the 19th century, or The Power of Positive Thinking in 1950, or The Celestine Prophecy in the 90’s, to The Secret in this new century.  He knew this pop philosophy was just one door over from Satanism.  And to have access to one door you had access to them all.  To his own self he was true. His thoughts requested dark power, and soon these powers developed.  He would take amphetamine for what felt like a month straight and then abruptly cut himself off and take a massive dose of LSD.  He was mean, and his visions grew morbid.

The LSD increased his powers tenfold.  He was able to influence those he worked with.  Just by looking in someone’s eyes they would defer to his suggestion.  He stopped doing any work and would demand his supervisor do it.  Everybody knew something was wrong and when he wasn’t around they probably gossiped about him.  But they were scared.  They were rational people but they were starting to realize he had powers.

He’d always lusted after the pretty girls he’d went to high school with.  But they weren’t into him then and would be terrified of him now.  They didn’t like guys with Slayer T-shirts and long greasy hair on the tree-lined streets of convention.  They believed in a television doctrine that labeled him as a comic foil at best.  If he was handsome enough he might have risen to the position of interesting outsider, but he was not.  He wondered now why he hadn’t affected the popular optics of backwards baseball caps and sports enthusiasm.  He was capable of creating any kind of illusion now.

He could make himself go very dark so that no one could see him.  He had tried it.  He’d walked into a stranger’s house, sat at the table while they were eating dinner and no one said a word.  He got up and tapped the mother on the forehead and she got a confused look on her face but no one reacted.   They weren’t talking much but they were still eating their food he observed

He was going to return to the suburb he was from and take something from the girls he was forced to dream about.  He rode the bus to Elly Mancuso’s house in his darkness.  Something about the darkness made him very hot and uncomfortable.  He was only wearing a light t-shirt but he had to resist the constant impulse to remove it.  That sort of carelessness could get the police called and that couldn’t be allowed to happen.

Derek opened their door, wiped the sweat from his brow, and said, “Hello everyone!” He sat at their table and carved himself a piece of ham, sometimes rubbing at his crotch.  He turned on the kitchen faucet and splashed his face with cold water.  The family retired to the living room to watch TV.  He let his desire build up, pretending he had somehow been invited to this pristine home.  He did rotten things just for the hell of it.  He took out his joint and dropped it into her father’s glass of coke.  Nobody could notice him.  They sat there, watching TV, occasionally saying something about the television.  Or something that didn’t quite make sense, like “Why is this happening?” but they were talking about the TV, or at least staring at it because they were hypnotized.

He wanted things to play out naturally so he could follow his former science lab partner into the shower as he’d once fantasized.  She hadn’t wanted to partner with him but they’d been assigned.  Every day he would smell her perfume and notice her dimpled cheeks, her light-pink glossy lips.  Sometimes the soft hair on her forearm would come into contact with his own.  She couldn’t help being kind to him because she was a nice girl.  That’s how she was with everyone, a fountain of warmth and generosity.  But the other kids made fun of him and she’d go along with it because that’s how things work.  He didn’t expect she’d care enough to defend him.  She made no effort, though her popularity might have allowed a stand on his behalf.  So his high school fantasies had a theme of vengeance.  He could never kiss her under any other pretense, so it had to be forced, or he had to be invisible somehow.  He was invisible now but she was not the same girl.  She had gotten older and her chin was puffed out in an unpleasant way.  And there was none of that brightness about her, he supposed because she was in a trance.

He decided to take his vengeance then and there.  He removed her pants and pressed his hand into her.  None of the other family members were looking, just staring at the TV.  He took all her clothes off and started rubbing at her and spitting on her but he didn’t feel very much.  He got up and urinated on her mother.  He rubbed his asshole on her little brother’s face.  He started thrusting viciously at her.  She was still looking at the TV.  It was Monday Night Football.  “All my favourite fucking friends are here for Monday night,” he screamed.  He rubbed his ejaculate all over the girl’s face and then felt a terrible shame.  He got out of there, not looking back to see how they might emerge from this trance

It got to the point where none of the people from work would even go near him.  He had the office all to himself.  There was negative talk about him but this only strengthened his position.  He would take great handfuls of whatever drugs he could get his hands on, secure in his destiny that Satan would support his ascent to power.  But less time had passed than he thought.  He became confused and then a taste in his mouth indicated something was very wrong, like he was coming back from someplace he never should have been.  He would have said it was two weeks since he’d been to his science partner’s house in the suburbs.  It would have been months since he’d scattered the pills at the dog park.  But it had all been one hectic, hazy evening and now he remembered the foul taste of the cigarette.  He felt like he had done all that amphetamine but in fact he’d only had one severe dose of PCP.  Appropriately villainized in comic books and racist cop movies, this dissociative-drug is a peerless fucker of the senses.  He didn’t even do drugs anymore besides a little pot.  He was just a working schlub with a potbelly and greasy hair.  It was a prank by some intern bitch who had it in for him.  She didn’t know how powerful the stuff was.  She’d soaked a cigarette in five times what an experienced PCP user could handle and told him she’d spilled Pepsi on it.  He was desperate for a smoke so he wolfed it down despite the foul taste.

The trip had began with some vague sense that he would distribute the drugs to people who needed them in the park, but then something had grabbed hold of him, and he’d needed to take care of business with the dogs.  He was in the office now.  There was yelling in the corridors.  “He’s in there.”

He was detained and the PCP and the other drugs fully wore off after 38 hours of moaning hallucination in the holding cell.  Police discovered a grisly scene at the lab partner’s house, where four people were dead and carved to pieces.  There was one dead and three deeply scarred witnesses at the first house, which he’d stumbled into at random.  The trial was a formality: a person is responsible for acts committed under the influence of drugs, and of course the intern denied that she had dosed him.  He was greeted with calls of “Cho-Mo” and “Goof” at the prison, the name given to pedophiles, since it was revealed he had violated the kid brother repeatedly.  In general population he was raped and abused often, he was a piece of meat that the other prisoners could use, and the prisoners were full of hate.  The guards weren’t much better, like Elly in his science class, they would not stick up for him.

He had been a normal workingman until the unleashing of this.  But he had done all that evil, so it had existed within him.  It had always been possible and the drug unleashed it by chance.  Now the vicious assaults and the cold moisture of the walls, just waiting to get a knife stuck in him. In his fear and anger there was no recourse with a God.  He had sworn some silly oath to Satan when he was a teenager smoking dope with his metalhead buddies.  A couple of them hadn’t hit puberty yet.  It had just been peer pressure then but he understood it meant something now. He had known not to swear that oath, and he’d felt a chill run down his spine when he had.  This was his fate. He drew a pentagram in his jail cell and improvised an incantation out of desperation, but he felt nothing.


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