PMM’s Birthday Party! – In the Melancholy Café by U.V. Ray

For a start, I believe one must have a secret. I am beyond love. I am beyond redemption and I am beyond seeking any form of retribution for the wrongs I once felt circumstance had done me. But regardless of this, one must still have a secret. The secret is the beating heart of our individuality. It is our meaning for existence. Like the holy of holies within us. When you know who you are you’re not like the others. You’re not just staring vacantly at the wall, sipping coffee and blowing smoke rings in the air, here amongst the deadbeats in the Melancholy Café.

The truth is you’ve gotta face yourself. And most people don’t have the courage to do that. Everything they project to the world is a self-sufficient delusion. Everything they surround themselves with, their cars and their houses, right down to the fucking pictures they hang on their walls or the smiles they walk down the street wearing are all an illusory concept of how they want others to view them. It’s a scowl that says don’t come too close I’m a bad man, when inside they’re like a little mouse. It’s the little 2.1 family that holds hands as they walk around the glittering fairground rides laughing joyously, saying: we are normal, happy, fully-fledged and fully paid up consumers within this great nation. We fit in.

You gotta boil yourself right down to the bones and sinew. Strip away the person society has foisted upon you. And if you can face what you find…

A police siren wails and wakes me from my reverie.

As the world outside turns on its axis, the red tail lights of cars sparkle in the evening rain; they look like beautiful crimson flowers through the drizzle running down the window. The universe ends at this window. I can walk out of here and down the street. I can turn the corner and another universe opens before me. It’s like an endless labyrinth we are trapped in. For all of us, at any point on earth, our own little world ends at our horizon. There are the well-travelled amongst us who may think they know a bit more than the rest. But they know shit. They’ve travelled the world but never once stood on the edge of the abyss that is the chasm of their own soul. And I don’t mean some eternal God-given soul. There is no God and there is no eternal. I’m talking about the essence of who you are. I’m talking about the thing that dies when you depart this mortal coil. We are each like clouds, formed out of completely random circumstances. And when we are gone no one will ever see our exact likeness in that particular place ever again. I’m talking about the thing that makes us unique. If you think too much about it the sadness of this fact is almost unbearable. You see most people spend their whole lives being somebody else – somebody they were never supposed to be.

A tortured slave.

You think they stopped torturing people after medieval times? Christ, they haven’t stopped torturing people. Society itself is now the Iron Maiden. They’ve got you even more so than ever. Pierced through every major organ. You’re bleeding to death, a long slow shedding of blood that renders you devoid of spirit, depleted of any strength to oppose them.

I wonder: beneath a night sky so full of jewels, how can any man let himself become a slave? To think of the raging oceans, the peaks of mountains; this is a world so abundant with sensory pleasures, reduced to some methodical, joyless shit-tip by those who for some reason seek to oppress the human spirit. Jesus, it makes me wanna take a machine gun and cut all religionists, politicians and moralists down.

There are no Gods. Of course, most people realise this now. But in their place we have governments and corporations and committees and, I dunno, fuck knows what else – county cricket clubs – that set themselves up as some authority on how man should live his life – on how he should bowl a curve ball, who he should pay his subs to before he’s allowed to play the fucking game. We live in a world where this semblance of freedom, in truth, comes with tight boundaries.

I weave my way through the tables to the counter. Some dead-eyed drifter bites into a sandwich and the half-fried egg runs out all over his brown shirt that still has the caked remnants of yesterday’s egg stains down it. Nothing changes in the Melancholy Café. The clinking of crockery in the kitchen at the back, the hissing of steam, the little Bush radio shoved blaring away on a shelf, no longer make any sound in my ears.

Tomorrow morning it’s back to the factory floor, back to the incessant grinding and drone of machinery. But I have my first smile of today. In baskets on the work tops at the back, waiting to be cut into slices, there are melons – and right next to them, caulis.

I hand the girl in her little green uniform my ticket. 009. Her hair tied back under the little paper hat. She doesn’t know how pretty she is. I wish she’d smile but she doesn’t. She does her job like a machine.

I pay my bill, she taps away at the till keys and it whirs off my receipt in dot matrix:

06 / 11 / 2010

Set Dinner …….. 3.50.

You have been served by… Amy

Thank you for your custom.

U.V. Ray can be found lurking here:www.uvray.moonfruit.com

10 thoughts on “PMM’s Birthday Party! – In the Melancholy Café by U.V. Ray”

  1. Makes you wonder if he’s simply contemplating the complexities of life or the next time he goes to work, he’s going to walk in armed to the hilt, blow up the joint and just walk off into the sunset. I love that about this story. You just don’t know. Terrific.

  2. Excellent, UV. I love the deep layers, the conclusion, and the ending with girl’s hair tied under a paper hat, those details are so powerful.

    You’re a tortured slave. I’m a wingless bug/monster… shall we pull the mask off everyone else? 😉

  3. UVR, this is gorgeous. And call me Amy but I found nothing sad about your 5th paragraph. Seems some’s born to see the way of their particular way and some’s not. The randomness of life… The chaos theory… It’s a bitch.

  4. U.V., as always, mate, I was chained to every word. The juxtaposition between the mundanity of the situation and the increasing intensity of the narrator’s words drew me closer and closer to the screen, until at the end, the words became a whisper and the meaning a yell. Brilliant. And, again, as always with your stuff, U.V., the words linger, the feeling they evoke difficult to shake off. With this brilliant piece, what lingers for me is the question of why the narrator still needs to be a patron of The Melancholy Cafe? It’s the breaking free. The doing. That’s the next step, I suppose.

    Fantastic stuff, my friend.

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