The blacklight illuminated the poster into a glaring rainbow of visual pleasure, a twisting rainbow of fungus and light dancing on a black backdrop greedily enveloping the wall. It was a cheap mass produced piece of art, but after several hours of no customers and a wandering mind trying to focus itself into serenity in a ritual mockery of Trāṭaka, Riku was becoming quite positive that the illusory electric signal thumb tacked to the yellowed plaster wall was the fulminating gateway to the soul. He had been barking out a bass Aum for the past thirty minutes, but as it came down to it hunger was getting in the way of enlightenment and the big bastard could barely contain the impulse to wrench the phone out of it’s cradle and drone pure rage and lust into it until the people at Jesus’ Taco Truck delivered him a monster chipotle cow tongue burrito. He would find himself smothering it in an assortment of hot sauces and stuffing it with cilantro, he could see it now, brain addled with desire for flesh, crouching behind the counter like a rabid simian, shoving whole grain tortilla and it’s gooey contents into a row of gnashing teeth.
Oh, the vegans that frequented the R.E.M.B. would be shocked and horrified to see such a travesty. To see a grown man cramming the shredded flesh of the tongue of a bovine down his throat, a poor innocent, and almost entirely defenseless creature being mercilessly slaughtered for the sustenance of just another human. The I art holier than thou attitude disgusted him, bruised his ego, beating it back to the corner of his skull. Everyone who graced the shop with their presence had an opinion, and every opinion differed. Any man dumb enough to express his own thoughts might as well be signing his death sentence.
That fucking poster was all that he needed, he had to keep it in his head. The boredom filled the room like the stench of a corpse, it permeated everything, was impossible to ignore, and was maddening to no end. So there was this poster. Made in China, ages ago, before the Rape of Persephone. There certainly were a lot of colors. The broad spectrum undoubtedly looked even more impressive under the influence of certain substances. In fact Riku could attain to that, as he had looked at the poster while his mind floated free in the aether. Today he was sober, for nobody had offered him anything. Stingy fucks upstairs.
This morning Lisa work him from a beer coma by slapping his naked rear with one of the San Pedro cacti living in his room, he immediately cursed his drunken self for not locking the locks that she didn’t have keys for. He shot to his feet, blood bursting with hellfire and was met with a drug washed vacant stare peeking out through a tangle of musky, oily, dreadlocks. He looked her up and down, she was clad in her usual black attire, breasts sagging in a tight tank top, unsupported by a bra. Her thin sickly frame cold and uninviting. What a tragic waste of decent girl-flesh dear sweet Lisa was. Now, he stood stark naked before her with cactus fangs plunged into the meat of his cheeks and his head pounding with a gut rotting hangover.
“Your turn downstairs…” She said in a monotone blather of a voice far too broken for a girl her age. Damn smoking and other outside influence devoured any semblance of melody, and he was quite sure at that moment she was blitzed. He lifted her up by her shoulders and spun her one-hundred and eighty degrees, then pushed her through the wide open door. He dressed in a blur, left his room and asked the crowd lounging on four of the five couches dwelling in their living room if they had any mood enhancing substances in their possession, and the answer was a resoundingly painful no.
So, here was the poster to pass the time. That and whatever new age rubbish was gushing through the blown speakers of their tiny cassette player. It was some local indie band In support of the cassette revolution that had recently overtaken Metropia, everyone had digital music, people a little behind had Cds, if you were hip you were a Vinyl collector, and now, to be on the bleeding edge, you had to have cassettes again. The sound quality was shit of course, compared to high end digital music. Whoever this band was, it was just some guy with an unremarkable voice droning on about weekends on the sidewalk and old shoes and whatever other esoteric bullshit cool kids sang about anymore. Backed by synthetic sitars and someone beating a drum at random intervals. Some sort of post modernist approach to music itself. People liked it because it rebelled against music by refusing to do any of the usual things that makes music good. By being so mundane that nobody could possibly mistake it for a prestigious mountain of artistic endeavor that used to be the goal of musicians everywhere. This music was purposefully bad, and Riku’s comrades told him that was ‘deep’ and that was what made it so good, but Riku was pretty sure that it still sounded like shit. So he now had the urge to eat cow tongue and go on a psychotic cassette breaking spree. Instead he looked at the poster, meditated with the shit music of Ululating Tenure vomiting it’s retardation onto the laminate floors.
His mind wandered, he told it to be silent, his stomach growled, he repeated the silence command, his ears were crying, silence. Over the cacophony of rubbish he suddenly could hear a rhythmic thumping from above his head, Lisa’s room. She, or someone using her room as she was happy to let them, was getting kicks out of someone.It could be worse, it could be a lot worse. He was at least getting paid to do nothing. Nobody was demanding him to answer questions about what handmade one of a kind water pipe was the best? No undercover cop trying to grill him about bath salts. No loser kids with fake ideas trying to buy 100x Salvia extract and antler pipes to shatter their realities for brief moments in time, or giving it to gentle young virgins and taking advantage of their soft and highly intoxicated bodies. He didn’t have some old asshole asking for some rare and exotic cigarette only found in the wilds around Papua New Guinea and getting red in the face when informed that Riku had never heard of Headhunter’s Suck. But now he had, and it sounded like the herb of black baby Jesus reborn in space. For an hour he was given a history lesson on stone age cannibals and their nicotine addiction, and how if you give some crazy bastard in the jungle some cigarettes it heightens you chance of survival tenfold. Life in the jungle is hard shit, especially when your neighbor wants your wife and daughters and you had to crush their skull in with a rock while they slinked around your bushes for a while. Then my friend, even before you wipe the blood off your mitts, you need a nice Marlboro Red. Because that’s what the missionaries taught you. Your ancestral gods are lies and their god is truth, and cigarettes are good for you. One day Riku would smoke some Headhunter’s Suck, today he sat in purgatorial boredom.
Shadows moved outside, people walking in front of the store window in droves. People uninterested in fine smoking goods. Smoking was nasty of course, taboo. Something that only icky people did. The media rolled with that hard and now it was ingrained in the heads of every man woman and child. Riku found himself uncaring. This was a job, a job that was quickly becoming a lifestyle. All the thoughts, all the weirdoes, freaks, marks, stoners losers, pariahs, these bastards who were wasting their life to some stupid cause force-fed to them with spoonfuls of illusions of grandeur. That was fine, Riku would stay sane, keep his ideas to himself, and just listen and learn. For now, his eyes rested on a poster. A rainbow of color. A meditative center. A gateway to the soul.