Fiction: Oranges

February 12, 2018 Fiction , Literature , POETRY / FICTION

pixabay photo

 

By

Alexandre Bartolo Knabah

 

 

How could I introduce myself? Well, nothing that refers to any historical event and universal personality is purposeful, it is simply what has occurred, occurs and thus will occur for many sunsets which shall fry the sea water until sodium and chlorine are the only elements children will insist in sprinkling on fragile snails.

Call me Hermann, but please do not come up with an anecdote about mayonnaise or even tell me how delicious it would be if I ran my greasy fingers through a thin slice of bread. I’m not truly Swiss, none of us is truly from the eventual village we were born. I have power over my body for I’m a man. I have power over my alter ego for I’m a writer. However, I need to maintain discretion. Freud will forgive me if I commit any deviation of moral order; I repeat to myself it will be for good. Freud, I will keep the psychologist-patient confidentiality while I’m not responsible for the ease of my references and the consequent high intelligence of those who will read, the one who will potentially capture about whom or Whom I write.

Yesterday morning I was waiting for a patient, one among many for another exhausting day, or so I thought. Usually, my patients mark their appointments under perennial pseudonyms so that the tabloids won’t discover them, and denounce the perfect normality of a celebrity dealing with sanity in the midst of the collapse of their personal landscape. I’ve been required since I helped a young, sweet actress to seek treatment for her alcohol problem. Yesterday I was the patient since he was half an hour late. My faithful friend and secretary knocked at my door and introduced him. I could not believe what I saw: a man who had forgotten to take off his glasses during the artificial sunbath, accompanied by security guards in surprisingly white suits. As I was about to greet him, closing the verbal contract, one of his muscular lockers lifted his palm in my direction, in a kind of “the spray is still wet,” and introduced him:

“I present to you, landlord, the magnanimous, magnificent entrepreneur, father of many, convinced conservative, television personality, president when the tasks do not disturb his golf games with the one-man club: Mr. O.” I still could not believe it. “Everything said in this room will be recorded, and the material stored for a thousand years which will be when Mr. O will pass the office in a civil, democratic and peaceful gesture.”

When he sat down, the guards left in a row. I watched him closely, I searched for some truth in every movement, but I failed to find it. Mr. O was a brute, he sat like a Neanderthal man, every now and then I’d find him scratching the thing that laid on his scraped scalp. He fixed his eyes on me, they looked like two squeezed marigolds. The botox no longer hid the chicken feet printed around his dissonant eyes and his skin, broken like an ancient parchment. He shifted from a frightening expression to an empty look, moved his mouth and turned it into a plunger, as if he wanted to babble an “u”.

“Let’s.” Pause. “Begin.” I was about to. “Now.”

“Very well, Mr. O, what can I do for you?” I needed to keep up the social skills my Polish mother taught me, he was still a patient.

“I can not stop thinking about that red button. I just want to press it, I’m curious because I always think of it as a clown.”

“What red button? Is that what I think it is?” He waved six times, counting on his flabby fingers which looked more like muffins that spent too much time in the oven. Not British, Americans!

“If I say so, I must ask for someone to kill you. Yes.” After that he began an almost endless monologue about how America should behave in front of the United Nations, about the American brands they manufacture in China. He did the same thing. A speech by the late Fidel Castro would be more tolerable. I memorized the grocery list in the meantime. I also thought of an Islamic law in India, which I remember reading or hearing: a husband can have a divorce by simply saying talaq, talaq, talaq. I thought do not sweat on my couch, do not sweat on my couch, do not sweat on my couch. He continued, “… that is why we need the whole nation, from the dirty-tiled people to the most exquisite hooded, to unify.”

“I recommend that you paint the button the same color as the panel.”

“I think I’ll have the button painted the same color as the panel. I have the best ideas.” I held myself so I would not see what was behind my eyes. “It’s a great idea.”

“I just said I have the best ideas.” The tips of his index finger and thumb pressed each other. He looked like a bird ready to attack, a bird of prey. “You and I should deport everyone. I like blondes, blue or green eyes, with a few freckles. This is pure. Good thing.” His pupils seemed to follow the pattern of an electronic music: dilated on bass, contracted on treble.

I had already noticed much of his personality. The paper I scribbled was ripped off by one of this security guards when the session was over, but I remember: weak in humanity, weak in solidarity, weak Christian, he does not hesitate.

“I want to play with ink.”

“Oh, would you like to take the Rorschach Test?” I got my drawings I had not used in a long time. The last time I even touched them was when I graduated from college.

“Mr. O with the trophy of best president in history.” It was a frog. “Mr. O with the First Lady.” It was a dancer and a saxophonist. “Mr. O” was then repeated throughout ten images I presented him. I do not think a book was enough to diagnose him, it would take an international board to evaluate the extent of his persona. I knew little of almost nothing. Once we were finished, all the security guards accompanied Mr. O to the door. The bodyguard who had addressed me in the first place whispered in my left ear, “We’re here because Mr. O is not Mr. O, he’s just an eccentric who does not talk to anyone of our staff.” He handed me a card Rural Home.

“What do you plant?”

“Oranges.”

Everything had been nothing but fake. Fake worthy of the most beautiful cinematographic work. The Academic would not give Academy Award for Best Picture to dancers or werewolves. My face dripped relief, but I soon remembered that I had still voted for him. Regret crossed my spinal fluid. Guilt has taken my eyes from that damned day until now, until the rest of my life. But there is no point in feeling sorry for yourself.

In the twentieth century some used to think of being Napoleon, at a certain point they would have thought to be Herod, today they think they are the Forty-Sixth (minus one) President of the United States of America.

Ba-bas*, if I were a renowned physician, if I had a national program called Dr. Philadelphia, I would recommend to all of you to stop treating with oranges the moral scurvy that plagues the globe, the reincarnated totalitarians. We should never laugh at or with evil. To classify him as anything other than what he truly is, would be a disservice to the only race we have news of. One should always follow Hemingway’s footsteps and cut off the unnecessary, save any inappropriate adjective as the hungry divides the single meal under the moon-one day full, in the other void. Do not be fond of any possible transmitted megalomania. It’s like when you want to search for something and do you not find it, but after you delete one or two words and click on “I’m in luck,” voilà: a cynical and tanned tyrant.

 

 

*How We Heard the Name by Alan Dugan

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandre Bartolo Knabah

Alexandre Bartolo is a brazilian student who graduated from high school in 2015. He began writing poetry after two passings: Leonard Cohen, his hero, and America. He now seeks to be read, and enter medical school so that he can pay the bills. 

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