Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Liar's Lobe (An excerpt)

Posted by A Great Liar

The first time Danny went to the liar’s lobe was when he was five. That’s when he had his first real visit to that place, standing at the edge of the pond with the cool heavenly breeze against his cheek. Peering down against the surface of the pond, both amazed and a bit scared, because he has never seen anything like that before ever in his life.
But above all, he was relieved to be here. He had started to feel strangled, the despair rising inside of him, while watching his parents have another fight on the dinner table, all that yelling and shouting. With mother cursing Dad, calling him names, especially the ones that always started with God, God this or God that. Though young as he was, Danny was already getting to grasp the scope to which this God thing could be used by adults in their daily life. He could understand that God was a major part of an adult’s vocabulary in their everyday life, and Danny was sure that it wasn’t a mere coincidence that it would always come out especially when people were angry or sad or in some kind of trouble.
Was it because everybody who ever went there was in some kind of a trouble. Danny wondered. In Danny’s brief experience of this world, most people were always in some kind of trouble or another. At least Father Callahan always maintained that they were. He always reminded him of his mother whenever Danny saw him talking in the church. Shouting, cursing in sheer excitement, speaking of things, bad things that are coming your way.
But of course, Father Callahan never offered the solution to the dark future awaiting mankind, and that was just as well. Because it’s been more than a year since Danny first heard him speak, and nothing even remotely that bad had fallen to either his parents or to anyone else in the town.
One year is a helluva time, Danny was old enough to understand.
But apparently mother didn’t understand. She sat in one of the long line of benches, nodding her head vigorously while the tall dark figure of Father Callahan spoke of great mysteries about to be unraveled. Her constant agreement to the ramblings of that crazy old man had what irked Danny the most. Wasting her life in a self conceived entrapment, a web of fear around her woven on grounds that were most absurd if you come to think of it real hard.
And Danny was worried.
One night, on a dinner table, he couldn’t resist and eventually had to bring it to her.
Danny asked her if she knew that how Father Callahan was crazy. The question, coming out of her only son who has not even reached ten yet, startled her.
From across the table, she gave Danny a curious look and asked. “Now why would you say something like that, Danny”.
Danny could sense her eyes piercing into him; they were full of surprise and something else. Something that Danny at first took as curiosity, but figured that it was something different, something a lot livelier, and almost malign.
It was alarm. That’s what remained veiled beyond her deep gray eyes, a sense of alarm that had suddenly become alive by the most unexpected question brought to her disposal by her son. To Danny, it didn’t look pleasant.
And Danny knew that mother will not believe him, having just experienced that magical moment of understanding, instantaneous and so clear, crystal clear. Just as that he knew everything there was to come. Darkness. All that darkness inside of mother now waiting to come out, now that it has found its prey, lurking in wait for an unbeliever to pounce at, to show him the way of the God.
The way of Father Callahan.
Now was that where the darkness was coming from, all that darkness that Father Callahan spoke of. It was from the inside of his mother. No wonder she believed him as well as she did.
He spoke. “It’s just those things he speaks, the kind of stuff he talks about”.
Mother persisted, as Danny had anticipated. “What do you mean by stuff, son. Father Callahan speaks the word of our Good Lord and the Bible. It’s called preachin’, not speaking, boy”.
“It’s all so disturbing, don’t you think. The kind of stuff he sa… preaches that is”.
Mother replied, her voice already growing sterner. “But that stuff, that stuff is from the Bible, Danny. What is it about it that you find so disturbing”?
Danny said. “It’s the things that he speaks of, things about death and destruction. The kind of things that are going to happen in the future, mom. He keeps saying them and they keep not happenin’.”
“But they will happen, son.” Mother replied. “One day, these things will happen, as Good Lord has promised us. Father Callahan only speaks of our Lord’s promise to us. It’s necessary that we shall be prepared.”
Danny asked. “How do you prepare against the mighty angels blowing the whole planet to hell, with massive earth quakes, storms and famines.”
Mother said. “By believing in them, son. And in Jesus our savior. It’s called having faith. You shall have faith, son, and you shall be saved.”
The idea of being saved by something as paltry as faith seemed a tricky proposition to Danny, it all seemed a little too easy, easy to believe that believing alone will save you. Something was missing, though he didn’t say so. Mother, like God, had limits, and he dare not test her tolerance.
Instead, he said something a lot worse. “But why would Good Lord promise us death and destruction if He is as good as you believe Him to be.”
Mother exclaimed. “Shut your dirty little mouth, Danny. Don’t speak of these things in that manner if you don’t understand what’s going on. You don’t understand nothin’. It’s the Devil whispering all that filth inside of you, and that’s what’s comin’ out of your little pie hole now, nothing but Devil’s filth.”
And that was the end of that, and later that night, father visited him in his room and told him that he was too young to understand. He must not mind too much what mother had said, because she was a fine woman, if only a little too much in love with our Good Lord.
“She loves the word of God more than anyone I have ever seen, that woman”. His father exclaimed. “And what she does is in the best interest of us all, which also includes you. Because she loves you, loves us, and would go to any length to save us, son. You ought to respect her and bear no ill will towards her, because she only means well. And because you are too young to know what’s going on, son.” 
Danny simply nodded his head and said nothing to his father. Though deep inside, he knew what was exactly going on. His parents perpetually afraid of the great darkness about to come, driving them on the edge of madness that was both quiet and destructive, eating them from the inside. Holding onto thin air for crutches that wouldn’t save them, because there was nothing left to save. How do you save someone who is as willfully mad as his parents, especially his mother.
That night he didn’t go to sleep, he stayed up late and believed, till he entered the place he cherished for many years to come, deep within the liar’s lobe.


Inside the liar’s lobe, it was a middle of the night, and the crimson moon shone in all its glory, its orange flare setting all things aglow in Danny’s surrounding, keeping the darkness of the night at bay.
It was a powerful vision, and Danny was awestruck by it. Looking back, he could see the town he had left behind, quietly settling down as night grew deeper, with people slowing disappearing off the street, off to their homes looking for seclusion from the harrows of the night. The darkness made them uncomfortable, brought out unnamable array of emotions the simple folks of Derry could only secretly acknowledge, but failed to face up to, or talk about openly. They merely went on to do what every normal man does when faced up with something he did not understand, or see, is to scurry into their hide outs, looking for light and for familiar faces of their wives and children. A simple remedy that has always worked for centuries after centuries. Helping their minds to wander, to forget whatever that lay in the dark for them, the things that came down onto the very streets the people inhabited, intruding and intervening in their comfort zones with their harsh ghostly presence.
Danny could see it all as a blur, as if through a thick glassy wall, with thin layer of water streaming down from the top. It looked magical though Danny was sure it wasn’t real. The barrier was merely his mind’s interpretation of whatever it was that separated the unseen dimensions in this world.
Danny has always believed in the worlds within worlds, just he believed in the Liar’s Lobe; the brain within a brain. And he has made a major leap, a significant slip into the other world that would change everything for him in the days to come.
But from the day he first entered the liar’s lobe, he felt right at home. Probably because he had always dreamed of places like that, places where darkness never made it home, not even as a mere rumor, where all was light, and even in midnight, there was nothing to be afraid of.
Danny saw the pool and the deep forest across it, he bent low to touch the grass, which seemed to grow curiously thin and long, and found they were soft to the touch, like velvet. It didn’t even look like the grass Danny had grown accustomed to, a sea of blazing blue narrow heads stirring in the pleasant wind, in unison almost.    
The grass looked blue, deep thick mesh of blue that shone beautiful against the orange flare of the moon reflecting off them. And the pool, the water, looked like a painted veil set horizontally across the barren patch, as the pond’s surface looked like a colorless crust of ice that was neither frozen nor melted, enamored with tiny dots that looked like tiny pebbles dancing on top of it. The pebbles looked white and remained floating above the surface, thousand tiny dabs shining like crystal dots.
Danny crouched down, onto his haunches, his knees feeling the cold touch of the grass against his skin, beneath the stripped pajamas he wore. He stared down at the pool’s surface and saw nothing but colorless sheen of the surface meeting his glare, blankly, and with one outstretched hand, he dipped his forefinger in the surface, feeling nervous but compelled, penetrating the magnificent surface of the carpeted visual and felt the thickness of the surface slowly enveloping his finger. He continued to bring his hand downward till the whole of his hand up to the wrist disappeared inside the pool and felt the strange sensation against his skin, almost ticklish. The water had a thick, jellylike feel about it, like a well garnered shake.
He fetched his hand back, and realized it wasn’t wet. Not a sprinkle of water like fluid on it.
It was as if the pool wasn’t even real.
But, Danny decided, real or not, it worked.
It worked against the stuff of mortals that Danny had enough of. The stuff of mother and her blind pursuits. What did she know? What did she care about but an angry old man clad in cassock squinting on the altar, with an eye sight that wasn’t improving with each day. Old as he was, Danny was sure that man couldn’t tell a boulder from a rock, let alone heaven and hell.
Yes, where was the sense in that. Danny wondered.

And where was Father in all that. He wondered. A hard working man who had sold his soul to the evil of manly labors, yet another anonymous soul cursed with an occupation of feeding his family, doing something that God alone was responsible for doing. If there was a grain of truth in the ramblings of his mother. Danny could recognize the streak of hypocrisy beneath the facade.  
For people like his father always ended up having the worst of everything, even in their own homes, where there is a corner in each house reserved for men like him, and it’s a lonely one. Danny called it the waiting place for working men, little factory men like his father, spent in solitude, surrounded by shadows they called family.  A waiting place till they are ready to be passed on.
Like most men of his kind who made a living working in factories, his father was too busy licking his own wounds. And as far as Danny could foresee, nothing would change that in the days to come. Mother was a succubus he had fallen in love with. And he would probably never stop holding on to her, not in this lifetime anyway. In a way, she was his Father Callahan, the one he could hold on to and believe.
Leaving Danny all alone in this fight.  


Thursday, April 28, 2011

In Close Range

Posted by A Great Liar

(The following is an excerpt from the currently undergoing novel, The Liar's Lobe)


The thing about coming back to your hometown years after you left it behind is that they are never quite the same. Not that a lot can change in ten years, not physically anyway. The only change, if any, takes place between your ears; in a solitary confinement inside your brain reserved only for memories that are meant to be locked away.

And with time, something always goes wrong there, because as you finally face up to everything that you once owned in the past long gone, none of it seem quite the way you had it remembered, in all those years you had been away.

You think you had it all figured out, but you don't; because there is a place in each of us’ brain that is ruled solely by deceit.


Looking at the body in the Town’s morgue, I realized how small my brother Danny looked, as if the whole of him had shrank, may be from the impact of the bullet, I am not quite sure. Because there is a lot about being shot at close range that I knew nothing about or wished to. And if I ever changed my mind, I knew there was only one way to find out; Danny’s way.

His head was heavily bandaged, strapped in white all around the temples, because the bullet had travelled its way across one temple to another, till it finally hit the part of the basement wall covered with an elaborate looking Monroe poster, splattering it with blood and everything else that decides to come out when you shoot yourself in the head in such close range, close enough to feel the muzzle against the side of your head.

Looking down on to the face, with hot tears streaming down that I had no control over, I tried to remind myself that the dead looking fella strapped in sheets didn’t look like my brother at all.

But I cried anyway, knowing that it wouldn’t help, knowing that the problem wasn’t the DNA, but my memory of it.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tears of a Serpent

Posted by A Great Liar

Tears are words that heart can’t express. It is the strangest form of grief, the one that makes you cry, a strange kind of sorrow, which if you closely observe, will make you realize the truth of it, that you are merely shedding tears for someone who has been your utmost delight.

Grief can have the best of even the worst amongst us, the saint and the angel amongst us, the deer and the serpent amongst us.

You will learn to hate it, you will learn to love it, to cherish it, rage against them running down your cheeks. But you shall in each case endure them. Like you learn to endure everything that is sacred inside of us, no matter how dark the soul of man, there is something that resembles like light even in our lowliest moment that we tend to hold on to from time to time. At times, it serves as our defense mechanism in the fight against the teasing gnawing conscience.

Tears, likewise, are sacred. They are not the tool of the weak amongst us, but of a power the like of which most of us stay unacquainted with. And they speak of a love which would otherwise remain inexpressible and beyond words. And they say so much more while sparing us the frivolities of tongue.

They say that only men who are good and worthwhile have it in them the nobility to cry. And I say to them, what of the ones who had lived in the shelter of darkness most of their lives, what of the villain who has the heart to shed tears. A grief to express.

And what of the serpent we all fear and dread, the dark specter that none shall embrace. What of his loneliness and his tears.

Don’t we all look at him and say, “Here goes a bad man, here goes a man without morals or worth.”

Have not most of us facade keepers, the one who divine about faith and moralities over lavish dinner tables, have you all not in one time or another enjoyed the fruits of the dark, not served in the lair of the serpent for your own worldly gains?

Or have you no sense of gratitude. That you may now pause in your frivolities only to mock what once served in your best interest. Provided you that pillow of comfort on which you now lay your head and dream of righteousness.

It is a pity that men, often blinded by faith, may often see the worse amongst others, and not the best. May only see the serpent inside the serpent and not the tears that now forever draw him nearer to goodness than he could ever imagine.

A lot nearer than most of you could ever have been.

Because if it is noble to love a good man for his nobility, isn't it nobler to love a dark one for his fallibilities, for his torments of mind and soul. And if for nothing else, for that small world within him, a mere idea, or a world of fantasy he often escapes into and does much good; where none of his own evil lurks to haunt him, and no marks of the beast upon his reflection.  

Where, for however unreal and briefest the moments, he stays a good man…