THE MISTLETOE REPORT
I made rice and chillies with coriander; it was all there was left in my house that wasn’t made of cake. We would re-convene here at 19:30. Sebastian was the first to arrive, smelled of love on someone else’s lips. Next in came the photographer he seemed a little lost without her. Scheherazade referred to him as her companion. I asked his real name. No one was going to remember that, not in this town! Scheherazade swanned in late and we all waited while she took a bath regardless. She had been to see Jesus. This funny little scenario said a lot about us all; the first place you go to when allowed to be alone.
She returned from the bathroom in subtler mood, with her hair tied back. Had beautifully high cheekbones, you know the ones, they hold on to your youth when it’s slipping down your face. We sat on the floor and ate. The three of them had gloriously straight backs. I slumped like an impersonation of Moomin Papa.
The house was empty of all my belongings filling it with great sadness. I knew enough to know that you hide what you are looking for by taking everything. They may have been cowboys, but they knew damn well what they were doing! Eventually the space we dwell in will become the physical manifestation of your psyche. But when your rooms do not coincide with the inside of your head, you are either trying too hard or your life has been short changed.
I passed round an assortment of leftover chopsticks and Sebastian asked for a spoon. Scheherazade brought with her whiskey. She said we would spend the night together in the house with the ghosts of my loss. Sebastian locked securely all of the doors. My life for the longest time had felt as if I had taken speed and then tried to sleep it off. And there, for the first time in a while I felt safe enough to let myself go.
After food I gave them the two-bit tour of an empty house. I slept upstairs in the panic room. Sleep was insubordinate with me; we have very rarely gone to bed together. Sometimes in the dark I panic, a suffocating horror like breathing into a gas mask until you die.
It was time to come clean. The whiskey helped. I had nothing left to lose. The truth will not set you free; believe me, I had detailed files on that. Before I lived here I had another life, one with life expectancy low. I had been an honest journalist. But then ‘The Agency’ called offering to dress me in clothes that make you disappear and I signed. We began to compile reports detailing the offences/abuses committed by various governments around the world. Everybody was doing it. The French made it art, the Italians made it passion; the Americans made it personal and the British, well, they were just superior.
The powerful countries puppeteered the poorest; of course they did, didn’t you know? Our brief was simple, we were not supposed to bring down those disloyal to us but bring about evidence ‘the blackmailer law’ should it be deemed necessary. But with slight of hand or heart we inadvertently helped topple the worthless governments; kings had fallen, heads of state had rolled, religion had looked away and dictators had gone on to disappear. We were the truth in the conspiracy. So I began to travel the world beneath its radar in assured anonymity, and compile their demon; it was called it ‘The Mistletoe Report.’
There were other ministries at work too, some worked on the highest-level of communications. Strict persuasion data programmers, they were really just young and gifted hackers paid to infiltrate and persuade people to withdraw all personal wealth from banks at a precise and collective time. Bring the world to its knees. The domino effect had been mastered and it was a secret bigger than any known bombing campaign. All the power was held by the many, when provoked by the few. Always had been thus.
But beware the righteous who hunts the righteous! All men are forged on anvils of this. I bow my head to that!
And so it was. The level of work, unbearable and the lies being told by governments crippling, forcing me into panic, poisoning me, someone following me. Who can you tell when you’re breathing in lies? Propaganda is politics depending from where you view it. It pays in truffles and cuddly boys; whatever you can wish for. But it began to get ugly and I began to suffer. Sometimes I would wake at night to someone sitting on the end of my bed, paralyzed by fear, helpless to defend myself. I knew too many lies. Urns of someone’s ashes appeared in my line of vision. The light outside my apartment turned off and on at my comings and going. My paranoia buggered, I told the agency and they gave me a physician who administered a capsule. All that mattered they said was to finish the report and keep no files discoverable. Their server bounced encrypted texts to a covert server that in turn pushed it under a rug and I laid the table, on which I set a Mediterranean banquet.
Add to that all of my personal issues, those of which I seem as always weird and unable to resolve; they all came crashing down. My partner at the time left me; they had left me before but this time he went back home to his wife. I was exposed; privy to truth and opinions you would sleep safer not knowing. I had taken to drinking and smacking and blacking out in crowds. I asked them to send me away but they couldn’t, it won’t save you, they said.
Then one day our offices were gone and it was time to disappear. All lines of communication severed, we knew the rules. I took with me The Mistletoe Report in its second immature draft, some research and many interviews still scattered about on various clouds in the sky. And it appeared my life up until that point was closed. Everything must be let go eventually.
So that night I slipped away in New York heels and a long leather coat in an unmarked cab. Came out here where no one will come looking and the satellites couldn’t find me. It was hot so I didn’t have to consider all of those things that go with cold; the sun aided my psoriasis, the heat good for my many nervous peculiarities. Work had sure taken its toll on my heart. I had become desperate with the lies we breathe in the city. The lies in town are just foolish in comparison. At least in the desert you can see the horizon, you can see them coming. I would wait in an unmarked town until such time as all of this grew over me. I settled in and wrote off a lot of it as drug and booze fuelled paranoia. I began a new life working with Jesus.
Recently I had set up a library in the disused reading room against the town’s minor opposition. I had always felt the need for books. People in real life seldom live up to the characters in books.
I thought it was over. Then I dropped my guard and they came for The Mistletoe Report!
Take me with you please God. I might be in trouble for the last time! They had found me; it was just a matter of time. Take me away, take me with you, take me to a sign, take me to a place that makes me dream of a viaduct. Just take me on the road to anywhere.
Scheherazade smiled and said it was all rather delicious.