Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Death Of A Party

Category: Short Story

“I am Duke! I am King! I am all you’ll never be! I am liberty!”
The light shone through his hair and danced around his eyes. He stood above us on the balcony of the club, legs apart and arms on the balustrade. Since the global collapse, Dorian led the Narc Party into revelry and into the history books. Dressed to the nines with a policy of frivolity was him all over. The parties of the city were nothing like the political parties of the past. There was no point to progress anymore. The point of life was to enjoy it until we died. Why slave away at some education only for it to lead to slaving away at some dead end job? We were the Narcs, we believed in ourselves.
The Narc Party was just that, a party. Twenty four hours, seven days a week we would drink, dance, screw and fight our way to an early grave. If you could tell me of a better way to live I would have stopped it all; but only the afterlife could deliver anything that could beat what we had. We were not completely uncultured after all. As narcissists we did have principles; mostly superficial of course but that was just the way it was. Age was never a factor; it was rare for anyone to live past forty. Leapers saw to that. The tiny pills that raced the heart were a staple in our diet. If our heart got weak, we were punished. It was our sacrifice to the lifestyle and one we would all gladly make. We would all meet again after death. For now we took what we needed in a world of chaos and desperation. Under the watchful eye of Bacchus, our god, we would all live forever with an everlasting beauty.
Dorian backed away from the balustrade of the balcony and glided down the stairs. He was our saint, our guide, our all. The music blared from the speakers as Dorian twirled Cassandra, a pretty blonde girl and the person with whom Dorian was undoubtedly closest. The music of course was all old. It had been years since music had been recorded. Dusty records and CDs were all we had, but by Bacchus’ grace we had all we would ever need and we loved and lived by our rock and roll, wherever or whenever it may have come from. Dorian took the blonde girl by the hand and looked up at the sacred, giant clock on the wall of the club. The music came to a halt, dancing ceased and the club fell silent. The chime was so powerful that it seemed to reverberate within our very souls. Every day the clock chimed, this was our minute’s silence to honor Bacchus and to acknowledge those already with him. The silence was punctuated with the smell of smoke and alcohol, the smell of life.
The minute passed and the music continued from where it left off. Dorian placed a leaper in his mouth and drew the blonde girl to him for a passionate embrace. He had been with that girl for as long as I had been a Narc. She was always the best dressed and the most strikingly beautiful at the club. I blinked and the room seemed to spin. That was how I knew it was time to sleep. The moment around half an hour before the sickness was when the spinning started. It was always best to be asleep when the sickness began and always better at home. To show signs of the sickness in the club was certainly frowned upon. We all experienced it every now and again and knew everyone else did, but it was never spoken of, it would have made very distasteful and unattractive conversation. I stumbled as elegantly as I could manage from the club. The street was dark; the streetlights that once lit the roads were for the most part broken with perhaps a flicker and a buzz from a dying light in the distance. The apartments were only across the street so I was in bed within five minutes of leaving the club. Then came the sickness. I hated myself for not getting to sleep before it came. I should have taken a sleeper to get me through it, but now it was too late.
First comes the tingling, up and down the spine, like an electric charge through the nerves. Then the cramping, through what feels like every muscle in the body. They all burn and stiffen at once, from calves to the very hands, even the fingers clench and the skin feels as if it’s clinging to the bone. The muscles in the neck throb and they constrict making every breath an ordeal, every inhalation like ice in the lungs. The head will pulse and feel as if it were on the edge of combustion until finally it all releases in a spasm; a convulsive fit after which unconsciousness lies waiting.

The light pierced the boarded window in thin beams, burning into the opposite wall. I looked up from my mattress on the floor as my eyes rolled about inside my head. A yell from outside roused me from my pre-woken state. It was daylight, nothing of interest happened in daylight. As I quickly dressed in my finery I wondered what the continued yelling could be for. Greasers only came after us at night in their stinking leather with their tangled beards. We always fought them off. For all of the hair on their chest, they were no match for a tie and a crest. So one of our rock and roll songs told us and so we proved continually. However, this didn’t sound like any kind of Greaser skirmish I’d heard before. I buckled up my boots and headed downstairs. The entire apartment was empty. The apartment was never empty. The yelling began again. It was passionate, angry and primal in its desperation. It was coming from the club. I headed out the door and to the gate of the property. There was no fence and hadn’t been for some time but a force of habit made me use the gate every time. Crossing the street I headed towards the door of the club where the yelling continued. Slowly pushing the door open I was alarmed by what I saw.
Dorian sat alone on the stage at the back of the unlit, silent club facing the rest of the Narc party. He screamed something nonsensical. This was all wrong. Dorian was in control, he was the coolest and most idolized person I knew. This was all wrong. His head fell into his hands and it seemed as though his mind was spilling through his very fingers. Dorian pulled a knife from his pocket and cut into his jacket. This was sacrilege. The garments were gifts from the gods. He couldn’t do this. This was all wrong. He tore the jacket from himself with his hands. The wild animal that had consumed our leader howled in rage. I pushed through the crowd to see if I could find anything that could explain this. The watching Narcs stood motionless. No one knew how to react to this. Finally I could see it. I could see the body. Cassandra’s delicate form lay before Dorian’s feral eyes. Her charred body lay at his feet. A vicious spark shot out from a live wire by the speaker. The crack and buzz seemed to stir no one. It suddenly became clear what had happened. Another desperate scream interrupted my thoughts as Dorian sprang to his feet and pushed the giant speakers to the ground where they thumped and cracked on impact. None of us dared move or speak. He tore his vest open with his hands. In the silence we could hear the buttons rip from the fabric and clatter onto the ground, a sound that was not unlike glass shattering.
Dorian’s heavy breathing was heard above all else for the sickening drawn out seconds before he took the sacred clock in his hands and threw it to the ground. A heavy chime sounded and the shatter of the glass casing on the stage brought many of the Narcs back to reality.
“Dorian!” screamed Goddard, an experienced Narc at the head of the crowd, “What have you done?” Dorian turned and glared at him. A sneer crossed our leader’s face as his eyes burned a gaze into the outspoken man but Dorian offered no reply. “The clock is a gift from Bacchus. It is what binds us to him. There is no afterlife for us now! Who do you think you are? You think you are untouchable?”
Dorian leapt from the stage and swung a fist at Goddard’s face. A mob of Narcs held Dorian, attempting to restrain him.
“Lock him here for now.” The man announced, “It’s for his own good. We’ll have to decide what to do from here.”
The crowd soon dispersed until Dorian was left alone, locked inside the club.

The meeting of the Narc Party felt so incomplete without Dorian. All ninety eight other members met in the square at the end of the street. The rostrum stood empty with no one willing to take charge until finally Goddard ascended the stairs to address us. It was decided that our choices for Dorian were either exile or death; whichever was better for him and the Narc Party as a whole. Each of us would be allowed to see him one at a time before we cast our vote.
My turn came soon enough and after the padlock was released, I entered the club once more. The club seemed empty until I saw a figure huddled in a corner under the stairs leading to the balcony. Dorian had drawn a curtain about himself. His clothes were ragged and torn. Then I saw that the body of Cassandra had been moved under the stairs. Dorian sat before her, protecting her, defending her even in death. This was true love. This was true pain. I stood before him but he seemed to not see me, rather looking through me into empty space, his face stained with tears. I could only decide one thing. I could not exile Dorian, to wander the world as a gypsy, void of any kind of life worth living would be a fate far worse than death. The gypsies could only scrape a living in the wasteland of bombshells and husks of remote control missiles beyond the city. I could never have the man I idolized be reduced to that.

The crowd gathered once more around the rostrum in the town square. A silence fell over the Narc Party as Dorian was led to the stage. The votes were cast. The decision was made. Dorian’s dirty, ragged robes were not befitting of such a man.
“Gypsy king!” yelled a man beside me, seemingly to impress his female companion. These two had not been Narcs long but I could not excuse this. I struck a blow to the back of his head with the hilt of my knife and he dropped to the dirt. I would not have that be the last words my hero heard.
“The Narc King!” I announced loudly through my dry and rasping throat, “Now and forever!” The loyalty of the Narc Party shone forth as we all saluted our fallen king. The silence continued uninterrupted. A long, black velvet coat embroidered with gold was brought to the stage and was slid onto Dorian’s shoulders. It seemed as though he didn’t notice. He looked over us all at the pyre we had erected for him. Cassandra’s corpse was strapped to the timber, facing Dorian, ready for the fire. A single tear trailed down his face. Dorian’s face twitched quickly on one side, as close to a smile as he could manage. The gold rope was lowered onto his neck. The door at his feet fell through. I helped to carry the body to the pyre where he was burned beside his beloved. Tears streamed down the face of any true Narc. Narcissists crying for another person, it was hypocrisy in every sense. Such was the passing of Dorian, King of the Narcs and so passed the golden age of the Narcissist Party.