Wake up. What country is this?
Downstairs, the doorman greets me. “Hello Mr. Lewin, how are you?”
“Fucking. Address me as Trent Fucking Lewin please.”
“Oh, I see. How quaintly Canadian.”
“Do you know Hook? Do you know Hookie? Tell me right now you fucker!”
Doorman looks confused. Tries to let me out of the hotel, but I’ll not have it. “I’m not going out there. It’s fucking Florida. There’s no way I’m going out there.”
“You could perhaps rest in the hotel bar?”
There’s an idea. There’s a conceit. There’s a brilliant notion hanging from the penis-shaped chandelier above, the one with the carefully-crafted testicle-textured light bulbs. And I’m in the bar. The Florida bar. Give me a coke. Just a little bit. Spray in the rye. As much as you can fit. Suddenly, it’s noon and I remember that I’m supposed to be sitting in a session listening to someone talk about the importance of being incredibly earnest and considerate unto your fellow man through the mechanisms of modern-day communication, a proper treatise on how to avoid being a human shitstain in these days of wildness and rage.
“Hi, how are you?” says a blond.
“I’m fine. Do you want a drink?” She sucks one down. Then another. I try to keep up. Fucking Florida. They make drink machines down here.
By two o’clock I’m in the pool, making the waves. Making the waves. The blond is afraid of water. “You’re like eighty percent water yourself,” I tell her, going under. Underwater, sound is a refractory material, and I get the notion that this is in fact the agonizing existence of one Trent P. Lewin – that’s right, Trent P, the singularity across time and space tossed over one border and two time zones, flitting to the past on his way to a potential drowning in a swimming pool next to a tiki hut.
I get out of the water. The blond is gone, thank God. I take off my clothes. Someone gasps. It’s not the good kind of gasp. Someone else faints. An old man stares. “Hey, you, old man,” I say, “what are you looking at?” And then I’m running through the hotel. I crash into a Mormon. I leap over a Muslim. Catching my breath in the elevator, I relieve myself on an Englishman. He just smiles. Smiles and stares.
“Umba,” I say into the cell phone.
“Trenty! Yes yes, it is Umba from Strasbourg, how are you?”
“I’m naked in an elevator and just pissed on a Brit.”
“Well day is young, Trenty! What do you need from Umba?”
“Relief. Relief from this heat.”
This is the day. These are the days. This is the vision of Trent Fucking Lewin, the ceaseless barrage of apathy that is required to engage in the process of making a living; this is the address of where the wild ones rave, writing words that need to be written but doing it on the mirrored walls of an elevator as an Englishman sits piss-soaked in the corner. And then the doors are sliding open and some well-dressed businessmen walk in, talking about the relative cost associated with human lives that are sent to do construction in high-risk countries.
“Two million, get the insurance together, we lose three or four workers and we’re still making money.”
“Excuse me,” I tell them. “I’m not wearing any clothes.”
“Re-insurance. We cover our liabilities doubled over.”
“I pissed on a Brit. That would explain the smell in here.”
“Oh?” One of them looks over and nods. This is normal, he is saying to me. This is to be expected. And as one, in a perfectly synchronized motion, they pull out their penises and shower the Brit some more.
On the roof, there’s no one. Just sun on my burning skin. It should be me alone up here. There shouldn’t be anyone else. It’s impossible. It’s unheard of. But there they are. The legion. The masses. The armed forces of humanity, huddled at the edges, all naked and burnt to a crisp, all moaning for relief from this heat, as though it’s inconceivable that they should go back down and participate in the normal ebb and flow of human existence. They’ve chosen to come up here, to the land of Trent Fucking Lewin, to moan their way into his sentience. To tell him that he’s not alone.
One of them, a black man with no hair, walks over. “You lost, man, you lost.”
“No, I belong here.”
“No man, you lost. We saw you coming. We don’t believe that you are meant for here.”
And he’s right. It’s all right. This isn’t the place for me. These aren’t even my own words. They’re constructs, deranged bits and pieces slathered on a baking pan shoved into the enlarged hind quarters of a God that hasn’t seen fit to properly and clearly define the strictures by which we should live; these words are just fragments of frustration and madness, swirling about as the very oxygen that I need to breathe gradually oxidizes my cell membranes, making me older. I should light a match. I should burn the world. These are the days. This is the day. These are the eminent first world problems of Trent Fucking Lewin, whose main problem appears to be that he has no problems, no worries, no lack of comfort, no reason to despise the Florida sunshine or British people or doormen. He’d rather do better to go swimming out in the waves as dusk comes and those little fish with razors for teeth nibble at his toes. Nibble at his toes. He’d rather do better to kneel in a chapel. To piss on the altar. To rage that this is his life, without hardship, with such fortune, in the face of everyone who isn’t so lucky.
It’s luck. Luck. It’s fortune. Misfortune. It’s chance. It’s happening. It’s occurring and sick with deceit, to all of us. It’s not just Trent Fucking Lewin that is going mad with the benefits that we so heartily and constantly enjoy, it’s all of us. Bestridden with problems of the mind while we engorge in pleasures of the flesh. I drink some rye. I drink some wine. I down fifty bottles of beer until I want to cry. This is my problem, the lack of problems. This is my wanderlust through the halls of this hotel, naked as a fucking pelican stripped of its feathers, slamming Arabs and Jews into doorways and begging them to fuck it out/find a hole/any hole will do, grabbing Syrians by the pubes and asking for their forgiveness, lurking in the halls of some Somali quarter of back alley fucking baseless piece of shit corner of earth, trying to explain that it wasn’t genocide, it couldn’t have been, we would never have allowed it, and thinking to myself yeah well, it probably was, and back then, my biggest problem was whether or not to put processed or real cheese on the slab of dead cow that I had snuggled between some shitty clumps of processed fuck off. Screw you and your shit-eating grin, I tell the mirror. You’re just lucky. Lucky. And don’t fucking forget it.
It’s luck. And these are the days of luck. And luck is a crab that I kick into the ocean. As I snuggle on the beach. On the hard sand. Where it’s night. Where we expose Trent Lewin and his fictitious words of utter bullshit. Words that sink into the sand. And then under the waves. And then out into the sea, hopefully to disperse before the action of waves, or to be dashed against the rocks of those who don’t have the sheer fortune to write it out, as I do. These are the days where I wonder why we complain about the things we do, why we rant about what we rant about, why we expand on the trivial, cute things that come upon us in our daily lives, as though we have become, through the stupefaction of our wealth, worthy of this insipid, collective munching of sugar cubes as though they are made of sophistry. As though we are worthy of our problems and our perceptions, and not guilty of a single sin, not even that of inaction, of letting a poor sot drown in the waves as we sip our drinks on the beach, under an umbrella. Under an umbrella! because otherwise it would be too hot, and we would sweat, or we would wither, or we would become so thirsty that we would actually have to gather our bulbous flesh rolls and have someone lever us off our hammocks to make the epic, sweltering trek back to the bar to have another drink.
Shit. What happened to us? When did a worthy life become about slathering aged horse manure on a computer screen, because we have the ability to cry our problems to anyone who will listen? I’d sail away, find some godforsaken patch of impoverished ground, and I’d rather do better to help some skinny no-life whose problem appears to be a minor matter of no fucking food, no fucking water, no fucking security, no peace, no humanity, no nothing other than a real set of hardships that are properly worth screaming about – not this other shit, not even these words, none of it. Here by the waves, I could build the raft. The boat. The fucking flaming ship made out of splinters of the beachside hotels I’d like to bomb into subservience. But I won’t. I won’t make the trek, that ocean voyage. It’s too hard and I’m too comfortable. I’d rather dwell on that asshole who cut me off yesterday. Or that grocery clerk who put the egg carton at the bottom of the bag. Or tell the story of that one time in college I made out with a statue and then fellated its sword. That stuff is fucking priceless. It’s so fucking awesome. We have so much to say. And not one fucking meaningful thing left to do.
So here I am, stuck. Stuck near the waves. And I wonder, and this is what I think: are we becoming insane and unstable because we are too redolent? Too comfortable, while other countries drink our piss and bury our garbage? Too eager to consume these calories as others beg for our scraps? This is the day. These are the days. How the fuck did we get here, to this point in time?
How did we let this happen?
Sun comes and I wake up. On the sand. Naked and alone. It’s already so warm. Fucking Florida. I talk to the ocean. Say into the water: bring some hurricanes. Erase this place. Start over. Do it right this time. Because you know, that would be a tragedy. We’d mourn the loss, mourn the destruction of all that property. That’s the real problem. The real crime.
“Mr. Lewin, how are you?” asks the doorman.
“I’m fine. Real fine.”
“We were worried about you.”
“You don’t seem quite right. You seem agitated. And we have fairly extensive video of you running naked through the halls of our hotel.”
“Is that a problem?”
What is the problem?
Is there one? Is it over here? Is it over there? Did I just take a dump on it? Or does it seep out of my pores? Scrawl itself as words into this useless flesh?
Sorry, but was that the issue over there, hovering over the waves? Aiming a judgment built amongst the stars at us? Right, that’s the concern? The issue? Is it?
Is that, my friends, when we get to the bottom of this horseshit wall of words, the real problem?