I was returning to my hotel room after a gig, bag of snacks in hand when i noticed a cloud of bugs buzzing around a streetlight. I watched them dance in frenzied loops until they were exhausted. After a brief rest, they would begin all over again.
It was tiring to watch.
I looked up at the light. There was a crack in the covering where light leaked out. On the inside of the covering there were hundreds of dead bug shells collected in heaps. There were a few bugs who were alive that had found their way into the light box. They were zigging and zagging in the confined space between the light bulb and the pile of dead bugs. I hoped they’d found what they were looking for in there, but from their frantic buzzing it looked like they weren’t getting the hit they wanted.
‘How weird it must be to finally get what you were trying to get after so long, only to find dead bodies everywhere.’ I thought.
I arrived back at the hotel and went to my room, turned on the television and sat on the bed eating a bag of cheesy puffed corn snacks. After a few minutes it became apparent that I just couldn’t get enough of a flavour hit, no matter how many cheesy puffed corn snacks I stuffed into my mouth. I was always just a flavour molecule short of satisfaction. But I kept eating, trying to get to a place that I wasn’t sure was real, that place full of dead bodies. Hours passed as I tranced out, lost in the search for flavour. My fingers, mouth and the bedsheets were stained bright, lurid orange from the flavour particles and my face was frustrated yet blank. All I could think about was that Rolling Stones song, ‘Satisfaction’ and it’s grammatically incorrect message.
‘You’re damn right Mick, Keith, Charlie and Bill – I cannot recieve any satisfaction type emotional response.’ I thought, cramming more cheesy puffed corn snacks into my mouth. Then it hit me: If the Rolling Stones couldn’t get no satisfaction, what hope did I have? They had access to unlimited amounts of sex, drugs, booze and money. I on the otherhand, only had cheesy puffed corn snacks, infomercials and no groupies wanting to fuck me in my sterile hotel room.
Perhaps Buddhas was right. Cheesy puffed corn snacks were the root of all suffering. I sat up and attempted lotus position. I couldn’t do it. Physically, i wasn’t flexible enough. I settled for a cross-legged pose. My legs quickly begun to lose circulation. How was i ever going to reach enlightenment? My legs inability to cross themselves would always stand in my way.
I lay there, watching infomercials about butt-tightening brazilian workout regimes while stuffing my face with cheesy puffed corn snacks at an accelerating rate, waiting for my heart to give out and my non-brazilian butt to sag until the cheeks touched dirt.
A bug flew in through the window and sat on the edge of my bed, watching me cram the cheesy puffed corn snacks into my mouth. I looked at him in the eye.
‘Slow down’ It said.
‘I can’t stop.’
‘I think you have self-control issues.’
‘I think people with self control are the ones who have issues.’
‘What do you mean?’
“Ooh this thing that gives me pleasure? I’m going to do this as little as possible.” – Now that’s sick.’
‘I wasn’t judging. I’m a light junkie for bug’s sake. I can’t get enough of it. Anything for that hit. Closer each time but I never quite get there. I don’t know when to stop. Just like you.’
‘I know when to stop- when i’ve either passed out, or when a stream of projectile vomit prevents me from putting anything else into me.
‘Maybe we just have addictive personalities.’
‘No one has an addictive personality. We just have too many holes. I got nine holes in my body to stick stuff into. A sea urchin has one hole. If i had eat out of the same hole i fucked and shat out of, I’m pretty sure i would practise greater restraint. No more midnight snacks for example.’
‘That wouldn’t stop me. I’m a bug, my taste buds are on my feet and i eat shit anyway.’
‘Well you get my point. Holes, holes, holes. Your dad shoots sperm from his hole into your mother’s hole, your mother shoots you out of her hole. You spend most of your waking days trying to stick things into your holes or sticking your thing into other holes and so on… Then you get buried in a hole or you dissappear into that great hole in the sky as a plume of crematorium smoke… Life is full of holes.’
‘I’m sorry, i wasn’t paying attention- can you repeat that for me?’ The bug said.
‘Maybe you just don’t know what you want.’
‘I know what i want, i just can’t get it.’
I brought a rolled up newspaper down hard onto the bug and he was gone. I sat back down on the bed, staring at the brazillian butt workout infomercial on TV. Maybe that bug was right, but I was pretty sure i was right. If only my dick had a mouth so it could eat a cheeseburger while it fucked, leaving my hands free to play computer games, my mouth free to chain smoke joints, my nose free to snort coke while listening to music and watching a DVD. Maybe only then would I reach some level of contentment in this lifetime.
I looked out of the window at the bug swarm in the golden beam as tears of empathy dripped from my eyes.
‘I FEEL YOUR PAIN!’ I yelled at them.
If only the street lights were bug zappers I thought. The moment of incineration would have to feel like the purest heroin flooding a junky’s blissed-out brain as he flatlined on a public bathroom floor and left the game.
I watched a calvalcade of TV celebrities flaunt what i didn’t have as i crammed the remaining cheesy puffed corn snacks into my frown and wished more holes upon them. I didn’t need much to be happy, just everyone else to have less than me. The bag was now empty, the contents now rotting in the great garbage bin inside of me. I turned the TV off.
I felt restless, like I wanted something but i didn’t know what it was. I left the hotel, wandering up the main strip until I found a late night burger joint. I went in.
‘What do you want?’ The guy at the counter asked me.
‘I don’t even know anymore.’ I replied.
‘You wouldn’t be able to give me what I wanted even if you had it.’
‘Well what are you after? We have a big menu…’
‘I want everything.’
‘You want everything?’
‘Yes. The lot.’
‘One burger with the lot, coming up.’ He said going to work.
‘No. I’m not talking about burgers. I’m talking about everything… I want THE lot.’
‘You want a hotdog?’ he asked, confused.
‘No i don’t want a hotdog, I want everything that feels good at the same time, all the time, repeatedly until I die.’
‘Our cheeseburgers are popular.’
‘Yeah yeah. I guess that’ll do for now.’
I gave him the money and he went ahead and made me a cheeseburger with the lot. It looked pretty good. A lot of stuff went into it. Bacon, egg, beetroot, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, pickles, jalapenos, onion, cheese, mustard, tomato sauce, mayo, some kind of unidentified chutney… My mouth was watering. He gave it to me and I returned to my hotel room. I lay on the bed and turned on the TV. The informercial was now for the magic bullet, some kind of blender. If only all my holes had a blender in them. I turned the TV off, unwrapped the burger and took a bite.
‘Holy fuck. This is a good fucken burger.’ I said out aloud, as a burst of multiple flavours hit me all at once in my pleasure centre.
I chewed in silence, my brain departing to some other place, a better place, a simpler place, while I watched the bugs buzz endlessly around the light outside. My eyes glazed over as i identified with cows i had watched in the past chewing their cud.
‘Mmmm cud.’ I turned the lights off and continued to eat in the dark, savouring the sensations and not thinking, just a bug perched on a turd floating in an ocean of insecticide.
The next morning on my way to the bus station, I walked past a field. I had some time to kill so i decided find a nice piece of grass to sit down on so I could meditate on the idea that cheesy puffed corn snacks were the root of all suffering.
I couldn’t find a suitable patch of grass. Each time I found a piece of grass that seemed adequate, another in the distance seemed more tempting. But upon arriving at the next patch, up close it was just as uneven, discoloured and covered in worm shit as the last.
It was then that I realised the literal truth of the phrase, ‘The grass is always greener’.
I settled for the astroturf cricket pitch in the middle and lay down. I tried to meditate but I couldn’t concentrate. I would keep opening my eyes and see a darker, lusher patch of grass in the distance. I watched this perfect patch of dark green slowly move all around the field, always just out of reach, taunting me.
I couldn’t handle it. I went to the store and bought a can of kerosene and some matches and then returned to the field. I doused it in petrol, set it alight and watched it burn until it was nothing but blackened dirt.
Then I caught the bus the hell out of there.