Saturday, September 26, 2009

The First Power

Sixteen minutes, twenty yards. Time-lapse retinas screen the image. In rotation are twisted looks, unblemished contortions, signals of a face in motion, a battle endlessly fought, a soaring fable forging pathways through the gloomy melancholy. Sixteen minutes ago it ended, struck off the video box in a display of sparks, an unfiltered electromania, dazzlingly dangerous, an unforgettable jet stream of neon and static – and at that moment, fear beyond fear: a blackout.

Four hours, a kebab shop up the road. Loose-hanging limbs smack the face on entry. A few distorted apologies are issued, benign words spoken by earnest fellows unsettled by the malformed crawling shape. Lug this body, lug it good. Tersely mumbled well-wishes descend into theatrics: the prophet finds his temple. Slumped in the corner, debilitated arms and legs – recklessly dirt-covered and smelling of faeces – lying supine as the spoken bullshit rolls forth. “Let me tell you gents a fine tale. Perhaps the finest. There was once a man, a hard working man, a man of the law. His name was Russell Logan, but he mostly went by the name Lou Diamond Phillips.” At this point a turtle-necked ruffian interrupts. “Who?” he asks. Suppressing the primordial urge to beat said fellow senseless with a crowbar and a hammer, I deny all knowledge of his question and continue.

Thirty minutes, the corner of the avenue. The pavement is shimmering, clotted cracks yielding images. Pentagrams painted in blood. A serial killer stalking the stage. Homicides reported with haste. A spooky mask wears a silhouette holding a knife. What calamity! What nasty denigration of the human being! A cold wind thrusts a crisp packet into the face. The soiled curb again memorialises the events that began two hours ago. There sits Diamond Phillips in his apartment, half-eaten pizza and a cat his only pets. The phone rings. A mad nun on the line. She tips him off, her whispers describing the location of the next murder. Rising, striding, gun clasped in iron hands of Awesome: seven leagues east, a hero throttling through space to prevent an evil force. Give up, bad man, you’ve killed your last – the Sheriff of Fuck is on his way.

Nine minutes, one yard. A hazy recollection forces open tired eyes. Two rhythms: the first a dynamic Diamond Phillips chasing villain Patrick Channing; the other a body prostrate on the floor. One a sweeping mass of gunfire and barked commands; the other a state of inertia. The explosion that coincided with the end of The First Power must have rendered the body still. The recall is utter excitement, but the physical reality is corporeal shutdown. A tiny image maintains the spirit. Diamond Phillips knocks the bad guy to the ground, pummelling him with fists. Channing, with cheeky disdain, fights back, stabbing our hero three times in the belly. But the assault isn’t enough to disable Diamond Phillips. He returns with kicks and screams, ushering in a Lou Diamond Victory.

Two hours, the stench of tarmac. A grotty boot swings pendulum-like, causing havoc in the lower sternum, abdominal pains looming large. It’s a copper. He’s trying to disengage me from the road, a bed to which I cling. Hollers of Up, Up, Up ring with each kick. A few seconds of sentience hit me, enough time to yell a bitter rebuke to his life and ideals: “He got the death penalty!” I spit. “But that wasn’t enough. He came back. Back from the dead. Damnable spirit! He’s got the first power: the power of resurrection. How can Diamond Phillips fight a supernatural being? Channing – I understand he’s a minion of Lucifer – can possess any body. He’ll jump into someone; use their hands to enact his dirty deeds. Could be you!” I point a mottled finger at the copper. “I don’t know. We don’t know. Who knows? Diamond Phillips doesn’t know. Eh? His psychic sidekick aids the hunt, but I worry. I can’t remember the ending. I can’t feel my limbs.”

Ten minutes, one yard. I must escape this confinement. I need to rip asunder these walls. If I’m destined to fall into the empty world below then so be it. I can already see the innocent faces, oblivious, desolate – they lack the mana, the heavenly brew that only Lou Diamond Phillips can supply. The pupating solace, locked in a thousand memories, seeks freedom. It can’t withstand the penitentiary of the head. A breach will occur. I must jolt this shell of a body out of here, away from the epicentre, brave the colossal antagonisms of the outside, sacrifice comfort in the name of The First Power, tug tight the underlings and lick them clean of confusion. Fall to the floor. A shattering interjection, a gloss of resurging images: demon Channing playing games with Diamond Phillips, bounding in and out of bodies, creating chaos, paranoia, grumpy faces; death dealt by the hero has no effect, a swift leap later and Channing resides in another; hobos, alcoholic cops, nuns, bag ladies who imitate slapstick deadites: all are victim to Channing, all are targets of Diamond Phillips – scorn and shotgun await.

Five hours, a kebab shop up the road. Quaffing down a can of lager the ruffian eyes me dubiously. “Say that again, you worm.” I shoot him an angry glance, irritated. “An old abandoned waterworks,” stressing each syllable. His strained features ease. “What, like in Lethal Tender?” “Yes, kind of, now shut up.” A shake of the head suffices to exhibit annoyance. “As I was saying, big showdown, epic combat, stretched across netherworlds and our own, the triumph of Diamond Phillips, the extinction of Channing. What a time. The full extent of the tension, I can feel it; it’s a feeling that’s replaced every other feeling I’ve ever had. Channing gets thrown into a vat of acid. Then gets blown up. But still he comes back. It takes forty stabbings with the Jesus dagger to finally destroy the beast. Bring us into the light, Diamond Phillips! But no, you’ve got shot. The cops thought you were trying to stab a nun. Their mistake. But too late. You’re in a coma. The missus sits by your side; her psychic ability can't help you now. Bequeath us your powers, Lou Diamond Phillips; we may need them next time Channing returns.” At this point: a few blinks, some minor convulsions. A man decides he’s heard enough and throws a chip at me on his way out. The bastard.