tagNon-Erotic PoetryTele-Parabolized Hyperkarma

Tele-Parabolized Hyperkarma

byLauren Hynde©

tele-parabolize, -ise v (lit. often derog.) to employ in everyday life morals that derive from TV SITCOM plots: That's just like the episode where Jan lost her glasses! (From tele[vision]+parable [Greek parabolé, «comparison»] +-ize, -ise)

hyperkarma (also diseases for kisses) n [U] (Buddhism and Hinduism) the deeply rooted belief that punishment will somehow always be far greater than the crime: Ozone holes for littering (From hyper- [Greek hypér, «beyond, very, large»] +karma [Sanskrit karma, «action»])

A friend of mine tells me the Teletubbies are evil. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. My friend tells me they are a wicked satirist's idea of a horrible children's program watched in a future concocted by Huxley or Orwell or Gibson. Is this supposed to draw a reaction out of me? My friend tells me the Teletubbies are evil. I've met the devil once. I think it was last week, but it could have been a month ago. I had just walked into the café and it was almost dawn. I forget the name of the place. I was still wearing my wet sticky clothes tight against my body, my skin still wearing the thin sheet of moisture it usually wears after a typical Friday night, my face still wearing the typical reverent smile.

By the counter I took the bag I was carrying on my shoulder, sat it down, sat myself down. Espresso. The few people that said hi dragged a long, dieing, indecipherable syllable. The others, without stopping whatever they were doing, talking, drinking, playing cards, looked my way. In the moment I lifted the cup to my lips and forced the darkened thick liquid to flow down my throat, the people seen reflected in the clean glass window of the café were the empty space of a door; they were a weak path of light that was trying to creep out into the deserted street and out into the dark and darkened night; they were the place of undistinguishable words that was trying to creep out into the desert street and out into the silent and silenced night. I put down the empty cup on the counter, and next to my skin, under the light, under the words, instantly, the smile of the devil materialized. He was smiling. He was the only one that didn't have the skin covered by the thin sheet of moisture; He wore freshly ironed and creased shirt and trousers, the hair carefully combed between the hat and the lumps of his horns. He was the only one smiling. Two vodka shots, he asked, smiling. I didn't need to look. Silenced, waited for the glasses to be filled up to the drop that would make them spill.

Whilst we drank, he didn't take his eyes of me and, even whilst drinking, he continued smiling, and through the facet glass he smiled a little smile that divided and multiplied itself into a thousand smiles and a thousand little smiles. The people in the café were continuing, or appeared to be continuing their infinite conversations, their infinite card games, stopping only for split seconds at a time to look for changes in my face and to look at the mocking smile in his face and to spit moist debris of hand rolled cigarettes. Time and smiles were filling me, little by little, with some unexplained happiness, a joyless pre-rehearsed carnival. The devil smiled. Smiling, he asked how are you, how's your lover that I haven't seen for a week, almost? For a moment, my eyes watered and I stopped mumbling smiles, answered she's where she's supposed to be, where she always is. The mixed voices of the people in the café were a raging sea, crashing in waves of words over my head; waves that started as a rumour and extended into a diffused uproar, recoiling immediately, leaving remains of words in the air, worthless and untidy syllables, like junk in an old person's attic. Always?, said the devil, laughing and smiling. I became silent, as silenced were the people in the café, waiting for the answer I didn't give. Two vodka shots, he asked, and insisted, the devil, smiling. You know, he said, whilst smiling, a friend of mine tells me he knows her better than you, that he knows better and with more certainty where she is, what she's doing.

There was a pause stamped in the faces of the people in the café as I shed a single tear and, at the exact moment, all at the same time, they started dancing, flying in circles, spinning around me. Through the corner of my eye, I saw the devil smiling a smile of satisfaction, his first real smile. My friend tells me that watching the Teletubbies holding hands and dancing around and trying on hats can move you to make yourself a very large drink. For the third time this evening, my friend tells me the Teletubbies are evil. I only wish Taxicab Confessions is on. Otherwise were all doomed. The Teletubbies are evil.

(based on ideas by Douglas Coupland and Bret Easton Ellis)

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