He pressed the chords as deeply as he could. Surely this would get him through Sunday morning. Sunday morning was his least favorite time of the week. He thought it was worse than Sunday afternoon and evening. Everything was dead on Sunday morning. It seemed the world closed up shop then, more tightly closed than the rest of the Terrible Thunder Lizard, which was the whole of Sunday. Morning though was where the T-Rex's head was, and that was where the teeth were to pick him up and deposit him in the clay filthy decay smelling and befouled mouth with the razor teeth, under the hell hole breath of its nostrils, and the monster teeth sharp and broken and gigantic and cunning and drilling in the mouth of drool, coming guillotine like down as he screamed not to be cut in two.
He tried not to believe in Sunday at all. He tried to fool himself into thinking it was any other day of the week. But it was impossible. On a desert island, stranded there for the rest of his life, he would always know what day was Sunday. The stench of it. The holy ferocity and superiourness of it would beat him into a ping-pong ball for ever.
But he was 32. And he was trying to get the chords right. Chords. Not cords. Not cords you can use to hang on drapes or cords you can use as tassels on lampshades. But cords you could use to kill yourself with. Your own private garrote. Your own private false fantasy world comes true. But the music he made, he had to keep that in mind. So he pressed the Chords. And he tried to think what he had said before. He tried to think the long silences were his chord strokes having an effect. Not that he particularly wanted to have an effect. It was just his way of saving face, of pretending the chord listener was not up in the belfry looking down like the Phantom of the Opera and seeing him for what he really was and for what he was really doing.
And he was lying, but the chords said just get through it; you tried to explain, and explanations never get you anywhere, but stared at. You have to do it this way. You have to do it their way. That was a line from "I Was A Teenage Werewolf" that Malcolm Atterbury delivered to his son, the ultimate in rebellious teens, "You have to do it their way sometimes. Cause when you do, they leave you alone." Do it their way. Make a lagoon of simmer water out in the hot hot desert. Make a lagoon of pain and painlessness at the same time. Put the chords in the organ keys and play your heart out. Don't tell them the way the clouds gather in the other organ player, and how you have to guess and you guess wrong. And if wrong guesses are right guesses, if you are just going along to keep the thing rolling when you don't want this thing to roll at all—then you give up and you stand up from the organ and you walk the hell away—but you have always been polite, to the point of the mast head of self-ridicule. You have always never bothered when you bothered so much. Never cared when you cared so very much.
Others don't care. The other organ players. They sing the same tunes and expect you to join them in there too. And they don't mind if you drop out, giving up explanations, giving up the livery stable where there is the beast of yourself you would like to ride out on, and the wind would be hot and the mirage would be just for you, and these keys would not be here under your fingertips riding you and you would make the desert proper by dusk and you could be a mirage yourself. That was the rolling organ. That was the rolling tumescence that said here is the tumor and the tumor is you. Don't you like it when someone says you can tell me everything? And you play the chords. And you think the cords. And the cords were the reason for the drapes in "The Cobweb" and caused mental unbalance and murder, and that would be fine. If the dust would stop settling on you. If you could pass the dumb glumness of him, if you could make him understand that the ceiling above you us crushing down on you and it is black and dark and the walls or caving in and the windows are being boarded up in trick fast film clips.
And you think oh God let me stop this, let me stop sitting here for what? 20 minutes since last message-how long to wait? How long to wait till I've done this and done that and why doesn't the other organist meet me with one chord? With one cord. I have to have one chord to take me out of this. I have to get off this thing. God, the stories, god little, the memories, god all the hurts that have made me out of this—come on, now, one stroke, one fever blister, one moment when it's time enough that I've cum. One throw and one recant and get out of here now and move without substance out of the shadows of this too sunny room, this too hot room, and my eyes are killing, and would they pick up the cord? I have no idea who this person is. I have no idea even his name. Even where he is. What he is. Just the substance of all of the ones before who chorded and then turned their backs and walked away and I wanted to scream at them I wouldn't have done it to you...And the chords play under my fingers. Cum yet? Have I allowed myself time? Too fast? Too slow? Disinterested. Would he click off? What would I care? I care and I play the chords. And I think one fine day I will not be here, one fine day there will be a sun shine day that will not have me in it.
I am going blind. My eyes are "fragile." I am not going blind. But my eyes are "fragile." I have to chord him. I have to say the oppression he gives me every few months or so are life for me, and I find happiness in his glumness, in his orchestration of me, now do it now, but I can't, try try harder force yourself, and I want to scream and I am screaming at the chords I play, wondering which chord I have to hit to kill me, which cord I have to take from the organ keys and place it round my neck and pull hard and tight on the already knotted rope and then the breathless young again and then Joel again and we are in Autumn and we are not here on the organ playing games for someone who leaves me dangling; it's been now 35 minutes almost; god, I've told him things and the lies and I just give up the truth, yes that sounds exciting, yes I love it like that, when I don't, when I scream at the church interior round me and forever in tin foil, and forever rutting hot and hot and steamy and painful, and I can't play my tunes at all. I can't dream here with this organist and I have to get off this thing because I am so mothering tired of playing by everybody else's rules—
--who gives them the right to make up the rules? Even the most personal? Even the most profound things that live in a person's bones, and they have no right to take uncaring command of that; why am I playing this tune? Why do my fingers heave and flow above the keyboard keys? Who loves freedom here? Who can sing Janis Joplin's words about freedom being just a word for nothing else to lose? It's been Halloween all my frickin' life. And I find the keys shimmery before me and I find the screen dim and fading and I keep seeing Barry says: Barry says: Barry says: And Barry is the only one saying anything here. And Barry is getting pretty goddam tired of this. And Barry wants to call a halt to the hurt and the wounded and the sad and the lonely and the misbegotten and the hiders who have to hided even in hiding, and he wants to say, but the cords are there on the keys, while the other organist has said a total of three swift sentences, while Barry says: fills the screen. The question and the grillings of others here on their own little organs and Barry telling the truth and the truth, until Barry learns how to lie and to lie and to feel so friggin' guilty about it when this one doesn't give a damn either and the cords are there on the keys. Cords are prettier than chords. Cords you can take into your hands and hold them and you feel their weight, not like this orchestration now, where you feel like you are flowing down straight through fire clouds to hell, and begging them to keep screeching your bones and scraping the skin off your face cause it's the only way you know how to live anymore or maybe ever....
And you want to thank the friends who were kind. You want to thank the friends who helped and pretended they liked being around you and you want to say all the things you meant about how you miss them, then and now, and you feel ashamed and you tried your best. Like Mountain McClintock, though you always took a dive, you never took friends for granted and you take the cords off the key, throw the hanging cord over the rafters and you put the noose round your neck, and you think of the story with the line "Today, I did not hang myself." Victory for keeping alive one more day. But all the hollow black sick making clouds finally move in and you stand up, and you test the chord, and you look down at the cords on the keyboard and at the screen, no words added to it, I'm sorry I lied and I know you don't care but I sold any integrity I had a long time ago and never could admit it till now.
The chord was round your neck. You waited five six seven sweaty minutes for an answer to pop on the MSN screen, for that notice he is composing an answer:
And the last thought in your head, after "Joel, catch me" is "Today I did hang myself."
And the computer remained mute in the oppressively hot musty too sunny room. Sundays had a way of going on boringly forever. But sometimes a person out of desperation or a suddenly found ability to believe in so much, in everything, so much so, that you will give your life up for it, manages to open the door of Sunday---