I’ve descended into the 7th circle, the diseased swarm, the festering pool of unabashed profligacy, the shameless debauchery that could only exist in a corner of the world that god can’t see. Maybe he doesn’t want to see. Maybe he realizes there needs to be a place where goodness is suspended, where man is reduced to mammal, without the moral baggage he strapped to us. Or maybe he’s just blinded by the neon. What matter the reason. He’s not here. Sweat drips as sure as foam falls from the mouth of the rabid dog that I saw outside the doors. Was he rabid? Was there a dog? Or have the fumes gotten to me already – the ineffectual deodorant meeting its neutralizer, perfumes, salts, eyeshadows, colognes, hair stiffeners – and glitter. It’s the goddamn glitter that’s getting to me. I can’t stand it. The scantily clad hivers clutch glow sticks at the ready – perhaps it’s their normalcy, their anchor, their light in the pit – but no matter, the lights burn out quickly or are dropped perilously, and darkness resumes in perpetuity. Viscous liquids fall – no, they drip, stain the air on their way down, in their own slow motion, from the neon yellow tube in the grasp of one of the vectors among me to the black wooden floor – but it stays black. The only structure in this realm with integrity, any principle, is beneath my feet. A damn shame. It’s humid, but there’s no weather in here, nor outside, nor anywhere far as I can be certain – no, it’s not humid, it’s damp, wet even. It’s disgusting, whichever iteration of “sweaty” you buy into – I don’t care. Inferno is real, it’s all around me, and I descended those steps willingly – horror invited and I’ve sat at his dinner table.
Streamers fall from the rafters, mocking my ensnarement, I swear, and they’re ugly, mangled. Young men are about, ridiculously dressed, ridiculously nervous, ridiculous – all of them. Downward, their eyes peer. As if something exists lower than here. They shake in an out of the crowd, robust in exclamation all as if something important will come from one of them soon but it will not, and they know it, and they stall, headlong through their own ignorance, or hope – equally spiteful qualities. Just having been here already earns me a stern talking to at the gates upstairs, I know it. A soul can be unclean; a soul can get unclean. There’s a light at the back of the room. I wade my way across the River Styx, gut bursting with glitter and neon, hoping, praying to the god I don’t believe in that there’s truth where that light is, but I fool myself. Vanity, now I see, as they all duck in and out of this strange box that emits a flash, their indoctrination classes, maybe. They smile, they pause, flashes stream. I don’t want to know what it is. A man – if you can call him one at this point, down here, at this time – swings around, his eyes looking into my eyes. “Speed kills, baby” he says, a brazen pair of goggles affixed to his face no more than his face is clings to them – and before I knew it there’s a second swarm of them, they’re in waves now, and they’re only getting faster, the buggers. The 5th column, the pariah, the aid seekers, they have come to my level. And they’re fast – genuinely too fast. What holiness, I beg, when mortal men go 300km/h in a school zone? No matter.
I bustle, my stress capacity peaking, sensory overload peaking, genuinely disenchanted with this flesh and blood I live in, my sanity emulsified, as the song changes again. A roar lets up, it’s nasty and squeamish, piercing, uncertain, but it tears through flesh – or maybe it’s still just the glitter. I’ve heard the beast now too. It’s homogenous, it’s loud, and it keeps telling me to JuJu on that beat.