The following is an excerpt from my project The Underground. It focuses on man that does not believe in society, living on the edge of it, fighting to stay on the edge of it.
It was the weekend, Saturday or Thursday, weekend for me, anyway. We were tripping with a friend and found ourselves in a bar outnumbered by the crowd. There was a gig that night at the White Elephants, my other friend Ignas, in fact my neighbor too, was on the stage. I took my drinking buddy, my fellow, and showed him and the beers he was carrying the way to the piles of chairs stacked on top of one another just outside the bar, in the bar’s private lawn with STOP tape stretched all around. Never stopped us, that tape, and we soon started unstacking the many chairs. We weren’t 100% sure we were doing the right thing, but the owner of the bar was sitting there, smoking, too, and he assured us all is fine, even invited us to come to the bar later.
But we were fine, we could hear the music clearly, and sometimes I would accompany some words from the song with sounds of my own. I knew Ignas could hear them from somewhere behind him. At one point I even stood up, went inside the bar, lit up a palo santo and spread the smell through the crowd, making crazy ravers expand their nostrils and manically inhale, suck in, in fact, the smoke, all the while yelling “Oh my god, it’s palo santo!” I eventually broke the 4th wall by going up the stage and sinking the musician’s beard in the bittersweet smoke. Then I calmly, surely and quietly retreated back to my zone, outside the bar.
Meanwhile some other people joined our small circle of smoke. On the left was the bartender girl, having a ciggy break. On the other side, a man like a shadow descended and sat next to me, asking me things in broken German, saluting Hitler and doing all kinds of Nazi ceremonial gesture. He was really forcing that German language, breaking it. I told him that “It’s ok, we do not need to go through all of this for you to ask for a cigarette.”
It is all very well, we all have our addictions. All would have been monotonous, if not for the magician mastermind. He appeared from the darkness in front of us. From the back of the yard he started waving at us, asking, pleading to show a trick. He used Lithuanian, Russian and Polish at the same time. The smoking bartender girl did not let him in, at first, but he won her over. “Just one trick, you just got to look. Please, just look.”
Very well. We looked. He took a newspaper, started smiling with his gums more than teeth, started tearing at it, ripping it into small shreds, bare piece of old information. The magician then told us to look carefully, once again. He smiled. The few teeth he had left were his pride. He looked us all over and SLAP, clapped his hands with the little bits of paper, and started pulling out the newspaper from his fist, whole, not damaged anywhere. He was pulling it slowly, was he pulling it slow, enjoying it slowly, soaking in the illusion, smiling, happy, only his eyes were running around fast, looking at our faces, our reactions.
“Wow, old man, that is pretty good.”, exclaimed the bartender girl. She only allowed him one trick, though. But the illusionist insisted on another one. He wouldn’t leave, he had his foot firm in the ground. “Give me a matchbox.”, he commanded us. So we did. And he put it on the top of his palm, and told us it will only work if we look closely. And then he made some hand moves and the matchbox started levitating.
That was another mad illusion, because the Hitler-salluting-shadow on our side started getting inside our things. Had we looked closely enough into the trick, indeed the trick would have worked. Angry at us for not obeying his master’s commands, the shadow swallowed my friend’s beer with it and told us the secret: “We cannot live without one another.”
It was the magician’s 55th birthday today, said he hoped we had a good show, gave us candies, and vanished into the very same darkness he came from.
But the shadow lingered, and put his hands on his head as if the horns of the devil, making grimaces at us, laughing at us in his own manic way, mocking us for being a part of the society.
I would have taken that picture, but my film had ended.