Ghosting, Hallucinating— What a Life!


Adam suddenly regained consciousness. He is holding up a cigarette, and this chinky-eyed woman is eyeing him from the table away. A loud call was ringing in his head— the waiter was barking into his ear in a foreign language. Chinese, maybe. Something from Indochina. He tells him, “I speak English, not whatever you’re saying.” The waiter still didn’t stop nor change the language of use. Adam looks at him, trying to remember when he got there. “Chiang beer then,” he slowly says, as if picking up the words from the sewers of his brain.

A bar, he realizes he’s in. Not some crummy, second-rate bar- but a hotel bar. What hotel that is, Adam has yet to determine. The lighting is low, and the seats are made of leather. Synthetic leather. He doesn’t smell alcohol, however. The smell of cigarettes also evades his nostrils. The place is air-conditioned, but no smell whatsoever. Only a flowery, almost putrid scent that seems to be omnipresent.

The woman from the other table still hasn’t stopped eyeing him. Ears still ringing even with no waiter shouting, he smiles at her. He doesn’t approach her and she notices. Standing up from her seat, she blows a plume of smoke towards his direction, smiling back. Her approach begins and she seats herself right next to him.

“Are you a ladyboy or a hooker?”

“I am offended. Or maybe I should be flattered? Those transsexuals seem to be prettier than those they claim to impersonate.” Her fluency in English surprised him.

“Well, you aren’t a ladyboy. But are you a hooker? A hooker used to English… If you were, many foreigners would love you, now wouldn’t they?”

“I am not a prostitute, although that shouldn’t get you down. Regardless of my occupation, lots of foreigners love me. Maybe even worship.”

“Worship? Somebody left modesty at home today, didn’t they?” He takes a drag from his cigarette, almost forgetting it was there.

“You ask a lot of questions. I prefer men who don’t ask a lot of questions.”

“Then maybe I should stop. I might get lucky.”

Adam suddenly regained consciousness. Visions of blurred images haunt his eyes until, suddenly, shapes take on definite forms. The hot sun, he realizes, is burning through his bones. It’s a golden ocean, where he’s lying down. Looking at himself, he has flowing robes, white as the clouds on a sunny day. But even in this sunny day, there are no clouds. Not in this desert.

A shadow forms over his body and a man covered in rags- or maybe cloth- peers at him. “Are you ready to go on, sir?” the man asks, seemingly impatient, “The sandstorm will start soon.” Adam nods his head. Picking himself up, he finds that there are two horses nearby, tied to a stake. The man in rags leads the way to them, dragging their packed bags.

“Are we far off?”

“No, no, sir. We are nearing the docks.” He notices he has a thick Arab accent, of one schooled in a well-off institution.

“Would you know where we are?”

“Yes sir. But I would rather not say. You would not even remember the name, nor know where it is on the map.”

“I can’t seem to… remember where we’re going. Where are we going?”

“That is funny, sir. You ask a lot of questions. Let us go on our way now.”

Adam suddenly regained consciousness. A car honks right at him, with blaring headlights. Adam can’t see a thing. Suddenly, a soft being clings itself onto him. That soft being becomes a restrictive force on his lungs. “What are you doing in the middle of the road?!” a red, plump face asks. A man of no older than 30. “In the big city, of all places! I don’t know how you people do it in your place, but here, you can’t just stand in the middle of the road!”

Our protagonist (if he can be called as such) picks himself up, and upon finding that the fat man can’t bring his own body up, extends his hand. “I’ll buy you a beer. Thanks.” he says under his breath. “I like the sound of that, pal!” the plump face, even brighter with glee. The man pats Adam on the back and tells him his name. “You sound like you’re from around here, pal, what was that all of a sudden?”

They walk through the side streets, and the tall buildings can’t seem to leave them. A slight pain finds itself on Adam’s abdomen.

Adam suddenly regained consciousness. He can’t seem to feel his body. With a lot of effort and patience, he brings his head up. He’s alone, on a hammock. The night songs of the jungle near him are his only companions. The whole of his body can’t move, and he’s just lying there with a pistol on his belly.

“What the fuck am I doing here?”

“You ask a lot of questions,” somewhere, a reply comes.

“Where are you?”

“You ask a lot of questions.”

“For God’s sakes, let me at least get a Camel out to smoke.”

“If you can.”

Adam suddenly regained consciousness. He’s in his house, watching the television. Some fat guy is on, dancing to a pop song. He recalls him from earlier. Or is it later?


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