Friday, February 18, 2011

Requiem by Manolo Gonzalez

Introitus. As he lay on the floor, I stood watching over him while the blood from the wound slowly spread out over the chocolate oak planks. He wasn’t dead, of course. I made sure of that. That part comes at the end, the finale, like a crescendo in a symphony. All of the curtains in the room were open, nothing out of place or out of the ordinary. I planned it that way. Everything must be accompanied by music, like a beautifully choreographed ballet. Death too can, and will be, an act of such sublimity, such operatic splendor, that calling it a work of art would be a grave injustice. But, of course, for that to become true, it must all go along with the music. So, I stood there, silent, looking down at the beginning of my masterpiece. The room was still, almost somber and then, as planned, the strings became striking and I set out for my next movement. Dies Irae. Now the fever grew, and the darkness began to show himself. I moved the body away from its blood soaked setting and placed it on top of the wooden table. I quickly shut all the windows and curtains, and locked all of the doors. I disrobed the body down to its undergarments, and quickly searched the pockets of his waistcoat and trousers and placed the articles on top of a chair. I removed all the jewelry, also put them on top of the chair, and then I removed his shoes and placed those under the chair. I grabbed a washcloth from the basin and quickly cleaned up the blood that had been spilled. The room was still once more. Rex tremendae. The madness in me, the madness of a man fulfilling and creating such beauty, was now controlling my body the same way that a ballerina loses control over herself with Tchaikovsky. Continuing on with my black dance of death, I turned off all of the lights, leaving only the light of candles to illuminate the rest of my opus, and I poured a generous glass of Bordeaux from a splendid vintage and drank the wine. The red glass matched the rouge of the blood, as if I was drinking the man’s own, and through that, drinking in the spirit of death. Slowly, to make sure that I was going perfectly along with the score, I walked into the washroom. I looked at myself in the mirror; face somber and unmoving with red streaks of blood on my cheeks, as planned, and stared into my eyes. Confutatis. Without taking my eyes off my reflection, I reached into the drawer and pulled out my straight razor. Methodically, I stropped my instrument as a violinist tunes his. One, two. One, two. Timpani. Bassoons. One, two. One, two. The feverish violins demanded that the blade be sharp. I raised the razor up to my eyes and examined the sharpness of the blade. Alas, the moment of true artistic beauty was soon to arrive! Offertorium sanctus, what beauty and splendor will befall my legacy! With the retreat of the pulsating instruments came the calm of the vocal forces. Lacrymosa. Soprano, tenor, contralto. In that calm I paced back to where the body lay. Slowly, deliberately. My glare was fixed on that pathetic slab of flesh on my table. His breathing was getting more pronounced now, indicating that he would be awaking soon, as planned. A soloist, no matter how spectacular, needs accompaniment to achieve greatness. Unbeknownst to him, he would not only become art eternal, but he would also service me as my corps de ballet. Soprano, tenor, contralto. The time was soon to be upon us as the strings became more and more nervous. I stood over the face of the man, peering down into his twitching eyelids. By this time I was worried that he wouldn’t come to consciousness in time for the grand finale, thus ruining my masterwork. This, of course, was a chance I could not allow myself to take. For this very purpose, I had prepared myself with some smelling salts in my breast pocket. Under his blood dripped nose I waved the container. The violas began to escalate as his eyelids began to flutter. I watched as one eye slowly opened and focused on my being. As the crescendo drew upon us, the other eye flung itself open. The moment of triumph—my moment of triumph—was finally among us. My eyes pierced into his eyes. I smiled as I lifted up my instrument as the music began to reach its climax. Soprano, contralto, tenor, bass, violins, trombones, bassoons, timpani, basset horns, trumpets, basso continuo! A glorious and beautiful work of sublimity and death! Amen! And then, the music stopped.

No comments: