So this is how the rich sleep at night! Amazing!
For fifty-five fucking years I've tossed and turned and woken up dead tired. I thought I'd been sleeping, but. . .no! What I used to think of as *sleep* was nothing but assault and deprivation. I know now, after just a single night in a rich man's Inn, the greatest theft from the poor has been our sleep. I woke every day sick and tired, while the rich rose reborn, and now I know why. The rich sleep on beds softer than their hands, and in absolute quiet. Absolute quiet! All my life I've ended my days on top of lumps of hard cotton and springs that squeak like a rusty carnival Ferris wheel. But this rich man's bed! I could fuck two fat girls on it, and there'd be nary a creak or groan.
And the pillows! The rich sleep on pillows that are 30 inches long and 10 inches thick, cradling the neck and head in a feathery, blissful sleep-o-sphere! Sleep heaven, compared to the poor man's hellish foam slabs that crick the neck and smother our grubby faces in toxic mite nests.
Yes, I slept like the rich. . .for one night. In the rich man's luxury Inn. A *gift* from my credit card company. . .a gift for my massive indebtedness. So many *reward* points for the electronic dollars I'll never be able to pay back. All those reward points for all those years of repairs on shitty used cars, a new hot water heater, kids' dental work, vet bills for the kids' cat that kept getting piss blocked, etc. etc., etc.,. . .all the crap outside paycheck-to-paycheck living that the rich let me have for a 14.99% APR. And so, after faithfully making my minimum monthly payments for a dozen or so years, I had *earned* enough reward points for a single night's stay at the rich man's Inn.
I woke at 4:15 am after the first good night's sleep of my life, shocked I'd even been asleep, asleep for almost ten hours. I laid down on the bed at 8:30 pm, just to check it out, and was instantly raptured into a euphoria of drowsiness. Ten hours later, I woke, still in my clothes, refreshed and not bitter I had to start another day still sick and tired.
What to do at 4:15 am? This rich man's Inn has a casino on the first floor. Why not go down and take a look? But first, I'll stop off on the 11th floor, and see the room where the celebrity musician killed himself. Morbid curiosity often leads to radical insight.
The Inn keepers have removed the number from the death chambre, no doubt trying to dissuade gawking, but this only makes the necroroom more obvious: the only unnumbered unit on the floor, the last door on the right, the corner suite.
I try the handle. It's locked, no surprise. I listen. Nothing. I stand there. No heat, no cold, no static, no light, no odor. Nothing. People die all the time, of course. The earth is a landfill of the dead. Dying is as unremarkable as letting the air out of a tire. The bowels evacuate, the carcass is carted away. People die all the time, without effect. Oh, someone might cry, or a job might need to be filled, but the big bang of death itself leaves no tear in the space-time continuum.
And yet. . .this point in space and time, this suicide point, emits an undeniable metaphysical force. I visualize the calamity of history, the actual wasting of the soul. I stand at death's door and conjure the famous singer as he wraps a band around his neck, the obvious finally admitted: the material world's treasure, wealth and esteem, nothing but fool's gold. The famous singer had distanced himself from reality for two, three decades, through narcotics and orgasms, but at some point he woke from his life dream, and there, on the silk sheets and ethereal pillows, lay reality: the drying remains of heroin vomit, semen and cunt juice. . .his haven nothing but a gilded toilet. The python of depression, which had been slowly, tediously, tightening around his neck, took final and complete hold. His life, even though he'd married and brought children into the world, was without meaning. He'd never found a point outside himself. He was the center of his own universe, until he finally collapsed upon himself like a black hole sun.
Yes, I think to myself as I stare down the empty hallway, that's the lesson of Room Zero. All attempts to find meaning are vain. The only hope is revelation.
If the rich can't live in this world, what chance do the poor have? I ride the elevator down. It's 4:30 in the morning, and I thought there would only be a few souls gambling at the dead end of night, but no, there are hundreds here.
I'm struck by the number of old women on the penny and nickel slot machines. Dozens and dozens. Wives and mothers, grandmothers, in the tacky dress of the American poor. Sweatshirts, blue jeans, ugly print blouses. The old bags sit reverently before the absurdly themed games of mermaids, manga characters, space aliens, etc. Sad. The sad state of the American matron. Yes, to see these biddies offering their pensions to Koi Princess. It was not always so:
And Jesus looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
How art thou fallen, old bag!
I pass through the people on the vast casino floor. The stink of cigarettes is heavy in the air. The fog of tar and nicotine, the self-sacrifice of cancer, is a rancid-smelling savor. These people have no chance. Snake eyes from Eden on. Born to lose. How Jesus would have gathered them, but they would not! The great kill themselves, the poor offer their livelihood to the unknown god, hoping for their miracle when the slot machines are troubled like the waters at the pool of Bethesda. And now their house is left unto them desolate.
Look at this old bag, here. A cheap wig over her nappy head as she sits before the image of the beast.
"You having any luck, Auntie?" I ask.
She turns her gaze from the vulgarized bhavachakra, looks at me, scowls:
"I ain't your Auntie!"
That's the problem with the poor. They don't stick together. The rich tell each other their secrets, and always win at their Wall Street casinos, while the poor betray each other for a few pieces of silver. Just look at the poor, the way they act at Walmart at the big holiday sale, the holiday meant to celebrate their Creator. No wonder the poor are always with us.
The poor are always with us. . .
Look at them! Row after row of gaming machines, the greasy poor sweating upon them.
The poor are always with us. . .
You can't get rid of them! Immortal. Immortal Judas. He refused to abandon his poverty and join the Kingdom. He hung himself out of regret. But his immortal soul carries on. His descendants sit here today, eyes burning for three 7s.
The one thing the poor have in ample abundance is regret! Just have the misfortune of talking to the poor, you can't go five minutes without hearing their woeful misgivings. . .
Look at these pitiful creatures. It's a wonder more of them don't kill themselves! The great singer from the eleventh floor killed himself, but these people cling to their miserable lives like shit to a shovel. Why?
I might as well ask one. . .
I search the multitude for a suitable specimen. . .
There's one, sitting in front of a machine called Lightning Link. She's not too shabby or flea-bitten. She actually wore an outfit that people from refined cultures would consider suitable for a public outing, complete with a little scarf wrapped around her neck. She also tried to adorn her decaying features with cosmetics, but this far into the evening, the make-up is now chipped, peeling and picked-at, her face rather reminding one of a half-eaten cake found in a conference room 24 hours after an office birthday party.
"Good evening, madame!"
"So. . .hello?"
"Might I interrupt your hopeless pursuit of riches and ask you to join me for a cup of coffee?"
She swivels her chair to fully face me. You have to admire the human brain. The raw processing power. A quick eye scan, less than a second. One eye registers a bar, the other a lemon. The results then instantaneously converted into language:
"Really, that's very nice of you, but, no, thanks."
She's looking at it the wrong way, though.
"If not coffee, then tea?"
"Again, that's nice, but, no."
"It's not really about the beverage, OK?"
There was a bit of an edge to the 'OK,' and a frown as she swivels back to the machine. Apparently I'm a bother. She'd rather be alone with her robot. Sex robots will never be as big as these things. Never.
For the love of money. . .
"How about a bagel, then? A nice toasted bagel with cream cheese?"
"So. . ." she says, without turning around, "you're trying to pick me up, but, no, thanks."
The limited mind of the poor!
"Ma'am, considering you're probably hiding a turkey neck under that scarf, you're assuming an awful lot, but good luck to you, anyway."
I walk off. It wasn't the conversation I was hoping for, but I found my answer, nonetheless. The imagination of the poor is so narrow, only allowing passage to the most base carnality, their humanity is choked, and thus they live as animals. And just as animals do not kill themselves, but wallow in the mire without consciousness of the cosmic, so do the poor. The poor do not kill themselves because their higher self is already dead. They are worth pity and prayer, for only God can resurrect them, only God can heal them of the lying vanities of the world, to which they have succumbed.
As I wander the casino in search of the exit, a great weariness overcomes me. Thank God I feel a stranger in this world. And one free day in this world is plenty.
Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.
But I have 5 hours until checkout, so I'll go back up to the rich man's bed and take my rest, for the night is coming when no man can work.
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