In the machinations of the gods we are pawns in their games of chess. After hedonistic nights courtesy of Club Berghain, Frederic takes a brief journey to Paris. Here he learns that just sometimes the gods answer requests. But is our narrator truly prepared for life on the autobahn?
The gods answer a request.
Once upon a time a boy named Frederic was born. He would make folly around the world, asking and receiving and finding and flaunting. This story is about what happens when we crash. Where do we go when we finally find ourselves?
I left Berlin, I left, (the), my twins. I flew to Paris for the remainder of my European tour and eventually found myself on a Thursday night on the river Sienne with two of my favorite writers. We drank red wine, talked poetry and politics, all 3 of us conjuring magic at a tiny café under the moon at its fullest. One of the magic makers was a tall handsome fellow who made anything he wanted and was quite possibly a fucking genius; yes I said it. I think the term is used too much these days when people speak of children who haven’t really done anything yet, but this guy has done everything, kind of like a polymath in the most literal sense. I’ll keep his name to myself.
And then there she was. A head full of naps and loosely disheveled locks. Smell of lavender and the fashion sense of punk meeting Tracy Chapman. She was also the real deal. We met at the James Baldwin conference, here in Paris, about a year prior. I know we didn’t, but it felt like we both gave the same presentation, but not, but kind of. Now, of course, I love her… and her work. Is that narcissistic? It’s okay if it is.
Throughout the flurry of conversation, my mind keeps thinking that soon I will have to fly away. I haven’t bought my ticket yet, but I will have to when I get to my flat. The conversation lures me from my impending reality and I laugh at what my friend says, and does. He keeps reminding us that the world is ours and finally, in what seems to be an uncontrollable movement, he stands on top of the table singing loudly the lyrics to, The World is Yours (1994), by Nas.
“Wipe the sweat off my dome, spit the phlegm on the streets//Suede Timb’s on my feets makes my cipher complete//Whether crusing in a Sikh’s cab, or Montero Jeep//I can’t call it, the beats make me falling asleep//I keep falling, but never falling six feet deep//I’m out for presidents to represent me (say what?)//I’m out for presidents to represent me (say what?)//I’m out for dead presidents to represent me//Whose world is this?//(The world is yours, the world is yours)//It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine//Whose world is this?//It’s yours//It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine//Whose world is this?”
The whole bar continues the iconic chorus and for a moment I think this is absolutely fucking brilliant. The power and reach of our words, our abilities to create and connect with people from all over the world. Either it’s the full moon, the company, or the delicious French red wine, but I am feeling kinetic. I grab my glass, delightfully full throughout the entire night, and I raise my potion to the full moon and say quite poetically.
“I want my job to collapse my position and give me a severance pay that will allow me to stay in Europe. Do you hear me luna llena? I ask that you make this true.”
We all cheer each other and go about our evening which consists of singing, dancing at the edge of the Sienne, writing prose for later consumption-performing a ritual as a family in foreign land. We contemplated this Black experience in Europe during the time of Trump. Laughed at the idiots who cannot even spell but have power beyond measure. We laughed at power. I take an uber home, but this time, in Paris, it was someone’s car, a nice car mind you, but not a taxi. Stumbling inside my flat I fall face forward on the couch. My brain pounds as I fall into slumber.
I go to club Machine to meet Brandon. He is Senegalese and he is dark black chocolate richness.
It’s late. Like 15h I think, when I finally get up from the bed. Surprisingly I don’t have a hangover. I see 4 empty bottles of water next to me and realize that I must have drank them. My computer is wide open. I have purchased a ticket back to America to leave on Saturday. Saturday is tomorrow. Today is Friday. Not quite the Coming to America (1988) movie scenario I so enjoyed from my childhood. It’s time to go back to my other job. I have hella jobs. But the job I’m going back to, the one I asked the full moon to dissolve from me, has allowed me to the accept these performing gigs in Europe.
I walk to the stores in the neighborhood and buy things to cook. I enter my flat and my phone rings. My job has collapsed, my position that is. And my boss, or my ex-boss tells me that I will have a nice severance pay. He wanted to call me before I left Europe just in case I wanted to stay. I am silent as he speaks his well wishes for me and apologizes for the inconvenience. Inside I am bright orange and pink because this is what I asked for and the thought, “Be careful what you ask for,” rings inside of my head, “cause you just might get it.” I hang up the phone and sit in silence for a while, until I hear the boiling water spilling onto the fire creating a loud crashing sound. After I finish eating, I open up my grinder app and think it’s time to celebrate.
I go to club Machine to meet Brandon. He is Senegalese and he is dark black chocolate richness. He buys me a drink immediately not even asking me what I want.
“You look like a vodka drinker.” He says.
“How did you know?” I ask.
“Just a good guess.” He then hands me a vial full of white powder and says, “And I am assuming you like coke?”
“What are you? My husband?” We both laugh as I run to the toilet and hurriedly return to see Brandon sitting on a stool smiling and bobbing his head. He turns away two suitors before I can get back to him. I slow down my pace to watch him politely tell two fine ass men that he is here with someone. When he sees me he smiles wide and opens his hand for me to return his drugs to him. He pecks me on the check and floats away to the toilet. I take a sip from my drink and think about my newfound freedom. I asked for this. Do I stay? Not in Paris, but in Europe? Do I leave to Berlin tomorrow? What the actual fuck?
Featured image by the painter Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard, 1793-in it Zeus weighs the fate of man.
Second image by Palma Giovan