Happy fucking new year.

Let the past one die in agony while we weep for the next to pull us out of our misery.

The room was so messy and overthrown that one might have wondered what kind of robbery took place, or worse, frat group party. As luck would have it, this debauchery was the fine work of only three people, one of whom was my highly intoxicated self. Alas, my sight had become so blurry, it was impossible to discern which tableau up the wall was hand-painted by which French tortured artist. Was it a Cezanne or a Gauguin? The lines were so hard to focus on, it could have been a Dali. Hell, Dali could have been French for all I cared.

Malo opened the Bordeaux with a swift and chirurgical movement only coked-up bartenders were able to throw. “Fill up our cups!” cried Sallie. “You don’t drink Bordeaux out of a cup but a fine glass. Those are crystal stemware, for God’s sake.” Sallie laughed as I handed mine silently.

It was Malo, after all. The same mighty Malo we met in high school, mumbling the same song, each time. As kind as a boy like him could be, it was aberrant that we came from different social backgrounds. Thus, perhaps in lieu of educating us, opening our minds to the vastness of mundane pleasures and activities, he would sometimes take it upon himself to explain the customs of his ruthless tribe. He would drive us in whatever sports car was gifted to him that year, take us on vacation to his family house by the sea. He would talk about wines he did not know, times he did not live, wars he did not fight. It was his own masquerade, to which we gladly took part.

We knew that deep, deep beneath all those permafrost layers of exuberance and pride, layed, all curled up under the weight of the ice, a beautiful and delicate flower. We used to see it often, this flower in his mind. At his mother’s funeral or when we watched The Prestigefor the first time. Nowadays this flower is only visible at ungodly hours. When the liquor had melted all the layers, glass after glass, and all the ice had upholstered his eyeballs of a nostalgic glim. Only there, could we see it, Sallie and I. Two alpinists of the mind recklessly planting our stakes in the merciless mountain’s flank, onward and upward, until we finally stumbled upon it. An Edelweiss.

Yet our perilous endeavor was not coming from nowhere, for we three shared a common ground: our bottomless love for the bizarre. From Balkan artifacts to Central African ceremonies, our curiosity on the subject was endless. Yet as much as I can remember, there is not a single event nor specific causality that brought us together. Weirdos just find each other, somehow.

“So Malo, Now you can tell us!” Sallie crossed her legs on the leather couch, glass resting on the knee. Malo, who was gazing at the floor, looked up through his strands of hazel, curly hair. “What do you mean?” he asked quite bluntly. “You wanted to show us something. Something we could only see tonight, or perhaps never again.” The boy took a few seconds, seemingly trying to think through the liquor’s vapors. He shrugged. “Oh yes! The Thing. It’s tonight, isn’t it.” I looked at him, quite confused. “You were the one insisting on it. Tonight or perhaps never again.”

The boy looked up at the ceiling as if he was giving utterance to some mystical idea. He ran a hand through his curly hazel hair before dangling his arms against his scruffy shirt, which overflanked his carefully tailored trousers, comfortable but not too large, short on the ankles but not feu-de-plancher. Nonchalance was an art he mastered quite well. Fucking asshole.

Malo walked around the room, looking at the walls, furniture and ceiling as if it was the very first time. “You know my grandfather was an explorer?” I carefully put the base of my glass on the main table. “You mentioned it”. Malo stopped, still not looking at any of us. “Yeah I mentioned it, yeah… He went solo, like a true man. Swam the Gange, climbed Machu Picchu. He brought back tons of shit from all corners of the world. Fucking legend.” Poured his glass once more. Sallie started dancing. “I guess it runs in your blood, Mal’!” He looked sideways, sighted. “I guess it does.” He finally turned back. “Anyways, he went on all those crazy expeditions, during which he lost tons of mates. Guys who finished lost, crushed, impaled, famished, eaten, or turning absolutely crazy. But there is one in particular, one adventure that really… Truly got to him.”

I turned my head towards Sallie, my beautiful Sallie. She was eating him by the look and this asshole would not even notice it. After all, that was the very thing we loved him for. His untouchability. He was careless, arrogant, nefarious… We were dying to get close to him.

“There are people who live down there, you know. In Antarctica. People who, still to this day, reside there, completely shut down from the Other World. Not by ignorance, no. They know we’re here. We don’t. We, in fact, are the fucking ignorant, in this whole narrative. Don’t you get it?” Yes Malo, we get it. How could we, the most advanced people on the planet, be ignored by some… tribal folks? What an outrage. He wiped his thin pink lips, ornate by some scattered facial hair that we recommended shaving months ago. “They don’t want us to know the truth, that’s why. Those fucking pagans, they wanted it all for themselves! But they don’t. not anymore. Do you know why?” I wonder. “Because good ol’ Danny, he was smarter than that. Not only did it see the Thing, but he took it back with him. The whole Thing. All the way. Cost him two broken bones and three frostbite fingers to do so and still he did it.”

Sallie, who suddenly seemed uneased, frowned. “What did he take? What could have been worth risking everything?” I wonder. She was staring at him, but his eyes were stuck into mine. He whispered.

“Don’t you want to see it? It will blow your mind.

I don’t know how many nights I thought about this moment, looking at my ceiling as it was the first time I did so, each night discovering a new crack on its surface, feeling a new cramp in my stomach. Of course I wanted to see it. Of course I wanted to know. The Thing that we could only witness that night, or perhaps never again.

Damn you, Malo.

May you rest in pain and sorrow.