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johannes mertzell horowitz
Posted: Sep 3 2011, 03:19 AM


Been kicked around so long / You're starting to get used to how it feels / The taste of blood that's in your mouth / There's still somehow it always heals / Don't know how you keep on getting up / From all those ghostly blows / And all that pain that lingers / Deep down in the darkness where it grows / I know how hard it is / To keep your head up, kid / but try / to keep your head up, kid

user posted image
play by j. linder



» » “i get by.”His disposition is worse for wear, leaning onto the right side of the arm of the chair rather heavily, lazily, while the other slumps at an angle that looks awkward. His foot is tapping upon the floor, finger tapping aimlessly as he rolls his head to one side, then the other, slowly back again before righting it. Slightly slack-jawed, then a clench. He’s pale, and I don’t think it is from the poor lighting. In fact, he looks a tad out of line, as if his mind were racing towards a point that needed to be closer. Upon further inspection, his pupils are dilated, obliterating most of the color within. This would have concerned me greatly if I did not already know snipbits of bitesized information pruned directly for this meeting. As I approach the chair, bushel of articles within a stiff box labeled classified in bold letters, smaller indentations of “send directly to the office of A.L.” not to be skated over. The chair is heavy, but I find it fitting to match the pensive looking man that I would no doubt have passed on the street without looking twice.I sit down across from him and he looks at me through lidded brows, his mouth unmoving and the light above cutting his cheekbones into shadow.When he began talking, I noticed him. It was only then that I found him the least bit captivating, mesmerizing, even, as if, despite his attempts at making himself invisible, something within him still pushed out inclinations and hints of charm. He prompts with a clearing of his throat, a lick of his lips following thereafter. “I assume this is where I tell you about the whole of my asinine existence. If you so insist.” His shoulders stay lopsided, his eyes looking over my figure candidly; there was no pretense that he was looking at anything but me and was, in fact, sizing me up. “Hello.” An uncomfortable pause and I wonder if it is intentional or not. “My name is Johannes Mertzell Horowitz. Johannes is a Germanic form of my great grandfather on my father’s side’s name, Yochanan, Hebrew; God is gracious. I never met him; I heard he was grumpy, mean old kind of man, but World War II would do that shit to you. Mertzell is a pointless name that my mother picked because she liked the way the z sounds after the t. Reminds her of herz; heart. Incorrectly pronounced with her bumfuck dialect, but I always liked the way it rolled off her tongue.” His eyes never left mine as he spoke, his voice was an even, unchanged tone as he continued – as if this were possibly the most boring ordeal of his life. “I live in an apartment in Diagon Alley. A shit little thing and not in the thick of commotion. You have to turn four times until your dazed and confused, turn around, spy a door that is the same shade of grey as the brick that surrounds it, enter, go up seven floors of a decrepit piece of shit place that manages to still keep a resemblance of decayed charm if you can get through the smell of mold, go down four doors. I’m on the right hand side. The door’s barely on the hinges, but it serves it’s purpose. I’m twenty-four.” Calloused, pale and long hands extend their upwards into the air from their stagnant position on the table from the repositioning that occurred during the giving of directions, where his hands had unconsciously moved to-and-fro, in an offering, a shrug not going unnoticed. “I get by.”Looking down at his hands and back up to me, his lips entertain a small grin that starts transforming his face into something entirely more kind. “Sorry to break it to you, but if we’re going to keep this charade up, I’m going to need coffee. Black. And cigarettes. A lot of both. Thank you in advance.”» » “avarice, a lifelong companion.”We had been sitting in silence for a few agonizingly long moments as his eyes continued looking around, sometimes settling upon me, but took their time taking in the oblique forms that were scattered around the room. The kind that were primarily shadows, yet sometimes wove to-and-fro when a phantom breeze shook the drop-down light.“Do you know that sound, when you’re in a nearly empty room and you mutter a few words indiscernibly beneath your breath? It reverberates, the room inhales and exhales an echo. You think you’re alone in that near-empty room, but as the walls talk back, you realize there is nothing that is truly alone until the floorboards stop creaking with minute shifts of weight and a defiance against nature is born. One is never truly alone.” His finger is tapping the wood of the chair despite his craving for caffeine being satiated—uppity by nature in slight ways, perhaps. “I’ve never minded the idea of escapism, I often partake in the attempts of grasping something intangible and impossible, but, being something of a loner and a recluse, the so-named ‘Alone-Time’ by the whole of the Horowitz clan has been redefined as an excuse for why I never go to gatherings. That, or ‘He just has another book coming out, you know he’s always been something of a writer,’ don’t be fooled, ‘he’s off to masturbate, but, try again later,’ was a popular third. They, my family, have never quite understood why I seek to be ‘alone’ so often, and it isn’t because I have a long standing relationship with my left hand, if you’re wondering.”A red tongue licks his slightly offsetting red lips, a deep hue that seems unnatural, eyebrow quirking, “never understanding why I ran off into the woods or empty rooms of the house when everyone else was bringing friends over and laughing about the girl with pretty hair that sat in front of them. I had those instances, though. I just never talked about them.” His fingers are now occupied with rolling a cigarette without looking carefully, the tobacco falling slightly upon the table and upon further inspection, a first look down at the activity, picked up between a thumb and fore-finger and re-peppered over the paper. “They all thought I was so strange for not talking about my doings, about the sweet yellow haired girl with big eyes who sometimes shared oatmeal cookies with me despite it being heavily frowned upon by the nuns and priests alike—though I suppose I always wrote it off as a notion of no one understanding the way that I liked the sound of creaking floorboards and birds, and people talking, I like listening, and that was a half truth.”The paper is now lit and inhaled smoothly, eyes closing as he feels a calm, a short one, just like what came with the first sip of black liquid. Honestly, he could have been a print campaign for the way it brought upon peacefulness, swiftly tossed away as he opens his eyes again and the blue eyes are steeled off and, dare I notice, hurt. For a man who hated sharing, valued his privacy over anything, at times he certainly was an open book. “But, the other part of that truth was that no one asked.” The room falls into the quiet that I think he likes, but maybe he hates. “I jest about misanthropy, despite the roots of loathing long since embedding themselves within me; sometimes I wonder if they’ve taken over my veins and if the blood in me is real. That’s when I scratch to see what lies beneath the epidermis, trying to see if the crimson is as thick and if it has the ability to clot like the rest.” He thinks for a moment, his head angling slightly to the side as he arches an eyebrow as if assessing himself, a faint grin appearing as he finds amusement in his own silent joke, “that’s only after a particular bad trip. I don’t mutilate. When I look into the mirror, my reflection says I should be ashamed of myself, but not even I stoop so low as to intentionally dissect my own person.” He must have noticed my questioning eyebrow, for he shifts in his seat before a candid answer spills, “I don’t want my mother to cry.”It doesn’t feel real, though. It feels rehearsed. Again, he shifts, this time the way he moves his mouth is nothing if not sardonic. “Don’t believe me? Fair enough.” A bitter aftertaste, like bile, “I never want my brothers to have the last laugh, and they would be there, families and wives in tow and beaming brighter than the fucking sun, over my freshly dug grave—assuming they wouldn’t let me rot where I sat.” Over-dramatic, maybe, but the way his eyes are hardened voices another opinion. He is without doubt in his own conceptions. He is silent as a slightly trembling hand connects to the plain white china, long fingers that smelled of ink, of dirt, of caffeine, of countless nights running said appendages through tendrils of hair and over the sharp angles of his face; a minute or two passes with Johannes clenching the glass before he brings it to his lips, a slow exhale following the intake. “On the worst nights,” his breath tickles the top of the coffee, blowing swirls into the air, “I get fucked up with Avarice; a lifelong companion.”Back to his more nefarious vice, one of them. I arch my eyebrow despite my prior knowledge and fully intent on prying. “Drugs.”“Astute observation, Doctor. You would win a prize, if it mattered.” Another pause. He is not looking into my eyes and is finding the dark corner behind my left shoulder to be more interesting. “My first jaunt with something more than cigarettes, which I had picked up at birth by living in Ireland, was when I was nineteen. Surprisingly late, I know.” A sip, his eyes close and he looks peaceful—a bit like a man who was dreaming of something, conjuring a memory would be more apt. “It was painful. The first hit and the actions that brought it on; my capitulation was fairly swift.”» » another sip of ever-warm coffee.The coffee has been replaced yet again with a cigarette, the fourth of our meeting. Fifth, maybe. I have lost count, has the time flown that quickly? It doesn’t seem to matter to Johannes, though, as he shifts his weight to the other side of the chair, heels clicking on the floor as he taps them. It’s been at least twenty minutes since he’s uttered a singular word, his eyes slightly glazed over. As he moved, I felt myself reengage, wondering what it was he would talk about, where he’d take it next. “Her name was Eva.”“In many ways, Eva was my snake. The Eve to my Adam, if you would. She showed me not only sex, but introduced me to a friend that's one hell of a contender.” Johannes seems to have enjoyed the play on words, but it’s lost on me. The frown resumes, and he continues.“It spiraled after that. For the first time, I felt alone. I didn’t hate it.” His hands are now free and they run through his slightly shaggy hair. Did he even bother showering before this interview? No, probably not. Despite the potential to be so clean, so prim and perfect to bring home to mother and father, one would have to take a metallic scrub brush to his skin for hours before a Prince emerged. They would have to scrape away the very essence that he found pride in with that brillo pad until he bled. Then again, he was not proud. Strange, how a man who had so much hatred for what he stood for could leak a sensation of contentment. Wrong word. Acceptance. “It wasn’t every day, but it was quick moving to that.“The first hit was like a fetish made of crystals and electricity, animated by my wishes and fears — a perfect embodiment of my own conditions of existence. Within the downfall, I was hooked. If not every moment, it would be there when I was feeling particularly fucked by everyone I knew.” A lick of his lips, another sip of ever-warm coffee. “If you’re wondering, Eva isn’t a kitschy and unique code word for my drug. She was a prostitute. Is still one, probably. Most don’t get out of the oldest profession in the world. The job security always brings them back. I’ll go back to school, I’ll get a real job, I’ll start a family. They all say it. The money goes to cheap jewelry, to fake tits. A better future.”He doesn’t seem proud at the fact, however, as he was hardly a prideful sort, the body language indicating someone who didn’t particularly enjoy looking into the mirror in the mornings, if he even bothered, and I had once read a report about how, how much time one spent getting ready, how much time they plucked at individual hairs, determined their general impact on the world. Looking at Johannes Horowitz, I wonder, again, if his sole intention of not trying was distinctly so he didn’t leave a carbon footprint, so when he died, he would rot into an existence that wouldn’t be missed. By his own admission, he would confirm that.“It seems to me, Johannes, that you’re not particularly happy about—”His eyes cut me off, their peculiar shape rendering me temporarily shocked, the slight nostril flair that I would have missed, otherwise, was nearly bleached out in the bright light. “About being a fuckup? You’re right, congratulations.” When I look at him, see the way he talks and the way he shifts in his seat, he doesn’t seem to take solace in the fact that he’s always been the subject of whispers and furrowed brows, but he seems to not have much of an issue in who he is, as a general being. Candidly, from an outside perspective, he seems to almost relish in the grime he’s amassed around himself – for, in a way, it differentiates he from his brothers, makes him appear to be something else, if not something of a failure. A few factors don’t seem to add up, and as I make eye contact with him again, he seems to have read my mind. “So why sell it, you’re wondering.”“Indeed, Mister Horowitz.”“Honestly, it was a stroke of luck I have this friend, you see. He’s got a shit ton, a metric shit ton, of skeletons in his closet, and he wanted to know where I got it. I sold it. That’s how it started. Like Eva, I’m not leaving the profession anytime soon. The going’s too good and too many people deserve the pain. Even more need a release.” » » the guilt was instantaneous.The sound of restacking papers, the sheets sliding against each other and thudding upon the desk, roused his attention from wherever he had gone that made his seafoam green eyes more distant, the pupils losing circumference so rapidly, only to quiver in adjusting back to the indistinguishable form across from him. It feels like a forced acknowledgment, I feel uncomfortable, as does he. I clear my throat, those same eyes become accusatory, narrow.“Do you find yourself to be a martyr, Mister Horowitz? Your use of drugs as some sort of weapon would insinuate just that. You take out your spite, your frustration on those around you.”His voice resounds as he offers a correction. “Those who warrant it.”“If you wish.”The question was answered with silence, but momentarily so. An eyebrow quirked, the fingers of pale hands fidgeted. “Simply? No, though I believe in fate.” Another pause, an unsquaring of shoulders that seemed more naturally lopsided on the thin form than a perfectly straight line. “Before you ask, I’m an Irish Catholic, but God isn’t really my cup of tea.” He had always preferred coffee, anyway. Black, extremely black. The tips of his fingers were stained with coffee, with ink, with Merlin knew what else. He would pass on the promising of salvation for the telling of innermost secrets, for drinking the blood of an imaginative figment that too many people fell for, for munching upon the flesh of a deity he wasn’t completely sure didn’t exist. Twin hands formed into fists, the square jaw clenching.“Did this create tension in your family? From what I know, they’re quite…serious.”“If they noticed, they didn’t very well let on.”“Was that intentional, Mister Horowitz?” I prod, looking at the way he seemed to consider the scratches on the table, only to thrum his fingers upon it before jerking to sit back straight in the chair. “The tradition of me seeping into the background was a conscious decision. I knew precisely what I was doing, even when I was young. I think that I saw the way my brothers interacted and, although I was the youngest, adapted to the opinion that I would rather not engage in cheek-pinching and bottom-swatting family who would ooh and aaw at the way I was so sweetly small and fragile.” A shrug of his shoulder through a worn plaid shirt that looked like it had seen better days, better years. It is unbuttoned and framing his gangly form in what would be flattering lines, if there had been a structure to build upon; the implications that he had always been the smallest of his brothers is absolutely no surprise. It is also not a shock to ascertain that he lacked a presence around them, it is only when he is talking that he carries any sort of weight within a room. “So, they could have the limelight as long as they wanted. I didn’t want any part of it.”What he fails to mention is the way it hurt when the Horowitz family held a familial reunion of his rather extensive relations (Irish people knew how to procreate, if people wouldn’t give them anything else) and his aunt, of whom he had always been reasonably fond of, exclaimed in surprise when she saw him, leaning down close to ask what his name was because it “escaped her.” He was four years old and would never forget the look of embarrassment on her face, the switch of emotions when she picked him up and claimed she was joking, how she could never forget her Godson. No, no. It was just a joke, Johannes. “Just a little joke! Now, stop your crying this instant. Mona! Mona, little Johannes is crying!” I notice how he stiffens in the chair, eases back into a slouch and scratches the side of his arm. “Then why be a writer? You clearly want your ideas out there, or you wouldn’t bother.” The thin shoulders shrug, his Adam’s apple bobs. “It happens to be something I’d decent at. Nothing planned.”“Is that to say that you are without the possession of a deeper subtext to your work?”“That’s all you.”“I see.”A release of breath through gritted teeth, eyebrows knitting so closely together that it pulled and pinched his face in irritation. His fingers met upon a temple, a slow reopening of jaded orbs, tension building in the tendons of his neck. “I’m sure.” The room falls into silence and his eyes stare into my form, I flip through his file and clear my throat.“It says here you suffer from occasional insomnia.”“Too much coffee.” Johannes dismisses, looking into a corner of the room. His mother always told him to drink something else, that water and coffee sometimes needed to be replaced with other things, that his diet needed to be better because she missed the way he had a tendency to glow – a solemn child, sure, but there had never been a doubt as to where his health stood. When he was quite young, there was even a bit of a precocious nature, something that made his eyes twinkle. It seemed to be totally absent, now, as even though his eyes were light in hue, the second the light above caught it, it seemed to vanish and hallow over in a matte sheen. Few people knew why. He preferred to keep it that way. The more people knew, the more they would take it and run, the more they would say poor baby and stroke his hair, hoping that they could patch up the internal cuts and bruises.“Friends?”Those were the worst. Those were the ones that said they cared, that told him they were reliable, those who tried to meet him half way without making a singular step into the direction of camaraderie before deciding it was too dark, too deep, and, darn, they forgot their wellies. Johannes blamed them, but didn’t want to. It wasn’t their fault that he had decided to skip Sunday school when he was eight years old, they weren’t at fault for the way he stood there at the intersection of the main street as he was going to buy some Coca Cola and meet up with Tom from down the lane who was skipping out on helping his mom at the farmer’s market on his prodding, “they’ve got pizza now, stupid. Better than your mom’s fucking apples. They couldn’t be faulted for the way that the image of seeing his friend get hit by a car who ran the red repeated in his mind, or the sound of crushing, breaking bones and their inability to stop ringing when he walked through his childhood town. Crack. Scream. Gasps. Johannes! Call the police! Someone, dear God, someone call the police! Sunday’s Best ruined by splatters, by the image of his friend still trying to take in air. Eyes meeting between friends, the question of why.Why was he just standing there? Why didn’t he call out for help? Why didn’t he move towards him as other people rushed forward, as people yelled, as the driver stumbled out praising to God for some sort of forgiveness, how he didn’t see him, how it was all some sort of mistake. It was all overtaken by a silence that wasn’t there. The swamping of guilt, of horror, of an instant fascination with pessimism, was instantaneous. No one understood unless they went through it themselves; for all Johannes was, for his delight in dealing drugs for his own form of retribution at his benefit, he would never have wished for someone to have that occur to them, because Johannes Horowitz was not a psychopath. To him, watching the life fade from someone’s eyes wasn’t something to be relived or to crave. It was scarring, it was emotional, it cut to the bone and kept going.“Deceivingly underrated.”Disturbing, how well crimson blended so seamlessly into asphalt.» » he rhymed squirrel with tree.“Tell me a little about you childhood, if you could. It seems to all be a bit vague and, for records sake, I’d like to hear it from you.”He seems hesitant and quiet, but he lives in that sort of solitude, he feels that sort of ache in his bones. He licks his lips, I see the tremor in the bottom, left hand corner of the full surfaces as he brings up his hands to run roughly over the finely tuned features. “Sure. I’m the youngest of three. My brothers are much older, the eldest is seven years older, the other six. One’s a doctor for Mungo’s, you know, the other works in the Ministry. Pretty standard shit, though he likes when he gets to call in specific requests for articles, telling me what to include and what not.” His teeth are now gently raking across the surface of his mouth, his eyes looking at the ridge detail of his fingertips, the cuticles of his fingers that have been gently stained with ink and other grime that came from the soil that most commonly infiltrated his life, day-to-day . He didn’t speak about how his brother was what kept him gainfully employed with his writing, how it was through him that he had even found the connection, how it was his mother who had put him up to the offer because she was worried, didn’t expand on how he had heard the conversation about how he needed just a “little help, and he’ll be on the right track.” Above all, he didn’t enunciate how badly it hurt to hear his mother say that through a sigh, above her creamed coffee and he would have died before saying how badly the salt stung when his father agreed. He had been younger, fresh faced from Hogwarts, really, with his trunk barely unpacked in the back room that had served as a guest bedroom and never lost the sensation of alienation, even until he moved out at nineteen, when the drug problem became too risky and the spiral too hot, too cold, to resist. Johannes looks at my face, the above light catching his cheekbones and highlighting the hallow planes beneath. Nodding, I hope he understands the gentle prod to continue.“Mum’s German. Born and raised, in this small dipshit town in the south; Barker doesn’t sound very German, but her father ran out on her when she was a kid so she’s never considered herself one, so I we didn’t either. Pops is Irish, but part German. They came to Ireland during World War II, because they were Jewish and ran when the going was still good – the rest of the Horowitz weren’t so lucky, and the memorial in Berlin’s got their names etched in like someone actually cares to read it.” Johannes gulped, his Adam’s apple retracting violently, “it was awkward as fuck later, when we found out Mum’s old folks were Nazi sympathizers, we all know they were more than that, but they got away with it.“Conversion to Catholicism was what you did, especially back then, especially in Ireland. It wasn’t easy, but I’m here now, so they must’ve been doing something right. If anything, Irish Catholics know how to fuck.” His eyes never really left the spot upon the aggravatingly pointed part of the cuticle, like he had tried to bite it off, to peel it back and snap it, yet instead it had ripped it deeper into the flesh. The young man picked at it still, not wincing when hitting the sensitive area with the rounded tip of his opposite thumbnail, “they met in a bar. Mum loves to travel, loves to drink, and Pops has always had a problem. Always in love, they said, it was at first pint. Within two months she was living with him, in three, she was pregnant. That’s that.” Neglected to be said was the way a young Johannes could note the tension, the way his brothers may have laughed and ignored it, but he saw the unhappiness – maybe it was because he was the child that wasn’t supposed to happen, the unexpected twist when they didn’t want anything else. There was no other explanation for the age difference, a fact pointed out to him by some family member when he had prodded too hard, when he couldn’t hold his tongue and they bit back. The love was there, always there, through pats on the head and dragging his thin, always slightly too small for his age, form closer when he came home with bruises from the guys that they assured him “just don’t know you, honey,” always there when they tacked up his drawings, his idiotic three stanza poems where he rhymed squirrel with tree, and encouraged his artistic ability that he, really, had always had, and always there when he had nightmares and was consoled when his brother’s laughed at the way he wasn’t big enough to play with them.“That’s it?”The square jaw moved upwards, the tendons tight around the sides, “that’s it.” The answer signified the end of the conversation. I open my mouth, only to close it. Again, I restack the papers and try to think of the next prompt. There was a skidding of metal against cement and the lanky form stood up, “we done here?” Flipping through the papers, I skim over how he was sorted into Ravenclaw (not the least bit surprising, though a conversation with the Sorting Hat that I would not like to have sat in on), instead of thinking of anything, how he had a relatively clean bill of health…pre-intense use of stimulants and depressives that no sane doctor would prescribe. “We’ll be in touch.”“Waiting with bated breath.”
user posted image

YOUR NAME Shannon / Shan
EXPERIENCE oh, it feels like eternity. 8-9 years, though.
CONTACT pm, msn and aim. you can find it under who's who.
Johannes grinned at his friend’s inability to understand his mean spirited quip about his possible life force, arching an eyebrow to himself about how he should have seen it coming. There was a shake of his head, an ingrained biting of the side of his mouth for doing it again. He could hear his mother, now, practically standing straight beside him with her “I go for a long jog-slash-walk every morning to stay in shape, but I can’t ever stop putting butter on my bread for dinner and I’ve always had a nasty habit of snitching cookies from the jar – hey, I don’t look over fifty, do I? I need to re-dye my hair…” build slung into an irritated, hands-on-hips stance. She would have hissed something along the edge of “be nice,” with a look that told him she was proud that he was making friends, but would never stop being impressed at his ability to lose them just as quickly. Seafoam green eyes slide over to look at his end-piece friend, who had come over from time to time, there had been laughs, there had been utter moments of disconnection, through the thick fan of lashes that confirmed that he and James would never quite be on the same page. Not ever.

This was okay, mostly. No one really had been. If his life had been any sort of penned story that he liked to tell himself that he wrote, to confirm he wasn’t a failure, that the whole of him would culminate into something that wasn’t lack-luster and wouldn’t lead to him having four people standing over his body before they torched him, the rest of them writing “IOUs” to his dearly departed soul for not being able to re-schedule picking up toothpaste from the store in his honor, he wasn’t entirely sure, himself, if he would have conceded to read it. Eyes skated back to the tips of his fingers, tinged slightly with ink that never seemed to come off, the long sleeved plaid that cut off roughly at the pointed bone of his wrist in an age-old fray. Indeed, if anyone so much as glanced at the manuscript of his life, they would have wisely stopped at the introduction – assuming he would get that far, perhaps, they’d stop at the publishing information when they realized that it was hairbrained, that it was practically a figment of a joke and that it really wasn’t worth the coffee rimmed stains, the frustration, the papercuts and the lies that he made to get there. “I’d like very much to read some of your work, Johannes.” He heard Penny’s voice, sweet in his ears. If only, oh, if only, it hadn’t been followed by the echo of the voices of family, of trying to overlook the way his mother stretched the truth when she said that he was “well on his way, Agetha!” or the way his father looked at him in the way a kindred spirit could, or the way his brothers had both said the same line Penny repeated in his ear when they had taken walks in the park, but he didn’t take solace in it the same way. It was hard, when the words bit so hard with disbelieving, with jostling that hit him a tad too hard.

If he’d been religious, or, to be more precise, if he wasn’t so adamantly in denial about his believing, he would have blessed Penny for being so kind. Always so kind. Always so reaching, palms outstretched like he was something normal and like he wasn’t a force that would lick the flames of hell and then lie about it. He had tried to overlook the way she seemed hurt when he didn’t offer his arm on those walks, keeping them shoved tightly in his coat instead, with a bit of distance  between them, ignoring the way her blue eyes always shone as she told him about the romantic piece of work she was almost finished with, making excuses to her when she asked if he would read it with her. Of course, trying to overlook the way she looked at him was like trying to forget about the way he viewed himself, especially as he pulled down his sleeves and tried to offer her hugs that were was warm as she deserved. Though, she was an ideal and as an ideal, as something that was previously so unattainable, being around her was nearly like going to confession. He wasn’t real sure if he was ready. Confessing sins, talking to god, coming clean, being able to like Penny on more than a strictly idolization level, sort of blurred along the edges in the rank of “things that should be done, eventually.”

Not to sound like the hippy nutjobbed he had boned for a few months, but life had it’s own sort of way of doing its thing. It haunted, it lurked, it did what it damn well pleased. Maybe he and James would never be in the same dramatic novel, however, well, hell. Maybe he’d never be like Rhys, his father, Ev or even Dahlia in terms of understanding, but there was a possibility that they were cameo worthy to each other and that could have been just enough to make it work.

“Read some fucking books, James, and don’t just skip to the pictures.”

Looking at the silver lining was always exhausting, though, and Johannes had passed the joint over to James unconsciously.  Cameos were good, if he thought about Cash, Jackie and Damien. One more could add a little more of something, and, in a flat barren of anything, something could be seen as good.

“Like some war shit, J. And you’re under the radar – corpses and all.”

Leaning forward over his knees, to balance in head in the triangle of his elbows, those same stained hands ran through the strands of his hair and he looked at the floor as his muscles were forcefully, slowly, relaxed, as the depressant hit. If he was serious, if James was truly serious, this would mean that an extra chapter, not just a cameo (to go along with the book metaphor that even Johannes found trite at this point, despite the fact that he was concocting it), would have to be added. He was a drug dealer. He liked living invisibly. He liked being able to walk down the street and not have people look. It was what he was good at. If James came along, there would be his family, his friends, all of which would slowly be invited over to his hole in the wall and his cave would be a little brighter, the walls would start losing their tinges of bitterness as happier forces started to become intertwined. An Adam’s apple bobbed as he thought deeply about what it was becoming, as the hermit started to deal with the fact that he truly was leaning towards the unsuspected option. There was a twitch in his top lip, something he had always done when nervous about damn near anything, and there was a restriction at his throat. Funny, how the least jarring thing about the proposal was the mention of war.

In all reality, there was something terrifying to him about letting someone so light in his dark, an apprehension that was mirrored by Penelope Maddock. There was a bell chime deep in his rib cage, down into the center of his core, that nagging beast of curiosity and what if situations and he leaned back with a sigh along the way. His palms had started to sweat and he wondered why, his interest was piqued and he wondered why – things he’d ponder when he was tripping in other latent misery that he was so good at. “Yeah.” He said out into the room, feeling awkward that it had passed his full lips, feeling like it was the start of a sliding guillotine. “Alright.” Johannes gazed back to his side, seeing him there and realizing that the foreign seriousness etched into the sides of his eyes, the line of his mouth that he tried to hide with a grin that didn’t show fear, and some door shut in the back of his mind. <b>“It took a lot of time for me to get as low as I am, James,”[/b] he matched the even tone with his own, even if it didn’t last terribly long as his mouth stretched into a bit of a lopsided grin, “but, you’re free to rot in the empty room I’ve got.” A beat. He thought about telling him about the hall, with the rows of horny portraits that will told Johannes the damnedest, most vile things anyone had heard in terms of what they wanted to do to him, in detail, and the perverted, fat cow landlord who did the same, yet, reconsidered and opted for a nearly out of character lightheartedness. “Only because you’re so pretty, cupcake.”
johannes mertzell horowitz
Posted: Dec 27 2011, 10:29 PM


    aaaaaaaaand this is done. uh. finally. i'm awful. >> I HOPE IT IS GOOD.
Posted: Dec 27 2011, 10:46 PM

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johannes mertzell horowitz
Posted: Mar 9 2012, 06:47 PM


+ + +
[ T W O Y E A R S L A T E R ]
    It had been said before, it would be said again. If there was one thing Johannes was good at doing, it was running away. He could run from anything, he could run anywhere, and over the years it had been honed until the “flight” far overtook “fight,” when it came down to those two options, it was never a question as to which would eek ahead in favorability.

    “I’m pregnant.”

    He was also good at being defensive, at putting up walls faster than they could ever come down, at accusing, because that meant that he did not have to think about it more than on surface level. Lashing out? A way of survival.

    “We were never exclusive.”

    Had he meant it? They were four words that he had said that played over and over within his cranium, violently digging claws into the sides as they did laps around the soft tissue. Four words that came more easily than the beloved three words that no one had heard, as it had never fallen from his lips. That’s the way it was, though, there was hardly a sort of moment where liking someone could surmount into its evolved form, when even his mother was greeted with silence when she kissed his cheek and rubbed his back during visits, tsk-tsking at the way his collarbone poked a little too violently from the smooth, sporadically mole-covered flesh. “Immer ruhig, Hannes. Liebst du mich, oder?” It seemed so self-destructive to pair that moment with the words that came out of his mouth, looking across at the blue-eyed, dark haired woman that had moved two-steps forward to becoming the closest thing that he would have considered more than an interest into more of an investment.

    Dahlia Wellbeloved, and whatever life form she would bring into the world, needed more than he could viably give.

    Flight. It was never a question.

    Business could wait. The vacation wasn’t leisure, not really, more of a necessity. Drugs would always be sold, he still had the best clients anyone could have wanted, now peppered even more heavily with fallen deities that had once scorned him in Hogwarts, but no longer recognized the sharpened cheekbones that seemed more hallow with the way time ticked against his heart so readily.

    Hamburg was nice in the summer.

    “Noch ein?”


    There had been surprisingly little trouble in finding company in the port city. There was something in the turned down nature of his lips, or maybe the way that when they did manage to pull into a smile he looked so enigmatic, borderline friendly, that attracted like-minded people who were lost. That was it, wasn’t it? Though, perhaps not. Johannes was not sure that he wanted to be found, he wasn’t sure that he was ready to face the music or see the growing stomach of the steely eyed botanical reference, who had yet to tell her parents who he was.

    That was okay, too, because she’d be able to find someone who would provide for her, carry on the blood line, and not be embarrassing to drag along to family reunions. After all, the colorful clothing of her sisters, the gushing stories that she had told him when he had put a hesitant arm around her post-coitus, may have made him smile into the dark room, but clashed violently with the unhappiness that he wore like a badge, had resonated.

    “Und deine Frau?”

    “Sie lebt.”


    They had always seemed to understand. Funny, that.

    He had, had a beer with Rhys before contacting Dahlia, Damien or James about being back in town. They had all seemed to know, of course, as if his presence was a distinct aura that brought the cheer meter from a jovial nine to a cautiously optimistic five; after all, the war was still going on. Or, so Johannes thought.

    Politics were never his thing.

    Ghosts were good about not caring about the skeletons in other closets.


    It was weird, never having to say anything more to Rhys for him to understand. He always did. There was no need to tell him about the suicidal thoughts that had been floating around for the eight months he spent in Germany, there was no need to tell him about how he could never go through with it because of a tragic sense of catholic guilt that would never leave, would never be able to be fully eradicated, if only because his father still smiled when they all showed up for midnight mass during the Christmas season. It was strange, that camaraderie, just like the strange sensation that followed when he looked at the dark haired man across the table when a joke about overdosing came up.

    He never had to say anything to Rhys, because he already knew.


    When Johannes was thirteen years old he had a talk with his parents about the birds and the bees, if only because he saw the neighbor’s cat giving birth and wondered why people called something beautiful when it involved being pushed out of an orifice, covered in blood and crying.

    “This is one for your father, Hannes.”

    The talk was graphic, the talk was lengthy.

    When Johannes was thirteen years old he swore off of having children.

    Twenty-five, now.

    With two.

    Fuck you, catholic guilt.

    He wondered if bananas were good for babies.

    He wondered what the fatass who lived down the hall thought when he had bought a book on raising babies, though settled on imagining that she got the impression that she was the one to be impregnated by him, as the clothes that she began to wear around him went from grotesquely revealing to grotesquely revealing and sheer.

    The book wasn’t any help, but that was around the same time that he decided that he’d try. If not for the kids, for the fact that Dahlia was one of the only people who had never given up and she deserved something in her life that wasn’t a failure. After all, the two screaming children were branding marks of failure, of swapping genetic material with someone who was not only beneath you, but had hardly a trait that was desirable. He would try for Dahlia because she was stuck with him. It was only fair.

    As if he was a proper gauge of when something was good and when something was bad.

    Two years after the drunken affair started, two years and four months after he broke the heart of someone perfect, eighteen months since he had a civil talk with his brothers, twelve since he had overdosed in a basement of a German sailor, six since he finished writing the only non-piece of shit block of writing of his life that remained locked in a lower-level drawer, beneath a carton of sports drinks that James had left (that may still have inspired thoughts of missing the oaf), Johannes went to confession.

    There was a first time for everything.
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