Notes from a Cannibalist, an extract
The road is long, I tell myself. The road is long, but there’s happiness at the end of it. There’s happiness there to be found, if a man searches. Seek and ye shall find…
And Christ, I’ll find her. I’ll find her and Teodora and take them to California, and we’ll build our house and have our baby boy, and maybe more, cause there’s life for a man there, waiting. This is what I’m thinking as I push east, pushing the horse to its limits, and somewhere in the early morning she gives out and I’m forced to stop and put her to water and go begging for something to feed her. I’ve stopped eating, me. Don’t have the stomach for it, and that’s alright cause the next time I eat I wanna be round the table with my family, breaking bread and drinking milk, and manioc and papaya and corn on the table, us fat and comfortable and happy. I’ll have it. I’ll fucken have it if it kills me, and so hitting noon I’m off chasing again, on the horse and roaring, through jungle and over open field, passing through Cordoba like a fiend possessed, like a devil Jesuit on horseback come to reap havoc over the land.
And as I go, strange thoughts creep in, strange gypsy thoughts flash like salmon roe through the dark pool of my psyche, thoughts unaccounted for by my own desperate desires, frightful thoughts of terrible certainty, Woe the man who makes himself a god, and Step not on hallowed ground with chancred feet, and Feed poison with poison, and other things, mad things, these and many others swim through the dark waters of my poisoned kingdom. It’s the gypsy and I know it, her vines now stretching out through my being, through the vital passages of my body and up into my mind, and soon the coiled veins of her wisdom will hold me, strangle me. I don’t have much time.
I sail on, my horse, too, infected by the gypsy’s voracious power. It’s her the horse feels when I put my hands on his neck and lean in close and whisper in his ear, and I wonder if he can’t understand the very words that drip into him roelike, for surely the gypsy speaks to animals easy as she pours poison into a man. He’s my horse and I go with him, but it’s with her wind in our sails as we gallop, for we turn from the direction of Santa Fe and ride north, and I scream and pull at the horse but he won’t listen, he just ploughs on, heedless of me. And that’s when I hear her for the first time, the gypsy, Manuelita, she rises from her deep jungle abode and speaks into me, a rare echo that invades my being like the dark rumble of thunder in the belly, and that voice is my master, my jailer.
—I have work for you, she says.
And I scream til my lungs bleed, eyes filled with tears, blind to the road and filled with rage. ‘I must see her!’ I cry, a man alone on a horse screaming at the jungle, the country, the whole continent, the ocean beyond, but she will not be overpowered.
—You will forget her, she instructs.
I keep screaming, but even as I do her sweet poisons are filling my veins, and as I struggle to hold onto her, Salome, her face and her hips and the roughness of her hands on my face, and the weight of her thighs and hardness of her calves, and the smokiness of her thick black hair and depths of her eyes, and the moistness between her legs and the scent of milk and papaya, and her cracked lips full in smile, and the laughter of Teodora and the smell of my unborn child’s head, even as I rage and cling to these things I feel them slipping from me, the gypsy’s poisons filling my veins, subverting my purpose, subsuming my being. Soon my face is wet but I know not why, for I’m a man on a horse heading north with a new purpose in his heart, one that eclipses all others, the past a mere lick of a minnow flitting downstream, a strophe in the water, the skirl of the stream – leuleup! – and gone.
Meat, an extract
And very soon we’re sailin into the warm night of dopamine, blown by the south winds of serotonin, out onto the gentle sea of euphoria. My, is she gentle. We are rocked gently on the sea of euphoria, all of us, cunts, blaggards and death-merchants, and fuck if my nice little boy the waiter is not stoned too — You’ve been at the punch you cheeky little pup, haven’t you, when no one was looking? — all of us rocked gently on the good ship Ecstasy.
The moon. There’s a moon. There’s a moon and a soft breeze, stars too, water lapping against the side of the boat, hear the sound, and the tinkle of crystal glasses and the smell of the sea and of perfume, burgundy perfume over the salt of the sea. Yes, it is all golden.
Ekaterina has her hand on my shoulder, she’s whispering into my ear, lips right up against my lobe, tickling the ultra-fine hairs there, and Ilyich is gettin a kick out of it.
Come, join us inside, he says.
He leads me into their bedroom and Ekaterina sits on the bed, her long sapphire-blue dress with the slit up to her waist, gown falls from her legs, exposing the thighs of White Russia, legs long as frustrated dreams and thighs of milk, and I kneel, what else can I do, but I kneel before her. Ilyich watches. Ekaterina opens her love-long legs and now I see the inside, the inside of thighs the colour of long Russian winter, a winter spent dreaming of white thighs like these, like the ones opening in front of me. White silk panties flash… a slit, a glint in the blue sapphire, the muscles of the insides of her leg liftin the silk a touch from her cunt, and I can smell it, the perfumed pussy of White Russia… it’s scent tickles my nose like her lips tickled the hairs of my ear only moments ago. This is it, perhaps the finest pussy that exists on a woman anywhere: Pray, on your knees and eat. Eat, and drink from the chalice…
Eat her, Ilyich says.
And every impulse, every aching groan in my body says Eat…
…and I will, but the pussy, the pussy of the glory of White Russia will have to wait.
Bring me a knife, Ilyich, I say.
He doesn’t ask why. He does it.
He hands it to me and I say, No, Ilyich, a real knife, and he returns with a strop razor.
Ekaterina is no longer moist, she is wet. The silk of her panties darkens.
I take the razor and cut a slice of flesh from her thigh as she moans hard. I cut a long slice from the inside of her thigh as she bucks and moans, Yes yes yes…
Let us eat flesh instead. I look at Ilyich, who is biting the flesh of his hand between thumb and forefinger, drawing blood. He is deep in pleasure.
I take a bite of his wife’s flesh and it tastes of the white snow of the steppes. I hold it out to Ilyich, who takes it and eats the rest. He shakes, the throes of a man who has just awoken from a lifelong sleep. Blood drips down the thighs of Ekaterina, and I drink, and he drinks, until we are sated. She falls back in the bed, the mother of thousands, sated, knowing we are fed.
We all lie in each other’s arms and drink champagne punch.
Ultan Banan started writing as a way of getting his head straight, discovering in the process that staying busy is the only way to stop oneself going insane. He devotes what time he can to writing, doing his best to avoid gainful employment by ever more creative means. He lives on the move but dreams of a small cottage on a foul and inhospitable coast somewhere. Currently in Italy.