Nobody talks about ‘the underworld’ these days. I find that disturbing. I love the pictures drawn out of ancient mythology of new worlds that you can pass through only by making some chilling sacrifice to prove that you belong. I’ve been considering the sacrifices we make every day to belong. We get a little older, sacrificing our youth so that we might stay a little longer. We get comfortable with loss and learning what to lose. You sacrifice a little bit of that youthful energy and hopefulness so that you might exist in this realm for a while longer.
Ask yourself, “What have I done to prove that I belong?”
It’s the same for when you want to buy drugs. It’s never an easy endeavor. Sure, we could legalize it and all this underground tom-foolery would dissipate within a matter of months… but we don’t have time for rational suggestions. Instead, we have to preserve the underground. It’s an environment unlike any other, with its own set of rules that have to be followed. It can be dark, mysterious, mischievous and down-right shady, but it has to exist. There are demands that the world of the living cannot meet. For that, you have the underground.
My dealer is a relatively normal guy. He just talks a damn lot about shit that I don’t care about. The price you pay for entering the underworld is having to listen for hours on end. Your sacrifice is made ever-so much more difficult by the fact that he won’t give you any drugs while you’re listening. You have to sit there stone-sober, as he rattles off trivial minutiae that he notices on a daily basis. It’s like meeting a character out of a children’s fable: you can’t cross the bridge without answering a few riddles. He just seems like a lonely guy living out a riddle of his own. He has dozens of friends and yet he has no friends. Plenty of people come to see him, yet nobody stays. Every creature within the underworld must live by the laws that govern. He follows a curse, for although he provides for the underworld a source of great power, he, in himself, possesses none.
I listen for a while. He believes in ancient aliens. He believes they built up mankind as a sort of cattle. He thinks we’re being moved in place and the earth is one great big farm. It’s weird that these theories always find some bearing on our souls, something familiar to embed in our psyches, like a god damn tick. I can’t forget the idea of the ancient aliens. Part of me would really love to relax and believe whatever. It settles into you. Doesn’t anyone else notice the parasitic nature of belief? A tick doesn’t rest. It bites down and chews. It’s chomping through you with all its might. You might feel it as an itch, but on the part of the tick its intent is malicious. It wants to survive. It HAS to survive.
Once he runs out of steam you’ve passed the test presented by the underworld. You’re free to escape. He works through the conversation and reveals vast treasures of the underworld. He gathers them up in sandwich bags, ties them up and presents them to you without a riddle. I don’t even know the question. I take what I’ve come for and leave, like any businessman, I offer a proper handshake and goodbye. He never seems to care that you go, as he folds over onto his couch and continues watching whatever is on the television. It’s usually cartoons or the History channel.