Tony Holdsworth sat in state of mild meditative freedom. His mind was like a post apocalyptic city; the streets bereft of human activity, scattered with the wasteful remains of its previous occupants. Tony strode down in a single line of consciousness, observing the wreckage, the decay, and accepting it as the past. It was impermanent.
A man approached in the distance, clothed in a tattered suit, untucked and ripped on one sleave. “Don’t you think this is a bit cliché?” he called out, a condescending tone underscoring his remark.
Tony turned away from the man but was confronted by another person, much closer this time. “If you’re thinking of this image then you’re thinking,” the man said matter-of-factly.
“It’s a metaphor,” another voice interjected. Tony turned to see a woman, she was in her forties but kept her body from her late twenties, “This will all dissolve away. A new world will grow in its place, lush with forests and streams.” She looked at Tony with her big sincere eyes, “It’s beautiful.”
“Hah!” the first man shouted. He was much closer now and others were approaching in the distance, “Isn’t that whole concept just stolen from that documentary you watched last night?” he drew the title with his hand as he spoke, “What would happen if the Human Race Disappeared?”
“It’s still beautiful,” the woman replied, but she had lost her romance and was now on the defensive, scared even.
“I’ll tell you what’s beautiful, you’re beautiful.” Another said.
“She looks scared. She should be scared. Last woman on earth living inside Tony’s sick mind. I smell a rape.”
“Hah, my favourite.”
“I’ll take her ass.”
“I just want to cum on her face.”
“Shut Up!” Tony yelled. The swarming crowd was muted, backing away from their prey with caution. Tony shut his eyes tight and straightened his back. He focussed on a deep breath and then relaxed himself again. He saw the same street, empty.
“She looks just like Sarah!” a voice from behind him yelled. “Dirty old bastard wants fuck his daughter-in-law!”
Tony swung round to see the horde of men let out a hearty cheer. The woman, very much a vision of Sarah, was leaning over a school teacher’s desk in the middle of the street. She was naked, breasts just out of site. Her back arched up, presenting the holy grail. She looked back over her shoulder and moaned, “Fuck me, Tony.”
“Fuck!” Tony opened his eyes. He was sitting cross legged in a darkened corner of his room. He shook his head in disappointment. He looked down and noticed he had a massive erection. “Fuck me.”
His meditation guru had warned him of the many weaknesses that the mind will succumb to, and the strange manifestations of defence mechanisms that his negative traits will adopt when threatened by a clear and resolute consciousness. The best way to counter this was through more meditation. But Tony was no longer in the mood for more meditation.
He struggled to untangle his legs which, in this position, often felt numb after bearing the burden is his heavy frame. He ignored the little voice of reason that his guru had told him to always listen to. Right now it was bartering with his residential vices.
“At least do some exercise if you’re not willing to meditate.”
“I want to masturbate, I deserve to masturbate...over Sarah.”
Tony shook his head. The idea was repulsive to him. He was turned on by the deceit it promised, and it definitely would not be a first, but he had developed an inner strength in the last few weeks. Since waking from the coma he had been turned on to meditation by Dr Sam Tank and had found it changing his life drastically. He felt more alive and alert. He was motivated and creative and most of all compassionate.
Once a day Tony was calling his son hoping to repair the years of bad fatherhood. He accepted his influence was primarily responsible for Manny’s current meltdown. Alcohol and infidelity were trademarks of Tony’s tenure as a role model and now Manny was bound to the family business. The calls were almost invariably going unanswered but he had got through once or twice – usually to a drunk and aggressive son. It was heartbreaking.
Tony’s willpower got the better of him – as was more often than not the case lately. He accepted the deal to exercise. A walk to Park Central would temper his fluctuating sexual drive and if he truly needed to he would treat himself to a wank when he returned. He put on his shoes, grabbed his headphones and exited his apartment, enjoying the hit of cool night air.
From the meditation to the exercise his mind was stimulated. He consciously chose to follow the tracks of his previous thought, hoping his current clarity might help in his decision making. He remembered the last talk he had had with Sarah. She was now frequently calling him for advice. She had no proof but she suspected Manny was cheating on her. She was in tears, beating herself up about how she had failed, how their two daughters were suffering. It was heart breaking to hear, but worst of all was that Tony had the proof that Sarah lacked. The photos of Manny and Lucy Blues were suggestive and circumstantial from an objective viewpoint but Tony knew the traits all too well. Long work hours, travel arrangements, missed calls, those legs. It would take years of meditation to resist those legs.
A few people on the street recognised Tony as he walked. He nodded courteously at their pointing fingers and surprised expressions. This used to really hit a nerve with Tony, and he was loath to be out in public because of it – only ever venturing with a body guard to help them keep their distance. He would often dismiss the commoners as petty and beneath him, as if the pedestal which they had built for him gave him permission to spit back down at them. There were many traits from his past that he wished he could forget. But since he couldn’t he thought it best to instead make amends. He had started by getting to the bottom of the Walter Wallace scandal, he was continuing it by repairing his son’s marriage.
Tony would reassure Sarah that it was all OK, that she needed to be strong. He would tell her that the pressure Manny was under was getting the better of him but he wasn’t being unfaithful. Tony had even gone as far as to blame his own actions in the media landscape for the demise, and used his own devious past as a reference for the kind of man that Manny was not. Sarah believed him – probably only because she wanted it to be true. It made him think of his ex-wife. She had remained so loyal to him even when it was becoming public knowledge that Tony was sleeping around. Rumours always circled and he would still lie to her face, threaten to leave her if she didn’t calm down and be glad to oblige when she called his bluff. It must have been horrible. He wished he could tell her he was sorry.
Tony stopped at the large oak in the centre of Park Central. He took some deep breaths, tried not to be too proud that he wasn’t short of breath after a walk that would have previously had him heaving. His phone rang.
“Tony,” he answered openly.
“Tony, it’s Sam. How are you?”
“Sammy! Great. Been really good, just had a sit and now I’m out in Park Central getting some fresh air.”
“Good to hear, good to hear.” Sam sounded a touch brief in his courtesy. “Listen we need to move forward with this Walter Wallace business.”
“Sure. What do you have in mind?”
“He’s disappeared with Lucy; that much is clear. It appears she can’t be trusted as we had hoped. We can’t count on her coming back so instead we will get him to come back.” Sammy paused a moment, just long enough to make Tony feel he needed to respond, “We’re going public with the affair she had with Manny.”
Tony’s face flushed red. He felt as if the skin was literally falling off his face.
“What?” He said forcefully maintaining composure at least through his voice. “Why would you want to do that?”
“Tony, we don’t need to talk about this now,” Sammy replied with the calm dismissal of a teacher. “Meet me at the studios tomorrow morning.”
“Sammy! Sam, wait!” The dial tone shut him out like a security guard ushering away one of his crazed fans. Tony slumped against the tree in disbelief. He wanted to cry. He found his breath short and his legs weak. He sat slouched and fatigued for a long while.