The Room of Stories, Poems and Text works
This story was contributed by Brendan Smart, who lives in Venezuela
what a lovely project-- stumbled on it thru the artbase feature of rhizome--
let's see .... a memory as a story: (Brendan Smart, 2012)
I am eighteen years old, living in venezuela where I've been working with orphans and street-children, and one afternoon in Caracas I feel a bit "off", unusually fatigued, and I suppose that I am coming down with the flu and so i go to bed early. Then in my dreams I am running around a track, the 800 meter sprint, I am giving it my all and my muscles and lungs are convulsing, I am in agony and am relieved when I awake from it, only to discover that the pain was in fact real, that I am drenched in sweat and my bones are aching as if I had been beaten with a baseball bat, because I've come down with dengue fever.
Several days later I am hospitalized, and the fever peaks that evening.
I am lying there, in tremendous discomfort, and a fellow walks into my room and introduces himself as Jorge, no he is not a doctor, and he doesn't speak any english-- he is man of the people, a communist, and he's come here to convert me-- he preaches communism at hospital bedsides, the way a christian might preach the gospel, and as a matter of fact his "interpretation" of communism is derived from the Old Testament: he focuses on the story of Cain and Abel, the moment in which Cain asks God if he is his brother's keeper?
And because God cursed him in that moment, Jorge affirms, we should understand God's own position in the matter: that we are indeed our brother's keeper, and therefore in heaven we all must be communists.
I weekly nod in agreement, still drenched in sweat from the fever-- at that moment Jorge introduces a friend of his, whom he refers to as the Mute, who is incredibly tall, so that when he sits down in an ordinary chair his knees angle sharlply upwards, and the Mute smiles at me from the end of my bed, beatifically.
Then Jorge also informs me, very matter of fact, that he himself is dead, that he is a ghost, the communist ghost, and again i am too weak to do anything but to nod, agreeing with everything, because in that moment Jorge's strange declarations make as much sense as anything that had ever been told to me-- and Ii fully accept that i am dying.
The following morning in the fever has broken, and I slowly put together the fact that I had been hallucinating, unless of course a fellow who calls himself Jorge was playing a trick on me. But I'm reasonably certain, in a non-fevered state, that Jorge must have been some manifestation of my own subconscious, and for the rest of my life I will take it for granted that Jorge will be waiting for me, and that in my last moments (if they are allowed to me) I will probably see Jorge again and he will escort me into that communist heaven, perhaps i will see it in a vision, ascending from the slums of Caracas.